Daryll Dixon has been part of Worthing Samaritans since 2020, after hearing our advert on the radio. He tells his compelling story:
An abusive childhood
Growing up I was abandoned by the violent alcoholic that I believed was my biological father. At about age 12 I was adopted by a man who told me the truth about that guy not being my biological father, only because he thought I might find out in court. I cannot even explain what finding out something like that does to a person, let alone a kid just starting puberty. My whole life was a lie and I was the only person that didn’t know. My identity had been pulled from under my feet, everyone around me and the whole world was completely changed, but I never had an explanation and it was never spoken about. That was the moment my brain rewired itself and my emotions shut off. Once adopted (‘legally owned’ as he used to put it), he decided he didn’t like me anymore and wished he never adopted me as I was “a waste of space.”
At 16, I found myself homeless with no one to turn to, which resulted in me getting into all sorts of trouble, misusing alcohol and substances to cope. I always thought I never suffered with mental health problems because I was a strong man and ‘having mental health problems was weak’, but I had suffered for many years with severe anxiety and many other problems. So I can fully empathize with people who feel worthless, have no one to talk to and who have experienced horrible things in life, and I want to give something back by helping them.
I had my daughter at 20 and that’s when I knew my identity. I was born to be a dad, but not everyone is that lucky. She is eighteen now and happy and living her best life, planning to go to university in September and I could not be prouder of her.
How did you find out about Samaritans?
I heard the advert on the radio and at the time I was receiving counselling for the first time in my life. The counselling really opened my mind to how important talking can be and how much it can relieve mental health symptoms. I had a lot of baggage in my head which I had bottled up all my life and I never had anyone to talk to about anything.
I am now studying towards a psychology and counselling degree with the open university, that’s how much of a difference counselling made to me.
What do you like the best about volunteering?
One thing that stood out the most for me from day one of training was the family feel and the support that you, as a volunteer, get from other Samaritans. It is second to none. I know that I have someone I can call at any time about anything, and that’s what I love.
What makes you feel proud about the role you hold?
Helping to prevent as many suicides as possible, by being there when people need it the most. Especially when a caller lets you know at the end of a call how much it has helped and that you have stopped them wanting to take their life.
What would be your advice to other people thinking about being trained for Samaritans volunteering?
Go for it - you will not regret it.