24 hours. Two teams. One life-changing adventure!
Two teams of Mind supporters will trek for 24 hours through the spectacular Cornish countryside and coastline. The terrain is remote and rugged and you'll cover a long distance with very little sleep.
Both loops offer spectacular scenery from riverside meadows to rolling hills and magnificent Cornish coastlines and quaint villages.
The terrain includes well-worn footpaths, remote tracks and country lanes, making this a very diverse and challenging route. The route is undulating, with some hilly climbs, so training for this challenge in necessary.
Why am I taking part?
Okay, I won't bore you with a long sob story about a difficult childhood struggling with my identity – but in 2017 I suffer from a diagnosed generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) that constantly makes me feel like I am failing, underachieving or letting people down. In a nutshell, no amount of pressure will ever match the pressure my brain puts on itself, and in the event that some 'success' happens, I then find myself struggling with the guilt and fraud feelings of imposter syndrome! Ahh, life.
But there was an event that triggered some of the worst experience of my life, and it something that hundreds of people have to encounter ever day.
Three years ago, the world lost one of the most beautiful humans to have ever walked this earth. She was kind, warm-hearted, never without a smile, and always going above and beyond to help anyone – be it her friends, family or strangers needing support. Throughout her work in the deaf community, she continuously beat down adversity , helping 'unemployable' people find work opportunities and self-worth, helping families unlock new ways to communicate by teaching BSL, and helping young deaf children to experience the same opportunities in their hobbies and extra curricular activities as hearing kids. The same person also kept our family together and ran our household. On 1 October 2014, my life as I knew it was shattered. This person, my wonderful mum, died after an incredibly difficult and debilitating battle with cancer, three years shy of her 50th birthday.
The loss of my mum triggered all sorts of emotions. Guilt, sadness, grief, loneliness, anxiety, regret. It was difficult. My relationship fell apart and I was on my own. At the same time, I rehomed my two lovely dogs and they gave me purpose. I found a new way to cope with my feelings and to help make myself feel better. Ecotherapy. Connecting with nature is shown to be very beneficial when it comes to managing mental health as well as obvious other health benefits that come from exercise. For me, being able to 'escape' and find something that gave me purpose (taking my dogs to new places, and constantly focussing on improving the quality of their lives) gave me a new focus, and in turn a new way of coping. You'll now regularly find me outside - but it's not for the views. It helps. I'm a firm believer in Ecotherapy and the work that mind do to encourage it. Did you know that Mind do organised group walks for people who struggle with their mental health and don't know how to start?!
There were, and from time to time still are, incredibly dark days. It has taken me 3 years and the support of mental health services (both NHS and through MIND) to get to a position where I am managing my feelings without, luckily in my case, the need for additional medication.
But mental health battles don't start and end with bereavements. I'm sure any of you could think of at least one person in your life that struggles with theirs – be it depression, anxiety, PTSD, personality disorders, OCD, eating disorders (NB: the list is extensive and manifests in different ways so this is far from conclusive)– even if they appear to hide it well or have it under control. That's why it's so important to help fund and donate to charities that support people. You literally cannot predict when it might impact on you or someone you love. If this has taught me anything, it's that life is short, and we deserve to live it in the happiest way we can.
Thank you for your kind donations