Hello all hope all is well in this blog I’ll share my journey with cycle against suicide which took place in april/may 😊
I have done various bits of awareness/events for cycle against suicide including a spin off in tralee last August as I knew Kevin finn Jim Breen and a few more people and after doing a few bits of awareness I still was not fully sure of what cycle against suicide really did, Eveyone mentioned they did amazing work, I knew they did amazing work but if it makes sense I never got the feel for the organisation and the amazing people are part of the ripple around Ireland that share the message ‘it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help’ one of the most powerful messages I think ever, simple but very effective message that works accross the world.
April 28th was the day I got up and got ready to take myself on a journey up to Rosscommon to join the cycle against suicide crew, bike ready, bag ready as the train set off for Rosscommon, I won’t lie
I felt sick with nerves, never slept the night before, my armpits were sweating but I know what was wrong it’s my friend anxiety always trys to stop me in my tracks and put negative taughts in my head telling me I was not making right choice to turn around and go home and I won’t lie I was 50/50 the element of not knowing and being away from home (homebird) meeting strangers and staying in strange places got me right nervous, think what if I had to stay with a axe murder or I be all on my own even do I knew a good few people.
So arrived in Rosscommon the evening of the 28th April, so I was up in time to meet the cycle as it arrived at the stop in Rosscommon, so got my bike off train and bag over shoulder and off I went, feeling a lump in my throat taught I was even coming down with flu as throat as hurting but was from tightness, ended up bumping into my good friend Mags of Halloran, Councillor from tralee and clodagh and they made me feel welcome was a Weight of my shoulders, as we waited for the cyclists to arrive they came in and much to my surprise as they were cycling past I heard my name being shouted and welcoming me I was like OK these people have cycled all day and still l welcoming me it felt good and I easied up and nothing better than the mother of cycle against suicide Doreen gave me a massive hug I dunno what special powers she has but I didn’t want to let go was amazing I felt part of the family even do I wad part of it only 5 minutes the hugs came flying, I don’t like hugs it’s a comfort thing and prob more an insecure thing, so then after meeting Everyone I headed for my hotel for the night but planned to meet Everyone for drinks that night, which I did even met up with my cousin from louth who was joining too so I felt good few drinks to help me sleep in a strange place and having the bants what else could go wrong sure.
🔹Day 1, I set off where we were cycling from Rosscommon to castlebar, I didn’t sleep very well due to nerves and anxiety tossing and turning all night, woke up feint horrid my hands were shaking my stomach was in knots and sat on the bed and said what the fuck did I do this for why am I here why didn’t I stay at home, even taught about jumping back on the train home say I don’t feel well, ended up telling myself it’s my buddy anxiety who is making me feel like this get up and go and get over yourself, so I did ended up down with Everyone getting hugs and chatting I felt myself floating and disoranted on my feet, it’s was horrid as much as people made me feel welcome anxiety was taken over I was very cold the first day as well not used to cycling so not used to how to dress myself but I knew once I started cycling I’d burn that negative energy unfortunately it didn’t that day, it was not knowing and trying to blend in which was hardest asking myself did people even want me here maybe I’m not wanted this is common with me but we finished off day one and I was shattered I ended up staying in an bnb the night after and I slept well I was worn out mentally and physically I needed to get my head down to recharge.
🔹Day 2, was way better ended up going down to castlebar school and Eveyone was so nice hugs and welcoming asking how my first day was and so on, I felt good again, think the first day was like the first day at school for a kid where u cried leaving your mom this was me at the age of 34, but it’s ok not to feel ok. It was the long weekend and schools were off and the main purpose of the cycle was to visit Schools and share the powerful message ‘it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help’ ud visit maybe 3 schools a day but with the long weekend was lot more of cycling and bonding with each other even do we did go to schools which kids came in on there time off which wad amazing and shows that they listen and love being involed.
