Ride Against Depression - R.A.D
I will be riding the entire length of New Zealand to raise funds, maintain awareness and help our country combat mental illness.Nationwide
Kia ora everyone,
My name is Blair Benefield, Im 32 years old Im a former NZ Soldier and Veteran now living and working as a Landscaper in beautiful Mt Maunganui.
At the start of February 2018, I will be riding the entire length of New Zealand on my skateboard which I designed and constructed myself, roughly 3000km starting at the base of Stewart Island then travelling up the South and North Islands finishing on top in Cape Reinga. This event will be known as R.A.D, Ride Against Depression.
This Ride Against Depression (RAD) is an adventure to raise funds for youth mental health and suicide prevention services and community support services, I believe our youth are most vulnerable as they begin to find themselves and their place, as they learn about life, about love and happiness but also the darker side of life traumatic experiences, loss and things no child or human should learn about, like abuse and neglect. As we are all aware of the major issue we have in NZ surrounding mental health and suicide, this event is not just about keeping awareness but about inspiration, positive motivation and action. As I have been inspired and motivated by countless kiwis stepping outside their comfort zone and overcoming great challenges. With the evolution in communication technology and the ability to connect, communicate, share knowledge and positive messages, I hope too that my adventure can also inspire others who might be struggling with a mental illness as I and literally half of our countries population have, something we are all affected by in some way.
Having been Medically discharged from the NZ Army-Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, 4 years ago with PTSD and severe depression, I lost my purpose in life just like a lot of people suffering from metal illness. I tried many of the treatments, anti depressants, counselling, group therapy but nothing seemed too work. I became anti-social, uncontactable, reclusive and eventually suicidal. When the thought of my life ending was no longer terrifying but relieving I understood how it felt to lose the will to live. I like most of us have lost loved ones to suicide and I used to think suicide was the most selfish and cowardly thing anyone could do. But when you find yourself in that position, when your in the deepest darkest states of depression, you tell yourself your loved ones would be better off without you, that you’re a burden, a failure, unlovable. These thoughts and feelings run through your mind over and over and the mind being so powerful you really start believe it. I knew if I didn't find a purpose I would not survive.
As a keen skateboarder, surfer, snowboarder, all round outdoorsman board riding and adventure has been my passion, my therapy, it makes me feel good its great exercise and I'm moving forward in a positive way, its fun and creative. Just like all physical activities and sports skateboarding can also teach you the power of perseverance and strengthen your mind because the pleasure it gives you outweighs the pain, like when you fall and hit the concrete, you hit hard and it hurts but you get up and try again determined to land your trick, you may fall in front of people but you learn not to feel embarrassed only more determined to land your trick because of the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you get when you do. These qualities can be transferred to life experiences can and lead you to overcome some of the obstacles we face, like when you fall hit the concrete path of life, you GET UP. Through my passion for Skateboarding and board riding I found my purpose again, to Ride Against Depression to help in any way I can to fight the battle against Depression Anxiety, to help prevent suicide and to help guide anyone effected by mental illness. Im reminded that my service to this country did not end when I left the military.
Like my man John Kirwan says in his book, All Blacks Don't Cry, “Depression doesn't discriminate. It has no prejudice. You can be young or old, rich or poor, unemployed or in charge of a company, black or white, male or female - it doesn't matter. Its not an indication of weakness: its an illness and it can strike anyone.” But with Community, comradeship, compassion, understanding, unity, love and positive communication we can move forward to a brighter future where our children who model our behaviour, our loved ones, our entire nation can begin to share their struggles their doubts, to open up and ask for help when needed and we as adults can led by example, make time to do the activities that makes us happy, find a purpose and to overcome ANY challenges life puts in our way.
I’d like to thank you from my heart of hearts for taking a little time to read this. I will be documenting and updating progress as I go and are so excited to connect with new people, share knowledge and experiences and Ride Against Depression. Please follow and share my journey, if you or any one you know is struggling please, share my story help me fight the battle against Depression, help me help the amazing people that volunteer and who are already doing incredible work to combat these issues, join the Ride Against Depression!
Blair Benefield's involvement (page creator)
Seeing the devastation caused in our country and having lived with Depression and metal illness, I created this event to help inspire others suffering, to join the fight against depression and help support the amazing people and organisations who are already saving lives and taking positive action in combating mental illness. All of these charities rely on donations, community support and the courageous work by volunteers who give the some of the greatest gifts of all in life, their time, knowledge and love.
Other page links
Kia Ora everyone, having rode my skateboard the whole South Island and made so many amazing connections and opportunities to promote mental wellness along the way, I am so extremely humbled and grateful for all the support and generous donations for this cause. With more opportunities to promote mental wellness and suicide prevention coming in as I go the RAD mission is still ongoing and will be extending the finish date for this givealittle page. I want to thank everyone for their continued love and support of this cause and will continue to pay it forward as I promote mental wellness and suicide prevention across the North Island. Ride Against Depression.
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This page was created on 30 Jan 2018 and closed on 30 Nov 2018.