A Calmer Place with Bob FloodImage by: Ambanja Films
1 July 2021

A Calmer Place

4 minutes read time

Bob Flood is a father, husband, moustache grower, Mo Bro and all-round legend and well-respected member of the Movember community. He’s done loads for us over the years and always with the utmost dedication and an all-important sense of fun.

Honest and open about his mental health, Bob has, at times, struggled and found this aspect of his life difficult. Especially during lockdown when his routine was completely disrupted and he wasn’t able to pursue wild swimming - one of his favourite pastimes that also served as a way to keep is mental health in check. In his own words:

The Importance of a Routine

“It wasn't until this was all taken away from me that I realised how important a part of me and my life the water is. When the restrictions hit, it made me realise how much swimming and the freedom to explore and get out to wild spaces was part of who I am.

“Having had anxiety over the years, I began to use water and my swimming as a routine and generally a way for me of coping with things going on in my mind and my life.

“When COVID happened and we sort of got closer and closer to knowing that, that was going to be restricted. Knowing that I wasn't going to be able to give 100%, having to split up work time and home schooling - it threw me massively. You know, I was a lot less patient at home, and then I didn't have anything to get away from that. Screens, Zoom calls, social media seemed to dominate all parts of my life during lockdown and I started feeling more and more detached from who I am.

"I began to have visions of the darkness of the water. Going to sleep at night to the sound of waves and I'd see myself there as it opened up beneath me.

“I was doing a lot of walking in the evenings, just getting out locally to have that time away from it all, calm me down, reset my mind, but it didn’t give me that fix that I needed. It still wasn't really that sense of being on my own.

“Before COVID I was visiting all different parts of the Northwest. So when COVID happened that routine was just thrown into tatters. We were locked down. You couldn't travel outside your local area, pools were closed, local swim venues were closed, even outdoors. Plans just diminished, they'd gone. You couldn't make any plans because you didn't know when it was going to lift, you know, when you did have an inkling that things might get a bit easier, it didn’t. It was a sense of, is there ever going to be an end to this?

“It’s been tough, not seeing family and everything, and then having it all taken away from you as well then – it’s just like you don't have that freedom to go and be yourself and do what you enjoy to get that headspace. To cope with my mental health, I have to have a routine. If I've got a lot going on in my mind, the fact that I know that when things are tough at home, I know that I can go.

Checking in With Yourself: Me Time

“I just want to be somewhere, out of the way, be on my own and get that bit of headspace back. And no matter what's going on in my head before I get in that water, it acts as like a sort of a reset. It’s the feeling, just being next to it and near it puts me in a lot calmer place.

“It just gives you a sense of being surrounded by everything, by nature, by woods, by waterfalls, you feel like, you’re in the middle of nowhere. There's all these incredible places you can go. Being there, being alive, it’s just an unbelievable feeling.

“It's that rush that you get when you get in there. Getting your head under, you feel it sort of rising up your body, it gets your heart racing, gets your blood pumping. And just feeling, you know, your fingers and your toes start to tingle, feeling your lips go numb. Not knowing what’s under you, the drop down into the darkness of the water and you know you’re going to come into the shore and it comes back into that light, you just don’t feel bound by anything.

“A sensation in your mind that wow, you know, that was, that was amazing, that was brilliant, you know, let's go and do it again tomorrow. It does align things, being by myself and having that one time in the water. I'm in control of one thing and that's me. It is the freedom of no trouble swirling round in my head. I’m just there, the water is where your head’s at.

Putting Things in Perspective

“It makes you think “well actually that thing I was worried about, it doesn't really matter,” you know, “let's go home and, you know, make it a much happier afternoon” rather than worrying about the things which are out of my control.

“Now to have things opening up and have that freedom, to have that time to just go and be by myself in the water, I’m in a much calmer place.

“Having it back, you know, try and make the most of it, and enjoy it. You need to take it all in because you never know what happens tomorrow.”

With thanks to Ambanja Films.

If you are a dad that might be feeling the pressures of fatherhood, check out Family Man – parenting advice designed with dads in mind. Or if you are just looking for support with mental health please visit the Movember website here.