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At 5am on Saturday 22 June, 8 woefully under-prepared accountants from the Aztec Southampton office (and a slightly more prepared "plus one") will be crying hysterically into their porridge/energy bars, knowing that in an hour's time they will be beginning their climb up the UK's highest mountain, followed by a brief respite as a minibus ferries them to Scafell Pike, and then onwards to Snowdon, with the aim of conquering all three peaks in 24 hours.
They will be crying even more when reflecting on the fact that they each paid for the privilege of spending the next couple of weeks with blistered feet that resemble giblets left out to shrivel in the midday sun.
(At this point, I'm going to commit a heinous grammatical sin and jarringly switch from third to first person narrative).
Over the past six months, as well as practice hikes up Snowdon and 'walking the Wight', we have spent time collectively walking around the mountains of Hampshire (some of which are as much as 1/30th the height of Ben Nevis), gracefully using the stairmasters at our local gyms, and reading A LOT about what we SHOULD be doing to train.
Of course, exercise without a proper diet was only half the battle, so we have also been seriously carb loading with bread, pizzas, cakes and chocolates. I'm not going to lie - it's been tough.
In all seriousness though, we know that the challenge that lies ahead of us is going to test us all - not just in respect of the physical effort of climbing three mountains in quick succession, but also as a result of the lack of sleep that we're going to be getting over that 24 hour period. It will test our stamina, resolve, and above all, patience. I'm not even sure that me breaking into a medley of Cher's greatest hits at 3am whilst nearing the top of Snowdon will help.
So why are we doing this? Well, it's a 'bucket list' activity that we've all been interested in achieving for many years, we're all fans of immersing ourselves in the great outdoors, and we all just love each other so much, that the thought of spending 24 hours in each other's company is the closest thing to heaven any of us can imagine.
But whilst the sense of personal achievement is something that matters to all of us, we would only get a fraction of the satisfaction if this was our only aim.
The 9 of us have decided that we would like to use this opportunity to raise awareness of, and money for, 'Solent Mind'.
At some point in our lives, at least one in four of us will struggle with mental illness, and almost every one of us will know someone for whom it's a very real challenge.
Although in recent years there have been improvements in the understanding of, and care for those with, mental illnesses, the reality is that so many people still lack the care, support and advice they desperately need.
As someone who has had depression for about 15 years, I can testify to it being a truly isolating and debilitating experience. There may not be any obvious physical symptoms or clear signs of a person's mental health difficulties, but in some ways that adds to it being such a frustrating, complicated and lonely pain to endure. At my lowest moments, there have been times when - even if surrounded by friends or family - I've felt so utterly detached and despairing that I've seriously contemplated ending it all. Depression makes you feel guilty. You feel embarrassed, irrational, and burdensome to others. And these feelings only serve to propagate themselves even further, thus becoming a vicious cycle.
'Solent Mind' is committed to providing advice, support and empowerment to anyone struggling with a mental illness in the Hampshire region, in every demographic, and works to both raise awareness and challenge the stigma associated with mental illnesses. They rely very much on the donations of members of the public to continue their valuable work.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.