Personal Challenge Update
This update is a super exciting one for me. But how to start this...
I got a tattoo!
How did this idea from 2021 come to be part of my fundraising activities this year? Well, in part because linking the tattoo into my fundraising gave me 10 months to reflect on if I really wanted this tattoo and what it meant to me. Plus, I had kind of already decided I wanted this tattoo and it felt like it was something one or two people may drop £5 into my fundraising for. So why not wait a little and include it here.
I guess this is a good time to introduce my 2022 fundraising, if you haven't already seen it.
Mike's Charity Trifundathon
I am once again entering into the fundraising world & asking for your kind donations to support the free to access wellbeing and crisis services delivered by HEH Mind.
Some of you will know my story, and have potentially donated to previous fundraisers (mega thanks btw), but here’s a quick recap…
Around 2013 I began experiencing depression, certain life events then happened and very quickly my depression worsened and over time I began experiencing desires of self harm and suicidal thinking.
I struggled with my depression for over a year before I considered looking for support. Eventually I visited the Mind website and I saw my GP, but it was still months before I began to accessing support. For me this eventually included medication and various forms of therapy. Each has played a role in my continued recovery.
I am very proud to have since had the opportunity to support, volunteer and work for mental health charities and campaigns. Local services like those offered by HEH Mind make a real difference to people's lives every day. They quite literally save lives.
However, HEH Mind are a charity; they need support, like donations, to continue to deliver essential free to access services. So, I’m back on the fundraising. This time round it’s a tri-fundraising campaign, with 3 challenges or activities which I'll reveal as I go.
How it's going
Fundraising activity 1 - Charity hair cut donation
In June'22 I donated 11 inches of my beautiful hair to Little Princess Trust. This was the third donation I have made to LTP having previously donated 12 inches in 2018 and 10 inches in 2019. You can find out more about their amazing charity and the work they do here.
Fundraising activity 2 - Running 500 miles in 2022
Back in 2019 I ran 500k (311 miles) as part of a joint fundraising activity for HEH Mind & the national charity Mind. The final miles being completed on New Years' Eve, yes it really was that close. This year I am going to turn that 500k into 500m!
It's going well so far I'm closing in on 400 miles.
Mega thanks to everyone that sends cool messages after my running posts on social media. It definitely helps with the motivation.
And finally... Fundraising activity 3
This third activity reflects a journey that's been travelled, sure it's still continuing, but it's a reflection on where I am and what I have done up until this point.
My mental health has likely been an issue since childhood. Which is hard to acknowledge because that feels out of my control and to an extent implies an element of cause or effect on my environment. My issues with trust and relationship building following my parents divorce being, in my words, 'activated' following my own divorce. There's lots there.
During those periods when my depression was at it's worst when suicidal thinking was a regular occurrence, it took multiple exposures to support before I took it. It was a journey. While I am fortunately in a much better place now, I still struggle with many elements of my own wellbeing, including relationships, thought and emotion management.
My journey has included:
Accessing Mind resources online to find out more about depression, and being signposted to local Mind services by my GP. Then, some time later, accessing services and therapies; over the phone and in person.
It's included sharing my experiences of illness and recovery with two different local Minds some distance from where I live. And attending the Mind Media Awards in November 2018.
I have been part of another local Mind's project focused on preventing suicide, which you can find out more about here.
More recently I have also had the privilege of working for a local Mind to develop more awareness of local services and support.
Additionally within my work role I have collaborated with the Mind Federation; supporting the development of communications and engagement.
All of these different experiences with a number of local Minds and the national charity, they have happened because of and supported, my lived experience and my continued recovery.
These experiences very much fed into my decision last year, when I decided I wanted to get a tattoo to represent my journey and my continued experience. While the Dino Comics dinosaur was (and still is) on the list, there was only really one design I wanted, that felt like it was part of my sometimes good sometimes messy recovery and the different experiences that have been part of my journey.
"The Mind squiggle represents the confusion and chaos which some of us can feel when experiencing a mental health problem." - Mind
I love the squiggle. It really does feel like it represents the simple confused thought process that I (and many others) can experience. For me its also a reminder that recovery isn't linear and sometimes, from nowhere there's a sudden turn or change (positive or negative). My journey has from the beginning been about learning more and better understanding myself and my illness and that somehow feels part of this; though I haven't worked out a nice visual reference/ metaphor to use (slightly annoying).
Some of you may also know that 2 years ago the Mind branding changed, it was refreshed with greater accessibility at the heart of those changes. As part of those changes local Minds where asked to feed back their thoughts on some of the brand elements, which I was fortunate enough to be part of. Although this was only a small part of their data collection, being part of those discussions made me feel a greater sense of connection to this version of the squiggle and really felt like a massive moment considering where I had been years ago looking at the Mind website for the first time.
Fundraising activity 3 - Mind Squiggle Tattoo
It happened. I love it!
If you have enjoyed this post, love the tattoo, please consider donating if you can to my 2022 fundraising
If you would like to find out about your local Mind, check the Mind map here.
If you have any mental health or wellbeing related tattoos, I would love to see them and hear your tattoo stories at @Mike_Douglas_