I was diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety & Depression in 2014 after I was involved in a terrorist incident in Northern Ireland where a female police officer died on the streets. I had been hiding my symptoms for many years since leaving the army and struggled with alcohol issues, and even considered suicide.
PTSD had a significant negative effect on my personal life. I went in on myself and became very angry, frightened, confrontational, anxious and emotionally numb. It effected my sleep with recurrent dreams and nightmares, diet or lack of it became a real concern, and my weight plummeted. I became very irritated by it all. After a long period of therapy with various military charities I was able to pick my life up again and found that my running & fitness was actually a great therapy tool for my mental health and wellbeing. I have taken part in lots of running events from track races to Ultra Marathons, I just love running and the good feeling I get from it!
A fellow veteran that I had served with and helped me out at my lowest said I should apply for the Invictus Games as I enjoy running so much, so I did and was lucky enough to be selected to represent the UK at the Toronto games in 2017. The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women, both currently serving and veterans. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of and respect for those who serve their country.
Invictus’ is the Latin word for unconquered and the motto of the Games is I AM – inspired by the final two lines of William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus.
“I AM the master of my fate, I AM the captain of my soul.
Invictus has given me the platform to go forward with my life and hopefully inspire those that maybe suffering in silence with mental health issues to come forward and get help. I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in Miles For Mind in aid of the wonderful work that Mind do in supporting and helping those suffering from mental health problems.
I intend to dedicate 100 running miles in May while raising awareness and much needed funds.
As part of #MilesForMind we want to raise money for Mind and also awareness of mental health issues.
It's OK to have a mental health issue, it's OK to talk about mental health, and it's OK to ask for help.
We firmly believe that running can contribute to a healthy body, and healthy mind and we hope sharing people's stories of mental health and running will inspire others to lace up for better mental health.