Sorry Sorry sorry sorry
Yes, I’ve been rubbish at keeping you guys in the loop lately…and I’m sorry. Really really sorry. So sorry, in fact, that I needed to show you a picture of a cute puppy just to soften you up a bit. How’s that working out for you? Isn’t he a smush?
To be honest, the prone pose of that puppy is much like I have been feeling these last few weeks. I’ve been on an absolute rollercoaster of activities and emotions and whatnot….it’s been hard to just hang on sometimes. Also, I got rattled rather badly by a chance encounter with a man in a pub. More on that story in a moment.
Let’s talk about the good things that have happened.
- I went on my Level 2 training (and there will be a separate post on that sometime this week I hope) and it was fantastic. I learned loads and discovered that a lot of Level 1 training had stuck. WIN! The crew were awesome, the skipper and first mates superb and complementary of my efforts…which was a total confidence boost!
- I got my Proper Sleeping Bag and Dry Suit and Base Layers!! I also managed to get them for a fraction of the cost second hand from previous Clipper Race Crew (big up Helen, Laura and Rachel!). These will be incredibly important bits of kit for me because…..*drum roll*…..
- My darling Popsie has donated directly to Clipper to enable me to DO LEG 3 OF THE RACE!! SQEEE! This was the wedding fund apparently so for any potential suitors out there, we’ll have to do the “I Do” on the cheap, k? In any event, this is great news as I now get to have my 40th in my home country AND then have friends and family waving me goodbye as I start my legs AND then I get to try my skills in the Southern Ocean. Boom-shakalaka 🙂
- Another incredibly generous and amazing soul has anonymously donated an incredible amount to the charity fund. Whoever you are, I hope that all the good karma in the world bounces back to you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
- So many friends and family have come out of the woodwork to help me build my sponsorship brochure and start to book in the events that I’ll be running over the next 11 months. Not only that but the incredible generosity of St Albans businesses towards donation and sponsorship has been overwhelming. Stay tuned as I start to advertise these events in the coming weeks!!
THE (KINDA) BAD
Like I said…rollercoaster.
- The boyfriend and I split up. While I guess this was not unexpected for some, it was painful. It is painful. It wasn’t acrimonious and we’re all being very grown up about it but it hurts. Always does, doesn’t it? The other day I teared up while stacking the dishwasher. I was sad to think that I would be the only person stacking the dishwasher from now on….and then I giggled when I realised that at least it would be stacked properly from now on. #TurningACorner
- That Level 2 training that I went on…I was seasick. I have never before, in all my days, been sea sick. No matter what the sea state, no matter what I’ve eaten. Never. I don’t know what was so special about my Birthday Eve but I can tell you that it was horrible. Misery loves company and it wasn’t just me – 60% of the crew also went down. It was like Dante’s 7th circle of Hell. Only with puke. The worst of it? It absolutely blew my confidence. I remember lying in a ball in the saloon with 2 sick bags clutched to my chest thinking…how the blazing hell am I going to make it halfway around the world on one of these things if I can’t even manage a night. My confidence did resume when, after a day’s rest, we ventured into similar seas and I was absolutely fine. Apparently this happens. #TurningACorner
- In case I’ve not mentioned it before, I go to therapy once a week. It’s not cheap but it’s absolutely worth it. My pills and my CBT techniques help me to deal with the symptoms of my depression and anxiety but they don’t deal with the causes that underly my condition. That’s where my therapist comes in. She and I work with talking therapy and also Somatic Experience – which is particularly effective with trauma cases like mine. The last few weeks we have been #TurningACorner and getting right down to the root of where my issues lie. It’s hard. Really really hard. I’m dragging up stuff I had buried very deep and it is utterly draining. I have slept for over 11 hours a night since my last session on wednesday and I still feel like my head is stuffed with cotton wool. I was debating whether or not this should fit in the good or the bad column but decided that the physical and emotional toll I’m paying right now doesn’t feel good. I know it will eventually but for right now, na-uh.
And here it is…the thing that stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder if I was doing the right thing with this campaign for myself and for MIND.
