Meet Darryl Holdnall - a Just Bottle customer who's road tripping around the UK to raise funds for mental health awareness through his own survival story
Darryl's on a UK road trip that includes climbing Ben Nevis- he's raising money through JustGiving (links at the bottom). Here's Darryl's survival story:
"In October 2020 I was contemplating suicide. I felt I'd lost everything I had worked so hard for and wrongly believed I was a waste of time and that the world and my teenage boys would be better off without me. I thought I was a failure because I could no longer cope with what life had thrown in my path.Life's challenges come in all shapes and sizes. With the right support and love you can sometimes ride a storm or two but when you're alone in this world it's hard. I was very alone, felt unloved and I was a burden to others. The sheer weight of stress became impossible to manage by myself and I was too proud and embarrassed to ask for help.I'm not looking for sympathy to be honest but perhaps it's worth describing key challenges that I've faced over the years. Maybe you can relate to these yourself or a close friend or family member might be going through similar events"
"* My parents divorced when I was 11. My mother left the family home and my father struggled with his own mental health looking after 3 children and working FT.
* From the age of 14 I was bullied at school but never told anyone. This affected my confidence and self esteem. I became withdrawn and frightened to go outside when the bell rang.
* I worked hard to get to University and fell in love with hospitality. But I moved house 27 times as I worked my way around the country fulfilling my ambitions and to the position of GM.
* My son had kidney failure at 2 years of age and has struggled with his health ever since.
* I was married twice, but regretfully both wives left me for others...maybe I worked too much and failed to spend enough time at home? As a result I had to leave the family home and could no longer live with my children. Another man moved into my house and I felt inadequate.
* At one point I got performance managed out of a challenging job which I found difficult. Rejection rearing it's ugly head again.
* I got made redundant twice and struggled to keep up with huge maintenance payments while I rented my own one bed flat. The children's home was about to be repossessed due to mortgage areas. All my hard work to build a life had been in vain.
* Unsurprisingly I eventually lost my job due to the pressures and stress of these life events. I hid my struggles to maintain my dignity and entered mental health services in three counties over several years. Mostly dealing with my crises alone.
* As things slipped further I lost my flat and all its contents. As I couldn't work I lost my luxury car but more importantly I was loosing my mind. I also rejected my new relationships to prevent others from having to deal with my depression and the impending financial car-crash.
* I struggled and battled to survive but got into massive debt trying to keep afloat. I was advised to enter into an IVA to ease the impossible burden and lost my high excellent credit rating as a result.
* During this period I lost my father and ended up homeless, penniless, has to ask for government support with housing and benefits (despite paying 40% income tax much of my life but I still felt I didn't deserve the help). I was about to sleep on the street for the first time in my life, fortunately I ended up in a Christian charity bedsit,. Is it any wonder I couldn't face my friends, family, children or colleagues and I decided I'd had enough of life !!!!!!
* In October I felt there were no more reserves in the brain tank. I'd lost my heart, drive and desire to continue. On my 49th Birthday I drove 500 miles to Scotland and planned to take my own life.
* In November I was reported as a missing person and was eventually found by Police and taken to hospital. That was the start of my recovery."
"I was embarrassed and ashamed of my situation and wrongly blamed myself for everything that had gone badly in my life. I've been involved in hospitality for more than 35 years and had much success as a General Manager of some pretty impressive hotels. I've made lots of friends along the way and also helped many team members grow and achieve their own personal goals.I'd earned my success the hard way, working on a milk round from the age of 11 then washing up in kitchens in pubs and restaurants. This was my first real introduction to hospitality. In 1992 I went on to University and studied business and hotel Management.After study and like many others entering the world of employment, I was excited and youthful and eager to impress and be the best I could be.Like most in our Industry, I worked some pretty crazy hours. Pretty quickly I learnt to say yes to everything. That's what people with perfectionism and please people traits do. Whether it was guests, my team or colleagues and friends... I learnt to put everyone else's needs and demands above my own. I never really mattered. I loved making others happy.Unfortunately I also failed to look after my own mental health along the way and I didn't realise the tole my lifestyle was taking on my health until it was too late.Even worse than everything that had gone before.. holed up in that lonely hotel room back in October, I was about to say goodbye to my two beautiful boys because I couldn't cope with my circumstances anymore. The details of my catastrophic fall were horrific but I'm happy to share my experience if it helps just one person realise you can regain your life or enjoy a new way of life with new goals and ambitions. There are people who care if you can open up and talk. #itsoknottobeok #calm #mind.Luckily in November 2020, I was found by two kind Police officers. I'd been hiding away for three weeks and had been reported as vulnerable and missing. I was planning my exit.. it was just taking time.Luckily I had the support of my family and a very close friend and I'm pleased to say I'm now on the up and have an exciting future ahead for me and my kids.I'm focused on my well-being and am no longer planning to take my own life. I've got so much to live for and my boys need their dad. Hospitality is my life but it won't take my life. Life's not a dress rehearsal, you get one shot to be happy #makeitcount.During my illness a charity called Hospitality Action came to my aid with a grant to help me pay some debts I had racked up as I struggled to cope financially. This was a lifeline and was one of the kind things that happened to me on my journey. I feel I need to give back so they can continue to help the next person who finds things just too much. As such I'm asking you to please give a small amount if you can for my walk. (I'm really not so fit after my difficult 18 months and decided to set myself a big goal and real target, hence The BIG BEN challenge).Ben Nevis is if course the UK's highest mountain and I'm celebrating turning 50 and the fact I'm alive and starting to live my best life here on the West Coast of Scotland by climbing it in Friday 3rd September 2021.I promise to do my best and get to the top...pictures to follow. Big thanks to Kelie, Jane, Rachael & Janice for giving me a 2nd chance at life.To all my friends and colleagues....Please #BE kind and look after yourself people, love Darryl xx"
"Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity."
Please head to Darryls JustGiving pages if you would like to make a contribution