Richard Langford

Richard's Chillswim Coniston 5.25 mile end to end page

Fundraising for Mind
raised of £1,350 target
by 34 supporters
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RCN 219830


Those who know me well will tell you that swimming has always been a massive part of my life. They’ll tell you that I spent years dedicating my life to wanting to be the fastest swimmer in the world (obviously this was before the inhuman Michael Phelps hit the pool!). As a child I had dreams and all the ambition of being Olympic champion. But despite years of tough training and finding the mental will-power to drag myself down to the pool, twice a day for 10 years, sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be - albeit coming within a whisker.

Like many teenage, sporting hopefuls, the inducement of parties, alcohol and girls turned out to be way too challenging for this hormonal 17-year-old. My Olympic dreams were over by the time I was 17 years old and guzzling pints of Castlemaine XXXX down my local pub with a cigarette in my hand became my new sport.

Those who know me well believe me to be mentally strong, a solid person in sound mind, and to much extent I’d have to agree with them. You see, the years of swimming taught me how to focus. It distilled me with the ability to be disciplined and dedicated – to see things through. It provided me with a serious set of life skills.

What I say next will likely shock many who know me well, because this is the first time that I have spoken openly about my momentary struggle with mental health. I think that now is good a time as any to break the news that we are not all superhuman – as much as we’d like to think that we are - including me. Because there was a time when I was not mentally strong. A time when I couldn’t find a way through the clutter of my broken mind. A time when I bricked up depressive feelings so much so that there seemed to be only one way out…

Thoughts that only other people have… right?

Wrong. Following a spate of bad life choices, I found myself spiraling into depression and self-loathing. Like many men who suffer from mental health issues I simply couldn’t find the courage to talk about it. It was embarrassing, it was humiliating. I kept telling myself to “man up”. I genuinely felt that I was the only one who could fix the problem, so I kept my thoughts bottled up. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with my problems, so I simply put on a brave face and hoped that no one would twig what was really going on inside.

By chance my wife was invited to go along to a clairvoyant evening (I promise this is not going to get weird). That night the clairvoyant told her that her husband was suffering from depression – “he is really suffering” (I have this on tape). When she came home that night, she told me what the clairvoyant had said and asked me if this was true. I instantly broke down in front of her and told her everything. From that day on things we’re amazing. She helped me to stop sweating the small stuff and we worked through, what were relatively small, problems. I just can’t believe I hadn’t trusted her in the first place.

I firmly believe that things would have been so much different if I hadn’t been prompted to talk openly about my feelings - and although I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic - that clairvoyant genuinely changed the course of my future and I owe them big time.

The thing about metal health is that it can strike at any time and it can hit just about anyone when they least expect it. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is no hiding when it comes. But what you can do is share your problems with someone and get help. There is no shame in feeling mentally vulnerable.

The charity MIND is there to support men who are suffering with mental health issues. A place where they can receive confidential advice on how to tackle their problems – without being judged.

So now I am finally going to ‘man up’ and I’m going to drag myself along the chilly waters of lake Coniston to raise awareness of men’s mental health and to encourage men to be more open about their feelings.

For those of you who know me well will know that I only ever swam short distances. Despite what you think this is still a massive challenge for me – it will be both mentally and physically challenging. I have never competed  in open water before. The most I have swam outside of training in one go is 2 miles. I’m currently hitting one mile in 25 mins and by August the 31st my aim is to swim 5.25 miles in under 3 hours.

To put this into perspective 5.25 mile is 8.5 km or 338 lengths of a large swimming pool.

Please support me on this new challenge and help me to help others who are suffering mental health issues.

About the charity


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RCN 219830
We’re Mind, the mental health charity, working across England & Wales. We believe no one should face a mental health problem alone. We’re here for you. Whether you’re stressed, depressed or in crisis. We’ll listen, give support & advice, & fight your corner. Thanks for fundraising for national Mind.

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