Colin writes about confidence and what happens when you lose it.

I was living in Cheriton Bishop with my partner Ann and I was happy and content. I was also working in a Care Home for 12 years as a Teamleader which I found challenging, but it also made me feel good. I Iiked my job. I thought my life was sorted for the future and I was happy.

One day things changed. I arrived home from work at 10.20. I sat down in the kitchen to have a coffee as normal and wind down after a long shift. Ann, my partner, was sitting down next to me at the table. Ann seemed the same as always. But then she looked at me and said that she needed to talk about something. I still had no idea what she was going to say.

She then told me that she was not in love with me anymore but loved me like a brother. She also said that she had wanted to tell me five months earlier but had waited for the right time. She said that she had met someone else and I would have to move out. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it and didn’t see it coming. I felt like my whole life had come crashing down.

That night I slept in the spare room but didn’t sleep much because I felt sick with worry. The next day I telephoned work and said I was ill. When I went
in the following day I was unable to carry out my duties and I told them what had happened. I was told to go home.

But after a week of me not working I got a phone call from work telling me that they were going to dismiss me on the grounds of incapability. I was given one week’s notice. I did not contest this because I was too upset about Ann leaving me and my confidence and self esteem were shattered. I now had no partner and no employment and no money and nowhere to live.

Two days later I offered a place to stay with a friend but it was only for a week. I then moved to another place and slept on a sofa for another three weeks. By this time I was feeling suicidal and I saw a doctor who then arranged for Social Services to visit me with medication. I was very depressed and I actually felt I wanted to die and life didn’t matter anymore. I ran in front of a car and got run over but I wasn’t hurt at all.

Then I tried to run in front of a train. This was unsuccessful as members of railway staff caught me and stopped all the trains. I failed again. My self esteem was now even lower as I hadn’t even managed to kill myself.

I was admitted to The Cedars for my own safety. I was given different medication helping lift my mood and stop me from being suicidal. Then they helped me to get accommodation. I stayed in a hostel called Ashdown Lodge for about two years.

During that time I started to drink more. Six litres of white cider at 7.9% a day. But this made me more depressed. I thought it was an escape route but it wasn’t. After two years I really wanted to stop drinking but I knew had to get away from my drinking mates in order to give myself a chance to become dry. I thought the only way to do this was to make myself homeless. I told nobody and I just left.

I went to Torquay and started sleeping rough in car parks and the delivery area of shops. I found bales of cardboard which I made into a shelter which was warm. I was very lonely and this made my situation drink wise even worse. I had no friends or anyone to talk to and I was soon back to drinking 6 litres of white cider a day.

Having no one to talk to for support is one of the worst things that could happen to anyone .This on top of nowhere to live made it one of the lowest point in my life. I didn’t see any way out.

Looking back now, Ann leaving me was terrible, but if my confidence and self-esteem had been higher I think I would have handled the situation better.

Now my life has improved. I returned to Exeter and got picked up by the SHOT team. I was given a room in a shared house and I was very grateful. I then got professional help for my drinking and I now only drink four pints a week. I started going to The St David’s Soup Kitchen where I was able to talk to other people in my situation and it has now become a regular part of my week.

I finally started to feel better and my confidence and self-esteem improved. I have recently started going to courses to improve my computer skills and my literacy. I also hope to do some volunteeringwork.

I can now see a future.

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