An article written in the hope that people finally realise that it’s ok to talk about depression and the effects that actions can have on people’s lives.
‘Where do you begin when you already feel so close to the end?’
This is what I will call : Step One into Depression – Trust and the inability to form it anymore
There was a time when I would sit down and write a weekly column for The Indy Corner, centred around what had pissed me off, who was doing things they shouldn’t be doing and what was generally going in the world of wrestling… a world that I had imursed myself in for a number of years and at times, given my heart and soul to… as I sit down now to write this, I can honestly say that the man who used to write those weekly musings is gone… he died a long time ago and all that is left is an empty shell, lacking in empathy, compassion or humanity. Now… I don’t want to use what is most likely my final writings of this nature to start slinging mud or playing the blame game… but hopefully to open eyes onto the subject of depression and the effects it can have on someone, even someone like me, who was always first in line to stand and be counted when I felt something needed to be said or someone’s honour needed defending. Depression is an illness… and it’s an illness capable of killing someone faster than cancer, faster than aids, faster than anything else you could possibly think of because depression will take control of your mind and cause you to act in such a way that you are no longer in control of your own actions, no longer in control of your own life…
Where to begin… I realised that there something not quite right about the way I processed information a few years ago now, loss and change are two things that I never coped with well but until around 2013 I always had a handle on them… then in 2013, I had my trust broken by two people that I trusted completely. One was my fiance at the time, we’d been together for 7 years and there was no one at the time that I could honestly have said I had more trust in than her, the other was someone I considered a good friend, a friend that aside from within wrestling I would socialise with and have round my house on regular occassions… I think you can all see where this is leading so I won’t dwell on the details but upon finding out what I did of a web of lies and deceipt that had been going on for a while, I suddenly found myself struggling hugely with trust issues. I lost a lot of friends as the group of people we socialised with took a step back and didn’t want to get involved, making it impossible for the two of us to be around with the same social gatherings and I found myself being more and more cast aside and excluded. The kind of betrayal I suffered at that time doesn’t just effect a relationship or living situation between two people, but it shatters the way you process information moving forward, it causes you to question everyone in your life… ‘did they know what was going on?’ or ‘are they all laughing at me behind my back?’ – couple that together with the sudden exclusion or safety net of the group of friends that you spent the majority of your time with at that time and pretty much every weekend as we all do in the wrestling community and you are left with pretty much nothing but your own thoughts and feelings… which for someone who is beginning to feel the early signs of being consumed by depression is the worst place to find yourself.
This is what I will call : Step Two into Depression : Pushing Everyone Away
That incident is probably the first time I can really trace back to as a point where I could really feel the isolation setting in, where I would begin to push people I had always trusted, from my life, completely unable to trust them through no fault of their own. You will find yourself constantly questioning if the the simplest of things you have been told are real or if it’s all one big lie. I was lucky to have a small selection of friends around me like Dan, who had been by housemate through all of this, but had become a good friend and Magic Mark who would regularly check on me and with their help, I managed to continue on, I wouldn’t ever use the term ‘beating’ the depression because that is something that none of us can ever do… but I was able to keep control of it and make sure that it didn’t consume me, I focused on picking myself up and getting HOPE rolling again, there was a 6 month hiatus, from October 2013 to March 2014 where we didn’t run, but I tried to regain my focus and we got up and running again after the 6 months.
As time went on, little things would begin to affect me more and more and I found my trust issues that had been bought to the surface were spiralling out of control… I would begin lashing out at anyone or anything that didn’t fully add up… never fully able to accept what I was being told, truth or not. I could see myself losing more and more friends by my actions, but it wasn’t something I could control… I would constantly pick apart every piece of information that came my way to see if I could find a lie or work out if what I was being told had some sinister or alterior motive to it.
By mid 2014 my trust issues had really taken over… I’m sure anybody who knows anything of me knows of my incredibly public feud with Southside promoter Ben Auld… but what a lot may not know of have forgotten is that myself and Ben used to be really good friends, in fact, I worked for Southside for a number of years and would often hang out with Ben/give him a place to stay when he was up in Nottingham postering. The issues in my own mind were even causing me to question these kinds of friendships, Ben was still friendly with the person who had the affair with my fiance and with the rest of the group etc and I would find myself agonising over everything I saw online, any ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on a status, any form of interaction that would be had between someone I percieved to be ‘on my side’ and the camp in which ‘the enemy’ was in… social media is one of the worst inventions for a person who is suffering with depression to be on as it can drive you insane. As I said at the start, this isn’t a witch hunt and I am not about to start going over old issues and plenty has been said/done by both myself and Ben over the years to the other that shouldn’t have been… ultimately, at that time, I pushed people so hard to feel like I had their support that all I was really doing was pushing them away… and I knew what I was doing… I wanted the support, but at the same time, I didn’t… I wanted to be left alone because I felt that I was the only person that I could trust. This behaviour causes you to push away anyone who could help and it’s what ultimately leads you to feeling totally isolated.
