I think my midlife crisis would have involved buying a Porsche rather than at 52, carrying at least a couple of extra stones of timber and having done no exercise of any note for at least a decade deciding to run the Manchester 10K. It was prompted by a few things, one being that I was of an age where the barber was taking more time dealing with my eyebrows, nose and ears than he was the hair on my head. I was also starting to feel that the five months pregnant look wasn’t really for me and that some sort of physical activity might be wise. Finding out the 5 minute walk to and from the pub or chippy doesn’t qualify as exercise was an unwelcome realisation too.
The final straw came as I was listening to the very cheery podcasts by Justin Moorhouse , in one episode he revealed he was training to do the 10K in May. Now, in polite terms, Justin is a man “who looks likes he enjoys a good dinner” and recently has had a hip replacement and I thought if he can do it then so can I. So I’ve downloaded the couch to 5K app and at least three times a week I am wobbling through the streets of Chorlton, undoubtedly putting anyone who sees me off their quinoa and kale.
I also thought that this act of utter stupidity would give me the opportunity to raise a wee bit of money for a charity. I considered a few options, having lost both my parents to cancer I suppose that would have been the obvious choice but I’m sure cancer charities will be well represented on the day so I thought something a little less high profile would be a better idea.
Despite my somewhat curmudgeonly persona I’m a bit of a big girl’s blouse and have more in common with the Chorlton “natural fibres only” sorts than I am comfortable admitting in public. A symptom of this is that I occasionally feel the world is not a nice place, and at certain times in my life have found felt the weight of that realisation a heavy burden to carry. I’ve been fortunate that it has never completely overwhelmed me but I am very aware that for some the world is just too dark.
There are those who only see one way out of this darkness and that is to take their own lives, and for many of those they leave behind they had no idea a loved one was in such distress. This is a difficult subject to write about for there are those who feel that suicide is a selfish act and where they have lived with a loved ones mental illness you simply can’t judge them for having that view, as I said, it’s a complicated subject.
The reason I have decided to run for CALM is this…
In 2014, male suicide accounts for 76% of all suicides and is the single biggest cause of death in men under 45 in the UK.
With this current government there are cuts to mental health provision across the NHS , cuts that are unlikely to be reversed any time soon which suggests to me that the above statistic is not going to improve in the coming years. The “Real men don’t cry” culture is still too prevalent, more people finding themselves going to work for the right to live in poverty also play an unwelcome part in forming my view that things are unlikely to improve.
The idea of giving to charity to allow them to do work that should be paid by government never sits easy with me, I’ve been known to shout at the TV during Children In Need and the like “The f**king government should be paying for this” but what’s the alternative? We allow people to die in the absence of helplines , children to go hungry because there are no food banks? That won’t happen because there are still plenty of us who just won’t allow it, a fact that I am sure the government relies on as they dream up another attack on the vulnerable.
So I am going to rattle the tin for one of the causes that exists almost solely because we have not had a government fit for purpose for more years than even a Labour man like me is comfortable admitting . If you want to help then here’s my Just Giving Page feel free to make a wee donation. It may make you complicit in getting the government off the hook but could save the life of someone you know, who is painting on a smile to mask the darkest of thoughts…
And one last thing, those of you who do the God thing, I won’t be offended if you pray that I don’t end up in the coronary unit of Manchester Royal as a result of this venture.