After nearly 2 years gamble free, last night I gambled..... But it wasn't as we know it.
I've been struggling for years now with my health and to be fair, a lot of that has been caused by a poor mental health system where I never got the support I truly needed and had been fobbed off for years.
As life continued I experienced a lot of traumatic events I badly needed help to get through but as the services fobbed me off and refused to help, I was trapped and suffered bigtime to a point of being suicidal.
Things reached a peak where in the space of a year I went from having my own home to live in, to having a family move in next door that would cause me serious grief and shout abuse (police didn't want to know) to being forced out due to being so suicidal about the problems these neighbours caused me. Ending up back at an elderly relatives house who puts me through emotional abuse, to then having it where her sister came up and was concerned about the state of the house (the relative has a hoarding problem). Rather than her face facts and come clean, she took what she thought was the easy way out and blamed the mess on me. Her sister went bat**** at me and forced me out.... Causing me to become homeless.
I ended up at an old friends house where I've now remained for over 5 months. I'm so depressed here. Being what is without a home of my own for a good year now through mo fault of my own. Having suffered so much, to be here where all independence has gone (I don't drive and this house is in the middle of nowhere). My drinking has spiralled massively.
Anyway..... The gamble....
I reached boiling point of being here a few weeks ago now. Unable to take anymore I've been sinking so low. My friend is helping me look for a place of my own but it's taking so long. I wake up each day feeling suicidal.
Yesterday I'd had enough and turned to drink. I was actually planning on going into the countryside to end my life (needed some Dutch courage thus was drinking). I actually vanished once but with great strength came back.
The gamble was all down to just not giving a stuff anymore and wanting to harm myself as much as possible. It might sound crazy but this was without cravings and no buzz, it was simply to intentionally harm myself so I went through with an act of suicide.
I'm self excluded across the board but I do still get gambling spam texts (ones that day come and gamble with us at......with don't have GamStop). Of course from casinos at the lowest and rogue end of the barrel where if you lose you lose, if you win, they forfeit your balance.
I looked at the spam folder on my phone, and picked one to intentionally cause myself damage. Hitting spin until all was gone and I had wiped out over £500 on my credit card.
Ironically it was this deliberate attempt to force myself into a no going back attempt of suicide which prevented me doing so. By time I lost the £500, the alcohol had pretty much worn off and I was too tired to do anything apart from dive into bed.
Sure I feel low today but this 2 year non gambling streak might be over but not in the typical way.
Please gamcare and anyone else, don't tell me to open up to my doctor or services or phone the Samaritans. I've given 20 years of my life battling to get the NHS to understand. I was met with having it all played down, being fobbed off, being misdiagnosed, told I'm being silly. Even while in hospital after a suicide attempt I ended up seeing a team that seemed more bothered that at 3am they were woken up to have to drive almost 2 hours from Birmingham. The outcome was there's nothing wrong with me. I don't and won't ever engage with those services again after the pain they've caused.
As for the Samaritans, a good enough service if you want to talk and have someone "mmm" "yeah" "I see" "sorry to hear that" throughout the call but in my case, I need actions not a few words with a stranger.
I couldn't be lower in life. I've suffered to hell and back. I've lost my mum, my family (through deaths), I've got PTSD after a dog attack, my dogs with permanent spine injuries, I've had abuse, complex bereavement issues, I'm without a home of my own, I've got nothing to look forward to (legit, as said, no I dependence, trapped here) and now I've lost the 2 year gamble free streak in an attempt to put the ammo into the gun (not a real gun of course, just a figure of speech) for me to fire by killing myself.
Don't be to hard on yourself it's just a blip one relapse doesn't wipe out 2 years of not gambling I've just done a similar thing and it's a horrible feeling but we can't fall back into our bad ways I've hardly slept for 2 days but what's done is done dont look back it's gone learn from it and get your head down
Cheers Gazza. Sorry to hear about your slip too. You are so right there. It's done, we move forward and take each day as it comes.
