Be the change you want to see in the world – Gandhi

There comes a time in a man’s life when he should embark on a pilgrimage – so says Satish Kumar. In actual fact he suggests that when a man reaches middle age he should be off on his second jolly.

He is a Jain monk – I, on the other hand, am an atheistic, bald ex senior social worker carrying more weight than he would like, with a mental health problem.

On April 6th this year I will begin a tour of the UK where I will circumnavigate this fair island on foot, relying solely on the kindness of other people for food, water, shelter and compassion.

The reason for the date is simple – it’s the 34th anniversary of my mum’s death. She died of cervical cancer when I was 12. My dad, devastated by this, turned to alcohol, often leaving my brother, 1 year older than me, and I to fend for ourselves.

This is not the story of my slide into the world of mental health problems – I’ll blog that up in bitesized chunks for easy digestion. Hopefully it illustrates that a combination of crazy events and a touch of faulty brain wiring can lead to the normaility of mental health difficulties.

I will be looking for sponsorshipfor my three chosen charities – I will post the links up for these later and how folk can donate.

This particular journey is not so much about me – it’s about the people I visit on my way, their beauty and kindness and the the beauty of this lovely island that we share. I want to hear and share the stories of anyone who feels they have felt the squeeze of prejudice or where they felt their words were unheard.

My motivation comes through the feelings of isolation and prejudice I have experienced because of my condition, and my knowledge of the discrimination felt by so many users of social work services – Older people, people with a physical disability, people with mental health problems, people with a learning disability, people from minority ethnic groups, people who choose a different god and people who choose to live their lives in different ways.

But not just them. I want to hear the voice of the middle classes – the tax payers – the majority who feel they are unheard.

This is a reaction against the mainstream press who portray a divided and scared Britain – a dangerous Britain full of individuals who look after themselves – a Britain where there is no society, let alone a big one.

Go to any of the mainstream newspaper websites – ok, The Mirror is the exception – type in any of the following words or phrases into that papers’ search engine and look at the stories they generate –
“Mentally ill” ; “Benefits”; “Travellers” or “Travelling People”; “Hindus”; or “Immigrants”

There are many more I’m sure, but you’ll get the picture.

Help me to prove them wrong – show that although we are divided we are not yet conquered

Walk a mile in my shoes.

Chris

3 Responses to Be the change you want to see in the world – Gandhi

  1. Zanne Hannah says:

    An email from Cara (Gatehouse) made me go on your blog.
    WOW what an amazing journey you are on.
    Im in Kirkcudbright,if you are in this area today or tomorrow could I join youfor a little while?
    zanne

    • Hi there – thanks so much for getting in touch – unfortunately I have a mental health problem that takes me off the road from time to time – now is one of those times. Can I get in touch with you when I’m back on the road?

      Cheers

      Chris

  2. Kris Church says:

    Hi Chris,

    I hope u r ok …

    I may be able to help get you back on the road and you to get me on the right path alongside u. Seems a while, I know we lost touch. I’m around though 🙂
    Be good if we can talk ?
    I’d say the best day to reach me would be Thursday 7th.
    Msg me pls & i’ll let You know the best time.

    Happy New Year 2 u Chris !
    May the following, year open many dorrs and hearts on yor journey.

    Spk soon ok

    Kris Church

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s