Keely overcomes her swimming anxiety - FitzRoy

Keely overcomes her swimming anxiety

Published: May 3, 2024

25-year-old Keely, who we support at one of our supported living services in Birmingham, dreamed of going on holiday but faced a hurdle: she couldn’t swim. Worried that she might miss out on the joy of going in the pool and sea, Keely courageously decided to tackle her fear with the support of our dedicated staff.

Keely had learned to swim when she was younger but it had been many years since she’d been swimming, and due to her anxiety she’d become convinced that she couldn’t do it. Staff encouraged Keely and enrolled her in a women-only swimming course, ensuring she felt comfortable every step of the way. Despite initial apprehensions, Keely dove into the lessons with determination, and with each session her confidence built. Soon enough she’d completed the course, receiving a certificate to mark her achievements, and was swimming confidently, wondering what she’d ever been so worried about!

With her newfound skills and courage, Keely went on holiday to Turkey with her housemate Krena and her support staff, where she enjoyed plenty of dips in the pool and splashing around in the sea.

This holiday wasn’t just about pleasure; it was also a significant step in building her independence, which has been the focus of how we have been supporting Keely over the past two years. Keely also volunteers at a local dog daycare twice a week. These experiences are not only giving Keely joy but are also boosting her confidence and equipping her with useful skills.

As Keely’s birthday approached this year, she’d asked for a surprise. Service manager Danielle knew just what to do. Danielle said: “Keely wasn’t sure what she wanted for her birthday, she just knew she wanted a surprise. She mentioned a few ideas: a holiday, a Nintendo Switch, or a day trip. I asked Keely if she trusted me, and she said yes. I asked her to write a list of some little presents but to leave the main one up to me.

“Over the past year, Keely had mentioned several places she’d like to visit, including Spain, Amsterdam, Portugal, and Tenerife. Tenerife ticked all the boxes so I decided that a holiday there would be the perfect surprise.”

In the weeks leading up to her birthday, staff took Keely shopping to buy some summer clothes, dropping subtle hints about her holiday, but Keely had no idea. When we told Keely about her surprise she was overwhelmed with excitement, and without hesitation had packed her bags within half an hour.

Keely said: “It was the best surprise ever. I can’t wait to see what I get for my birthday next year now!”

It had been a while since her last holiday and her swimming lessons, but Keely showed no signs of past worries. As soon as they arrived in Tenerife, she was straight in the pool and couldn’t wait to get in the sea, enjoying every second.

Danielle said: “It’s been amazing to see Keely so excited. A year ago, the mention of going on holiday would’ve sparked anxieties for Keely. To see her now going on holiday with no worries or fear of missing out, just enjoying every moment, is just incredible. Empowering people to become more independent and learn new skills is a huge part of how we support people at FitzRoy and it’s fantastic to see Keely overcoming her anxiety and thriving with her new-found confidence. We’re so proud of what she’s achieved.”