Thursday, 31 August 2017

Why I walk Parallel London for for anxiety and dyspraxia

On the 3rd of September, my mum and I will be walking Parallel London 10k. Returning from injury my boyfriend Matt is planning to hobble somehow around the 10k course too. Earlier this year he blogged about why he has been running for Anxiety UK and Dyspraxia Foundation. I thought I would share some of my experiences both growing up and as an adult.

We begin our story when we meet a little girl who never knew why she worried so much, got so overwhelmed and anxious, could never put her hand up in class, and why she was the only person in her reception class photo with an arm in a sling and was different. I had no idea I had an anxietyuntil I reached adulthood and dyspraxia was very much unheard of.

Whenever the subject P.E was brought up at school it made me feel full of dread, It made me feel embarrassed and very self -conscious too. I'm dyspraxic which means it takes me longer to process information and day to day tasks many people take for granted take that bit longer. The messages and wiring from the brain to the body get jumbled up. Everyone who is dyspraxic is very much different you'll never meet two of the same and it's still a very misunderstood condition, I'm a unique, quirky soul. I  have always found making friends difficult alongside my social anxiety, but I am also creative, with a really vivid imagination, huge love of animals and hard working.

Again everyone who has social anxiety/anxiety is different.  For me I mainly find feeling calm, social situations, being in groups of people, trying new things, going to new places, meeting new people and initiating conversations and new and the unknown, difficult. I also have quite a big fear of judgment and saying the wrong thing or appearing boring and can take me a while to come out of my shell.  I'm  an over-thinker and worrier.

At school, I was always the one who was chosen last to be a part of the team, the person nobody wanted to be partnered with and the one who was always last and experienced bullying which had quite a big impact on my social anxiety and confidence/self-esteem.

A few years ago my mental health hit rock bottom due to workplace bullying and I struggled with depression. I decided after this I didn't w
ant others to go through or feel what I felt alone, through these blogs and the awareness work I do hopefully educate others about issues invisible to the eye. I struggled in silence and it took me to be an adult to finally know I had anxiety/social anxiety and issues with low mood.  I would hate for other people to wait for so long like I did and struggle so long by themselves. Anxiety especially social anxiety  is still quite a challenge for me, but I hope with therapy in time to manage it. It's made me have empathy and understanding towards others.

The concept of me going around a 10k course even walking is quite a daunting one for someone with anxiety and dyspraxia and I am starting to feel the anxiety build up towards it with the unknown. Parallel London is a fully inclusive event meaning anyone with any kind of physical difficulty or disability and/or mental health condition can take part free of judgment, that also has designated areas that if people feel anxious or overwhelmed they can go to.

Last year I completed the 5k event with Matt and it really did open my eyes seeing people with severe and complex needs being able to take part in their own way. More events need to be more inclusive. Confidence and self-esteem alongside my anxiety is quite a big challenge for me  and make me struggle with low mood as I doubt and am far too hard on myself  so by completing this event it will give me a boost. Those around me say that I never give up, a persevere and
and so hopefully the event will help me believe in myself a little bit more.

Anxiety UK does amazing work alongside other mental health charities to reduce the stigma surrounding these and have always been caring. The Dyspraxia Foundation helped my family a lot when I was growing up and have helped me a lot as an adult by putting on conferences, so my mum will be giving back by taking herself.  The ladies from the office and other supporters are also taking part in Parallel, as for them this isn't something which is their usual forte.

We all are very much doing it mainly for awareness but if you have any spare money around to sponsor us, it will be gratefully appreciated. As individuals we do ok, but together we really can make a difference!

Until next time ......

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