On cycle against suicide the event would not be the same or would not able to run without homestays, homestays are where random people let you stay in there house on your stop over town have a shower and they feed you and drop you back to the school in the morning and being honest homestays made me nervous, the not knowing who you are going to get, if it’s going to be akward, if it’s going to be safe these people are strangers you never met before and your in the land of the unknown, but being totaly honest the homestaya were all amazing, coukd have no asked for better, they did everything for you and we’re just wonderful, my first homestay the women had Epsom salts and a bath ready for me and was badly needed as my arse was fair sore after day 1 😂 thanks to all my homestays you have being amazing 👌
🔹Day 3 was amazing yet again the sun was shining and getting my farmers tan on the mood was great this was bank holiday Monday so there was limited kids in the schools but they came is as they would get a Lou day, which is fantastic support from the school, day 3 ended up me having to stay in a hostel and knowing what was ahead of me had me on my toes, I’m a very light sleeper and in a dorm with 7 other fellas there HAD to be a snoorer by God there was two in sync with each other, do you even get the feeling when someone snores you want to get up and just slap then with the pillow and say Jesus will you fucken stop, well that was me all night 2 hours sleep awake thinking what am I going to do tomorrow cycling shattered and no sleep, but thankfully the mood was great and I was ok the next day so onto day 4..
🔹On day 4 we started off in limerick and got a good surprise where I ended up in thomand Park that morning for a photo shoot and I totaly loved it cause the night before in limerick, Rosie Foley (Alex Foley sister) came to see me in limerick and was grateful to be in thomand Park was a special moment for me as well was like a coinstance I believe things happen for a reason and I was ment to be there after meeting Rosie night before, none in the stadium taken photos of the amazing stadium, Alex Foley is a number legend who played for Munster and was management as well who passed away who was also known to be very close and Alex was inspired by Donal Walsh this was a big highlight for my journey as well 😊
🔹Day 5 Most amazing experience of my life I think was on day 5 (could have my days mixed up but sure) day 5 we ended up with our last stop over for the day at the cliffs of moher, the sun the shining the mood was great and not knowing what to expect but beauty from the cliffs of mother but not knowing was in front of us but the most moving, sincere, words can’t describe it, we all ended up going up to the cliffs where we were going to get a big group photo and going to have a minute silence for all the people we lost to suicide, we all stood shoulder to shoulder linked as one, father Gerry Carey said the most amazing words which left us in silence, moved, touched, sad and brining back floods of memories of the people we lost to suicde, the minute silence started and the minute silence went on for 5/6 minutes, Noone spoke, Noone even moved an inch, shoulder to shoulder we needed each other at this time, personally I was in floods of tears did not want it to end even do it was so painful that my gut was cramping and my legs got weak, all i could hear is tears hitting the floor beside me not a sound could be heard, it was like the fuel and energy was being sucked out of me, each friend and loved one flashed in my memory as my eyes shut, it hurt but I was happy they were at peace and I was on this journey for them and to share the message that it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help, after about 5/6 minutes we stopped the minutes silence, I remember looking over at Jim Breen and seen him so upset, the man who set this up this whole cycle, with passion for what he does and such Heart behind it all but the bravest man out of all these people trying to stay strong for us all, we all broke away and still breath taking scenes as people sat on there own wanting time alone and space, seen colm hayes high up the green side needing time and wiping those tears away, as I sat on my own, I needed time it hurt bad (thinking of this memory again makes me want to cry) as I sat on my own a girl I just met 4 days ago Kayleigh came over sat down gave me a hug we both just hugged and shed more tears and offering each other kind words we sat in silence shoulder to shoulder offering support, (kayleigh was assaulted by a girl, while others stood around watching. She had been constantly harassed over a number of years. After the attack, she spent a time in hospital with her face turned down for 23 hrs a day. She has since left it all behind her with the support of a wonderful family, after she asked for help. She taught herself to sing and has sang in many competitions and for RTÉ. She has never received an apology, she is an amazing strong girl who i admire) at the end a girl i just met on the journey zoe met at the end of the cliff i could see she was hurting i went over and just yet again gave her a tight squeeze and told her it will be ok and were all here for her, the next hour or so of the cycle was tuff my head would not switch off i kept crying i could not stop zoe was beside me on the road and i had such much to say to her but sometimes people just need time to themselves to come around because talking about it more will only bring tears every so often i reached over and just touched her shoulder and said im here whenever you need me simple message to let her know i was here, when complete strangers become good friends in days, want to thank everyone for this amazing memory, something so amazing I experienced which I’ll never ever forget that most amazing day of my life with amazing people 😊
