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Mental Health Matters - Fran Bennett
I am a mid 30 something successful girl.  I have a great job, which I get much satisfaction from.  Along with this, I have amazing parents, sister and brother-in-law and dote on my two nephews, along with having a fantastic set of friends.  I am fortunate to have a lovely home, have had several fun Minis, I ski, I run and enter the races I want to and can also spoil those that matter to me. 

I have nothing to complain about.  Therefore, why would my mental health wobble?  Why would I need to bother those who would give me help in a heartbeat with my worries?

Well, that's just it I did need help, I just didn't realise it or maybe want to acknowledge it.  I buried my head in the sand through work.  I worked harder and longer so there was less time to be at home where it, at times, pointed out what I didn't have. 

Even as I write this now, it is still hard to say what I know I deep down want but have been able to accept and certainly haven't given up hope of happening.  I was that girl who smiled, talked a lot and seemed happy, but was putting a brave face on it, not wanting to put on others what I saw as trivial problems when I had so much.

I am a teacher and Head of House and at the end of the Summer Term last year, I burnt out.  There was that one particular instance that as the saying says, 'broke the camel's back'.  I was a crying mess, as well as being both mentally and physically exhausted; I have never slept so much in my life!  I didn't know what to say but I knew what the cause was.  So with the support of my family, friends and work I got help.  I spoke to a professional.  It gave a me a chance to re-arrange my thinking.  I took time.  I took the pressure off myself.  

It was ok!

I would be ok!

Throughout this time, I carried on with my running and my training.  However, it was the time and talking, and not the running that helped me (of course the endorphins and the freedom running gives me still helped).  The final bit of help came from the running community through my fab and #unstoppable running club Fareham Crusaders.  So many members were prepared to be there for me, to share their personal experiences and to just check in on me.  Being able to run with others without needing to talk also gave me comfort and reassurance.

It doesn't surprise me that it was after a run that I felt myself again.  I knew I had my 'sunshineyness' back.  I knew I was strong, I was loved and I was enough!

A few months later, I was privileged to be asked to be the FCRC Ladies' Captain.  It is a role I am absolutely cherishing despite not being able to run with my club with the current lockdown.  It is also the reason why I have chosen to write this.  I am in a role which has responsibility.  If I can help someone by them reading this, then I've given a little something back to all that has been given to me by my running club, family and friends.  I thought my mental health was strong.  I thought because I was and am so fortunate that it would never be a problem, but as I found out anyone's mental health can be affected just like our physical health.  

I am not always strong, I don't always feel enough and there are those days where I want what I don't have and it's not ok.  However, I now know that I must talk when I feel like this and it is never trivial to those who truly care about you. 

Fran
@frannybeano on Instagram

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