"Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts." (Winston Churchill)
Writing a mental health blog is something I've wanted to do for a long time but for a whole bunch of reasons/demons I've always pulled myself back from doing it. Now i'm a little older and wiser (wasn't hard) I've finally plucked up the courage.
I think the ultimate motivation to finally launch the blog came last week when I had a vivid memory of my Dad being released, for the second time, from a mental health facility where he had been sectioned in 2002. I was a young teenager and the moment he came out I knew he still wasn't right but, as is pretty typical with those that suffer bi-polar disorder, he was able to deceive the resident psychiatrists that he was just a little eccentric and should be let out.
For those that knew my Dad calling him a little eccentric would be like calling The Beatles "a pretty decent band from the 60's". However, as his son, who had seen the development of his illness and could spot the difference between his amusing eccentricity and the manic phase of bi-polar disorder I was amazed when he was released. I knew him staying in that facility, making sure he took the medication he needed, was the best chance of his future health. That wasn't to be...
Before long I was the passenger in a car streaming down the hard shoulder of the M25 at 100+ MPH with my Dad shouting things I had to do before he would slow down.
It was the only time in my life I have been truly scared for my life. It wasn't my Dad.
Thankfully I had incredible Godparents, family and friends to be my support but I felt let down by the system and couldn't understand why the steps needed to give my Dad a chance at recovery (from the illness and from the social troubles that resulted) couldn't just be put in place.
At that naive age I thought, "Isn't that what the government is for?", "Aren't there councils, doctors, anyone who is here to deal with these things when they happen?".
There just weren't, and it is for that young version of myself I finally draw the strength to write this first blog post.
I say to any kid seeing their parents go through something similar or anyone dealing with mental health themselves - I'm here to talk - to open up about mental health and make sure that I can advocate for the very best mental health resources and support. This is a small start but hopefully together we can join the great work of so many other fantastic bloggers and organisations fighting for mental health awareness.
A big part of re-gaining and retaining my mental health has been staying active and adventure, so undoubtedly a few of my blogs will share some of the fun, adventurous moments of my life...showing that in spite of the black dog you can follow your dreams and invite it along for the ride.
This Sunday I'll be fulfilling a long-held dream of completing an Ironman 70.3. If you'd told me that in that day in 2002, or on some dark days since, I'd never have believed you. From that tough day to this great day, here's to racing to the future for everyone that suffers from mental illness.
Welcome to The Mental Adventurist!