And I thought the half-marathon I ran last year was a doozy.
Canadian Wayne Cho will be running 26,000 km across the world from North America to Australia to raise awareness for mental health starting in September of this year.
Not sure he can make it? If his track record is any indication, this runner is up to the challenge. Cho logged 8207 kilometres in 2009 when he ran across Canada to raise awareness for anxiety and depression.
For Cho it is a personal mission; his own struggles with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) compelled him to work to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. He envisions "a sweeping transformation in how mental illness is perceived".
How do we go about ending the stigma associated with mental illness? I believe it is by separating the disorder from the person. It is more difficult to do with mental illness than it is with physical illness, which is why the stimga persists. Mental illness affects behavior, and we tie behavior to personality and spirit.
I like to think about it in this way, when it comes to social anxiety disorder (SAD):
If you walked a mile in my shoes, saw the world through my eyes, and lived your life in my body, you would react and behave in the same way as me. Meaning that it is not my fault; that I am just a person like you dealing with some extra challenges.
This could be true even when thinking of depression, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness.
What do you think? Is there stigma surrounding SAD? How can it be overcome?
Photo © World Run for Mental Health