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My name is Steve Smith, and this is my story

I am 52 and I survived Suicide

After many years of denial, I eventually had to admit in 2005 that I had a big bag full of demons in my head. From sitting down and admitting to my wife and teenage kids how very bad my own childhood had been, to also admitting the guilt, loss, internalised mental trauma I had buried deep from the 16 years of my youth and into manhood in the UK Armed forces, I kept a secret past locked away. I eventually broke and crashed scared and fell hard in 2005 after a series of life events weakened me to the point I was ready to end myself. Admitting my feelings and the root causes came in 2016, after 2 further severe bouts of Depression and Anxiety. Got the PTDS label, but it wasn't all about that, I had to admit to myself and get help, to make sense of my childhood, from someone who could help open my boxes of demons and break me down to build me up. I had trust issues in spades, paranoia, fear of being weak, low self esteem, fear of failing or losing my family, and fear of my own sanity. The U.K. NHS were great, I built up trust, got medication, went through extreme lows and built myself back up to become myself again in 2006. However, in 2014, another episode, then I learnt that my brain had broken twice and would most likely would break again, like a broken leg, never really fully mends, I was told my brain, genetic makeup, family and work history would continue to hurt me and my family, unless I sought further help. So in 2015 I did. The NHS deconstructed me in a methodical and careful series of 1-2-1 sessions over 16 weeks. I was forced to admit pain, fear, uncertainty and the brutality of my early years, whilst being taught to make sense of my emotions, decisions and more importantly to help me understand triggers and coping strategies. Confronting and admitting my history to my loved ones was the hardest part of 'Project Steve' as it became known by my Councillor; I built up trust and shared stuff that had previously been denied by my self protecting brain, I cried, was angry, sad and then slowly became stronger through making sense of 'why' with help and support. My
broken brain will never be fixed, but now I know the reasons, I am proud, militant and very protective of others I see in turmoil; Every year is a challenge, I lost people through suicide, close friends who knew my story, but yet wouldn't turn to me for help or advice, that hurt me more than anything I have been through personally, I know the shame and the mask we use to hide when we are ill is a key aspect of the problem, but never the less, 2016 saw me on the brink again, despite the self awareness I had achieved by getting help, with more questions as to why my friends wouldn't ask me for help. Guilt, depression, paranoia followed, but this time, I Fixed myself, with NHS support, just a family that knew more about me and the signs to watch out for in my behaviour. I am not ashamed, I am not weak, I am a person who cares too much and puts my own emotions aside to be strong for others when they need me, but over decades, I have become weaker both physically and mentally, so my strategy now in 2018 is all about avoidance of stress, where possible make myself feel good by helping people and as a positive message to me to 'always be kind to myself' and forgive the guilt I feel sometimes overwhelming, remove this burden and learn to love myself a bit more, and at least as much as I try to love others. No matter how much I suffer, or how dark it may get when my demons come, I intend to die of natural causes, live my life as happy as I can, when my kids have made it through, enjoy my retirement and take my foot of the gas. Life is hard sometimes, I will make time to help people with what I now know from my own journey, my story is not over yet; xxx

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  1. Steve, thank you for sharing your story. I have struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety. I have a past of darkness and abuse. Your story gives me hope and courage to continue to seek help. Your story and courage to share it inspired me today and I am grateful to find this website.

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