Step Three into Depression : Cyber Bullying and the effects on your mental state
As I write this, it is the evening before what I have set in my mind as being a ‘final on screen appearance’ of Harvey Dale. Tomorrow evening in Mansfield, my character faces Liam Morley (Jack Cave) for the ‘ownership’ of HOPE Wrestling and ‘win’ or ‘lose’ my character will be taking a hiatus from the public spotlight. Liam is a good man, he has already put his heart and soul into what he believes in and at the moment, I am of no use to him or to anybody else. I’m not going to start going into details of the last few years but slowly I have let it break me down… from someone who used to be confident enough to try and fight other people’s battles for them… to this… the empty shell of a man who 9 days out of 10 is too scared to get out of bed. Let’s call it a ‘miscommunication’ a few weeks ago caused even Liam to question me, to question my commitment and my actions and it seems my attempts to try and seek help, checking myself into hospital care actually did more damage than they did good… I did come out of that short stint feeling slightly better, but what had transpired in my abscence, catching up on the social media insults and bad mouthing again caused me to spiral downwards. Let me just be clear here, I am NOT for one second suggesting Liam did or said anything out of order or untoward, the sadness I speak of was caused by the comments I saw from others, people I thought were friends, fans and workers alike… when you can no longer do something for someone, you will be amazed at how quickly your name becomes either forgotten or just becomes a target for cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is something I have had to live with for years, fake profiles either of myself or with no names, often leaving a trail suggesting that it’s me behind them, saying contraversial things that aren’t a million miles away from the kinds of things I have said in the past etc… but the last few months, this has been at a completely new level… messages and emails sent to my own family members, to the mother of my 13 year old daughter, to friends of mine from past lives and the one that really took the award for most distasteful piece of cyber bullying ever… a death hoax with a fake profile claiming to be my ‘mother’ saying that I had been found dead which spread like wildfire across the internet. I have since had the police and do an I.P. search on the origin of the email sent to my daughters mother and I have a fair idea of who it was now, but there isn’t an ounce of fight left in me to battle with anyone any more. As someone who has attempted to take their own life before and has at least 10 passing thoughts of death on a daily basis, this is the kind of hoax that was completely believable to anyone who knows me best. Cyber bullying can cause so much upset and so much hurt to so many people… but it’s a crime that more often than not will go unpusnished and undetected as people can say what they like on the internet. Last year an accusation was made against me that was spread around a hell of a lot… you can accuse someone of anything you like on the internet and mindless idiots will just happilly share away… it didn’t matter to any of these people sharing it that the accusation was completely untrue… but was there anything I could do about it? No… once it’s been said, it’s there for everyone to use and abuse how they see fit.
Step Four : How Are You Feeling? The question everyone asks but never wants to hear the real answer to.
Don’t get me wrong… I appreciate anyone’s kind words or those who take time out of their day in order to show compassion or ask how I am… but there is one thing that 99% of these people have in common and that is that they just do not understand how to deal with the answer that they may be given. No one who hasn’t suffered with depression will ever be able to deal with or know how to respond should someone actually give them the true answer of how they are feeling, this is what leads people who suffer from depression to always give the ‘go to’ answer… ‘Im Fine’ when in reality, we are far from fine…
Someone telling you the way they are feeling, which could range from ‘anxious/lost’ to ‘suicidal most of the time’ also doesn’t mean they are going to go and throw themselves under a bus within the next few minutes… for me, I have answered this question honestly to people before and had them call the police on me saying that they fear for my safety… which speaking from personal experience is the very worst thing that anyone could ever do as all that does is highlight you as a risk to anyone around you, it worries your family even further and causes you to feel that there is no way of being honest to anyone about your problems any more… I don’t know what the answer is… but for me… it’s not that.
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park is a great example, for anyone who has seen the video of him from the day before he took his own life… often people with depression are capable of putting on the brave face and acting completely normally around anyone… this illness allows you to behave in some incredibly strange ways.
