Categories
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Bluetit Tales – Naomi

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about loneliness, and ways to tackle it. We’re telling tales of Bluetits who have overcome loneliness, made friends, formed connections, and improved their lives through Bluetitting.

Today, we’re telling a Reading Bluetit’s tale, Naomi.

“Becoming a Bluetit has changed my life. I have wanted to be the kind of brave person that swam in chilly rivers, under waterfalls and had a wild life for a long time but I didn’t think I could be that person or that the opportunities to do those things existed near me. On holiday I would gingerly creep into a pond or lake, shivering in the cold and then I’d come home having loved the experience but thinking that I couldn’t do it again until the next trip away.

I’ve found the last couple of years during the pandemic really hard, the move to working from home, the huge change in routine, a close family member with a cancer diagnosis, massive changes at work with a very small team, it all felt like too much. I also felt very lonely, having been used to days in a busy office with colleagues I really liked, suddenly being on my own at home, just me, my husband and our rabbits was a big change and I really missed the laughs, jokes and chats.

On a day out last June I dipped in the sea, it made me feel great – relaxed and happy. I made a decision that this was something I wanted to do more of. I booked a guided swim with the lovely Dip Advisor, Ella, tried out a swim in a local lake and another guided swim and then, adding myself to swimming groups on Facebook, I stumbled on the Reading Bluetits. It’s one of the best things to happen to me.

Since last July when I had my first swim with the Bluetits I have swum 230 times. I’ve been in the water every week since then, including right through the winter. I’ve been to the Bluetits gatherings at Lake 32, swum in a tutu, silly hats, a santa costume, a bunny girl outfit, my birthday suit and nothing but a tiara. I’ve bobbed around on an inflatable, swooshed downriver with the winter current, swam in pouring rain, bright sunshine and stinging hail. Best of all though, I’ve found my flock. I have met the most wonderful, supportive, accepting, friendly, up for anything group of people that anyone could wish for. They are there to boost you up and cheer you on when something is going well, a friendly ear when you need a chat about something that’s bothering you as you swim, and people to check up on you on a bad day and make sure you are OK. There have been birthday parties, nights out, and lots and lots of laughs and fun in the river and local lakes. I don’t feel lonely anymore, there’s no time to, when the next swim and chance to have a chat and a laugh is always planned. Last weekend I went to London with a group of tit friends to swim in the ponds and Lido on Hampstead Heath, a wonderful way to kickstart a whole summer of Titty Adventures. We have full moon swims planned to celebrate a birthday, a day at the local lake trying out the aqua park and paddleboarding, plenty of fancy dress swim ideas and a whole shared bucket list of things we want to try from adult soft play to waterfall swims and a whole smorgasbord of fun in between.

I didn’t realise how much I had lost my spark but it’s back now and I am loving life. My Mum says she has never seen me so consistently happy. I’m finding it so much easier to shrug off the stresses of my job- slipping into the river with friends at the end of a long day is the perfect way to relax and unwind. I never thought I would be brave enough to swim in the Thames, but now I can’t imagine a week without it. Becoming a Bluetit has changed my life.”

Categories
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Bluetit Tales – Shellie

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about loneliness, and ways to tackle it. We’re telling tales of Bluetits who have overcome loneliness, made friends, formed connections, and improved their lives through Bluetitting.

Today, we’re telling Shellie’s tale. Shellie swims with the Wirral Bluetits.

“I have always struggled with body confidence, confidence in general. During the lockdowns, I became particularly depressed and my confidence nosedived even more. I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to my doctor and have since been taking medication which has helped ease the depression.

Towards the end of the second lockdown, I started to look for an activity that might help with my mental health and confidence issues. I came across the Bluetits on Facebook and found my local flock.

With much trepidation I went down to the bay, completely covered from head to toe in my baggiest warmest clothes with my cozzie underneath, just in case I found the courage to actually dip my toes.

I really needn’t have worried, I was made incredibly welcome by the lovely ladies who were casting off clothes with not a care in the world. They literally took me by the hand for my first dip.

I can’t begin to explain how I’m benefiting from chill dipping. My head simply empties of doubts and worries and I get such a phenomenal rush of happiness from the swims and amazing company and friends I’ve made.

I swim in skins and have a growing collection of funky costumes. No one cares what I look like and as a result, neither do I.

My only regret is it’s taken me 56 years to finally find my tribe!”

The Wirral Bluetits at one of their incredible Full Moon Swims! Photo: Alison Martin

Categories
Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Bluetit Tales – Emmie

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about loneliness, and ways to tackle it. We’re telling tales of Bluetits who have overcome loneliness, made friends, formed connections, and improved their lives through Bluetitting.

First up is our wonderful admin from Shingle Street Bluetits, Emmie Scott.

“My journey began with me being afraid to leave my own home, to now going on adventures constantly. I would yearn for the sea. I grew up near the sea, with tales of Selkies and waves. I would go to bed and hope to wake up living as a mermaid. I was utterly obsessed. I am not sure how I found the Bluetits or how the Bluetits found me, but I got well and truly swooped up in that flock.

I was excited to see a Bluetits group on my doorstep. I could never dream that I was about to deepen my connection to the water further and meet a fantastic group of people along the way.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and autism as a young adult. I have 4 children and a husband, so life is busy. But, being in the sea, floating around, and laughing makes me feel free. ADHD can make me feel excluded or awkward, but none of these feelings ever have reared their head while being with the Bluetits. In the water, I do not feel awkward. It has changed my life.

I joined the group in June 2021 and have done over 210 swims in less than a year. Quite a feat for someone who didn’t really leave the house for over 3 years. Being a Bluetit has changed my life.

I now co-admin our local group and get to encourage others to embark on this journey and support each other in our friendships and love along the way. What happens in the water stays in the water. I am forever grateful. Solidarity to all fellow Bluetits.”