I spent Saturday at a marathon training day put on by mind. It was a great day and opportunity to speak with like minded people, work on our techniques/training prep and kick off our fundraising. With talks by professionals and those who had suffered with mental health issues it was inspirational and informative.
So why mind for me, and why do this all now? The first of these is an easy question to answer and the second I still ask myself weekly, daily and sometimes hourly.
So why is this charity so important to me?
Depression comes in so many different forms, it can impact on any of us, and when it does it manifests itself in an often completely individual way. For me, depression is still part of my day, although I (and medical professionals) would say that I am no longer depressed, it does not mean it is suddenly over and something that has no ongoing impact. In fact the opposite is true it is probably still the single biggest impact on my life. My story still plays true to the fact that even when things are going great in my life and all logic says that I should be happy, I have to consciously choose happiness. That’s the funny thing about depression, people assume it is sadness but it is so much more complex than that. People assume you can just get over it, but it is so deeply rooted to your core it becomes a part of your being.
I was at my lowest point in 2007. At this point I was physically removed from university by my parents and moved home; I had nothing and no one. Nobody knew what I was going through, yet people would happily pass judgment over my situation, I know I had a part to play in this as I kept my cards so close to my chest. A web of lies I built up to protect myself to shield the world form the truth of what was going on, a web that acted as my safety blanket, was unravelling quicker than I could handle. The people I knew turned on me and maybe I deserved that to some degree. I felt completely alone and an absolute burden all in the same breath. I felt fake from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. Letting anyone in to what the truth was would surely alienate me even further, all I saw was darkness.
For the first time ever, I had nothing. It is crazy to think how much of an immense impact a feeling of nothingness can have on a person. I was stripped of everything I thought I was, everything I thought I knew about myself, my identity was stolen from me, and my purpose removed. It was then that I did the only thing I thought I could do and that was to give up. For me this was a cry for help, and I am not ashamed of that. I needed to scream and I had no voice, I needed help but was too ashamed to ask.
From this point on I became a recluse, I was consumed by guilt and in all honesty the only thing keeping me going was my medication, some truly incredible therapy, and a family that refused to let me stop going. The simplest things like my mum would force me out of bed, with no other motive than just to keep me moving. It was during this time that I discovered running. Running was/is a place where I have to be nothing but myself, it is an escape from my mind, something I have total control over and somewhere I can truly release.
During this terrible time despite the hopelessness I felt daily; the guilt that encased me and the lowness that encapsulated my heart of hearts I now know I needed to hit that low. My depression had not been the result of one thing, one day or one situation; it had built up and been brushed away and hidden away for a long long time. Depression gave me a choice, a choice to give up and give in or to accept it all and move forward.
It is now that I am free of medication, therapy, and have come to terms with my own story that I find myself here fighting a battle, the battle of knowing how low I am capable of going and the battle of knowing this will always be a part of me… Every day when I am faced with this challenge, this battle, I remember that I’m one of the lucky ones who has made it this far and I keep on making the positive choices I need to everyday.
So that’s why I’m running a marathon, why I have to run for mind. I am almost 100% certain that I will be an emotional wreck from start to finish but that’s okay. I am stronger than I give myself credit for and this is a way to prove to myself I’m capable of tackling this massive mental and physical challenge. The icing on the cake is that I’m doing it for all those people who need the support of tackling their massive daily, and sometimes, hourly mental and physical challenges.
The question of why now? Can only really be answered by saying that I’m fed up of telling myself I can’t!
If you would like to support me then please visit my fundraising page and help me raise some money for a charity who in the truest sense keeps people going when they feel like their only option is to give up!