Hi, my name is Robyn. I am 43 years old. In 2016, I was diagnosed with an extreme form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This was a result of a horrific trauma some years before. After; the lights just went out in my head. The brain does this when confronted by trauma, and you block the pain that you do not want to deal with. Ultimately, I was too ashamed to talk about my symptoms or what had happened to me, and by not doing so I began to experience “flashbacks”, became withdrawn, alone and just wanted to give up.
Sadly my condition became worse and during 2016, I became very unwell. I had battled so hard with my own mind for so many years, that in the end it could not cope. After loving support from family, friends and medical intervention, I began seeing an incredible psychologist who has been with me weekly ever since. I realised then that having someone help you doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means you are not alone anymore.
But therapy, my family & friends were not the only help. That same year I started watching a summer of tennis, and my passion for the sport returned. As a young girl, I was fairly good, school champion etc, but I had not stepped on a court for years. Little did I realise at the time that taking up tennis would help save my life. I purchased a ball machine (and called him Roger!) and I spent hours on court just hitting ball after ball. I began to play matches, had coaching, and really enjoyed learning and laughing whilst playing the sport. Tennis helped steer me away from the constant battle in my head, and more importantly, I realised that I did not feel so alone anymore. At this point, I knew that so much more could be done to help people very much like myself.
Therefore, I set out to create a unique challenge, “Breakpoint 2019”. Designed to help raise awareness of mental illness, and to support a charity that would assist people to gain access to free tennis sessions, thus helping them overcome their own personal challenges. Why? Well sadly there is still too much stigma attached to a mental health condition - particularly in adults - both young & old. I know.....because it has happened to me! . In response, my answer will only ever be this, just because there are scars that are not visibly seen, does not mean that they are not there! Stigma, stopped me from finding help for many many years. until I pushed myself too far! Therapy, talking, tenderness & tennis changed all of that!
Two years on, I am immensely proud of what I am trying to achieve. It is unique, terrifying, exciting and no doubt there will be a tear shed along the way. But this is not only a personal journey for me, but one that I know can help many. I am extremely grateful to Bright Ideas for Tennis for believing in me and seeing that NOW is the time to help improve the quality of life for anyone with a mental health illness, disability or impairment. It really is that simple! In my case it is tennis and a “fuzzy yellow ball” that helped save my life, but it does not need to stop there. All it takes is one smile, one laugh, one hand on your shoulder and one thumbs up!
Therefore, let the challenge commence...
Are you ready to help?