Inspire Te Araroa Fundraiser
Hi, my name is Smash and I’m walking the Te Araroa Trail to raise money for mental health and chronic pain.
WHO AM I?
As a child I had real trouble fitting in and being like the other kids. I started hearing intimidating words like bipolar, ptsd, depression, anxiety, eating disorders. All of which I avoided until I became an adult and it was impossible to hide from an overwhelming cycle of whirring emotions and collapse. I also started suffering from agonising pain and took years to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Endometriosis, conditions that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life.
Lucky for me, I found rock climbing, which changed my life forever. I was immediately enthralled by the beauty and challenge of climbing outdoors and, since then, I have been travelling around Australia and New Zealand, climbing as much as I can, learning about the risks and being responsible for my own safety.
This exposure to nature, and the self-reliance that I have learned, has also made it possible for me to face my conditions head on.
I finally accepted that I was experiencing multiple mental health problems that were significantly affecting my wellbeing. I went to a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with PTSD, Bipolar, ADHD, Paranoia, Anxiety disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Avoidant Personality Disorder.
When I first got the diagnosis, I was horrified.
Since then I have spent a great deal of time understanding what each term means to me. It helped me to identify and slowly learn to contain the zillion feelings that I was having, making my diagnosis less scary.
Over the last five years, I have been Hiking, Climbing, Kayaking, Canyoning, Caving, Highlining and so many other cool adventures.
I have also been expressing myself through sewing, building, Poi and other fire toys, acro yoga, repair and DIY.
Being out in nature was a vital step for me in learning how to manage my mental health and accept my chronic pain conditions and, after struggling to find my place since the COVID-19 lockdowns, I decided that walking Te Araroa would be a great way for me to reconnect with nature.
WHAT AM I DOING?
In January 2022, I am walking the Te Araroa Trail to raise money for mental health and chronic pain sufferers, like myself.
The Te Araroa Trail is a 3000km continuous walking track, from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
Read more about it here: www.teararoa.org.nz.
This trip is a huge challenge, and my physical and mental health will add its own set of complications.
I have decided to start in Bluff, in the South Island, and head north. My goal will be to get to the top of the South Island and then reassess the situation. If I am not able to do the North Island for whatever reason, I think Marlborough is a pretty beautiful place to finish!
If I decide to complete the North Island as well, I plan to begin in Cape Reinga and head south. When I hit the Whanganui River, I want to be able to use a kayak to travel, so moving south downstream seems like the best option.
WHY AM I DOING THIS?
My reasons for doing this are really personal, but planning this walk got me thinking about other adults who are also struggling with their mental health and/or chronic pain. So I decided that it would be great to find a way to support them in my journey. This is why I decided to raise money for mental health, which will fund an “Inspire” adventure therapy program at Adventure Specialties Trust.
Adventure Specialties Trust is an amazing team who use healthy adventure and a connection with Te Taiao, the natural world, to nurture growth and build physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.
“Inspire” is an adventure therapy day-programme, held in Christchurch, for adults wanting to build health, wellbeing, confidence and connection. It was started last year and so far has had huge success and really positive feedback.
My goal is to raise enough money to fund an Inspire programme for ten adults who are struggling with mental health and/or chronic pain to do this course, so they too can feel the healing benefits of nature and find their own confidence and inspiration.
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
I hope that, along my journey, I am able to inspire you while opening up the discussion about mental health and chronic pain, and fundraising for the amazing “Inspire” program.
There is so much more to my plan, so if you want to know more, follow me on Instagram (@inspire_teararoa) or Facebook (Inspire Te Araroa), where I will share my story along the way.
Please support me as I walk the length of New Zealand, so that I can raise enough money to get ten adults struggling with mental health and/or chronic pain on to the “Inspire” adventure therapy programme.
My goal is to raise $16,000 for the Adventure Specialties Trust who are a registered charity.
I am super grateful for any support you can give whether thats a few dollars, a bit more, a like, a follow, a share, or even just some encouraging words.
Please donate below to support mental health and chronic pain sufferers