JOSH Connolly was just 9 years previous when he watched his dad drink himself to demise one afternoon.
Three years later, the 12-year-old schoolboy was hitting the bottle himself, and shortly spiralled into an habit that saw him attempt to finish his life three occasions. Right here he reveals how he was saved from the depths of melancholy – and warns of the lethal hyperlink between booze and suicide.
Josh aged 11 in his first yr of senior faculty in Swindon – inside a yr he would begin consuming to deal with the trauma of his father’s demise
Talking to The Solar as a part of our You are Not Alone suicide prevention marketing campaign, which is looking on readers to know the warning indicators in themselves and others and never to be afraid to ask for assist, Josh says his consuming started as a method to deal with the trauma of his father’s demise.
However it shortly became an habit that nearly killed him.
Whereas stats on alcohol-related suicide are usually not collated, greater than twice as many males die from alcohol-specific deaths than ladies.
When he began consuming at the age of 12, Josh says it was “a way to escape”.
By the age of 24, Josh’s personal alcoholism had pushed him to try suicide three occasions
“I didn’t recognise that at the time. It just felt good.”
At first, he would drink at weekends solely.
However by the time he was 16, Josh says he was binge consuming all day, most days.
He primarily drank spirits however misplaced rely of how a lot he was consuming.
- 1 ‘I drank til I blacked out after turning into a dad’
- 2 ‘I did not need to be right here’
- 3 Sit in the darkness – so you possibly can come into the mild
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is misplaced – to suicide.
It does not discriminate, touching the lives of individuals in each nook of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and docs, actuality stars and footballers.
It is the largest killer of individuals beneath the age of 35, extra lethal than most cancers and automotive crashes. And males are three occasions extra possible to take their very own life than ladies.
But, it is not often spoken of, a taboo that threatens to proceed its lethal rampage until all of us cease and take discover, now.
That’s the reason The Solar has launched the You are Not Alone marketing campaign. To remind anybody dealing with a troublesome time, grappling with psychological sickness or feeling like there’s nowhere left to flip, that there’s hope.
Over the course of this week, we’ll inform you the tales of courageous survivors, kinfolk left behind, heroic Good Samaritans – and share ideas from psychological well being specialists.
The purpose is that by sharing sensible recommendation, elevating consciousness and breaking down the limitations individuals face when speaking about their psychological well being, we will all do our bit to assist save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for assist once we want it, and pay attention out for others. You are Not Alone.
For an inventory of help providers out there, please see the The place To Get Assist field under.
Charity Drinkaware warns that heavy and binge consuming – greater than eight models, or 4 pints, in a single go for males, or six models for ladies – worsens and even causes melancholy.
It is all down to the approach alcohol disrupts the “brain’s delicate balance of chemicals and processes”.
Josh as a toddler together with his older brother and alcoholic father Paul – who drank himself to dying in entrance of the boys when Josh was just 9 years previous
The knock on influence of his dad’s demise blighted Josh’s life for years
Regardless of his boozing, Josh was nonetheless doing nicely at college. He was a brilliant pupil, who liked drama, and handed all his GCSEs – getting three A* grades.
“But they were useless as my mental health was in the pits,” says Josh.
“I was in trouble a lot and quit school to start working when I was 17.”
‘I drank til I blacked out after turning into a dad’
By this time, he was binge consuming for days at a time.
“My first daughter was born when I was 18 and I couldn’t show up and be the person I was supposed to be,” he explains.
“Escaping was no longer an option. I didn’t know how to articulate my internal pain then like I can now. So I drank.”
Josh says the boozy tradition amongst his mates made it straightforward to conceal his consuming as comparatively regular.
Josh seems to be the image of well being after getting sober and is talking out to present that alcoholism is one thing you possibly can beat with the proper help
“I’d often drink in pubs but it was when I got home and was alone that the pain set in. I’d then drink to blackout.”
At the ages of 19, 22 and 24, Josh says he tried suicide – boozing so exhausting he hoped he would kill himself.
On the second try, he’d spent days making an attempt to die.
“I sat alone in my tiny bedsit consuming, not figuring out what was incorrect with me, hoping not to get up the subsequent morning.
KNOW THE SIGNS From consuming an excessive amount of to a scarcity of sleep…10 indicators your beloved might be liable to suicide
On this try, Josh believes his life was saved by two associates who turned up at the bedsit the place he was dwelling alone after splitting up with the mum of his three younger youngsters.