I have found that the majority of people tend to avoid me entirely now… maybe because they don’t want to or don’t know how to deal with the answer to the question and they simply don’t understand what i’m going through… or maybe it’s as simple as ‘Dale isn’t the one booking HOPE at the moment so he can’t do anything to benefit me…’ – in all honesty, I don’t know. Most wrestlers are only ever in touch when you can benefit them and it will never matter how much you have done for someone else over the years, paying them when they are injured so that they don’t go short, raising money for them at their time of need, putting yourself out to help them, or cracking onto/sleeping with the person you are in love with… loyalty in wrestling is never returned and I learned that the hard way on many an occassion… but please don’t think this is now some kind of ‘woe is me’ essay as it isn’t… I am no victim, I have done my fair share of lashing out, of criticizing people I barely knew on the internet and causing them distress… and for that I am sorry. I don’t consider my actions to have always been good but I’d like to think that I was there for people when they needed someone… so maybe I have balanced out the good and the bad over the years.
I have often sacrificed my own well being for the sake of others, leaving myself totally broke, homeless and lost… we gave Mansfield, Tyler Bate last month and a show that cost us more to put on than we could ever hope of making back in a venue that size, leaving me with no way of buying food or even getting myself a hotel or something for the night once that week… and what was the main feedback I read..? ‘I’m disappointed Trent Seven wasn’t the mystery partner’ before the lady in question went on to say in her review how we had mislead people with our advertising into thinking Trent would be there… (I will point out that at NO POINT was a single ticket sold or did we suggest that Trent Seven was the mystery partner at all… the only insinuation came by way of a pardoy of Trent prior to the match starting) but I just thought to myself… how much can I truly give to a business where I have already given my money and my health..?
Step Five into Depression : Feeling Unsafe
Someone suffering in the way I do will often speak of feeling ‘unsafe’ which to a regular person will sound insane so let me try and breakdown what I mean by that… obviously I can’t speak for anyone else as I am sure that everyone’s experience is different but for me, this feeling unsafe is more about the following.
I am scared whenever my phone rings or sounds… not scared because I think it’s going to be someone I don’t want to hear from or someone cyber bullying etc… but unsafe because it feels like someone is trying to come into my world and that to me means they could be bringing anything, they could be bringing lies, mistrust or more rumours or they could want to see me, meaning that I would have to make up some excuse myself or lie about being busy so that I don’t have to see them etc.
I am scared whenever a door knocks or there is a loud noise somewhere near me, pretty much for the same reasons as above but worse because you know that this means the person is close to you, rather than on the end of a phone.
I am scared to sleep… I suffer from crippling night terrors, meaning that I am too scared to go to sleep and when I do eventually pass out from exhaustion, they tend to come thick and fast, leaving me vulnerable and alone. I will wake up screaming and sweating and then obviously there is no chance of going back to sleep.
A safe place to me, doesn’t mean somewhere physical necessarilly… it means there is no safe place in my own head where I can go to switch off… I can’t stop thinking about a few current incidents in my life or about the past and in not sleeping you are left alone with your own thoughts 24 hours a day with no escape. I have used many methods of trying to escape over the years, from prescription pills to alcohol and cocaine, I was very publicly bullied by a former WOS wrestler whom I met not so long ago when working on a show as a commentator, i’d not slept in days leading up to the show and had been caring for a family member who was in serious ill health. I’d spent the night before contemplating taking my own life and was in a bad way… but i’d like to think that I did my job well and the feedback I had received certainly suggested so. Upon finding out I was drinking and relying on drugs to get me through, this guy went to town on me online… I’m sure i’m not the only person suffering from depression who has found themselves an outlet to try and function normally, i’ve never hurt anyone with my methods of survival and if people were more understanding to the struggles of others before damming their actions then maybe more people would feel they could openly speak about their mental health, instead, this exchange and incident just caused me to shut off from the world further and believe that no one would understand what I was going through.
Step Six into Depression : A Feeling Of Acceptance
In my life I have reached the part of the story where I have lost all feeling, I no longer have empathy for anything or seem able to care about myself or anyone else. I used to question what was more selfish… asking someone who is pain on a daily basis to stay in that pain so that they don’t cause upset to others… or a person ended their own suffering knowing that they are leaving behind people who care and will be upset… these days I think I lean more towards feeling that everyone needs to do what is right for them.
My story is one that is now beyond seeking help or wanting to ‘get better’ but what I would like to do is see this article being shared around and raising the awareness of a subject that is still thought of as too ‘taboo’ to speak about. I am just waiting for the day that my pain ends and I don’t have to feel this way anymore.
If you see someone suffering and you genuinely want to help them then do it… don’t be the person who asks them if they are ok then accepts the answer of ‘im fine’ because I am telling you that they aren’t…
THINK before you pass on a rumour about somebody of the effect it may have on them or their family in the long run and if you believe there is the remotest chance of it hurting them… don’t share it.
All in all… learn to be kinder to each other because the world that we are in is horrible enough already but most of all… the message I would like to leave is…
TALK ABOUT DEPRESSION – IT’S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.
(15th March 2018)