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13 hours ago

๐—Ÿ๐—”๐—ฆ๐—ง ๐—–๐—›๐—”๐—ก๐—–๐—˜! ๐Ÿšจ Play our ๐—™๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—–๐—ผ๐—บ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐——๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜„ before half-time at #NEWWOL to be in with a chance ofโ€ฆ

22 hours ago

๐—ช๐—œ๐—ก ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ @NUFC ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐Ÿคฉ Play our ๐—™๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—–๐—ผ๐—บ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐——๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜„ before half-time at #NEWWOL to be in wiโ€ฆ

Feb 26

@St_Josephs_Prim Great work, team! We love a fun Friday ๐ŸŽฏ๐Ÿ™Œ

Feb 25

ษชแด›โ€™๊œฑ ษชษด แด›สœแด‡ ส™แด€ษข ๐ŸŽ Delivering fun-filled activity packs for disadvantaged children across Newcastle withโ€ฆ

Feb 25

RT @gatesheadcoll: Weโ€™re super excited to announce @NU_Foundation has joined forces with us and some of the North Eastโ€™s top employers to hโ€ฆ

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Alan's Story: 'I tried to drink my mental health problems away'

Alan, 47, regularly turned to drink when he couldnโ€™t face reality, until it became a chronic problem in its own right. He said: โ€œI thought it was completely normal to drink 12 or 13 pints a day. I thought it was just something that men do.

โ€œI was often really depressed and, when I was younger, I used to lock myself away. I just couldnโ€™t be bothered with people and I was behind in school too. I also used to glue sniff and drink from an early age – I just didnโ€™t want to be in the real world.โ€

It wasnโ€™t until a girlfriend pointed out to Alan that his drinking wasnโ€™t normal that he decided to see a doctor.ย  He said: โ€œI told the doctors that I was worried about my drinking as well as my depression, but they told me I needed to sober up before they could look at what underlying problems I might have.โ€

Following doctorโ€™s orders, Alan stopped drinking and was later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

BPD is a diagnosis sometimes given to people who have very intense emotions that negatively impact on their relationships. They may also experience suicidal feelings, a fear of abandonment, impulsivity and a poor sense of identity.

When Alan was diagnosed around 15 years ago, heโ€™d never heard of BPD and didnโ€™t have a good understanding of mental health generally. He said: โ€œI thought they were taking the mick. Mental health problems were frowned upon back then, and I thought I was being given a label that meant I was a violent person, which Iโ€™m not.โ€

In reality, BPD can cause people to feel extremely distressed or vulnerable, as they experience emotions much more intensely than others. Alan said: โ€œIt can be hard work being a NUFC fan when youโ€™ve got BPD! If we win, Iโ€™m completely over the moon, but if we lose, I can slide into a deep depression for around a week!โ€™

Once he was diagnosed, Alan was referred to local charity, Launchpad. He said: โ€œMeeting the guys at Launchpad changed my life. I honestly feel that without them, I wouldnโ€™t be alive today, as I often felt alone and suicidal.

โ€œThey put me in touch with a BPD peer group and it was such a relief meeting other people who experienced the same things I did. We were just a bunch of average people. It was the first time I realised that other people felt like I did.โ€

Alan regularly attends peer groups at Launch Pad as well as courses at the ReCoCo (Recovery College Collective). He also takes part in a 12-step recovery programme to help him maintain his sobriety.

โ€œIโ€™m on a lot of medications and have regularly seen psychologists and psychiatrists, but being part of the Launch Pad and ReCoCo community is whatโ€™s made a big difference.

โ€œOutside of the courses and peer groups I have made friends who will check in on me over the weekend, and weโ€™ll often go for coffee too. I struggle to feel at ease with people, but in the peer support community, I feel completely at ease.โ€

Alan, who was also diagnosed with autism last year, is currently completing Maths and English courses at Norham College in addition to attending his peer support network groups.

He said: โ€œMy life has completely turned around. I think if anyone else is experiencing mental health problems, they should absolutely speak to their doctor and join a peer support group. I used to feel like I was useless, but now I feel accepted and the door is always open for me.

โ€œGive recovery a chance โ€“ like me, Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ll be pleasantly surprised.โ€

For more information on how to access mental health support for you or a loved one, visit our designated page.

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