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After a breakdown, birdwatching brought me friendship, escape and a new love of nature

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A childhood hobby gave me time to reflect, refocus and find myself again, following years of drug and alcohol abuse

A decade ago, aged 22 and off my face on class A drugs and alcohol almost every day, I would never have seen myself where I am today – and definitely wouldn’t have dreamed that birdwatching would help me to get there.

It wasn’t even the relentless drinking and drug-taking that shattered my wellbeing. I am sure that instability had been brewing since I was a child, although this is now only being explored properly in my 30s. I have always struggled with obsessive and oppressive thoughts, acute paranoia, desperate mood swings and overblown responses to just about anything and everything. For many years, I was certain that I would take my own life. It was a control thing, something I could always have power over. When intoxicated, I came close many times. On one occasion, I was only stopped by someone who talked me down and begged me to seek help. That moment was the start of my arduous and ongoing recovery journey.

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This post was syndicated from Health | The Guardian. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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