Week 42 – mental health, safe headspace and arrow counting

It is incredibly rare that I ask for anything for myself, particularly in regards to my health – this, above, I tried to do at the weekend!

It’s something that my counsellor and my friends have been trying to get me to work on for a long time. The last few months I have been trying, it’s new to me and a work in progress. Whilst volunteering at the Grand Prix it was something that was discussed with me at length and I worked hard on it, the Wednesday and Thursday actually making decisions to put me first, guess what? The world continued to turn and my family of blue and green shirts not only accepted and welcomed my decisions but encouraged them! I may have taken all of us by surprise! 😱😂

Fast forward to 15th April, I posted my blog, and I asked for 36ish hours for me, I needed to deal with lots of things and they were affecting my mental health, I wanted to get everything in order. Projects, communications, lots of things. Despite my request still people contacted me with questions, queries, none of these could wait that 36 hours, I pointed out to each of those people that I wanted to be left until Sunday evening. Did it stop them! No! So I made some decisions and now people are disappointed 🤷‍♀️ you pushed me, you didn’t let me have that short time I was brave enough to ask for. Apparently for some I didn’t answer questions they didn’t ask 🤷‍♀️ why in this sport is it so often expected that we can mind read?

What I am especially curious of is, if I asked for the weekend because I had a migraine, a stomach bug, an injury, would I have been granted that 36 hours? Is it just mental health that doesn’t get respected? Have a think, you don’t have to answer me, but please do be honest with yourself!

What it did do was confirm work that I have been doing and several events and projects I am working on are most definitely needed as I had already believed.

So now we have people disappointed because I cancelled things, and angry people who have now had things cancelled who were not actually the people pushing me and being disrespectful of my request! So the people who pushed are ok, and I will deal with yet more annoyed folks 🤔

Integr8Archery CIC is mine, a one man band, no one else makes the decisions and no one else chooses what I do, and no one else steps in when I am overwhelmed. I am working on my projects, work that was always mine, my goals, my aims and new ideas. Not for anyone else, for me. There are also a number of other things I have that I may restart, they are mine too. Don’t make the mistake that because people have collaborated in the past dictates what I am doing now, because that would also be disrespectful.

However, what did go well, that I knew would give me the boost when I was thinking of quitting, was my visit to DISC to deliver soft archery, they are such a welcoming and enthusiastic group and a pleasure to spend time with.

Followed by my trip just over the road to shoot with Towcester Archers, some projects discussed and ideas bounced and arrows flung. Last year it was incredibly important to me to create safe spaces for my mind, where, when I am overwhelmed, anxious and scared, I can go to with my bow.

So thank you and much love to Archers of Raunds, Long Buckby archery club, Towcester Archers, Banbury Cross, Kestrels and Bowmen of Glen. By far the most important thing is the gift they give me of space where I am mentally safe to pick up my bow. 

When I started shooting in 2018 I spent hours on the range, practise and competing. From 2018 to 2021 I shot between 800 – 1000 arrows a week. Last year this dropped dramatically – we know why. So I started planning my 2023 outdoor season and how to get that motivation back, perfectly timed as Archery GB advertised for the #greatarrowcount project. I received notification of my involvement in the project which was to start on 1st April. Those first 10 days were impacted by my being at the European Grand Prix but my first week total sees me having shot 570 arrows, not where I want to be but getting back on track for sure.