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Sport and My Mental Health Journey

Twilight Ambassador Amanda Hiddleston By Amanda Hiddleston, Shell Twilight Ambassador

Hi. It’s mental health awareness week, and I just wanted to come and tell you my mental health journey so far.

But, I want to start by saying I really dread to think where I would be if it wasn’t for the positive outlook sport allowed me to have, or the support I got from friends and family.

So, my mental health became a huge problem in my life when I started studying at university just over a year ago. I was struggling to cope with all the new changes in life, and different things going on in life like family issues. This left me feeling anxious, overwhelmed and trapped, which I couldn’t see any way out of this. I was having horrendous panic attacks, and struggling to find the motivation to eat and to get out of bed in the morning as all I wanted was just wanted to be left alone. It took me a while to get used to the idea that I had anxiety before I reached out for help I needed, but this was when I really discovered the true impact and power sport has on my life. Despite my anxiety I still had a burning passion for sport.

Sport is a part of my identity and has had such a massive part to play in my life.  

I have always been involved in sport as I was a very active child, and I just fell in love with it. I only really settled into one specific sport after I got involved in a programme called Shell Twilight Basketball which I have been a part of for many years now. I’ve been through their Ambassador Programme which allowed me to develop as a person in many different ways, but it also built up valuable relationships so when life got rough and tough I had people I could talk to. I felt completely safe as it was like a second family.

Also, being able to take part in basketball was a massive advantage as it truly allowed me to escape from all my thoughts, it gave me different focus point but it also allowed me the space to have fun and enjoy myself.  To this day, I truly believe sport was one of the biggest helpers during this time, and it continues to be today as it gave me the motivation to have a positive outlook on life.

However, my mental health is a battle in my life that I am still continuing flight through. I still have the same ambitions in life as I have always had, but the difference is I know now that I don’t need to face it alone. I will always have a place in sport with Twilight Basketball no matter what. Just knowing I can go and shoot a basketball when I’m struggling and everything can feel so much better for a few moments is an unreal feeling.