“2006 was the first time I set my mind on suicide.
“I felt like a failure, an underachiever, a waste. I tried to drown these thoughts out by self-medicating; which alienated me from my family and friends, but at the time it ’helped’.
“Luckily I met my wife around then. She gave me a reason to do better, gave me something to fight for. Over time I managed to supress my feelings, and thankfully she never knew.
“When my daughter was born, I couldn’t have been happier. I had failed at so many other things, but at least I could be a great dad.
“My work life had become hectic, and trying to balance this with being a new dad was proving to be difficult. The sleepless nights, the long commutes to work, the general feeling of being completely out of my depth. I felt no joy in anything that I used to. I showed my frustrations in ways that were unrecognisable to anyone.
“I wasn’t a great father, or even a mediocre one. I felt I had already failed my family. Those supressed thoughts came back. ‘Can’t be helped, I’m a hindrance on my family, they’ll all be better off without me in the long run.’
“I thought about suicide more frequently. It got to the stage where it was all I thought about.
“I decided the best thing I could do was to come clean to them, a last ditch attempt, be honest that I needed help. The NHS had given me 8-12 months waiting list to be seen in a part of a group, or 12-15 months for one to one therapy. I was becoming increasingly desperate; I wasn’t going to make it to 8 months let alone 15. I knew my time was now short.
“This is when I saw the advert for the Changing Room at Easter Road.
“I decided to try the drop-in sessions before taking on the full course. The drop-in sessions were a brilliant introduction to what the Changing Room was all about. It felt safe. Christopher, the Project Manager, and the other men who had done the first few courses really made me feel welcome to their community. I hadn’t felt part of any sort of community for many years. What a difference it made.
“I asked my brother if he would come along to the groups with me. I really wanted to make sure he would keep me going as I would usually cancel plans last minute. It turned out that I didn’t need him to drag me there, as I was finding the benefits from the group instantly. Getting into discussions on what techniques helped each other and hearing some others share parts of their stories was reassuring. I was not alone. The Changing Room was responsible for giving me a life changing epiphany, ultimately saving my life.
“The Changing Room is the reason my daughter still has her father… and now a damn good one!”