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One of my biggest passions in life is football, I love to play, watch and even play FIFA as much as I can but unfortunately playing in real life hasn’t been happening in the last two years.

As a kind I played everyday and into adult life I played three times a week but it all sadly stopped with everyone including myself being busy with life.

My ultimate love is playing 11 aside and I haven’t played that for 10 years so when I got a message from a friend asking if I could get involved with his work match I went for it.

I received the message at dinner time and the kick-off was at 6pm, as soon as I got the message I knew I wanted to get involved but the anxiety kicked in straight away knowing it was 6 hours away and enough time to talk myself out of it or give myself a headache.

To give myself the best chance I didn’t want to confirm until a lot closer to the time because I knew if I’d have confirmed at dinner time I’d really have panicked and worried about letting him down but this way I knew there was no pressure so I really appreciated his understanding with that.

Thinking about it now, after it’s happened it was good that I was asked on the day rather than a week ago or a month ago as I know my anxiety would have been building for a while knowing how much I wanted to play but also that I didn’t want to let anyone down, so getting a massive hours before took that away.

I had anxiety about a number of things for the match…. I had no idea who was playing with us, who we were playing against, I’ve not played 11aside for 10 years and it was for 90 mins which I’ve not down for 2 years.

In the run-up to kick off I did everything I could to keep myself calm and thankfully it worked and even though I had anxiety around a few things the love of football pushed me to go.

Just before I went I realised two more of my friends were playing (Blake and Gaz) which put me more as ease, as well as the time and weather being perfect for it.

Once there the anxiety eased so much and I was just talking and having a laugh with everyone, even though we had three subs I started the match and that was probably best as I didn’t have time to think about things, I was straight into it.

We had roll on, roll of subs as well as drink breaks on the two halves which made this easier for my anxiety, after 20 mins I came off for a rest and again watched, spoke and had a laugh, anxiety never came into mind once.

I was back on for the second half and didn’t come back off, I was tired but not as much as I thought and it was great.

My only frustration when playing is that when I’m playing against strangers I’m not completely myself, if I was against friends I’m more relaxed, take time on the ball, take people on etc but during this game I wasn’t and it frustrates me but I’m already wanting to play again so I can be myself more.

After the game I even went to the pub for a drink for an hour with my friends (Millar, Blake, Gaz and Tara) which was great and we had a good laugh.

I must say that having the right people around you that understand you and know how to support you is huge!!

Yesterday one of my very good friends (Blake) text me before I’d even set off to encourage me to go and said how good it would be but without putting pressure on me.

He also was very supportive and encouraging during the game as he knows how hard I am on myself and that I really didn’t want to mess up during the game, just little comments of encouragement really helped and kept me going with positive vibes.

I’m already hoping that if they do it again there’s space for me.

The only problem was that my brain was that switched on from the match and pub afterwards that really struggled to sleep and only managed 3 hours which wasn’t ideal knowing I had a busy Saturday and Sunday coming up.
Thankfully though I managed to keep myself calm and successfully went to and managed everything over the weekend.

I just want to say a massive thank you to not only my mate who invited me to play and being understanding but also the company he works for (@UnipartRail) for letting us play.

I know that going, enjoying it and not feeling anxious during it will have helped so much my mental health so much and that’s a major reason why I’ve started @MHFooty, so others have the chance to play without pressure and in a setting that is relaxed where they won’t be judged but supported.

Hopefully we can help and support more people in Doncaster!!

Click the link in my bio to read the full post and my past anxiety posts in full

#MHFC #MentalHealthFC

#AnxietySucks #MentalHealthMatters