Making Waves For Mental Health

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By Shona Davies – Crew Member on The Clipper Round The World Yacht Race 2017/2018

Hey there! My name is Shona Davies and I’m taking part in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. Don’t know what that is? Have a look at this

The Clipper Race is the only Round The World yacht race that caters to amateur crew. You read that right! After 4 weeks of training, they fling us onto one of 12 boats designed to race each other (downwind!) over 40,000 miles across the worlds wildest oceans. It’s a race I’ve wanted to do ever since I knew it was a thing, but ALWAYS something was in the way. Until now.

The Race is an endurance test that will push me to my physicial, emotional and mental limits whilst navigating some of the most dangerous seas on earth. It takes years of preparation & planning. It’s nearly upon us!

When I tell people about what I’m doing, I often get asked the question “are you mad?”. The short answer to that question is yes, I absolutely am. The longer answer to that requires a bit of a background on me…

I’m a dedicated optimist and a person who wants to squeeze the absolute most out of life. This state of being is not for the faint-hearted and there have been periods in my life when the work of happiness has been just too hard. I have suffered with depression since my early teens and still do. I’ve always managed to manage, though. It didn’t really stop me in my tracks for very long – then in December of 2015, I had a complete and utter breakdown (breakthrough?).

It was not just the crushing, numbing nothingness of depression but this time, I had the added horror of dizzying panic attacks too. I had gone from being a titan of industry, an accomplished businesswoman and a serial achiever to being someone who couldn’t drag herself out of bed for a shower. Eating? Pfft!

By virtue of the fact that I had made a mistake (a fairly sizeable one, to be fair), I lost my identity. I wasn’t a person who screwed up, I was the person who was always top of the leaderboard, who could do no wrong. If I wasn’t that, who was I? I started to question everything I thought I knew about myself…I felt like my life was over.

Then one day, I walked along a beach in Norfolk. I was crying (something I did rather regularly at the time) at a seagull spreading its wings and flying away. It was so free and I was not. I was this sad, pitiful excuse for a human being. I looked at the sky and I shouted…”what the hell am I going to do with my life?!”.

I looked down and saw, nestled into the rocks on the “beach”, something shiny and white. It was blinking at me amongst the pebbles. I scratched around for a while and unearthed a message from the universe. I can’t describe it any other way! It was a tiny, ceramic sailboat. It was battered and worn…paint chipped, colours faded and having definitely fallen off something bigger. It looked like the physical representation of the way I was feeling…who I felt I now was….and what I was striving for.

There was no slap in the face moment. There was no opening of the clouds, angels singing, and sun beams shining onto my head. There were no fireworks. Very quietly, on a windy beach in February, I realised that I had lost (and now found) my life. My real life. The bit that has nothing to do with ambition or goals or other’s expectations of me. This was the part of me that was purely and solely about love.

Cue “light bulb”.

I have loved sailing ever since I stepped onto a dinghy in Albany, Western Australia in 1995 and again in Freemantle later that year. I walked away from sailing to do the sensible thing in building a career and a reputation.

It’s been too much of a focus in my life. It’s time to go back to something I love. I need to get the wind in my hair, the salt on my lips and the aching limbs and callouses on my hands that set mother nature deep into my bones once again.

I need to allow my heart to guide my decisions. To say yes! To life’s adventure.

Through the months since I signed up to take part, I’ve realised that I can use this amazing adventure as a platform to talk to other people about mental health issues and to raise money for an organisation (MIND – the mental health charity) that I credit with saving my life…quite literally. I want to pay it forward.

Question is: do you want to help?

I’m organising a charity ball called Seas the Day on the 6th May 2017 at the gorgeous St Michael’s Manor!

Do you have a product or service that you would like to donate to be auctioned at the event? Full reciprocal publicity love will be available both at the event and via my media channels. Happily, I’ve developed an impressive reach through my own blog/social channels and media partners and will be publicising the event via the Herts Advertiser and Radio Verulam. I’d love to add value to your brand if you get behind us!

Would you like to attend the event itself? Join us for a spectacular evening!

On arrival at 6.30pm, you will enjoy a champagne reception, a raffle and a champagne tombola (yes, double the fizz!). Afterwards, you can indulge in a delicious 3 course meal designed by chef Harry Lumsdown – young Masterchef 2016 and resident in the St Michaels Manor kitchen.

Over dinner, our first-class Toastmaster will guide us through the lots available for live auction – there will be something for every budget! We have jewellery, holidays in France and further afield, spa breaks, adventure days out, signed sporting memorabilia and so much more! Our friends at Carita Services will also be holding a silent auction where you can grab VIP tickets to the Henly Regatta, a signed Lionel Messi shirt and that’s just the start!

Tickets are available at £45 per person or, with a 10% discount, for a table of 10 (£405). Book now to secure your place!

The event is supported by not only local businesses but also by the St Albans Chamber of Commerce who will be in attendance.

My fingers are crossed that you’ll join in the fun and support the cause that is raising awareness of Mental Health in our community!


Shona Dx

NB: If you are someone reading this who has been or is currently affected by depression then please get in touch with Shona through her blog. She’ll happily help if she can and if she can’t, she may be able to hook you up with people who can. Hopefully by reading Shona’s story and following her adventure, she can show you that no matter who you are or where you started, you can do amazing things with your life.  |  |

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