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GARY’S STORY: You Are Not Alone

To help others I am willing to open my soul and share my story. No names, but always the truth. Maybe reading this you will see we can help each other and that we all go through the same thoughts in different ways.

So let me set the background: I had it all – A soon to be wife, a son of 2 years old and growing up fast, a house and a job that I loved. Depression had been a constant in my life and I am 30 now. Some would call it the childhood from hell, but I’ll leave that story for another time. Panic attacks plagued me along with the depression. In 12 months I went from having it all to having nothing. I was sentenced for a crime (I won’t discuss it here, but there were circumstances behind it) and paid dearly for it mentally every day. My wife left me, taking my son. I lost my job and with that, my house was repossessed. My family turned on me, along with friends. I wasn’t eating or sleeping. Even when I did sleep, there was no respite as the depression brought the nightmares and overthinking. I wanted to forget about everything.

I was alone, isolated and sinking deeper into that dark place where that voice in your head suggests various ways out. We have all heard it. It tries to entice you to listen by working on your worst fear, making you think about ‘it’ and then forcing you to consider the after affects. Each time you fight it off, but it comes back louder.

My biggest fear was my son and losing him. Seeing him only a few hours a week was torture for me. I had previously been with him every day, but now I was seeing him under supervision. I’d give him a cuddle they wonder why.  “It’s just process” they’d say. I was trying to play by their rules but the rules kept changing.  It was during this ‘process’ that my ex-wife dropped the biggest bombshell. “He may not even be yours”, she told me out of the blue. Thoughts bombarded my exhausted mind.  When had she cheated on me, and who with? All those days I was cycling 26 miles to and from work just to keep the money coming in and she’d done that to me.

Coming home to a dark house, tired and exhausted, I laid in a bed in a place I didn’t want to be. I just wanted to be at home with my son.  Dark thoughts returned and that night I tried to take my own life.  Held in a room, the British Transport Police had stopped me seconds before it was too late. I was taken to a place of safety. I broke and hit the ground.

“It’s not how far you fall son. It is how far you bounce back up that matters”.

That saying became my mantra along with the picture of my son growing up without a father.  I had managed to get to 14 months of ‘supervised visits’ before the above break down happened.

Laid back in bed at home, the voice returned.  I focused on my son and what I wanted with my life, and this time I spoke out loud to myself: “No, you will not take me this night, or on any other.” Thoughts of my son playing with a new dad and me, a depressed lonely old man who let it happen drove me on and gave me the energy to fight.

The fire inside was intense.  Yes, I was going to annoy people and yes I was probably going to lose some of them, but my ultimate weakness was also my ultimate strength. When you have nothing to lose you have everything to gain.  Soon, I found myself going through everything with a fine-toothed comb: Housing, benefits, solicitors through legal aid, reading law books in the library. I was fighting for not just for my life but for my son’s future too.

Guys, inside you is the fire to fight, even when all the lights go out. Ignite that fire and change your life. You just have to hold onto that flame, once it is there. It is hard, i’m not going to lie about that, and like I said, you won’t win every fight. I am in a hostel now, but I refuse to stay down. I speak to CALM and Samaritans and they help by listening and I can’t stress how important that is.  It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor or you’re homeless, a CEO or a janitor.  Young or old, we all need help at times.  Life is tough, it can be shitty, but there is always an option, however hidden it may seem at the time.

I have my bad days as well as my good ones, and I will share them with you on this website to illustrate how things can and will change. But ultimately, if you take away anything from my story, it’s this:

You are not alone. You need to keep fighting.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

7 Responses to this article

  1. Thanks for being so honest and for staying with us x I want to say you are a kind of missionary in the darkness.
    I trust that your stay in the darkness will only be for as long as needed for your gift to the world to be delivered and then you will find your well deserved place in the glorious sunshine !

    The cracks are where the light shines through x

    Best wishes for your journey x you are indeed not alone x thanks Sally

    Sally 4th May 2013 at 8:24 am
  2. Sally,
    As with the other articles I have wrote if I can help one person then I am doing well. The darkness has been with me a long time. Nothing but the truth. Hope the series is helping.

    Gary x

    gary 4th May 2013 at 12:18 pm
  3. Garry, I hope you get ur on back, every child has a right to his father. To have everything an one day find ur slf in a hostel is shocking, it’s frightening how life can change in an instant and the massive price u are now paying for the mistake u made makes me want to cry! I am awake as I can’t sleep due to anxiety an depression, but reading about ur struggle makes me feel I can try harder too. God bless u an ur family. X

    Ashputtle 4th June 2013 at 3:20 am
  4. Sorry 4 da typos, I ment I hope u get ur son back as every child has a right to how father. X

    Ashputtle 4th June 2013 at 3:22 am
  5. Thank you for your kind words. Please read my other articles the checklist one may be of help to u and panic attacks. All the best and remeber you are not alone

    Gary

    gary 8th June 2013 at 1:04 pm
  6. Im 25, lonely and depressed. I don’t want to end my life but don’t want to continue living miserable. I don’t live I just ‘exist’.

    sham 31st July 2013 at 12:10 am
  7. Sham, sorry to hear that you are going through a tough time. As hard as it may be to believe it at the moment, you must remember that you are not alone – there is always someone to talk to who can help you. You can call our helpline to talk stuff through, regardless of the topic, and they can help you work things out and find the best help. It’s confidential, anonymous and free from landlines, pay phones and most mobile networks and the call won’t appear on your phone bill. It’s open 5pm – midnight every day of the year – 0800 58 58 58. If you’d rather, you can text CALM instead on 07537 404717. It’s very brave to ask for help, but depression is a treatable condition and there is plenty of help out there for you. Take care.
    Team CALM x

    rachelclare 2nd August 2013 at 2:03 pm

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