My mum has suffered with depression for a number of years, sometimes going for weeks without seeing the light of day.
Feeling helpless, I thought about the positive effects running has on my mind and wondered if it could help my mum in someway.
To ease my mum back into exercise, I first sought about reigniting one of her loves; walking. I went ahead and signed us up to the Walk the Walk Midnight Marathon.
My mum's response was a slightly apprehensive yes, but I knew with support we could get through this together.
The months of training that followed were quite extraordinary. I would regularly call home to hear my dad saying that my mum was out on one of her long walks with our dogs. When I spoke to her, she sounded tired, yet excitable. For the first time in a long time, I was chatting to my witty and determined mum. My mum was on a mission. A mission to prove to herself that she could do this.
The effects weren't just on my mum's fitness levels, but also her eating habits. With time, she started feeding her body to give it energy, rather than overeating to try and feed feelings of anxiety.
My mum was ready to take on the challenge. Crossing the finishing line hand in hand with my mum, tears of joy rolling down our faces, will forever be one of our fondest memories together.
Since doing the challenge, my mum still enjoys walking regularly and is now focused on signing up to her first organised run. She's not cured of her depression, but now knows how to help manage periods of feeling low. The challenge gave her the confidence she needed to take back some control of her emotions. I know it's not always easy for her, but I can see her fighting back, determined to get out of bed and out into the world.
Witnessing the life-changing effect that a physical challenge can have on someone suffering from depression, inspired us to start a social movement that promotes mental wellbeing through exercise. Proudly introducing R.E.D January.
Together, we can outrun depression one day at a time and come closer to a future where mental illness is better understood and respected
With love and support,