Sunday, 3 June 2018


Many years ago, as a young, growing up person, I watched an uncle in action at our local archery club and decided that I'd like to do this too. But it took many years before I actually did it. 

      Our kids were still very young when I joined a local club in Hampshire, and, one evening every week, I learned archery. I enjoyed it, and wasn't bad at it. Even some Sundays I joined the group for shooting rounds. By then I'd acquired my archery kit - lovely wooden bow, pearl pink arrows and quiver in their black case - and was rather proud of it. But, after a year or two, I grew tired of going out on Tuesday evenings to archery - I wasn't good at going out in the evenings back then - and stopped going. My archery kit sat gathering dust after that. 

      So now I have a dilemma. Since my recovery from depression I keep determining to return to archery, and keep putting it off. Every time I see archers in film or in magazines, I. am inspired. And I do have the opportunity. My old club was a little inflexible. I couldn't go for a casual shoot at any time I fancied, but apparently another local club do have that facility. I wrote to the club secretary explaining my situation, and she invited me along. All I have to do is show up, meet the secretary, and learn the procedure towards shooting casually. Can I do that without having to go through the performance of beginner archery again? I'm anxious. Anxious about going to the club, meeting the people, finding out that I have to go through the official steps... Didn't fancy that at all. 

     I received a response from the club telling me that they were meeting this weekend. Husband offered to come with me initially, but honestly, the old anxiety stepped in, putting an unpleasant feeling into the weekend. So I made a decision. I'm not returning to archery. I've suffered from years of anxiety. I don't have anxiety now. I'm not returning to anxiety for anyone! Husband said: 'How about a trip in the canoe, then?' Yay! That sounds good.

      The difference between archery and canoeing is quite substantial, apart from the obvious! The first is done as a club, the second independently if desired. And - I have to face it - I'm not a club person. It's taken years to admit that, and finally I have. Neither is Husband. To do things independently, at no specific time or day, whenever the mood  or weather grabs you, is good. 

     Something I've learned along the way (and this is relevant, honestly!)...
     Wild west living history camps, which I used to enjoy once we'd set up camp and met our friends, were good. But I was always filled with enormous anxiety before events to such an extent that, on two event occasions, Husband had to unpack after we'd packed because I couldn't face it. I'd look at the calendar, and events felt like an enormous hump to get over. On the whole, I would enjoy them once camp had been set up, but there was an enormous sense of relief and triumph that I'd done it once the whole event was over. 

     Husband CBT'd (cognitive behavioural therapized) me over this. It all stemmed from the days when I was criticised for the  wild west role I played. Kitty Le Roy was a gambler and shootist back in 1880s Dallas and Deadwood. My version is a conglomeration of her plus gold prospector, adventurer etcetera. In the past I had encountered westerners who had stated that women of that kind had not existed. I begged to differ, because I'd done my research, and women like her most certainly did exist! 

     My point is that these opinions hurt, and affected me when camping.

     When I was literally cured of depression and anxiety, It took me a while to appreciate that, actually, I really was anxious before these events, and it had no bearing on depression. I was anxious because these activities didn't suit me as an individual. I'm not into clubs and associations, and neither is Husband. I've always been a bit of a loner in that respect. If I've ever joined clubs, I've always been on the fringes of them, and not particularly buddy-buddy with them. Nothing to do with depression, but it took me a while to appreciate that!

     This applies to archery clubs as well. Much as I enjoyed archery once I was set up and shooting, I was always anxious beforehand. Which all goes to show that these things just ain't 'me' and I've finally learned to accept that. In my days of depression and big inferiority complex, I wanted desperately to 'prove' that I did all these activities. 

     Yesterday, I thought: 'Sod it! I spent thirty years and more of feeling anxious. I'm good now and I don't want to feel anxious any more!' So be it. No archery. Well, not at the present. I'll keep my kit. You never know...

     I didn't go to archery. Instead, a glorious day, we didn't go canoeing either because that can be sweaty work, so we took my Mini Cooper convertible for a blast to the coast at Emsworth, Hampshire. We drove via Horndean, Hampshire for coffee, followed b a stroll around the sea walk, lunch, popped into a couple of antique shops, then blasted back home again through absolutely fabulous English countryside. Back home I demolished weeds in our wilderness (because that's what it's beginning to look like!).
     Did I miss not going to archery? Not a bit! 
     Alternatively, both Husband and son have offered to come with me to soften the initial introduction... Oh, dilemma - but such a good one!

      #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #archery #canoeing #thesea #driving




  1. Thanks Wendy! Sorry to take so long to come back to you. I have to get used to comments on here!

    Jo x