The bravest thing anyone can do in this toxic masculine world is say ‘Hey, I need some help’
I was stuck in a monotonous existence, working in a financial call centre drudging through phone calls from pensioners on their last legs, inputting figures on spreadsheet after spreadsheet.
It’s fair to say I had given up on life, I felt there was no purpose or meaning, and that I ultimately had nothing to offer the world.
The feeling was the same when it came to friends and family, one of being a burden and a struggle they could be relieved of if I would just take the final plunge.
I won’t go into the details of the various schemes concocted to end my life, but instead I’d like to speak about how those days are in the rear view mirror and what led to me getting here.
My childhood was at times traumatic but it was as a whole, relatively happy. It was not until I became a teenager that I began to fall into the darkness.
From 17-25 I struggled, having attempted to take my own life as a teen.
I got good enough grades to get into Kent University to study Classics, having been indoctrinated with a fascination of history and society by both parents.
I did OK academically but I never felt like I belonged. A boy from Cleri doing Classics just never added up. This led to an Imposter Syndrome that still sticks to my skin today.
After graduating I really struggled. Jumping between jobs I was constantly having The Black Dog take chunks out of my consciousness, with the feeling of not belonging hanging over me.
But it all turned around gradually in a process that took patience and understanding.
When my partner moved in with me in 2016, my healing really began.
Through having the support in-house, she encouraged me to contact the doctors, to attend appointments and even drove me to my CBT sessions – not to mention buying a dog to keep me company when I was signed off from work.
I cannot express how important seeking help was in my recovery, something as simple as attending an appointment could have drastically positive effects for my self esteem.
My friends and family were also always by my side listening and picking me up when I was emotionally or financially unstable.
Through that extremely lucky foundation I was able to become more open, and that allowed my honesty to flourish and blossom, which meant I could better process my feelings of self-loathing.
Antidepressants just never seemed to work for me, but instead physical exercise in the form of losing golf balls and cutting out alcohol consumption was revolutionary – as was opening up to other men about how I felt in spaces like Andy’s Man Club.
I began writing a lot, becoming infatuated with current affairs and developing my own website. The pet project led to me securing a dream job with the Evening News, a paper I grew up reading.
And tomorrow night I will be sitting on my settee in a virtual JPI Media awards ceremony not giving a hoot if I win Community Journalist of the Year, but instead celebrating the fact I always held on to tomorrow. And so should you.
To anyone out there in a similar position, please do not give up, no matter how dark it may seem at the time, open up to those around you and seek help.
The bravest thing anyone can do in this toxic masculine world is say “Hey, I need some help.”
Message from mental health charity SAMH
If you or someone you know cannot keep yourself safe, please seek help immediately.
You can go to any hospital Accident & Emergency department. Call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can’t get to A&E, or tell someone and ask them to contact 999 for you.
If you need some support right now, but don’t want to go to A&E, you can call NHS 24 on 111. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123, they’re open 24 hours and are there to listen. If
you’d prefer to text someone, Shout is a volunteer-run, 24/7 crises text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. Text SHOUT 85258.
While SAMH doesn’t have a crisis or listening service, our Information Team can help connect you with support and information. Our team are available Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm (except on Bank Holidays) on 0344 800 0550.