In the first interview, Adrian shared with us his passion for music and his experience as a professional musician. This time, we’re going to take a closer look at the Charity Run that Adrian and Teddy are about to embark on!
It was a true honor for me to not only be able to do some music gigs with Adrian, but also to have the chance to meet this incredible soul. Adrian has been taking some time to travel in Asia and along the way he has been sharing his contagious sense of humour and his positive vibrations wherever he goes.
In this interview Adrian opens up about mental health and bravely shares his experience.
Adrian and Teddy ready to rock!
1 – What has compelled you to do this Charity Run?
A few years ago now, I woke up one morning and for reasons unknown to me at the time, felt a huge shift in my mental state. I felt scared, anxious, disconnected from myself, my friends and family and the world around me. It felt as if everything was closing in on me and like I was going to lose my mind, a horrific very scary time and seemingly it had no end in sight.
After months of suffering in silence I slowly started to share how I was feeling with friends and family and also got help in the form of counselling. After seeing a few different therapists with no significant positive results, I contacted the mental health charity Mind. They were incredible from day one and have been a huge support to me. I received from them group therapy sessions and also one to one sessions which answered a lot of questions for me and gave me lots of useful information that I could take forward for myself. I still have a long way to go on my journey to recovery but Mind was a light in the dark for me when everything felt lost and hopeless.
So, in answer to your question what has compelled me to embark on this run it is firstly to say thank you to Mind and to show my appreciation by fundraising for them, but also to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Mental health affects 1 in 4 people which is a scary statistic but opening up and really talking about what your going through can really start to help if you are experiencing mental health issues. In my experience, women on the whole tend to be amazing at talking about their thoughts and feelings, but men on the other hand are not so good. Even in these forward thinking times we are living in with change all around us, men still feel the need to be strong and macho, and expressing yourself emotionally and being vulnerable is seen as a sign of weakness. I am definitely one of those men and it will take decades to change attitudes around this when society has firmly implanted this way of thinking, but after going through what I have, I now see the ability to admit your weaknesses, flaws and vulnerabilities as a sign of huge strength. So, as well as fundraising in my run I want to talk to as many people as I can, men in particular, about my mental health story and share with them why I believe talking, opening up and being vulnerable can be a huge strength and not a weakness.
I will also be taking my amazing little dog Teddy with me on this adventure as he loves a good old run and this might finally tire him out! For anyone that’s worried about a dog running all this way I have cleared it with the vet, but I do have to buy him some doggy running shoes! Teddy’s craziness, non stop entertainment and unconditional love has been such a huge support to me so I also want to promote with the run how much of a positive impact animals can have on people going through mental illness. Before going on my run I had a fantastic trip around South East Asia and spent a little time in Thailand at the Phuket Dog Pound. The dogs they home there have been rescued from the street as they are in need of care and some have been taken in after being rescued from dog meat farms. They have only 2 full time staff that work for free that do an unbelievable job of caring for over 800 dogs! They do not receive any money from the government and desperately need funds for medication and food for the dogs so I will be collecting cash donations for the pound as I run. Their social media pages are brilliant! You can take a look here:
2 – What exactly does this Charity Run consists of?
The run myself and Teddy are embarking on consists approximately of a 2 month run along the canals and rivers of England totalling in over 760 miles. We will be starting at Regents canal on September 1st, running out west to Bristol, then heading north through Liverpool to Lancaster. After that, we’re venturing off the waterways for a few days and will run east through the Yorkshire Dales to Rippon and York, then down south passing through Leicester back home to London! My aim is to sofa surf as much as I can throughout the two months so I get to talk to as many people about mental health as possible so please share with anyone you know that lives on or near the route! Full details of the route are in the link below.
3 – In what way do Charity actions such as this Run bring people’s awareness to relevant topics that society is facing?
When charities host events, they unite people that all share a passion for the same personal cause. In doing this it creates communities around that particular cause and helps to spread awareness. When people that feel passionately about a cause come together, they inspire and motivate each other and will talk to everyone about the particular cause till they are blue in the face!
The London Marathon is an incredible example of the power of charity organisations and how they bring people together and raise awareness. London is not known for being the friendliest city in the world, but on the day of the marathon London transforms! Everyone is cheering on everyone, irrelevant of their ethnicity, religion, gender or charity they running for. All discrimination is forgotten about for a day and it’s a beautiful experience in a city that’s unfortunately not usually that loving.
I am hoping by doing this run and promoting it through social media and by talking to people as I go, I will play a small part in raising awareness of mental health issues. Anyone raising awareness of any positive topic that is in need of support is doing a great thing.
4 – What can we positively do as individuals in our daily lives to contribute to challenging aspects of our societies?
We are living in a time where challenging aspects of society are unfortunately common place, and divisions between people seem to be at an all time high. I feel the most positive thing we can do is keep an open mind and not judge a situation until we have all the facts. Ignorance and extremism causes friction and divides people that leads to hate. By being better informed about a situation in society, we have a better understanding of it which softens people’s extreme views and that will unite them as opposed to divide them.
I came across a wonderful example of this while I was traveling when I met a lovely lady called Emma from Sweden. She set up an organisation called Hej Framling! which in English means Hi Stranger. The organisation unites Swedish immigrants and residents by setting up activities that they can get involved in together. From both groups participating in these activities such as sports, gardening, day trips, etc they soon come to realize they are not so different and the views they had on each other, which they probably got through some bad journalism, are instantly altered for the better. This is such a simple but beautiful idea and has had some incredible results! Please google it as it’s an amazing read.
Adrian having fun at the Phuket Dog Pound:
Skin at Heart is grateful to Adrian White for this inspiring interview and for sharing his impressive story. To support Adrian & Teddy’s Run and to know more about it click here!