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Bounding back to health - Glenn Bradley

Glenn in his shed canva

ADVENTURE course Outward Bound has propelled QRS engineer Glenn Bradley to rethink the way he lives, works, and plays.

Described as a solutions genius, Glenn is an engineer, heavy diesel mechanic, panel beater and metal fabricator with over 20 years at QRS.

He’s a terrific problem solver. But there was one problem Glenn didn’t know how to solve. Why did he sometimes feel so sad and as if life had slowed down?

“Last year was an odd year what with illness in the family and me coming back from Outward Bound,” explains Glenn. “But that course started something in me.”

Back in 2021 Glenn was in a funk. To snap out of it he wondered if doing something adventurous and challenging, like an Outward Bound course, might act as a re-set button and eject him out of his gloom.

He floated the idea of attending the course at his annual appraisal and was thrilled when QRS said it would pay for him to go. For eight gruelling days Glenn swam, tramped, sailed, and survived the famous extreme adventure course.

It had the desired effect. Outward Bound boosted Glenn’s zest for life and happiness. “Everyone got on really well, and every day you did exciting, interesting tasks.”

Glenn returned to Wairoa fizzing and determined to try new things. He was even comfortable enough to speak in front of a group about his experience – something he would have balked at in the past.

But then he slumped. “It’s like you came back and you can’t get yourself hyped up. You’re missing something, the company, the activity. And I just couldn’t get out of it.”

Glenn says he didn’t know what was going on but guessed it had to be something more serious than just missing his new mates. “Nothing was making me happy. I had lost interest. I was really down.”

Thankfully, Glenn sought professional help from his GP. He was diagnosed with depression and was surprised to be told he’d probably lived with it on and off for years. “No one’s known and even I didn’t know!”

Glenn admits he’d always put depression in the “airy-fairy-is-it-really-a-thing?” basket until he experienced it himself. “Bloody hell, until you’ve got it, I don’t think you really understand.”

Glenn now has strategies for dealing with depression. With the support from the few people who knew, Glenn prioritises time outside going for long tramps and hunts. He’s also benefitted from medication and talking to a counsellor. He’s clawed his way out and most days (but not all days) life is filled with joy again.

Looking back, Glenn says the Outward Bound course was the springboard from which he jumped into wellness. “Having been pumped up for those eight days and then coming back, that’s what set it off. But turns out that experience opened things up and I’ve now done things I wouldn’t have done in the past.”  

With his energy returned, Glenn is taking opportunities to grow. He’s made good on a lifelong dream to own a road motorbike; runs regularly; did the blacksmith workshop he’d always wanted; bungee jumped; visited the South Island again and completed an engineering extension course in New Plymouth.

“That kind of stuff puts a smile on my dial, makes you feel good. Without the course at Outward Bound I wouldn’t have gone to any of those things.”

Mr Wairau says Glenn is held in high regard at QRS and he’s thrilled the company has, in a very small way, been able to help.

QRS looks after its staff by putting their health and wellness at the forefront of employee decisions. Staff have access to the community gym and pool, regular nurse health checks, and access to off-site support in areas such as budgeting, mental, and physical health.

“Time off for injury or illness management isn’t an issue. It doesn’t matter who you are, depression or physical pain can affect everyone. They’re equal opportunity mongrels like that!”

Mr Wairau reckons being emotionally genuine and authentic to those who are close to you also goes a long way. “No matter how bad it gets if you take the right steps there is a way up and QRS is happy to be part of the solution.”

Need to talk?

Lifeline 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Youthline 0800 376 633
Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843
Emergency 111
What’s Up 0800 942 8787
Hawke’s Bay Mental Health Crisis Line 0800 112 334
Health improvement worker Trixie Terry, Queen St Practice (06) 838 8333 or 027 310 6544

Reconnecting with people and places that lift you up is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week 26 September to 2 October. Two QRS staff have completed an Outward Bound course and reconnected with what matters to them most while learning more about their physical and mental strength. Jared Spence's story coming tomorrow. 

28 September 2022

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Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My strength is not mine alone, it is the strength of many.

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