Bowditch on slow road in battle with depression
August 16, 2006

Bowditch on slow road in battle with depression

STEVEN BOWDITCH says golf is about the last thing on his mind as he struggles to emerge from clinical depression.

"Golf at this stage of my life is not a concern to me. It's my well-being off the course," said the 23-year-old from Perigian Beach in Queensland, who last week failed to make the cut for the 14th time in 14 starts in his rookie season on the US PGA Tour. Bowditch, who burst to prominence when he won last year's Jacob's Creek Open in Adelaide at the age of 21, recently started taking medication for his depression, and is trying to remain patient until it begins to work. But that's not easy to do, not when you feel an overwhelming sense of sadness much of the time. "The biggest problem is off the golf course," Bowditch said. "That's when it really hurts. I went a stretch of 13 days where I didn't have a wink of sleep. "You get thoughts you shouldn't have, your being on tour, your purpose of living over here, living in general. They are questions you ask yourself I don't wish on anyone."

Bowditch isn't sure what caused his depression, although he says his family has a history of it. All he knows is it began a couple of years ago and worsened at the start of this year. It's hard enough to compete on the world's toughest tour at the best of times, let alone when it's a struggle merely to stay focused on the job at hand. "My attention span and concentration levels are dismal," he said. "I'm grateful to be out here and still trying to compete, but I feel my mind is at about 30 per cent."

Night time is the hardest. He often lies in bed for nights on end without sleeping, before exhaustion finally takes over and sends him into the deepest of sleeps."I might sleep for 25 hours straight, not wake up, because my body's so wrecked," he said. Bowditch expects the medication to begin working soon, not that he expects an instant recovery. For now he is leaning on his parents, girlfriend and manager.

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