Colchester defender Paul Reid is relieved to have awoken from his recent injury nightmare.
The 27-year-old has spent the past eight months on the sidelines with a knee problem.
Reid fractured his kneecap against Huddersfield last season and has been out of action ever since.
He is, however, edging towards full fitness and made his first appearance of the 2009/10 campaign as a substitute in United's 2-1 defeat at Millwall on Saturday.
"For me personally, it's a massive achievement to get myself fit and get back in the squad and on the pitch," Reid told the Colchester Gazette.
"I was always pretty level-headed and always appreciated being a footballer. But if I needed it, it has given me a reminder of how good the lifestyle is and how much I should appreciate it, because it can be taken away very quickly.
"It's been a long road back and the first one I've had in my career. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone and it's been really depressing at times.
"But hopefully now it's all behind me and I can keep myself fit and be part of something really good.
"It's great to be back, the lads have started the season really well and hopefully I can slot in and help out where I can.
"I still need a few reserve games and I'm certainly not 100 per cent fit, but I'm a lot better than I was eight months ago."