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Running to mental health

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Some words from the Brooksie’s Bash Race Ambassador

We asked Amaris to be our Race Ambassador because we think her story is inspirational and fits well with our objective to promote the benefits that running has to our mental health. Also, because she’s willing to talk about it, and lead the way by using her real life experience to help break down the stigma around mental health issues. While Prince Harry’s willingness to share his issues is perhaps getting a little more media coverage, Amaris’ story is of no less significance.

Here are some words from Amaris herself, which we hope will be the first of a series of blogs…….

A bit about me; My name is Amaris Alice and I am a recovering person. One of the one in four people experiencing mental health problems at any one time. I am just one voice and I am now thriving beyond experience of overwhelming mental distress. I don't say this lightly; it's a big deal and it's bigger than me and everyone else and that's why this mission is so important. Breaking down stigma is not easy but I'm attempting to escape my comfort zone to try.

Mental illness and mental health problems have dominated and almost ended my life over the years. I spent my teens, twenties and early thirties suffering. I was depressed, self conscious and lived with debilitating anxiety, I had no idea who I was and felt no choice but to self-harm my way through life for 20 years and drink my pain away. I spent 5 agoraphobic years alone inside my house trapped by the turmoil of obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. I lost my best friend to suicide when we were 29 and I had no hope; life was for everyone else and that didn't include me.

But I was able to hang on.

I made it to that moment in time when the pain of staying stuck be became weightier than the pain of looking at change so I had to figure out a way to to escape my reality and still stay safe. Prior to this I'd had a lot of therapeutic help and intervention which although had helped, it hadn't 'fixed' me. I had to now look at what I could do.

One step at a time I became this version of myself: I no longer define myself by my mental health problems and I (mostly) stand on my own two feet. I don't have any answers; I don't think there are any. We are all fellow travelers and need each other to find our own path, it's an individual journey travelled with comrades. A big part of my journey has been about running. I was never sporty at all but eventually running and fitness found me and through it I discovered my road to finding myself.

For me, being the race ambassador is about a lot of things; paying recovery forward, overcoming stigma, demonstrating that giving up does not have to be an option, hope, friendship and lots more. One thing it is not about is me: this is about us, the one in four and our supporters. The point is I am just one of many with a story to tell and a voice to to share it.

Let me start that again... My name is Amaris Alice and I am a runner, a comfort zone erupt-er and a supporter of all who want to try.

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