Walking 100k is Nothing for Mental Wellbeing
Ed and two friends are attempting to walk 100k in 24 hours for mental wellbeing
For most of us, the idea of walking a hundred kilometres is a notion we would scarcely entertain.
The same cannot be said of a small, three person team led by Ed Tarlton. In just six weeks’ time they will be doing exactly that to raise money for CALM, a charity geared towards preventing male suicides. Not satisfied with simply completing the course, the group made a pact that they would finish in under 24 hours and in doing so committed to the gruelling reality of trekking day and night, against the clock.
Ed Tarlton signed up to use the centre to supplement his training during our current 7 weeks free access on our current ’From us to you’ offer. Brookes Sport is proud to support anyone attempting to complete a sporting related challenge.
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) was launched as a national charity in 2006 and aims to help address the worrying statistics around male suicides. They report that of the 125 weekly cases in the UK, 75% are men - which amounts to an annual rate of 4875.
Having developed depression and anxiety disorder aged nineteen, Ed experienced a raft of symptoms. These ranged from panic attacks to hallucinations and would culminate in his attending a meeting designed to ascertain whether he should be sectioned.
Afraid of ridicule by his peers, his early approach saw him rely solely on family for support, but the distance between them whilst he studied at University often left him isolated - an outcome exacerbated by his reaction to the diagnoses: “at the time, it felt like my world had caved in. I took it as confirmation that I was weak, feeling emasculated and embarrassed. In hindsight that was a toxic interpretation that contributed hugely to my decline“.
The word ‘decline’ is carefully measured. For whilst he is at peace with the story now, total acceptance proved elusive for many years, leaving him experiencing suicidal thoughts on a number of occasions. “It got to a point whereby I felt so distraught and disappointed in myself that I started to question whether I could actually go on any more. When every day is a battle that you feel you can’t win, you’re on borrowed time if you don’t commit to getting help.”
Solace and recovery would eventually come via a combination of intense counselling and a programme of antidepressant drugs, which gradually enabled him to address the issues underpinning the illness. Now reflective, the opportunity to re-purpose the experience to support others is a humbling one; “To be able to take something that was so intensely negative and use it to help fuel something like this, feels like I’ve finally come full circle”.
Over the years, there have been further battles with the condition, but the passing of time and growing maturity has enabled him to approach these in a more circumspect manner: “Progressively, my strategy has changed. I don’t foster an expectation of beating this “once and for all” - I just try my best to manage it when it emerges and remind myself that whatever has gone before and however I’ve felt, I’m still here.”
The team, made up of Tarlton and two friends, have all had experience with the pressures and pitfalls of mental health and though they’ve not all experienced problems personally, their mutual appreciation of the cause is very strong.
It’s an organisation that we care hugely about. Whether you’ve lost someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts yourself, the intensity of the emotions involved is unbearable. Any organisation that operates in that area, when the stakes are so very high - deserves the utmost credit and respect.
“Every time a donation comes in, it’s extra motivation, you want to accomplish what you said on behalf of that person who has been generous enough to support you. We’ll be exhausted at the end, but whatever happens - if there’s any way of finishing, we’ll finish.”
This piece was written about Ed Tarlton, Brookes Sport User. You can find Ed Tarlton on Instagram.
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