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      I would like to share my experiences on this forum in the hope that I too can gain some insight and experience from others affected in situations like mine.
      I would say for a large part of my life I have been an extremely fragile and self destructive person. I am 23 years old now and since the age of probably 10/11 had plenty of family related problems associated with a number of different things, none of them my doing more but more so my parents. I grew up without a mum and never really felt love from my Dad. I was a bright student but since the age of around 16 for whatever reason failed to live up to the expectations surrounding the high hopes people had for me and fell into a bit of a rut. In 2008 I dropped out of university but didn’t see going home as a solution to my problem as I didn’t really like it there. My Dad rarely rang me to show support and I felt very alone.
      In 2009 I had my first gamble. I used to have small bets with my friend and whether I was ten pounds up or ten pounds down, I could walk away fine. I infrequently, maybe once a month or few months, did the same for a period of time. I had a girlfriend for a period of time during this stage and she conquored all my feelings I had of being lonely.
      Last summer me and my girlfriend broke up due to moving apart. I did love that girl but I realised we weren’t made for each other. Then, a few months later, I met another girl and experienced chemistry I had never felt before. I was mad about her and deeply, deeply in love very quickly. I thought she was the same. I didn’t gamble whatsoever in the first several months I had met her but I didn’t even realise I hadn’t either because it hadn’t crossed my mind one bit. She cheated on me very early on in our relationship, but after an extensive chat and her assuring me that was just because of experiences with her exes and how they damaged her I was led to believe it was a blip. The story she gave was genuine and I had no reason not to believe her. I still refrained from gambling. In the months to follow we had some of the best times I have ever experienced, but then things started arising again. I caught her grinding on guys in my place of work and saw texts in her phone from strangers shed met whilst away from home. I think this is when my depression began but for some reason couldn’t give up on the girl that made me feel the most loved I ever had in pretty much my lifetime. I still wasn’t gambling at this point, apart from the odd bet with friends.
      Then Bombshell Number 1. On my birthday I had got news that the story surrounding the initial cheating was worse than shed told me. I was told I wasn’t letting things go and that she was considering our relationship, but I fought for her back. She told me another story and again I believed her. Silly me. I began thinking none stop about the cheating and different scenarios and because of her behaviour towards it, saying that this and that wasnt technically wrong and that dry humping guys and giving out her number wasnt wrong either, I was in overload. Depression was getting worse looking back but because I had felt low for a fast part of my life, I didn’t really know this was any different. Gambling was still infrequent and pretty much not at all. I was too concerned about trying to make the relationship work and that came at the cost of my mental health but I did not care.
      We had UPS and downs over the month or so that followed but I couldn’t forget or trust her still. She had made genuine attempts to change and I saw that but overpowering worry still topped that. We were about to enter a long distance relationship. We argued on nights out after I would see her eyeing up boys infront of me, and honestly I was going crazy but I couldn’t walk away from her. It didn’t even cross my mind for some reason. I was obsessed with her and the happiness I had known she once and still did on occasion give me. It all got too much in May. The stress of thinking about your girlfriend cheating 24 hours a day and the long distance issue got too much. I blew 1000 pounds in days, something Id never considered doing but something at the time I didn’t really feel concerned about. I think I found an escape from emotions that were driving me nuts looking back, as I was emotionless when I was on the FOBTs. It was only when I stopped and lost everything I had realised what I had done. It hurt and I was never tempted to go back.
      The first few months of our relationship apart was great but I still had worries that were eating my brain apart. Working nights, I spent all day alone dwelling on the past and what could happen in the future. We had made plans to move to a city together and I began saving for that and taking considerable amounts to see her (not the other way round). I think I was so keen to spend every spare minute seeing her, looking back, because it battled my lonliness feelings and depression. I knew I was depressed and she knew I was deep down too but she never really confronted me about it either so I thought it was just a phase. Stupidly, getting paid cash in hand, I also disregarded all concerns I should have had about paying bills and rent and I only ever thought about her. I was sitting on large amounts of money even though I knew I had bills to pay. I didn’t really care.
      Then Bombshell Number 2. I found out 9 months after the incident of cheating that she had still lied to me. Again the story was much worse than I had known. I knew enough was enough but when she came to see me I couldn’t walk away. I took her back again. My disregard for myself got worse, my mental health took a battering and I was still obsessed by the girl I wad still regerring to as the girl of my dreams. When we saw each other there were some good moments but there was some bad moments too. I told her about my fears of depression but I was just told that was my problem. I should have got help for it then but I didn’t know how to approach the situation so I let it get worse. Still at this point it was infrequent gambling and I never reall thought about it. I was looking forward to moving away together and the prospect of going back to university, which I had applied to a while before. I stupidly was still sitting on more money and had disregard for myself in terms of paying bills.
      Weeks went by of sitting in my room thinking and worrying and it felt like I was a prisoner of my own mind. Then I had a week where I’d hit self destruct. In one week I’d found out I hadnt got into university, that my girlfriend had had extensive previous one night stands without using protection (before she met me and with never having been tested), that my Dad was concerned about what I was doing with my life for once, that out of my money a lot more that I thought would have gone to rent and bills which in turn led to a girlfriend that got angry with me even though most of my spare money id spent on seeing her, that I was lonlier than ever and that thinking about it, moving in with my girlfriend would be risky at best. Stress hit unreal levels. I went to the betting shop. I was a fair bit up and walked away. I told my girlfriend I had actualy had more than I thought for moving but she still sounded dissapointed. I went back. And lost everything.
      I lied to her about the whereabouts of my money for about a week. Two days after the binge I received a letter of eviction fromy landlord. Reality had sunk in about how stupid I had been. I hit such a new low and didnt care anymore. All I wanted to keep was my girlfriend. I got paid soon after but it was too late, back to the bookies I went. This happened once or twice more before I realised enough was enough. I needed help. My intial reaction was that I was a gambling addict but I sound different to a lot of cases. Is it this addiction or is it that I was a manic depressive seeking a way out. I’m still unsure now. I rung help lines which felt great. I loved speaking as I didn’t have to feel alone when I did. I hated putting down the phone however. I came to a payment plan with my land lord and I decided my girlfriend and Dad need to know. It was the hardest thing to ever do but it felt so good to do it. I felt honest for once and that I wasn’t hiding any emotion or depressive state of mind. My Dad was really supportive. He told me my balance of life wasnt great where I was and that he eould support my problem if I went back to his. For the first time in years I felt like I had a family. My girlfriend however reacted differently. She wanted nothing to do with me. I explained, like above, I let things get so on top of me and I was in a horredously dull state. She seemed angry that I had suggested this had anything to do with her. As far as she was concerned I had gambled her future away and that was it. Nothing about my mental state which she had known about for months. She even went as far as blaming me for her cheating and lies as it was me getting down thst wasnt enabling her to move on. According to her now I never had a problem and I never got down and this was simply down to me wanting to gamble my money away for the hell of it. Nice. I was understanding thst she couldn’t deal with this but I was a little upset she had no concern at all for me. I asked her to keep the situation confidential as it was a big thing for me to be able to tell her this but she has told several people. The way I see it now, at least I was brave.enough to lose her by telling her the complete truth, something she could never have done. However I feel more alone than ever.
      Sorry this seems like an essay but I’m pretty confused now as you can imagine. I am currently getting the help I need in place for depression and sorting out my debt management. I am in regular contact with gambling councilars to explore the situation and I’m happy I’m doing something about this. However I still can’t get rid of the feeling that I want my girlfriend back in my life. I don’t even know why after her actions the past few days but I do.
      Onwards and upwards from here I guess.

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