Darren’s story- Sharing experiences of gambling harms two years on: Self Management Champion Award nominee 2022
“I just wanted to offer peer support to people struggling. Because I knew it was something I could have used at the time”
“I think it’s important to be in the right mindset first before reaching out to help others. But there also needs to be more understanding and appreciation for people that are sharing their story. They can be vulnerable too.
I’ve got a lot of time for anyone who is looking for help and support and reaches out to me. I like helping people in that way. Personally, if I had someone who understood gambling harm (maybe a similar age to me and I could’ve met up with them, chatted to them online) if I had had access to anyone like that, I probably would have done a lot better. So really it was quite simple. I just wanted to offer peer support to anyone that might need it. Because I knew it was something I could have used at the time. I went from feeling alone and keeping all that in, to suddenly opening the door. There’s so many other people that I had no idea were there. They were in a similar position as me and understood what I was going through too.
You’re fighting a really tough battle if you’re struggling and not reaching out, but it’s one of the hardest things to do. Many of these products are highly addictive and your mental health can be destroyed. Once you get that understanding, you get clarity and realise that you need some support. I would always recommend to everyone if you can, if it’s available, to get professional help. I only know what I know based on my own experience.
I’m not the kind of person who is into mindfulness. And I’m still not in many ways. But the difference is I’ve got a healthy respect for it because that’s really what changed my life. I tried meditation, I tried hypnosis, I tried mantras, I tried life coaching, the whole thing. But because I was ready and in the mental state where, you know, I was up for giving up gambling, or at least giving it a good go, it just clicked. It’s not something I do every day now, but I could always go back to if I needed to. I’ve got those tools in my arsenal if I need them.”
This story has been shared as a part of ALLIANCE Self Management Month, a series of events running throughout September.
Darren has been nominated for a Self Management Award. To join any of the free online events, please register using the link above.
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