Case study: James*, 58, Scotland

*name has been changed

“My partner was seeing people behind my back and when we split I had to fight a long, hard custody battle for my daughter. My ex had a good knowledge of the law and knew how to play the game. Seven occasions she should’ve been at court for me to get access to my daughter, seven occasions she never appeared. There was nothing that could be done about it.

It was just never ending, it was like going round in a circle and I couldn’t see a way out of it
 

“Meanwhile time goes by and I felt the lowest of the low ever in my life. During those 3 years it was just never ending, it was like going round in a circle for me and I couldn’t see a way out of it. And that was the time I thought about suicide.

“She had the best legal experts and every lawyer I saw told me I had a tough battle on my hands. Even when the court order went through and I was supposed to see my daughter, she would drive away with her – it was soul-destroying. There was literally no help for me.

“During that time, those were the blackest days of my life. I didn’t want to burden my family with how I was feeling. There were times that I sat and went over it and over it and over it in my head. Everything I tried there seemed to be an obstacle put in my way. Every time a door was opened, another two would close.

“At times I thought it would be better not to be here and it would be a lot better for everybody else if I wasn’t here. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and went from being an outward person, playing football and training, to staying in the house and just watching the telly. Then to make matters worse my mother died. It seemed to consume me.

I’ve come through it, and I know it was a dark journey to begin with, but it’s a different one now
 

“Once I’d got access to my daughter, it took me about 6 or 7 years to get back to being able to feel myself again. I began to notice a bigger gap appearing between these negative thoughts. I’ve met someone else and I’m enjoying the time I have with my daughter. I’ve come through it, and I know it was a dark journey to begin with, but it’s a different one now.”