On Friday 13th September 1991 when I was just 15 years old, my life changed irreversibly when my brother was tragically killed, along with four other children by a reckless drunk driver in the Akers Way horror crash in Swindon, UK.
Paula Barnes (15), Belinda Brown (19), Paul Carr (16), Sheree Lear (8), and Ian Lilley (7) were all playing on the grassed area off Akers Way when a drunk driver lost control of his car at high speed and crashed into the group of youngsters. The tragedy shook the community and provoked fury among local campaigners who had long been calling for a lower speed limit and other safety measures on the road.
I received no bereavement support or other help following my loss. This was due to my father’s decision that my sister and I would be okay, but instead, I chose to mask the trauma with alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
My mother and father divorced shortly after the tragedy and I was forced out of the family home and lost contact with my mother, father & sister.
I could not hold onto any relationship for long periods due to the fear of loss and rejection and as fast as I was gaining friends, jobs and relationships I was losing them.
During my early 30’s, things started to look up for me when I managed to hold down a job for long enough to buy a house.
I was doing well until I found cocaine, or cocaine found me and I soon became an addict. After a little under a year, I had lost everything, my house, my job, and my friends and my habit was costing me over £100 a day. I just couldn’t stop until one day I pushed it too far, with just enough money for one more high, the last high.
With a concoction of drugs and alcohol including Cocaine, Methadone, and legal highs, I vowed to take my own life. Something happened that day and I was saved, the concoction almost killed me, but something pulled me back, something saved me. I can’t say what it was but I was given another chance.
I contemplated taking my own life a further three times before I was diagnosed with mental health problems. After seeking help I have finally been able to turn my life around and now I’m dedicated to raising awareness of both mental illness and homelessness – after all who better than someone who has been there, right.
My story shows how I moved through the toughest challenges in life to become a successful coach, motivational speaker and philanthropist. My mission in life is to empower people to realise their full potential by having the confidence to be seen for their unique strengths, abilities and talents.
Mental Health | Workplace Wellbeing | Suicide First Aid | Tutor – Trainer – Speaker