Fierce Bright Star

What I understood about my journey to diagnosis and beyond, after running 1800 miles across the UK, came out (unexpectedly, I must add) in the form of a poem.

Just breathe

Some words need life breathing into them, others just drip off the tongue like honey.

img_0800It’s a peculiar time right now. Nothing appears to follow any order, routine, sequence or plan. Each day, in fact each hour, is a different story to tell, a different emotion heralding a seemingly different outcome. It’s confusing.

Keeping a focus on running now is harder than it was five months ago. Back then I was running to free myself from the shackles of a shame, a stigma—self-created no doubt—and a sense of loss. Loss of who I thought I was and what I would end up doing if only I just kept on…keeping on?

img_0834It all seems so much more complex than I wanted it to be. I’m still getting to grips with being social on all sorts of social media. It’s unnerving. I’m still petrified of using a phone and yet for every tweet one part of me says – get involved, make it sassy, make it witty, be casual, be bright & bubbly – then before I know it the other half is whimpering with fear that someone will take offence, that someone will not understand and confront me and I’ll be forced to retire from social media altogether. It’s a situation that isn’t making my task to campaign loud and proud easy by any stretch of the imagination. Some days the social bit is so overwhelming that I take naps to climb down from the ceiling.

This whole sense of mirky-jiggly-ness is part of my condition. I understand that now and I need it to run its course. But it’s flipping hard. I rested yesterday, but for the rest of the week I have mileage to gain. I’m also going to shoot a little video of what I’m doing to help my running. Some of them I am honing in on to build my resilience, such as yoga and meditation.

Focusing on the running alone would be very welcome right now.

img_0829My head is at war, it’s a little like a part of me has discovered mutiny, things just aren’t adding up, I’m not sure why I ever thought this was a good idea, I’m rubbish with numbers anyway. Organising lodgings, getting my kit across the country, having some support on the road, it’s all starting to weigh on my mind. I haven’t figured out food yet. I’m resigning myself to flannel baths. And so far my current Hoka One Ones have about two weeks running left in them before they need to be retired. My mind is screaming to jack it in. Why bother?! Why do this when no one cares! Everyone has their own issues, everyone is raising money for something, why on earth would what I do make a difference to anybody when I can’t even manage to make a living.

I am honestly asking myself, “why don’t I just close up shop, say I can’t, and head back under the duvet until the episode has passed? Or even stay there?” Is that unreasonable?

img_0801I don’t know what it is exactly that is keeping me going on this tightrope of a course, but whatever it is it’s pushing me. It’s reminding me of the primary school in Enfield where small children needed help. It’s making me think of my friend Gavin Zibe who took his own life just when he needed help the most. It’s a feeling that is stronger than me.

It’s telling me, like a quiet whisper, that this can make a difference, even for just one person.

And so the fight goes on.

VIE (very important email)

There’s a very important email petition going down at E4MH (equality4mentalhealth) HQ.

A number of public leaders, presenters, authors, sports personalities, and educators such as Ruby Wax, Joanna Lumley, Norman Lamb, Alistair Campbell, Danny Boyle, Michael Morpurgo and Sir Steve Redgrave, amongst many more, are behind this strong message to government that we have an opportunity to make a difference to our entire country, right here, right now.

It involves letting Chancellor George Osborne & Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt know that more compassion and investment is needed in order to bring our mental health to the same level of importance and proactive research & development that our physical health receives.

Basically, if we don’t tell them en masse, they’re just going to ignore the whole thing, and we’ll be fighting the system in vain, forever and ever.

We have lots of hashtag campaigns that are brilliant and are part of the mental health movement — #imnotashamed, #itaffectsme, #endstigma, #stopstigma — but this is the crucial one, this is the one that tells the government that we are serious and we want things to change.

This is one petition that affects every person on this planet — because how we all behave and think and feel is entirely linked to everything and everyone around us, and how they also think, behave and feel. We can stem at youth a lot of the stress that we have created in society, but we do have to start now, because time is not stopping for us to catch up.

Share this link. Sign up. Discuss it on social media. This is #PeoplePower in its truest form. We can change our future for the better.

Children’s Mental Health Week

Place2Be is one of the 5 mental health charities that I am supporting for Fierce Mind 1680 miles Challenge.
I visited a primary school in Enfield last Wednesday to learn more about what they do and I am completely taken by their work to offer emotional and mental wellbeing therapy. They are there for children who are feeling bullied, lonely, isolated, scared and those who don’t know how to communicate why they are so angry.

I was sucking back the tears.

Unfortunately, the same visit also pained me when I consider what a disgrace our government is in this day and age. But, they are obviously completely unaware of the damage they are causing, so it is up to #PeoplePower to make the changes.

£14,000 is what it costs to incarcerate one child per year.

£1,100 per year is what it costs to give one child counselling in their own primary school – for the child, their parents and the teaching staff!

There are children who are involved in this programme who are the victims of second degree abuse – i.e. their parents were victims and they did not receive any counselling, and the trauma and domestic abuse has trickled down the family tree.

Some of the primary school children were considered troublesome – according to Theresa May they should be schooled separately from good children. These troublesome children did not start their lives that way, it was forced upon them by family circumstances outside of their control. And yet they have been let down by this government, by adults, and by their family.

BUT, Place2Be can help them, if the schools request it.
The Place2Be counsellors are roles that are not just for one week, one term or one school year.

That counsellor stays with that school for as long as she/he is needed – think Nanny McPhee.

Paloma has been at the school in Enfield for 15 years. They have 500 children at their primary school, and she is kept very busy. She is now able to see the grown up kids that she helped to turn around before they hit high school, as they head out to their jobs, rather than hear about them ending up in jail or sectioned.  This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. There are children that need this support in your children’s school. It is down to YOU & ME to turn around the Stress Epidemic that will be the biggest killer of our children’s generation.

Let’s support Place2Be in going far and wide across the country with their emotional and mental wellbeing therapy support for children.

I am aiming to raise £10,000 for Place2Be as part of my running challenge – sadly this no longer feels enough, but it is a start!