WIRES: A Guest Post From Brett...

Heifers! He's back with another MOOOOOOvelous blog post - please enjoy Brett's latest thoughts....


‘You got wires, goin’ in
You got wires, comin out of your skin
You got tears
Making tracks
I got tears
That are scared of the facts

As I lay in the hospital bed waiting for some kind of indication of just what the hell was going on I remembered back to the look on the Doctors face not an hour earlier as he quoted ‘Pneumonia, Embolism and Chest infection with respiratory track and lung inflammation’ to the unseen operative at the hospital.  In the doctors surgery I had been waiting 20 minutes sat upright in the waiting room, the excursion of which had left me feeling dizzy, so his words washed over me a little although the look on his face didn’t.  

That are scared of the facts

I think it was the ‘I’ve been coughing up blood since yesterday afternoon’ bit I managed to mumble that prompted the immediate ferrying to hospital. So there I was, on a freezing cold, snowy day lying on a NHS bed looking at the harsh ceiling lights – no wonder people feel stressed in hospitals, the lighting really isn’t at all flattering.

For the next 13 hours I would be seen by 12 medical staff, shifted around by 2 porters to 4 rooms, changed beds 3 times, have blood taken 6 times, have blood botched twice, enjoy the presence of 1 cannula, be x-rayed once, scanned twice and receive a medical examination more times than I can honestly remember. There was, lord knows how, down time during which I can’t deny I cried (such was the level of discomfort and pain) and spent time thinking ‘what if’?

I got tears
That are scared of the facts

I know ‘what if’ doesn’t help. And in any ‘normal’ situation I have become adept at following a simple yet effective mantra; If as a result of you worrying about something, something will actually change, feel free to worry. If that isn’t the case, what’s the point in worrying’?  I’d rather focus my energy elsewhere.

But these weren’t normal times.

What if my pre-existing kidney problem had started to flare up? What if there was something else? What if an embolism had started to travel...when all you can do is look up at a ceiling to pass the time...


But these aren’t normal times. Times have changed.  

I knew, fact, that given how I felt, irrespective of the diagnosis, I would more likely need to have a break from running. Not a week, but longer. I would need to recover from whatever this was. In the past this would have filled me with utter dread. In 1995 I have an abyss removed from my spine. I was running, winning 2 weeks. Utter stupidity. I risked screwing up all the surgery – for what? What had brought me to forsake all medical advice? Had running become the thing that defined me?

What defines us IS surely one of the ultimate questions. As a species. As an entity. As a being.

‘I think therefore I am.’  A question posed to our lecture class at University. The lecturer walked out given a return time of 20 minutes merely saying disprove this theory.

The solution is actually quite simple. If the entity is thinking there could be an assumption that the entity must exist. However, the use of I in the statement surely indicates the entity already exists although the need for thought is irrelevant. If you remove the unnecessary elements from the equation its simple:

‘I am’. So, ‘What am I?'

Previously I had been defined by my ability to run, by the job I had, by the car I drove. The list was as long as I wanted it to be and the list changed depending on who or where I was.

I have become a chameleon. I had become so skilled at blending in, mimicking those around me I had over time forgotten who I really was. Or, perhaps more importantly, I had never truly been happy to be who I was. Now, as I faced off a run break, or worse, I realised that through the pain and panic whatever came next would be absolutely fine. Whatever it was would be mine.


I feel sure there are others who, like me, became defined by their sport, the job, their lifestyle. I hid behind all these things. But it’s only a matter of time before something gives.  A redundancy, an illness, an injury. What then? What if the defences and masquerade comes down? Are you ready to live with facade? Can you lay bare with all the shit to see?

As I lie in that bed I knew I’d be absolutely fine. One way or another. Not because physically I would be fine because honestly at that stage I really didn’t have a clue,  but because my passion for running doesn’t define me. Along my journey I have realised I am so, so much more than being part of the 1% club will ever be.

I watched my father struggle as he came to the end of his football career and his notoriety dwindled. THAT defined him. Perhaps through choice, perhaps through circumstance.  Once say there are many who will wax lyrical about his football career, about his number 9 shirt and his England cap. As for me, I shall remember a bloke looking longingly at a bloody big steam engine.

I’d like to define what makes me every day, thank you. Because there is inevitability in change and that is one of the biggest most exciting parts of the journey I am on.  

I see it in your eyes
I see it in your eyes
You’ll be alright


About Brett:

Brett is a father, a teacher, a runner. He completed his first triathlon at the tender age of 17 and has gone on to run every distance from sprint mile to marathon and aims to complete his first ultra marathon in 2018 at the not so tender age of 47. 


He is open about his battle with mental health and since hitting rock bottom 8 years ago has been on what he would describe as being a life changing journey ever since. He is a firm believer that through sharing and support anything is possible and that above all else we must strive to de-stigmatise mental health.  You can follow Brett on Twitter and cheer him along as he battles his anxiety and beats it most days.

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