I was reached out to recently by Maysen who’s 25 and from Canada (soon to live in the United Kingdom)
Maysen has arrived in Ireland to hike “The Ireland Way”.
Maysen is taking on the hike to prove that mental illness does not hold her back from adventuring around the world. Maysen has turned the trip into a campaign for Mental Health Ireland. Maysen is hoping to reach the Irish community and I hope you’ll help Maysen and help me , help her. She’s landed as I write his, 12 Sept.
Maysen asked me to share the following information and I was happy to oblige.
Here is Maysen’s blog piece-
“I’m Maysen. 25 years old, Canadian, and slightly mad. Clinically that is!!
Throughout my life I have continuously struggled with mental health.
Depression, self-harm and anxiety played a role in my life from a young age, and in 2011, after being sexually assaulted by an acquaintance, that developed into a major depressive episode. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. A monster that refused to leave me day or night, my own personal thunderstorm, forever hovering over my head and I had no idea how to cope with these terrifying feelings. I reached out for help and was denied it over and over. When my cries for help went unheard I eventually attempted to take my own life and spent the months afterwards wallowing in a black hole of depression.
I was too afraid to reach out for help only to be refused and ridiculed yet again. You see, I was made to believe that the state of my mental health was something to be ashamed of, that it made me weak and a burden to all those around me. So instead of continuing to seek treatment I developed my own (unhealthy) coping methods and kept my mouth shut. I hid my depression from my closest friends and family, terrified that I would lose them if they knew how “pathetic” I truly was. I was depressed, suicidal, and all alone.
No one should ever be made to feel like that. Like they don’t matter, that their struggles are insignificant and unimportant and an all around burden to the system and now that I am older and wiser I am dedicated to doing all I can to ensure that no one has to experience what I did.
In a world where 1/5 suffer from mental illness of various kinds, only HALF of those in need will seek treatment.
Those who DO seek professional treatment risk being misdiagnosed, incorrectly prescribed and generally mistreated by the medical system. Medications are often expensive, treatment centers have absurdly long wait-lists, and you can forget about private therapy unless you’re got thousands to spare. The system is clearly broken and most of the general population are woefully unaware. So it’s up to us – those with experience – to raise awareness. We need to step up out of the shadows and share our stories. The only way to End The Stigma is to prove otherwise.
Here’s how I plan on doing my bit:
This September I will (somehow and miraculously) hike 900km across The Ireland Way for a brilliant national charity called Mental Health Ireland.
Mental Health Ireland is a national voluntary organisation which was established in 1966 as the Mental Health Association of Ireland. MHI’s aim is to promote positive mental health and well-being to all individuals and communities in Ireland.
They have a network of 92 Mental Health Associations throughout the country, all led by volunteers. Their Mental Health Associations fundraise to organise outings and events for those struggling with mental health in their communities.
While my main goal for this hike is to continue to write and share my personal experiences with mental illness in the hopes of inspiring others in need to speak up – without organisations such as MHI, there would be no resources to turn to. The conversation and stigma’s surrounded mental health desperately need to be changed and I urge you to play a role in the change.
Whether it’s by donating anything you have to spare to my (brilliant) cause, or sharing your own experiences with mental illness, or meeting me along the trail for a hike and a chat. Anything you have to offer will go a long way and I am sincerely happy and infinitely grateful for every bit of support from each and every one of you!”
Please take a glimpse at my fundraising page: https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/hiking-the-ireland-way-for-mental-health-ireland
If you’ve interest in sharing your story or joining me along my hike, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And most importantly – SPREAD THE WORD to help me reach as wide an audience as possible.
Thank you for the support, I look forward to exploring beautiful Ireland!
Maysen will continue to blog as she hikes, mostly about how her depression and anxiety affect her solo-travels, how she handles the symptoms, and the role physical exercise and being outdoors have played in het recovery.
I am very optimistic Maysen will do super well. I look forward to meeting her shortly and supporting her awesome journey.
Mental Health Ireland are an exceptional organisation. Please check them out http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
Maysen is an incredible person. Plesase support her