Friday, 24 January 2014


Morning all

Wow. What a period of change I am going through. It's actually quite amazing for somebody like me. I'm so used to just looking at everything negatively or with a bleak outlook. But since a couple of weeks ago, through my own hard work, I feel so much different.

I've had to make a few tough choices, but these have often led to positive feelings and results.

For example. I am a member of our local mountain rescue team, Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation and I joined in September 2012. A trainee is expected to complete training in around 12 - 18 months. I am currently at 15 months. Unfortunately, I have had numerous set backs. My back has always been a problem and my depression often prevented me from even leaving the house so it has put me behind other members that joined when I did who are now full team members. My 'final hill day' would have been in March, but since I've been making changes in my life, I've decided to go on what is known as a resting list, for perhaps 6 - 8 months to allow me to improve and strengthen my back and also to work hard on my depression.

There is quite a strong link between back pain and depression, so the two often go hand in hand; improve on one, the other will hopefully follow.

Anyway, after having a frank and honest discussion with a respected senior team member on Wednesday, I took the decision to move on to this list. And again, I feel relieved as it has taken the pressure off me to force myself to go to training regularly and make sure my rescue practical skills (especially our 'bread and butter' of Technical Rope Rescue) and knowledge are up to scratch.

Normally, I would have looked at this incredibly negatively. But I didn't. I looked at it pragmatically and thought how in fact, it is a very positive step for me. Especially as it seems after any heavy going rescue, my back is horrendous and puts me off attending others; the last one I did was a pretty long stretcher carry from the back of Cwm Idwal all the way back down to the road - a stretcher and casualty is heavy and a rotating team of eight is required. It puts a huge amount of stress on your body. Not good for us with glass backs!

After the chat, I came home to my wife and got a little upset and this proved to me that yes, I do genuinely want to be part of something as important as mountain rescue and felt sad that I would be mostly off the scene for up to eight months. I had a cry and she gave me a hug. But the important thing was that I cried out of healthy sadness and not depressive sadness; there is a big difference, as it's OK to be sad and get upset about something important to you.

So now I feel I'm at a good point of focus. I'm 90% certain I know what I want to do for a career. I know I want to get over my depression and anxiety and to improve all the other things that are connected to this. I don't feel as if I am stood at a crossroads any more, as I have chosen the direction I want to go in.

And you know what? It feels good.


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