Hiking across Ireland, one anxious step at a time, for Mental Health Ireland – Maysen Forbes is a woman on a mission

 A Canadian with a mighty message is hiking the 560-mile trail, along the Ireland Way, to raise awareness for mental health and funds for Mental Health Ireland.

Maysen Forbes, who has suffered with “anxiety, depression and self-harm” has a message for the world “everyone has mental health, however some of us are more aware of it than others.” Forbes has been documenting her hike, which will take about 40 days to complete, from the south to the north of Ireland on a strikingly honest blog and through her Facebook page.

Forbes told IrishCentral, on Tuesday evening "I've done about 350km now, so I'm getting really close to halfway."

When asked why she chose Ireland she explained "The trail itself was what originally attracted me - it's a good distance, not too far yet far enough to be a physical challenge. It's a country I've never been to, so it's out of my comfort zone, but English is spoken and the Irish have a reputation for being very welcoming so it's not too far out of my comfort zone to provoke my anxiety."

The Ireland Way - the route Maysen Forbes is traveling.

The Ireland Way - the route Maysen Forbes is traveling.

On her fundraising page she wrote “From a young age I've struggled with my mental health. Anxiety, depression, and self-harm are a part of me that I don't remember ever being without. Yet for many years, I kept that fact to myself. The medical system and the world around me led me to believe that admitting to fighting a battle with my own mind made me weak and undesirable.”

Fairy Forest morning stroll for the anxious soul. Happy Tuesday darlings! x

A post shared by Maysen Forbes (@intothewild_ish) on

She chose Mental Health Ireland to be the beneficiary of her funds as they help people in a similar situation. Forbes writes that the voluntary organization’s “aim is to promote positive mental health and well-being to all individuals and communities in Ireland…

“Furthermore, as an organization they are doing all they can to help vanquish the stigmas surrounding mental health. The stigmas are many and it's my goal to be a part of putting an end to them. The state of one’s mental health should never be a point a shame!”

She continued “A large part of my recovery was being active outdoors - pushing myself physically. In the mountains, my anxiety quiets down to a low whisper and my heart beats steadily. So what better way to fundraise for MHI than by pushing myself past my limits, physically and mentally? I'd like to encourage you to not only donate to my cause, but to join me on the trail!”

You can keep up with Forbes’ hike or reach out to her to join her on her journey via Facebook. This week to mark Mental Health Awareness week Forbes did something a little special:

In honour of Mental Health Week, I'm going to be sharing a post per day that focuses on mental health and the healing...

Posted by Into The Wildish - Anxious Adventures on Monday, 9 October 2017

Her honest posts, videos and photos taken along the way illustrate a woman on a mission, to tell her own story and eliminate the stigma still associated with mental health issues and taking care of your own mental health.

In one of her latest posts she wrote:

“My dear Maysen, you are strong and you are smart and you are brave and the last words you want to hear are the cliched words about to leave my mouth but THIS TOO SHALL PASS (with lots of hard work and dedication from you). So, work hard at it because you are absolutely deserving of the happy future that awaits you.

“For now – take a deep breath and let the tears roll shamelessly down your cheeks. It’s ok, there’s no shame in it. You will be ok.

“I’ll say it again. You will be ok.”

Right now, Forbes is 27 days into her journey. Follow her story on her blog www.intothewildish.com or via her Facebook page. For more on the Ireland Way visit www.theirelandway.ie.

Forbes’ aims is to raise €3000 for Mental Health Ireland. If you’d like to donate please visit her Every Day Hero fundraising page here.