Harborough building trade worker Gavin Blissett was on a stressful 80 hour week in London when he hit a ‘wall’.
The job pressure built up until just after Christmas last year, when Gavin (46) had a nervous breakdown.
“I basically took on too much” said Gavin, who lives in Market Harborough.
“The job was demanding and there was near-on 30 hours a week travelling. I’d been ‘unwell’ for some time, and not realised.
“Then came the breakdown. If it hadn’t been for a couple of really good friends, plus my family, I might not be here today.”
When Gavin recovered a little, he started looking into charities that could help with counselling for other people in his situation.
He chose two - MIND and YoungMinds - to raise money for. And then it was time to tackle another Wall - a 90-mile charity walk along the ancient route of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.
“I said to myself a few years ago ‘I’d love to walk Hadrian’s Wall’” said Gavin.
“I thought it would be good to do the walk, raise money for the charities and raise awareness of mental health issues.”
It’s speaking out about mental health that particularly interests Gavin, who’s now back at work - but without the exhausting, early-start journey to London.
“Not everyone that goes through this sort of thing is as blessed as I am with good people around them” said Gavin.
“There’s still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, particularly people who have had breakdowns.
“But there’s no big mystery. It’s often people like me who have taken on too much, and then tried and tried to the point where they got a little lost, and needed a hand back up.
“One of my crisis counsellors said to me that you get to the point where the computer goes wrong - the computer being your brain.
“That’s when you have to step back and give it a chance to recover.”
Gavin completed his 90-mile Wall walk in just four-and-a-half days.
“It was a great experience” said Gavin. “And of course walking is good for physical and mental health.
“I just wish I’d allowed a bit more time for it. I didn’t really have time to appreciate the history or the scenery along the route enough.
“It was just ‘right. we’re here. Where am I supposed to go next?’”
The fundraising has gone pretty well though.
So far Gavin’s raised £873 from his walk, including Gift Aid, but he’d like to make it to at least £1,000.
You can contribute to mental health charities via Gavin’s Virgin Money giving page.
Go to virginmoneygiving.com and then type Gavin J Blissett into the box that says: “Find your friend or someone special’s fundraising page.”
You can also see his daily vlogs if you type Gavblis into the youtube search engine.
Now Gavin says: “I’m looking at things a lot differently, feeling stronger after what I’ve been through, while realising what my triggers are.”