I started martial arts properly at 17, doing 6 months of Boxing, followed by 6 months of BJJ. The difference I saw inmyself was great. I was more confident, a happier, healthier and felt like I was acheiving more. Every time I trained I was workign towards, or acheiving a goal, whilst learning how to defend myself, and that feeling was great. Sadly I aggrivated a recurrent shoulder surgery in my first BJJ tornament and had to have reconstructive shoulder surgery on both shoulders.
In the time I couldnt train I became quite depressed and really missed that sense of acomplisment and self worth I got from training in a combat sport, and developed OCD, in the form of an irrational fear of germs / viruses in particular. It doesnt really impact upon my life, appart from in training. I was so looking forward to fighting again, and tried out a few local MMA gyms, but I have heard you can get all sorts of nasty things from the mats and it made me really uncomfortable, and I never went back to them.
While I was waiting for my arm to heal I started taekwondo, as a stepping stone from nothing back towards a full contact sport. I really enjoy it, and made some really good friends, but I dont feel the quality of teaching is that great (its a student run club at uni) or that it really prepares me for anything in real life. I have also started boxing since my arm has been better and have only been doing that since christmas. I was really enjoying it, untill we sparred, and I got hit by a 15 year old litteraly 2/3rds of my weight. That kid was so strong and fast, it really made me re-think how much I want to compete in this sport. Its not getting hurt, or putting in hard work, im more than willing to put in as much of those as I need to. Its the risk of injury or brain damage.
I guess going through the surgery and being unable to do anything / being weak as a kitten for weeks made me realize how important it is that I look after my body, so when I get to 40 I can still enjoy life and play with my kids e.c.t. Im willing to put in as much hard work as it takes, but not at the expense of my health, and seeing the beating I took in light sparring against someone so small... well I just dont think my brain could take that much rattling for long. So im stuck. I feel like I want to go back to that stage where I was competing in combat sports because I was doing something good, working on my self confidence, acheiving goals and getting healthier. Im also not sure how to get there without destroying my body or mind, and my OCD makes me feel very very uncomfortable in some places. Unfortunatly most really good fighting gyms are pretty hardcore places (read thilthy)