In honour of World Mental Health Day, one of our skaters kindly offered a few words on her mental health, how it crept over into roller derby and how a positive mindset has helped her along the way.
So as someone who has suffered with depression and anxiety in my life I thought I’d think about this in the context of roller derby.
Although I’m quite open about this, you don’t need my life history on the subject, so we’ll start at the present. I want to start by saying that currently, I’m in a good place mentally, although this has taken quite a bit of medication, counselling, CBT and a LOT of support and love.
I began playing derby again in this good place however just as life has its ups and downs, so does derby. I’ve never been one for team sports outside of roller derby, but I’m willing to bet any sports player can relate. I’ve found it to be very polarising. By its very nature it is demanding; both physically and mentally. Playing it places you in a heightened state of awareness and emotion.
It’s so much more than turning up to skate for a bit, and most players are intensely passionate about the sport, and their league too. You do tend to become fully immersed in the roller derby world once you become involved. But the main thing I’ve experienced in this game is that the highs are VERY high, and the lows are rock bottom low! Maybe that’s down to any natural depressive tendencies I lean towards, but that’s personally how I’ve found it.
I’ve had those times when I’ve doubted my abilities. I’ve compared myself to other skaters – and always fallen short. I’ve been on the cusp of quitting the sport more times than I’d like to admit.
However, on the flip side, I’ve had moments when I’ve felt at my peak. When I’ve achieved things that I thought were way beyond me and felt on top of the world. Those are the moments that have kept me going – along with an awesome bunch of people who have a knack of being there to say the right thing when I need it and always keep me grounded.
Some days I love and hate derby in equal measure but so far it has always been the positives that have won out.
It is the kind of sport that makes you feel strong and empowered and it has given me more confidence in all aspects of my life outside of it! I’m hoping to continue my derby journey in a positive mindset. I have my team to turn to when I do have any struggles and I am also more aware of any triggers these days, so I can work on any negativity creeping in.
I also have rainbow socks and a smile so I’m pretty much set to take on anything!!
Hezzabelle Lecter x