It’s far from easy to lay yourself proverbially bare in such a public domain (it means you’ve got to remember your English grammar lessons for a start), but whilst it’s nice to receive positive comments or words of encouragement, I’m pretty sure that Chris’ initial motivation was some kind of personal release... and I have a great deal of admiration for his candour and courage.
From my own point of view, I certainly think I benefited from highlighting my own (very different) situation by way of a blog back in December 2011. I remember writing the article in question and suddenly realising that literally anybody could read about the way I was feeling, and the mental struggles I was facing. That prospect is actually quite scary, but if you go ahead and post the blog anyway, then it surely highlights or reinforces the significance of the content. If how you are feeling is so strong, so important that you’re willing to share innermost thoughts with friends, family and strangers alike, irrespective of the potential response, then taking that first, most difficult step becomes just a little bit less daunting.
Three and a-bit-years down the line, quite a lot has changed. Being open about my feelings... and yes, I can say it... illness has arguably led me to better understand what (and who) is a positive influence in my life. I’m not sure that necessarily makes me more self-aware, but it has given me enough clarity to become more self-accepting and (slightly surprisingly) the confidence to test myself – albeit belatedly – almost to prove to myself that the progress is real.
Interestingly, the sense of achievement on completion of certain tasks breeds a need to do more. I can’t commit to anything on the scale of last year, but as well as the books, I’ve decided to attempt a solo twelve hour darts marathon next month.
The “good cause” for which I want to try and raise some funds is Grangetown Netball Club. I’m well aware of the dedication and determination that it takes from volunteers for sports clubs simply to survive, let alone prosper, but Grangetown not only offers opportunities to netball players of all ages, they are also showcasing local sport on a national stage, as members of Premier League 2.
There are so many charities and worthy causes to support, but in hoping that some of you will be willing to donate just £2, I can promise that whatever is raised will make a difference to a wonderful club, but it will also give me the incentive to keep going and complete a challenge that will be incredibly tough. Twelve hours doing anything isn’t easy, twelve hours on your feet is even harder… twelve hours on your feet when you have a degenerative hip condition is a guarantee of considerable pain, and I’ll be genuinely surprised if I can actually walk the following morning.
But that’s my choice. The more you test yourself, the harder (be it physically or mentally) the challenges have to be to get that same sense of achievement, and any support I receive will only make the completion of the marathon even more worthwhile. My targets are 100,000 points, 300 scores of 100+ and raising £200. The first two are down to my trusty left hand, but if you can help with the third, I would be incredibly grateful.
Please follow this link to donate securely on-line… one hundred lots of £2 gets me there. Thanks for reading this… and “good luck” to you as well Chris. It was a great blog, and I’m sure you’ll do whatever it takes to reach your goal.