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18

March


How @findyourwe Helped Me Saturday March 18, 2017

A couple of positive things took place as I felt my latest major period of depression lifting. One of them was that I went on a Mental Health Mates walk @findyourwe, and I did, find my we! I was immeasurably reassured by the group of people who I walked with 'without judgement'. We were an eclectic group, all ages, male and female, from varying walks of life. I really wasn't alone. We could have been any group of people on any bus, in any cafe, or in the Co-op, but we were all finding our way through mental illness.

I listened to someone who voiced so succinctly the fear when you're well of becoming unwell again. I talked to someone about my struggles with medication and the lack of control I felt when I was on them. We talked about striving to battle through and keep yourself well; the importance of routine and support. 'Find your We' is such a simple term but it rings so true.

It helped listening to other people who have the same worries, concerns or issues and knowing that for the couple of hours that we engaged in conversation I wasn't responsible for making them better or them for helping me, we were simply just sharing and as the posters say 'walking and talking without fear of judgement'. I didn't have to try to explain what being 'mental' felt like.

I say that going on the walk helped me as I was coming out of a bad period, it just seemed to lift me a little bit more. I'm not as sociable as I once was and a walk and talk is a good way to have the face to face pressure of meetups removed. It provides other people and distractions if you want to keep your head down and interact less. I'm not as adventurous as I once was either, so turning up to a venue that was new to me ( I left an hour for a 20 minute drive, just in case!) to meet a group of strangers actually gave me a bit of a buzz when I'd achieved it!

Mental Health Mates walks are a brilliant initiative, thank you to everyone who has had the courage to set one up in their local area!

Lizzie
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Jane Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 6:39am

Well Lizzie for plucking up the courage to go and I'm really glad it helped. I think it's a great idea.

Sally Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 7:10am

What a great initiative. How long are the walks, generally, Lizzie , or do they vary in length? Certainly a bit of exercise had always helped me. Well done for having the get up,and go.

Hopeful One Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 7:52am

Hi Lizzie- thanks for the information. I know of at least one person who will benefit.

I am afraid no sortie today.... too busy!

Elizabeth Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 7:52am

Thank you, I think it helped knowing that everyone else going was in the same boat! And the walk leaders are so friendly.
It is a great initiative and there are more and more happening all over the country. Check out http://mentalhealthmates.co.uk/ to find out where the walks are. Also on social media findyourwe
I've only been on one and it was a slow ramble around a lake for about 45 minutes. You can always contact a walk leader to find out what the walk is like, as I said, they're very friendly!

Orangeblossom Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 8:16am

Thanks Lizzie for this venture. What a great venture & a sunbeam in our complex lives.

Cyndi Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 9:01am

What a great post Lizzie. It made me long for a Walk with Mates on this "side of the pond". I am quite (Tooo) open about my mental illness (Bi Polar II), but sometimes would be of comfort to be with others with similar maladies. But then I think, would I really have the patience? I work VERY hard on my recovery. Often it is a daily challenge, but I do it. I strive to do "the next right thing", to keep my mental health in check, and it drives me crazy (excuse the metaphor), when others do not (attempt to) take care of themselves. Yes, meds are a challenge. It took a long time to find the right ones, many, many trial and errors, but found what works, and even then they stop working occasionally. Very frustrating, but I enjoy the time when they work. Back to the topic... . Sometimes I feel like Woody Allen - "I do not want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member". Good for you taking the walk. We are not alone.

The Gardener Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 10:44am

So glad you have discovered the psychological benefits of 'group' walking, Lizzie. Sadly, we can no longer partake, but the next village did a weekly walk - often an average of 20 people, those with depression, or lonely, were encouraged. We were told, attending the inauguration of a new pricipal, American, at a grand-son's school in Australia, that walking for teen-age boys was the best way of unlocking testosterone? Successive grand-sons visiting here in France often exhausted me by their walking demands. One discussed the Premium football prospects up the river, and 1st class cricket averages down again - tough. We went on walking holidays in Greece and Sicily with the Ramblers' Association. Leaders English but super Greek speakers, made all the difference. Often there were 'odd balls' but they were absorbed in the group, and if they, themselves, had communication problems by the time you'd panted up a mountain, or a mutual choke crossing a volcano mouth you forgot your problems. Then, there were always excellent meals with litres of wine. My verbal diarrhoea, and tendency to bore, was successfully curtailed by breathlessness. I believe that walking, if you breathe really well, can relieve tension and palpitations because it reduces the CO2 (may be totally wrong there). So, don't hang up your boots, Lizzie, after one walk.

Tutti Frutti Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 11:40am

Lizzie Glad you found this helpful and thanks for writing about it. It definitely sounds worth following up. Off for a brief walk with my husband later. Love TF x

Jul Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 1:16pm

Hello Lizzie. I like walking in a group, not too large but say three or four. There's always the scenery to admire and enjoy and it's nice to be able to chat without feeling you are on show. I hope you are feeling good Lizzie. Your walk sounded great. Jul xx

Dragonfly Sat, Mar 18th 2017 @ 6:36pm

Well done for doing something so positive Lizzie, even though you found it challenging x

Leah Sun, Mar 19th 2017 @ 12:02am

Lizzie
thanks for your uplifting blog. I am usually a solitary walker but sometimes to catch up with friends no more than 2. we have a walk and talk. I told this to a young person- she said that's great where can I get the app!!!
I am glad this walk and friendship helped you and well done for going outside your comfort zone.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Mar 19th 2017 @ 4:44pm

Coming late to this post. Loved it and would love to have local walks here in Cambridgeshire. Walking is my favourite exercise (other than swimming) and I miss the lovely long walks I used to do when I lived with Yorkshire and had many friends who shared the same passion.

Tychi's Mum Mon, Mar 20th 2017 @ 6:27am

I'm late to this post too but I've been insired to go on the website and request some info about setting up a group in my area. (North Yorkshire).
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and well done for taking up the challenge Lizzie.
Tychi's Mum x

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