Roller Derby and mental health
Written by Drrt Cheap
“I haven’t seen [X] for a while – are they okay?”
Sounds really simple, doesn’t it?
Actually, it’s really goddam hard to be vulnerable with people. And when you have a problem with mental health, opening that up to someone else is a bit like asking if someone would like to watch you being publicly skinned.
I’m lucky – I’m a real FEELINGS person and I weasel them out of other people too. But I still have trouble raising my issues with, say, my manager without feeling like a fraud.
Or, perish the thought, asking for help when I’m struggling.
This came to a head quite recently for me, when I had to take a break from everything in order to give my brain a chance to catch its breath.
That meant not going to practice, it meant shirking my board responsibilities and it meant spending a lot of time indoors feeling like crap. And it happened because I kept going when I couldn’t – because I felt like I wasn’t *really* sick, because you couldn’t see an open wound anywhere so it wasn’t real.
And that is exactly the problem.
Time to Talk is today – the 7th of February 2019 – and it’s happening to try and end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Luckily, my club support me when things like this happen. We have a system, we check in on each other. We remind each other that it’s okay to stop when you’re suffering.
Some of my teammates have admitted that they never felt comfortable talking about their mental health issues before, until lots of other people on the team piped up with ‘oh yeah I’m literally a walking bag of garbage’ too.
It helps to be garbage together – to know you’re not alone.
That’s why Leeds Roller Derby are proud to support Mind – the mental health charity. Mind offer practical help as well as support – and are there to make sure no-one has to deal with their mental health alone.
So today, even if your brain is incredibly healthy, try and be vulnerable with someone. Reach out to a teammate, check-in on someone who hasn’t been to practice for a while. Start a conversation that someone is too scared to start on their own.
Your whole team gets stronger when you know you can lean on each other.