Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Hope shining from difficult times?

These beautiful clouds remind me there is always hope, even in the most difficult situations.

I am worried.  Worried about a couple of people I know and I'd like to tell you a bit about them here and what they're going through.  The reason for this is because I feel a lot of empathy for them in their difficult situations and reminded me of my own story (see About) from some time ago.  One is dealing with the situation in a number of ways, which includes running and the other isn't quite at that stage.  I am wanting to do "my bit" and possibly encourage them as best I can but for now I'd like to share their stories.  It goes without saying I am, for the purposes of my blog, changing their names and being a little economical with the details.


I see Adam from time to time.  We have known each other for a few years now but over recent weeks he's opened up and shared some difficulties in his life.  He's a decent hard working man, practical and realistic about things.  Certainly, from my point of view, an easy person to get a long with.

Adam has, for all the time I've known him, been a fairly heavy man.  That combined with middle age, a difficult job, a good salary means he's able to afford an "affluent" lifestyle (restaurants, foreign holidays) and with little exercise they have all started to conspire against him.  Add to that some relationship problems - which have sadly led to a separation from his wife - and the emergence of an eating disorder has compounded the problem.  I didn't know about the disorder until he recently shared that with me, along with some of the counselling he's having.

Happily Adam has caught the running bug and the weight is dropping from him.  In fact I'm amazed at how quickly he's becoming thinner.  He can run for about 3 or 4 miles, including a hill.  It is giving him courage to over come the difficulties he's living through in terms of his marriage and his eating addiction.  I've noticed him refuse food and instead sips water from a big pink bottle he carries around everywhere with him.

We have talked a little about running, fairly superficial but I have not had the right opportunity to tell him about my story.  Not sure I will tell him, though perhaps in time I may but for now it's all about him.

It is really good to see Adam making such progress; even when I last spoke to him on the phone he was more upbeat than normal.  Horrible situation with his marriage and I wish things could look brighter.  Although resolving that in the right way (i.e. restoring their relationship) is the best thing to hope for and I say that as I'm a bit old fashioned with that kind of thing and I'm sticking to that.  He's seeing some brightness on the horizon and just starting to feel the mental and physical benefits of running.  I even joked saying "Adam one day I can see you entering a race...." and before I knew it he said "now that's not a bad idea, maybe a 10k before Christmas".


Unfortunately Brian isn't at Adam's stage as yet.  Although I might be wrong, it looks like he needs to go down a little more before he comes zooming back up.  He's a little younger than me, single and a nice gentle giant kind of man.  Like Adam, he's in a tricky job but one way the demands are more emotional because of the nature of the work.  Plus he gets pulled in all kinds of different directions and it looks like those above him allow that to happen, or at least it seems that way from what Brian says.

He's going through a rough patch at work, he says.  Through some health niggles he's accumilating a pattern of needing a few days off fairly often and this has been noticed.  Now I don't work with Brian so I don't really know the deal; how his employer will play this one.  The health niggles include some depression that results in him burying himself under a duvet for a few days at a time and this, I think, adds to the weight problem.  Weight, oh yes, I'd guess and say he is about double his ideal weight, give or take a bit.  He has mentioned he takes loads of pills for this and that including gout.  This is not good.  

Not sure he's recognising there is a positive way out of this as yet: perhaps at the "pre-contemplation" stage.


I can see myself in both Adam and Brian, or at least as I was heading a few years ago.  I was on their path in gaining weight and not dealing with stress very well.

My guess is we often have to reach a certain point when that decision is made to do something about it.  The first stage is recognising their is a problem and something needs to be done.  I remember being at that stage and thinking through different options and praying about it.  As a Christian with a strong, real faith, I can bring all these worries to God who, in His timing, shows the way.  I am now thankful I've gone through those difficult times to bounce back - all part of the great plan - but we often don't see it happening at the time.

In terms of Adam and Brian, they don't know what lies ahead anymore than I do.  Yet in terms of physical exercise and taking care of himself, Adam has turned the corner but Brian has yet to reach it.  Naturally life is complex - you can't simply solve problems by becoming a runner - but for me it helps.


  1. Hi Doug,best wishes to you and yours.
    It's good of you to try to help your colleagues to help themselves. I think the two big enemies are loss of self-esteem and loss of confidence.They can both cause all sorts of bad things to happen. Like you, I believe in the power of exercise,running,mainly, to give you the strength to fight depression and fear.It gives you courage too. I have been prone to bouts of depression for years now but I know that if I can get changed and get out of the door and run then the misery will be alleviated. Anyway good luck to your two work colleagues.I hope they get some stability back into their lives.

  2. Thanks H. Missed your visits. Yep, running can have an incredible effect but it does come over night - I think any of us need to build up a reasonable fitness base before we get so many benefits from running, as you rightly point out.

  3. Ooooops following on from my comment, I obviously mean "....it doesn't come over night....". Sorry about the typo,