1st anniversary 🥳 PTSD awareness day – perfect timing ❤️🏹

Well hello there, pull up a chair!

For those of you who have been here from the beginning you may have noticed the date! 52 weeks in a year right? So that would make today the day! 365 days – yes? So that would make tomorrow the day 😜 but as you know I do my end of week blogs on Tuesday and a midweek blog on Saturday. So please forgive me – I’m using the 52 weeks for my celebrating 🥳

A small group of people woke up 52 weeks ago to a message that I had been up all night with paper scattered all over the floor making lists of pros and cons and planning and the decision had been firmly made that I was sticking with my sport, as an archer, with my projects, getting it out there to new people but also continuing to work with those already in the sport who faced changes of various kinds to stay with the sport. After months of various people telling me I could, I had heard the message the evening before and decided he and all the others offering to support me might be right, I had been doing this for years before I collaborated and I could do it going forward without those collaborations too.

So I needed to set up a business, quickly and move forward with the world understanding who I am and what I wanted to do, but first I needed a name – we had sorted it between us within 3 hours, a logo was next – I had that by tea time! A plan, I had created that in the middle of the night. A website started the following day, a Facebook page, instagram ………. an announcement to the world! What a first week! Community Interest Company – non profit – status granted, terms firmly set. An archery club – a committee and away we went!

6 months allowed me to reveal amazing stats, available because in January 2021 I started to keep stats on my hours as a response to criticism about why a person would volunteer and not do all of these things for profit. Stats on the projects were easy as I had been keeping those for years.

Those figures were seen by my dad, my weekly voice of reality in those 6 months as I started Integr8Archery a week after his diagnosis and the news he only had a few months left. Those conversations were a break for us both from the conversations about his illness, his treatment and the information we had about what his wishes were and what a future without him might be. I was proud he saw those figures, he was proud of what I had achieved in those 6 months. A week later – as I was writing my 27 weeks blog, I was sat chatting to him knowing there was very little time left, but he had wanted to know everything and so we shared the writing of that blog just hours before he lost his fight. I want him here to see what I have to share today, he isn’t, but I know what he would say, because he shared his thoughts and I hear him daily 🤗

So, my 2 a week blogs have kept you up to date with events and plans.

52 weeks in Numbers –

52 weeks = 1085 hours of my time given, for free to Integr8Archery! For every 1 hour there has been a bow in the new hands of 1.9 people! So many sustainable groups along with one off sessions or short term groups. Community groups that strive to include everyone – to hit my aims for equality, inclusion, diversity and accessibility.

“ changing lives through archery”

But what else, we know I don’t just give my time to Integr8Archery.

I have given 206.5 hours of my time to Archery GB to volunteer as part of the competition workforce. I shoot and I love competitions and whilst I am only ever interested in what I am doing, comparing myself only with myself, I know competitions only happen because of volunteers – give it a go! It’s by far the best blue shirt there is, to wear amongst a great volunteer family.

I have also given 34 hours to other things, such as marshalling, I use other sports to help me stay grounded, mix with others. It certainly helps with my headspace to keep my circle wider than my sport, one that I love, but one where I was taken to my knees.

So, that’s 1325.5 hours of my time given as a volunteer across sports. 25.4 hours a week! That’s on top of my very demanding day job, my family and friends and my own shooting. I don’t sleep, we know that, what else would I do with my time 😂🫣🤷‍♀️ I mean we get 168 hours in a week, how do you spend yours 🙃

Thank you to my family, friends, club committee and every coach or ear/shoulder of support from 28/6/22 to date.

It blows my mind that just 6 weeks prior to that I was sat in A&E because I found myself in a place that meant I could only see one answer, simply not to be here at all! Well if I had succeeded that day over 2000 people are unlikely to have picked up a bow!

Seriously though, I have been asked why I share what’s happening with my mental health? Why? Because it might just help even 1 person and if it does that’s what matters.

In the autumn I was formally diagnosed with PTSD, see why it’s relevant that today – my year is also PTSD awareness day!

My mental health has been an issue since 1996 and the trauma that changed everything, over the years it’s created a number of issues and I do share about them. I have had a number of ways to deal with that and learn methods to handle the issues that I face and live with. However from November 2021 to June 2022 someone set about destroying those methods leaving me in a darker place, with my grounding and management techniques removed – coping was unlikely.

My counsellor is amazing, without a doubt a focus has helped and here I sit, with these amazing numbers to show as a result of that focus.

I have tried new things, we’re still learning how to replace what I had taken. I do know that if you look at how relaxed I am on the range, shooting, smiling on arrival and departure – wow, look at the change from the fear and the tears of 2022. Thank you for the support and hugs and patience that I was shown and to the clubs who now give me safe space where I know my mind can calm.

There have been happenings in the last couple of weeks that have made me stumble and I can say that I am about to embark on another new step, having signed up to a programme with The Frank Bruno Foundation. I will let you know how it goes.

I sit here with a list of planned events, new ideas bouncing around even just Monday 26/6/23 seeing communications starting around some possible VI work and new sustainable sessions. Exciting things to come in the second year of Integr8Archery CIC. I am proud of what I have achieved so far and excited about what is to come. You are welcome to continue to join me – the 2 blogs a week will continue for those who are interested. Saturday will give you a little more information about how those numbers I have quoted here breakdown.

Today? Eat cake and raise a cuppa with me 🥳

See you all soon, it is a privilege to be allowed to be a part of what our sport can give to those who pick up a bow ❤️🏹 thank you 🥰