Our real life stories

Matthew's story

Matthew lost his mum at the age of six and then suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his dad’s second wife. At the age of 16, his dad threw him out of his family home. Matthew needed some support to process everything and deal with his emotions...

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“I joined the Royal Marines when I was 22 but I was discharged 2 years and 5 months later while still in training, on medical grounds due to an ankle reconstruction. This was a huge blow and something else I’ve not dealt with.

“In 2016, things came to a head as I hadn’t dealt with a lot of my emotions. On a work Christmas night out, I got angry when one of the girls said something to trigger me. I took what she said personally, she laughed, and I thought I had two options: hit her or walk out and go home. I chose option two. Then a friend put their hand on my shoulder, I had a rush of emotion and punched a wall. I broke two bones in my hand and dislocated my wrist. I then left that company I was working for shortly after.

Real life stories

Matthew's story

“There were a few things that happened to me in my childhood and in my 20s which I hadn’t fully dealt with. When I was six, I lost my mum who was hit by a car while she was walking to work. "My dad then married someone who was emotionally and physically violent towards me and my sister, although it was mostly directed at me. I have never really dealt with that. 

“I had counselling and didn’t know what to expect. I just paid lip service to it until they signed me off work. I had thought it was going to be bereavement counselling, but it was more about self-esteem and confidence. I changed jobs which didn’t work out and I ended up on benefits, then months later I fell into a job with Mercedes. I had more counselling and paid a bit more attention, but I didn’t click with the counsellor.

“I left Mercedes as I had a long commute and didn’t have a social life. I thought I would try sales, so I applied to Ford, got the job and thought I was fine. The feedback I got from my manager was generally negative, even when I was doing well. It was a tough year, and I was struggling due to the pandemic. I was off work for three months on furlough, went back in June and I wasn’t far off being number one salesperson, but my performance dipped in September. I had a review in October and said I was struggling with my mental health. I would drive to work and think ‘if I just drive into the wall, I don’t have to go to work’.  

“To say that Ben saved my life wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
Now I’m more confident and I’m not afraid to talk about the place I was in."

“I hadn’t been able to switch off from work and my natural reaction was avoidance. I was trying to avoid making calls to keep myself safe and avoid anxiety. One day in October, I had a panic attack. I said I was struggling, and work told me to contact Ben. I did this the next day and from the start, it was fine. I submitted the online form and got a call back from Ben’s Helpline. I spoke to the Helpline advisor for around 30 minutes, the gentleman who took the initial call said he had OCD and advised me to call my GP for treatment as mental illness is no different from the likes of Diabetes. I was given some medication from the GP.

“I asked Ben for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) counselling. They found me a CBT counsellor and she wasn’t like the others I had in the past. We just clicked! She understood where I was coming from. I unloaded my baggage and started working through my issues. I had 10 sessions of counselling which pulled me out of the darkness. I had felt that I wasn’t worthy or good enough. My emotions and feelings all came to the surface.

“My counsellor encouraged me to reach out to another charity for veterans and I received funded support from them. I also contacted the Royal Marines Charity and received a membership card which has a lot of benefits. I thought I would get rejected but this was the validation I needed: I am a veteran. Before this, I didn’t feel like I was a veteran of the armed forces.

“After 10 sessions with my counsellor, the Ben team asked me if there was any other support I needed. We discussed life coaching (I didn’t know what this was) but it turned out to be the best eight hours of my life! I would wholeheartedly recommend my life coach. I don’t have enough words for her. I had been looking for a new career in cyber security recently and my life coach even put me in touch with some people to make this happen. I applied for a role, and I got it!

“When I first contacted Ben, I thought ‘I don’t deserve this help’ but it meant absolutely everything to me. It brought me back from the brink. In another couple of months, who knows what would have happened. To say that Ben saved my life wouldn’t be an exaggeration. Now I’m more confident and I’m not afraid to talk about the place I was in. I still have some bad days, but I’m a lot further down the line now.

“Before I spoke to Ben, my brain was like a cloud. I couldn’t think. Now I can logically and cohesively think, and I know what to do. I couldn’t have done this without Ben.”

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