“We all have the power to pull ourselves from the brink of darkness and move into light”. (Adrian Devlin).
Newcastle man Adrian Devlin has transformed his life around in only a few years having suffered his lowest point to now mentoring others on their journey from darkness to light writes Laura Barr.
Adrian kindly wanted to share his story with Down News in the hope that it will help others who are feeling desperate and to raise awareness of mental health and suicide on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2020), today.
This inspirational man is sharing his story to highlight that a change in our thoughts from negative and destructive to positive and empowering only takes a simple second.
The married father-of-three first realised that things were reaching a very low point back in 2013 when his father was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Adrian said: “I suppose in the background things were beginning to build up within me in terms of what I deemed to be pressures in my life.
“Family life, work and trying to help care for my dad all took their toll.”
Adrian admits he had become so obsessed with his own pain that it created a major separation within his own family.
“All I could feel was my own hurt and I was leaving my wife, Michaela to look after our children and run the house all on her own.
“I would roll out of bed in the morning just before I had to go to work, the house would be chaotic and it all started to spiral as my dad got progressively worse.”
Sadly, Adrian’s dad Michael, passed away after a brave battle in May 2017 and he started to hit rock bottom.
He was drinking at the weekends, putting on a fake smile throughout his working week and by the time he got home at the end of the day he had no energy left for family life.
“There was a morning in August 2017 where I remember thinking the kitchen was so dark, but of course it wasn’t dark because it was a bright summer’s morning.
“I remember thinking I’ve got two options here, I was either going to reach for the rope or reach for the phone.”
Adrian began to think about his children and luckily grabbed his phone and spoke to a friend who passed on the contact number for MYMY (Mind Your Mate Mind Yourself, a local mental health charity.)
“I phoned and spoke to Ray Cunningham who asked how I was and I just burst out crying. We met up for coffee and from there I started attending counselling sessions with MYMY weekly.
“The sessions lasted for around six months and initially I thought I’d be talking about everything to do with my dad’s death, I was blaming my mum, my brothers and my sister and how they’d acted around the death.
“For the first three months I didn’t even talk about my dad’s death but went back over things from childhood, past traumas and past beliefs that I’d held onto.”
However, Adrian was talking through these issues on a Friday night and still living the same life he had been doing.
He explained that he wasn’t actually dealing with anything and nothing was being resolved.
“The counselling came to an end and I thought, well I’ve spoken about all these things so I’ll be grand, but I wasn’t.
“I was still doing all the toxic things because that was how I’d been living for a long time.”
The turning point for Adrian came in 2018 after another almost life threatening episode.
“One day, I just got into my car and drove to Belfast where I checked into a hotel.
“I genuinely didn’t think I’d be coming out of that room alive.
“I was contemplating things and fell asleep thankfully.
“When I woke the next day I just had this massive wave of realisation, a bit like an epiphany I suppose.
“Suddenly, I realised that this could all change and I could be the one to change it.”
Adrian said it was the first time he had ever felt really empowered and in control.
He typed into Google on his phone ‘How to be happy’ and listened to a podcast by Rob Dial, a mind-set mentor and that was the beginning of his own personal development and mind-set journey.
Adrian began to make fundamental changes to his daily routine, he began getting up early and meditating and making these new daily habits in his life.
“I began to figure out all the negative thoughts about myself that I had thought growing up were not the person I actually was.
“I started to change how I spoke to myself and with all these changes my life began to turn around.”
However, he admits that the path to self-worth and self-love was not an easy one, but he persisted with his 10 minutes of meditation each morning.
“Throughout the journey I knew in the back of my mind what the alternative was to doing my meditation or getting up early and I didn’t want to be in that place anymore.
“The hardest part was accepting that I was responsible for everything that had happened to me and that it was nobody else’s doing.
“I became at peace with all past events that had happened to me and I learned to love myself.”
Adrian now works as a Personal Development Coach mentoring other people who are wanting to commit to their own development and mind-set journey.
“When I started my own mentoring journey, I knew that I could help people through my own journey.
“My biggest success story was myself and I knew I could transfer what I had learned to others for their journey.”
Adrian has now built a life for himself that he doesn’t want to “escape from” and gains so much enjoyment from helping others.
“The process of talking about our past needs backed up with an understanding of our mind-set along with building positive habits or routines.
“This was one of the reasons I moved into coaching other people.
“To give people accountability and understanding and with this our relationship not only improves with ourselves but with everyone around us.
“We don’t need to get to the point of suicide before we make these changes.
“We can decide now that things don’t feel right and we want to change.”
Being a father to three young children, Quinn (11), Fearne (7) and Fia (6), Adrian is very passionate about instilling a positive mind-set in his children and letting them talk openly about their emotions.
He also feels strongly that while this should start at home, schools also need to be doing their part with regards to mental health and making it a daily topic in the school-day.
“You’re never too young to learn about emotions and what feelings are and I think that all schools really have a duty of care to be bringing these things into schools and talk to children about them.
“Imagine if we taught children how to resource themselves, how to deal with adversity and failure, gave them a better understanding of how their mind works.
“It would be invaluable!
“I believe that every single one of us has the power to move away from negative and low thoughts about ourselves and it only takes a second to shift a negative thought into a positive one.
“We have the power within ourselves to change and we can pull ourselves from the brink of darkness and move into light.”
Adrian has given empowerment talks as part of MYMY projects and hopes to continue with this and work alongside other mental health charities and within his own business.
You can follow his Instagram Personal Development Coach page @aidydev and his website for further information at:
For anyone seeking advice or support from MYMY, they can be contacted at their Newcastle office on 028 437 27549 or email: