A FATHER-OF-TWO left to die in a ditch after a brutal beating has opened up about turning his life around after being pushed to of taking his own life.
Carl Crowley from Hull, East Yorkshire, says losing his 17-year marriage and business was the starting point for his mental health woes five years ago.
"I felt like I had nobody but truth be told that was all in my head. I never opened up because I felt people would see me as weaker as a man," Mr Crowley told The Sun.
"When I look back I am a bit disappointed that I didn't admit I was hurting. I thought as a man I could just deal with it."
But in 2019, the father-of-two's tough times worsened after he was viciously attacked one night by three random men he caught trying to break into his van.
No one was ever caught was ever caught for the crime. He had been inside his home when he heard a group of men outside. When he went out to ask them what they were doing, they attacked him.
The traumatic event kickstarted the lowest point of Mr Crowley's life, suffering "massive depression” as a result.
He said: "Because I grew up without a dad, I always had a knack for burying my issues."
He says he was abandoned extended family members and felt neglected throughout different instances of his life.
'I FELL APART'
Mr Crowley says his life has been tainted by events that have had a detrimental impact to his own mental health. His mother tried to take her own life, and he was the one to find her after she overdosed. He also found his grandfather deceased and has struggled to process it.
"That messed with me for a long time," he said.
While sorting out his divorce and fighting for his kids in court, he turned to alcohol and became dependent on drinking so he could get to sleep at night.
“I was struggling. I hated myself. I pushed people away. I failed myself and I knew from past experiences that I can’t go down the old route as next time my attempt on my own life might leave my kids without a father. So I fell apart," he said.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
Mr Crowley began to see taking his life as an option for dealing with his pain and made attempts at his own life when things got too much.
CHOOSING TO FIGHT
Aware that his life was quickly going in the wrong direction, he sought help – the best decision he says he could have made.
Mr Crowley got in touch with counselling service Relate, in Hull, and was given 38 free sessions. He also gave up drinking and signed up for a psychology course.
But the biggest difference to his state of mind came from running.
He said: “The person you see now is the person I should have been years ago.”
Today he stands grateful that each attempt was unsuccessful, admits the clarity he’s found through hindsight, although motivating now, wasn't there to help him in while dealing with his struggles.
He acknowledges it can be tough to see a way through, and says sometimes even when you do, little set backs can feel huge but urges others struggling to find their purpose to persevere.
Mr Crowley has lost 4 stone, and hasn't drank alcohol for more than a year.
My past has made me who I am
He says he’s super proud of his efforts and determined, now participating in fundraisers by running to raise money and give back to the counselling services that helped him.
Since recovering, he’s been raising awareness and money for the counselling organisations that helped him, including more than £2740 for Andy’s Man Club for running over 9 hours from York to Hull over 45 miles, and completed 42 miles last Saturday, raising another £700 for the service.
Now an inspiration for his two kids, he wants others to know that even through the darkest times, there is a way to happiness.
"I want to help people overcome self-hatred and discover their value."
He's also created a TikTok account to try and motivate others to get on the right path. It's proving a hit, with more than 200,000 subscribers and amassing over 2 million likes on his posts.
Acknowledging his experience has been far from perfect, he says he’s moving forward stronger because of his experiences.
"My past has made me who I am."
Carl’s top tips for stronger mental health:
- Block any form of negative or toxic people including negativity on social media
- Identify people who use you but aren’t there to support you or your needs
- Set new goals
- Set out ways to complete that list
- Strive for contentment because that leads to happiness
- Know life will test you, but believe that failures are just tests – if you can learn from them you pass the test
- Believe in yourself because when all is said and done, you are on your own in your mind
- Only value opinions from people you value
Contact the Samaritans
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact The Samaritans on 116 123.
They are available for free at anytime.
Or email https://www.samaritans.org/
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