Wonderful Thistle wellbeing practitioner, Mandy Edmond, reflects on her incredible decision to swim in the ocean every day in January to raise funds for the work Thistle does.

"I think people’s mental strength is amazing. What people live with, manage, and get through is sometimes unimaginable, and the skills and strengths they dig deep for daily, is incredible. Through the lens of a Practitioner I am lucky to work alongside people on their journey, and have witnessed the lifechanging difference support has made to them; support we can only offer due to the financial support we receive from our donors and funders.



Someone recently said to me, “you can’t write the essay without establishing your title,” and I find myself often referring to this when someone initially accesses support at Thistle. What do I mean by this? When we explore together what the person is hoping for in their life, the path towards their preferred future begins to become clearer for them, and the essay starts to write itself more easily! Through careful active listening we notice what has been different for that person that week, and we listen out for strengths they often are unaware they have. When people attend our Lifestyle Management Courses, the change in them over a few weeks is really noticeable. People’s skills and resources are rediscovered and it helps them to build life around what is important to them. The change is visible looking at someone – their demeanour changes, their increased confidence, self-belief and sense of purpose, their extended social life, social connection, their daily routine… and the size of their smile! It’s a privilege to be part of such a journey towards someone’s recovery.


I wanted to raise money for Thistle to help fund a person to access support with Thistle, and decided to combine this with the thing that keeps me well: sea swimming. 


People often say to me that I am brave for swimming in the sea all year round. It’s hard to own a compliment when you don’t feel it yourself. This is one of the things we look at on our course when we cover communication and compliments. I thank them, with an imposter syndrome smile! Me? Brave? Nah, it just makes me feel good and helps me stay afloat through the difficult stuff I have in my personal life. Wild swimming is so much more than being in freezing cold water in a swim suit! The instant exhilaration it brings is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Complete reset. The giggles with friends, the birds overhead, the stillness of flat calm, the madness of splashing waves, the changeable sky and jet plane lines, the kite surfers, the sunrise, the sunset, the dark early morning swims with pinging bright stars and a full moon. It’s more than just cold. It gives a 180 degree spin around after a stressful day, sleep deprived body, busy spinning mind. I plunge into nature’s spa and those feelings of overwhelm truly do ebb away. My perception changes, I feel a sense of gratitude for the experience I’ve had and remind myself that I am, in fact, brave!  I return home and just feel lighter. Mentally and physically lighter. Do more of what makes you feel good. That’s why I wanted to commit to doing this every day, to help me, while helping others, by raising money for Thistle."


Mandy raised a fantastic £620 over at her Just Giving page and you can see some more of the amazing photos she took on her instagram @SaltWaterMandy

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