Resort DJ tells of his suicide attempt - which left him in a coma - over financial, family and relationship worries. He has made an emotional plea for others to speak out about their mental health. MICHAEL HOLMES reports
A resort DJ swamped with debt was left in a coma after swallowing a cocktail of pills in a suicide attempt – and has now made an emotional plea for others to speak out about their mental health.
Mike Senior, 33, said his thoughts became ‘darker and darker’ as he battled depression and anxiety due to money, work, family, and relationship worries.
Lumbered with £63,000 debt, a failed events business, a civil legal battle, and a dying relationship, the former Montgomery pupil tried to end his own life before being found in his car.
After spending two weeks in a coma and several more recovering at Royal Preston Hospital, Mike, of Kinder Corner in Poulton, is now at home recovering.
An essay detailing his fight – and his regrets and hopes – was later posted online to much praise and emotion.
Mike said: “I’m overwhelmed by the response I have had. I have had a lot of messages from people who are suffering themselves or they know someone who is and they asked for advice.”
Mike, who has given up DJing, worked at Walkabout and Brannigans in Blackpool under the name Mike Seno, and ran ‘Heaventeen’ dance nights for youngsters at North Pier.
But work began to dry up, leaving him deeper and deeper in the red – at the same time his mum Linda was in and out of the Vic with her own health problems, and while he fought an ongoing legal case.
After being released from hospital, he told The Gazette: “I should have opened up more, especially given I have had a history of mental health issues. Once I had come around a bit, and started talking to friends and family, I really regretted what happened.
“I regret putting my family and friends through what I did.”
Mike is now on the mend after declaring bankruptcy, giving up caffeine and nicotine, and concentrating on his marketing role for a local firm.
Here, with his permission, is his story. It has been edited to remove some of the details of his suicide attempt.
I’ve had loads of people asking why I was in hospital over Christmas. Well here is the full story. I urge you to read, share it if you can and let’s help someone somewhere who is suffering as I was. It’s quite long so apologies in advance!
Mental Health. Those words stir up all sorts of different thoughts in our minds don’t they. Well today I am going to tell you my warts and all story about my recent experiences and struggles with mental health, or to be more specific, chronic depression.
At times it isn’t the most pleasant of stories, but I urge you to read on and share to your network – if I can help just one person then it has all been worthwhile.
It is all too easy to bottle up and put on a front when suffering with severe depression.
We fear a stigma from others, we worry that being too open will negatively impact and endanger our job or career.
Will people judge me? Will they think I am weird?
These thoughts and many others began to rush through my head in the second half of 2017, creating a severe downward spiral that ended in near fatal consequences.
2017 was a very tough year overall.
My work as a DJ dried up and my events business failed spectacularly.
This, along with a tough legal case I was involved with caused me to rack up horrendous amounts of debt which gradually squeezed me to the point of not being able to breathe.
At the same time everything was falling apart and having to appear in court, my mother was seriously ill and in hospital for a long period of time.
Stress levels rose, caused problems at home and in my relationship and eventually turned into severe anxiety, which in turn transformed into depression - without me even realising to begin with.
I was that negatively focused I ended my relationship in October, wrongly thinking it was the correct decision at the time.
My thoughts became darker and darker, locking myself away from others and crying myself to sleep - aided by an addiction to high strength prescription painkillers at night.
It was around this time in October I began to struggle with suicidal thoughts.
I was drowning in debt, having to work a full time job and DJ two to three nights per week just to make ends meet.
I had lost a wonderful relationship and I was struggling to see how I could ever be happy again in the future while under such immense pressure.
At this point I think I knew I should talk, but I couldn’t.
I didn’t want to show weakness and was scared.
I wasn’t enjoying any aspect of my life but tried not to let on to anybody, especially my six-year-old son.
I knew I should talk as I have had a history of poor mental health since my early 20’s, twice making minor attempts on my life in the previous 10 years (I’ll come back to that later). By the time I acted and spoke to my GP to try and seek help, it was too late.
On Saturday December 9, I attempted suicide by overdose.
I have little memory of this day, or indeed the days leading up to it.
I had every intention of ending my life and made sure I went to town on it. I was discovered in my car and rushed to hospital. I spent two nights in A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital before being transferred to Intensive Care at Royal Preston Hospital, my home for the next few weeks.
Yep. That’s me in those photos!
