A Meath dad has written a powerful post on how bankruptcy almost drove him to suicide, in the hope that it will help others who are in despair this Christmas.
Businessman Eddie West has now got his life on track but decided to share his story in light of a large number of men who have died by suicide in the county recently.
He is also encouraging others to share their stories in a campaign to try and make a difference.
Mr West, from Slane, says he was driven to the edge after coping with his mum's death as well as being forced to close his printing business which he had operated in Navan for almost 15 years.
In a post on social media he said: "Financially I was broke and had recently filed for bankruptcy in the High Court. I was now on €180 a week on social welfare and relied on St. Vincent de Paul food vouchers.
"I felt broke in every way imaginable. I was too embarrassed to reach out to anybody, full of pride."
After his mum died, a legacy gave him a little hope.
"She had left me some money, which to be honest was what was keeping me going. It would give me some time, take the pressure off, take some time out to find out what to do next with my life.
"But because I was bankrupt, Revenue seized that money in my solicitor's account and I never saw a penny of it.
"I felt so low, so useless. I felt like a complete failure as a father, as a partner, as a son and as a man.
"I can understand why people take their own lives. I tried everything to block out the pain I was feeling. But it was my kids and my partner Pia that kept me going with love and encouragement.
"Many, many days I spent in that house with my kids and no money and not being able to drive them anywhere but when I look back, I realise they didn't care about that."
Thankfully Eddie has turned a corner after counselling and has secured a new job but he wants people to know, that although you make mistakes in life - they are not enough to make you take extreme measures.
"I look back now and I think - imagine if I had gone through with it. The void I would have left in my kids' lives, the pain and confusion in their heads.
"I'm not trying to play the victim here. I was often quite reckless with the way I lived my life and the decisions I made.
"This is not about me slaughtering myself for my actions or you judging me.
"I know there are people out there with much worse stories than mine and I would encourage those people to share them.
"It's not right that so many people - especially young men - are making the supreme sacrifice and dying by suicide.
"I would ask anyone who is in despair to reach out to someone, anyone. Circumstances will always change. Please look out for each other."
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