Ricky and his friend James Hendy completed the Three Peaks Challenge within 24 hours in September 2021, raising £2,350 for Mid and North East Essex Mind and this is what motivated him to do it.
Ricky has always lived in Clacton and from a young age had lots to deal with, an alcoholic parent, witness to violent domestic abuse, a carer for his siblings. In his own words ‘Life wasn’t great growing up and I wasn’t the most well behaved boy either. Life was challenging, from when I can remember, I suppose I always tried to escape reality by misbehaving’. Ricky didn’t do well at school generally down to his behaviour. He joined a Boxing Club which was helpful for a while but then he had to give it up due to injury. He also remembers having an obsession with cleaning at one point, but by the age of 15 he was using alcohol and drugs as his escape from the world. At the age of 17 he experienced the first of three prison sentences, which consequently prohibited him from joining the Army. Ricky says now ‘Joining the Army was a dream which I never fulfilled due to my recurring self-destructing episodes and yet I believe that the routine and discipline of Army life was what I really needed’.
Following his first suicide attempt Ricky began to recognise the cycle, of him doing well and then not being able to accept his achievements thinking he was not worthy of them, accepting praise, being liked and loved, felt alien to him and so the self-destruct button was pressed again.
With no self-esteem or self-belief, a lack of trust in anyone, a cocktail of alcohol and drugs lead to Ricky’s second attempt at ending his life. He was then involved with several agencies and rehabilitation programmes until yet again he was back on his feet, now living with grandparents, starting up a successful business, work became his obsession but working seven days a week took it’s toll and again Ricky crashed and burned into another episode of alcohol and drugs, in his words he was that lost little scared boy running away again.
However the rehabilitation that Ricky underwent this time explored things in more detail, providing an understanding of his alcoholic mum’s life and her coping methods, allowing him the let go of the resentment he felt for her.
Ricky was back in the gym but still disappointed in himself, his coping methods turned to meditation, writing a daily journal of what was going well to help him to believe in himself. Two years on and Ricky still has his daily routine to look after his mental health. He is more conscious of his mental state and how it can affect his life. Ricky says ‘looking after your mental health is a full time job but you’re no good to anyone if you’re not looking after yourself’.
Undertaking the Three Peaks Challenge was not only a physical and mental challenge for Ricky but he wanted to raise awareness of his story and of men’s mental health challenges. He says ‘I know what a dark, lonely and scary place it can be and if I can help one person or inspire them to believe in themselves or have the courage to come forward and ask for help that’s an achievement’.