Bit different from my profile picture hey! Kept in an induced coma, hooked up to loads of machines, drips and life support.
Tubes stuck right down my throat, fed through a nose drip, wires attached everywhere, needles inserted in my arms and kept alive by a ventilator. Somehow, by some miracle, the medical teams in the Critical Care Unit kept me alive.
They feared brain damage, liver and kidney damage as well as other permanent damage to my body. I was given dialysis three times to clean the toxins from my blood.
Every time they tried to lift me from the coma, my temperature shot up to 40 degrees C and my body would convulse and shake violently.
My lungs were full of liquid and gunge which resulted in me contracting pneumonia while in the coma. I also lost three stone in weight in just two weeks. I genuinely have no idea how I am here now to write this article. I should be dead.
The team had to tell my family to expect the worst, that at one point they genuinely didn’t know if I would survive. Yet thanks to their superb work, I am here today.
I was eventually brought round on Christmas Day. My family described it as the best present they could ever receive. I however have no real memory of anything until late evening of Boxing Day when I was transferred to a ward for the start of my recovery.
My only ‘memories’ are the intense and vivid dreams I experienced while in my coma. If you ever see me in the pub I will gladly share the experience - there’s some eye openers in there!
The first couple of days on the ward were very confusing.
How am I here? What’s going on? Where am I?
It took me these couple of days to get a firm grasp on reality after such strange coma dreams and of course suicidal thoughts.
I also had to fight physically. I couldn’t speak due to damage to my vocal chords from the ventilator.
I developed another large chest infection which lead to pleurisy and a cavity in my chest.
A large hard mass of gunge was then discovered in my left lung causing me difficulties with breathing and pain.
I couldn’t walk or move much due to muscle wastage. I couldn’t believe the terrible physical state I was in, what I had done to myself.
I was full of regret for ending up this way, for not seeking help and for what I had put my family and friends through. I began to realise just how powerful the mind is and how it had consumed me with dark thoughts. I knew it was time to make changes and lift myself out of the abyss.
I am back home now and gradually regaining strength and weight - eating like a horse to be precise!
I have been treated by the wonderful CRHT team (Crisis team) who have regularly visited me at home to make sure I am OK and to help me learn about mental health.
They have taught me so much - how to cope better in stressful situations, how to recognise warning signs, how to think my way out of depression.
Talking about everything honestly and openly has helped lift so much weight off my shoulders.
As a result I have spoken to countless friends, told them the truth about what happened to me and been pleasantly surprised at the amount of support I have had.
No one judges me, no one thinks I am weird or is scared of me.
Everyone just wants me to get better, they all want to help and be there for me. Talking is important!
This has been magnificent support I didn’t have in the past with the other times I mentioned.
The help is there so don’t be afraid to ask! There is no stigma and nothing to be scared of.
Finally I am in a positive place. I have retired from DJ work at the weekend after a glorious 17-year career to concentrate on my marketing role.
I have declared bankruptcy as well to relieve the financial pressure I was under.
I didn’t have a hope in hell of ever catching up and this had dragged me down deep.
I have much to look forward too, a wonderful support network and one superb son who I am lucky to be spending time with once again.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not be afraid to speak out if you are suffering with your mental health. Speak to a family member, a friend, your boss, a GP - anyone!
Message me if you want! I have learnt the very tough way that keeping things bottled up does not work and it almost cost me my life.
I am never going back there again and will always be open about my feelings from now on.
I urge everyone to do the same.
Speak out and let’s make sure mental health begins to stop having the awful stigma that has dogged it for years.
Don’t be afraid, someone is always ready to listen and support you. Please don’t suffer in silence as I did, you matter too much for that.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
I hope it helps someone somewhere to overcome their mental health fears. Talk and don’t go through this alone.
Where to get help if you need it
· The Samaritans runs a 24-hour helpline, which can be called on 116 123. If you’re worried about being overheard, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
· Papyrus is a charity supporting teens and young adults who feel suicidal. They can be called on 0800 068 41 41
· If you don’t want to talk to a helpline, you could speak to a family member, your GP, or a minister, priest, or other faith leader
· Your GP may be able to help you access therapy, but if you don’t feel you can keep yourself safe right now, go to A&E, call 999, or ask somebody to call 999 for you.
· You could also call NHS 111.
· Mind has several practical tips to help people through crises. Visit mind.org.uk