The main thing getting me down is this mental health nature. Where I do need a bit more support in life but it's never available. It drives me into the ground and it's that suicidal thing which creeps back in. When in that frame of mind I'd happily trash all I own just to show "look, I don't care about life anymore".
Anyway, onto today. Having a skinfull at the pub to shake myself back to normal. Not even tempted by the fruities or anything. Then tomorrow it's back to normal with running my business.
Cheers mate. Yeah it's always been a complex one. I spent some 20 years begging the services for help and as sad as it is, unless you are totally off your head, hallucinating and a serious danger to members of the public then you are just branded as low risk/fine.
Ultimately just gotta battle on. Totally agree with the drinking but it's a means to and end sometimes. Today I feel I'd be still in the suicidal frame of mind and probably would act on it. The beer is taking that thought away though and helping me feel life isn't too bad. A good Chinese dinner later as well....bonus.
Dear @sam301 ,
Firstly, can I just say I am so sorry to hear you have been through such a tough time. It seems you have had a bad experience while trying to get support for your mental health issues and this needs addressing.
I know you specifically asked us not to suggest your GP and I can understand your reluctance to do so, but it really sounds like perhaps another call would be worthwhile. Ask to speak to a different doctor, or even change surgeries, you just might get the right person who can get you the help you deserve and need.
It sounds like you have many things going on for you now and it can be difficult to know where to start and which area to concentrate on first. I will email you some links that may help.
You mention that you have registered with Gamstop but still been receiving gambling offers. I would highly recommend Gamban. I will include this link in the email send. You can access it free of charge with the link.
You did well being gamble free for two years and what you have had is a blip. They are very common as you will see as many Forum users can verify.
If you're reluctant to call The Samaritans and you need to talk, please be aware our helpline and live chat are both available for 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We never judge. But we are here for you.
I will send your email and include as much information as I can that may benefit you.
Please take care and try and be kind to yourself.
All the very best
Thanks for the post. Firstly, I'm not mentally ill per se.
I only ever started to become suicidal because of the NHS. I have Asperger's, a non mental health problem. I went to the doctors to get help across 20 years (many surgeries, many doctors) and was fobbed off constantly. Therefore I started to lose hope and became suicidal.
As time went on, just like most people I had some bad times, yet having Asperger's, a problem the NHS dismissed and refused to give me help for, meant these hard times were especially hard to deal with.
Honestly speaking, I've been there, got the t-shirt for any avenue of help people can give me.
I don't need to talk on helplines (I need actions in life, not words). I don't and won't see the NHS again (I legitimately can't take that risk because the trust is so low that it can't be reversed), there's a significant risk, more than you could ever imagine that if I did go and ended up getting fobbed off, I'd be dead before lunch time.
With gambling, sure, years ago I did have a problem. However the gamble yesterday wasn't a blip. It was me in suicidal mode where I was so desperate to have the courage to kill myself that I intentionally tried destroying my life. I didn't gamble because I craved it, wanted the buzz or anything like that. I gambled so one of the only good things in my life (2 years gamble free) could be destroyed in the hope it pushes me to a no way back suicide. That was all it was. No cravings after, no nothing. In fact at the pub yesterday I had to sit at a table near fruit machines and just felt nothing.
Anyway. All links and things mentioned have been tried over the years. It's a case though of not needing words but needing actions.
Sure certain things would have worked for me at certain points in my life but either the service didn't exist at the time or in the case of the NHS, I was refused it for the wrong reasons.
One last thing regarding the texts. I do indeed still get them from rogue casinos but they don't bother me.
The fact is, when I was a gambler, the texts didn't bother me because the casinos advertised were the rogue ones that I knew would never pay out if I won anything. So it was of no interest. Since I got through my gambling problem, the texts mean even less. Like said though, the only reason I played at one of them the other night was because it didn't have GamStop which allowed me to register, so I could blow my money pushing me into a no return suicide.
It wasn't done to win money (as mentioned, the casino forfeits winnings), for a buzz, as a blip or any other reason apart from to ruin my 2 year gamble free period so I've got even less to live for and more reason to end my life the other evening.
