So today marks a year since my story came out. Today marks a year since I was sectioned. I feel empowered and able to talk about it all more freely. I’m past the stigma of not feeling strong enough to talk about it because I am male.

It happened so long ago that the age I fell it happened is very rough. I was approximately 11 years old when the sexual abuse happened. At that age I didn’t see what was wrong with being told to keep it a secret. It happened a few times but eventually he moved away with my aunt. It wasn’t for a few years until I realised that it was wrong and then I felt like I couldn’t talk because I feared I would be bullied for it.

At the age of 14 I was an awful child. I had anger issues and my parents truly had to deal with a terrible teen. I’m unsure to this day if this was due to the abuse or whether I just was a difficult teenager. My dad dealt with most the backlash as he was not my biological father and I through this in his face all the time. Yet today I realise even though is not blood, he is my dad and has supported me all my life and installed the principles in which I live by.

That was not a day where I didn’t think about what that man did to me. I felt trapped and unable to tell anyone. I started mixing with the wrong people, was drinking and smoking cannabis. I was being excluded from school for fighting, I never started the fights I was just always standing up for myself. I think this was as I couldn’t stand up for myself when he did those things. When I was in my last year of school I started to see some sense and realised that I needed to do something with my life so joined the British Army…..but I still wasn’t ready to tell people what had happened.

The Army was not successful as I was medically discharged for having Poland Syndrome (research it) after suffering an injury to my ribs playing rugby. I had fucked up my last years of school as I didn’t feel I needed qualifications. So, I was gutted and lost when I came home.

The next 12 years of my life, I bounced from job to job. Travelling a bit. But never staying in one place for too long. I bounced from relationship to relationship. Not being able to build trust with anyone and always resulting in me breaking the trust first. I just didn’t want to be the one being hurt. I feared being hurt again. I was self-destructive. My last couple of relationships I brought 3 beautiful children into the world. My eldest child I cheated on his mum and she cheated on me. We realised our relationship wasn’t right and now have a good friendship for the sake of our son.

But when it all came out, I was in my most previous relationship. And this is when the red flags started to come up. I have issues with trust. He broke my trust all those years ago. I just can’t trust. I become destructive and break trust constantly. I cheated on her a total of 6 times over the course of 4 years. We were bitter and vile towards each other and should never have brought children into the world. However, I do not regret my children as they are now all my world. It was during the breakup my life would change. I realised what I had done and attempted to take my own life I took an overdose and it just made me very sick. She played with my head and lead me on sleeping with me during the breakup whilst starting another relationship with her manager. This was making my trust issues worse. I was breaking and down. I felt lost and unable to cope. She would call me every day and ask to see me…. but then would leave to see her new man.

I can remember the day it all came out. I broke down talking to my mum. She could sense something wasn’t right and said she has sensed something for years. I just told her. I told her what he did to me. I told her how long I’ve lived with it. Looking at her in the face it was like a lightbulb had been switched on. All the unexplainable behaviours had a reason.

That night I was working delivering takeaways. My mind was overloaded, I felt dirty and I felt ashamed. I took myself to a car park hidden from the main road. I took an overdose on anything could get my hands on. My phone wouldn’t stop ringing. My mums sixth sense had picked up that something was wrong. My ex was calling me. Mum had obviously spoken to her. I felt sleepy. My ex had text to ask where I was, and I ignored it. She wouldn’t stop texting. “just tell me where you are, I won’t tell anyone”. I told her. About 20mins later there is a car pulling up to mine. It’s my mums. Mums crying, she climbs into my passenger seat and cuddles me. “What are you doing Leon”. she phoned an ambulance but there was a delay. I was slipping in and out of consciousness from here it’s all a bit of a blur, but my mum told me that the ambulance was taking too long so she moved me to her car…..I’m 6ft5 and 24 stone. She struggled but got me there. Next thing I can remember I’m waking up in a side room on my own. I have ad rip in. My mums there but looking very tired.

My mum left me to go home for a bit but returned the next morning, I was a smoker and was unable to leave the ward unaccompanied, so she had to come to take me for a fag. The mental health team were moving me to a psychiatric hospital under section but there were no beds. I stayed at the hospital for a week before they moved me to St. Michaels in Warwick. It’s not a nice place to be and I felt a burden as everyone else had severe mental health issues and I felt like I did not. I spent a couple of days here and was referred to ROSA for counselling. This was not the end of my journey, Only the beginning. But I am leaving it there 😊 all I can say now is that it’s a year on and I have a beautiful girlfriend who knows everything and understands me. She is my rock and my world. I’m not going to ruin this one.

All I want to say is to all the men out there reading this that have not been able to open up. Don’t fall to the stigma. We can’t change what happens but can change the way it impacts our life. Don’t live with the pain. TALK.

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