Neil

“I’m struggling.”

That’s the two words I said to my wife Sarah when I realised I couldn’t go on.

Simple as that. No big monologue from the script of a Hollywood blockbuster, nothing as poetic as you’d get from the likes of Rabbie Burns. It was a summary of where I was at that particular time in my life.

I was in a brutal place. One where I lay in bed mulling over things while everyone else was sound asleep having sweet dreams. I had no sense of direction left and everything I had done was covered in remorse. I regarded myself as a failure. One that didn’t deserve to be here anymore.

I had little interest in those things that had previously given me joy. I remember in the aftermath of my beloved football team Hibs beating city rivals Hearts I had no enjoyment from the result. That’s how bad it was.

My descent into mental health hell wasn’t an overnight journey. It was one that I’d been on for years. And to this day I have no idea what caused it.

There’s various factors such as the grief of losing loved ones, the challenges of being a responsible adult and the perception I had that everyone else was better than me.

So I let all this eat away at me bit by bit until there was nothing left for it to feast on.

I was at the point where I knew I was going to take my own life.

Thankfully my wife’s reaction wasn’t one of rejection or anger or disappointment. Instead she listened to what I’d been waiting ages to say.

She wasn’t the only one. Mates, family members, work colleagues. Everyone gave me the courage to step away from the metaphorical edge I was standing on.

And that’s what I did. Again, much like me getting to that point, it took me awhile to recover.

Now I see my ability to be open about my thoughts and feelings as a super power. I’m able to let those around me know what I’m going through. I’m more confident spotting potential triggers so I can act before they become an issue.

It might not be as thrilling as being able to fly or as exhilarating as possessing x-ray vision but it’s allowed me to be who I am.

There’s days where I have a wobble, we all do. Just like Subbuteo players we’re a bit unsteady but eventually we’ll be stable enough to play an important role in the game.

When it comes to your mental health it doesn’t matter what you say. Just say it. As soon as others know you’re struggling they’ll give you the support you need so you stop.

The following services offer confidential support from trained staff and volunteers. You can talk about anything that is troubling you, no matter how difficult:

  • Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email jo@samaritans.org. Samaritans are there to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it’s always free to call from any landline or mobile phone.
  • Call 111 to talk to NHS 24’s mental health hub.
  • Call 0800 83 85 87 to talk to Breathing Space. The service is open 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday — 6am Monday) and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday — Thursday). The Breathing Space webchat is an alternative to phoning the service.
  • Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, text “YM” if you are under 19.