Massive thanks to faithandfear.ie for asking me to guest blog for them these are the questions I got asked and I answered 📖✒️
You have done a lot of work campaigning for mental health and recently coordinated a 5k a day challenge, tell us a bit about that!?!
The 5k a day challenge came from an idea which a friend runs in December so I taught id put it on in January, upon setting up I did not know what to expect from it or how many people would do it taught it would be me and a few others of my running group,
The event was more about raising awareness for positive mental health again and the two chosen charities I chose jigsaw Kerry and donal walsh livelife foundation and the main message was its ok to talk and its perfectly ok to ask for help and a problem shared is a problem halved and LiveLife!!
I ran 5k a day for 31 days of January and was a massive success over 170 people did the event and we raised about 7 thousand in total for the event and more importantly we got people who never ran or walked up and out for January and it has benefited them and to me that’s a job well done, money was never the idea all awareness and getting people active, I’m so happy for everyone who completed the challenge and benefited from it.
How vital has exercise been in your journey with mental health?
Words can’t describe how much exercise has helped my journey with my own mental health and helping people with mental health by me being active and posting on social media, social media can be a bad tool when used wrong but when used right it’s a super tool I get my awareness out that way and also having the most amazing running and triathlon friends who strive you to achieving goals
Without exercise I would not be where I am today and that’s a fact, over the last 3 years it has being exercise that helped my person battles and helped my raise awareness and helped me being able to use my fitness to create much-needed funds for mental health charities for example from the 31 day challenge only for me doing fitness this event was not possible but it was and it changed lives including my own so fitness in my life is a vital tool I hope I have for a long-time
You have dealt with anxiety in your life, what was your knowledge of anxiety before you were aware it was what you were dealing with?
Looking back I taught it was a part of life and this is what life felt like I dealt with got used to feeling shit, I had no idea I had it only till three years ago maybe less and I’m 34, I always felt shit I always for a long time had awful sweaty armpits where I went to specialists where they said I had a sweating disorder, always felt like i was falling over a lot or off balance which is horrible, before going out i used to get sick in the shower the nerves used to kill me I still get them to this day with big events it cripples me its horrible to have and until you have it people don’t know what you go through some of the other feelings are too hard to explain as you know yourself as you suffer yourself, I tend to like my own company or stay around people who I’m comfortable with and push me on and not negative this helps a lot, I learned it was anxiety when my doctor diagnosed me in 2016 with a GAD (general anxiety disorder)
Lack of awareness leads to a stigma, do you think there is a stigma attached to anxiety within sports?
If you asked me this 3/5 years ago I would have said yes, massive, I personally think anxiety is a major thing in high performing sports like gaa players or big club soccer players and like myself I suffer a lot when an event comes up but not everyone knows how to deal with it, 2017 the stigma I’m happy to say is breaking bit by bit in sports as well as general everyday life, its more open and people now know it’s ok now to feel ok and its perfectly ok to ask for help and a problem shared is a problem halved but saying that there is always going to stigma attached no matter how hard people bang out the message just hope the stigma breaks in with the country/farmer people who find it hard to hear the message…
Did you find it difficult admitting to people that you have anxiety?
Honestly No, if u asked me 4/5 years ago and I knew what it was and I was not doing mental health work i would have hid it and would have being ashamed but since I knew from working and surrounding myself with mental health advocates I knew it was ok not to feel ok, I told my story on my face book I was open from the minute I was diagnosed I openly posted on my social media I was diagnosed was open and honest and I’m proud of this not everyone is perfect, with me opening up and being public I can honestly say my story has helped people with their own struggles and helped them admit and deal with it and seek help, I have got mails and phone calls emails thanking me that people sought help cause of my story to me this is amazing and I’m proud of if my struggles help people them my struggles are worth it all
Do you think it is any harder, as a man? Why?
Kind of repeating myself here as a man in 2016/2017 on at the end of the day were all the same, but yes years ago and long time ago yes the suicide rate with men are nearly twice that of women kind of tells that men think they should be strong and hard and not show cracks but thing is where men we have the same feelings as women were all human, we love the same, we care the same, we feel the same and we are the same but I would advise any men out there never to be ashamed if you’re not feeling ok it’s ok not to feel ok and defiantly ok if you’re a man.
Has it got any easier since admitting and accepting your journey with it?
Yes, it defiantly has since opened up cause everyone knows my story and ill attracts the right people in my life with them knowing that I suffer from anxiety. And I know it’s ok not to feel ok and its ok to admit you struggle with mental health everyone suffers from ill mental health in their life it’s a part of life think it’s down to admitting it and most of all go and seek help in whichever suit each person best its key never ever bottle it up will only get worse and worse, opening up you won’t believe the sense of weight that will come off your shoulders alone, be strong and you will be ok I promise
What types of exercise would you recommend for helping with anxiety and mental health?
Its each to their own here, running is how I manage it I pop on my runners and pound my worries away and switch off, people like yoga which I use as well and its amazing for settling me and has with a lot of people, people cycle swim or go to the gym and weight train or do fitness classes think you should try them all and see which if for you one size don’t fit all its a trial and error but I advice trying them and see which u love and whichever you chose is positive that it will help you mental health and reduce stress..
For people who have never been into exercise before or are anxious to exercise outside of their home, have you any advice?
Always the first step with anything is always the worse I know this myself, the first day at school, at college new job, first days, weeks are hard but we all have to start some place right? Yes, we do as we can’t stay in the same spot forever and we won’t get any place in life in the same spot, would we? Life is for living and taking chances
So I advise find a friend or family member or a local club and starting off slow with whatever exercise, I won’t lie to you it’s not going to be easy cause it is not but I PROMISE you after that exercise you will go home and feel good and happy u went (happens me a lot) do it with people you are comfortable with it key and start slow and build it up, Rome wasn’t built in a day..
Have you got any events coming up in the future?
At the moment I’m training for my half ironman in august in Dublin this year of 2017 am focusing on myself and my own path than looking after others as I kind of forget about-about myself,
But I know and everyone knows if an event or idea is thrown at me I find it hard to turn it down as it’s something I love doing, the 5k a day January challenge will return in 2018 again and were hoping to make it bigger and better and create lots of more awareness and get people up and active again as it promotes good mental health
Want to thank you for asking me to do guest blog really appreciate it hope it helps someone
Check out her web page and blog in the below link 👇👇👇👇