Why am I doing the Three Peaks Challenge?
Looking back a few years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be taking on something like the Three Peaks, let alone in 24 hours. I had no confidence, no drive, no energy and I was always exhausted. I was low and I’ll say the word everyone dreads… I was depressed.
I know what it feels like to be in a situation where you are trapped in your mind and regardless of what people on the outside are saying, you feel like you can’t escape.
I felt like I couldn’t do right and constantly battled with myself to get through a standard day.
Thankfully, things have changed since then. So when it was suggested to complete the Three Peaks Challenge I jokingly agreed but I knew in my gut I wanted to do it knowing it was for mental health.
As a person who considers a hike as walking around the best shopping sales, I knew I had to train myself. I had completed a lot of fitness whilst at university so knew I had it in me to get fit.
The gym really is not my friend and I’ve found it more enjoyable taking walks in the country at the weekend to prepare whilst enjoying the peace away from the city. Unfortunately, the gym is still in my life.. reluctantly, but I have to admit the buzz after a good cardio session really has made me feel positive.
Until completing Snowdon and Scafell, I completely forgot there was another part of me that I had to train. My brain. I learnt mental block was a real thing and there were times I just wanted to turn around and give up whilst climbing.
I questioned what I was doing, could I complete this? I kept convincing myself it was just another ascent or another corner, I broke it down into sections and just focused on completing each one. When we got to the summit I honestly couldn’t tell you how happy I felt. What felt like an impossible challenge was complete.
In terms of knowledge, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Google maps satellite images and blogs soon became a good friend of ours but it wasn’t until we climbed Snowdon that it really hit home.
The ground being uneven, the unexpected snow, the large boulders. What were the others going to be like? I voiced my concerns and worries about the next peak to my fellow hikers and was inundated with encouragement, past experiences, videos, pictures and talk all about information on how I could overcome this.
The nerves and worries have turned to excitement and I’m grateful to everyone for sharing their knowledge and experience as it has bought me ease and determination for the next peak. I knew I wasn’t alone after asking for help and talking about my worries.
It’s still a lot to take in and if I’m honest even after all of this advice, Three Peaks still terrifies me. I’m not sure whether it’s the challenge it’s self or the emotion behind it after everything I have overcome in the last few years. Regardless, I still feel like I need to complete this and overcome the challenge, just like overcoming mental health.
I know I’ll complete this with the support of my fellow hikers around me, the training I’ve completed, the knowledge I have learnt, the experiences I have gained and encouragement to help me move forward.
Some may say that mental health and Three Peaks are two completely different things and that there isn’t a comparison. However, when you break it down and look at the tools required to tackle both, it can be overcome with training, knowledge, experience, awareness and encouragement.
The size of the challenge isn’t the issue if you have the right tools to tackle it. Please don’t be afraid to speak out about mental health, it’s honestly the best thing I ever did.