The plan is to begin at Mount Edgcumbe on Sunday 27th July 2014 and walk just over 290miles to the Cornwall / Devon border at Morwenstow. This will be completed within fourteen days by myself 'Jamie Fletcher' and 'Adam Cowell' carrying two tents and the necessary equipment.
OCDAction is a charity that I hold in very high regard. It is '...a dedicated charity with a clear vision, solid objectives and a real understanding of OCD. Formed by a group of volunteers and leading professionals... the charity is recognised as both a strong voice for people with OCD and a vital source of help. The charity has been just that for myself and has never failed to reply to me; they have and continue to consider my thoughts, feelings and ideas. They also have another project in OCD At School that is based around providing young people that have OCD with the support they need, and also advice for teachers and parents. I was lucky enough to at least reach the age of eighteen before I was diagnosed with OCD. What it must be like for young people with OCD I cannot imagine; it is certainly an awful lot to cope with at such a young age.
I hope that this walk will raise money to help the good work that OCDAction are involved in continue. I also hope that it will raise awareness and get people talking as this is my mission. There are people suffering in silence because they don't feel it is ok to talk about their mental health; I want to help change this.
I sit here on a Saturday night trying to remain positive. In order to do so I have done something that I very rarely do anymore, and that is listen to music that isn’t controlled by myself. See I only ever listen to music off my iPod, and you may wonder why. The reason is so I can control the tracks and never forget any of the songs that are played. If I was to forget one of those songs my world would crumble, it would stop in its tracks and change, anxiety would build, stress would build and my ability to function would be no more. As I sit here now while I am writing this I have a phone for my ‘normal’ notes and a piece of paper for writing down the songs that are being played on the tv.
I am trying to escape and relax, but you see, there is no escape. I am trying not to have to remember every word spoken and every thought created. The songs that are being broadcasted are ‘…hits of the 21st century’, they remind me of when I was 18 out on the town with my mates, maybe even dancing god forbid. I was happy then, it was the best year of my life, a lovely summer, the beginning of university and my partner came into my life. Things have since changed, and however much I try to remain positive sometimes it is difficult. Much of this is related to depression. You see for me the two go hand in hand, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Depression.
Now aged 23 my diagnosis reads OCD and Depression with Crohn’s Disease, the latter because I’m assuming OCD and Depression isn’t enough to cope with. A few things that this entails. The experience of negative and intrusive thoughts, combined with a chronic feeling of doubt. In order to suppress these feelings rituals are performed repetitively, over and over… Depression involves a feeling of low self-worth, a loss of interest and energy, a loss of confidence and increased anxiety.
So life is a battle and I have changed my ambitions. I see this as a positive though, really I do. I now know that money is not everything. I work at a university supporting students with disabilities. I donate money to many charities, and next year I will walk the entire length of the Cornish Coastline, in order to raise money for OCD Action. Added to this, I am in contact with many like minded people formulating a type of virtual support network. It does not stop there though as I have created a group on Facebook for people with OCD, with the intention of creating a get - together or two per year, because I believe I can help people and make a difference. I am soon to receive further support myself with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) starting in the new year.
All in all I am determined not to let OCD and Depression win. I will, and better for it. I just urge everybody to get behind me, but not just me. Show your support for everybody suffering from Mental Health because we need it. Let’s end stigma, let’s end discrimination and instead get behind each and every one of us because we are no different, we just have an illness.
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