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Running the virtual London marathon to say thanks to TALKWORKS – Claire's story

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News on 29th October, 2020

Claire* recently accessed TALKWORKS to help her through a difficult time. Claire was so happy with the help that she received that she decided to use her place in the virtual London Marathon to raise funds for the service. We found out more about her experience with TALKWORKS and the marathon.

"TALKWORKS has turned my life around this year - from a place of bleak despair to feeling positive about life and my future. I can't thank the service enough and those who helped me."

What inspired you to run the London Marathon?

The virtual London Marathon was due to take place not long after my course of CBT sessions finished. I'd been good making progress with the help of the sessions and the marathon gave me a big positive target to focus on. It was a big thing for me to take part - a few months ago, I'd stopped enjoying my running and hadn't felt mentally strong enough to run very far.

It was an opportunity to fundraise for TALKWORKS, give a little back and raise awareness for the service.
Several running club friends were doing it too. I had been struggling with socialising, doing the marathon gave me a good opportunity to sometimes train with them. The support we gave each other on the day was brilliant and uplifting.

How was your experience of training during lockdown?

Initially, getting out running wasn't enjoyable - it was more of a function. I knew I needed to keep getting out there as it was good for me. CBT helped me to enjoy running again and I enjoyed getting into a regular running routine during training. I learnt quite a lot about longer training runs whilst training - how it affected it my mental health and how long it took me to recover. But I could now understand what was going on which made a huge difference.

What made you want to give back to TALKWORKS and fundraise?

When I sought help, I felt I had no future. I was frightened and in a place of dark painful despair. TALKWORKS turned that around. Being able to understand and make sense of my negative thoughts and feelings has brought clarity and calmness - I don't fear them anymore.

How would you describe your experience with TALKWORKS?

Incredibly positive, supportive, sensitive, without judgement. From initial assessment and all the way through my CBT appointments, I was made to feel so safe. That meant I could open up at my own pace and be honest about my feelings. It helped me recognise unhelpful harmful behaviours, it helped me make significant healthier changes to my like.

Would you recommend TALKWORKS to others in your position?

Definitely definitely yes. I was so scared of seeking help but it was the best decision I made and I now have a lovely future. It reassuring to know that you will be also there for any future support, I wouldn't be afraid to seek help from you again if I ever needed to.

Did you find your training and running had a positive impact on your mental health?

Absolutely yes. When I run, I can focus on the moment and enjoy the sights and sounds around me or I can use it as a time for reflection, talking out loud to myself to work through anything I'm concerned about. Every time I get out there, whatever the distance, it feels good and I feel a sense of achievement.

*Name changed for privacy

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