Unable to rouse him, they broke down his door to discover the manufacturing unit employee slumped unconscious on the flooring.
Thankfully, they have been in a position to convey him round they usually stayed with him by means of the night time.
‘I did not need to be right here’
However the expertise wasn’t sufficient to curb his consuming and at 24, now with 4 youngsters underneath the age of six, issues deteriorated additional.
An evening of consuming and watching soccer in the native pub ended with Josh getting right into a struggle that landed him in A&E – and triggered his most critical suicide try.
Josh’s life has improved a lot since he stopped consuming – he has a brand new job, has remarried and enjoys holidays (pictured right here in Rome in 2016) and journeys out together with his youngsters
Docs determined he required emergency surgical procedure at one other hospital, and whereas he was ready to be transferred, Josh took drastic motion.
“They injected me with painkillers so, once they stepped out the room, I took all the different medicine I’d purchased that night time, which I’d stored in my pocket.’
“I didn’t want to be here,” says Josh, admitting he meant to kill himself.
He had a seizure in the ambulance on the method to the different hospital.
WHERE TO GET HELP FOR DRINK AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
In the event you, or anybody you realize, wants assist coping with drink or psychological well being issues, the following organisations present help:
- Alcoholics Nameless Nice Britain, www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk, 0800 9177 650
- Addaction, www.addaction.org.uk
- Drinkline, 0300 123 1110
- Nationwide Affiliation for Youngsters of Alcoholics, www.nacoa.org.uk, 0800 358 3456
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.internet, 0800 585 858
- Heads Collectively, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Thoughts, www.thoughts.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
When he got here round from his virtually deadly overdose, Josh stated he felt the similar method he did following his two earlier suicide makes an attempt: “Shame. Disgust at myself for not having the strength to do it properly.”
However this time, he sought assist to cease abusing alcohol. He did a 12-step Alcoholics Nameless programme and hasn’t touched a drop of booze since Might 2012.
Whereas Josh says the programme was “amazing”, he admits he struggled to overcome his habit – and the melancholy it stemmed from.
Volunteering for the Nationwide Affiliation for Youngsters of Alcoholics has been an enormous a part of Josh’s restoration – pictured right here at a charity occasion together with his two sons
“When I give up consuming, I was left with all the ache and feelings with out alcohol to numb these emotions.
“I actually struggled with that. I felt like I needed to give my youngsters some sort of peace and never taint them with any extra darkness.”
Heartbreakingly, Josh organized to see his youngsters – then aged from six months to six years – for one final time to say goodbye. But the assembly was to save his life.
“For the first time, I realised I was able to be present with my children and, in that moment, my life began to change,” he says.
His outlook had modified and he was in a position to image a happier future for the first time.
Sit in the darkness – so you possibly can come into the mild
Josh travels the nation giving speeches on alcoholism, restoration and wellness – pictured right here at an occasion in Lowestoft
Issues are utterly totally different for Josh and his household at present.
He now lives in Swindon and is fortunately married to his second spouse, with whom he has two youngsters aged two and eight months.
They personal their very own residence and luxuriate in common holidays and household journeys with all Josh’s youngsters at the weekends.
He now works as a motivational speaker and life coach, travelling the nation to give keynote speeches on psychological well being and wellbeing and volunteering for the Nationwide Affiliation for Youngsters of Alcoholics, the place he helps youngsters in the similar state of affairs he was in.
He appears a lot more healthy too.
“I’m five stone heavier than the day I quit,” he says. “I was nine and a half stone when I put down the drink.”
And he says he is learnt to be extra in tune together with his feelings: “I allow myself now to feel all my emotions. I give myself space to feel low.”
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Josh’s recommendation to males who’re struggling is “to go into the darkness and sit for some time”.
He says when he was down, there was a standard, irritating mistake individuals round him typically made.
“They’d listing all the causes I had to be completely satisfied. I’ve by no means been silly – I know why I ought to be grateful. It just heaped on extra emotions of disgrace and guilt for feeling this manner.
“Don’t take away the justification for individuals to really feel how they do. Just create an area the place somebody can really feel a variety of feelings utterly freed from judgement. Pay attention.
“It’s straightforward to say males want to speak extra however that may be like telling somebody who can’t stroll to stroll extra. It places the onus on them.
“We need to help them to discover how to talk. The onus should be on us.”