By Rory Desch
If ever the importance of being part of something has been highlighted, the time certainly is now. Whether that is your close family, LGBTQ+ family, close friends, colleagues, faith, or whatever; we all need a little support sometimes. It’s just we might not consciously register that when we are going through the emotions of current external event, how important our own mental health and well-being might be.
Even the most extrovert of us, can’t help but feel a little isolated during lockdown, we’re all missing the lack of personal contact and close interaction. However, we are keeping in touch with people, it can be a poor second to personal physical contact with the ones we care about. Sometimes, we don’t even need to chat that much to the people, we care about in their presence, it’s just knowing that they are there.
But, in these unusual times we can find support in whatever way it comes. One pastime that seems to be coming out in the lead at the moment, which some of my friends seem to be participating in via videotelephony, is a quiz. So, after we get through this pandemic, hopefully with a more thoughtful society, we could also be a little more knowledgeable one resulting from all this quizzing.
But, what if quizzes are not your thing? Well, we just need to consider alternative ways of reaching out. After reaching out to family and close friends, I’ve been reaching out the friends I know through LGBT sports clubs that I’ve been involved in. Though, we all can’t meet up to train together at present, it doesn’t mean we all can’t connect with the communities we are part of. One thing to take away; however you know someone, if you think of them at the moment, why not reach out to them?
Recently, lockdown has certainly given me the opportunity to further develop the friendships I’ve made through being part of London Knockout LGBTQ+ Boxing Club. I feel the main benefit in the shift of speeds in our lifestyles is that it’s giving us a greater prospective on life; understanding introverts, going within and drawing resilience, and at the same time, an opportunity to get to know some of my other club members better. I’ve certainly cherished developing closer friendships with some of them as a result.
Having being previously involved in a couple of other LGBT sports club – East End Phoenix and Out to Swim and other sports related initiatives like London’s Gay Games bid and Out for Sport, I know only too well how friendly and supportive being part of such clubs can be. You can view a list of some of the different sports clubs here.
Have you been thinking of returning to a sport you once played or taking up a new sport? Don’t let lockdown measures deter you from getting involved, If you are interested get in touch, though the clubs are not able to play or compete in person now, you can be sure they are probably connecting with each other somehow, whether possibly doing some online training with each other, but if not that, you can be sure they are at least connecting for a chat or a quiz. So, reach out, you can be sure of a welcoming response.
Take the time to invest in yourself, for some that might be taking part in something new, but sometimes we might need some more support than that. There’s lots of support out there and there’s nothing wrong in asking for help.
Here is a list of some of the charities and services that may be able to provide some support:
- Mind LGBTIQ+ mental health
- MindOut Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Mental Health Service
- LGBT | Together: A leading UK mental health charity
- London Friend
- Switchboard LGBTQ+ Helpline