I was at a point in my life where I could no longer go on; I had lost my confidence. I could go days, sometimes weeks, without sleep as panic and anxiety took over my life. At this time I was looking after family members (my beautiful daughter and husband) who have since passed away, as well as working long hours, and taking on additional responsibilities at work, it made it difficult to take care of myself physically and mentally. After a nervous breakdown, I was so frightened that I developed jerking muscles in my right arm and hand, which my GP said was caused by severe exhaustion.
I now try to swim every day in the sea, and I truly believe that sea swimming and being in the natural world is playing a huge part in supporting with my mental health and well-being recovery.
The sea has brought my confidence back, I rarely feel afraid, I sleep well. Although I still have struggles, I am able to overcome them with the help of the sea and the support of community swimmers, and the benefits gained from swimming in the sea with them.
I feel valued, supported, and understood by the other swimmers, who vary in ages and have shared their own experiences of love, sadness, and loss with me. Being part of a tribe of people who all enjoy the same thing makes me feel less alone and has given me back a purpose in life.
Sometimes it can be hard to swim, especially in the winter when it is stormy, dark and cold, but I never forget my struggles with life. By swimming at dawn every day, I am putting myself first, caring for me, topping up my own joy and energy levels, and protecting my ability to better manage whatever life throws at me.