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At Rock Bottom, Looking Up

3rd March 2017

Marcus*, aged 23, received GamCare counselling in London as his issues with gambling had led to him feeling suicidal.

“When I came to GamCare I felt like I had forgotten how to smile. I’d almost been consumed by the need to bet on horses and dogs in my local betting shop – the rush, the fast pace of the race was all I could really think about. I felt numb to everything else.

My brother convinced me I needed to find help, he was worried about me. I don’t know if he realised quite how low I felt, but he must have had an idea. He even came with me to my first counselling appointment and waited in the waiting room.

I felt like I’d slumped after I dropped out of uni. I’d run up so much debt I couldn’t afford not to work, so I had to leave. Money has always felt like a battlefield to me, right from when I was a kid. My parents divorced when I was little, and my mum and dad fought about money constantly.

I suppose I felt that money was such a big issue, always people fighting about it, so without realising I did everything I could to get rid of it. That way maybe I could try to connect with my people about something else? But it didn’t work out that way. My own anger was buried under all of that, and that made me hate everything and everyone, including myself.

I never got as far as a solid plan, but I thought about how everyone would carry on without me if I wasn’t here. I’m really grateful that GamCare gave me somewhere to go and really think, talk and work through the whole mess of stuff in my head. I needed someone who didn’t know me, who could spot when I was avoiding the real issue, to help me get back on track.

I know it’s going to be hard, but at the moment I feel like I’m at rock bottom looking up for the first time, instead of further down. I’ve learned more about myself and how I react to different situations, and I really think it will help me piece myself back together. I’m just glad there was someone there to help.”

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*Based on case study, details have been changed to ensure anonymity.