There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. As part of my blog I believe it’s important to share common and shared experiences, by highlighting the link between physical health and mental health.
I’d like to introduce you to Emma Chandler (EC) who is inspiring me with her journey.
MM: Can you discuss the reason behind, why your raising awareness of mental health illnesses on your Instagram profile?
EC: On 13th December 2015 my world and my families was turned upside down. My amazing cousin/brother hung himself in a woods on that cold winters night. He was 35 years old. He was the happiest, caring and most loving person I knew. He was one of my best mates. He was battling a war we thought he had won, a war within his own head. I knew of his past battles with depression, I still worried about him when things got tough, but I never ever dreamed that he would lose his war! He never really told us how he was feeling in the moment, never openly discussed his feelings at the time.
Nobody should feel so low that they don’t want to exist anymore. We need to talk about mental health, we need to stop pretending it’s not real or that it’s an excuse for lazy people to stay in bed, not socialise etc. It is real, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it needs to be spoken about.
MM: What have been your biggest lessons from completing Tough Mudder(TM)?
EC: That you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. I signed up simply to raise money for CALM. An event like TM has never interested me but it was a way for me to focus on something positive and challenge myself and make myself worthy of donations from people. Training made me feel good, forget for a while the pain grief leaves me with. For a moment in time, when training, I am so focused that Jay isn’t dead anymore.
Before January I couldn’t run 2k without almost passing out. So far I’m up to 10k and I can now complete 60 full press ups. So TM has taught me that if you put your mind to something you dreamed you’d never achieve, you will achieve it. Not forgetting the team work involved. Without my team mates I would never have managed some obstacles. We all worked together, even strangers. It left me feeling amazing!
MM: As you continue to raise awareness, what is your next challenge?
EC: My next challenge is a half marathon in October. Having only ever ran 10k I needed to push myself further in order to again make myself worthy of receiving donations for CALM.
MM: In your experience, how important is the link between physical health and mental health?
EC: I have suffered myself from mental health issues but luckily I deal with them well, I have amazing support group and I talk about it. Exercising and having a healthier lifestyle makes me feel great physically and mentally. I feel like I can conquer anything after training.
MM: For people who are experiencing mental health challenges, what advice would you give them?
EC: Talk! To anybody. Create a blog, use a diary, wrote poetry, speak to a stranger, but get it out there somehow. Reach out and don’t be afraid. Do not feel weak to admit that you have problems, you are not alone and there are people and organisations that want to and will help. Please do not suffer in silence.