I struggled quite a lot when I got back from Antarctica. There were some difficult times on the ice too, it’s physically hard but I found it mentally much tougher. In my darkest moments on the ice, I would concentrate on the smallest things, putting one foot in front of the other. Watching my left ski move forward and then my right.
At times my mind felt like a prison, I struggled to get past frustrations. I thought it would get easier when I got off the ice but it didn’t. When I got back to Chile in the early hours of the morning, I received all the messages from the last two months. A lot of amazing positive messages but also from those that had made it harder for me. When the same people claimed to have helped me or wanted to take credit, I struggled with my frustration.
I remember not being able to sleep. It was my first time in a bed for two months, it was around 3am and I just couldn’t sleep. My mind felt so busy and I couldn’t get away from it.
When I got back to the UK, I spent a few hours at the airport conducting interviews and then interviews for 3 weeks before starting a school talking tour.
18,000 students, 8000 miles over four months. I love talking to students but I was also exhausted. I did have breaks in the school holidays, I used these breaks to train for phase two.
I would complete 3-5 talks a day all over the UK. I was fine during the talks but not so great afterward. I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was going to fall apart. I felt as though I was drowning. It took me until around May this year until I started feeling like myself again. Making any other plans seemed like it was too much. The school talks finished on a Wednesday and five days later, I moved to my new Army role and new location in Aylesbury.
Sometimes it is difficult to see that light when there is this huge cloud in your mind. But it is there. I found breaking things down into smaller chunks helped me. Focusing on just one thing at a time.
📸 training in Scotland in April during the Easter Holidays – taking it one step at a time.
3 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness”
So glad you did the school talks and spread the word about struggling to achieve goals plus positive picture of the British Army. Made your amazing expedition real for so many youngsters
You have done extremely well in everything you have attempted and completed. So good that you have spread the news about your fantastic achievement to school children, if you have planted a little seed it would be brilliant. You are an absolute credit to the RAMC and myself as ex RAMC is very proud of what you have achieved IAF
Thanks for the excellent post! This highlights the importance of keeping time for ourselves for optimum well-being, and also the great insight and wisdom of Guru Nanak in writing “man jeete jag jeet” meaning “win the mind, win the world”. In the modern world, we only learn to keep adding to the mind’s layers, whereas the spiritual / self-development process is the total opposite, to remove each layer – until we finally dissolve the mind altogether, even if momentarily (reaching the no-mind state of Shuniyaa) where consciousness has a chance to lead instead of the thinking / emotional / discriminative / survivalistic faculty we are taught as being the most important to “win” in life. Inside the heart of each person is a deep emptiness, an intentional gap left so that we may find our way to discover who we really are, a journey of self-love before you’re able to truly love another, where we learn that outer happiness (although important) is temporary and only gives us momentary relief, we try and fail to fill the void using various methods, until we finally decide to take the long and arduous inner journey which brings us closer to inner peace and joy step-by-step – through meditation (and yogic practices), self reflection, spending time with yourself, getting comfortable with loneliness, reviewing painful memories from the past and addressing projections of the future, repairing broken relationships, re-evaluating destructive/constructive relationships, navigating wild emotions and thought patterns and memories, re-assessing our view of the world and ourselves, learning to live in balance rather than at the extremes, practising humility over exercising control, practising truthful speech over manipulation, to name a few. The journey more important than the destination. The destination, a constant moving goal post of deeper levels of consciousness and self-awareness.