Hello from me.

by Paul Holmes

So here I go, my first blog for Mental Healthy. As I sit here writing away, I felt it would only be fair you should know a little about me. That way you can understand where I am coming from when I write blogs in the future. After all we all have a different perspective on mental health, my experiences will not necessarily be the same as yours. Even symptoms will be different, for example some lose weight, some sleep for hours, I put on loads of weight and even to this day can’t sleep through the night. So I do not want to take the one size fits all opinion that so many GPs, Psychiatrists and the Media seem to take. We are all individuals and should be treated as such. Sorry I do get on my soap box now and then, forgive me.

My depression started on 7th November 2003, in fact I can also give you the time, it was 8.40pm. I know that sounds silly, but my illness started from an accident I had at work while driving a train. Power cables, that power the train fell onto my driving cab and exploded causing injuries and all the bits and pieces that seem to accompany trauma.

For the next 4 years or so I saw Psychiatrists, Counsellors and my GP to try and find a way to make me well again. The problem was, I felt no one understood me. No one understood my anger , my depression, my self-harm, my stubbornness when it came to medication and the list goes on.  Why did they want to stick to what the books say? Surely we can’t all fit the same old pattern time and time again. “Here, take these and come back in 3months.” If I ever heard that again I knew I was going to lose it.

I gained over ten stones in weight (140lbs) through medication and not leaving my house.  I knew after a long time that you can’t wait for the help to come, you have to help yourself. The problem is how do we get motivated to do this? It almost seems like a mountain to climb.  My realisation came when I was forced to sit on somebodies front garden wall as I was sweating like hell and had severe chest pains. All those mornings waking up wishing I was dead,  surely that would be better for everyone else and myself? Now I faced mortality in the face and realised I really do not want to die.  My bluff was called but some weird twist of fate. I suddenly got the something I had not experienced in all those dark years, I got some motivation.

So I lost over 12 stone in weight, not just like that, will share how soon. I used writing as a tool to clear my head and turned the corner.  I have to say I had huge support from my wife, she stuck with me through thick and thin, even during those selfish times when my illness dominated everything. I started to work out in the gym, and slowly regained my confidence to re enter society. I unlocked the cage that was called my house and started to live in the real world. It was scary, but every day I pushed more and more.

 For five years I was unemployed, facing discrimination from employers, who for some reason did not want a depression sufferer with anger management issues working for them. I can’t imagine why. I then decided to work for myself and opened an artisan bakery and then lucky me, the recession started. I won’t take it personally, I shall put that down to bad timing. That’s what my CBT told me to, I am sure Goldman Sachs did not go bankrupt, starting the huge recession just to get my bakery to go bust.  Or did they?

 Anyway, I have been studying to become a counsellor this year and this is something I feel will help me to help others. I know how lonely this illness can be and the importance of having someone in the room who truly understands. Through this blog I want to share as much as I can with you all and also I hope you use the little box below to share as well. It’s important for us all to talk, not just celebrities, we are all important don’t forget that. Sorry, soap box moment.

 Many thanks for reading, I look forward to sharing more soon.


Hi Paul, Sounds like you have had some pretty dark times. Well done on grabbing the moment of motivation when it came your way and using that positive feeling to drive your life to a better place! Your post has really lifted my spirits this evening. Look forward to reading more of your story in the future. Cheers, Will

A very welcome addition to Mental Healthy blogs. What a wonderful introduction to your ife since your accident. I'm looking forward to reading your next step.

Hi, Paul: You've walked a rough road.Glad the tides have turned on your end:) Stay Well, Natliae

Hi Will, I am really pleased you liked my intro and that it lifted your spirits, it was a pleasure to read your comments. Many thanks. I have also been reading your blog Liz, many thanks for your welcome and also your inspiring words.
Also, Natalie, many thanks for reading and taking time to comment. I hope you all stick along with me for the ride, believe me once I start I do not shut up.

Hi. I have just finished reading your book 'A Man Derailed' and I just wanted to say how refreshing it was to read such an honest, heart-felt and inspiring story. Having had depression myself and knowing many others who have also suffered from this debilitating illness, I felt that your story was so relatable in so many ways and you have managed to convey many intricate aspects of depression that are often hard to put into words especially as you say, if you have not personally experienced depression, it's difficult for others to really understand it, but your story can really benefit both sufferers and those around them, which can only help to promote much needed awareness and openness. I am a student occupational therapist and I currently work in mental health myself and I shall certainly be recommending this book to people. Once again, thank you for making such a personal and valuable contribution to such a common but still annoyingly, taboo subject. x
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