Sunday 3rd July 2016 (2.01pm)

6/10 – I got to the pool at 7.30am for an early swim in the outdoor pool. When I woke up I felt tired and any form of exercise was the last thing I wanted to do. I know that if I did not make the effort then I would be really annoyed with myself. As usual, I am so glad I made the effort. The pure feeling I get from moving through the water is exhilarating. I may not be the fastest but I have the stamina and fitness to keep going.

I learnt to swim at the age of 3 or 4, helped by the fact my mum was a swimming teacher. My early years were spent at the local swimming club, Tenby Dolphins. I loved swimming, I built up some good friendships and it taught me many skills, not just the essentials of staying alive in the water and life saving. From an early age I have been involved in sports and competition, perhaps this is what gives me my competitive drive. As I got older and moved in to comprehensive school, my swimming gave way to amongst other sports, hockey. Whilst I am not going to blog here about my sporting achievements, up until recently (and after about a 20 year break from it) I started swimming again. Why? In a moment of madness I decided to enter Tenby Longcourse weekend, whilst other distances are available, I entered the 2.4 mile (sea swim), 112 mile bike ride and the the half marathon which takes place over 3 days. So after entering on 6th January 2016 I thought that if I am going to stay alive in the water then I best get my butt training in the pool. Since this time I have spent hours in the pool, swimming many miles. When I was in work, this meant getting up at 5am a couple of times a week to get my training in beforehand. The triathlon last week was my first real test and my first experience of outdoor swimming. Whilst this has given me some confidence for Friday, I just need to sort out the small matter of seasickness! So this is why I swim and I am pleased that I have got back into it. It has been great for my mental health. I have met a new group of friends and my fitness has greatly improved. I may be saying something different this time next week.

I got chatting to a lady at the gym who knows about my depression. She has always regarded me as someone who ‘has it sorted’. By this I come over as someone is chatty, confident, I have a good job and I am athletic. It is amazing what you can hide behind. I said that whilst I portrayed that person, deep down I was experiencing a lot of pain and suffering.

I cannot quite work out why I have only scored 6/10. I have had a nice day, I feel like I am making progress, I feel positive about what I want to to with regards to my own mental health experience to help others, but there is sill a gap in my life.

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