I know what you’re thinking. How could free falling at 130 miles per hour out of a plane help in my battle with depression? I’ll admit, it doesn’t seem logical to me either, but skydiving for charity changed my life.
For the past year, and probably longer, I’ve been living with depression. Rocked by the unexpected end of a nine-year-relationship, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I analysed everything, trying to find answers with no prevail. It was like being on constant autopilot, I was pretending to be OK – but my reality was debilitating.
New Year’s Eve, the discussion turned to resolutions and it was in that moment that I knew I wanted to skydive for Mind, the mental health charity. I needed to know what it felt like to feel again, and on the 7th January 2019, it was booked.
Taking the plunge
Fast-forward to the 27th July and it was time to rock n’ roll. Thanks to the outpouring of love of my friends, colleagues, families and strangers, I was able to raise £1,245 for Mind.
Though terrified, my family came to watch me jump out of a plane. Was I nervous? Honestly, no.
The flight up to 15,000 feet was dream-like, harnessed to my instructor Ryan, he kept me aware and I felt safe. I can only describe the view above cloud line as peaceful, but before I had time to think, we were scooting to the edge of the plane, I took the position and out we went.
Describing free-fall is near impossible. It wasn’t stomach-turning, but still wildly intense. As soon as you catch your breath it hits you that you’re soaring above the clouds tied to a man you met an hour ago and a parachute. I can still remember the stillness and peace of it all, especially once the parachute had opened. Seeing out for miles is a perspective I’ll remember for the rest of my life. As soon as we landed the buzz took over and all I felt was pride.
What a difference a day makes
The beautiful irony of jumping for Mind was that pre-skydive my mental health was unnerving. Post-skydive, I felt in control again and for the first time in almost a year, I felt something other than pain. Minutes after seeing my family again, torrential rain – now, I don’t know about you, but I took that as a sign and thanked my lucky stars that I was able to complete my dive.
I ticked off a life goal of mine and the timing was exactly right. Had I jumped a few months earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the experience in its entirety. Skydiving for Mind was a one-in-a-lifetime experience.
Would I do it again? HELL YES.