Depression is an isolating illness and one that can take over your life. Kieron Grimes speaks to NATALIE WALKER who has set up a Facebook page about his endless struggle in a bid to encourage others to talk.
Within a matter of months Kieron Grimes lost everything: his partner, his children and his job.
The 30-year-old, of Bamber Bridge, near Preston, had no control over his feelings.
He was depressed, but didn’t know why.
He says: “It just consumed me and got the better of me. I don’t know where it came from. I assumed it was all circumstantial, but I don’t know why I felt - and still feel - the way I do.
“I feel like I am in a slump.”
Kieron started to experience depression seven years ago after he sustained an ankle injury which caused him great pain and reduced his ability to do exercise.
He says: “It took away a lot of my active lifestyle and affected my home life due to pain which I still suffer from to this day.
“The pains get worse and it still effects my activity level but I push through it every day.”
With all these going on, things began to spiral out of control 18 months ago.
He became irritable and it affected his relationship with his then partner and two children.
He adds: “I was under financial pressure and my relationship was breaking down.
“I was easily irritable around my children and I was snapping at everyone at work.
“I found it hard to be happy but the more I tried, the worse it got.
“I was constantly arguing with my partner and snapping at things for no reason.
“The depression caused lack of energy and I struggled to get out of bed.
“As a result, it affected my job as I was not turning up for work.
“I used to be life and soul but now I have neither.
“I think that the injury and the series of events since, with my financial pressures, work issues, self consciousness, relationship problems, struggle to live up to being the daddy I want to be, no friends, feeling isolated, lonely and anxiety, all aided my depressive state.”
Things hit rock bottom three months ago when Kieron’s daughter witnessed the after effects of him self harming.
He felt so guilty, he turned to drink and as a result, lost his job.
He says: “The lowest point was in November, when I split up with my fiancee.
“After begging her to take me back and hearing the rejection I went to her mum’s kitchen and began to self harm.
“My daughter heard me crying and she saw what I had done. She was petrified, hysterical in fact.
“This was all after I’d had a drink.
“I went to work the next day and was so wracked with guilt that when I finished, I drank a full bottle of whiskey at home and went to bed.
“I got up and went to work the next day. I didn’t realise how bad I really felt until the hangover set in an hour into my shift.
“I asked to go home but was sent to see the company nurse, who realised what I’d done. Knowing my circumstances, she was very understanding but still had to test me.
“I was twice the limit the company would allow for alcohol so I was suspended and a week later sacked for gross misconduct.
“That job was the best I could have had, I had a chance of progression, the money was fantastic, holidays a plenty, private health, great pension benefits and the job was good in itself and I let that go over a moment of weakness.
“I play that moment in my head over and over and wish to god I’d just gone to hospital or talked to someone at least.
“I still have the empty bottle of whiskey to serve as a reminder. It was a wake up call in a way.
“That’s an important part of the whole story. That job was the last thing to be taken away from me. The only thing left were the children and I’d be damned if I was to let anyone take them away.”
Kieron had been to see his GP a few times for support and had been referred to the NHS crisis team.
But he still feel he was not given enough help.
He admits: “At first it was hard to get the support from the NHS.
“I went through a stress course, but that was no good for me.
“I was put on anti depressants and went on a CBT course (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), but I did not take to it.
“I was with the NHS crisis team for six months on and off after I attempted to take my own life through an overdose. That’s how drastic it had got before I got any proper support. I went to Crisis at Christmas because I was struggling, but they assessed me and said I didn’t need them.
“But I need something. It is frustrating.”
Life is slowly getting better for Kieron, but he still feels he needs support.
He says: “I don’t drink, apart from special occasions and with others. I don’t cut myself, I occasionally punch my legs but that’s about it.
“I’ve found other coping mechanisms. I think that it was at this point that I realised that talking is better than coping alone. Though I still struggle talking to people I’m getting better at it, slowly.
“Luckily, my ex partner has been a kind of rock and is very supportive. Despite the hurt I caused her, watching me go through self harm, mood changes, suicide attempts, she’s stuck by me more than anyone.”
Kieron is now hoping to use his experiences to help others.
He has set up a Facebook page: Mental Health Awareness - Raising Awareness For A Much Stigmatised Illness! https://www.facebook.com/groups/704999559668577/ where he video blogs his feelings.
He is also doing a sky dive on July 8 and a bungee jump for on July 15 Samaritans.
He says: “After my experiences with the NHS and seeing for myself how poor the resources are for mental health, I want to raise awareness and stop the stigma, give people the facts and tell of my experiences in hope that I can get people to better understand mental illness.
“Though I’m still struggling with my depression, social and general anxiety and body consciousness, I’m hoping to turn a negative into positive.
“I was very anxious about pouring my heart out on my video blog. It took me half an hour to press send
“But I hope if there is anyone else in a similar situation they can seek comfort.
“Men find it hard to talk. I struggled with it for a long time before I began to seek help.
“Please know there are other ways out. You don’t need to self harm or take your life. You can talk.”
Kieron is also in the process of becoming a volunteer for Mind and the Samaritans by doing street collections.
He has also been in contact with Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle to help improve mental health services.
• To support the Samaritans and sponsor Kieron visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kieron-Grimes
To contact the Samaritans call 01772 822022 or 116 123.
For relevant articles on mental health issues click here http://www.lep.co.uk/news/tackling-stigma-of-mental-health-among-men-1-8203441