Steven’s story

Steven’s mental health deteriorated after the loss of his wife, he felt like ‘a jigsaw piece that didn’t fit the puzzle.’

"I used to be a confident person who enjoyed life and was very career driven. I had a list of personal goals the length of a football field.

This came to a halt in December 2012 when I lost my wife to breast cancer. She was diagnosed while pregnant, and when our little boy was four months old she passed away.  

As time passed I tried to deal with this grief, but my mental health was getting slowly worse year by year.
I was leading quite a stressful life, with a very busy job in IT and juggling being a single parent to my son who was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. 

As my mental health deteriorated I found it very hard to talk, I always parked this discussion to the side telling myself it was just a blip and I would be fine in the New Year. 

Things started to spiral out of control and I was really struggling with my day to day life. 

This is when I started to feel suicidal, feeling so worthless and weak. I wasn’t coping at all and I kept convincing myself I was a bad Dad and that my son would be better off without me. 

I completely withdrew from friends and family and just wanted to be alone.

The suicidal thoughts continued to worsen, so I decided to speak to a private counsellor which was available through my work. 

Sitting in my car in the work car park one Friday I told him everything that was going on in my life, how I was feeling and that I could not stop feeling suicidal. He suggested I visit a doctor. This was a relief to hear, but I couldn’t help feeling that this was all my fault. 

That night I went home and started drinking to drown out the pain, I just wanted to forget everything.  I woke up in hospital and was told by doctors that I had taken an overdose. That day I can remember feeling so guilty, how could I do that to my little boy? I hit rock bottom and I have never felt so low in all my life. That was when I started to slowly turn my life around. 

If I could best describe how I am feeling now, it’s like I am a jigsaw piece that doesn’t fit the puzzle. I know I have my family and friends to support me, but often I don’t feel like I belong.

I am now in recovery after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety and I am receiving support from my local mental health team.  My life is changing for the better and the good days are now starting to creep back in. 

Simple life style changes have really helped, like making sure I take breaks and lunches at work. I am lucky to have a really supportive employer. 
I am exercising more, going hill walks, and having respite days to relax and catch up on housework. I’m also doing things out my comfort zone like Buddhist meditation, Thai chi and yoga to relax my mind.  

I stupidly held onto my pain for such a long time because I was afraid and ashamed, my male pride stopped me asking for help. I am now trying to teach myself each day that this isn’t my fault. I am ill and I am not a bad Dad, I am just trying my best."

You can find out more about suicide prevention here.
Steven is fundraising for SAMH by running in seven Scottish cities and Tiree back to back, plus organizing a 5-10k fun run to support Scotland’s mental health. 

Getting help in an emergency

If you don't feel you can keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help.

 

» go to any hospital Accident & Emergency department
» call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can't get to A&E, or tell someone and ask them to contact 999 for you

 

If you need some support right now, but don't want to go to A&E, here are some other options for you to try:

» call NHS 24 on 111
» call the Samaritans on 116 123, they're open 24 hours and are there to listen
» contact your GP for an emergency appointment