I played organised football from the age of 5 and I loved that. I turned out to be well thought of by others and I went quite far compared to the average person playing some trials for pro clubs, being semi-pro from the age of 15. In hindsight I must have been good, though I never thought that of myself. Others have told me I was, they have nonchalantly told others that I was, that "if anyone can do that skill it's him". I never bought it as I was part of a team, I played my part like everyone else, I'd get upset at others if they didn't but I knew I just had to do my job for them, whether I did a good or bad job only I was the judge and I was super self critical, so I never appreciated what others clearly saw in me.
I had the most fantastic coach, a man called Paul Kelly who was the Academy manager for Wigan Athletic and Everton FC at different stages. Paul was one of those mentor figures that made you feel that you were a critical member of the team and he made everyone feel like that, his skills, tactics and technique were brilliant training sessions legendary and we went unbeaten for a few years against bigger and better teams. Again, I only ever felt I was confident in a match because he made me feel like that and my team mates were excellent, I just had to what was asked of me.
By the age of 16 I had been carrying a bad injury for two years, I had always had knee niggles but there as never a time I didn't play because of it. The injury got worse and worse, I was a growing boy who was playing for men's teams training with men multiple times per week, I played matched for a local Sunday team and the school as well as the teachers team, I played because I loved it ignoring the the reason asked to and taking heart from it. So I was 16 with no confidence and a bad injury. In the end I was beaten when things where looking more promising for me than ever I had interest from clubs, even my beloved Liverpool, but I had to miss the trials, my dream was fading, my body was failing and my confidence was already shot. I had nothing to show for 12 years of 100% focus and commitment, I had sacrificed so much and now for what?!
By the age of 18 I had not played for 2 years and my body still wasn't fixed until an operation, thanks to a job with health care included, at the age of 22. I will fill you in another day on what has happened since but finally at the age of 31 I have found my confidence and passion again, something I will never stop if I take care of myself properly. I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 3 months now and I have never loved a sport more, FACT!
I am clearly the whitest of white belts when we roll (BJJ's equivalent of sparring in boxing) but gradually through regular training with blue and purple belts I have found that actually I not too shabby for my level and often, but not always, get high praise from my superiors. I was better at football than I am at BJJ but football was never able to make me feel like I was responsible for my own success, that if I did something good it wasn't because of my team mates I am on my own on the mat in that moment. What's more you still get that support and direction from those you're aiming to choke out as though you are a team, it's a weird feeling and one that can't be matched in my opinion by other sports. To get the praise from a black belt when you pass his guard, or a purple belt for almost securing an arm bar but being brave enough to try is so rewarding. I also know when I compete in my first competition, in front of maybe hundreds of people, it will be against people of same age and belt colour as me so why can't I do well? There is no reason and if I get beat in every match I can take achievement in my progress for getting to the mat, I couldn't never done that without the confidence BJJ has given me.
I respect everyone that does BJJ and hope that they get as much in their lifetime from it as I have in 3 Months, I am so much more confident now. In fact I am a Euphoric Being
My name is Robert Shelbourne, I am 31 years old and have been managing depression and anxiety "disorders" for best part of a decade. When presented exclusively with the option of prescription meds and a long waiting list I refused the meds and set about complementing my CBT with my 13 year experience as a fitness professional. I am well aware how mental health issues can deprive those that suffer the opportunities as others with support coming in overwhelmingly busy gyms by Trainers who can't relate. I now offer a free online service called Euphoric Being to help others like me benefit from my experience and get the advice they need and deserve as an alternative recovery therapy.
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