This blog for me is my way of putting behind me the past year. People out there have had it worse than me and this isn't a self pity "Oh look at me" blog. This is my way of dealing with what has gone on, dealing with the hurt and pain I've caused people, unintentionally I must add, and for a way for me to close it off and move on. I have to move on, I cant stay in the place I've been.
It started slowly at first, I didn't notice it happen. It starts like that, it grips you before you even know what's happening, things that wouldn't bother you suddenly become major obstacles to overcome. Things that I enjoyed doing suddenly I had no interest in at all. I had, had some issues with family stuff last year and it was a really tough time for my wife and my family as a whole. Work was going to shit, people have agendas and use them against you whenever they can to suit their own needs. Normally I can deal with it but I couldn't separate issues at home with issues at work and it just made me sink faster into a black hole.
My problem has always been I'm far too honest, far too trusting and always try to please people because that way I think they'll like me. I'm not surrounded by hundreds of friends, I have people who I talk to but no one that I'm close enough to, to tell when I'm struggling. I don't like to open up to people in case they judge me, that's all in my head I know that but it doesn't help me deal with what I'm going through at the time.
I love reading, always have since I was a kid. I read probably two books a week. Yet I suddenly lost interest in it. That should have made me realise that something was wrong, but I was going into Christmas in Retail and I just took it that I was tired. I wasn't though. I had no motivation to do anything, I was snapping at people all the time, one minute I was on top of the world and saying to myself I can do this, the next I was in the toilets crying my eyes out not knowing how I was going to get through the next 10 minutes.
I had some very dark thoughts, some I'm not proud off. I have a woods where I live and I wandered into them one day, looking at which trees had the thickest branches. I sat on a log in the darkest place I've ever been thinking how I would do it. Trying to get the courage to work it out, when a dog being walked by its owner came and sat next to me and wouldn't move no matter how much the owner called the dog. I sat there stroking the dog and eventually got up and went home. I have no idea who he was, who the dog was, but it was just what I needed that day at that moment.
Christmas came and went but I still wasn't feeling any better. I was looking at rotas seeing when I could go sick, Id made my mind up that, that was what I wanted to do. Id get up in the early hours of the morning and sit in the dark downstairs and cry. My wife found me once and asked what I needed, did I need a Dr, hospital what and I just said I was okay and went to work.
Eventually I decided I needed to see someone. Not my choice at first an intervention by my boss who told me in no uncertain terms I needed help. I don't know where I would have been without her help that day. I dropped my son at school the next morning and met a mate who took one look at me and said lets go to the Drs. He stayed with me all morning, took me to breakfast and listened to me as I told him everything. He never judged me, one of my biggest fears, he just listened and made sure I went, not letting me out of his sight. You know who you are so thank you.
I've had people ask if I'm okay on social media and I want to thank them for that. At those particular moments, it was exactly what I needed even if I didn't respond. I've had serve depression for 3 months and I've survived it. Its been horrible, and one of the worst experiences of my life. People deal with it in different ways, some talk to people, some like me just try to carry on for as long as they can, others don't see a way out and take the ultimate step.
The anxiety of worrying what people would think of me when I was ill was almost as crippling as the illness itself. Everyone deals with things differently, but you can get better. If you see someone struggling don't judge them, just talk to them and listen to them. It maybe hard to do this, it maybe easier to walk away and let them get on with it. It maybe easy to just say "Pull yourself together" or "Man up" or "You think you've got problems" and finally "Don't be so selfish". All things I've had said to me.
Depression is a selfish illness, it makes you become insular, where you get to the stage where all you think about is yourself and you don't care about anyone or anything. For family its hard for them to deal with. They have their own issues, they don't want to be burdened with yours. Why would they? Friends will start avoiding you in case you "bring them down". Its human nature that we tend to turn away from people when they struggle. Depression makes you push people away. It makes you be sharp with people, to get angry with them, to sit in the same room as them and ignore them, because your terrified that if they ask the right question it will all come pouring out, so you push them away.
I feel like I've let so many people down, the followers of the Tottenham page who I asked to do interviews for me and I've never published, Matt who's carried the page on his own since I've been ill. My sons for not taking them to rugby as often as I should have because I couldn't face going out of the house. My daughters for being sharp with them. My family for ignoring them and not putting in the effort with them. My wife because all that she has been through this past year I wasn't the strong one who carried her when she needed me the most. I let her down more than anyone else but she is still here and still making sure I'm okay. She is one hell of a woman and I'm lucky to have her.
I have so much guilt for the way I've been, but I cant change that all I can do is try harder to make sure that I'm a better friend, uncle, son, son-in-law, brother-in-law, father and most importantly husband.
I survived it, I know many others wont for whatever reasons, but if you are reading this and nodding at what you have read and seeing yourself in this then get help. Now. Not tomorrow or next week, right now before its too late. I am lucky to have the people I have around me, I don't appreciate them as much as I should but I will endeavour to be a better person. Its not to late to put your hand up and say "Help me I'm struggling" because someone, somewhere, will put their hand out and say "I'm right here, right now what do you need".
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, I'm going to finish with a quote that helped me get through it all. If you need help please I beg you ask, there is no shame in telling someone. Anthony
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Its a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it isn't how hard ya hit. Its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!" Rocky Balboa
One step at a time is the best way.