By Olivia Rae
I am proudly participating in Miles for Mind this month, committing to cricketing (coaching, playing, training) at least 50 miles in May. It is a cause that means a great deal to me because I suffer with anxiety and Mind has really helped me to manage this. Every step I take this month is to raise funds for Mind and therefore raise awareness about the work it does for better mental health.
It’s May 24th and I’ve recorded 62 miles already (and there are some miles missing when I have forgotten to charge my Fitbit..!) Even though I have surpassed my official target of 50 miles, a great aspect of Miles For Mind is the support we give each participant to hit their target. So I can, and will, donate my extra miles to those who have struggled to do theirs this month.
Roughly two years ago I went through a period of 3 months where stepping out of my house was too big a challenge but with support and pushing myself to my limits I have been able to achieve so much; the 62 miles I have done so far this month and every step it took for me to get to this point. After the initial steps out of the house, to the supermarket, cinema, yoga and gym; I then took the step to move to London for work. I remember how anxious and sick I felt walking to my first trial coaching session at Lords but this has led to every opportunity I have had since that moment. I am so grateful to have been welcomed to coach with so many amazing clubs, schools and individuals and it is an incredible feeling to be playing cricket again. I am so glad I had the courage to take those first steps and I would not have been able to do it without my family and friends, Mind and the NHS for continuing to support me and enable me to live a full life again.
To anyone who is struggling, you can get through this. One step at a time. Seek help and support from organisations such as Mind or if you feel like you can, talk to anyone close to you. Stay patient, and choose your next manageable step forward. For me, when things got really tough my first manageable step was getting out of bed and making a cup of tea but from there it got me moving. A lot of Netflix series later I would then go with someone close to me to the supermarket and cinema before I felt capable of doing things on my own. You might need someone to take steps for you initially, and that’s ok. Then someone can maybe walk beside you. Eventually you can lead yourself forwards in life with the knowledge that you are ok and there are people there behind to catch you if things get tough. And, sometimes, you might take a step backwards and it’s important to be prepared for this. To know that if you’ve done it once you can do it again. Go back to getting out of bed and making that cup of tea.
I hope that sharing a small part of my story can help others who might be struggling with their mental health. I feel that I have become equipped with skills to help me combat difficulties but also to have a deeper understanding about mental preparation which can help others too.