I have had mental health struggles throughout my adult life. I first became depressed after the untimely death of my mum when I was in my mid twenties. I had soldiered on after her death, not talking to anyone and bottling up my grief. After changing jobs to a solitary ‘field based’ job I had no peer support around me. Due to a heavy workload and the untreated grief I had a major mental breakdown.
This time of life was very scary for me, I could not go out of the house and had no confidence in my own ability. I didn’t recognise these feelings and thought I might never work again, I contemplated taking my own life as I felt so helpless. I have loved surfing since my first time on a belly board at the age of five, during my depression I couldn’t even face going to the beach. I sought counselling which helped me greatly to come to terms with things and I made a good recovery.
Re-entering the water I realised how much benefit I got from getting into the ocean and removing myself from day to day pressures for some personal time.
I now work as a detective constable in the serious collisions investigation team and am exposed to trauma on a daily basis. I’ve been a police officer for thirteen years working on front line response, investigation teams and mentoring student officers on the Professional Development Unit.
During my career I have been exposed to some really challenging and upsetting jobs. I have been able to cope with this by using surfing as my mental relief. When I go surfing I am surrounded by the beauty of nature, the camaraderie of my surfing friends and the utter joy of surfing that I experienced as a five year old boy.
I want to share this joy and coping mechanism with my peers and look forward to seeing you at the next Surfwell session.
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