My girlfriend Nadya and I went for a combined birthday lunch at a local pub. Vikki brought face-paints and we were having an absolutely brilliant time with all the kids (and plenty of the adults) getting their faces painted. The other kids in the pub could pay a pound or two and have their faces done too. They were paying more to be able to paint me. I ended up with a Harlequin/Shrek motif that I can only describe as odd. Great stuff. We raised a good £70 that afternoon.
And so, having exhausted the patrons of the White Hart Tap in St Albans (who do an incredibly delicious Sunday roast just FYI), we decided to decamp to a second pub and try our luck again.
I can’t remember this guy’s name but let’s call him Tony. We met Tony in the bar. I asked Tony if he would like to donate to the cause by sticking a pound into the little red tin. Tony asked what it was all about. I told him that this was my time for healing and that I was doing it in partnership with MIND to help raise awareness of mental health. Tony asked me why on earth he would want to sponsor me.
I was flumoxed. Hang on…this is is a charity thing, yeah. I’m doing it to help heal myself and help others find the help they need. What was he not understanding. So I tried to justify it and explain that I was pushing to come out of a really bad place. He responded to say “everyone has shit in their lives – why are you so special”? I explained some of the things that had happened to me which led me to where I am. He said “so”? I didn’t have an answer and I’m ashamed to say that I walked away from the conversation confused and upset. I started wondering if I was doing the right thing with this campaign; If I had any right to do this and further, any right to ask people for help. I wondered if he was right and I was really just asking people to pay for my jolly.
Thankfully, I have an incredible (and incredibly level headed) friend named Theresa. When I walked away, she continued to talk to Tony to find out what was behind his reticence and she and I sat down a few days later so she could help me out of my existential crisis. What she had uncovered was this:
- He didn’t realise that I was talking about severe and debilitating depression that had been going on since I was a kid. He thought I was just having a bad year.
- He thought I was going on a sailing holiday. Not one of the most physically gruelling challenges one can set oneself.
- He didn’t realise that I have already sunk my entire life savings into this. That’s £25 000 of money I’ve worked my ass off for 20 years to get. Poof.
Authenticism is a REal word
authenticism. Noun. (usually uncountable, plural authenticisms) A belief in the superiority of the authentic over the inauthentic.
Regardless of his misconceptions, my bad handling of this or the miscommunications between us, I got to thinking. Seriously….why should anyone get involved with this?!? And I came up with the following answer:
You don’t have to. I am going to do this Clipper thing for me. I had planned to do it for me even before thoughts of MIND and the charity part of this came into being. If I have to sell my house and my car and everything I own to do that, so be it. I would prefer not to but hell, I’m committed now. The Race is happening.
Thing is…this is a Big Deal. I’m not popping off for some sun-sailing and a booze cruise. I’m going to have to spend the next 11 months shedding 2 stone of weight and putting as much stamina and strength into my arms and core as I possibly can. There is SO much sail training still to do and I need to get in as much practice as I can so that I don’t get as sea sick and I remember all of the complex mechanics of keeping me and the rest of the crew alive. On top of the standard training, I’m putting myself through a professional medical training programme so that I can help in an emergency. I will have to be super-careful to not be the emergency myself. It’s not a case of if it happens, it’s a case of when…and how bad. Not to mention having a “real” job plus my second job of fundraising (for anyone who’s ever done it, you know exactly what I mean).
Believe me when I say that I’m not moaning. I took this on with eyes wide open. I knew it was going to be hard work and I’m both lucky and incredibly grateful for the support of everyone who has been involved thus far.
And this right here is why I think you should get involved….
This Big Deal can be used as a platform…a way to engage with people and share my experience of surviving depression. Who knows, maybe the right word to the right person might save someone’s life. Perhaps getting the funding together for MIND will enable group therapy sessions that get 10 people back to life…back to work…back to health.
If the ONLY thing I achieve through this campaign is to raise awareness and help people to understand more about mental health, then I will consider it a success. Money be damned.
That said, if you do want to make a donation, you can do so here 🙂
Posted on November 27, 2016 by Shona Davies
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