Robert Earl


Mind has been speaking out for better mental health for 60 years and is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. At Mind, we work for a better life for everyone with experience of mental or emotional distress.
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Rob Runs for Mind

Robert Earl

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On 29th May 2017 I will be taking part in the Vitality London 10K for the mental health charity Mind.

My motivation for running stems from my own personal experiences of mental health issues over the last 10 years. By the time I participate in this event I will be 25 years old and ever since I was 15 I have been affected by conditions such as panic attacks, agoraphobia, anxiety and depression.

Previously I've felt ashamed of the conditions which I've experienced and I have only ever opened up about these issues to a handful of people. In fact, I'm pretty certain that the majority of people I've been to school, university or in the workplace with would have absolutely no idea about the awful lows I have felt at points during the last decade. This is due to the way I have learnt to conceal the issues and struggle through each day when things are tough.

I'm realising more and more that I need to speak up to break down the misconceptions and stigmas which are attached to mental health as keeping quiet and feeling ashamed is not only completely wrong but also reinforces all of the prejudices and behaviours which need to be eradicated. That's why I want to tell my story and to raise as much money as I can for Mind. The target of £150.00 is set by the charity but I would love to absolutely smash this if possible!

25/01/17 Update - I've doubled the target as we've reached the original £150.00 much quicker than I expected. Thank you!!!

My Story

Panic Attacks & Agoraphobia

I first experienced mental health problems when a panic attack hit me completely out of the blue while I was at school. With no understanding of what was happening to me, the panic attack absolutely terrified me. Panic attacks are a rush of intense anxiety which caused me to feel like I was going crazy and losing control. They also caused me to feel detached from myself and from the world around me.

Having had my first panic attack, I was left feeling terrified of experiencing another one. This led me into a vicious cycle of agoraphobia where I feared leaving the house in case I had another panic attack in a public place and needed to 'escape'.

Over time I learned how to pull myself through each day so I could still achieve the grades I needed in school to get to university. However, it was only when I gained a better understanding of panic attacks that I was able to conquer my fears. With the understanding that I did not need to be afraid of panic attacks, and that these were just intense rushes of fear which would pass, I was able to overcome this condition and rid myself of my agoraphobia. This was a slow process but I got there and I want to show other people who are in the midst of these conditions that it is possible to overcome them. Having more open discussions, more readily available information on mental health and more support services should help people reach this point sooner than I did.

Anxiety and Depression

University forced me out of my comfort zone allowing me to put my initial issues to bed and I have not experienced symptoms of panic attacks or agoraphobia since. However, I have faced many battles with anxiety and depression

I think people find it strange that somebody like me who has a long-term relationship, a loving family and good career prospects would suffer from these conditions but they are issues which can affect anybody at any point in their lives with no obvious cause. It seemed bizarre to me as well as I felt I had no reason to feel the way I have done and I think that this added to the initial shame I felt with the condition. Anxiety to me is not triggered by little things in life and, in fact, my personality is that I am very relaxed about most things. However I get absolutely overwhelmed sometimes obsessing about questions and thoughts which have no answer and go round and round my head until I'm utterly exhausted. My depression is a bi-product of the way that my anxiety overtakes me and strips me of my confidence and ability to focus on everyday tasks. I become withdrawn and see getting through each day without breaking down as an achievement. The conditions can become completely debilitating at times and are simply awful to experience.

Most recently, I experienced a significant low point with these conditions between October 2015 & February 2016. However, this time I was able to get the help I needed to put me on the positive track which I have been on ever since. I spoke to family, friends & colleagues, went through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, saw my doctor and began taking anti-depressant medication for my conditions. Over the last year, my symptoms of anxiety and depression have decreased to the point where the conditions rarely affect me at all. I am always aware that these conditions could cause problems for me, as they could for anyone, in the future. However, I feel that I am much better equipped to manage my mental health now and it is important to me to get other people who are suffering to that same point.

I think it is vital that people feel able to talk and feel empowered to approach their family, friends, doctors or employers with the issues which they experience as facing these problems directly is the only way to come out of the other side with the ability to manage these conditions. Supporting Mind is important to me to help achieve these goals as Mind aim to improve, the currently significantly underfunded, mental health services and promote understanding of the issues people face.

Most of all I want to show people that it is possible to achieve the things you want to achieve in life despite facing the difficulties of mental health issues. The only way you can achieve that though is by being honest with yourself and others about the challenges you face.

Recent donors


19.06.17 Been meaning to do this for ages, your email finally prompted me. Well done!! (sorry for knocking you off a nice round number!!) Katie

01.06.17 Better late than never!! Hope it went well!

29.05.17 Its so brave of you to share your story, especially as I can relate to it on so many levels. So many feel afraid that they will be judged, and made to feel ashamed by their mental health condition, but you really are inspirational - good luck!!!! :)


18.02.17 Wish you well with the run and also your well-being going forward. You have come a long way, congratulations !

17.02.17 All the best Rob

14.02.17 Inspiring - best of luck Rob! X

09.02.17 Hi Rob, thanks for sharing your experience with us, a brave step forwards. Good luck with the run! Kind regards and best wishes Sue

31.01.17 Thanks for sharing your story Rob! Good luck! xx


30.01.17 Rob, you're an inspiration! Well done, you.

30.01.17 Go Rob! So very proud of you and everything that you have achieved. Well done for supporting such a worthwhile cause we are all behind you! Ruth x

30.01.17 An inspiring story! Good luck with the run.

28.01.17 Inspiring bro, honestly proud of you x

27.01.17 Good luck Rob, you are an inspiration!!

27.01.17 Good luck Rob!

27.01.17 Really proud of you! Keep it up :)

27.01.17 Go Rob! Thank you for having the courage to share your story. What a challenge it is to turn shame into pride but my goodness you're doing it not only for yourself but for others too. Job well done. x

27.01.17 Rob, your strength and determination is an inspiration. Good luck!

26.01.17 Good luck Rob!

26.01.17 Good luck Rob!!

26.01.17 Good Luck Rob!

26.01.17 Good luck!

26.01.17 Good Luck hope you have been training


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