A dad who turned to alcohol in a desperate bid to block out the pain caused by his depression is finally looking to the future after reaching out for help.
Karl Ridley says he now wishes he sought support sooner after the loss of his job and breakdown of his marriage sent him on downward spiral.
It has been really difficult, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up - I wish I’d asked for help sooner.Karl Ridley
The 34-year-old turned to alcohol in a bid to block out his pain, ending up drinking up to 30 cans a day.
“I had lost everything and then I lost my house. I was drinking and eventually I was put on really strong anti-depressants.
“I started self-harming and was suicidal.
“I was in a very dark and horrible place, my head was all over, I couldn’t see a way out. I tried detox but I just went straight back on the drink.”
It was on one of his number of trips to hospital as a result of seizures he had started to suffer from, he was given information on self-help groups.
Mr Ridley added: “I was a nervous person so I didn’t feel I could ask for help. But I managed to find it in me to go and I haven’t looked back.It has completely changed my life. I’m more confident and I’m starting to look forward to the future. But while Karl says on the face of it, his recovery sounds simple, it has been a difficult road for him to walk down.
He added: “People seem to think you can just snap out of it. That you can stop drinking, that you can stop feeling the way you do.
“But you can’t. It’s not easy. It’s not easy either to ask for help and with me being a nervous person, it was even harder.
“It has been really difficult, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up - I wish I’d asked for help sooner.
“I can’t change that now, I am where I am all I can do is take one step at a time and keep moving forward.
“When I was in that dark place I couldn’t see a future, but now I can.”
Karl is looking forward to moving into his own flat and one day getting back into work. I hope by telling my story, where I was and where I am now, it’ll give someone else hope it can be done.”
Our series of articles in the run-up to Christmas, supported by Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, aims to encourage people to reach out to others and let those struggling know help and support is available.
Today, people are being asked to think about signing up for Dry Januar, visit www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/dry-january-signup