I think it was The Hollies that sang “the road is long is with many a winding path” and then continued with the lyrics “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.

Well, the road is long and it takes a lot to get to the end of it to truly find out who you are or to where you want to be. The road I took last night was to Slimming World.

For me to get mentally healthy, I realised that there are other things that need to be healthy as well, and one of those factors is my weight.

I’ve neglected the bike somewhat since Christmas, citing one excuse after another… the weather, the bike needs a clean, the weather, it’s too dark and the weather. However, I have recommitted myself to getting back on the saddle again. I have a 30-mile ride planned in Yorkshire at the end of March and if I want to get over that first long ride, I must get fit – mentally and physically. I will not be able to get over that awful hill if not.

So, with renewed commitment and a newly enrolled membership of Slimming World, I go again. To be able to truly get where you need to be, you need to surround yourself with positive people who have a positive outlook on life. Following a brief meeting with my fellow slimmers last night, I now have the motivation to improve my diet. I have people who are willing to ride with me to help and support me on my training journey, so why can I not get out of the malaise I keep finding myself in?

Is it the weather, the dark nights and mornings, or my trepidation of being on the bike and being more aware of the traffic and the obstacles on the road? No, I know it’s the anxiety that I am feeling after the accident, the sense of dread that something bad is going to happen again. I cannot go through all that again, nor can my long-suffering wife and my daughter.

I know I can ride, I know I can lose the weight and I know I get up that hill, but my mind still stops me. I’m bombarded by negative thoughts and self-doubt. Once my thoughts were of booze, football, women and basically most things single men think about. But now it’s full of worry, for myself, my wife, my daughter and myself. Am I being selfish? Mental health is a selfish thing, as you only think about your worries and not how other people think. I often hear and read “oh they must be so selfish to do that; did they not think of anyone else?” Basically, no, they don’t, the only thoughts they have, or I have had in the past when thinking about the bad thing, is “how can I cope?”.

Thankfully I have not had those awful dreadful thoughts for a very long time, but I need to get back to where I was. I’m not far away from it and to say to myself “it’s OK to not be OK and I can achieve anything I want to achieve”. I have in the past and I will again. I am talking to the right people, listening to the right people, getting the help to lose weight and trying to think more of others and how they feel about who they are and who I am.

Thanks to Rich for sharing his experiences. If his journey has inspired you to support us, visit our fundraising page for more infoor if you’d like to share your story, contact us at communications@thebiglifegroup.com

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, the Sanctuary is here for you at night, every night. Call us on 0300 003 7029.