Julie's Story

"In 2013 my marriage ended and my mum was diagnosed with cancer. I started to have anxiety which evolved into awful panic attacks. I felt like I couldn't cope with anything. The panic was so awful I couldn't sleep and I would often lay awake or sit up most of the night too scared to go to bed. I was on Medication which made me put on a lot of weight which also affected my self confidence. I found that walking really helped, just being outside eased the anxious feelings I was having. 

 But I was also drinking way too much alcohol which only made me feel worse. So two years ago I made the decision not to drink anymore. It was hard at first but I got used to being sober and it was definitely a turning point in my life. Myself and partner Dave spent most of our evenings together walking, usually around the local countryside. It became part of our daily routine.  Life was starting to feel good. I had a new job I loved and I had become a grandmother for the first time as my daughter Karly gave birth to her son, Joshua. 

          Then on August 27th 2018 my daughter Karly was killed in a car accident, leaving Joshua without a mum and a heartbroken family. My anxiety returned and by December 2018 I was suffering not only grief but daily panic attacks. So I'm now back on medication and it's made me feel " normal " again. My grief has made me want to make the most of life and get outside exploring and seeing the beautiful world we live in.  Myself and Dave love our walking adventures its a great way to de-stress  and escape from daily routine."

What goals do have you in the future or are you currently working towards? 

"Having been inspired by Abbie's films, Dave and I have decided that we are going to walk the West Highland Way - hopefully this year, but if not then very soon. We want to explore the Brecon Beacons, Snowdon, Pen y fan, and the Peak District and Lake District, to name a few. We are also going to wild camp! And for me this is a big step into the wild as I have never in my life been a camper!"

What advice would you give someone facing a similar situation? 

"Walking has given me a new appreciation of our surroundings. I feel completely at peace and free . It also gives you the time and space to think or you can just switch off. Life is short , live it and enjoy it. Don't let your fears, anxiety, grief or whatever you may be struggling with stop you. Get outdoors and explore, enjoy the beautiful world we live in."

© 2019 by Abbie Barnes | Song Thrush Productions. All rights included.

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