It really sounds like you've been through a lot of rejection throughout your life and it has left you in a place where you feel unsupported. You have said you are not looking for words, you're looking for actions. What actions would you like from us to help you? What support are you looking for in the GamCare forum?
You have said you have tried all links and things mentioned. I just wondered if you had tried or considered any of these?
Offers autism-specific counselling.
Local practical and emotional support.
Directory of services including advocacy which could help you access other services.
I know you said the spam emails and texts aren't bothering you but they did enable you to gamble. If you would like to reduce the possibility of doing that again, you might find Gamban helpful as it blocks all gambling sites not just the ones covered by Gamstop. You can also find out how to reduce unwanted emails, texts and social media adverts, in this series of guides from the Gambling Commission:
Reducing gambling content on Twitter:
Reducing gambling content on Facebook:
As Keely said we have a helpline which is open 24/7 on 0808 8020 133 and also by livechat. As our service is gambling-specific we aim to offer the right balance of practical and emotional support to suit each individual. You may also find it helpful to access our treatment services. We offer self-study, 1:1 and group options.
I know you are reluctant to access NHS services again but if you are feeling suicidal again, please talk to someone who can keep you safe. Normally we would suggest calling 999 or going to A&E, but you could talk to whoever you are comfortable with.
And above all keep posting, keep communicating. There's a big community of people here who have personal experience of gambling and who are here to support you.
To be honest, I wanted to share what has happened. Overall though the thing that gets me with it is losing my 2 year gamble free streak, especially because of it being nothing more than wanting to end my life.
The thing is, just like GP's aren't very good with understanding gambling (typically they will say go to gamcare or GA rather than look at the underlying problems). I think gamcare don't necessarily understand mental health. Of course services have different specialist expert knowledge, like gamcare's top knowledge is with problem gambling.
Things with me had been a crossover of both. When I first started gambling almost 20 years ago, it was for the buzz and I developed a problem because of it. Yet as time went on, my own health problems (undiagnosed Aspergers) lead to misery in my own life the more I struggled. Combine that with bad events happening such as family deaths and I couldn't actually manage in life. I was then vulnerable to gambling as in low times I knew the buzz gambling provides and knew initially at least, it would prevent me being so miserable and lost.
I opened up to doctors over and over and over, yet I was misdiagnosed as having a very mild health problem (mild anxiety), which meant when hard times were experienced, I had no support and ultimately couldn't cope.
Back in 2019, I even posted here and said, I'm genuinely terrified of a crisis happening, because of no support in place which makes me become highly vulnerable to being suicidal, drinking and gambling as I can't deal with anymore. Then what happened? While taking my dog for a short walk he was savaged by another dog and the owner turned their back and walked away. I was bitten as well. I had nobody to call or ask for help even though I was in shock. I couldn't deal with the pain of seeing my dog like that (he has permanent spine damage now) and so.... after some 5 months gamble free, I started up again as a way to escape especially as I developed PTSD from it.
Basically, it was either be correctly diagnosed with Aspergers and have the relevant help and support based on my own circumstances or remove the ability to gamble full stop to enable me to have a long enough period of time away from it so it's no longer something I turn to. Again, doctors weren't forthcoming and so stopping the ability to gamble was the only way. I got a monzo bank account, saw Gamstop was available and registered, limited the amount of money I could take out of the bank, etc and as of December 2019, I stopped gambling altogether.
Ultimately my next plan would have been to move to an area where there is better support for people like myself with Aspergers. Problem..... I was in a housing association property, the only way for me to move was to go on Homeswapper (I tried it, total waste of time, notorious for timewasters), or to get a doctor to understand, see there's a medical need for a move and write a supporting letter. As mentioned, because doctors played it down, they saw no medical need for me to move and so did nothing.
I just had to carry on where I was and try to live a stable life. I struggled to get back into walking my dog due to the dog attack. I was alone, isolated and miserable but still, I tried to get on as best I could.
