Day 13 – Southern Ocean and Bruises

Hello friends, family and other assorted categories of peeps!

As many of you know (and if you don’t yet…erm, which rock should I send the postcard to?) I am taking part in this race to better my mental health. To do something for me…and then to use it as a chance to raise the profile of people with mental health issues. Remember: just because you’re “crazy” doesn’t mean you aren’t amazing!

The last few days, I have felt less than amazing.

I have run the full gamut of emotions from fear to frustration, joy to pain, tears to smiles…and then anger. Anger at this effing ocean for putting us on day 13 of beating into the wind and living at 45 degrees (did I mention this shit is HARD?).

Anger that I spent so much money to sit on an effing yacht and stare at the ocean for 10-14 hours a day trying to stay warm coz at this wind angle there’s sod all else you can do. Anger at being washed down the foredeck and smacking into the vent cover with my coccyx (ok, that one was more tears than anger but i got angry!). Anger at the jolt that sent me from my nice comfy perch on the A frame at the stern up to the high side and slamming back down onto the low side with my head.

Sometimes one hand for you and one hand for the boat is just not enough.

You need 4 hands for yourself! (Yes, darlings, I was clipped on…or this could have been much worse). Fury at coming out of the sleeping quarters at the exact moment a wave came bowling down the hatch and drenched me…and my mid-layers…leaving me 2 nights of sleeping in cold wet gear to get them dry enough to wear on deck again. Waking up on the day of my second mother watch to find that we are STILL heeled over and cooking and cleaning just got eleventy billion times harder.

Two days ago, I was ready to quit.

I knew this day would come…I had thought about how I would react and told myself I would ‘get over it’. But that’s not how this works.

When I was in the depths of my depression, I had to summon every ounce of energy I had just to get out of bed and have a shower. It took a whole day to steel myself for a conversation with someone. THAT is how I felt 2 days ago. That facing another day was going to be torture and would require every bit of strength I have.

And then…

I remembered that when I came down off deck crying, Lou helped me get my foulie jacket off and was doing her best to make me laugh. Paddy was taking my boots and saloppettes off and racing to get me some water while Malcolm went in search of ibuprofen. When I got drenched, Sam offered me her spare fleeces and Ant gave me the inner liner of his sleeping bag so I could have something over me to stay warm and not get my sleeping bag wet. I only had to reach out for help and it was there.

Once again I am reminded that this is how I got through my depression last year. I talked to people about what was going on. I made myself vulnerable…I showed that I was in a weak spot. And the help and love flowed in.

And that’s why I’m not going to quit.

Today, I was able to help another crew member going through a tough spot…and maybe I can do that again in the next 5 months. And maybe if someone reading this story thinks that it might be ok if they asked for help…then I will carry on.

Dust yourself off and try again.

Current bruise coverage: 54%
Current smile rating: 8/10
Current sleep deprivation: 65%

Love you all

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Making a tangible and positive difference to people’s lives by speaking, consultancy, and training in mental health.


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