So, as middle age plonks itself firmly on my hips, face and energy levels....... my 50th birthday at the end of this year juggernauts closer. I have set myself an arduous mid life exercise challenge.The launch date July 19th for my 50 50 Outdoor Swimming Challenge. I will swim 50k in long distance swims before I am 50, dressed in just a swimsuit where permitted. I have included a river, a lake, outdoor lidos and of course my favourite - the sea. (Link to list of swims at bottom of this blurb). I am swimming to raise money for Amaze, a charity offering support and advice in Brighton and Hove for families with disabled children and young people.Please do sponsor me as I undertake my challenge. Families like us need the support of the brilliant charity Amaze. As we all know, charitable donations are vital. As little as £1 will do, more if you want......... Do read on !
The back story. Sorry it's long......
Outdoor swimming has saved my bacon, otherwise known as my own mental health. Miss a swim and I get crosser, unhappier and stressed. Swimming ALWAYS makes me feel better. Cold water swimming gives me a serene high which can last for a couple of days. Living by the sea and close to Pells Pool in Lewes, I have struck swimming gold and have become an accidental serene-seeking cold water junkie. But, it's getting warmer now you ask. 'Are you still serene? ' Never fear, my interested friends, in warmer water I just swim for longer to get the same serene effect.
Writing this, I can honestly and laughably remark that the last thing any of my close friends, work colleagues, my Mum and Dad, long suffering long standing partner, my children, my brother and all my close family will ever remark.'Oh yes, Fiona is serene ' .BUT, that is how cold water and swimming makes me feel. I can cope with the world if I swim.
The parenting journey for my most brilliant middle son Dan has been the biggest challenge life has thrown at me. The demands of bringing up a child with Down Syndrome are at times very tough.The contrast between the demands of a son with significant additional needs and those of his two non-disabled sisters are marked. My skills have extended ten fold and more. Through heart breaking medical traumas, legal quandaries, behaviour management, educational challenges, earning a living, parenting my other children....... sometimes I have drowned in disability and SEND (special educational needs ) issues.
What kept me going? In short, often nothing. Just a dull, depressed, sad sense of survival AND...... three major positives: my family, outdoor swimming and Amaze. Amaze helped us as a family when we were at rock bottom. Our respite care had dried up, paperwork piled up in the form of 70+ page Disability Living Allowance application, blue badge application, statement of educational needs, parental reports and more and more.........Through the help of a highly skilled Amaze worker, who knows how to talk to you as they are a parent of a disabled child themselves, we found a way to tackle this sense of doom and the onerous mountain of necessary paperwork. Respite care was reinstated, DLA application was successful, blue badge received. With this help, we saw our way through a very difficult time and out the other side.
Over the next couple of years, I even found the time to discover a sport I I loved and life has eased a little bit more. Outdoor swimming helps me find some peace in this mad bad world.
To read more about my swims and life in general please copy and paste link below :
Thank you for reading on. Don't forget to sponsor me !
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