A runner is undertaking a marathon a month during 2019 to raise awareness of mental health issues and in memory of a friend who took his own life.
Jamie Layton, 25, lost his friend Duncan Kirkup, 21, three years ago while they were both studying accountancy at university.
Accountant Jamie told how Duncan was suffering from anxiety due to the pressure of university, to the point where he looked like ‘the lights were not switched on anymore’.
He revealed how Duncan took his own life a week after opening up a little about what he was experiencing.
Jamie said: “It was dreadful - such a huge shock when you’re with someone every day then they’re suddenly gone. It was just really bizarre.
“My own anxiety got ridiculous after that - I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about missing this in somebody else.”
Jamie, who has suffered with anxiety for ‘as long as he can remember’, explained how there had ‘always been this constant feeling in the pit of my stomach that something is wrong’.
In a fundraising page for his marathon challenge he wrote (SIC): “When I was younger, I thought it was just normal, that everyone felt it.
“But as I’ve got older, it became clear that I shouldn’t feel like this and it was in fact mad anxiety.”
He wrote how pal Duncan’s death triggered something that made him ‘lose control’ until matters came to a head and he decided to end his own life.
After ‘talking himself out of’ the suicide plan Jamie finally opened up to family and friends and sought help from medical professionals.
He wrote: “This was a turning point for me. This wasn’t a life. For the first time, I let people in to my struggle (which was the best decision I ever made).”
Since January Jamie has run the Gloucester and Cambridge marathons and is running the Manchester and Liverpool marathons in April and May.
He plans to fit two marathons into one of the remaining months to make up for the one he missed in February following a knee injury.
Jamie is fundraising for suicide prevention charity PAPYRUS. To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/james-layton3.
PAPYRUS runs a confidential support and advice service for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide; or anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide. Call 0800 068 41 41, text 07786 209 697 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.