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My Mental Health Story

This week is mental health awareness week and in all honesty I’ve been putting off posting this.

I’m not going to post something that turns into some sort of sales message or business promotion or whatever, because this subject is very real, and very close to my heart.

Story:

The people in the picture on this post are myself at 13 and one of my best friends, Danny.

On 4th August 2012, I was on a night out in Northampton with friends, fairly well on my way to being drunk, when I get a text from Danny telling me he was going through a hard time and had been on anti-depressants.

Honestly, I had no idea up until that point. He always seemed so happy and carefree.

He then told me he wanted to kill himself, and the reasons why. All of the reasons he gave me, from an outside perspective, were completely unwarranted. He was loved, had a huge group of friends, had a fantastic career ahead of him (he wanted to be an architect and we’d spend afternoons in a pub in London talking about what we wanted our house designs to be) and, on the surface, there was nothing wrong in his life.

However, turns out a lot of mental health issues are a chemical imbalance in the brain, not the person just being overdramatic or looking for attention. This was the case with this particular person.

Anyway, long story short, I thought we’d come up with an action plan on getting him better (I’m good at problem solving, I’m not great at just providing emotional support if there is no plan for getting through it!) and he went to bed, or so I thought.

A few hours later, I get a text from him telling me he was going to do it. Obviously I pleaded and begged and tried to do whatever I could to stop it happening. He wouldn’t tell me where he was, I was over 30 miles away and very over the limit, and I couldn’t get hold of any of his other friends or family.

However, I’m also a sceptic and I thought he was just drunk and I’d wake up to a message in the morning with an apology etc etc.

What I actually woke up to was a message from one of his of his other friends with the words “it’s too late, he’s gone”.

The last thing I remember of my friend was a picture of the red and blue tie round his neck that he sent me and a text with the words “I dunno, I’m scared”.

It was THE most horrific thing I’ve ever been through, it’s actually really hard writing this still, 8 years later. I replay that night and can picture it as if it was yesterday regularly (I am right this second as I write), it changed me in a lot of ways and it’s created a lot of issues for me in ways that I never could have imagined (one example: I still to this day have a breakdown if I see someone being hanged on TV – I simply cannot watch it. I’ve tried every trick in the book to try and get over it, it hasn’t yet worked).

What did I learn from this?

  1. You never know what someone is going through. They might look like the most sane, grounded and strong person to you, but they might be going through something completely different inside.
  2. Be kind. Don’t assume that someone is crying for attention or that it’s not a very real thing that they are going through.
  3. Mental health isn’t something to be taken lightly. What might be a small thing to you might be huge to them. It could be a build-up of many things and that one last small thing just pushes them over the edge.
  4. Don’t waste time on things that don’t improve your life. You want something, go and get it. Life it short, don’t waste it on stupid, pointless things that don’t bring you happiness.
  5. Talk to someone. If you’re feeling like life isn’t worth it or you have no other way out, before you make that final step, just talk to someone. It could be a friend, family or a professional. Just someone. That someone might just help. And if they can’t, at least you’ve shared it. As horrific as my story is for me and as much as I blamed myself for the outcome for months afterwards, I’m glad I shared those final moments and I’m glad he didn’t go through it alone.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, tell people you love them. You never know when it might be the last time you get to speak to them. Anyone in my family will tell you that I tell them I love them every single time I leave their house, put the phone down etc etc.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. I feel weirdly liberated getting that out of my head.

Thanks

A

FacePalm FD – Your Strategic Financial Partner

01908 429294

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https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://save.org/

https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training