In 2016, I was diagnosed with an extreme form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It was a result of a horrific trauma some years before. I had battled so hard with my own mind for so many years, that in the end I could not cope. Sadly, my condition became worse and I became very unwell. I was too ashamed to talk about my symptoms or what had happened to me, and by not doing so I began to experience flashbacks, became withdrawn, alone and just wanted to give up. After loving support from family, friends and medical intervention, I began seeing an incredible psychologist who has been with me ever since. I realised then that having someone help you doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means you are not alone anymore.
That same year I started watching a summer of tennis, and my passion for the sport returned. As a young girl I enjoyed playing, I was a school champion, but I had not stepped on a court for years. Little did I realise at the time that taking up tennis would help save my life.
I purchased a ball machine (and called him Roger!) and I spent hours on court just hitting ball after ball. I began to play matches, had coaching, and really enjoyed learning and laughing whilst playing the sport. Tennis helped steer me away from the constant battle in my head, and more importantly, I realised that I did not feel so alone anymore. At this point, I knew that so much more could be done to help people like myself.
Playing tennis is a great way to meet new people, make friends, learn new skills and it really helps me feel less isolated.
Therefore, I set out to create a unique challenge for the summer, Breakpoint 2019, designed to help raise awareness of mental health, and to support a charity that would assist people to gain access to free tennis sessions, thus helping them overcome their own personal challenges. Why? Well sadly there is still too much stigma attached to a mental health condition – particularly in adults – both young and old. I know firsthand because it has happened to me. In response, my answer will only ever be this, just because there are scars that are not visibly seen, does not mean that they are not there.
Three years on, I am immensely proud of what I am trying to achieve. It is unique, terrifying, exciting and no doubt there will be a tear shed along the way. But this is not only a personal journey for me, but one that I know can help many.
I am extremely grateful to Bright Ideas for Tennis for believing in me and seeing that now is the time to help improve the quality of life for anyone with a mental health illness, disability or impairment. It really is that simple.
I will forever be grateful that picking up a racket changed my life, let the challenge commence!
Support Breakpoint 2019
Throughout June 2019, Robyn will be raising awareness of mental health by hitting a tennis ball 200,000 times. A total of 30 days, 240 hours, 46 venues, 1 shot every 4 seconds. A huge challenge in association with Bright Ideas for Tennis who help provide free tennis for all disability groups as part of their ‘I Play 30’ disability coaching programme. The event will finish at The All England Club, Community Sports Ground, Wimbledon.