Don’t let madness hold you back from running a 100 miles




Sometimes I think the doctors got it wrong.

Through out my teenage years I suffered from Alopecia (losing your hair), chronic back pain, depression and horrendous psoriasis. One day when I was 17, I went to the hospital to get some scans done on my spine as I was getting horendous back pain. The rhematologist decided to send me for some random blood tests. When they came back he said to me, “hmmm…well I didn’t think this would come back positive, I just thought I’d test you just in case, but turns out you have lupus.” He handed me a flyer that said LUPUS and then ushered me out the door.

I was in shock. I sat in my car in the hospital car park and cried. I cried and cried for about an hour. Then I drove home, told my mum and cried some more.

For the next few years, I went about being a person with lupus.

Then one day I contacted an osteopath. I had never seen an osteopath before but I wanted to know if he could help my “lupus pain.”

This osteopath made me realise that it wasn’t “lupus pain.” My back was sore. He fixed it. My neck was sore, he fixed that. I didn’t need a label, what I needed was a treatment plan. You got a problem – find a way to fix it.

So I decided after that that I didn’t have lupus. I had some problems that just needed to be dealt with and I have dealt with them.

I actually forgot all about the old lupus until this month. For the first time in years I have been dibilitated with back pain, but it’s got me thinking about other issues in my life – some other labels and how they might be holding me back.


I’d like to decide that I don’t have bipolar, just like I decided I didn’t have lupus, but that label is not so easy to shake.

The last few months, I have been having a wonderful time and I almost forgot, almost believed that hey, it’s gone. I thought hey, maybe this mental illness stuff is just like any other illness. Maybe you can shake it off, like a cold. Heal and get better.

Last week I found a spider in my bed (the trigger).

I haven’t slept in days now because I keep thinking there are spiders in my bed.

Then yesterday, I started to think they were under my skin. I scratched my skin so hard it started to bleed and I tore holes in my stockings.

Then, when I got home from work I stood out front of my house. It looked different. I started to question whether this was my house. I checked the number on the letter box. Yes that was my number, but it just didn’t feel right.

Little things. Not quite mad yet. Just warning signs. To maybe, take a rest day.

For those of you who don’t know, one of the easiest ways to tip a bipolar person into mania is to deprive them of sleep. Less than 6 hours a night for too many nights in a row is pretty much guaranteed to get the cuckoo clock going.

For a long time, I have been thinking about running a 100 miler. The thing that has stopped me is the fear of the cuckoo clock. A 100 miler involves running all day and all night and probably all day again – no sleep, no rest.

Thinking back to that lupus story though, I don’t want to let the fear of the bipolar label deter me from doing something that I so desperately want to achieve. So, I’m not going to decide that I don’t have bipolar, that would be dangerous. But I am going to decide that I’m not going to let bipolar stop me from achieving my goals.

Just like that good osteopath, I will watch for the symptoms and I will treat the symptoms as and when they arise.

And until then…I’ll be dreaming (even if I’m not sleeping) of Zion

P.S – the photo is of me at the peak of my madness (the state of hypermania that ultimately lead to my diagnosis of bipolar). It goes to show madness is not always a bad thing – I was at the peak of creativity and it made for a great EP 😛



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About tashytuffnut

ultramarathon runner, desert runner, trail runner, musician, vegetarian, tattoos, lawyer.

4 responses to “Don’t let madness hold you back from running a 100 miles”

  1. elena bragg says :

    So inspirational Tash. Also, if you come for Zion you better let me know so we can meet up!

  2. richo says :

    Awesome Tash you are awesome, TashyTuffNutt definitely a good moniker for you.

  3. Jo Ball says :

    Hey Tash,
    This was a brave bold post. Thank you. I really enjoyed reading it, I found the story of labels really relatable and particularly the point of making the priority to deal with the matters at hand (symptoms) rather, than retreating into a diagnosis. One step in front of the other, take the hand break off.

  4. Sandra says :

    Hi Tash. Always love reading your posts. This one in particular came to me at a very relevant time and was very meaningful to me also 🙂

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