Then..... Neighbours from hell moved in next door. Just before they moved in, I was on disability benefits (strangely even though the NHS made out there's nothing wrong with me, benefit assessors saw I was unwell and unfit to work) and looking to find a way off them. I actually started my own business. Then the neighbours moved in next door causing me to suffer frequent abuse, being called sickening names, smoking drugs outside my house, putting cats mess outside my front door, parking in my driveway. There were often gangs of them loitering outside my front door. The police didn't want to know and neither did the housing association.
Anyway, what then happened was I no longer went outside at all. I became very suicidal and a concerned friend came down to see me (they live miles away) when I was at a total low point. They actually got in touch with a doctor and spoke on my behalf. Finally, the doctor agreed that mistakes had been made with misdiagnosis and it seemed that indeed I do have Aspergers. They put me on the list for a diagnosis.
Neighbours from hell trouble got worse and I couldn't deal with it anymore, so I moved in with an elderly relative. The kick in the teeth was that even though finally I was on the list for a diagnosis, I was removed from that doctors surgery because they said I'd moved away from the catchment area and therefore would no longer be in their care (great).
That's when the abuse from the relative started again, something I had got away from years ago and of course wrongly being blamed by her sister and forced out.
Finally... Onto the last 4 or 5 months, after leaving there.... Somehow with all these very difficult times I managed to come off disability benefits and grow my business previously. Currently I'm earning a significant amount of money. I have full access to bank accounts, I have several business credit cards. Yet I hadn't gambled a penny. I'm past being a gambler. Honestly.
I don't crave gambling, seeing gambling adverts online or on tv doesn't trigger me, sitting near fruit machines doesn't, walking past arcades and bookies doesn't either.
Although I am "homeless" I'm actually looking to buy a home because business is doing so well (something Shelter of course can't help with). The events of what happened previously with neighbours from hell, abuse off the elderly relative, her sister, combined with a tough few weeks where I just feel so lost and frustrated (this house buying is taking way longer than it should) lead me onto a path of feeling highly suicidal.
People may say the past is the past... but it really isn't. I'm here, without my own home, living under someone else's feet, my own possessions all in boxes, I don't get any space or freedom, plus they've got a very loud dog that regularly barks. The reason I'm here? Because of the elderly relative. The reason I had to endure the abuse from the elderly relative and her sister? Because of neighbours from hell. The reason I had to endure neighbours from hell? Because doctors didn't listen to me until it was too late for them to do anything.
Here's the thing though.... Even though I do have spells where I feel incredibly suicidal, I'm often a total coward and struggle to actually go through with it.
So as mentioned, this is where the other night came into play. This wasn't about losing/winning money (It was a relatively insignificant amount compared to my earnings through the business), this wasn't about having a buzz, it wasn't that I had suddenly given in to cravings but it was all to do with being in an extremely low way that I wanted to push myself a little bit further so I went ahead with suicide (by losing my 2 year gamble free streak). Ultimately as said, while I lost that money, time passed, I became extremely tired, too tired to actually go ahead with anything.
Now what moving forward?
I know it's pointless calling 999 or speaking to other support lines when it's like that. I was at a similar low back around January where I vanished. The police found me and I was taken to hospital to see a mental health team. They were utterly useless, playing everything I said down (as always) and nothing came from it at all. In fact the whole event was me being forced to wait in a hospital room for 2 hours for this team to turn up, for them to eventually turn up, speak with me for 20 minutes disregarding everything I said, then writing a report saying I'm at a low risk of suicide and my problems are very mild.
For me, the only way to move forward with life is when my own home is bought. I will be away from the past leading to where I am now.
Being completely honest here, I've got more to lose than I've ever had in my life. The business, a good amount of money behind me, buying a house (so I will have to do mortgage payments etc). If I was even remotely back to craving gambling or being back on that path like I was years ago, I'd be the first to put my hands up and seek as much intensive support as I possibly could.
To me, even though on paper I have lost my 2 year gamble free streak, it's also like I haven't. The whole reason for giving up gambling was to stop doing something for a buzz, where I then end up playing and playing until I lose everything, which means I'm in that cycle of endlessly chasing losses, not having long enough away from gambling to be able to let the losses go and stop completely. This time though.... No cravings, no buzz while doing it, just an intention while suicidal (and feeling I can't go on anymore) to ruin something positive in my life (the 2 year gamble free streak) so in the moment I had even less to live for to push myself over that edge or no return with suicide.
