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At the Breaking Point

The journey through depression.

At some point in our lives, we have all come across a point where we have felt low, alone, like you don't belong. Some of us go through our rough days, while others suffer daily. Medical statistics state that 1 in 4 people suffer some form of mental health issues, with mixed anxiety & depression being the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.

In 2015, a staggering 6,188 suicides were registered in the UK alone, 75% were male, and the remaining 25 were female, and a ratio of 1 out of 15 people have attempted suicide at least once in their life.

However, there have been people, mostly in their teen years, who use self harm as a cry for attention, not because they need help, they just want people to fuss over them. This kind of behaviour puts a bad image on those who actually suffer with some form of depression. Some don't know how to open up, some are too scared to open up. But I am, and this is my journey with depression.

Allow me to give you a bit of an introduction to myself, so you can understand more of who I am as a person, My name's Luke, I have quite a big family, which I'll be talking about further along. I'm 27 years old, and have suffered from depressive schizophrenia since I was around 13. Part of it was probably caused by being bullied in school as a kid, as most people have suffered. I've come a long way to be sitting here today, and telling you my story.

To start out my Mum and Dad had split up before I was born, ever since, I was told that my dad walked away before I was born, and wanted nothing to do with me. As a kid, that's one of the worst things to hear, you start to think things like "am I not a good enough kid" or "what have I done to make dad walk away?", being born 'different', isn't really my choice. I never found out the truth till last year, again, that will be further on. In 1991 my mum met the man who has been my step-dad for 22 years, between him and my mum, they had two daughters, one in 1992 the other in 1993. My step-dad, an honest man as he was, wasn't all he ever seemed. Yes he enjoyed taking me out fishing, or watching the odd game of football with me, but then there were days when he was just very angry at the tiniest of things. Leave the toilet seat down? You would know about it. Make his cup of tea too milky, there was the slap around the back of the head. I ended up learning to avoid him, even if it came to fishing. But that wasn't the only thing he brought to the family. I thought I was the oldest of three, how wrong I was. A year after my mum and step-dad were married, he introduced me to his three older daughters and two older sons from his previous marriage. 

That's where things started getting to be too much for me. Loud family members, my two older step-brothers always fighting, and I mean fists out blood drawn. My three older step-sisters being in their teens and always bringing a different guy home with them. It was enough to set anyone over the edge, but for someone who struggled with his hearing? That was a pain.

At 5 years old, I was referred to my local Audiology clinic, in order to get my ears tested. Came out with grommets, God they were fun now I look back on them! I used to fear that they would fall into my ear and grow into a tree in my stomach. At six, I got my first ever hearing aid, and it made my life so much easier! I could hear! Everything was just so surreal, even my grandfather was amused by it. That's when the bullying started. Not just at school, but at home as well. I felt rather pushed away by my own mother because on my hearing difficulties, my older step-siblings started calling me "Deafo" or "deaf boy", the things you'd never expect to hear from your own family. School was no easier, I had students trying to take my hearing aid out, calling me all sorts of names, such as Freak, Gadget ear. The things I was called from get go of getting my first hearing aid, for a 6 year old, it's hurtful. But I turned this pain into something that caused me more trouble than resolution.

From 6 up to 9, I had been excluded from 7 different primary schools due to my behavioural problems, which were soon diagnosed as Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. I ended up getting into a lot of fights, causing problems in school, such as breaking windows, running out of school, throwing drawing pins at my teachers, putting glue on my headteachers seats. I would say I was quite a problem child back then.

That's when the Board of Education decided to get involved, and sent me to a specialist school, but believe it or not, it was one of the two best schools I had ever been to! From year 4 up to year 6, my teachers at the specialist school had helped me calm down quite a lot, taught me how to control myself, taught me easier ways of keeping my self out of trouble when I was upset. It didn't last long. When I left primary school, my mum seemed to believe that I was 'cured' of Aspergers, and decided to enroll me to a public secondary school.

