My mental health journey started sometime in 2008. I remember lying on my lounge floor balling my eyes out for no reason at all and thinking to myself “I have a good life. I have friends, a loving family, an education, food on the table, a roof over my head, I have absolutely nothing to be sad about” but for some reason I felt like I had nothing. Mental health runs in our family so, as weird as it sounds, I was lucky enough to have an amazing Mum who could recognise the signs of depression and knew the action that needed to be done to get me help.
For the last 8 years I have rode the rollercoaster that is mental illness. It’s a funny old thing; I can go for months feeling on top of the world then for no apparent reason my world can come crashing down and getting out of bed seems like climbing Mount Everest. I am good at hiding it and putting on a brave face. For a long time, I felt like it was something I needed to deal with on my own. I guess I was almost ashamed as I have a really good life so why should I be depressed. However the reality is I have lost friends, relationships and, at times, myself due to hiding the extent of my mental illness. I have now come to realise that hiding is the wrong approach. Mental health is something that needs to be spoken about. If you have a heart disease you talk about your diagnosis, your treatment, the specialist you are seeing; so why should it be any different for mental illness? I have come a long way from that girl crying on her lounge floor. Mental illness has taught me (and continues to teach me) a lot about myself and has contributed to the person I am today. I have come to accept that I will live with mental illness forever. I will have good times and bad times but I will not let them beat me or dictate my life.
Kilimanjaro all stemmed from becoming a golden runner for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ in this years ASB Auckland half marathon. They are a charity who work towards creating a society free from discrimination, where all people enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing. Every dollar counts. The more education that can be provided, not only to those suffering but also to those supporting someone with mental illness, the more awareness communities will have and the more chance we have of crushing the stigma surround mental illness. I have raised over $2000 for this event already and will continue my fundraising efforts until September 2017 and strongly believe I can absolutely smash the $4000 dollar goal.
Whether you donate a little or a lot I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and this amazing foundation. Bring on the climb!xx