By Kevin Gibbs
I have suffered for many years without even knowing. The problem I have is that I struggle with life in general and that brings out my mental health issues.
I have addictive and compulsive behaviours and for many years I couldn’t cope with stress in my life and I found gambling which helped me escape. I quickly became addicted which allowed me to run away from all my troubles and the further I ran the worse my troubles became.
My gambling addiction was ruining my life and I began to contemplate suicide as the only way out. I had huge debts and couldn’t carry on so I had too make the hardest decision ever and tell my wife the truth.
As you can imagine the truth hurt her massively, she took her wedding rings off and threw them at me. Part of my defence was that I was ill and I needed help. Also I found Gamblers Anonymous on the internet and had no choice but to go and get help. I know its a cliche but this actually did change my life.
I got abstinence quite quickly but recovery was and still is very tough. I had stopped gambling but my addiction started to find other ways to continue to control me.
I started to hear to voices asking me about who would go to my funeral and as I am a lorry driver crashing seemed to be the answer to make it all stop. That’s when being a coward actually saved my life as I was too scared to actually do it. I thought I was schizophrenic so I went to my GP and they asked me if the voices were my own or someone else’s. I said they were my own and I started counselling.
I developed a couple of OCD’s, checking my alarm clock before I went to sleep and checking I had locked doors at home. I even had to drive home on my to work to check I had locked the house.
I finally turned a corner when I found acceptance. Also someone I met told me about accepting everything about my past, good and bad because I couldn’t change it. I had to stop worrying about the future as well because I couldn’t change that either but if I concentrated on the present, the NOW, that would put me on the right path to recovery.
Life will always remain difficult and complicated but now I have the skills to help me cope on a daily basis and most importantly I now have peace and serenity in my life.
I am proud to be 1 in 4 and I firmly believe that not only are we all one big family but those who suffer have a responsibility to raise awareness of mental health issues for those who still suffer. The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence so be brave, take a deep breath, admit you have a problem, get help and then enjoy the rest of your life.