Just before Christmas this year I began to have thoughts that weren't entirely to my liking. I put it down to the usual feelings I get around that time. They'll pass.
Christmas came around, the thoughts were getting worse. The nagging thought that something isn't right. I was deeply unhappy. It was only Christmas Day afternoon that I found myself at peace. As a family we were all enjoying time together.
The 27th of December I was back at work, this will help, I thought, the job keeps me busy and focused. Then the thumping heart beat would start. Anxiety? Why? Stupidly I ignored it. I began to feel sorry for myself, and it began to manifest in to something much darker.
New year, new start. Yup pretty much, but not a new start I'd wish on anyone. Looking back now it all seems so clear. I was irritable, looking to pick fights, writing incendiary tweets to get the reaction I wanted. Bad vibes.
The days passed and I became focused on finding a way out of my darkness. This is the bit I find hardest to write, but I feel it needs to be put out there, for people to understand it can happen, and something can be done to stop it.
I began to Google ways to end my life. I began planning when would be the best time to do it. I knew it would destroy people's lives so what date would be the best to lessen the impact years down the line. My heart is thumping as I write this now. It's a matter of when, not if. I needed out, I couldn't see my life improving, or even staying the same. It was getting worse.
Thankfully I slipped up, something totally unrelated to my own battles opened the flood gates. My reckless nature almost destroyed the woman I love. It all came rushing out. How I'd felt for weeks, how quickly those feelings developed, my worries and stresses, my plan to end it all. My wife was destroyed, she'd heard it before, other than attempting to take my own life. I couldn't do this to her over and over again, my brain was screaming "get out, get out now, there's no way back". Mrs G had other ideas, basically calling me an idiot. Putting others before my own mental health. Home truths. They hurt but everything was brought in to a very sharp focus. This woman would do anything for me. I needed to realise that. We talked, hugged, listened and laughed.
By talking I could suddenly see a future. I wasn't on my own. Rather than tumbling over a cliff, I was now hanging on, and in weeks to come, I can camber to safety. It's not a fairy tale. It isn't just a case of me talking and everything being fine. I'm still very capable of misinterpreting something and thinking the worst. It's learning that it's not the case.
The support from people on Twitter, people I barely know, friends and colleagues has been overwhelming. It will be incredibly embarrassing meeting these people next time, but at least there will be a next time.
Struggling with mental illness can be very isolating, and the fear that brings with it will often lead to someone becoming closed off. Starting a conversation about mental illness will help 'normalise' those feelings. You begin to feel like someone is listening, that somebody cares.
Talking is the most powerful treatment for mental illness, if gives you an outlet, it helps people understand and it lessens any stigma. Yes I struggle with pretty severe depression at times, but I also enjoy many of the things you do, don't alienate me, include me.
Time to Talk Day is February 7th, I implore you to take the time to start a conversation about mental health.
Peace and thank you.