On Saturday 1st July I held a charity event for Mind the mental health charity. It was a charity football match with Raffle, tombola, face painting and bouncy castles. I am happy to report that it was a huge success.
My mental health issues have been something I have hidden away all my life. I hid it from other people but also myself. Now, however, I could not be any different. I am blogging about my mental health every week. Talking to people, having interviews with local media and of course holding this charity event.
I have chosen to talk about these issues a lot more openly for a few reasons. 1, Why should I hide away anymore? I am poorly but I didn’t ask to be. It’s not my fault. If I had a broken leg or had a heart attack no one would expect me to lie and hide it. Why should mental health be any different? 2, I have suffered a huge amount. To be honest still do at times and I do not want people to suffer as I have. I want people to be able to open up and not be judged. I want people to be able to access care with out feeling ashamed.
I chose to hold this event for Mind as I found them to be so helpful when I was at my worst. Not only the help they provided over the phone when I was let down by the NHS but also by the fantastic resources they have online. I printed so many of the booklets off and gave them to family to read so that they got a better understanding of my different diagnosis’. It really helped me and I know it has and continues to help others suffering.
I have wanted to hold a charity event or be a part of one for sometime but I had to wait until I was well enough. Physically and mentally. And Saturday was the day! I chose a charity football match as my husband plays semi professionally and I knew he could help me with that side of things if I needed it. Oh and boy did I!
Majority of the planning was ok. I managed fine. It took a lot of hard work – a lot more than I ever anticipated – but I was enjoying it. However, there were times that I found things really difficult. I felt like I was going to cancel it and forget it all. I struggled with my stress, anxiety and had a few periods of feeling very low. However, like I mentioned my amazing husband was my rock. He really kept me going. He kept reminding why I was doing this and even took over some responsibilities at difficult times. How lucky am I?
My perfectionist nature made this whole process a lot more difficult than it should have been. Everything – yes everything – had to be ‘perfect’. The posters I made, the prizes had to be just right, timings, set up, everything! That in itself is exhausting. I have a very good friend who is also a self confessed perfectionist and she was a great help to me before and during the event.
I was also absolutely petrified that it would be a complete flop! No one would turn up. It was going to be a complete failure! I was convinced of this! It was causing me weeks of sleepless nights, mood swings and severe anxiety. It was hard. But unfortunately that is the nature of mental illness. It attacks you when you you are at most vulnerable and makes you believe those negative thoughts.
The day itself began in a pretty stressful way. I had a panic attack in the morning and was 100% convinced I was not going to attend the event. I was telling my husband that he needs to do this alone or cancel it. I couldn’t do it. Luckily I calmed down with his help and got my focus back and the event went ahead.
I am very blessed to have such amazing friends and family that helped on the day. Setting up, running stalls, face painting and more. All to help me not get overwhelmed and raise money for a very important cause. I did have moments where I began to feel like things were getting too much but I listened to my mind and body and took those times out to walk around and take it all in slowly. This was very important to me.
The charity event really was a success. We raised a total of £1410! Not bad for 4 hours work. I really cant thank everyone enough for turning up and donating. You have helped raise money, yes but also, more importantly you have helped spread awareness for mental health!
So, now to plan next years ……
Lots of love
Also I must say a big thank you to Marc Keinch for his fantastic photography on the day.