I began the idea of training for the marathon while at work. I work at UCS, the charity that sponsored the race.
I wanted to do something so challenging that it would help me understand the enormity of what people with major mental illness face. I wanted something that I really did not know if I could achieve and that would test me to the core of my being; so that I could better understand the challenges one faces when struggling with major depression, PTSD and other illnesses and the struggle they face to stay in the game of life.
Challenge me it did! What I learned along the way is there will be times that you will fail and not meet your expectations but you keep going anyway. You will hit peaks that make you feel that anything is possible…these are the times you will want to assert more energy and over indulge, try to keep the pace and keep going anyway… and you will face valleys that make you feel that you cannot go on, every step is a monumental task, you will want to give up but keep going anyways.
You cannot do it alone! This is the most important part. Find friends that will inspire you, give you strength and the belief that you can do this, people that will do it along with you, not for you or above you and keep you going anyway. And when you accomplish that challenge, you will feel empowered and feel a sense of self competence that you can take with you into the next challenge in life and keep you going anyway….
Thank You to Lynn [running coach] and my marathon ladies for helping me accomplish what I never thought possible and encouraged me to keep going anyway.
I could not have done it without you. And thank you to all my friends who struggle with mental illness everyday, and stay in the challenging game of life, and keep going anyway. You Inspire Me!
Michelle Burnham, Family Services Clinical Manager, UCS