From May 31 to June 4 2017 I will be cycling from London to Amsterdam, covering around 400 miles in memory of my good friend Matt Skinner. Matt took his own life in December 2016 at the young age of 29, 10 years after my dad took his life in very similar circumstances.
Cycling has continued to help with my own depression - being in the outdoors clears my head and I just love cycling now
Last year, I did a similar charity cycle from London to Paris in memory of my dad. I was petrified, but it turned out to be the best thing I have ever done and I met some of the most influential people in my life. Whilst cycling, I had a lot of time to think about Dad and it gave me an opportunity to find closure. Cycling has continued to help with my own depression - being in the outdoors clears my head and I just love cycling now.
My dad's suicide completely shattered my world and it took me a long time to accept it and move on but recently I have. I still can't believe that Matt is gone sometimes, he was always the life and soul of the party and did a lot of charity fundraising himself. Matt and I lived together over the summer of 2011 and we created an amazing bond, but I always saw an inner sadness in him.
I chose to fundraise for Mind because of the huge support network they provide - the support I have received from Mind has been second to none
So far I have raised £535 through my Just Giving page and sold over £1100 worth of tickets to an upcoming event in memory of Matt. When we lived together, Matt loved my cooking and I loved the music he played - I feel this is what he would have wanted, good food, good music and all of his friends and family coming together and celebrating his life in a positive way.
I chose to fundraise for Mind because of the huge support network they provide - the support I have received from Mind since I first made contact with them has been second to none. They have guided me on ways of raising funds and fully supported me wherever needed. They make it easy for people with mental issues to feel comfortable enough to come forward and speak out.
Doing these events, researching mental health and especially realising the huge stigma attached to men having to deal with mental health issues has driven me even more to raise awareness and help men realise that it’s OK to ask for help when dealing with mental health issues.
All in all, I believe that good always comes from a bad situation. I may have lost my dad, but I found myself and I know Dad and Matt are at peace.
You can follow Nadine's progress on Facebook.