Needless to say, that school didn't have me very long! From day one, I was already causing issues. I went from a small school of around 52 students, to a school that had 30 students per class. I wasn't ready for this! You've probably guessed: My Aspergers kicked in big time. Back to fighting, threw a chair at another student, hacked the school computers and took the whole system down. Started this secondary school September 2001, kicked out by November 2001. Probably a record I think.

After being kicked out of the secondary school, I was out of education for 8 months, while the Board of Education tried to find me a school that would accept me, as none of the schools local to me would take me. So I was home schooled from November to June 2002, when the Board found me a school to place me in. Another specialist school. Only downfall was that they had to pay for a taxi daily from my mum's to school, a 45 min drive out of my home town.

I officially started at this specialist school September 2002, started out well, made loads of friends, found my best subjects, became a bit of a teachers pet in IT and History. Beat the school record at the 1500M, old school record was 12 mins, somehow I made it in just over 9 mins, I was well chuffed with myself! It didn't take long for the bullying to start again. This time, it wasn't just about my hearing, but also about my weight. Since I was a kid, I've always been underweight, even when I know I can eat quite a lot, I've never really been able to gain much weight. To this day I still weigh under 10 stone. This is something I can't help. The way I was, I ended up my having to leave my mums because of a fight between me and my step-dad.

In year 8 alone, I must have had in the hundreds of detentions, on average 3 a week. Suspended probably 60 times in that one year alone. But year 9 didn't get any better. In fact, it got worse, much worse. I started self harming, I started smoking, gave up caring about school work and my own life. I would come home from school daily, lock myself away in my bedroom at my grand mothers. This went on 'til my 13th birthday, when I refused to even come down for my party. At this point, my grandmother had made up her mind to get me seen to by my GP, to see what he would say. 

Weeks of evaluation, questions, GP visits, specialist visits, I was finally given a diagnosis. Depressive Schizophrenia. I was put on anti-depressants to try and help me with my depression, nothing came to light, no changes, if anything I was getting worse. My depression had gotten to me that bad, I was self harming on nearly a daily basis. That's when my councillor came in. I kept telling everyone that they wouldn't be able to help. Surprise, surprise, they never did help me with my depression, but they did manage to help me cut down on my self harm. Writing. I found that from writing, I could write out what I was feeling at the time I had a pen in my hand. Or I could write out the scenarios that only I could see. Finally I was getting somewhere. But the bullying never stopped until I was 14.

When school finished for the day, my taxi would drop me off at my mum's, and I'd take a nice hour and a half walk to my grandmother's, as it was my only time to chill on my own, have some music in my ear. My escape time as I used to call it. One day, in December, I was walking to my grandmother's, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I when I turned around, I came face to face with a beautiful ginger haired, green eyed lady who was my age. She was new to the area and was asking for directions to an address not far from where I was going. So I offered to walk her that way as it was in the direction I was headed. 

So we walked, and talked, I found out her name was Chelsea, she had recently moved up to the area from north Wales, she was only a few weeks younger than myself. When we got to the road she was after, we exchanged MSN details, Yes MSN is old school! and started talking online. It wasn't long before our friendship formed into a relationship. My first relationship.

During school, I'd be texting her on my break or lunch, people had started to leave me alone then, Just chilling on my own, talking to the love of my life. Weekends we would go out, to the park, or to the beach, go crabbing. But everything changed during our last year in school. Just when I thought things were on the uphill, did they sooner come back down. We found out that Chelsea had fallen pregnant, and holy hell, we didn't half get an ear full from our parents! We both decided to keep the relationship, keep the baby, and once I finished school, I'd go to collage and get a part time job.

Just before school finished, my little girl was born, strawberry blonde, with the most gorgeous baby blue eyes you could ever come across. My little Rachel. As proud a father I was, I knew what I had to do. So when school finished, I enrolled at collage, NVQ level 2 Food Prep and cookery, got myself a part time job at a store called Nice Price (no longer existing). I got myself driving, and a car, me and Chelsea were living at my grandmother's at the time while we were trying to get a place of our own. For a few months everything was brilliant, my job was brilliant, my college wasn't so bad, bit of a pain in the kitchens trying to hear the head chef over all the pots, pans, chopping, meat tenderisers, chatting. It wasn't easy. Started a band, it was going really well. For once, my depression wasn't bothering me.