Each day was filled with new experiences and new friendships formed and new schools and roads being shared throughout Ireland, I was loving this experience did not want it to end, bud on day 6 I had to make a choice weither to go home for darkenss into light tralee or stay on and finish the cycle off in Dublin, head of heart fight which went on for days, as I brought darkenss into light to tralee in 2016 and two great friends were still on committe and helped me so much with my event I did not want to let them down I wanted to be there that morning just to show I supported and still very thankful for there support last year and I’m there to support them now, even do the cycle was amazing and did not want it to end, in thurles we arrived on thursday and at the finish of that day I decided to go home, get the train and head home, saying bye to everyone who I just met for a few days was hard felt like I knew them for years, each hug goodbye brought a heavier heart but home it was for me, got home I was outside the bubble of cycle against suicide and I missed it I sat at home flicking through Facebook and regretted my decision, some things you have to put behind you and darkenss into light is one of them things I have put behind me for many personal reasons, in the end I never ended up going to darkness into light in tralee I was tempted to go back into the car and head for Carlow again…
🔹How will I sum this journey up for people who were never on it!?!
I spent 2/3 years going on about doing this cycle not a fan of bike stopped me plus I have 2 mental health events On the same time as the cycle, one regret I have about it is I never did it sooner heard so many things about it and being honest I taught how Can it be amazing as they explain but you have to be in the bubble with the group and share the journey as one, going to schools each day, sharing the message, sharing the roads with strangers, tell your story, they tell theres and people bond like you never believe, I was lucky u knew a good few through social media and they welcomed me with open arms.
🔹Do I meet new friends and benifit from the cycle
Yes totaly not going to out names out there but they know who they are people I never met and plans to meet up and staying in touch alot through social media, I have had the most emotional hugs and tears I have had in a long time with these people that I would never have with close friends, we are all there for each other with open arms it’s what makes the cycle real, special so from the bottom of my heart thank you ❤️
🔹did I come home with a better idea of mental health and people’s experiences and it’s ok to be open about your mental health??
My god Ya the whole cycle had 250/300 people a day who were there for one reason or another, there own mental health issues, or there friends or family have mental health issues or they lost someone to suicde unfortunately, everyone is so open about there struggles, radon people will cycle up beside you chat to you about there story you tell yours, it’s what it’s all about breaking that stigma and letting people know it’s ok to talk about your mental health it’s key, without talking about your mental health you won’t get better so anyone reading this if you are having bad mental health people go and talk to someone I promise you will be best decision of your life and will be the start to getting your bad mental health better on the road to recovery ❤️
Lastly if anything is thinking of joining cycle against suicide cycle in 2018 don’t hesitate really don’t even try a day from all the story’s people who did a day did more or people who did the year before did more this year, the cycle is a emotional Rollrcoaster from start to finish from dancing to crying rhe next minute but this what makes it special, you will never be alone so much support from the beginning, you will make friends and if you need hugs my god there is loads on offer, what an amazing journey it was I could write so much but my Grammer can be awful with my blogs so I won’t pain ye, sincerely thanks to Eveyone of the committe to homestays to Eveyone of us on the cycle thank you for making it the best and most amazing journey I have being on, I have memory’s which will lost forever Untill 2018 where I’ll share 2 weeks on the road with you, and always remember ‘it’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help, shoulder to shoulder we will break the cycle of suicide in Ireland and will continute to do so ❤️🚴♀️
Poshey Aherne ❤️
Available mental health serves below click links if needed 👇