My first target, the start.

My first target, the start.


Depression has been a big influence in my life and through years of struggling to deal with it alone, then with help, things dramatically changed.

On the 4th of April 2010 i left the place i loved and walked away from all that i saw was getting me down, all the people i thought i was letting down, the society i'd always struggled to fit into and the place i felt tied to.

I'd been trying to take my own life but never could make that one final commitment, so i looked at my life and knew i needed to get away and surround myself with the few things i knew would stop me going mad.

Exercise, fresh air, the great British countryside and all the fascinating features of nature. flowers, insects, birds, etc...

With those and the desire to live, i set out on what would turn out to be a life changing experience.

I left with little possessions, a sleeping bag, few clothes, knife and my camera, this would be an epic journey of self discovery and i'd photograph as much as i could.

In life we need little more than food and shelter.
Food i'd need to find or earn, the shelter i'd make or find in the form of old barns, etc..

I soon learnt that some people were inspired by my method of dealing with my own depression, they found ways in which i could help them and earn a meal or a hot drink. Some days i'd not eat properly, but my desire to succeed and so seek out these kind hearted people kept me going.

I was on the North Somerset coast in the UK and was to walk the south west coast path, a 630mile coastal route around the south west corner of England, Britain's longest national trail.

For over one hundred days i travelled around the coast, meeting many amazing, kind, thoughtful people along the way.
I got back in touch with nature on a level few will ever experience.

This is my story, my journey to share with you.

Please read the 'notes for readers' to the right.


1: Lowest point ever. Changing views.

For  the previous few days, I’m not sure really, I’d walked up to that tree, climbed maybe thirty feet of slippery, wet, green branches and slid the rope over my neck.
Today though seemed different, today I felt stronger, there wasn’t any tears, from the previous failings to jump I now knew I had to leave, get away from the tree, away from everything that got me down and weirdly, wrong or not, everything I held dear, all I should stay for, get better for.
I’d been sleeping in my car in a car park on the Quantock hills, I was a mess, unkept, broke, I’d not eaten properly for I’m not sure how long,  most of what I’d drank was alcohol, I was in self destruct mode, I just stopped caring.
Then one day I grabbed some things from the car and walked away, with no tent, no money, ID or phone.
I joined the south west coast path and decided to walk all 630 of its miles, finding ways to get fed and sheltered, to overcome barriers, pain, hunger, fatigue.
I’d take photos and write a journal, but most of all, I would live and I WOULD NOT FAIL!
Dragging myself down.
Depression has many effects, for me, I was unmotivated and that meant in every way.
 I couldn’t turn up to work on time, and when/if I did I wasn’t productive,  this was partly because I’d also lost confidence in my ability to perform tasks I’d normally be able to do easily and confidently. I felt worthless the more I worthless I felt the lower the motivation got, now this lead to me feeling like I was letting people down, I was unreliable, undependable, untrustworthy...this all strengthened my low opinion of myself, which just snow balled everything I felt and in the end at the lowest point I snapped, one night alone and desperate I went out for a drink, just to be with people, I was scared of myself, scared what the loneliness would make me do.  Now the thing about alcohol is it’s a downer, so the more I drank, the more I felt crap about myself, I can’t remember what I spoke about that night, or who I even spoke too but I left and got into my car, I wasn’t going home, not back to the caravan were I had no food, maybe no gas, were I slept on the sofa as I couldn’t be bothered to sleep in the bed, I was heading for the hills, a place had be chosen up in the Quantock hills, chosen by me to rest my  tortured mind, to end the sadness, stop letting others down, to end it all, to end my own life..
For  many years I’d thought about suicide, some days more deeper than others, some not at all, but the thoughts were always there, and for the 4 or so years since my marriage failed it was becoming more common to think bad things, to see how rubbish I was a living, the only time I felt truly happy, was when I was riding my bike  or alone with nature, particularly the red deer that roam the Quantocks, my passion for them and all that lived on the hills and in fact everywhere kept me calm, photographing all I saw, wanting to learn more about them, striving for knowledge, needing to know why, how, what.
So It was amongst this wonderful place I chose to die, so I could be part of it forever....
As I left the pub and got into the car I turned left, I wasn’t drunk, I’d not had much, too much to legally drive but I didn’t care, I stopped caring a long time ago, I saw the police car lurking as I pulled out from the car park, it was not my time to go, not tonight, I was in a village, late at night and just left a pub. I know how they work, I knew I’d see the lights...that were enough to stop me, halt my intentions.  A glimmer of guilt sparked normal thought and I realised I needed to face up to my actions that night, so I pulled over and got out of the car.
At the station routine begin, they take my details, possessions, and they take my soul, heart and all hope, for now I knew life would be incredibly difficult for me, I’d be even more depressed.
The duty officer went about his erm, duty and asked if I had any medical conditions that they need know about, I said, “Does that include mental issues?”  Raised eyes and concern was expressed in their faces as I proceeded to tell tem my thought, feelings and intentions....they said all the necessary things and showed me to a cell. As I lay there, many thoughts entered my mind, how this would affect my life, how I could overcome the situation, was this my wakeup call? And suddenly it dawned on me that I needed help. During the early hours of the morning a doctor visited me in a cell, the officers had called him due to their concerns, he talked, I listened and said little, I seem to remember asking to be sectioned, clearly you can’t self diagnose yourself....He left and I slept for a few hours I think, not sure what time it was, but I was given the all clear to go, told a date to appear at the magistrates and asked if I felt ok and wasn’t going to do anything silly......Of course not, I’d spent years hiding my true thoughts, feelings, emotions, so I left, two officers drove me back to my car and so began the process of deep depression, deeper worthlessness and a chain of events that led me to leave.
My doctor had requested I see him, so as asked I turned up, spoke little, gave bloods, did a several point test to determine my level of depression and given drugs, one a day for I think six weeks, he told me, I may or may not feel a slow change in moods, it takes time, if not we’d try something else. I had thought that perhaps I could be Bi-Polar, as I would often go from being extremely low, to hyper, really excited,  having great plans, ideas, inventions, etc. Well the doctor felt different, of course I’d gone in when having a low, he just saw a depressed man and diagnosed thus. I managed to request to see a psychiatrist so had a little hope I could be helped.
I left feeling ignored, not helped and then a week later, a letter came, an appointment to see and shrink in 6 god, I didn’t have that long, I felt I’d not be able to make it that far and I quickly descended into the deepest darkest place of my mind and self hatred devoured all hope of a normal life, I wanted to be DEAD!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome story dude. Can't wait to