STORIES-2-INSPIRE #20 - Stephen Hill
Welcome to STORIES-2-INSPIRE where I share inspiring stories of REAL people from many different backgrounds and situations who've overcome struggle, made amazing positive changes or achieved great things against the odds and refuse to give up!
NAME: Stephen P. Hill
FROM: Wigan, ENGLAND
Assistant Manager at BOOTS Chemist + Personal Trainer BODY2MIND Website: www.body2mind.co.uk Instagram: @stephen_p_hill_
TOP 3 METAL BANDS:
My story is simple. Born in 1975 I was raised along side my brother by my mum and close relatives. My dad passed away when I was very young and my parental bond was more with my nan and grandad, who I always looked up to.
Even today they are my inspiration and I hope they look down on me and are proud of what I have become. Unfortunately I have never had a close bond with my mum or brother and ultimately we no longer speak. Mainly through stubbornness but in the big picture of things, also out of principle.
Childhood was pretty traumatic, driven by parental abusive marriages which in a way put me in the lone wolf bracket. I would never share what was going on and would often sit alone in my bedroom just listening to the destruction been carried out by two people.
I felt I had no one to turn to… my grandparents were fully aware of the situation and every weekend and summer holiday I would stay with them which was almost like a safe place.
This happened mainly during my high school years and it was 1988 that I got to be good friends with a a guy called Justin. It was then I was introduced to Metal.
The introduction was a 3 track cassette he recorded for me by a little band called Metallica…..3 tracks Battery, Sanitarium and Master of Puppets. My escape from the noise outside had been given to me.
The thunder of Metallica was what I needed… the riffs, the solos, the rawness of the music hit me like a freight train and it was just the start of a magnificent journey.
It was like someone had put a drug in my veins. I was only 13 and for once I felt I had a great friend and something to look forward to.
I used to pester him to record me more music… Van Halen, Whitesnake, Guns 'n' Roses, Judas Priest, you name it I wanted it.
My first ever gig was Priest in '91… The Painkiller Tour!.... and wow what an introduction!
But I needed to see Metallica… they were the ones… and in '92 on The Black Album Tour I was at the GMEX Arena in Manchester headbanging and releasing all my frustration but at the same time taking in this energy from this monster of a band.
Soon the school days were over I was in college and then onto University… the metal collection came with me.
I was still the lone wolf, finding it hard to bond with people because trust is a big thing and letting people in was always tough, and to this day it still plays a part.
I had metal and that’s all that mattered. Its what got me through the days filling my ears with energy. Uni days were good days fuelled by alcohol and in fairness I did meet some great people.
But then reality struck home. I was doing a degree in Business and Legal Studies hoping that one day I would become a police officer. It had been my chosen path since high school.
Then in my second year I went to see an eye specialist who in a nutshell said I would never be a police officer due to a eye disease I had.
I was devastated, lost all interest in Uni and literally drank myself stupid in my final year. I still left with enough points to get an HND but that didn’t matter.
I finished Uni, went back home and didn’t have a clue what to do.
I ended up taking a part time job in Topman… a girl who I met in Uni moved over and lived with my brother for a while but that soon went to the dogs.
She cheated and it was clear it was done…
But typical me, insecure and desperate, tried holding on, but for absolutely nothing.
I needed another escape. I found it and the Gym was found. Just like Metal I’d found a release….a skinny 6ft 7inch 20 something had found another outlet.
The problem is I didn’t have a clue and still liked too much pop at weekends. But it was the start. At first I was in the local leisure centre gym… loads of cardio and light weights lol... but it was a start.
I trained with Justin but in fairness he wasn’t hooked like me. I soon progressed and found the greatest gym ever... Silvers in Bury.
A total beast's gym, guys who were monsters and they played some good rock music.
Still, now and again I had to put up with dance but it was old school and rock music was played nice and loud. To this day the gym is exactly the same, old school machines, rusty weights and a drip of water over the squat rack but this was my new home.
It was my first step of personal growth making me more confident, more in tune with who I was and I never felt judged.
I’d be in every day hitting the weights, wearing my Metallica t-shirt building great bonds with awesome people who to this day keep in touch on social media. It was a family.
From this improved confidence I managed to get my first managers job over in Warrington. I moved out of my mum’s house, set my self up in a one bed flat and felt I’d finally got somewhere after been diagnosed with my eye condition.
I met my first wife… a beautiful person inside and out. That relationship that lasted for 10 years, but my demons started to come out.
I still drank and never really had an off switch. I was no alcoholic but a Saturday night would be me puking or passing out. I never realised that this was me masking things.
We still managed to last, moved back to Bury, bought our own place, I started a new job but the idiot in me would rather be out with mates getting drunk than looking after the one and in the end she had enough.
was wrecked but she did her best to make the split easy and I’m forever grateful for that. In herself she’s had her own battles and its nice to see her overcome everything thrown at her.
The big positive from this chapter is the fact that I met Craig... a friend who I can easily say is a friend for life.
