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Testimonial from one of our ex-service users. We're all really proud of him and thank him for his kind words.
Bedroom to the boot room:
''Just over 2 years ago I found myself in a very dark place. I'd ridden tackles with depression before, only this time, it felt like I was finished. Crippled with anxiety, I left my university course and left for home. I moved into my Grandparents spare bedroom, my independence gone along with everything else that mattered to me. I spent 3 months or so in that bedroom, wishing my Grandad could understand why I had no motivation to get up before lunch time.
Around January 2013 my Mum made a phone call that probably saved my life; at first I wasn't prepared to listen but when I got a message on my phone from a lady named Jane, I found myself willing to hear her out. We met a week later and I instantly felt that not only could I talk to her, but that she understood. I started getting out of the house and thanks to the help I received from Jane, managed to find my own accommodation. It may have been a small box room in the YMCA, but it was a start. I still wasn't well but being able to get up in the morning to go and talk about how I felt was helping. I found myself developing a healthy routine, and soon started feeling well enough to do everyday things, like going for a coffee, with new friends who could relate to what I was going through. One thing was still missing in my life though; that was football. Watching football had bought me so much enjoyment in my life but the overload on the senses that the match day experience brings appeared too daunting to an anxious individual like myself.
That's where Bill came in; I met Bill at a group for young people with Mental Health issues in Lowestoft. One of the friends I had made there, shared with Bill, a love of football, and in particular, Lowestoft Town FC; a team I soon discovered had a few ex-players from my previously local team, Cambridge United. That friend suggested going to their next home match, but football tickets are a luxury you can't afford when you're on JSA and struggling to do your weekly shop for under £15. Bill then took a calculated gamble which could have potentially landed him in trouble, but ultimately started a chain of events that made me the person I am today; he bought me a ticket.
A season later and not only were ''The Trawlerboys'' riding high after a promotion campaign, I'd moved out of the YMCA into my own flat and had a volunteering job, coaching football within my local community. Bill, Jane and the rest of the staff at Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind were continuing to support me and things were on the up, I felt confident enough to apply for an FA Level 2 coaching badge and set about making football my new focus.
It wasn't an easy ride: panic attacks, bouts of depression and a set of course material that looked Greek to me saw to that. I stuck at it, YPIM had given me the mental resilience to do that. It didn't matter if I messed up, every Saturday I'd be on the training pitch, rain or shine, to practice delivering sessions with the group of players I coached.
Those 6 months went quickly, so much so that all I seem to remember from that period are the coaching plans I prepared and the Lowestoft games I attended. I hoped that was a good sign as I went into my Level 2 assessment last weekend. I was nervous, perhaps more so than the others on my course due to my anxiety issues, but I felt confident at the same time; that confidence had been boosted by the offer of paid work from the organisation I had been volunteering with.
At 15:10 on Sunday the 29th March, almost 3 years of feeling like I was worthless and that I would never achieve anything in my life, I was told that I was now an FA Level 2 qualified coach. I can't find any words to describe how that felt, but what I can do is thank those who helped me get there.
Jane, Bill, Sue, Bill Shelley, Mark, Gary, John, Marian, Tilly, Mike, Meg, David, Chris, Clive, James and countless others I've missed out but who know who they are, this one’s for you.
Ryman League? I feel like I've won the World Cup final!