Me vs Mental health and a mountain
Posted by ASharp
18th Apr 2013

Hello to anyone out there who might be reading this,

My name is Amelia and I am 16 years old. This summer, I am going to be climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for SANE because the work they do in research, support, campaigning and battling with the stigma of mental health is all really really important to me....

I suffer from depression and have an anxiety disorder. I should be at boarding school right now revising for my GCSEs (which start in less than a month eekk!) but I have been back at home since October.
Some people might have read that and be thought, 'How lovely to be off school for almost six months!!' but take it from me who has done just that: it was not and is not the ideal situation, but due to the circumstances it was the best, and most sensible option.

I have had an on and off problem with depression for two years now - though this has been the longest, most intense and scariest episode as yet.
Over this time my anxiety has got increasingly worse, which then fuels the depression, which then fuels the anxiety and it's all one vicious circle - you may recognise this yourself if you are victim to a mental health problem too.
I tried to hide my problems from friends and extended family for a long time; I just did not want that label of 'The Girl With Depression' which I felt would ultimately come with speaking out about my condition. I was also very afraid that people would view me as an attention seeker, or think that I had made it all up... when it reality this was something very real for me, and not something I would dream of lying about.

I have had immense support from close friends who now know as a result of me giving up the struggle of hiding what was going on. They have been a really important part of my recovery and I am very grateful to them for that.
I've been in therapy for a while now and after shuffling around Dr's and other therapists etc (we moved house and then I was at boarding school and it was all very complicated) I am finally settled and getting the treatment I need. I'm getting back on my feet now and looking forward to getting my GCSEs over and done with. My progress so far is really encouraging to myself, and my friends and family. If you know someone who suffers from depression you will know that it does not just affect them, it can affect you too. It is truly hideous in that way.

But I am to face a slightly taller challenge this year as I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in July! There are six of us going, 3 mothers and 3 daughters, and each mother-daughter-team have chosen a charity to support. All of the total money raised will be spilt between the three.
My mum and I and nominated SANE as our charity. The work they do is really important to us - I really really hope that the money will be beneficial to them, and that we raise a good amount!!

I should probably mention that this is a huge challenge; I am not sporty, I am really rather petite, I have not climbed a mountain before, I hate being cold, I will probably complain the whole way up and I do not enjoy camping. I have also had to face my biggest phobia ever to be able to go on this trip.... injections. Personally I feel sorry for the people climbing with me -sorry girls!

If you fancy taking a look, our virgin money giving page has a little more information about the actual trip:

Thank you if you read this until the end, I felt it was important for me to share the personal reasons for choosing to support SANE and the amazing things they do,


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