Weʼre raising £2,000 to climb Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and raise money for MentalHealth UK and in memory of my grandad who took his own life.
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This year, in August, I will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the tallest mountain in Africa and one of The Seven Summits. The hike will take 7 days and I will be doing it with one of my best friends. I am doing this challenge in memory of my late grandad, James Patrick Manning, who took his own life and raising money for Mental Health UK, which is a fantastic charity that helps people struggling with their mental health. Suicide is the biggest killer in men under the age of forty five and mental health effects 1 in 4 of us. I feel that people who are finding it difficult to cope with their daily lives need to know help is out there and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I am usually a very private person but I hope that by sharing my story I can raise money for a wonderful charity and perhaps help someone who is struggling, whether it be a family member, a friend or a complete stranger. I hope that by reading this it encourages somebody to speak out and realise that life can and will get better. The world is a very strange difficult place at the moment and the recent pandemic will be having a detrimental impact on many people's lives but there are people to talk to.
I often wonder if my grandad had reached out for help by contacting a charity such as Mental Health UK how different life would have been, especially for my mum who has and never will fully get over his death or understand it.
Raising awareness for mental health is very important to me not just because it is something close to my heart due to my grandad but also because I have had my own struggles in life that have impacted my own mental health and I know how tough it can be. I have made some terrible mistakes and have been to some very dark places. At the age of fifteen I was sleeping on a sofa in my nan's one bedroom flat, who was battling with an alcohol addiction. By the time I was seventeen I was in prison and I spent my eighteenth birthday scrubbing prison floors. I would like to say that I learnt my lesson and that I never made another mistake again but I didn’t, I still continued to push my issues to the back of my mind and try to take on the world on my own. At the age of twenty one I found myself locked up again whilst in Croatia and on my return to the UK continued making mistakes and hurting the people closest to me.
It has only been in the last couple of years and especially the last 12 months when I found out that I was going to become a dad that I have reflected on myself and my issues. I have recently decided that I was not going to let my past and all of my mistakes haunt me and continue to influence me in a negative way. Instead, I am taking complete ownership of my life and doing this has meant that I must deal with my demons. The first step was speaking out.
Life can be tough on us sometimes and sometimes unbearable but if you are struggling you have got to give yourself a fighting chance. I have found that reading positive books has helped along with getting out in the fresh air and surrounding myself with positive people. However, the main thing that has helped me claw my way out of some very low places was talking about it.
I truly believe we get back what we put into this life and if I can help just one person that is struggling by raising awareness around the subject of mental health and climbing Kilimajaro then that will be a success for me. My Grandad was living in America over twenty years ago when he took his own life and I believe that he probably felt disconnected with life at a time when he needed help the most, a time when the world was a much bigger place. There wasn’t Facetime and the opportunities to connect with loved ones back home and we most certainly did not have mental health charities to call upon.I cannot help but wonder what the outcome would have been if he had reached to someone or to a charity such as Mental Health UK.
One legacy my grandad did leave behind was my mum, who has always had a contagious positive energy that she has passed onto all of her children, even through all of the prison visits and times of struggles growing up. Her grit and determination and never give up attitude will always resonate in me, she really is a true inspiration.
I can honestly say I feel blessed to be living the life I am living now. The dark places I have been and the demons I have battled have given me a great perspective on life and I am truly happy now. I feel it is my obligation to try and help someone that may be feeling how I have done in the past due to bad decisions or even through no fault of their own and are close to breaking point.
All proceeds raised from the climb will go directly to Mental health UK and help me take on this challenge. Any amount of money would be greatly appreciated no matter how big or small. By donating you will not only be giving someone who is at the very limit a helpline but you will also be helping to erase the stigma about mental health and people talking about their issues. Seventy five percent of suicide cases are males but this is something that can change. We just need to get men talking about their feelings and emotions and eradicate the perception that it is not ‘manly’.
My grandad once wrote in a book to his brother,
"We are on this world for a short time and if we can help someone along the way and make it easier that's all we can do!"
In honour of my grandad, James Patrick Manning and everybody past and present who has battled with mental health, this climb is for you!
Never give up!
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Apr 14, 2021
Last month's mate 👍
Mar 30, 2021
Mar 23, 2021
Mar 23, 2021
Feb 19, 2021
See ya soon buddy. Nat
Phyllis Morgan - Roberts
Jan 31, 2021
What an amazing thing to do x
Jan 29, 2021
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