A recovery through golf
I’ve been asked the same question a few times recently, “Why do I play Golf, isn’t it just a good walk spoilt”? Well apart from being in the open countryside where there is no pollution in the air, getting a great workout and meeting up with good friends who share my love of golf, would be my normal answer!
BUT there is one other reason why. In 2003 I was told that my breakdown was attributed to my time in the armed forces and that I had Combat PTSD, mix anxiety and depression. From the very beginning I struggled with some of the basic things in life. Things that you take for granted. Like concentration, focus, and memory issues and not to mention my confidence had completely gone. When I was around family, this would cause me to become insecure and at times I would withdraw to my own room and cry as a way of relieving the stress it caused.
blast from the past as a forward observer crew commander (i think it was taken back in 94)
This had a massive impact on my family and friends, my children who at the time were only 4 & 5 years old. My friends tried to help but I pushed some away and the others just didn’t know how to handle my situation. This left me very isolated and my family felt quite alone. In 2003 I spent 9 months in a psychiatric hospital for my own safety and that of my family. Over the following two years on discharge I had help through the local mental health teams and it was through an outreach worker I started to go to the local gold driving range. It was at this point that my recovery started to progress better. I found I had something that helped me both mentally and physically, I started to make progress with remembering little things in my day to day life and this was a direct result to my concentration in becoming better through golf.
Along with my memory my other symptoms started to improve and I was able to focus a little better, this started quite slowly at first but with time I made great improvements. This was because I wanted to hit a small white ball around 6,500 yards on a golf course and putt it into 18 small holes all with the hope that I didn’t lose any balls in the process. It became apparent that if I could continue to improve my focus I would continue to improve my concentration and this was solely a by-product. My memory is always challenging, even now I still have moments, normally trying to remember where my ball went. The easiest way to improve it was by working on what’s the best club to hit at different ranges, and in different conditions like high wind, in the rough & sand.
So what has golf done for me?
Golf has given me back my confidence and yes I can say it’s also saved my family life, as I am now able to concentrate, focus and challenge myself. My confidence is continuing to come back. I can now go out in public and spend time with my family no matter where we are. This is not to say that I am fully recovered, but through golf I have been able to gain some volunteering opportunities as a volunteer artisan green keeper and then I went on to manage the same team of volunteers for 3 years. This boosted my confidence as I strive to continue with recovery.
With all my recovery because of a small white ball, that I still have problems hitting in the right direction all of the time. But I do have fun when playing no matter if it’s on the driving range or the course.
So please remember not all health issues can be seen. Unseen health issues like PTSD have a massive effect on not only the person who lives with them, but that of their families, friends and loved ones.
May all your shots be straight and on target!
Formerly Royal Artillery