My Story

The hospitality industry. Though it nearly broke me at such a young age, also saved me. James Hudson

I have battled mental health issues since around my 16th birthday. I had just finished school and all the stresses of exams and bullying through school to losing my father suddenly overnight. He died at the house of a huge heart attack that killed him before he started to fall. My mother and sister broke down and I took on the role of Bill payer, shopper, organiser and was even a witness of the signing of the death certificate. 2 weeks after his funeral and feeling useless now, that there wasn’t much to do at home, I threw myself into a youth training scheme in a hotel near me and set myself on the road to becoming a chef.

I threw myself into it so deeply that I worked 7 days a week, 12-17 hours a day. Then, just 8 months into it I had burned out without the proper time to mourn my father and it all became too much. I couldn’t physically bring myself to talk to anyone even a friend at the time about it and so I hid away from the world and when the doctors came to see and speak to me. They were concerned for my well being and told my mother to check on me every few hours as they didn’t know where I was in my head. I don’t think I ever really considered suicide but I knew I didn’t want to face anything. The world, the job or even my family as I felt like I had caused my father’s death by not being with him when it happened as if I could have somehow helped. I had spent 3 months barely leaving my room and pushed all and any help away from me. One day I decided to head to work and start to rebuild my life and I was barely 17. Work helped for the most part but then the drinking started and would sometimes drink a full bottle of whiskey after work and it got to the point where I was a week in arrears of my wage. I went through nearly 10 years of being happy ,then angry with the whole world, and then everyone’s best friend again. And I was in my mid 20s before I could finally bring myself to talk about it all with family. The talking helped put to bed how I had believed people thought about everything that happened. And it helped to let go of the anger of being bullied and losing my father.

The hospitality industry. Though it nearly broke me at such a young age, also saved me. If I hadn’t thrown myself into the industry to the point of burn out I don’t know where I would be or if I would even be here.

Now I am always very open. But more so if I am asked the question “how are you?”.  I have a good support group in friends and family that I know I can talk to them if I need to, and usually for me that is enough to have without the need to talk. I still get the odd darker day here and there but I embrace the darker days as I know they will be there but I also know the better days arrive beyond the dark.

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