If someone's struggling, try to help them, don't blame them

I was 23 years old, I had found the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and I was feeling content…and then out of the blue, a bombshell came that was going to massively affect my life. My wife, being a caring and compassionate person, tried to help a family member financially, and was left with their crippling debts. We stuck together through the two years of fixing the damage, but it took so much out of me emotionally. Sadly our relationship has never been the same.

Ask twice and let them know you're there to listen

Someone who has shown me they were in my corner was my friend Sandra who I first met at work; we became friends after recognising our similar tastes in books, and penchant for morning coffee.

We'd eventually come to realise we had more in common than initially thought.

I don't know how to explain it fully but when I talked to her, about anything and everything I felt that sense of "this is a safe space, this person gets me".

Talking about mental health is not a weakness — we need to break the stigma

I remember the day I decided to take my own life, that moment was the first time I’d had clarity of thought for as long as I could remember.  There was a huge sense of relief that I had finally realised how I could take back control over what was happening to me.  The irony was that things in my life had never been so good.  I had just become a father for the first time (my daughter was 6 months old), I had a wonderful supportive and caring wife, a lovely home, and a great group of family and friends around me.  However, by this stage anxiety and depression had taken over.

I'm trying my best, like everyone else - don't treat me like a burden

I often feel like people in my life can be caring…but only for a short time and only if it doesn’t interfere with their own lives. 

There are times I haven’t left my bed for 3 or 4 days. My thoughts have turned against me. My mind battles to stay alive. I hear an overwhelming voice telling me my friends hate me, that they’re talking about me, laughing at me or plotting against me. 

At first it feels like my friends care, check in and worry about me. But soon it feels like I’m a burden and I hear things from them that aren’t helpful.

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