Friday, 24 August 2018

Mind Over Mountain

6 years ago Crazy D Lane climbed Ben Nevis, in 2019 he is doing it again and I said I would join him. Why did I do that? Am I mad?...
Crazy D Lane & Invasion's Mist Lord, Danny Allan

The last time I climbed a mountain was when I was 15 on an Outward Bound 2 week trip to the Lake District. Scafell Pike was a memorable experience but, if I am honest, not one that I was imagining I was ever going to repeat. Since then I am not as fit as I once was  and to say I have added a few pounds to my person would be an understatement. The thought of walking up a mountain for hours is something that terrifies me because, as I often say, "I am built for comfort not speed" I can only imagine that when Mr Lane put out a tweet asking if anyone wanted to join him climbing Ben Nevis next year I said yes out of a desire to support him. Because the next day I woke up and wondered what on earth I had agreed to and why. Apparently, you don't just set out and climb Ben Nevis without preparation and training, lots of training. Apparently, to reach the peak of Ben Nevis you need to be fit and mentally agile as the pain barrier is crashed through and endurance levels are stretched to breaking point. Why did I agree to climb a mountain? well, it's certainly not just 'cos it's there' and neither is it because I am an outdoors sort of person who lives for this sort of thing.

Why? because Mr Lane and I share a common experience with another sort of challenge but one that is still just as exhausting and hazardous. I also roped in the other half of Kennedy and White and whilst I would never speak for Mr Kennedy (although I didn't think twice about telling him he was climbing Ben Nevis with me) I  know I can say he has also had experiences with mental illness. We are climbing Ben Nevis because we want to raise awareness for the daily struggle that is reality for those who suffer to keep mentally well. It comes in many forms but all can lead to sufferers enduring days where its a win just to get up out of bed. The more we talked about climbing a mountain the more it became a powerful metaphor that EVERYONE goes through when they are battling with Depression. Crazy D Lane named our expedition Mind Over Mountain because it is a battle of wills with the tallest and largest mountain in the UK. From bottom to peak Ben Nevis scales at 1345 Metres with a summit that never seems to get closer no matter how long you climb for.  That sounds like how it feels when you are in the pit of a dark bout of mental illness and though you scratch and scrape up the scree slope you tumble back down again, bloody and broken.  But try again you must because something inside you, no matter how dim, refuses to let you give up. We are climbing with the amazing people that I have met during my filming of Invasion of the Not Quite Dead (hence #Team Invasion) but also others (including my wildly insane wife who IS outdoorsy) but we all share a common goal. We want to reach the top because we want to show two things. 1) that with the support of other people who crawl in the mud and grime with us, it is possible to endure and it is possible to conquer the mountain of mental illness. 2) Mental Wellness is something that everyone needs to spend time with and, whether you suffer or not, only taking care of your body and neglecting the mind is not a sensible thing to do.

Over the next year I will share more about my preparation (and endless endless walking) I will whinge and complain and question whether I can actually do this. It will be a brutally honest and VERY un-outdoorsy account of my road to Ben Nevis. I am not looking forward to it but I am looking forward to standing at the top of the highest UK mountain with people who I have come to regard as family. We want to raise money for Mind, a charity that do a fantastic work with both educating about Mental Illness and supporting those who suffer.

Ben Nevis I am coming for you!

You can donate to "Mind Over Mountain" at our Just Giving Page here or follow our progress on the #Team Invasion Facebook Page or over on Twitter

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