Can you fix your mental space on a range?

I have shared my battles with my mental health, the only possible good that can come of my darkest thoughts, is that by sharing my experiences they may help someone else.

I was in a good place, perfect? No, there’s no such thing but lots of good stuff and the other stuff was balanced and I could deal with it because of the good stuff. A bump in the road in July 2021, but on I carried. Then boom November 2021! I carried on in my belief that it was fixable for 6 months. May 2022 and I found myself sat on the shooting line at Kestrels, a place I love, surrounded by friends and a bunch of people from my then club, some who I had convinced to join me, some in their first competition.

What happened that day was massive, I broke down after months of trying to carry on. I cried for 48 arrows! I wanted to leave and go home, I knew that if I did I would never pick up a bow again. I no longer cared and I wanted to leave. However, there were people there who I had convinced to compete for the first time! So I stayed and it was horrific.

In the year since? I sank further in the next few weeks, I was supported by some very special people and tried to carry on. Just a few weeks later I was told I had no place in this sport in any role of any kind and that I should walk away. I almost did.

Some very real conversations and here I am. I have worked hard, harder than I thought I was capable of.

So I needed to test exactly how much I have improved, in my head space. Am I strong enough to carry on in this sport?

In my opinion the very best way to test that was to enter that same competition a year later and see what happened. Issues with my kit meant I was turning up with a bow that wasn’t set up properly and certainly not tuned, none of that matters, if every arrow went in the grass it simply wouldn’t matter because I was not going for the scores!

I knew I had lots of support there and if I needed it I could reach out, and if I had to leave then I would.

My aim? To arrive smiling, maintain that and leave smiling.

Though I woke up a little anxious as I knew that if this didn’t go well it could be a disaster – I was also excited. So I got dressed and away we set, my friend was joining me and we would have fun.

Well, when I was sat on the shooting line I was smiling, I was buzzing!

The shooting wasn’t great – erm – remember the bow wasn’t set up! Who cares, I laughed and I smiled and I enjoyed the space and the people and I just kept shooting, there was not a spell during the day when I wasn’t relaxed or happy! Perfect! There were moments when I laughed and laughed.

At the end of the day my score was rubbish, though despite being a chunk off my PB it was actually a huge improvement on last year!

I can confirm that the fight and the work of the last year has been worth it, I cannot begin to explain how very much better I was on that range in 2023 compared to 2022! I cannot wait to shoot it properly in 2024! Date marked on the calendar already!

Proof that you can work hard and improve. My mental health is something I will work on forever, but absolutely worth the effort 🙂❤️🏹