Aussie Bloke Shows How Boxing Can Help You Kick Depression’s Ass

"Lost 15kg, got the mental health back on track; fittest I've been in 20 years."

Aussie Bloke Shows How Boxing Can Help You Kick Depression’s Ass

Image: Getty

Craig Lino, a former police officer from Melbourne, has spoken to DMARGE about what it was like retiring, and how boxing is helping him get his mental health back on track.

It’s one thing to talk about what we need to do to prevent depression, but it’s a whole different thing putting it into practice. This is why, when we saw Craig Lineham’s story, it hit us like a punch in the face (in the best way possible).

After Mr Lineham shared on social media how boxing has got him the fittest he’s been in 20 years, we gave him a call to learn more. We’re glad we did because – as he told us – if his story motivates just one other person, “it will have been worth it.”

Mr Lineham, who was a police officer for 20 years, retired 2 years ago, at 48, due to the effects of PTSD. Since then, he told DMARGE, “I’m financially ok, but I don’t really do much and I started drinking a few cans a night and put on a little bit of weight – 9 or 9.5kg.”

Post sparring with Harry Garside. Image: Supplied

Mr Lineham told DMARGE he wasn’t in too bad of a place, but that after leaving the police force he struggled to find a greater purpose in his life. “I was in a pretty good headspace, but I was sort of thinking: ‘What’s the point of getting out of bed today?'” Mr Lineham told DMARGE.

“The police force is very consuming. It’s a lifestyle. When I lost that I grieved it for a while. Then I got over it. It’s like another life now. I didn’t have anything to fill the void. I saw something on Facebook about Corporate Fighter and I just thought: ‘Oh I’ll have a look at this.’ You raise money for a charity and have a fight after 10 weeks of intensive training.”

“I thought maybe that’s a goal to go for, and I told my friends about it.”

Craig Lineham

Though Mr Lineham had some initial reservations about having his first ever proper boxing fight at 52, he eventually decided that whatever the outcome, it would be a win: “I thought on the night I’ll win, lose or draw – but it’s all about the journey.” Plus: he got the chance to train with Harry Garside (“a lovely bloke and taught me so much”), which is a win in itself in our book.

“The fight was scheduled for August the 19th, so I trained from the start of June for 4 nights a week intensively. Then it got cancelled and rescheduled for November the 11th.”

Source: Facebook

He’s been training, hard too: “I’ve been training with a personal boxing trainer two days a week for an hour session, and I do 8 hours a week in a boxing gym, 6 hours in a weights gym doing weights and cardio and I do a 1,000 sit-ups a week.”

“That’s got me down from 99kg to 84.5kg today.”

Craig Lineham

“The fight’s at the Melbourne Pavillion – about 1,000 people will be watching so I’m more nervous about the people than the fight. There will be 10-12 fights and I’ll be fighting someone of a similar experience and similar weight.”

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Mr Lineham only took up boxing properly this year. He said he’s dropped nearly 16kg, which he attributes to the training and lifestyle changes he has made (“I only drink on weekends and then only moderately. It’s been a fantastic journey”).

“I’m 51 so I’m not going to lie, the body hurts but it’s for a good outcome.”

Craig Lineham

Mr Lineham told DMARGE that boxing has helped his mental health, too. He said: “I was diagnosed with complex PTSD and depression in 2017. I knew I had it [PTSD] since 2009. I knew something wasn’t right – I was just struggling and worked in areas like the Special Ops group – I also worked as a covert operative – and they are quite high functioning jobs.”

“I knew as a Sargeant in that covert unit, I could see some cracks appearing and I didn’t know what to do because you have to function very highly in those units.”

Image: Supplied

Mr Lineham said that he previously struggled with alcohol addiction and “eventually it just got the better of me.” He ended up in rehab for alcohol and spent some time in psych wards addressing the PTSD. He has also done four rounds of a trauma group that went for six months, “I’ve had two years of trauma groups, obviously taking some medication and yeah I sort of have left the police force behind me – it was like another life.”

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Despite this, after quitting the force, Mr Lineham told DMARGE: “I was starting to get back into old habits and this [the boxing] has really been a godsend.” Mr Lineham also said that the response he has seen from other Aussie blokes has been great.

“I get up at 5am and go for a run. It’s been a really good motivation.”

Craig Lineham

“I was overwhelmed by the response. I don’t even know why I put it on there [on Facebook]. I just thought: ‘You know what, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done. I’ll just share it and maybe motivate a bloke.’ 1,500 likes later and god knows how many hundreds of messages and I reckon I might have actually inspired some people to do it themselves.”

“I hope I have and if I help one person the post was worth it.”

Craig Lineham

It appears to have inspired at least one person, with one bloke on Facebook (Mr Lineham shared his experience on a community page) chiming in, asking for advice: “Any one recommend a good boxing gym in the Bankstown area… Used to train a long time ago and now I’m an overweight truck driver [but] this post has really made me want to start up again… Don’t have any friends and I’m an introvert until I get to know someone..thanks.”

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Another said: “Maaate ! That’s awesome. I took a loss on my first fight but the journey man it is something incredible I never thought I could commit to something like I did to Muay Thai!”

Yet another said: “I’m 47 and have been thinking about this for a little while now but wondered if I was getting too old. I’m not one to throw around catch phrases but this is actually inspiring.”

There you have it: your weekly dose of motivation. Now, where were those boxing gloves?

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