I’m thirty-six years old and have played tennis since the age of six. Tennis has always been a major part of my life and I played for UVIC and was nationally ranked despite experiencing minor delusions while attending college. After I graduated the positive symptoms of schizophrenia affected functioning in every area of life for seven years from until I was thirty. I was too unwell to play or even think about tennis.
When I was thirty I had a medication change and felt better immediately. Miraculously I was well enough to play tennis again and had a deep desire to rush back on court. Little did I know how significant tennis would be in my recovery journey.
I’ve been in recovery for six years now and tennis is more enjoyable and plays a bigger part in my life than it did before my mental health challenges. Early in my recovery journey tennis provided me with friends, social connections, sense of belonging and community, meaning and purpose, exercise, competition, sense of accomplishment, self-worth and a chance to be outdoors in nature.
I’ve achieved optimal wellness during times when I played tennis the most frequently. I notice that when I don’t play as much my quality of life goes down. One year into my recovery I became passionate about tennis since I always felt good after playing. When I was ill I never imagined playing tennis again. Now when I play it provides me with 1-2 hours in my day to forget everything and just be in the moment. Recovery has allowed renewal and transformed my tennis journey.