Neil Smith's story

Forty nine year old Neil is a Policy Manager from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. Neil called Samaritans when he was going through marital difficulties and was also experiencing workplace stress. Neil talks about his experiences of using Samaritans’ service.

“I called Samaritans some year ago when I was working as a consultant, my job meant long hours and lots of travel; the culture was punitive.  I was also very unhappy in my marriage.  I felt increasingly desperate – trapped, exhausted, depressed, friendless. 

“I can’t remember how I first heard about Samaritans, I think I‘d always known they were there, but never really thought I would need to use the service myself. When things got really bad, Samaritans came into my mind and I looked the number up.

“I felt really alone, I had nobody to talk to about what I was going through – I had few friends and I needed someone to speak to someone in confidence that wasn’t going to judge me.  It was hard making that call to Samaritans – I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time or feel foolish.  I wasn’t feeling suicidal so should I really call? At that point, I wasn’t 100% sure if Samaritans was for people like me, I wondered if I would be better just taking off to escape the pressure.

“When I made that call, I was feeling really desperate – it was the lowest point of my life.  I wasn’t able to work, I was eating maybe once every two days, I was really struggling.

“Once I’d spoken to Samaritans I felt empowered – the volunteer helped me work through my problems, so that I could deal which each one separately, so I felt less overwhelmed.  I was able to face my problems and do something about them, rather than just feeling terrible.  Life was still challenging, and I called Samaritans again some weeks after the first call, but I coped, and I found a way forward.

“If I’d not called Samaritans, life would be very different. I needed to make big changes to my life and the first step was talking to Samaritans.  Since speaking to them, I’ve learnt how to  deal with my problems a bit better, but it all started with that call.”

Neil is taking part in this year’s RideLondon, raising vital funds so Samaritans can answer more calls from people like him.

You can help Neil achieve his fundraising target by visiting his fundraising page at: https://www.justgiving.com/Neil-Smith52