I was born in the London Borough of Havering in 1963. It may help if I tell you that it’s a stone’s throw from the location filming of TOWIE. My father had his job transferred from the famous Ford’s Assembly plant at Dagenham to their Axle and Transmission plant in Swansea and that’s where I lived from 1966 to 1996. I was always a drifting, emotionally disparate child, given to my own company and a penchant for Hammer House of Horror movies. I didn’t make many friends at school and was easy pickings for a tobacco addiction that basically plagued me periodically, until 2005. This wasn’t the worst of it, as when I hit my teens I began experimenting with the Ouija board. At first it was fun to ask; “is there anyone there”. One day however we received an answer which I shan’t detail, but which is still terrifying to this day.
I began to suffer depression and was placed on medication from the Summer of 1981 onwards. I attended University in 1988 and gained a first degree; a BA with honours in History. During my final year I met someone and had a stormy relationship that lasted until the early summer of 1993, when she left me. My depression worsened and I began to hear voices urging me to kill myself; a clamour that grew so strong that one night I determined to do it, having set out from my parents’ house to the much more humble part of Swansea, where I lived. my journey took me past a Baptist church where I heard the evening hymns filtering like missionaries out of the vestibule. I crossed the road and the last chorus came to meet me. I hesitated to enter the worship arena itself as it appeared to be packed. While I stood there regarding everyone through glass frosted with faith and expectation, the Spirit of God spoke to me; the intimacy of which will remain private. The secretary of the church invited me to step inside as the tannoy took the preachers sermon to heart. I declined her offer, but resolved to return the week following. If the rest is History, then history brought rest
This wasn’t the end of my problems however as sickness refused to desist from my life and my depression increased, even when I left Swansea and got married in Chesterfield in the Summer of 1997. I’d already been sent to mental hospital once in South Wales and now four more referrals followed in frightening circumstances. The love of God and my redoubtably loyal wife kept me alive as I was ready to end it all on several occasions and actually consumed two bottles of sleeping tablets one night in 2005, forcing an emergency trip to the nearest A&E unit. My way out of this (so far as I’ve ever found an exit) is to write: therapeutically and creatively. I’ve now written several self-published collections of poetry on many subjects from religion to crime and diets to intoxicating drink.
I turned 50 this year and faith is occasionally difficult. I can only hope to keep believing as if I refuse to do so, I would be left with myself, just as I was in 1993….