Why I'm taking on R.E.D January (again)
Pete rang our Infoline when he needed it most. That conversation changed his life. Now he's running for Mind.
Pete (@peteridders) has struggled with depression and anxiety for much of his adult life. He blogs about his experiences and how running helps his mental health. He blogs at petegoingforarun.wordpress.com
I pulled off at the next services and found the number for Mind's Infoline. The person who answered my call helped me to steady my breathing and talked me through the next few minutes, ending the call by suggesting how I could get help going forward.
"Since then, I’ve always seen Mind as that quiet voice of calm, there to support in those moments where you just can’t work out what comes next."
Using the Mind Infoline meant I could get back on the road on a day when it felt like my world was crashing in. Since then the information and resources on the Mind website have really helped me.
The section of the Mind website where people share their stories about their mental health is such a great thing. You realise you’re not alone and can learn about what other people have done to get through.
The support that I’ve received from Mind made them an obvious choice for a charity for me to support when I started running just over a year ago.
"I’ve always found exercise really good for helping my mental health but I felt I needed more purpose."
I decided it was time to try and fulfil an ambition I’d held since childhood – to run the London Marathon. I applied for a charity place with Mind and was so proud to be able to run the race for them in April this year. It was quite simply one of the best days of my life.
This year, I’ve run two marathons and four half marathons, wearing my Mind vest on each occasion.
Training for London wasn’t easy though. Much of the early training was done during the darkest parts of winter, a time when I’ve always struggled with my mental health, particularly early in the New Year.
"As part of my training, I completed R.E.D (Run Every Day) January. It gave me a focus and kept me active for a month when I often feel lost and down."
Running during January, often outdoors rather than in the gym, helped me to clear my head and see things in the winter weather and landscape that were genuinely beautiful and uplifting. It was well worth it and left me in a good place to do the rest of my training for London.
Next year, I’m running the Brighton Marathon as part of Team Mind. I’m really excited to be running and fundraising for Mind again and I know I’ll benefit from the great support that Mind offers all its runners.
I’ll be doing R.E.D January again too. I know it will help me build momentum through my training and help me through a difficult month.
I’d encourage anyone who is thinking of taking part to just go for it.
You don’t have to run huge distances at great speeds – or even run at all, you could walk it. Just getting out there and being active is great and fundraising for Mind through the month will help to make sure that no one need face a mental health problem alone.
My phone call to Mind helped me massively at a time when I was really vulnerable. Raising however much you can through R.E.D January will help other people to benefit from the same help and support when they need it most.
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Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.