Steph's story: overcoming my fear and anxiety with a skydive for Mental Health Awareness Week

This content mentions anxiety, depression and panic attacks, which some people may find triggering.

On 14 May 2022, I threw myself out of a plane! Actually, I was securely strapped to a qualified instructor who I put my complete faith in that they knew what they were doing! So why did I do this?

For many years now I have lived with depression and anxiety. Depression has a habit of sneaking up when things start to get on top of me. It only takes a few triggers, and I can be sent into a tailspin. Thankfully, this doesn't happen too frequently, but when it does, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But from experience, I have found that there always is.

Anxiety, however, plagues me on a daily basis. The analogy of the devil and angel on your shoulder is a pretty good way to sum up my internal dialogue. That little devil is always chattering about things that could go wrong and likes to point out my faults and failures. He reminds me regularly of all the things I am not good at and tells me I can't do things because I am afraid.

When I think about it, I am afraid of a lot.

Dying, flying, heights, small spaces, crowds, failure, sprouting eyes on potatoes... the list goes on!

The worst thing is these fears stop me from having great experiences. I would avoid a trip to London for fear of having a panic attack on the train. Trips anywhere that involve trains and tunnels are avoided unless absolutely essential and have to be strategically planned to avoid busy periods.

And as for planes, plummeting from the sky in a confined space with no means of escape, packed in with loads of people, is enough to send me running for the hills!

Stephs Mental Health Awareness Week Skydive

I purposely haven't renewed my passport, which expired ten years ago, so I won’t be able to get on a plane.

I would LOVE to go to a festival, but never have because I am afraid of crowds.

At the start of the year, I decided that 2022 was the year I was going to stop being afraid. I am going to face my fears head-on! And what better way to tackle a lot of my fears in one than to do a skydive! I am also hoping that by doing this, I will also give other people who suffer the courage to face their fears too.

The skydive was petrifying and exhilarating all in one go! There were moments of pure terror combined with sheer excitement and adrenaline. I don't think I could ever top that experience, but now I know that whenever I am floundering or thinking I can't do something - I will think back to the day when I threw myself out of a plane and know that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.

And, of course, I wanted to raise lots of money for the Mental Health Foundation, which does so much work around raising mental health awareness and prevention. So far, I have raised £1420 for the Foundation. Thank you to everyone that has donated and supported me through this truly life-changing event!

Mental Health Awareness Week Skydive

Make 2023 the year you do something amazing and take on a skydive for Mental Health Awareness week in May!
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Mental Health Awareness Week Skydive

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A-Z Topic: Depression

A-Z Topic: Anxiety

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