Probably it does help me posting stuff back up.
One problem I had when I was a total gambler was services never speak to each other. Just like many other people, my gambling started off as responsible fun. Doing it infrequently and sticking to a limit. It was knowing about this gambling buzz which meant that during especially low or hard times, I was prone to use gambling to try and ease the pain and difficulties of issues in my own life.
The problem then of course was because I was using it in this way, gambling was a thing I did for as long as possible as emotional pain relief. This meant I would lose more money than I could afford (as house always wins) and would be on the road to chasing my loses over and over.
I went for help. I tried to get to the bottom of everything but like I said, the services aren't connected. What I mean is, Gamcare might well be experts at gambling therapy, but for other issues like mental health, bereavement, Asperger's, etc, they aren't experts and so will point me to other services. Just like how bereavement services don't know much about problem gambling.
Although a lot of these issues were hugely connected (gambling because of grief or really miserable times), every service was completely independent of each other. I had to go to each service and explain my situation to try and get relevant support in that area.
If there's a "weak link" in one area, it makes tackling the other issues extremely difficult. In my case this "weak link" was NHS services who failed to listen, take me seriously and provide accurate and relevant support.
With a "weak link" it becomes very hard to improve. I.e someone gambling because of serious mental or physical health issues and not coping in life could well go through Gamcare recovery programmes. Yet if these health problems still remain, unsupported and they are still struggling in life, it's going to be very difficult in the long term to not fall back into gambling.
I found that to be my problem. Again, as services are independent of each other I kept being pushed from pillar to post. Gamcare would and have recently said to go to see a GP. A GP who I explained things to wouldn't understand the health problems being a gambling trigger (as they aren't specialists in gambling recovery) and would give me Gamcare leaflets. Autism society would just give me tips how to get a GP to listen. Bereavement services would also not understand the gambling or Asperger's and so would give me a Gamcare leaflet and give me contact details of Autism society.
You see what I mean? None of the services worked in sync.
As time went on being pushed from pillar to post, I developed more issues. At one point it was just a gambling problem and undiagnosed Asperger's. Then depression is added to the mix, then bereavement issues, then PTSD. The more problems developed means it's even harder to get the services needed to work in sync.
After years of research and trial and error methods, my gambling problem was never going to be resolved by being part of Gamcare and doing the therapy. Primarily because nobody else is me and nobody else can fully *** the pain and suffering I struggle going through. During a relapse people are taught to appreciate and be proud of what they achieved before the relapse and to see how it went wrong so they can learn from it. In my case, what was there to learn from a relapse done at a point where I'm so miserable, in tears and having a crisis point with no support? I can't force the services to help me the next time it happens.
As I said, my "cure" was either have the right support with the serious issues in my life such as Asperger's or I needed to remove the ability to gamble altogether. Unfortunately that support never came but thankfully technology came about (Monzo, GamStop) to remove the ability to gamble.
Some might say "well you gambled the other night" but that was different. Of course no matter how protected we are, some of the actual rogue unregulated casinos can still be played at, but... You know there is no winning. If you lose you lose. If you win, they void your winnings.
Without that chance to actually win, there's no buzz and no back on the wagon.
Through running my business I do have access to a fair amount of cash at all times. Prior to that I had next to no access to money but as time went on and I recovered, gambling was a thing of the last entirely and for good. Now though, I have no choice but to have access to a fair amount of cash to buy business stock and I'm also in charge of money an investor has put in. I could more than easily take a large wad of notes to the bookies (remember, I'm living with a friend temporarily in a totally different area so I'm not self excluded in any bookies). That would give me a buzz as if I won, I could cash it out. Yet I don't because it doesn't appeal to me at all anymore.
I see the other night for what it is. Not me back on any gambling wagon, not me doing it for a buzz but me at a point of crisis trying to destroy all I have in life so I end my life.
