A special slot for a guest blogger this Sunday evening – I want to thank Robert for his story and his time writing about such a touchy subject we have all come to know about here in the USA. While Robert is from England, this resonates with many of us in the USA, and should resonate with anyone around the world. Thank you for reaching out and wanting to tell your story, Robert, and thank you for being here today with us still!
This post talks about the attempted suicide. Please be aware and choose wisely before you continue.
In this post I want to write about suicidal thoughts and how I dealt with them. I hope my post does not upset or offend anyone, as it’s completely personal. This is my story.
Around 2004, Me and my ex-partner where at the point of no return. She had met someone else. I had been cheated on. The strange thing was, when she told me about him. I didn’t feel upset. If anything, it was a feeling of relief.
We had been together for around 10 years or so, but it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships. Prior to her cheating, we had been toxic – arguments, stress, tears, and potential violence, and the relationship was not built on a solid foundation.
We were teenagers when we met – her 18 and myself 19. We had been together for around three months. I felt no real attraction to her, really originally, and we both decided that we would split up because we had already had a few arguments and it wasn’t very serious. It was leading up to Christmas and that’s when she told me the gut wrenching news – “I am late with my period.”
We went to see a family planning officer, and she gave in a pee sample. A few minutes passed. The lady confirmed that she was pregnant. When she originally told us, it felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. Both of us looked at each other and cried. The lady asked “wasn’t it planned?” We both shook our heads. Then my ex told me that I could leave her if I wanted… Happy Christmas: oh the irony.
The thought to leave her never entered my mind. My family had always been solid. They were dependable and honest. My sister became a mother at an early age, and the family rallied around her. I am a firm believer that any dick can make a baby, but it takes a man to raise one. Because of this baby, we stayed together. It was an incredible struggle. We had no place, and no money, and to top it all off, her mother kicked her out whilst she was pregnant. Thankfully though, my family helped us.
HAVING A CHILD
Having a kid changed my life in many ways. Like many teenage parents, we tried to get by. I had the urge to knuckle down and work. I studied Computer sciences at night school and got my shit together. My ex stayed at home and looked after Bob. We had arguments like any couple but there were underlying issues. Red flags that showed me what lay ahead. One time, we were at a friends and I was holding Bob in my arms. We had an argument over something or other, and she stood up and punched me in the face. In front of her friends! There are two sides to every story, and I wouldn’t want to bad-mouth my ex. Couples break up for many reasons – trust, love, attraction, not working in general.
A downside of having a kid so young was not being able to go out. In hindsight, this could be perceived as being selfish. My excuse would be because I was still young, I wanted to go out. She didn’t. Many times, I offered to stay in and look after Bob. We could have someone babysit and go out together, but there was just no interest, which led to many arguments in itself.
A few years passed, and we tried to work on things. I stopped going out so often. I landed a decent job and carried on studying. We were getting along. We moved to a bigger place and starting to get on our feet. It was around this time, we decided that Bob shouldn’t be an only child. Thus, we had our second son, Dan. Things seemed normal at this time. Bob and Dan are great kids, both balls of energy. I would read bedtime stories to them both, imitating the voices and just being stupid. As parents, I would say that we were fine.
Another job opportunity appeared, this time in Mid-Wales. This was one extreme to the other. We left the city-life of Incomplete sentence Liverpool for the countryside tranquillity of Mid-Wales. On paper, it seemed like a smart move. Looking back, it was more than likely the trigger for our separation. My ex didn’t drive which didn’t help. I would take the boys to school, and she would stay at home. I noticed that she was using the Internet a lot more – we both were. The underlying problems were still there – deep down we were unhappy but didn’t want to admit it. I had no real respect for her. She loved me more than I loved her. It was a mess. We tried not to argue in front of the boys, but Bob was getting older. The arguments started again. Shouting and screaming at each other. My ex would hit me. I would defend myself. Like I said it was toxic. Problematic sentence structure When we had the conversation. She told me that she had been chatting with someone on the Internet, and she developed feelings for him. I was angry but, relieved. She took the step. She wanted someone to love her which I couldn’t do, and I don’t blame her. We didn’t work and hadn’t worked for years. At the time, I was a firm believer in the family unit. Mum and Dad staying with each other through thick and thin. The boys always came first. We tried to make it stable, but it was a lie.
In my head, it was the correct thing to do, but it wasn’t. For a family to function, there must be a solid foundation. Both parents attracted and loving each other. We stayed together for around a month after she told me. This was not through choice but through necessity. Living with your partner when they have admitted to cheating is not healthy. Both of us arguing, fighting, screaming and hating. This wasn’t healthy for us or the kids. Things got so bad that a good friend let me move in with him until I got back on my feet.
I could cope with my ex cheating on me. No problem. My main concern were the lads. It broke my heart leaving them… they were my world. They were the only reason that we had stayed together, and I loved them so much. The thought of not coming home and seeing them each day really hurt. The thought of another man stepping into my shoes was too much to handle.
MY LOWEST POINT
It was at this point that I took a drive. I drove to Elan Valley which a beautiful spot in Mid-Wales. Completely broken – emotionally and mentally – it was all becoming too much. I couldn’t see a way through the pain. I had nobody to turn too and was alone. It was depressing. That’s when the thought hit me. Why not end ther pain? I planned it in my head, take a hose pipe and attach it to my exhaust. Close my eyes and drift off. It would be so easy.
I considered the options. Overdose on tablets or exhaust. I cried and felt sick… It’s hard to explain the feelings when you hit rock-bottom. You feel like there is nobody to talk to and nobody to turn to to talk you off the ledge. I had lost weight and wasn’t looking after myself. Something deep inside told me not to do it. “Think about the children.” If I wasn’t around anymore. This would affect my boys more than not seeing them every day. I would always be their Dad, no matter what.
SALVATION OF SORTS
A random memory from the deep recesses of my mind presented itself.
As a teenager, I studied Psychology for a year at night school which I found interesting. I remember one of the lessons discussing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In its basic form, as I understood it, was that for people to be productive or satisfied, they have a hierarchy of needs. The first layer is the physical layer. Breathing, sleeping, eating, exercise – that type of thing. If these needs are not satisfied, you will lack motivation. The thought hit me. This is where I had been going wrong. One of the side-effects of stress in my case was a loss of appetite. Without realizing, I had stopped eating. Another effect was lack of motivation. Feeling lost and alone in my misery. I drank and smoke more to mask the pain – I withdrew into myself. My boys would always be around, and I wanted to be there for them no matter what.
That’s what changed my mind.
The thought of them raised by another man upset me. But, the thought that I wouldn’t be in their lives upset me even more. I will always remember this day and this low point in my life. I was responsible for my lads, like their mother. It wasn’t the boy’s fault that we never got along. If I was to be responsible for my boys, I had to take responsibility for my own actions. This was my choice. Over the next couple of days, I started to get back on my feet and get my head together. I come to terms with things. Forced myself to eat and kept fit by learning martial arts. Slowly, I started to feel better. I was still staying in friends and had very little money. Little changes, small steps to mental stability. I spoke to my friends and family. I stopped withdrawing into myself. Nobody knew how close I was that day. After I hit rock bottom, I did feel ashamed of thinking that suicide could have been an answer. It wasn’t.
I love and care for my lads with all my heart and would do anything to protect them. A few months passed, and I started to see the kids more often. I managed to get myself a small bed set and get some furniture. The people I worked with were amazing, and I managed to keep my job. My friends helped me so much, and I am forever in their debt.
Years later, my boys are now men, and we stay in touch all the time.
Life moves on, embrace it. You only have one.