member stories

Coming through the darkness

June's story

I’ve been wanting to tell my story for a while now and as today is World Suicide Prevention day I thought that this would be a good time. Before I became ill, I was a wife, a mum a daughter a sister and a friend.  People described me as happy go lucky, up for a joke and a laugh, and I always just got on with life. But then life began to change.  I lost my mum and it knocked me for six.  I was a mum myself so I told myself I had to “just get on with it” and take care of my young family.  I pulled myself up, went to college and, after qualifying as a PSA, got a job that I loved.  I got up every morning and looked forward to going to work.  I got closer to my dad, we had good banter together, he was my rock and we supported each other over the loss of mum.  Life went on and “just getting on with it” seemed to be working.  But then dad became ill and after a short illness I lost him too.

After that I think I lost my spark.  I had my own physical health issues and had to take some time off work to recover from an operation.  When I returned to work things had changed.  I felt I wasn’t good enough for the job anymore and my employer was less than supportive.  Eventually I felt I had to give up my job and I was devastated.I tried to get on with it but felt that my life was spiralling out of control.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and my mind couldn’t stop going round and round.  My daughter noticed that I was calling helplines because I didn’t understand what was wrong with me and I was desperate for help. My husband would find me up in the middle of the night and get up to ask me what was wrong.  My daughter and husband wanted to help but I couldn’t understand myself what was happening to me so I couldn’t explain it to them.  It got to a point that I couldn’t “just get on with it” anymore and I took an overdose.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t thinking about my family or that I wanted to leave them, I just couldn’t control what was happening to me.  I hated being like that, feeling scared, helpless, I couldn’t leave the house and I’d lost all my confidence and self-esteem.  I hadn’t planned to end my life, I just couldn’t cope and I wanted it all to go away.  In that moment, I thought I saw a way to make my pain stop.

"Bad comments hurt.
If you can be anything in this life, be kind."

Thankfully my sister found me and called an ambulance.  I was assessed and admitted to Royal Cornhill Hospital where I stayed for over 4 months.In hospital, I felt like I was in a dark tunnel and I was scraping to get out, desperate to see a bit of light.  I cried all the time and couldn’t believe where I was.  I kept asking people if I would ever get better, if I would ever be me again and at that time I couldn’t believe I would ever be better.  Eventually I was allowed to leave hospital on day release.  My sister took me to Stonehaven for a haircut and when I was there we saw a poster in the window for a mental health support group at Pillar.  I didn’t know such a thing existed.  I was scared and I tried to put my sister off but she helped me to go in and ask for help.  Once I took that step, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel and it helped to know that I would have support when I left hospital.  I had Pillar, a Community Psychiatric Nurse, and I started to see how much my friends and family were there trying to help me.Pillar got me out of the house and gave me something to focus on.  I had people to speak to who understood what I was going through, I had staff there to listen to me when I was struggling and to reassure me.

The different courses at Pillar really helped me and as time passed I noticed that I was helping others more than I needed help myself.  I made good friends, started to volunteer with Pillar, and my confidence grew.  Eventually everything seemed clearer and life got easier. Pillar was an enormous support and I can’t thank them enough. With the brilliant support from Pillar, my friends and my family I started to see the daylight. I am not sharing my story for people to feel sorry for me. I’m doing it to help others and to say that even when it doesn’t feel like it, there is always hope.  It is a hard journey but you don’t have to make it on your own.  Mental illness can happen to anyone. Something happens in your life and just knocks you over.  I want people to know that however bad things are right now, life can change again.  I’ve learned how to manage the bad days, which I still get the same as anyone else and I can now enjoy the good days.   I’ve found myself again and now I’m not only a wife, a mum, a sister and a friend, I am also a granny to my gorgeous granddaughter Lexi and she is the light in my life.