Mark, who has recently written a song for the Time to Talk campaign, blogs about his recovery journey.
My story starts on Oct 17th 2001 -the day my life changed forever. I was working as a musician and for a production company. I also ran four performing art schools for children. That day was a normal working day for me; another gig, another show. We were on the road driving towards the venue when I was involved in a severe road traffic accident. I was a passenger and we were hit by a drunk driver coming round the corner at high speed. That’s the moment the lights went out and one life ended and another life began.
I ended up in hospital seriously injured
People were killed but I ended up in hospital seriously injured. So began a long dark journey. I suffered broken bones and a brain injury. After months of recovery it became very apparent that I was not the same anymore. Headway got involved and so began the long slow process of starting life again and trying to recover. Only now it was different. I suffered a frontal lobe brain injury. My emotions and everything about my personality had changed. I also found I couldn't do what I used to do, so on that day I had my life stolen from me. Months went into years and years. I was diagnosed with clinical depression, PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder.
During the following years I attempted to take my own life on several occasions. We lost our house, our cars, our savings and most of what we owned.
I did not want to live any more because my life had ended as I saw it
During this time I spent a lot of time inside an acute psychiatric hospital on a secure ward. I did not want to live any more because my life had ended as I saw it;I couldn't earn the money I was earning and I couldn't look after my family. My family went through hell. My wife wanted to leave me and my children needed counselling. Such was the damage on our lives.
During this time I was given a CPN. She turned out to be an angel, a saviour. I now owe my life to her, along long with many talking therapies, CBT and others. She, along with another angel from Headway, kept us together as a family. Without their help we would not be together today.
Another problem I encountered was the lack of understanding from some family members. Often stigma is very close to home and on one occasion drove me to another suicide attempt.
Sadly during the spring of 2013 I suffered a relapse
In 2010 we decided that the best thing we could do was to move to try and start again as everything around us reminded us of our old life. We moved from Bedfordshire to the coast. We settled into a quiet life by the sea. This was the first time I was trying to live a new life with some hope. Sadly during the spring of 2013 I suffered a relapse and ended back inside an acute ward. I was again suffering with extreme anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
I found an old guitar and for some reason I started to play a bit again
During my stay, I found an old guitar and for some reason I started to play a bit again. This resulted in my wife bringing in my guitar. I now found I had words and songs pouring out of me so I started to write and write. During this time I had also started to become aware of Dorset Mental Health Forum.
Somehow through my recovery this time I found a new purpose and that was that I had a passion for mental health issues and all the songs I was writing were about my lived experience.I had found a new voice and so I started to talk more openly about it.
I had found a new purpose in life and that was to spread the message of recovery and to tackle stigma
I was on a new medication regime and these were starting to work. I then found myself having meetings with Dorset Mental Health Forum. This led to me getting involved with something called Tea and Talking in conjunction with Time To Change leading on to become a peer specialist for the forum. Now I had found a new purpose in life and that was to spread the message of recovery and to tackle stigma.
Recently I was inspired to write a song for the Time to Talk campaign
I have been recording all the new material which is now nearly finished and will be available soon. Recently I was inspired to write a song for the Time to Talk campaign which I have done. I have also been asked to write a song for Blue Apple Hero's about PTSD.
My passion and focus is now on raising awareness and sending out a message through music and speaking out that recovery is possible even from the darkest place. I will live with what I have for the rest of my life but thanks to some great people and of course my wife who has suffered greatly and family, I move on to a new life, one that is wanting to see and help others who suffer . That’s my lived experience and I share it in the hope that it brings you hope.
You can view Mark's song for the Time to Talk campaign here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Im-FppGezE&feature=youtube_gdata_player