“I’ve signed up for a half marathon”.
I could not quite believe it myself, let alone convince my wife that I wasn’t being a wind-up merchant as per usual. Impulsion is not usual for me and so I was surprised that I had signed up for something so far out of my comfort zone.”
A host of emotions came over me that evening. Anxiety, regret, lack of self-belief and motivation, and I seriously considered getting in touch with Mind CHWF and cancelling my place. However, the main thing that kept me from picking up the phone was two vivid memories.
The first of these was in 2015, and was the day after my final exam at University. I was relieved and proud to have finished a mixed bag of a sometimes brilliant, sometimes torrid student experience. I remember walking to the fluorescent red door, expecting to open it to a triumphal entry of “Well done” and “We are proud of you”. What I opened the door to was my wonderful parents looking crestfallen, in shock and despair, telling me that my uncle had taken his own life whilst I had been doing my finals.
The usual feelings, or so I have since been told, immediately kicked in. Disbelief, confusion, an avalanche of sadness, questions, and a simple desire to hold and be held by my family. Trying desperately to figure out “Could I have done more?” and “Why?”, whilst also wanting to push this horrible news to the back of my brain. Since then, time has been a helpful healer but hasn’t necessarily answered these questions.
The second memory that’s inspired me to run the half comes from the end of my second year of university, on a trip in Hungary with a good friend of mine. I wouldn’t have termed or acknowledged it at the time but it was the year leading up to the trip that I had a mental breakdown. I lost around 3 stone in weight, I became irrationally irritable and angry, and I seriously contemplated quitting Uni and going back home.
I distinctly remember lying on a cold, hard patio in Budapest, overcome with depression and just managing the words “I don’t want to live anymore”. I was in a heap and couldn’t see a way out of the darkness. Thankfully, due to loving family, friends and my revived faith, I have come a long way from 7 years ago and I am now committed and passionate about telling my story.
What’s the point in all of this you might wonder? It’s a good story for a talent show, but what do you want me to do with it, you might ask?