In a little over two weeks, I will be starting a non-stop 84-mile hike from western Bath to Reading which should take a bit under 48 hours. After Evie’s death and during lockdown, walking alone became a sanctuary of peace, calming the noises in my head. It gave me space to just ‘be’. I have never hidden from the fact that depression and anxiety have been a major part of my life since 11 Jan 18 when she died. Too many times, society looks down on people that struggle with mental health, seeing it as some kind of failure or weakness.
But you know what, it is irrelevant what society thinks about my depression. I am still alive, and that in itself is a major achievement. So while the 84 mile hike will test me to my limits both physically and emotionally, it will also give me two days to be alone with Evie. To talk to her, to think or just drift. Finding a way to deal with the mental health problems is a very personal thing and there is no one size fits all answer. Hiking is part of my package of solutions. A package that we can help to build.
So before you look at a friend or colleague and condemn them for being stressed or having anxiety, maybe take a moment to reflect on what you would be like in their shoes. You can’t walk a mile in my shoes unless your child has died, but you can try and understand. Failing that, you can support our efforts to give as much help as possible to people like me that are weighed down with a pain that will never leave or diminish.
Dig deep people, because one day you might just need us – https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=84in48&pageUrl=14