There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Its 6.30am and as I am sitting here writing this I am trying to make sense of an overwhelming sense of hope, of belief, of courage and of solidarity. This morning, at 3.30am I made my way along with some family and friends to take part in Darkness into Light, Maynooth and without a doubt it has been an amazing an unforgettable experience.

I have often said that there is hope, that things will get better and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel but sometimes this can be hard to see, and recently I have been struggling to see that hope and light. This morning I saw that light, this morning I took a journey with my family, one which I have made many times before and this morning I travelled from darkness into light. It was more than raising money for a good cause, it was more than doing some exercise, it was physically stepping out of darkness and into light, reinforcing the belief that things can and things do get better.

May is green ribbon month, a month in which ireland is encouraged to open up and begin conversations about mental health, a month where ireland shows their commitment to change and their strength and ability to deconstruct societal inequalities. There is still a stigma surrounding mental health in Ireland and while it may be decreasing it can be hard to see the change in peoples attitudes towards mental health. Today I saw what I can only describe as a commitment to change, a commitment to encourage people to talk, a commitment to support and guide those who may be struggling and a commitment to accept those going through a rough time.

I have so many thoughts surfing through my mind at the moment, trying to make sense of this amazing experience. My journey this morning is one I will continue to make throughout my life, it is one of hope, of commitment, and of change. My journey this morning reminded me that no matter how bad things seem light will always slowly make its way back into your life.

Throughout the walk I reflected on my actions over the past number of months, the self-destructive behaviours I engaged in and I realised something. I realised that I am not alone, I realised I have the strength within me to change things, to take back control and that I have support of not only those closest to me but also thousands of people in Ireland. Setting out along with the endless stream of people this morning made me feel emotional, it showed me that people care, it showed me that together we can break the stigma, we can break the cycle and we can save lives. 

Im in awe sitting here, thinking back to the moment when I noticed the light coming through. I somewhat expected to walk along and suddenly notice a significant change in the light but that wasn't the case, gradually, throughout the walk, light started to creep in, overcoming the darkness and gaining power. This realisation that no matter how hard I try things will not change in an instant, it will not just happen suddenly, it is a process, a slow and steady process of building up strength and diminishing the darkness. taking control and and allowing myself the time I need to ensure I come out on top. I learned today that it is not about jumping ahead, it is about working to reduce the darkness, taking your time, allowing yourself to have set backs and accepting setback, I learned this morning that change will happen but only if I recognise it needs to happen, allow it to happen, encourage it to happen and give it time to happen. Day by day, step by step I will notice a change, removing the idea of a sudden bright light appearing is half the battle. 

Where you find a community, you find a light that gives hope

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