The downward spiral
By Daniel Middlehurst

I want this to be brutally honest here, warts and all, with my experiences and struggles with what I have gone through.

I recently talked about my battle with depression to family and friends over the past few months. I’m still fighting the battle really, as many wished it would just ‘hurry up!’

The downward spiral. I worked so hard through school and college, and looked for work. But others let me down, my own family were blaming me and this led to my downward spiral.

The week that triggered my downward spiral

Sadly, I knew that there was something different with me over the past 10 years of my life. I was just thinking it was just me being me. I have mild autism, OCD, anxiety and now I may be developing agoraphobia due to my anxiety. But it was not this, as I greatly found out after one week of harsh treatment that sent me into a downward spiral.

As someone wanting to accomplish their dream job, I was attending Sligo Institute of Technology, studying Computer Games Development. I struggled for so long to get onto this course and was now in my 2nd year of study.

Pressure from family

Pressure from the family: “Oh you are nearly 30, are you going to keep going to college?” etc. That was hard enough, and constant.

What happened in the college was different. You go to college to learn and study and pass your classes, to advance. To do that, you need to be taught how to do things the right way. Well, my experience with “professional” teachers here really changed my view of the world.

I had to hand up some practice work for the teacher. I was halfway through doing the work at home, as we were told, but my computer broke and I had to try and get a new one. When I explained the situation to the tutor, she proceeded to sarcastically point to all the computers in the room where our class was.

She then said to me, “Could you not use any of these, as you know, you are a student, yes?” I explained that I lived away from the college and had to get the bus there every day. Then she said, “Oh, thought you would have been living in student accommodation since that is the smartest thing to do.” The rest of the class laughed about the situation and I just shrugged it off, but it still made me feel small.

They made me feel small

She had the attitude that she could not care less. She would sit up the top of the class with her feet up on the table, reading the newspaper, like Edna K from “The Simpsons.”

I felt so bad about this that I went to the Student Union, who help deal with student issues, and told them about what happened. We spoke and talked and got to meet up with the tutor in question, who laughed off what she did as a “joke.” The head of the student union said not to take great offense since it was a joke. She just said sorry for wasting my tutor’s time, and I was told to go on my way. I felt so angry because there was nothing I could do and I just had to “accept” it.

Another tutor we had just did not have a clue how to work with computer games. One assignment we did, I had to do over 4 or 5 times because she kept changing her mind about what it was we were meant to be doing. I still have all the work that I did for the assignment as some people did not believe me.


We had a tutor that would come in the room, write something on the board and then say, “Solve that”. Every time it was something that I had never seen before. I felt like a 4-year-old on my first day of school with the teacher writing 3+3 on the board and saying “Solve that.”

We needed to be taught what it all meant, to help get a better understanding, and with programming language it is not something you can just do. It has strict parameters, but I was only ever told, “Look it up on the net.”

Thousands spent, just to have a tutor tell me to research it. I was not learning anything, so I just gave up. I stopped turning up to classes and was spending time at home or in bed just doing nothing. What was the point of trying to learn anything if money I had spent had been wasted on such unprofessional people?

Doubting Myself

I started to doubt myself and the problems got worse from there. Just before Christmas of 2015 I got very ill and had a bad cough and earache. Silly enough, I purposely walked in a heavy rainfall one day for about 3-4 hours, came home and just sat at home in soaked clothes. We moved to a new house too at this point. Then had to change over a lot of details with our addresses, rent, deposits and blood for all the greedy vultures.

Still ill, I decided to go to the doctor to get it seen to, as my wife was feeling ill at the time as well. We went to the doctor. She assessed my wife and checked her all over, which took about 3-4 minutes. She gave her a prescription of antibiotics and then she turned to me: “What is wrong with you?!” in a stern voice.

I explained that I had a bad cough and earache. She just listened to my chest and back. She never considered investigating my ear, and just told me to go buy some stuff and asked me to leave. Only took 20 seconds with me and showed no consideration, and it just made me feel so low that when I was ill and wanted help, all I got was to go buy something whereas my wife who only had it for 3-4 days was given a better treatment than me, although I’d had it for 5-6 weeks!!!

Losing Hope

I have lost so much hope for professionals now that I have not been to that doctor since. I do not even trust any person in a professional job where other people’s livelihoods are up to them i.e. teachers, doctors, police officers etc.

One day I felt so bad that I tried to walk right in front of a car. My wife decided to pull me back on to the pavement, only to start screaming and yelling at me. I just wanted my pain and suffering to end, as why should I be alive if no one cares. I worked so hard through school, college and trying to get work. But others were letting me down, my own family were blaming me and I was in a downward spiral.


The most annoying thing about that day when I first tried to commit suicide, was that when I eventually got home my wife was crying on the phone to someone. I sat down, only to hear a voice over the end of the phone ask my wife if she wanted to get away from me.

I was furious to hear that. Already I was so upset and angry about the way people had treated me. Then to hear people accusing me of being nasty towards my wife, that I just walked out the door. I ended up going to our local health center to speak to someone about what I had tried to do.

It took over 5 hours to wait for someone to see me and speak to me for 10 minutes. If only I had known then what I know now, that my problems were not going to be solved anytime soon….part 2 coming

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