As the end of September drew closer, things started going down hill. Rachel passed away due to Sudden Infants Death Syndrome, two weeks later, Chelsea committed suicide. I quit my college course, tried to kill myself so I could join them. Stupidly I drove my motorbike into the side of an ambulance. Silly me! I knew it was back, and worse than ever. I was back to being a zombie. My 17th came, I didn't care. December came, I was made jobless due to the company going bankrupt. In three months, I saw my life crash down once again. 

January 2007, I got myself into a youth hostel, there I met a few metal head friends, went out drinking, clubbing underage, became a right rebel. Became an alcoholic, started doing drugs. It got so bad, that one day my mate had to drag me out of bed, and throw me in the shower before telling me we were going somewhere. We went to town and he took me to a place called UK Online. There he got me a voluntary job in IT User Support. I worked there until early 2008, when I had moved into the local YMCA, there they asked me to become the Voluntary Computer Suite Manager, which I took on. In May 2008, I was nominated to the UK Online awards, to share my story of how I had gone from a drugged up alcoholic at 17, to becoming a Volunteering Manager. To my surprise, I came out as the Overall Inspirational Lifestyle award! Another huge achievement in my life!

Not long after the awards, I met a new girl from further south of England. I ended up moving to be closer to her, got myself volunteering at Saint John Ambulance. Ended up working along side her for a year before it became a relationship. The relationship lasted two and a half years. It wasn't a very good ending. In 2010 I was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, a hole in the heart chambers. In 2012 I had an internal laser surgery to seal the hole shut. I was kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests and check ups, just to make sure I was healing properly and that the surgery was a complete success, which it was. The day they discharged me, was the day the relationship fell.

I got back home, my girlfriend at the time was in work, and my laptop was open on her social media's and instant messengers. But what was on her messages, was NOT what any boyfriend would want to see. In that week I was in hospital, my girlfriend at the time had somehow manage to cheat on me with 28 guys and a horse. Yes, you read that right. A horse! Honestly, I couldn't tell you what was running through my mind, all I knew was there was no way that the relationship could be saved. Packed my bags and waited for her to get home. 

She got home around 10pm that night, with a guy on her arm. Needless to say, he left as soon as he saw me and realised what was going on. A massive 4 hour argument broke out between me and her, which ended up me throwing my bags towards the door. She stormed off into the kitchen while I was putting my bags in the car, when I came back in to drop off the key I wasn't expecting to be stabbed in the shoulder by her. Yep, that did it, the relationship was well and truly over. 

Drove myself to hospital, with the blade still stuck in my shoulder, was released the next day and my ex arrested for attempted murder, and use of a dangerous weapon with intent to cause actual bodily harm. She was jailed for 5 years after that, but was released on good behaviour.

After her, I met my boyfriend, Derek. He was a nice bloke, took me out for meals, helped me with my depression, but a few months down the line, he turned sour. Started getting violent towards me if something didn't go his way, very forceful when it came to sex. There had been a time while I was asleep after work, he had forced himself onto me and had sex with me. I wasn't happy with him at all. The next day I spoke to a colleague at work about it, she advised me to get rid of him. After work, I sat in my car for around an hour before going home. He was livid with me for being so late to do his dinner. I had had enough. He went to hit me, and I just saw red, I just jumped on him, ended up giving him a broken arm, broken nose and a black eye, threw him out the flat, threw his clothes after him. Never saw him again.

