Dr Rachelle Silver recently achieved some major milestones; becoming a fellowed GP, a solo swim across the English Channel and exceeding her fundraising target for Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).
After the birth of her third child, and the realisation she was suffering from postnatal depression, Dr Silver returned to swimming as part of her recovery.
Three years of intensive and focused training later, she crossed the channel in just less than 16 hours, joining an elite group of long distance swimmers.
“Some aspects of the swim were what I expected, some aspects went better like my nutrition and being in the cold water, whereas being in French waters with the strong tides and currents was harder than I expected.
“With everything I had given up and worked for it was terrifying to think I wouldn’t get there.
“To finish the swim was a huge relief, and to also exceed the fundraising target was a relief,” she said.
Dr Silver used her channel swim to raise funds for PANDA, an organisation very close to her heart. Her initial fundraising target of $20,000 has been exceeded, however donations can still be made at mycause.
“PANDA is a cause I feel passionate about, having experienced postnatal depression, I was thrilled to discover PANDA and the work they do, and the support they give to families and health care professionals.
“It’s lovely when I see someone and they mention the swim, it’s so satisfying that people are still asking how to donate,” she said.
According to Dr Silver there are definite parallels between endurance swimming and GP training.
“I started medical school 18 years ago – it has been an ultra-marathon and it’s also been incredibly satisfying.
“Through the course of my GP training I’ve had to accommodate my family and swimming training.
“I never knew what challenge might come up, in GP training you never know what might walk through the door and swimming is the same, you don’t know what might happen in the water.
“You need a strong head to manage both of those situations.
“But I’ve also had a very supportive swimming community and in GP training, there have been supportive fellow GPs and practices,” Dr Silver said.
And the next challenge?
“I’m still swimming – I love it for fitness and the other benefits.
“I want to focus on building my skills in general practice, including my dermatology skills. Now I have time to focus on that.”