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6,000-calorie high days and an avalanche of suicidal thoughts

March 23, 2024

Road to NABBA Britain: 10 weeks out and mental health episode threatens to derail it all

By Gary Chappell

IN our bathroom at home there is sign which reads: 'Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy'.

Often, more times than I can remember in fact, I have no idea what that is.

There is another sign in the hallway. This one reads: 'Families are like fudge, mostly sweet, with a few nuts.'

This sounds rather apt with what I am about to share.

For the past two weeks, I have been overwhelmed with an avalanche of suicidal thoughts. Again.

So suffocating, so enveloping is the blanket of utter despair, that I have shut down all possible outside influence. I give monosyllabic answers to questions I cannot avoid and no answers to many others. Then I avoid eye contact and avoid all conversation where possible. I shut everyone out. Shut everything down. Stop thinking. Stop everything. Leave me alone.

ATTENTION SEEKER? Here I am not seeking attention by taking my clothes off in the gym

Somehow, each day at noon I have found myself in the gym. Don't ask me how I can summon the energy or motivation to get there and train, because I do not have an answer. I didn't want to be there, my training partner can attest to that. But I was there. Even though I wanted to close the curtains and sleep the day away. Hell, sleep the rest of my life away. So well done me, eh?

But the self-loathing, the relentless shot of uselessness coursing through every sinew, is more draining than I can possibly explain in black and white. Explain to your kids, Gary, let them know they will be better off without the negativity. Then for fuck sake stop being a coward and do what you have promised to do for seemingly for ever.

Some have you believe going through with 'it' is actually the coward's way. That argument is open to debate for me right now.

Depression is nothing new for me. The black dog may wander off for a time here and there, but it always returns like the loyal servant I don't want it to be.

I'm now 10 weeks out from the NABBA Britain. And this depressive, dark, nasty phase has nothing to do with the rigours of prep. In fact, there really aren't any rigours of prep right now. Oh, unless you count struggling to get all your meals in on a diet.

I mean, is that actually a thing? Force-feeding yourself on a diet? Some days I have 'only' managed five of my meals instead of the prescribed six. I have a pathetic appetite and a crazy metabolism. Whatever that is a recipe for, I almost certainly won't want to eat that, either.

Cardio is a mere 20 minutes, low intensity steady state, five times a week. No issues there. Walk in the park, almost literally. And I checked the calories on my one weekly high day – and they are close to 6,000. Yes, I am dieting by using one high day a week of 6,000 calories. And 20 minutes cardio. So no, there are no real rigours of contest prep just yet.

Apart from that pesky black dog, of course. Bloody animal. What the trigger was for this mental health episode, I just don't know. But I can tell you that I cannot function as what I describe as a normal human being. Those who see me around probably think I'm rude, weird or both. Maybe they are right.

All I do know is that I do not know why these episodes infect me like they do. And I do feel infected. Infected by a seething self-hatred, an inability to deal with every-day problems like an every-day person.

Maybe it's something to do with whether I eat eggs or sweet potato, as some would have you believe [checks notes: I do eat eggs and sweet potato, so can't be that].

'Oh, you're just trying to seek attention', some might say. On the contrary, I hate attention. I go out of my way to avoid it, unless you count taking off all your clothes and posing in front of strangers. I don't want sympathy and I don't court well-wishing messages because, frankly, I have no idea how to deal with them. In fact, I am more comfortable with criticism than I am being given a compliment. So well-wishing? No, thanks all the same.

All I want to do here is raise the issue of mental health. It is why, partly, this website includes helpline listings for mental health services. It's a thing. People – more people than you think – struggle with it in some way, shape or form.

I do, as you now know. I'm coming out of this mental health episode, but rest assured another will visit soon. It always does. I guess in that regard, I am always in prep. Prepping for the next one.

One response to “6,000-calorie high days and an avalanche of suicidal thoughts”

  1. Gavin morris avatar
    Gavin morris

    Your not alone brother - on mitrazapine for ptsd - it's there lurking in the background all day - worst is bed time it won't let me sleep and does not let me gain control of my thoughts- stay strong its what makes us so good- born fighters -

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