My Birthday gift – To me, from me …

So, here goes …

Sorry that I have seemed absent for quite a while. I have just published my Welsh language book ‘Rhyddhau’r Cranc’ (Y Lolfa) about my life and mental health and it’s all been rather wonderful. Scary at times, but also exhilarating and wonderful. It’s fair to say that I believe the work has been warmly received, at least, that’s my knowledge of things! Perhaps some are just too kind to say it wasn’t their cup of tea, but all feedback I’ve received has been encouraging and well worth having. As an added bonus, I was also No.2 on the Adult Welsh language bestseller book list for the Welsh Books Council last month.

So, where do I go next? Emotionally, I have very little idea. I can only still take every day as it comes, hoping that I don’t slip again to dark places. If I do, hopefully I’ll be able to get back up and move on averting any real crises.

It’s my birthday 19th of September, so I have decided to give myself something I really want, but, something that money cannot buy me. I cannot choose ‘free next day delivery’ or jazz it up with a lovely gift tag, ribbons and a party bow. What is it?

My personal birthday present to myself this year is 0-5k. I have 9 weeks. If I succeed, I’ll be able to run 5k by my birthday 19th of Sept.

And that’s it! I’m out with it. Why exactly I want to put myself through the blood, sweat and tears of such a challenge is beyond me. But, truth is I have struggled with weight for the five years that I’ve been in the mental health system. Although, it’s not all about weight, it is about confidence too. Depression, 4 hospital admissions and all my daily mental health meds have resulted in weight gain and a large loss in confidence.

People carry on telling me:

‘You can do it! Only you can stop yourself from achieving that goal’

‘It’s all about positive mental attitude’

‘You need routine’

‘It’s about choices’

Most of these might be true, but hearing them really hasn’t been all that helpful. Positive mental attitude can be impossible to nurture or produce during episodes of depression and the idea of ‘choices’ an unattainable dream. I apply quite a lot of pressure on myself in all that I do, so unless I’m fairly confident that I can succeed in whatever I’m setting out to do, I usually don’t bother. I channel most of my energy into doing things that (in my mind) are achievable. This challenge doesn’t feel achievable at any level. But, I might just make my final weeks before turning 33 ones that break the mould.

Things I plan to do:

  • Follow the couch to 5k plan for 9 weeks
  • I have thrown away my gym membership. I gathered my membership card was more of a ‘guilt free’ card. I never actually went, but always fooled myself it was there waiting for me when I got that ‘light bulb’ moment (that obviously never happened).
  • Drink water instead of fizzy drink
  • Drink alcohol only on the weekend
  • Reduce carb/bread intake

Today I have finished me first run (week one)


I’ll be tweeting about this challenge under #BirthdayGift




  1. Malan, I’m sure you will achieve your goal by your birthday, and the measures you are putting in place, especially drinking water and lowering alcohol intake, will make an enormous difference. Cutting down on bread will too. Oatcakes are a good substitute in small quantities. You will be delighted by how quickly the weight comes off, especially if you stick to the diet but don’t obsess about it, keep busy doing other things so food isn’t the be all and end all. Above all, believe that you can do this, it’s totally logical, reasonable, possible, and you will. You will also feel years younger and fitter and very perky! Good luck with it and hearty congrats of your book award. Is it available in English?


    1. Thank you for your lovely comment and the advice! It gives me hope and inspires me. My book is only in Welsh atm but lots of people are asking for an English copy, so hopefully publishers might consider this! Again, thsnks for your kind comments xxx


  2. Hi malan, First of all I wish you Happy Birthday in Advance. I appreciate the great and unique idea and I hope you will achieve these goals by your Birthday. God bless you.


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