In August 2016 a beautiful young lady named Katie Kemp joined one of my Be Climbing courses to Font. During this week she took my brothers heart and soon became part of our family. Her kindness and gentle nature made us all instantly fall in love with her.
It is with a heavy heart I write that this time last year, while George and I were coaching in Spain, she took her own life. Unknown to us all the pain she was in we are in shock and disbelief to lose this beautiful spirit. My heart is clouded with sadness daily but I can’t imagine the pain and grief my brother and her family must be feeling.
Having lost our Auntie in the same way 27 years ago this is a delicate area for my family and something I feel passionate about drawing awareness too. Many I know and love still suffer daily from severe depression and I wish I could take away their pain and help in their constant battle but I know it’s not that easy. All I can do is share my story and write my feelings honestly to bring awareness to this delicate subject.
The power and depth of human psychology and social media deception is shocking and scary- how someone can feel elated one moment and in such a dark place the next. Social media is so dangerous, it can hide so much of reality and paint a deceptive picture of happiness and perfection.
No one would know that I cried my way to and from the competition that I smiled my way through because all I showed on social media was success and fun! I want this post to highlight that no matter what we show on the surface or how we want the world to see us, this may not be our true deep emotions. Yes I was happy during the comp because climbing is my release and joy but it wasn’t my deep thoughts and true emotion at that time.
In a vain attempt to make a difference and celebrate Katie’s life I gave my cash prize from the Chimera competition last year to Katie’s family to go towards a mental health charity of their choice- this is now in the Climbing Out of Depression account. I feel their is still research to be done in this field, more information to come to light, holistic ways to prevent this suffering that can lead to the most horrific consequences and pain for those left behind. The sufferer can’t understand how much they were loved and the pain they will leave behind as they struggled so hard to love themselves. A psychological imbalance that sucks away all the light and makes the silver lining impossible to see.
There must be more we can do? Be more honest? Don’t believe everything we see on social media? Don’t assume everyone is fine because they can put on a bloody brave face, show the highlights of their life to everyone and bottle up the pain! We must talk and share the ‘real us’ for if we are honest we are all the same, just human beings trying to get by and fight our own daily battles- yes to very different degrees (from feeling insecure on a bad hair day to fighting a constant battle to end your life), but as R.E.M. wrote “everybody hurts sometimes.”
We all have terribly sensitive egos fighting for survival, meaning, purpose, belonging or just recognition in a horrifically judgmental world.
So I guess being aware is all we can do- be more mindful and kind, take time to listen, smile at strangers and tell your loved ones you love them as is might just bring sunshine to a dark day.
We all miss you everyday Katie x
From darkness appears some light….
In light of this tragedy and the relief know to have been experienced from climbing, we have set up a charity called Climbing Out of Depression (@climbingoutofdepression).
Our first fund raiser is on Saturday June 30th 2018 at White Spider Climbing, Surbiton, South London.
We aim to raise as much money as possible to start running the charity- here is more about us and what we aim to achieve.
We currently only have a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/climbingoutofdepression/) but the charity is currently run by firstname.lastname@example.org. You can donate online anytime at https://www.leetchi.com/c/climbing-out-of-depression