Jordan's Conversation One Year On
“In September 2017 my son, Jordan, took his life. He was 25 years old, a painter and decorator, working at Seddon and his passing came as a massive shock to his family and friends.
The last thing I said to Jordan was ‘I love you,’ on Monday evening. On Wednesday, I was told he had passed away. None of the words made sense; I knew what they meant, but they didn’t fit together in the sentence. I didn’t understand how they could be about my son, someone so loving and fearless and full of life.
No one had any idea that Jordan was suffering. If he would have reached out to any of us we would have helped him get the support he needed. We would have got him through it, we always did, we always made sure he was ok, and for the most part he was. I think there was just one moment where he couldn’t see a way forward and he made a decision and it’s the one thing that we can’t fix.
I would give anything to get him back, my own life for his, but I know that’s not possible. What I can do is share our story, talk about it and let other people know that, in their darkest moments, there is always someone willing to listen and help. We don’t close doors in our house, we don’t hide Jordan’s passing, we talk about him, we celebrate his life and we are strong for him, because if he saw us hurting he would never find peace.
Jordan’s Conversation is such a vital initiative; I felt I had no option but to get involved, to help; it’s what Jordan would have wanted. We need to get men especially to open up about how they feel. We need to let them know that no one is bullet proof, that it’s OK to need help and we need to encourage them to reach out for support. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like Jordan must have felt, like they couldn’t carry on.
There is always someone to help, please be brave enough to reach out.”
Ed Wootton - Regional Director at Seddon
“Watching someone you love experience depression is tough. For over 20 years, I stood by and watched my wife, Deb, battle her illness, almost helpless and lonely, with no one to turn for help. I worried for her, the stigma and judgement that our family might face, and the impact on both her and our children.
I’ve been on a journey with Deb, through various stages of depression and to some pretty dark places and it’s been tough, but in some ways, it’s been a valuable experience. Before Deb’s illness I was your typical bullet proof, resilient, “I’ll fix it” man, building a career in construction, ‘fixing’ everyone at work in the day and trying to fix my wife, which Deb taught me, wasn’t the best way to help.
I’ve learnt a lot about depression, how to recognise when someone needs support, and how to promote good mental health and provide support to those who need it, both in our family and my colleagues at work.
Deb is in a much better place and has spent the last 4 years re-training (after 25 years in nursing) and will complete her degree in Counselling in the next few months, working with Young Minds helping young adults – guess we’re one of the lucky families!
Ultimately, both Deb and I recognise that telling her story, our story, helps break the stigma of mental health; and if sharing our story helps prevent another story like Jordan’s, it’s well worth the time and effort.”
Nikki Waud - Business Development Manager at Seddon
I first started to feel the negative effects of stress early last year. Work, the kids and my personal life had all begun to take their toll, to such an extent that I started having spells where my heart rate would plummet and my head would swim. I knew I wasn’t right, but I’d always used exercise to feel better, so I upped the exercise and booked a holiday. I thought I’d be OK, but it just got progressively worse.
Things came to a head with the passing of my best friend. Laura was my rock, my voice of reason, the one person I told everything to, and vice versa. Laura had already fought off breast cancer, when two years later, the cancer returned and sadly, this time it was terminal.
When I got the call to say Laura has passed, I was overwhelmed. I managed to keep functioning but I was crying constantly and struggled to get up each morning. I went to the doctors and she prescribed anti-depressants, but I left the prescription there; I didn’t want to use medication.
Work has always taken my mind off anything that I’m going through in my personal life but my grief was starting to affect me at work too. When a colleague, Nicola, asked if I was OK I couldn’t answer – the tears were there again.
That was the point when I got the help I needed. Nicola listened, she arranged counselling sessions for me and encouraged me to go back to the doctors, which I did, this time taking the tablets I had been prescribed.
In the counselling sessions I began to understand what I was feeling and why, I could almost see myself from the outside; it certainly gave me perspective and encouraged me to be kinder to myself too. I’m doing great now, but my illness has helped me to recognise when others might not be.
You may have coped before, you may struggle through it alone, but we are all vulnerable to being one heartbeat away from not being able to cope at all. Please don’t leave it until that point. Please reach out. Please talk.
Ian Matthews - Operations Manager at Seddon
My depression and anxiety probably started in the summer of 2015; I was working long hours, delivering multiple high value projects and running around after my children. I wanted to do everything for everyone, I wanted to be the best and deliver the hardest projects for the company. Suddenly, two of the larger projects started to fail on time and money and I started to question my abilities; this was the start of things.
Everyone in construction thinks they are bullet proof, hard as nails and don’t need any help from anyone, nothing could be further from the truth.
I started not being able to make decisions at work and avoiding tough situations, something I had never struggled with in the past. I felt out of control, lost and scared; I was crying in my car most mornings on the way to work and didn’t know how I was going to get out of this situation. But I ignored it.
After bursting into tears in a Costa Coffee and sobbing uncontrollably for half an hour, I went to the doctor. Even though I was getting help, I kept that fact I was suffering from depression (low mood) and anxiety a secret. People relied on me at work, I didn’t want to lose the prestige projects or have people look at me differently.
It was about a month later when I finally spoke to my directors at work and I was so glad I did. None of the things I thought would happen did, quite the opposite. I was listened to and supported and they arranged for counselling. It felt like a weight had been lifted, and I now had people who understood my situation that I could talk to when I was feeling like this again.
Do I still suffer from low mood and anxiety, yes I do, but having a new relationship, family and work colleagues who know what I have been through is a great, as I now have people around me that keep an eye on the signs that, even now, I sometimes chose to ignore.
We need to be more open and honest about mental illness and being part of this something that will allow me to talk even more openly to people about it.
Lynne Griffith - Health, Safety & Environment Adviser
I never understood ‘depression.’ I just thought people needed to man up and deal with things so when it happened to me, I had no idea what was going on.
The incident that triggered my illness impacted a number of people working for the business, but I just kept going with my head down. I didn’t want to discuss what had happened, so I kept quiet and pretended that everything was OK, but I wasn’t. It felt like I was losing control. I wasn’t sleeping, my body would shake for no reason and my mood would change instantly, with me often becoming angry, I would struggle to remember my day, where I had been and I couldn’t concentrate.
Working in a male dominated industry is tough and our job is hard. I didn’t want anyone to see I wasn’t coping, I didn’t want people to think I was weak, or to treat me differently. So, I kept quiet and I carried on.
I was in a meeting one day when the usual shakes started, but that was quickly followed up by a wave of emotion and I just started to cry. I think in the course of that meeting I finally realised something was wrong and I managed to admit that I needed help.
I thought that it would be weak to ask for help, but once I had said those words, it felt like a weight had been lifted. The support that I have received since, from my colleagues at work, my friends and family, has been amazing. I’m still on my journey, working through my feelings, but everyday I feel more like me.
I would urge anyone who is struggling to reach out and ask for help; at the time is was so hard to admit I needed support, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help I have received.
If you or someone you know are struggling with the above please visit the below pages for help and advice: