My name is Gary Green. I am an author, a team leader, an advanced open water and deep sea diver. I am also blind in one eye from an IED attack in Afghanistan. I suffer with PTSD. I have also overcome suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol addiction. (There’s a bold statement…)
As I sit at work with heavy eyelids, juggling the boost of caffeine and the tiredness that comes with shift patterns, I look forward to exactly one months’ time when I will be aboard a boat on the Red Sea. One thing I have learned is that the peaks and troughs of life must be ridden like a steady surfboarder, although most of the time I feel like the newbie who spends more time falling into the sea.
I have been blown up in Afghanistan. I suppose that is kind of my ‘golden ticket’ in a Wonka bar that has given me access to the beautiful underwater universe that I never knew existed. Since the summer of 2015 (oh how time has flown) I have been part of a charity called Deptherapy, which rehabilitates injured veterans through the medium of scuba diving. I have grown as a person and as a diver with the charity. My current level is trainee PADI Rescue Diver, Ambassador, Board Member and Trustee of Deptherapy. I am also an AmbassaDIVER for PADI in the UK (now take a breath, it’s a mouth full!)
In one months’ time I will be on a liveaboard in the Red Sea, exploring the waters in the north of Egypt. The purpose of this trip is to learn how to wreck dive, to penetrate and navigate through the forgotten ships that live under the water. This is all part of a bigger picture; to rehabilitate, to provide structure where once was chaos and to provide hope where there was once doubt.
For me, the scuba diving is a side effect of my therapy, a by-product of my rehabilitation. Of course, as a person outside of Deptherapy I have now built a tower of dependence, structure and routine. Deptherapy has added building blocks to that tower and now I have the privilege of being part of a family where I can help veterans place bricks into their own towers.
My next steps are to pass the knowledge reviews of my Rescue Diver course and I will then take the practical assessments in my Otter dry suit in the murky, cold British waters. This will enable me to then throw myself in the deep end (quite literally) as a trainee Dive Master for the ten days I spend in Egypt in the company of my wounded brothers.
I am looking forward to my break away from reality, my serenity from the normal… but most importantly my ‘gap year’ from PTSD. Underwater I have discovered a world where PTSD does not exist, a world where I find peace within myself coupled with an unparalleled beauty. Without diving and the generosity of Deptherapy I would have never found the ocean. Most importantly, I might have never found peace.
The thought of furthering my diving and taking steps to becoming a PADI Pro illuminates me. I will be writing about my experiences on this blog and taking videos / photos of my scuba diving journey. Stay tuned to find out how one veteran’s battle against his own mind concludes another chapter soon…
Find out more about the work of Deptherapy at: www.deptherapy.co.uk