Lisa's Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 on 2nd August 2015
100 mile single-day bike ride for Samaritans because anyone can feel suicidal. Including me.
Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. For more information please visit www.samaritans.org
Charity Registration No. 219432
I remember the magic of suddenly being able to pedal down the garden on a borrowed 2-wheeler. I got my first bike, a red and gold Raleigh with white-wall tyres, at Christmas 1962.
Cycling is good for my mental health. When I get on my bike, I usually feel stronger, free and full of life, whatever the weather. But having experienced depression off and on since I was 15, I also know that at times, people like me need to talk to others, even though it can feel unbearably hard to ask for help.
I learned about the Samaritans in an article in Reader's Digest in 1970, the same year I first saw a psychiatrist. I then borrowed a book from the library called The Listeners by Monica Dickens. And I called them a few times, from a phone box just like the picture on the cover.
In 1978, I became a Samaritan myself, at the Horsham and Crawley branch. In the selection process, I avoided mentioning my history. But 18 months later, I was having some problems. The other volunteers were really wonderful people, and I have always felt bad about leaving with no explanation and letting them and our callers down.
These days I support Samaritans with a small regular donation. So when I got an email about Ride 100, I felt it was meant to be. I will be 60 on 13 August 2015. I've done long rides before, but this will probably be my greatest ever challenge. Can I do it? I'm training hard so I hope so, even if I am the last of the 25,000 riders to arrive in The Mall.
You can help me and Samaritans by making a donation, however small, to spur me on and help them in their compassionate listening work. I am giving my first £160 directly to my local Brighton, Hove and District Branch as that is what it costs to run the branch for 24 hours. Everyone is a volunteer, and I've met some of them recently. They are the kindest people you could imagine.
If you ever feel desperate yourself, please do consider contacting Samaritans. They are open 24/7, will listen without judgement, and however grim everything seems, they will help you keep yourself safe.