So most of you will know each year since the death of my Dad to a brain tumour, I have looked to complete a fitness based challenge in his memory. This has been solely to raise money for Cancer research as well as the Martletts Hospice who cared for him in his final days. I have completed things from 24hrs of Burpees to an Indoor Iron Man raising just over £2,000 total over the last 4 years. But this year, I have to do nothing and I’ll explain why.
Earlier in the year, (February to the start of May) I realised I had fallen into a dark place where I was struggling mentally. It was certainly initiated by the anniversary of my Dad’s death at the end of Feb but unlike normal where I can lift my self out from it-I really couldn’t.
I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed that someone who usually felt so physically strong couldn’t and didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt like I didn’t know who I was or my purpose and struggled. People tried to help me and I was honestly grateful but sometimes only you can be the person to help yourself.
That’s what I did, I started writing things down, I took time from work to do things, to work on myself and remember what made me happy. During this time I realised the deeper meaning of what my challenges over the last 2 years had been about. Not just challenging my body, but distracting my mind. If I had to focus on training and planning my yearly challenge, I wouldn’t have to focus on getting over my grief of losing my dad. If I I did a challenge then my brain processed that pain I’d suffered during it and somehow by suffering, it would help me process my loss.
This was genuinely a small eureka moment for me. I had to let myself process the reality of loss. I’d been in a uni bubble when he’d died and then wrapped up in work so much I’d been distracting myself. Grief has no time limit.
So as I write this now I’m honestly in the best place I’ve been in possibly the last 5 years. I’m genuinely happy. Obviously we all still have up and down days but right now I’m good. I’m still super proud of the challenges I’ve completed and even though they were tools to help me battle grief, I think without it the challenges would have been near on impossible.
Even with me being in a better place, the challenge this year is postponed. Who knows when I’ll plan the next. But for right now I’m just remembering that life is for living, happiness is key and that looking after number one is paramount 🙂