THE BLOG

From Luxury to Loneliness: How My Broken Home Left Me Searching for My Soul, and How Depression Made Me Find It

21/01/2016 11:43 GMT | Updated 20/01/2017 10:12 GMT

I remember the day my parents told me they were splitting up as if it was only yesterday.

They called my sister and I into the front room and sat us down.

I knew what was coming; the arguments had been going on for years.

The tense mornings, sat around eating breakfast, watching my Dad licking her fingers before turning the pages of the newspaper, watching my Mum watching my Dad and getting annoyed.

So it came as no surprise to me, back then aged 13 that they were splitting up.

"Things aren't working out; we're going our separate ways," explained dad as mum nodded in unison.

Somehow I thought life would go on as normal - but it didn't.

Soon my ideal family life spent growing up in a beautiful village called Whateley in Staffordshire began to unravel.

The summer holidays to Turkey and Florida soon stopped and I reflected on all the times we'd been together as a family.

'Had they really been enjoying it, or was it all a show?' were thoughts that regularly circulated in my head.

Beyond the fish pond and the long drive leading up to the hidden away house lay an outhouse where I used to spend time smashing the drums and being loud and boisterous but I began spending more and more time there, alone with my thoughts.

At the age of thirteen, I thought I was emotionally untouchable. I could have never foreseen that things could change so quickly, and that those changes could subsequently edit me so much either.

It was a fairy-tale life in many ways; the family enclosure that I lived within provided me with more than a fair share of luxury.

I had some of the best opportunities available to a person of that age; it is fair to say that life was unbelievably good, perhaps too good to be true, some may say.

But the life of luxury was to crumble away and spiral out of control.

The split was made final when my mother and my sister, aged just eight, moved away while I stayed with my Dad in the family home.

Almost without me even noticing it, my confidence started to disappear.

I'd wanted to be a professional footballer and had been training and playing for Coventry City Football Club, but one day I decided to throw the towel in.

Eventually, the untouchable Adam Dow was starting to falter.

I started to lose the confidence that oozed from me before.

I started to question myself. I realised that even though I had friends, perhaps people didn't see me as the person I thought I was.

Perhaps the untouchable Adam Dow was a figure of my imagination.

 My emotions were malleable and my personality was decaying.

It was frightening.

These feelings stayed with me until I headed off to University in Glasgow.

While everyone was going out to clubs and pubs, I made excuses to stay home, because I found it difficult to cope with such little conversation.

I felt like this made me sound like a boring and reclusive guy, but that's far from the truth.

I was diagnosed as depressed, and it all made sense. But what could I do?

Unfortunately, there is an air of embarrassment that surrounds depression. As a young proud male, this was something I couldn't shake at first.

But I decided to take the bull by the horns by making a video with Fixers, the charity which gives young people a voice, laying my heart bare.

I chose to see my depression as a time to find optimism and an opportunity to have a fresh start.

I try to see the world with more optimistic eyes in order to give myself a chance to move forwards.

Whilst my motivation wasn't always at its highest, I found that if I believed in myself enough, I could do something about it.

Although depression is a heavy and unrelenting weight there are moments in which it lets you live.

Therein lies the moments of opportunity which you have to take.

I surrounded myself with people who brought moments of positivity to my life.

It's a matter of looking at what is good and keeping it; and a matter of looking at what is bad and getting rid of it. That included the ghosts of my past that had haunted me so much.

Weather the storm; work in the calm.

The sadness in losing my family at a young was very difficult, it changed my life and for years I have resented that. However, I cannot say how my life would have turned out if it had not had happened. So I take solace in this idea. Without me losing these things, perhaps I wouldn't have the value for finding who I am as a person, perhaps I wouldn't be so determined to find happiness. Who knows? But what I do know is that despite this loss, despite the depression, an idea we all need to ensure we keep is that we have to look after who we are as individuals in the here and now.

It is okay to let our past shape us, but it should not dictate to us. It is okay to let our fears give us caution, but it should not prevent us. We are ourselves today, not a person held back by yesterday. Life is to be lived, it begins now.