Detective Sergeant Gergina Lloyd takes on 12 challenges to thank the team that helped put her back together

Georgie said: “I am a Police Officer with South Wales Police. In March 2016 after a series of trigger events I made an appointment with my GP after feeling physically and mentally exhausted. I was a temporary promoted Inspector and doing well at work; however, my life seemed to crumble around me. I had failed IVF treatment and a marriage break up so consumed myself in an already stressful job to block out reality.

“I was initially diagnosed with depression and was prescribed medication. Throughout the year my mental illness got progressively worse and in October 2016 I was found on Penarth beach by my police colleagues whilst wanting to take my life. I was conveyed to hospital where I was looked after and assessed. This was not to be the first time that I had to attend at A&E. In November 2017 I returned after an overdose of paracetamol. My diagnosis has changed over time to include, stress, anxiety, personality and adjustment disorder.

“I have always been physically active having played hockey for Wales. At the age of 16 I sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury and was told that I would never run again. Determined to defy this, I returned to sport. I was plagued by knees injuries during my twenties and thirties, and I was told that I had the knees of a 70 year old.

“I would not stop running and since having counselling in relation to my mental illness it is apparent that I was using exercise as a form of self harm. Four years ago, I had my last major operation (tibial osteotomy) and my knee is functioning well thanks to the staff at CAVOC.

“I took part in a BBC1 TV documentary called Mind over Marathon in 2017 which changed the way I exercised. Rather than use it as punishment (as I saw myself as a failure) I channelled my thoughts differently. The documentary followed 10 people who suffered from a mental illness as we trained to run the London marathon. The program was supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry who I have been fortunate to meet on a number of occasions. I am pleased to say that I completed the marathon.

“The support and positivity which I received from my involvement in the program inspired me to carry on with structured exercise as I saw how beneficial it was to my mental health.

“My knees were holding out and being an ‘all or nothing person’ I looked for new challenges to keep me focused. Still off work, the routine also gave me structure and positivity.

“I decided that 2018 would be the year that I would take part in Ironman Wales. I knew this would be a massive challenge for me physically and mentally but I knew it was one event that I had to do especially as it was in Tenby where I am from. I decided to add in some sporting events around it and fundraise at the same time.

This year Georgia has completed:

  • London Big Vitality half marathon
  • London marathon
  • Barry Island sprint triathlon
  • Cardiff Olympic triathlon
  • Velothon
  • Tenby Long Course weekend (2.4 mile sea swim)
  • Tenby Long Course weekend (112 mile cycle)
  • Tenby Long Course weekend (Half marathon)
  • Barry Island 10k
  • Ironman Wales (2.4 mile sea swim, 112 mile cycle, 26.2. mile run)
  • Swim the Serpentine (2 mile swim)

She now aims to complete The Cardiff Half Marathon on 7th October.

“Having been told that I would not run again at a young age I have outperformed expectation to complete these events.

“I sunk into deep depression and wanted to end my life on many occasions. It was only through circumstance and the amazing help and support from my GP, A&E staff, Psychiatrists and counsellors that I am still here and able to tell my story to help others.

“I now speak out about mental illness and have a successful blog: depresseddetective.com and I am in the process of writing a book which will hopefully help and inspire others in a similar situation.

“The team at CAVOC physically put me back together to enable me to have an active lifestyle. I know that when I am unable to exercise my mood and depression hits a low. I am grateful for this and for the help I received from physiotherapists.

“The support I have had from my GP and local mental health services has been excellent. Without them I do not know where I would be.

“I decided to fundraise for Cardiff & Vale Health Charity to show my appreciation and to raise money for services in the local community.

If you’d like to donate to Georgie’s fundraising please visit www.justgiving.com/Georgina-LLoyd2.

If you would like more information on how you can help the Make it Better Fund and other funds within Cardiff & Vale Health Charity, please call 029 2184 1802 or email fundraising.cav@wales.nhs.uk

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Nathan Spackman

Nathan is the Operations Director at Bro Radio. You'll hear him reading local news, hosting at local events and presenting our facebook live videos.