“I am the oldest of 3 and come from a loving home, despite this I never really enjoyed life from a young age and have been depressed all my life really.
Despite this I did have hobbies/interests, I’ve always been into hunting and fishing, i’d often go to Scotland to do it and made lots of friends through it.
I met my partner at 23 and we had a daughter which gave me purpose and happiness.
When I was young I was helping a friend out at a farm putting bails of hay on a trailer and we were having competitions for £20 to see who could through the bails over the trailer, I won the competition and the farmers friend offered me a job. I thought the job was for Dyson but when I got there I realised it was for Byson. I had no interview I was straight into the job and therefore nobody there spoke to me as they didn’t trust me. On the 3rd day I had enough so I went up to the biggest lad there and hit him as hard as I could and he just laughed and it instantly broke the ice and we have been friends ever since.
I had an accident at work and had to have a back operation which really affected me and made me depressed again.
I moved up in work and was in quality control but work started to notice that I was starting to miss parts like maths that I could always previously do.
At the time I didn’t know what was causing this, I had an operation on my shoulder which I thought could be responsible, I also have had heart surgery and heart attacks, it’s common for everyone in that line to suffer from aches and pains and take drugs and medication. One time we all had to take a drug test at work and all 14 of us failed, we were using codeine, lemsip, paracetamol, medicine etc. The next drug test we all came up with a prank and took mouthwash before the test so that we would fail.
I’ve had 15 medicals during the time I worked there and I’ve never passed one but I was very valuable so they had to pay the doctor £350 to write me a note so I could work.
I started talking a bit funny and getting words backwards, my friends at work noticed and started helping me with writing and maths etc even though they struggled with this themselves at the time as most of them came from prisons and mines. We were great friends though and we used to organise things like baking competitions and play games.
My health started to decline when I had a pre op for my shoulder, this was on a Wednesday and on the Saturday I thought my back had gone, so I phoned the doctor and they sent paramedics out who gave me morphine. I was rushed straight to hospital and into hospital where I had three stents fitted. My partner phoned me later but I dint want to worry her so I said it was just bad indigestion. I was kept in hospital for 5 days, lawyers came to see me during this time to see if I wanted to make a case against the hospital but I wasn’t interested in that.
After this I took it easy for a month and then went back to work. They wouldn’t let me back to work though without seeing a consultant and this led to a big row, I left the factory and ended up back in hospital for a week, I had stroke and a mental breakdown.
When I came out the hospital everything disappeared, I had to spend all my savings and sell my car, guns, fishing tackle and anything of value. I was trying to hold it together but I was struggling and ended up back in hospital for a few weeks as I was having trouble speaking and often falling over. I isolated myself a bit as I got sick of the pity from visitors so I preferred to be alone because it was easier.
I then got diagnosed with dementia and I knew this was a death sentence as my mother died of Alzheimer’s. I started arguing with my partner a lot and on one occasion I picked up my grandson from school but I lost him, this was a breaking point for me. After this I made plans to kill myself, I walked 19 miles, in the end the police picked me up as my daughter had followed me and put it on the internet.
After this I was put in Chesterfield mental health ward for 3 months. The first month of this I kept myself to myself as I was heartbroken that my partner said she didn’t want to be with me anymore and my dream was therefore over.
After this month I decided to sort myself out and even made a few friends there. We had a competition for who was prescribed the most pills, I came second with 18 a day. We even hatched plans to steal the bottle of brandy I had in the locker, there was 6 of us on this mission, we had a lookout called Alex, we only realised he was blind when we got caught. The nurse caught onto this and filled the bottle with cold tea instead. We often thought we were being sneaky by breaking out to go to the chip shop but the nurses knew everything.
After this I came out of hospital and stopped with my sister for a while. A nurse called Laura then found me a place with Spectrum. I met with Dom and Jodie and I was so happy that I broke down in tears due to their kindness.
It’s difficult being away from my family but I have to be strong, I am happy in my flat. I still see my grandchildren twice a week when we walk the dogs. Sometimes it’s sad to come back to reality after that. I’m still adjusting however and even catch the wrong bus sometimes. The people of Heanor have been very kind to me and I try and show this kindness in return every day., this way I can cancel out the bad actions of others. I have worked my whole life and was left with nothing, to be given a flat and treated with respect makes me so happy.
My support worker Annette gives me confidence and on my sad days makes things seem alright, if there’s any problems the staff at Spectrum are always there to help, without people like that I wouldn’t be here. I am joining a befriender agency to help others like myself, people who say they’re okay but hide behind a smile. If I’m able to help one person like myself then it is thanks to Spectrum, so thank you Spectrum.”