On the off chance you’ve just accidentally stumbled across me, and this blog, you may like to know that I’m currently conditioning my body to cope with a 40km walk along various parts of the Great Wall of China; a) just because it sounds like fun, and b) to raise much needed funds for, and awareness of the amazing work that SANE Australia do.
As I approach the twelve-weeks-to-go mark, I am doing an awful lot of walking. Got somewhere to go? I walk there.
To be honest, I’m starting to feel a little Forrest Gump, as I walk and walk and walk and get home and discover that instead of having walked for 23 days straight, I’ve really only done half an hour and three kilometres.
Also, I don’t have the Kathmandu or Anaconda sponsorship that Forrest Gump would no doubt have received, where he doing the same thing. But never mind.
And in fairness, I have managed a couple of 8km stints, which feel like three weeks but are only an hour and a half. I’m getting there …
You can follow all the fun and trauma my children and husband are experiencing on my Instagram – @madcowsdiary and specifically the #MadCowSANETrain hashtag.
Inevitably, a question I am often asked is “What if it’s raining?”
Delving further into it, it is a question of interest borne of the acceptance that I need to do a lot of walking to build up my strength and stamina for such a walk, juxtaposed with, well, wet stuff falling from the sky.
Indeed, what do I do with my training when it is raining?
Well, what I do is put a water proof layer on myself, and one on my backpack.
Also, I get wet.
Cold, tired, and hungry, too.
But mostly wet.
Although that is dependent on the level of precipitation. Today was one of those days I get really wet.
Other days it’s barely worth the effort of putting my raincoat on.
Some people find this a little odd, which I kind of get.
Being wet and cold and tired and hungry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. Personally, I don’t mind it so much, especially when there is a hot shower at the end of it.
The other thing is, I’ve committed to this and I want to be able not only to do it, but to enjoy it. Struggling up steep slopes and walking for hours on end, barely able to breath, or lift my head to enjoy the view, and hating every step of the experience isn’t in my game plan.
The Great Wall of China isn’t going to be terribly forgiving. At least, I don’t imagine it will. It’s not going to see me coming and go “Oh, that’s right, you had all those cold rainy days in Melbourne, so you couldn’t train. Tell you what, how about I just flatten out a little to make it easier for you. How’s that?”
No. It’s not going to do that. Not at all.
I really, honestly don’t think there is a great deal of point trying to argue with it. The idea or the Wall.
There’s something else in here, too … lots of things, really:
- 1 in 7 women experience postnatal depression (PND) after the birth of a child
- 20% of Australians experience depression and/or anxiety disorders
- 3 in 100 are so profoundly impacted by mental illness they are unable to participate fully in society
- Up to 15% of people affected by mental illness die by suicide
- the list goes on …
On that cheery note, it’s also important to note that if people experiencing any sort of mental illness can get support and assistance, then the experience is far less traumatic for everyone involved.
Which is another important factor to note; mental illness does not only affect the person who actually has the illness. It affects relationships and interactions with others, it can impact on social situations, and it can be downright horrible for those who live with, care about, or are a family member of friend of the person with the illness.
Quite frankly, people with depression and anxiety are not much fun to be around at times, and can create a lot of stress and heartache – and I say that from experience … from the experience of someone who has been that horrible person, who caused hurt, stress, and heartache.
And sometimes you can feel utterly useless around them, and not know what to do or say to help them.
It is awful for everyone.
(And from the bottom of my heart, from everyone who has ever had to put up with ‘that’ side of me – I’m sorry. So, so, so very sorry.)
Just like those riduculous long grades on the Great Wall that I am soon to be traversing, mental illness is not going to reduce the impact it has, or decide to affect one in a million people, instead of one in four, because I couldn’t train. Because of the rain.
I’m still rhyming despite – or because of? – the rain.
So there you go … that’s what happens, and what I do when it rains.
I get wet.
And I make some, teensy little, miniscule difference.
Even when it’s raining.
Oh, and a bit of an update on my fundraising progress; I’ve hit the $4,000 milestone, and am aiming for $5,000 over the next four weeks.
You can DONATE HERE. Like, right now.
You can read more facts and figures and statistics on the SANE Australia Facts & Guides page over at the SANE Australia site..