On day 4 of the race, Ian gives us an update from our boat. He talks about the feelings of isolation whilst at sea, and reminds us of the isolation that mental health struggles can cause.
"Stakes were high last night as the crew dealt with their first night sail in low wind without an anti-wrap net (the piece of equipment that protects the kite sail from being damaged by wrapping around the forestay). The boat suffered no damage, but we did veer slightly off course and payed for it today with even lighter winds. We are now trying to outrun the light patch before turning west towards St Lucia.
Being alone with only 5 people on deck during a watch and nothing on the horizon but water can feel very isolating. In my experience, having a mental health condition can also be isolating for both the person facing the challenges directly and for those who are trying to support them. As a supporter you are asked to listen and acknowledge, all the while knowing you are helpless to remove your loved ones’s pain. Yesterday I was feeling helpless being so far from the people I love the most. It was at this moment that our boat was surrounded by a pod of dolphins literally dancing around us. They were so numerous and joyful I was totally overwhelmed. Having said that, we have all been operating on very little sleep and I was almost definitely over-tired and emotional. Even when you feel most isolated you are never really alone."
A reminder that if you are ever feeling isolated or like there is no one out there who will understand, there will always be someone who will listen. Whether it's a family member, friend, colleague, or professional, please do not be afraid to talk. We want you to remember that talking should never be as hard as crossing an ocean, and that there will be someone there for you.
PAPYRUS UK have a invaluable 'HOPELINE' service, more details can be found via the link https://papyrus-uk.org/hopelineuk/