Today I told my family that on 25 March I will be jumping out of a plane from 10,000 feet to raise money and awareness for Mind.
This was not an easy decision for me to make as I hate flying. When I say hate, I mean loathe with a passion. I didn't fly for ten years as I just couldn't face the thought of getting on a plane, let alone getting on one with young children in tow. But last year my husband and I decided to treat the children to a surprise holiday abroad. I had to swallow my fears as I really didn't want my kids to be afraid of flying too.
"As much as it scares me, this is something I have to do."
This year’s holiday was no different. I transferred my anxieties onto other things, I wrote endless lists and packed and repacked suitcases weeks in advance. Bizarrely, once I was on the plane and in the air I relaxed because everything was out of my control.
In March though things will not be out of my control. I will not only have to get on the plane but will then have to make the conscious decision to jump out of it. This terrifies me and just thinking about it makes me hyperventilate. I'm very lucky to have the support of my family and good friends who are going to come and watch me jump (and hopefully have Prosecco on ice for when I reach the ground!) As much as it scares me, this is something I have to do.
When I turned 40 in 2014 I decided to see challenges as opportunities for experiences. And to say yes to things I would previously turn down flat. So when my sister publicly challenged me on Facebook to do this I knew I would eventually agree.
Why? Because we all have dark days – days where nights are a blessing, days when you can't think of a reason to go on, days where you can’t hear anything but your own anxieties. Not all of us can cope with these dark days by ourselves, some of us need help.
"I want to let people going through tough times know that there are people who care and want to help."
Knowing someone is at the end of a telephone willing to listen is invaluable.
Knowing that there’s a community of people going through similar problems to you helps. Knowing that someone cares helps. Knowing you're not alone helps.
That’s why I am facing my fears and jumping out of a plane – so Mind can continue to help people. I want to raise awareness of mental health problems. I want to let people going through tough times know that there are people who care and want to help.
I couldn't do this without the support of my family. My children are already thinking of fun ways to fundraise the sponsorship money and it's been great to see them get so involved.
I have three months to prepare myself, three months to raise awareness and three months to raise the vital funds. My three months starts now.
Fancy taking part in your own skydive? Find out how you can here.
Read about Information and support
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Choose one of the options below to find out more.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.