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Lauren & Liam's SANE Skydive
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28th May 2015

My other half, Liam and I did the fundraising sky dive on Sunday!!! Wooooo!!! As it stands we have raised an incredible £1124.19 for SANE. We are both so very humbled by the fantastic support and generosity of our sponsors. The day itself could have not gone better! The sun was shining - it was a glorious morning and perfect conditions to jump from a plane at 12,000ft! 

I felt incredibly nervous from the moment I awoke on Sunday morning. After being diagnosed with Chronic Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder in the latter part of 2014 I have felt my self-esteem pretty much plummet. 

As Sunday morning wore on I became increasingly anxious.  By the time Liam and I in the pre-jum training session I could barely concentrate, as the voice of doubt was just would not shut up in my head "You can't do this.... You're not strong enough anymore....  Just go home".

With my heart thumping in my throat and my hands shaking, the plane took off.  As the plane ascended slowly to 12,000ft I had to choke back the tears and breathe deeply to keep myself together.  Liam could see how nervous I was and gave my hand a squeeze for reassurance. 

As I looked up at him I thought of everyone who had and would be positively affected by our sky dive.  I thought of our generous donors. The people out there also struggling with their own mental health who would receive support from SANE with the funds raised.  I thought of everyone who believes in me when I am unable to believe in myself.  

I took a deep breath and as I hung out of the plane shouting "NO NO NO" I went for it and I am so pleased I did. It was without doubt the most phenomenal experience and greatest achievement of my life. With the adrenaline vibrating through every inch of my being, I screamed with excitement as I hurtled back to earth.  

When we landed I was interviewed and found it very hard to speak as I was having difficulty fighting back the tears. I just felt so overwhelmed and proud - I had done it! I just could not believe it! Liam and I had the biggest celebratory hug with my family.  It felt amazing to have both my family and random bystanders there giving us both a big round of applause. 

It is hard to believe that I was on the phone, in tears, to my local mental health team only 4 days earlier pleading to see someone.  I feel absolutely let down to the point of despair by them.   I was transferred to a new team in March in the hope they would provide a more regular service as my previous team were becoming increasingly difficult to see.  In March I was told I would receive an appointment "imminently". After hearing nothing, I called them on 6th April to chase this up, again assured I would hear from them soon. 

The latter parts of April and early May have been very challenging for me with my condition.  It is a horribly isolating feeling and has, at its worse, taken sheer grit and determination to even make it through each day. My "dark thoughts" have at times escalated to the point where I feel I will never smile again.  I feel guilty for drawing on the support of my loved ones and colleagues as much as I do.  I genuinely do not know what I would do without them all. 

As mentioned, I chased the MH team for a third time last week.  Even though I was obviously upset, I was, again, fobbed off with another "We have your details. We will mark you as urgent and be in touch with you soon".  As it stands today, I still have not heard a thing from them.  It is utterly heartbreaking and frustrating.  In all of this, the single thing that upsets and angers me the most is knowing that my case is not an isolated incident. Far from it. 

Therefore we need to support and cherish every single mental health charity, like SANE, doing everything they can with their limited funds to help.  I personally want to thank every single mental health volunteer who are giving up their time to do what they can to help the people who undoubtedly need it most. The world needs more people like you. I also want to thank SANE for using their funds so wisely. Both the text service and crisis helpline are of invaluable support in times of difficulty. 

I set myself the challenge of completing a Sky Dive as I wanted to chose something that would require strength and courage.  I jumped out of a plane at 12,000ft not only to raise funds for the wonderful SANE but also for every single person out there who is battling a mental health condition, regardless of what it might be.  The Sky Dive is a well needed reminder that we are STRONG. That is why we fight our battles with such dignity and determination. 

If anyone else would like to add to our wonderful tally we would be so thankful. You can do so at justgiving.com/Lauren-and-liam 

I speak on behalf of both Liam and myself when I say it has been an honour raising funds for SANE. It is a wonderful feeling for both of us to know our - and our sponsors - actions have made a difference. We look forward to another challenge in the future. Keep on battling xxx

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