Hopes and Fears
I thought it might be interesting to put some of my hopes and fears for this walk down. Many of these are the same hopes/fears as others may have, but some of them are probably more down to the way my mind works. As I started writing down the hopes and fears I noticed that the points often ended up in both the hope and fear categories under a slightly different guise, so where possible have twinned them together.
That the walk/planning helps me improve my mental health and return somewhat to my old self.
Scared I’ll have a severe mental health low and just quit.
The planning stage has already helped my mental health a bit, for about six weeks from the end of September I went into a deep low (partially for reasons outside my control). Having the walk planning gave me something to do when I was unable to get out of my flat, and also gave me something to look forward to in the near future. Hopefully the walk will not just help me through any lows, but being active both mentally with the planning/blog and physically with the walk will actually help towards getting my life back to some form of normality.
The flip side is what happens if I have a severe mental health episode on the walk. In reality I am hoping this won’t happen, and actually don’t think it will. But if it does I don’t think I would quit (in fact I am pretty certain I wouldn't quit, I am to stubborn), the issue is more likely to be that I start acting irrationally and in a way that may not help the walk in the long run. For instance ignoring the plan and walking continuously without breaks, for too long a period each day possibly leading to injury, or not thinking about issues such as where can get supplies food, water etc, which in certain areas could seriously jeopardise the walk. I think this walk, and knowing how much planning I have done for it, should hopefully alleviate any severe mental health lows but I know I need to watch out for any signs of it creeping up.
That I will feel less lonely through meeting new people, being joined by friends and interacting via website.
Scared I’ll get lonely.
One of the worst parts of my mental health is the deep sense of loneliness that comes with it. Therefore there is a genuine fear that going on this walk could actually make this worse. Luckily the rational side of my brain is winning out here most of the time during planning as can be seen in the next few sentences. Firstly how can I be anymore lonely on the walk, when actually 90% of my time over the past 3 years has been spent sitting on my own in a flat. I actually believe the walk will get me interacting with my friends more, even though I will be distance wise not as close to them. Secondly I will be busy both walking and compiling the blog which will not give me as much time to feel lonely. Thirdly hopefully I will meet and interact with a variety of people as I walk around. Fourthly by writing the blogs (even if not many people read it) will make me feel connected to others.
To spread certain interesting points/facts about various mental health issues through the blog. Also to liaise with others as part of the blog.
This is something I am really looking forward to, though slightly apprehensive about. Through my own experiences and research I have learnt a lot about various mental health issues. On top of this I am hoping through friends, friends of friends, and guest bloggers there will be a large variety of issues covered. The topics should be quite wide ranging, some personal, some more factual and will cover topics including ‘Why I feel the 1 in 4 mental health figure may not be helpful’, ‘Antidepressants: helpful or not?’ & ‘My experience: 4 years of hurt.’ If lucky there may even be a couple of famous guest bloggers. Theses mental health blogs will start in January when the walk begins.
The only issue being that I am not good at writing, though as long as people ignore the grammar and spelling, hopefully the blogs will be interesting.
To raise plenty of money for the mental health foundation.
Scared I won’t get any fundraising for the Mental Health Foundation, and won’t get any support during walk.
The fundraising one is a strange one, as actually even if I don’t raise money and manage to complete the walk it will be a success, but I would really like to raise as much money as possible and believe I will raise a lot.
The support one is a different story. Without any support this walk would be very difficult (barring the distance, hills and weather) on 3 levels: physically, financially and emotionally. Physically and financially are based on the same sort of thing, I am hoping to be able to get support from people I know for accommodation sometimes and hopefully negotiate deals as I go around for campsites, hostels etc. Emotionally relates back a little to the loneliness and there will be times where I will need the support of people to get through certain patches.
To get active and healthy.
Scared about getting injured.
These two are not completely related. During the past 4 year battle with mental health my physical health has also taken a battering. This has been due to the way I have lived at times due to the mental health. I have at periods sat for days indoors, and if there is no food in the cupboard just not eaten for days. What is more common is the choices of food and drink I end up making. Before my mental health issues I loved cooking and generally ate fairly healthily and had enough veg, salad and fruit etc. During periods of bad mental health, sometimes for months at a time, my diet would read like this (unchanged from day to day): breakfast 2 slices of toast and honey, lunch Tesco filled pasta/sauce, dinner pizza and a couple of beers. So a diet with almost no nutritional benefit and minimal exercise has really hit my physical health, at times with quite severe pains. Recently I have been more active, playing more fives, bouldering, a little running and some warm up walks, as well as eating a little healthier. The walk will force me to improve my physical wellbeing and though it may be hard during the walk I am conscious to try and eat healthily.
The injury one is different. I am not actually scared about the physical injury. I am fearful what happens if I get injured, can’t continue the walk and what that would do to my mental health.
To see many great places and have a year I will never forget.
This one needs no description.
Scared my budget is too tight, and may lead to issues.
I am trying to mitigate for this through my detailed planning. I believe with the sponsors I am trying to get (though still not confirmed yet so if anyone owns a company or knows a company that may be interested in sponsoring let me know) and the last of my funds I will have enough. I will though have to be very careful with spending on the way round, as I am on a very tight budget
Scared that people will think I’m weird and running away from everything.
Of the few people I have spoken too, most have reacted in a positive way. Though I always feel they seem to be a bit apprehensive of whether it is a good idea, this may just be me imagining things. And why am I fearful of something that is partially true anyway, I am sort of running away from everything and hoping that I return improved (the most simplistic description of this walk ever!)
Scared about what I’ll do once walk finished.
This is the worst of all the fears, but also the most stupid. How can I already be scared about something that is 6100 miles, 12 months and 96 blogs away? This is something that really does scare me, I can’t even articulate the fear on paper. Once the walk starts I think it will disappear for a while before resurfacing a few months from the end.
In some ways this may be a healthy fear (even if the extent of it isn’t) as would be worse if I felt I could go away walk for 11 months and miraculously come back suddenly to a nirvana of a happy life, with a job, nice flat and friends.
Luckily none of the fears have put me off the walk, though at times they have hampered my planning as I have thought more about the fears than the actual planning. I am sure throughout the walk more fears will surface but hopefully my confidence begins to increase as I walk and the fears slowly ebb away.