NAC Diver Oliver Dingley is encouraging the nation to take pen to paper to write their own Sunrise Note and share their stories of finding hope in the darkness.
It comes as part of his role as an ambassador for this year’s Special Darkness Into Light event which takes place on May 8.
This year, participants can walk, run, swim, hike, bike or simply share One Sunrise Together for Darkness Into Light, as organised walks are not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The concept of writing and sharing a heartfelt note will help normalise the challenges people have been facing this year, bringing people together through shared experiences of finding light in the darkness.
For his part, Dingley has known the effects of depression, making this something particularly close to his heart.
In his Sunrise Note, the Olympian wrote: “People always say you should talk to someone, but how do you put into words something you don’t understand yourself? How do you explain that you want to live your life when you don’t even know how you can?
“For many years, I was stranded with this inability to change my own situation. From my own experience many people assume that depression is just “being sad” or “fed up” and you should just “man up” (I was even told to do just that). Depression is an illness that can take over your life, some days it feels impossible, the simplest of tasks can feel arduous.
“But every now and again, I found a chink of light through the dark clouds that had ascended over me. Those were the moments that felt precious and, in turn, they became the moments I lived for.
“Looking back, I believe that when you look for positivity your brain remembers and the more you do it, the more good things you will notice. It’s all about the little wins and remembering to look for the good things that happen to you. Although hard to grasp at the time, this became a mantra I would use.
“My saving grace over the last few years has been communication. Something I initially could not bring myself to do. For a long time, I could barely bring myself to have a shower and eat, let alone have a conversation about my thoughts and feelings.
“I felt like a burden to those around me. An inconvenience who was better off not being around. I eventually did find a little strength within to break out of this self-inflicted isolation, reaching out to those closest and that sense of connection has become an important part of my own recovery.
“Whether you live on your own or with others, being connected to other people is really important, sometimes just having a chat can make the world seem a brighter place.”
For more information, go to darknessintolight.ie