My deafness has been a big contribution to my mental health. When I was a child aged 5 to 16, I did different sports every week such as swimming, tennis, horse riding and skiing with a local deaf group of children I grew up with. My mental health was healthy because I socialised with like-minded people and enjoyed being active.
When I left the deaf group at the age of 16 because I wanted a change in my life. Shortly after I left, realised that being less active had an impact on my mental health. My mind and body was not used to being idle. On top of that, I had to deal with my deafness because it brought different issues. Leaving the group made me truly realise how many normal teenage hobbies I was missing out on such as listening to music properly which was frustrating. I also had confidence and anxiety issues I had to tackle. Later, I realised that the physical activities I did with the group gave me a focus on the things I can do and made me confident.
For years, I struggled to find a physical hobby that would excite me. If I found a new physical hobby back then, it would have significantly lessen my anxiety. I cancelled my gym membership after 3 or 4 years because I often felt bored and unmotivated. After cancelling the membership, I told myself that I will find a hobby I will fall in love with.
In the past 2 years, I occasionally heard people talk about running. I didn’t entertain the idea of trying it out until someone nominated me to do a 5k run and donate £5 to the NHS. I did this on 19th April 2020 and fell in love with running. I never looked back since then.
Running excites me. When my feet are running through the woods, I feel calm and free. I love the fresh smell of nature and seeing how far I can run. I love trying new routes. It’s a new hobby that I will do for years to come.
Running led me to join a deaf park run group and did a virtual relay chain challenge with my blue team because unfortunately all park runs have been cancelled due to the current pandemic. My blue team were against two other teams. I loved participating in the challenge and the team spirit. My team reminds me of the deaf group I grew up with years ago. It was meant to be.
The teams wanted to another challenge. So I will do a second virtual running challenge on 7th May with my blue team and I am looking forward to it!