I'm Paula, and I'm training to be the first person ever to swim around mainland Britain!
From April 2018, I'll be swimming in 5-6 hour shifts, day and night, for roughly 6 months, as I aim to be the first person ever to swim around mainland Britain.
I am taking on this crazy challenge to raise awareness of mental health issues, and raise funds for The Mental Health Foundation, as someone who spent 30 years suffering debilitating social anxiety and depression.
After trying out every other able route to recovery, only to end up virtually unable to leave my own home, I finally realised that the only road left was to find a way out of my comfort zone, and back into the world.
And so began a new life of physical and emotional challenges that have seen me standing atop planes, wrestling with Olympians and giving a TEDx talk; constantly challenging both the fear and myself to find out which is bigger. (It turns out, I am!). All to reach where I am today - preparing to swim all the way around mainland Britain.
For this challenge, I am incredibly fortunate to be training with experts, including my Swim Director and coach, Robert Hamilton, and benefiting from the advice and support of Sean Conway: the only person ever to have swam from Land's End to John O'Groats.
I’m building a fantastic team of support crew to make this challenge a real success - and I'd love you to be part of that.
With your support, this swim will not only inspire others to challenge themselves, but will show all those who feel alone and controlled by their anxieties that they are part of something huge and full of adventure, and that they too have a place in that world.
Every penny we receive will go towards funding this massive six-month challenge, providing me and the team with the food, fuel, and seafaring supplies that will keep us going!
Be part of the team
Every week, 1 in 6 adults experiences a mental health issue. Maybe you know that one. Maybe you are that one. Either way, it's not hard to see why mental health awareness is a cause worth swimming for. The Big, Mad Swim Around Britain isn't only one woman's attempt to sink her own fears. It's a chance to start a conversation about mental health - and we'd love you to be part of it.
If you would like to help support Paula’s world-first swim, please back the project here on GoGetFunding.
You can also share this page to let your friends and co-workers know about The Big, Mad Swim Around Britain and how they too can support Paula.
Please like, subscribe and share this page with your friends - and let's talk about mental health to the world.
Hear Paula chat to BBC World Service about her swim.
Watch Paula’s TEDx Talk.