I'm always happy to put my hands up when I have problems (even though as with the Asperger's battle, it sometimes falls on deaf ears). Certainly these days gambling isn't my thing and if anything, it's drinking.
In the last 6 months especially I've been drinking most days (mostly not to the extreme). Generally because of all that has happened I wouldn't say I'm coping very well in life for the time being. Yet now, it's at a point where no service, helpline or charity can actually help me. I think issues are too severe that only I can get myself through it. Drinking a few beers a day or every other day is a means to an end, it's something to look forward to and more importantly it helps stop things spiralling too often enabling me to get through these times.
Onwards and upwards. Cheers Gazza mate.
Hi... a very interesting read. Your clearly very intelligent and great with the written word. Your ability to explain yourself is just exceptional. I find myself nodding along, appreciating and relating to some or even much of what you say. A few random thoughts to add to the mix....
You have a great deal of self-awareness, you know yourself very well. Have a plan in place for when you are in one these dark emotional places. For me when I am at my rock bottoms I just go to bed and stay there until the worst passes.
I relate to the gambling as a means to self-harm. Iv'e done that before. Like stabbing oneself. But like you say yourself, suicidal feelings do pass. The following day you find yourself enjoying some good food wandering how you allowed oneself to get that low.
Well done on not gambling for 2 years.
Maybe work on keeping your locus of control within yourself. Don't expect anything of "others" or outside agencies and then if something positive does happen, it will come as a present surprise.
I use to be a support worker for adults with autism and aspergers syndrome. It was an outreach service. I use to visit them in their own homes. Usually they lived with mum and dad and i provided the "break". Most people I worked with were on the more severe end of the spectrum but not all. I can appreciate your anxieties about being unhappy in your current living environment. I hope your able to find a home soon where you can feel relaxed, safe and secure.
All the best 🙂
Thanks so much for the reply S.A, it's really appreciated and thanks for the kind words. My apologies for taking a while to respond (extremely busy times again with the business).
The one thing regarding suicidal thoughts is sure, they do pass but it's extremely tricky sustaining things. Over the years there's been a lot of rough times mentioned which for the majority was because of actions of others (dog attack, abuse, etc). Due to this and the long term struggling with it, I've had to integrate things into my life more frequently which otherwise would have been a treat. Due to this, they are no longer something to keep me going or distance myself away from suicidal thoughts.
For example, a pizza. Lovely as a treat, something nice to look forward to and keep you going ("can't wait for the weekend, that pizza will be fantastic"). Yet struggling in the week means that happy moment will be bought forwards or done more frequently until it no longer feels like much of a treat or anything to look forward to at all. The same can be said for a lot of other things, chinese takeaways, coffee shop coffee, new clothes, etc. Things that are/were a treat but because of badly low times, consuming them more frequently or on an ad/hoc (when things are especially bad) basis, so it's no longer something to look forward to and savour.
It then comes to be a thing where no enjoyment comes from those things anymore and during those low and crisis points more damaging but effective things are used. For me these days it's alcohol which because it causes such significant chemical changes in the brain, the fun or enjoyment from it never stops, no matter how frequently it's consumed. The slippery path is knowing it's bad for me but also knowing it works. Generally through exhausting everything else that once would have given me something to carry on for (as mentioned above), there isn't much else. Seeping would have helped me get through it at one point too but these days I wake up feeling worse, guilty even that life is so short and I've just wasted most of the day sleeping.
By all means, if/when the situation of being in my own home happens, a lot of the day to day lows caused where I am now won't be a thing anymore. Things will be back in my power and control and often just being there after a long day working, in my own place, own surroundings, no worries, feet up watching some things on tv with my dog will be more than enough to get through.
Anyway, really hoping it's sooner rather than later I can get moved as it's extremely frustrating knowing when that happens, things will be so much better....but how much more will I go through before that happens?
All the best
We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can also contact us for free on 0808 80 20 133. If you would like to find out more about the service before you start, including information on confidentiality, please click below. Call recordings and chat transcripts are saved for 28 days for quality assurance.