If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might already be aware that my Brother and I have signed up for the Mind Hike 2017. This involves walking 40 miles within a 24 hour time frame to raise money for Mind. I feel like I’ve gotten to a stage in my recovery where I’m ready to get up and do something, to contribute, to try and make a difference. Just typing these words is difficult, because I have a low opinion of myself that is pathological in nature. It’s been an impossibly long time since I’ve felt worthy of ‘life’, and the notion that I might actually be rising from the ashes is so alien as to evoke something close to terror, right at my core.
But the fact of the matter is that, despite everything, I’m still here. I’ve lived to tell my tale, and I think it’s important that I do because Mental Illness is such a lonely, debilitating, life-threatening thing; and not nearly enough people know that. Of those that do, those who suffer at it’s hands, too many are still afraid to speak up. Mental Illness is still surrounded by too much stigma. Current statistics say that as many as one in four of us will face Mental Health related challenges in the course of our life time; that’s around one person in your average household, or seven kids in your average classroom. It’s two players in a football team, or one member of your favourite band. And trust me when I say that it DOES NOT discriminate.
Anyway, the most obvious way for me to shout about this, is to link up with a MH charity and campaign/fundraise. When I read that Mind were recruiting people for the Mind Hike 2017 challenge, I saw this as the opportunity it seemed I was waiting on. Hill-walking and climbing was something I always enjoyed ‘before’ and the idea of being allowed to rediscover this interest, and raise money at the same time, seemed perfect. More than this, though, I have a date in my diary, a reason to eat better, to exercise more. I have something to focus on, fundraising events to organise, a way by which I can get a foot back into the local community.
One thing I’ve learned, is that when Mental Illness has ravaged you, trampled you into the ground, stripped you bare, when it’s taken everything from you and a bit more besides, you cannot force things to happen. You can’t get out of bed, shower and dress because it will ‘make you feel better’. You can’t go on holiday because your family believe it’s ‘exactly what you need’. You just can’t. But you do know when something feels right. And this feels right.
If you want to read more about the challenge, or donate/sponsor us, you can visit our just giving page.