Failure, Glory, Crashing Waves, Mental Health & Me
When I tell people about what I’m doing, I often get asked the question “Are you mad?”. The short answer to that question is yes, I absolutely am.
My name is Shona Davies and I’m taking part in the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race. Don’t know what that is? Watch this short clip…
The Clipper Race is the only Round The World yacht race that caters to amateur crew. You read that right! After 4 weeks of training, they fling us onto one of 12 boats designed to race each other (downwind!) over 40,000 miles across the worlds wildest oceans. It’s a race I’ve wanted to do ever since I knew it was a thing, but ALWAYS something was in the way. Until now.
When I tell people about what I’m doing, I often get asked the question “Are you mad?”. The short answer to that question is yes, I absolutely am. The longer answer to that requires a bit of a background on me…
We All Make Mistakes
I’m a dedicated optimist and a person who wants to squeeze the absolute most out of life. This state of being is not for the faint-hearted and there have been periods in my life when the work of happiness has been just too hard. I have suffered with depression since my early teens and still do. I’ve always managed to manage, though. It didn’t really stop me in my tracks for very long – then in December of 2015, I had a complete and utter meltdown.
Not just the crushing, numbing nothingness of depression but also the dizzying horror of panic attacks too. I had gone from being a titan of industry, an accomplished businesswoman and a serial achiever to being someone who couldn’t drag herself out of bed for a shower. Eating? Pfft!
By virtue of the fact that I had made a mistake (a fairly sizeable one, to be fair), I lost my identity. I wasn’t a person who screwed up, I was the person who was always top of the leaderboard, who could do no wrong. If I wasn’t that, who was I? I started to question everything I thought I knew about myself. I felt like my life was over.
Then one day, I walked along a beach in Norfolk. I was crying (something I did rather regularly at the time) at a seagull spreading its wings and flying away. It was so free and I was not. I was this sad, pitiful excuse for a human being. I looked at the sky and shouted, “What the actual fuck am I going to do with my life!”.
I looked down, and nestled in the rocks on the ‘beach’ I spotted something shiny and white. It was blinking at me amongst the pebbles. I scratched around for a while and unearthed a message from the universe. I can’t describe it any other way!
It was a tiny, ceramic sailboat. It was battered and worn, its paint chipped, colours faded and having definitely fallen off something bigger. It was the physical representation of the way I felt. Who I felt I’d now become, and what I was striving for.
A Moment Of Clarity
There was no slap in the face moment. There was no opening of the clouds, angels singing, and sun beams shining onto my head. There were no fireworks.
Very quietly, on a windy beach in February, I realised that I had lost (and now found) my life. My real life. The bit that has nothing to do with ambition or goals or anything to do with other’s expectations of me.
This was the part of me that was purely and solely about love.
I have loved sailing ever since I stepped onto a dinghy in Albany, Western Australia in 1995 and again in Freemantle later that year. I walked away from sailing to do the sensible thing in building a career and a reputation.
It’s been too much of a focus in my life. It’s time to go back to something I love. I need to get the wind in my hair, the salt on my lips and the aching limbs and callouses on my hands that set mother nature deep into my bones once again.
I need to allow my heart to guide my decisions. To say yes!
Want To Get Involved?
Shona has dedicated herself to fundraising for mental health charity, MIND who she credits as saving her life (quite literally!) during her darkest moments. She wants to pay it forward and all of us here at InAnyEvent London want to help her in her mission and hope you might too!
NB: If you are reading this and have or know someone who is currently by depression then please get in touch with Shona through her blog. She’ll happily help if she can and if she can’t, she may be able to hook you up with people who can. Hopefully by reading Shona’s story and following her adventure, she can show you that no matter who you are or where you started, you can do amazing things with your life.