Physical activity has helped to manage my PTSD

Charlotte Ditchburn is one of our local This Girl Can ambassadors and has used physical activity and the outdoors as a way of managing her PTSD, depression and anxiety. Here she talks more about this and her reasons for completing 100 miles for Suffolk Mind...

Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. But hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling. Mind believe no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. Mind will listen, give support and advice, and fight your corner.

This charity really resonates with me as I have personally suffered with mental health issues. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2015 and suffered with depression and anxiety which had a huge impact on my day to day life.

Charities including Mind were essential for me to cope with my situation giving me supportive and reliable information which empowered me to seek help and process what I was going through.

Just getting out of bed was a struggle most days and in my darkest moments daily tasks seemed impossible. Having support from professionals enabled me to speak freely with my friends and family who could provide support to help me get back on my feet.

When I was diagnosed with PTSD my fitness levels dropped, I went from being an extremely active happy person to a couch potato with low confidence. Getting out walking and horse riding again was the start of improving both my mental and physical health. I am now in a much better place mentally but everyone has bad days and with the current covid situation I really want to focus on getting outside to help me maintain my mental and physical well being.

I'm going to channel my efforts as a This Girl Can Ambassador to complete the 100 miles for Suffolk Mind Challenge in my spare time outside of work. Why 100 miles? Well, Suffolk is approximately 100 miles East to West and North to South so it has a very local feel for a local charity.

Suffolk Mind has a mission to make Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health. All of us have mental health, just as we have physical health. We are all on the mental health continuum and we move up and down it depending on how we cope with the challenges of life and the stresses that it creates. Suffolk Mind works across the continuum, from wellbeing to severe and enduring mental ill-health, providing support & information for everyone. By challenging myself to cover the distance of 100 miles, it is a great way to stay active, achieve something amazing and do something to help other people.

The 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge is to cover the distance of 100 miles, whether that is running, skipping, walking, hopping, swimming or in a more unique way. Over the next 30 days I will be walking, biking, swimming (depending on how brave I am in open water this winter) and horse riding to cover my 100 miles.