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Deptherapy and my road to recovery

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I joined the army in 2006 and was part of an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Regiment. In my last year in the Army I ruptured my ACL playing rugby for the regimental team and this eventually led to me being medically discharged in 2012. The sudden exit from everything I had known since I was 17 affected me more than I ever think I realised until I went on the Deptherapy trip in May 2017.

Prior to the knee injuries I was a very happy young man and I had everything I ever wanted in the world, living life to the full. I would rarely be sat still and always on adventures!

Introduction to Deptherapy

My introduction to Deptherapy came through my old team commander in the Army, Luke Simpson. Luke put me in touch with a man called Richard Cullen, who apparently ran a charity that helped rehabilitate injured ex-forces with both mental and physical injuries. As I spoke to Richard my feelings of a lack of self-worth really came to the forefront. I didn’t believe I deserved to be taken on by the charity and I used excuses like “there are people with a lot worse injuries than me.” Luckily for me, Richard read me like a book and saw straight through my excuses and spent the next year convincing me I was worth the time.

Motorcycle accident

So, Richard had convinced me to go on a Deptherapy trip, I had done my Open Water theory and was starting to get really excited (which is a feeling that I hadn’t had in a long time). Two weeks prior to my flight I was riding my motorcycle down a road on a leisurely ride with my girlfriend and we were involved in a pretty bad crash.

This put me into a very dark place in regards to mental illness (PTSD, guilt about my girlfriend’s illnesses, feelings of low self-worth/brain injury) and also pain from physical injuries that restricted me from being my normal self.

Through this whole chapter of my life, the Deptherapy charity, in particular Richard Cullen, supported me and pulled me out of any dark places.

Egypt trip with Deptherapy

As time led up to my second attempt of going onto a Deptherapy trip, I was really struggling to remember the theory that I was reading due to my brain injury.

Eventually the time came, I travelled to Gatwick airport and started meeting the guys who would turn my life in a better direction. We made our introductions and headed off on the plane. I was anxious about whether people would like me. Would I pass any of the tests? Would my physical injuries limit or stop my ability to dive? I had a lot of overwhelming worries.

In terms of the diving, I found that from day one in the pool as soon as my head went underwater nothing above sea level mattered any more. I still had a lot of mental issues but I didn’t think or worry about them. I was free from anxiety, in a state of peace and tranquillity that I have never found anywhere else in the world.

The pool training for my PADI Open Water brought the group closer together and started conversations flowing. The one thing that the Armed Forces are brilliant at is speaking openly, with no boundaries on topic, even if the topic has a stigma attached to it within civilian life, such as PTSD. As the week progressed, we had presentations and open talks about overcoming adversity that really helped my mental state and my drive to get back to the old, fun me. I would like to mention Steve Atkin here, who even with his own issues, had an open and frank conversation with me which essentially turned my mental health around.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in the ‘Deptherapy Buddy Peer Support Scheme.’ You can choose your Buddy from either one of the troops who have been part of the Deptherapy programme for some time or one of the Instructors and Support Team. They have all been trained in Mental Health First Aid. Richard said it made sense for him to be my Buddy as we have known each other for two years. The idea is that you have someone to turn to, to talk to and who will support you both on the programme and when you return home.

Here and now…

If someone wanted to know what Deptherapy did for me I would say…

Deptherapy provides an enriched environment where mental and physical injuries do not restrict. The charity teaches you that you can do, that you can speak your problems through which helps your wellbeing and self-worth. Scuba diving and the Deptherapy programme have shown me that I can do whatever I put my mind to!

I have turned a corner and hope to continue doing this, and diving.

Jon Beever blogs at: https://jonbeever.wordpress.com

Find out more about the work of Deptherapy at: http://www.deptherapy.co.uk

Jon Beever qualified as a PADI AOWD on the recent May 2017 Deptherapy training programme in Egypt. After a medical discharge from the British Army, Jon’s introduction to scuba diving was curtailed by a serious motorcycle accident. Now having firmly caught the diving bug, Jon is currently planning his Drysuit course with another Deptherapy programme member.

Dive Training Blogs

Quick Scuba Tips #12: Pimp Your GoPro for Amazing Underwater Video Colors (Watch Video)

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We’re back with the quick tips series and my secret weapon for getting the best colort out of your GoPro underwater!

Introducing the Flip 8 from www.backscatter.com A color correction system that mounts straight onto the dive housing of your GoPro. Check them out below!

As always, thanks for watching!

D.S.D.O James


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Dive Training Blogs

What you need to know about SMBs!

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Ok, so not the most exciting of topics… but an important one nonetheless. Especially as many of us will be starting to enjoy the UK dive season and heading out to explore our beautiful coastline. Some of you may even be heading into the UK waters for the first time due to the travel restrictions… welcome, you will wish that you had done it sooner! 

Surface marker buoys. SMB’s are an invaluable piece of equipment. To demonstrate your position in the water, to fend off boats, to show off your buoyancy to your dive buddy when you can inflate it without moving an inch in the water… or to un-intentionally make your buddy laugh when you forget to attach your reel and send it up like a lost rocket… A must have skill and piece of equipment for all divers. But, how do you choose which one is right for you, and how do you use it correctly? 

Choosing a colour, we all know to look cool as a diver, its all about co-ordinating, but not so much with SMB’s I’m afraid. The standard colour is orange and is what you will typically see being used, and yellow due to it’s higher ability to be seen at night time is just for an emergency…. Not because it is your favourite colour…sorry yellow lovers! If you are wanting to personalise it though you could put your name down the SMB, that way the surface cover knows who it is underneath. 

Next, inflation. Here we have the option of open bottom or direct inflation. An open bottom means that you will need to use your alternate to inflate the SMB, direct inflation you would use your inflator hose. Either of these are sufficient and is generally down to preference. If you are not sure which you prefer, or how to use them, there is a course that you can take to learn all of the skills and offer some helpful tips of how to inflate it and control your buoyancy too. I happen to know an instructor that teaches it… so just drop me a message and I can help…!

So, we have the SMB, next we need a line or spool. So many decisions with a basic piece of kit! Most SMB’s will come with a line, which is great as you can use the equipment straight away. The only down side is, with gloves it can become annoying, especially if you are changing depths quite often as typical on a shore dive here. You may wish to look at a spool instead… They also come in more colours, and this time you can choose which ever you want… even yellow, result! 

Having got to the point of choosing you SMB and line/spool, where are we now going to keep it? Clipping it onto your BCD, keeping it in your pocket. Anywhere is sufficient as long as its easily accessible… like not in your car once you have entered the water…. So be sure to add you SMB to your buddy check! Happy diving! 


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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