After Derek, I had been through a series of short relationships, none lasting more than 6 months. Until I met Kelly. At first, everything was well, until I found out that I was her boyfriend behind her fiancee's back. Silly me, I let it slide. For two and a half years, me and Kelly were on and off, arguing, fighting, splitting up, me staying at a mates for weeks on end, but stupidly, I let her keep talking me into getting back with her. Yeah I loved her kids as if they were my own, even though they wasn't mine. But then it got worse. Kelly had her ex attack me one day after me and her had been for a pub date, yet I was the one who was arrested. Two days later, I attempted suicide via an OD. Luckily, a member of staff at a hostel I was living in found me after they had no response from the cleaners. I was in hospital for three days due to the OD. I decided it was time to go home, so I came back to my grandmother's for a while. I went through a few more relationships that again, never lasted any more than 6 months.

Just as things were getting worse, I started talking to a beautiful young lady on a social media website. We got on well, we skyped, we texted. Then I made the biggest mistake. Instead of dating her when I should have, I got scared of my past with distance relationships. I got with someone closer. Thus, the biggest mistake I have ever made up to date. This lady I started dating, she seemed nice at first, but then started getting more and more argumentative with me. I felt low again, I was needing a way out. I was talking to the girl I originally liked before this ex, I was trying to keep my calm, find a way out of the relationship with the girl I was with. 

December 2015, I received a text message from the girl I was with at the time being, a rather flirty one, but it wasn't aimed at me. I questioned her about it, she denied flirting with anyone else. At the time being, she had given me access to her social media accounts and Skype account. Again, I had been let down. I split with her on the 23rd of December when I found out she was cheating on me. But this time was different. I didn't feel bad about it, I didn't feel like as if I had let myself down. I actually felt free, I felt relieved. Like as if I had just surfaced from drowning. I messaged this girl I was originally talking to and arranged for her to visit me and stay at my flat for a few days. All was going well, building up to day that was incredible. The day before we were due to meet up, my grandmother had taken a fall and my grandfather needed my help to get her to our local hospital. We were there for 7 hours only to be told she had just dislocated her hip, it was replaced and she was sent home. I got home around 2am, to find several police officers at my door.

The police asked my details, checked my identity. What came next was like as if I had just been drop kicked in the stomach. My ex was having me arrested for suspicions of rape. Yup! All because I dumped her for cheating on me. Coincidence that it was on the day I was meant to be meeting this girl right? She got to the train station where I was meant to meet her, but I wasn't there. The police had called her and asked her to come in to the station, where she was questioned, not told anything, and taken to a friend's for the night and told to return to her mum's and to stay away from me. I was released an hour after she was taken from the police station. 

I got home, got straight onto my laptop and messaged her, trying to talk to her and prove my innocence. Next day she was home. Then, she was talking to me, she was fine with me, we arranged to meet up again behind her parent's back as they thought me as a monster. Her mum still hates me to this day because I'm dating her daughter.

This girl now happens to be my fiancee, she's been my rock, my strength, she's supported me when I was at my worse. I couldn't of gotten anywhere without her. I've done some things I'm not proud of, such as making sexual comments to other women, I saw as just jokes and humour. Yes, hypocritial. My fiancee, however didn't see it as humour. Not while she was pregnant. We got over that bump, but as her pregnancy wore on, we started arguing a bit. I started drinking again, because I was scared of going through what I had been through with Chelsea and Rachel.

Now, we are stronger than ever, we have a beautiful baby boy who is now nearly 6 months old. Currently, we live apart, but we try our best to see each other, and for me to spend time with my son. We are still together, but the distance scares me, I get scared and depressed over thoughts of her leaving me, even though she reassures me that she wont, and that's one of the many reasons I love her.

To this day, I still struggle with depression, to this day, I'm still fighting my own demons. But I always find some way to say to myself, "tomorrow is going to be a better day. Just keep waking up every morning", and I do, I get up daily, I have a coffee, and I love my life.

Depression isn't something that is in our heads. It's not just a "phase" we go through. There is always something that turns out to be the reason we suffer it in the first place. Depression is real, depression can kill. But most of all, you are not alone! If you ever feel suicidal, please, seek help! Call your local A&E. Talk to a friend, family, or call the samaritans. There are always people who are there to talk to you, to listen to you, and support you!

This is my battle with depression, a battle that may never be over.

Don't fight your battles alone.

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