"The first time I called Samaritans, I was having an extremely difficult time in my first job. I had moved away from home and was proud of my independence; I worked hard and kept myself to myself. Sadly though, a man at work started sexually harassing me, which brought on a huge sense of misplaced guilt. Unaware that I was dealing with other internal battles from my childhood, I was destroyed by what was happening. I was confused because the way I felt was so profound and I didn’t know who to turn to. I took an overdose as a result of the painful feelings I was experiencing.
"Despite being convinced that suicide was the answer, thankfully I made the decision to call Samaritans. It turned out to be the first of many times they would save my life."
When she was discharged from hospital, Deborah used Samaritans frequently. She found that it helped her cope with feelings of isolation. For Deborah, knowing that there was always somebody at the end of the phone ready to give her the time and space to talk when things got tough, made her feel safe.
Sadly, a few years later, aged just 27, her life took another difficult turn. Her mother had become seriously ill and she was asked to move home to be a full-time carer. Just over a year later her mother died – by which point, Deborah was struggling to cope with the way she was feeling.
"I was told that I had a nervous breakdown. I just remember being numb and very, very scared. I didn’t feel safe when I was on my own; I felt trapped in an extremely dark place. I was in hospital for 18 months before I was well enough to get back to my old life."
Deborah describes how tough it was to readjust after leaving hospital: "I honestly felt so much safer in a hospital environment. I couldn’t sleep; I didn’t dare leave the house. I just felt totally alone. This is when I got in touch with Samaritans again.
That’s the thing about Samaritans, when all GPs surgeries are shut, if you can’t access therapy in good time, they are there. You really do not need to feel alone.
Samaritans helped Deborah to break her problems down. She now passionately believes that there is a rich life out there for everyone, provided they have the tools to deal with life’s challenges.
"By the time you are thinking of taking your own life, you have forgotten that you are more than able to work your way through your problems. Samaritans know that you are the expert in your life and that with the time and space to talk, you can break your problems down.
"I now apply this coping technique to my day to day life, which makes me feel more able to tackle things that are getting me down and depressed. I would say to anyone going through something similar: don’t wait until you are feeling suicidal to ask for help. You can call Samaritans about anything that is upsetting you."