Well it’s been an incredible few weeks as you all know. It’s been such an emotional roller-coaster and so humbling. I am genuinely so grateful and so overwhelmed with all the support and kind words I have received over the last few weeks that much so that I have taken out a decent life insurance policy to ensure you all get a decent steak pie and even a dessert at my funeral. In all seriousness though thank you, you honestly have no idea what your words and kind wishes mean to me.
When you spend years like I did telling yourself that you will never achieve anything with your life and that you’ll never amount to much and that people can see how weak you are and how much of a failure you are and then you get hit with support and some of the stuff you were all saying about me it was incredible, some feeling, I’m not going to lie for the first time in my life I was truly bursting with pride.
I never really had a doubt about putting my story out there; I write these blogs after all, people know my deepest darkest secrets. People know my weaknesses, they know my flaws, they see my daft ways, I tell them of my anxieties, I sometimes even cry to my mates about the shit that I’ve lost but what I was really worried about was letting every victim of crime down, every person who wasn’t lucky enough to receive the support and help I’ve received from qualified professionals, from friends and family, strangers who I’ve never met but are going through or have gone what I went through. I had the chance to be the voice of a group of people who are sometimes not empowered enough to speak for themselves or when they do they simply aren’t heard and all I wanted to do was represent them. I wanted to speak for and to those people. I wanted to let them see that they aren’t weak; they shouldn’t be ashamed of their thoughts and feelings. Most importantly I wanted them to know they aren’t alone. I hope I have achieved this and judging by the response to my interview and the feedback I’ve had from my bosses at Victim Support and you lot It appears I done that.
I just wanted to write this piece to give you a wee update of what we at Victim support have achieved and where I am at personally as so many of you have taken such an interest not just in the telly appearance but since my first blog. We entered the process with the hope that we would make people aware of our great charity, I think we achieved that most importantly we wanted to change at least one life. We were sitting in the waiting room at the studio and we were hoping that it would make the main STV news that night but sadly it was a busy news day, however we sat there and agreed that if we could turnaround one life then it was all worthwhile. We don’t know for sure how many life’s we have changed but what we do know is that two people phoned in the day it was aired and said that they were phoning cause they seen me only the telly. I can’t put into words how proud I am of that and all of us involved. I’ve also been bombarded with messages of support and messages from people who have told me their story and have took a bit of hope from my story.
Just under 3 years ago I walked into a Doctors room and told him I couldn’t take any more, I needed these thoughts to stop; I’d lost all confidence in myself and in the world. Basically I hated myself and I hated this world, this big scary world that was one cruel bastard. Like I’ve said before I don’t know if I could have took my own life but I certainly can understand why people do. Thankfully I had a great GP, an even better psychologist and friends and family who I will always be in debt too.
When I was discharged from my sessions I swore that one day I would be a psychologist or a CBT therapist and my goal was to turn one life around like my psychologist has done with mine. These people show up to work every day and they think they are just doing their job. Laura will probably never know the outcome of her work, she’ll probably never know what I’ve achieved and what I hope to achieve but I do. It is so important to me that my story is out there, it’s so important to me that people can see an example of a way. I never write these things or went on the telly in a kind of look at me way. I’m not like that, like I have said before I’m just a wee specky guy from Whitburn who lost the lost plot and lost his way. I love when you all share my story; I love when random people get in touch with their story and seek advice or simply let off a bit of steam or get some horrible thoughts out their head. I don’t have all the answers and I’m just one man and at times I’m bombarded with messages but I do try to reply to them all and everything people tells me stays with me.
I just wanted to write this as a wee thank you. I appreciated every single share of my interview; I appreciated every single like of the Victim Support page. I don’t like when people tell me I’m brave or an inspiration. I’m not after that or Facebook and twitter likes. I just want to reach as many people suffering as possible and do what I can for them.
Anyway I just want to thank you all and I also want to let you know where I’m at with my voluntary work and that. I’m going on my advanced training so I can help victims of sexual assaults, domestic abuse and support families who have been affected by murders. I know this sounds horrific but again it’s an example of how far I’ve came.
There’s no shame in suffering from mental health illnesses. I still do and I have some crazy habits and some crazy thoughts at times but when the bad days come I think about all your kind words and the people I’ve helped. We need to break this stigma and we need to be more open about suicide. It’s the biggest killer of men under 50. Me, I’ll speak about it all my days and I’m open to anyone who needs to speak to me about it.
Honestly, the last few weeks have been epic and eye opening, I have all these crazy dreams about the Kevin Welsh foundation and free support for people when I’m qualified, I dream of writing a book one day, I dream of conferences, school visits where I talk to kids about the dangers of alcohol related violence. You know what they might be wild dreams but 3 years ago all I had was horrible nightmares and look what has happened since then.
Keep on keeping on and feel free to share.