Community Spotlight: How Tough Mudder Helped With My PTSD

Maria's Sotry - Sewer Rat

We recently caught up with Maria to discuss her story and how Tough Mudder helped with her PTSD. Read on to hear her story.

No specific issues are discussed but please be aware that the topic of PTSD could be triggering.

Maria’s Story

I have PTSD due to a traumatic experience I faced a few year ago. In all honesty, when I signed up to my first Tough Mudder, due to insistence from some friends, I had every intention to pull out last minute. However, due to needing to drive one of the team down to the event, I couldn’t go ahead with my grand plan of hiding under my duvet. With my PTSD, I found that the event wasn’t just challenging in the usual sense of fearing the obstacles but there was a fear of interacting with the Tough Mudder community. Anyone that may have seen my in the starting pit could be confused in thinking I had just finished (minus the mud) rather than waiting to warm up and start. I was shaking, out of breath, crying and sweating. My amazing team were with me and attempting to calm me down.

Through that event, I was completely on edge. I pushed myself through every obstacle and cried through the entire thing. I was carried by my team mate, had my hand held, and screamed in fear at a fair few of the Mudders on course trying to help me. I was not able to help anyone else, it was all about getting myself through to that long awaited finish line. I swore I would never to do this to myself ever again. However, that first event, the community, and my team who refused to let me quiet and supported me at every step, gave me something I had been missing for a very long time back. I felt a sense of who I was, the stubbornness, and drive to do things that pushed my limits. That first event gave me a small taste of myself back, so by the time we hit the motorway on the way home, I was booking my next event for a month later. I gave myself the challenge to help at least one person at every event face their fears. I still get a bit nervous before every event, although I’m not at the point of crying in the start pen anymore, but the nerves are still there so it does still feel like a challenge. I’ve even started to make some Mudder friends over multiple events and felt a regained trust in the world in general from it.

Any Advice To The Community Or First Time Mudders

To anyone with a mental health problem or issue, to me, Tough Mudder is the way to show yourself exactly what you’re capable of achieving. No one judges you for crying, screaming, swearing, or for running as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Everyone is there for the same reason, to challenge themselves in some way, and when it all gets tough day-to-day, remember to remind yourself that you jumped into ice and ran through electricity. You can do this!

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