How fundraising helped me to feel understood and connected

We’ve often heard the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ but who exactly do we reach out to? Sometimes it can feel easier connecting with people who don’t know us than it does with our own friends and family. Kiran recently participated in our fundraising event GLOW, a 20km night walk through London, where everyone is free to share their mental health experiences in a safe place. She tells us how she never felt judged and simply felt compassion and understanding from the people around her.

"It's important to recognise the fact that even if someone is surrounded by people, they may still be feeling completely cut-off and isolated emotionally."

– Kiran

“Mental health and loneliness is a subject very close to my heart and I find loneliness to be one of the most difficult emotions to deal with. For me loneliness is not about being physically isolated. I have a great social network and friends who are more like family to me, I live a good life and I genuinely enjoy ‘me time’ and my space. Loneliness for me was highlighted in my struggles with mental health problems following a breakdown of a toxic relationship, among other issues which left me feeling isolated.

At first I found some relief from other people’s sympathy, but I soon realised it can be very difficult for those who don’t suffer from a mental health problem to understand and empathise with how exactly you’re feeling. I would hear comments such as ‘get yourself together’ or ‘look at all your blessings’ which crushed my voice even more as although they were trying to help, it had the opposite effect and made me feel even worse. After a while I found it easier to tell people ‘I’m fine’ because speaking my truth made me feel embarrassed, insecure and awkward, even when I wasn’t fine and sinking into a downhill spiral. Rather than reaching out, I coiled inwards and distanced myself from others.

"When you're in the depths of depression you forget it’s a common issue as you think you’re the only one battling these dark emotions."

– Kiran

I began creating walls and pushed friends and family away who cared. I was lonely and didn’t let anyone get near me as I was scared that they wouldn’t understand me. When I came across Mental Health UK’s GLOW fundraising event on social media I was instantly drawn in. The thought of being able to dress up in neon accessories, walk through the sites of London and test my resilience to see if I could walk 20k felt like a great challenge. Whilst fundraising, it was also nice to know I was raising awareness of issues that have affected me personally in the past, and that my support could help other people out there too. I truly now believe that sometimes it’s easier to turn to an organisation than it is to friends and family for support, because you feel ‘understood’ and not judged, which is how I felt throughout the GLOW event.

"I liked the idea of being part of a crowd who have compassion and understanding of mental health problems."

– Kiran

Today, I have reached that stage where I almost feel grateful for my experience because of the understanding, growth and mental strength it has now brought me in life. It was an intense journey which took me 3 years to battle and get through. ”

Our GLOW event for 2023 is back and bigger than ever, spanning across the two iconic cities of London and Birmingham. If you’d like to secure your spot at our events this September and October, 2023 registrations are now live!

Your donation will make the difference

Just £10 could help pay for a call to our advice and information line, supporting someone living with mental illness who may be feeling in distress during this time.

Donate today