2015 was the year that I learnt to run and my journey to better mental health started. The two are intricately joined and have been for the past nearly 6 years. When my youngest son went to school, I was frazzled from nearly 10 years at home with preschoolers. Those years went by in a blur and they were fantastic in many ways, but I knew mentally and physical I was not always in the best place.
I joined a local running club. Back then there were just a few of us but from that day I have made some friends for life from Zero to Hero’s. The best thing is that you get to know people while you run and chat. Everyone helps everyone else through. I am now a mental health champion for two clubs and a running leader. I have run two London marathons and would run every day if I could. Not bad for someone who couldn’t run to the next lamp post. It has helped me get fit, lose some weight and just feel like I can physically do anything, any day.
Around the same time, I was training to be a counsellor. Learning about myself so I could help others. As I mentioned I’m not sure what came first but what I do know is that during this last Covid year, if all else fails, I get out to run walk or just breathe some fresh air. I always feel better.
I qualified from Westmeria in July 2019 and have been working part time as a counsellor ever since. In April 2019 I also completed my first London Marathon. The same year my husband ran it too and raised funds for Westmeria. Both have a special place in my heart. Westmeria because it taught me to reflect on myself, to be true and the best practitioner I could be. Running because it’s my space and my relax time.
The Mad March challenge was my idea to get the club out running again. With over 200 members we have been forced apart and the Winter was so cold, many runners were struggling. The weather this February was terrible. The challenge was simple. Enter for £5, run or walk a half marathon virtually in March and get a medal.
Within a few minutes my post got over 50 likes. I wasn’t expecting that uptake. I needed a charity to donate to and what better than my favourite local charity, Westmeria. While we may not raise a fortune, if more people find out about our club and Westmeria then who knows?
So, all those who know me, know that I run in all weathers and not much will stop me. Last year I herniated a lower disc very badly in January and spent 5 hours on the floor in my counselling agency and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Obviously, I couldn’t run for a few months, but miles and miles of walking led to me back on my running feet by April. The doctors said amazing!
I am a positive thinker; a critical thinker and I like to live every day as it comes (as long as I can run)!
Written by Anita, previous Westmeria counselling student