By Phil Parkes, Expert Citizens CIC
I also want you to understand that I am in a good place writing this but feel the journey of how I got here is a story worth telling. I want to explore the thoughts and feelings that affected my reactions and eventually led me to become the person I am today. Ive mentioned my childhood and how I was led to believe I was worthless and everything was my fault/responsibility, this is worth noting throughout this story. Ill just hit on a few main points but wont be holding back I plan on laying it all out to be seen. After my childhood and the upheaval of leaving that situation my dad died which as you would understand shook me to my core but in saying that I tried to bury my emotions, feeling that the hurt I saw in both my younger brother and my mum (who while divorced from him still adored the man) didnt need me piling any more on to, so I took it upon myself to be the strong one. I dont think I cried much at all I can remember not crying at the funeral which would come back to haunt me. High school is High school and bullying happens, I just went about believing that I deserved it and that this was normal. The only thing I took from that was how to use alcohol to mask everything and in that I found a way to blame anyone/everyone else for my shortcomings, this included my dead dad. For years throughout my life I was so angry and kept thinking if he hadnt left me id be normal I wouldnt be a failure. I think I tried going the army route to prove to myself and everyone else I could do it and I subsequently failed in that too. Now to relationships (romantic and otherwise), this is where I need to apologise to anybody who knows me personally as because of my mindset ive constantly sought external gratification to make me feel better, so especially when drink fuelled ive gone ott to get people to say how they feel about me and pushed so many people away because of this (this is changing but it wont be instantaneous). I live still now in a constant state of anxiety, im learning to deal with it better, but I have a huge tendency to catastrophise everything so a falling out with say my sister in my head would be she hates me, everyone hates me and my life is over. I’ll touch on suicide attempts and bring it back to the first time I tried. I was in my flat I shared with my girlfriend at the time and I was drinking and she came out with “your dad would have never been proud of you the way you are”, this in my head I took for gospel as its something he never had the chance to say to me, later that night once she was in bed I slit my wrists and she found me and rang 999. All subsequent attempts have been fuelled by this and the thought and feeling that the world would be better off without me in it. I’ve lived my life to the philosophy ‘hope for the best but prepare for the worst’ so im always thinking worst case scenario and this has been reinforced by a lot of unfortunate events. Im a firm believer my internal compass is broken and I always see the negative hence me always looking for somebody’s/anybody’s reassurances. All this being said I know see life as it is and I see the hope, I no longer believe that im only alive because I couldnt put that hurt on my family, im starting to enjoy life but still waiting for that worst case scenario to hit again (im also working on this).
Since giving up drinking and subsequently throwing myself into my volunteer role I have been made the NECG (National Expert Citizens Group) volunteer lead which allows me to travel the country offering out my expertise in certain areas, im doing any and every course I can do which is relevant to me and now feel if I get the help im after that when a paid role arises I will be in prime position for this. I just want to thank everyone for their patience both in this extended blog and in my personal life, I see the potential not only I have but that everyone with lived experience has and hope to see it flourish for all.