I do not hide my battles with mental health, I don’t share everything with everybody either. It’s important to me that I don’t hide it, I have nothing to be ashamed of! By sharing, occasionally I am told it helps others too.
That said, sure I am stronger than I was last year but to be considered strong I still have a long way to go and I work at it daily. It doesn’t take much to make me wobble.
Last year was nearly my end, I survived, I didn’t hide, I know from past experiences that hiding gets easier and easier with every day that passes until months have passed and I haven’t left the house so this was important.
When you volunteer at big events you do a lot of hours, you are exhausted and the longer you are away from home – it all adds up and takes you to the edge. So last year I volunteered at the European Youth Championships – 10 days. This was just 3 months after the day that I survived so fragile, vulnerable – lots of words could be used to describe me.
On the Wednesday I was exhausted, shattered and being pushed from pillar to post by demands from 3 people, demands that clashed with each other and I found myself in a place I knew I shouldn’t be, doing something that I shouldn’t be, I had tried to avoid exactly that all morning but the people making the demands were not listening.
I found myself in a space distraught and wanting, needing to go home, trying to explain. At the same time knowing if I quit and left I would likely not make it half way home before being desperately upset and disappointed in myself and wishing I had stayed.
Stay I did, sorted myself out and got on with it! Not pretty and certainly in part caused by how immensely fragile I was.
Fast forward 48 weeks, I am stronger but not yet strong. Still recovering from what happened 16/5/22.
I know my journey, that took me from 1996 to 2021, the destruction from November 2021 to May 2022. The path to August 2022 and onto July 2023. Who I share what with? That’s up to me.
Imagine though, battling your own fight and having someone say, well it must have been a good day, Helen didn’t cry today! Certainly nothing like she did last August! For the next week, similar comments every day, well it’s better than last year when you broke down and cried and had to be taken off the field!
Now I don’t believe the person who said it meant harm. It’s bemusing to me as we have spent time on the range together since last August and it’s not been mentioned so why now and why so often? I replied several times, in ways that I believe should have ended the comments, but it didn’t stop. So I tried to ignore it. Thing is, now more people know about that day and in a way that only makes me look weak. Giving other ways to dig at me. In fact someone else who didn’t even know me last August and was nowhere near the range started to make comments in reference to it!
I have thought long and hard for the last 2 weeks, but it’s not ok. What happened happened, and it doesn’t matter why. If you saw me distressed last year and now I appear stronger why on earth would you use it to behave in such a way!
Be kind – always but also, be mindful because you know little to nothing of what another person has lived through – and now your behaviour has set me back, but also given another person something to use against me.
So this last week, I have had meetings, lots of them, in person and via the web, thank goodness for the internet and technology.
Activity partnerships and community groups reviewing existing projects and planning next steps and what I can help achieve, some exciting things there.
Activity partnerships, new groups and new projects, announcements to come over the next few weeks.
3 archers deciding to leave or adapt to remain within the sport who have allowed me in to help with their decisions and to find them the correct support, hopeful that they can stay in our sport that they love.
Last night (or was that this morning) my first collaboration meeting with a project across three cities over the water. Massively scaled down from what the plans had been last year when I had been building work for someone else but the people involved still wanted what I had always going to give and though they have offered me something huge I have, at this time kept it small to allow me to step forward slowly. Exciting though that my work here over the last 5-6 years within local and wider communities sees me invited into a project that covers communities in the UK and the USA.
So as my meeting was at 2am here I am now off to bed as I have work tomorrow!
Take care of yourself and for me, this week sees the beginning of my flight season 🥳