Saturday 7th May saw the 8th ‘darkness into light’ 5km event in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Start time 4.15am SHARP……..no problem for me getting up, as I’m an early riser each morning.
We drove, the family, to the Phoenix Park, then in a ‘not so clever’ moment of inspiration, 2 nephews (9 and 11) and uncle Neil ran, smothered in too much clothing, a mile along the Phoenix Park road to the registration tent. NOTE to SELF, next time get the bus with the rest of the family, AND remember the kids are that, KIDS!!!! (they still kicked my ass). So we arrived sweaty, exhausted and all stitched up, meeting my brother and 2 nieces and a friend there (oh they were fresh as daisies by the way).
So, signed in, t-shirts on, the customary selfie ritual adhered to, annoying ‘uncle’ Instagram video filmed…Time to walk with the masses.
Well done to all involved!
To be honest, I am not great with crowds at the best of times, but this felt okay, working our way with the sea of yellow flooding along, out of the darkness and into light. I want to take this opportunity, to congratulate Pieta house and the many volunteers; a true vision in progress. All workers, volunteers and members of the mental health community should be very proud. You have shown us that a vision, through hard work and coming together – pays off, you have created a great awareness amongst the Irish, both at home and abroad. Well done!
The ‘darkness Into Light’ is a great experience. As I plodded along (I hate walking by the way 🙂 I noticed that the groups of people around us, be they walking or running, were all with someone close to them, either family or friends. In our fast paced society, occasions like these can be few and far between, to take time out and just be with the ones we love and cherish.
I had many reasons to do this walk, the main being a chance to say ‘thank you’ to my family for supporting me on my journey. I now know my journey is also their journey, that’s family!! We walked (trust me, as a family of runners this is a hard thing to do), brother, nieces and nephews. This was a positive marker in my progression, it shows how far I have come since that life-saving day 2 years ago.
Two years ago, April 2014, I started my journey with Pieta house. The day in time:
- 10 am – I revealed, for reasons still unknown to me, to my sister in law I was not in a good place, never have been, actually for 21 years of being lost.
- 11 am – my brother was out of work and hugging me.
- 1 pm – I was meeting a counsellor in Pieta House. On his(brother) way home he called to book me in. He sat me at the kitchen table, we chatted, he explained , I refused! Eventually, I agreed, my reason; my family , not for me (this would change with time), they deserved a chance , they deserved not to have life-long pain and suffering, as far as I was concerned my life’s journey was over..next please…
The Big Reveal
To reveal my ‘BIG SECRET’ to my sister-in-law felt good, having 21 years of turmoil let loose. It felt so good, I believed right there and then, I was ok, JEEZ, if I had known, all I needed was to chat, now, sure I am sorted, woohoo!!! Oh boy, how mistaken I was!!!
Oh boy, how mistaken I was!!! It was a MASSIVE step, but only the beginning.
This positive feeling, obviously didn’t last, old habits die hard, so it wasn’t long before I was low again and now, right, get this, more likely NOT to reveal any more low periods to my family or anyone else. So, this is one main reason why my attending Peta House, was very VERY important if I were to journey on.
So we sat into the car, myself and my brother, driving nervously to Pieta House. Do you know what stood out for me that day? The……. number…. of….. teenagers there, I was staggered, I could not comprehend why? They are young, what issues or ordeals could they possibly be going through, WTF (as the young people say). So my first thought is about others, this life changing event for ME and I notice others and not myself. Does this ring any bells with you? We tend to do that, don’t we? Notice others pain and suffering and feel the want or need to help, but yet, we can’t seem, well I couldn’t, to help ourselves. I am sure they noticed me and had similar thoughts.
So my first thought is about others, this life changing event for ME and I notice others and not myself. Does this ring any bells with you? We tend to do that, don’t we? Notice others pain and suffering and feel the want or need to help, but yet, we can’t seem, well I couldn’t, to help ourselves. I am sure they noticed me and had similar thoughts.
I Meet my Counsellor
I chatted to a counsellor (not the one assigned to me), set my appointments (think 2 per week) and chatted a little. The first day I met my assigned counsellor, we connected. Now this is very important, the connection. Trust me, when I say this, you may not connect or feel that you are in the right place, we do not always connect with everyone we meet, BUT you WILL eventually meet the right organisation to help you, the right person to guide you. It is important that you do. So please have some faith and DO NOT GIVE UP. If I did, you WOULD NOT be reading this!!
I think I am hard ‘to get’ at the best of times, I am not a cryer, not really emotional, I think, some may disagree, I believe I am disconnected from my emotions, but this counsellor ‘got me’. SCORE!
She understood I needed to be challenged (albeit in a safe way), she knew how to work with me, if she didn’t , well then, it would HAVE been a waste for me. Instead, we connected, my sessions were extended and we worked through some shit!
Yes, I analysed things and confused her and probably myself at times, but it was great, having someone to listen and guide me. It was great. As time went by, I felt myself ‘going through the motions’. One day my counsellor told me she felt we had gone as far as we could together and maybe another counsellor, she had in mind, would be another positive step.WOW!! right. For me this was amazing, she called it as it was. She knew I was now just ‘telling her what she wanted to hear’. This was amazing. It showed me, no ego’s involved here, just my best interests. That moment helped me kick on with my journey.
As I continue my journey…….
I want to tell you that, you have to realise, that ALL IN LIFE is possible, ALL!! With the right people to support you, a new way will be found. You may think counselling is not working for you, then FIND ANOTHER ONE, go through another organisation, but do it NOW. It will be worth it!
2 Years on…..
since my revelation and I find myself walking this event. Thankful for my family; my older brother, a support each and every day, my inspirational mother, a sister-in-law I felt so comfortable with, that I revealed my most prized secret and my nieces and nephews, without even realising, were a source of strength, comfort and escape from those dark, dark days.
As we walked the 5km, I took a few minutes to walk alone and reflect and notice my surroundings. I realised a few things. ONE – I am now walking and moving towards a light that I associate with life and living and not with DEATH anymore, I’m excited about that. TWO – people watching as I walked I reflected, how 2 years ago when I ran this event, I was in a dark place and I can assure you NOT ONE PERSON that morning knew. How many people are going through something similar, on the morning 7th May 2016 at 4.15am and NOBODY knows. Did you notice?
A Time to get better!
If you find times tough, all I want to say is, STAY HERE, shuffle along at your own pace and slowly work your way back. We will help you, ask me, ask a friend, ask another blogger, ask family, ask Pieta House, ask your school, ask work, ask teammates, ask a stranger, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask…please just ask! The support is there.
I know it feels as if nobody will ever understand, there is no need to understand, just for someone to be there. Don’t make the mistake I did and wait………..ACT NOW!
Ponder this! Would you do anything for your family? Yeah! So, why do you think they would not do the same? Would your family or friends prefer to hear about your issues each and every day? OR live with the pain and suffering of never knowing why you are no longer here, why they never noticed, now they live a life sentence.Exhaust ALL avenues!
Come with me, Follow me…….
life is much brighter when you change your journey and walk to the light that gives us all hope in living, not dying, gives us a meaning to this amazing life, this ONCE IN A LIFE TIME – life!
Don’t END IT – EMBRACE IT
If I can….……..YOU CAN!
NOTE: please remember that this journey doesn’t just stop for people, the walk is over for another year but we all need to continue this walk together, for those who can’t ALONE!