Oly, once the magnetic figure who effortlessly drew everyone’s attention during his school years, was known for his vast circles of friendship, his passion for sports, and his popularity as a kind-hearted individual. Yet, concealed from view, he grappled with a hidden struggle – daily rituals, routines, and compulsions that stemmed from the age of 7.
Silently wrestling with intrusive thoughts entwined with obsessive behaviours, he was trapped by what he would later recognise as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). In retrospect, Oly acknowledges the remarkable coping mechanisms he established during his school days, which helped him navigate his inner turmoil with OCD & ADHD. However, as he moved past his school years, he encountered less healthy coping strategies: increased drinking, and self-neglect, and by 21, his life fell apart entirely.
The intrusive grip of negative thoughts, incessant rumination, intense OCD, and anxiety plunged him into a state of depression. Overnight, his once-beloved pursuits faded, replaced by days steeped in darkness, seemingly endless, and profoundly lonely. This enduring struggle persisted for nearly a decade. Then, in June 2017, at the age of 31, having just been signed off long-term sick for the third time, Oly stumbled upon running as a lifeline, a mechanism for coping that he wholeheartedly believes saved his life. From that point forward, he embarked on the journey of rebuilding, crafting a new life propelled by purpose.
Over the past six years, Oly’s commitment to supporting others through his initiative, Run4YourMind, has reached thousands. He has forged an online community, a global virtual running club with 4000 participants, and imparted his narrative while delivering talks and training to renowned organisations, colleges, and schools worldwide. Through his endeavours, he passionately champions resilience, embracing movement as a catalyst for recovery.
“I firmly believe that no child should bear the burdens I once carried. Empowering the next generation to voice their challenges is key– a journey that begins within the home and finds a crucial ally in educators. Teachers hold a remarkable influence, and I am dedicated to supporting them in this pivotal role. Together we can create an environment where students can be their authentic selves and thrive.”