He was a big Manics fan and he himself discovered metal… partly because I gave him no choice but he’s a diehard now and 20 years later we smash gigs everywhere.
From negativity there is always something to be positive about.
It was at this stage I really turned to my music to help me get through the day…Metallica, Priest etc gave me great pleasure but one band got me through the dark days like no other and that band was HATEBREED!
I’d started listening to them after they released Rise of Brutality. My god, my world was changed!
This band ignited me in such a different way than any other band. The raw aggression of the sound, a hardcore edge of brutality interlaced with killer riffs and lyrics which were real.
Not story board lyrics, but lifestyle lyrics. Songs I could relate to. Another Day Another Vendetta, This Is Now got blasted. I hit the gym even harder, fuelled by Hatebreed and at weekends drink.
Life was moving forward.
I then met the second wife….it was a quick relationship, a quick marriage and an even quicker divorce.
However this was the relationship that triggered my mental state to manifest itself and nearly destroy me. Through manipulation and the constant feeling of not been enough I was at rock bottom... my confidence which I had built over the years was gone.
I felt I had nothing to give.
The only thing keeping me going was gym life and metal music and my true friend Craig…
Gym and music were always demonised by her. I was in myself a broken man and when I left I developed a coldness which is still evident today.
The music kept me going, the support from Craig kept me grounded but I’ve always been the lone wolf and now I’d become cold, judgemental and angry.
I enjoyed the whiskey far too much and joined a gym which created an individual fuelled by gear and drink. I did meet my third partner. A beautiful, kind-hearted person who over 8 years gave me the best times and it was my self-destructing ways that ultimately destroyed us.
My mental state was that of confusion, not been able to trust, not let people in and ultimately a ticking time bomb.
Yes other factors played a part but if only I had been strong enough to overcome my second marriage, my own demons and remember who I really was I could have made the best of meeting a angel who deserved so much more.
She persisted to put up with me and fair play to her but I was a constant of negativity. I was taking too much gear, not necessarily drinking but I couldn’t speak about how my second marriage had made me a fragile worthless man.
I just could not let her in and my first taste of self destruction happened one night when painkillers, vodka and whiskey nearly destroyed me.
I passed out in the end after vomiting everywhere. It was my cry for help and she was the only one who listened and gave me a second chance. A chance that lasted two years but it was two years where lessons still were not learned.
There were other factors externally but ultimately I was at fault and she didn’t deserve to be treated like I never cared, where inside I was just afraid.
We separated for good during Covid about 6 months in to the 'spamdemic.'
I was destroyed but I buried my head into work, bought myself a home gym and started building again. The gym, be it at home due to closures was my release and music fuelled by Hatebreed was my therapy but the mental battle continued.
I couldn’t open up to anyone, my Insta posts were cryptic… almost messages for help but I was getting more colder by the day. Craig was over in Bury facing his own drama but all credit to him he kept me in check even though Covid restrictions were in place.
But hell was getting closer. I was evaluating me from the last 10 years, how I was fuelled by drugs, alcohol and aggression, and the only time things emotionally would come out was when I listened to music.
I sat alone in my house and songs like Miss You by Wasp or I Remember You by Skid Row would come on and in my shell of a world I would explode with tears.
To this day nearly 2 years later songs can trigger me but the battle is getting won. I left the toxic environment of my job and moved to another business where I’ve met some amazing people.
One person in particular kept me level headed. Even up to 7 months ago I was still holding on to the demons and this person had a massive impact on me especially at Xmas last year.
I’d actually gotten to a point of wanting to end things… I’d bought the pills and had a bottle of whiskey in the cupboard. Even though the day I separated from my last partner I hadn’t touched a drop and really kicked the gear use into a reasonable place I couldn’t control the demons inside but this person kept me positive and made me second-guess my actions.
She told me to live for me and enjoy life because one day it will all come back. That stopped me. I did hold the tablets but I remembered what she said… a person who I had really only just met but she could see the pain inside and those words stopped me.
When I moved on from that job 7 months later I sent her a message to thank her for keeping me smiling. I’m still with the same company and I feel stronger than ever.
Positive vibes are back, I feel my life is moving forward again, the gym is still my release but its also my place of growth. Hatebreed is still my therapy and now and again I will sit and think when songs come on and the odd tear does spill but I’m good and controlled with it.
My anger is utilised differently… I still rant as Craig knows. But, I’m glad to say although my mental struggles will always be in me, the gym, Hatebreed and Metal, the kind words of a work colleague and my true friend Craig will be my foundation for the future.
Hopefully I will be able to share that future but for now the lone wolf is free to be feeling good and strong from the life lessons and the struggles that mental health challenges us with.
💪 I want to build a community or tribe of like-minded people through BORN 2 BLEED so if you'd like to share your story email me at email@example.com , send your story, your top 3 rock/metal/hardcore bands, where you're from and a pic of you rockin' your BORN 2 BLEED gear and lets fuckin' lift each other up, motivate and push each other forward!
NEVER GIVE UP!
(Owner BORN 2 BLEED) PS if you're ready to make serious changes in your life and willing to put the work in, but feel you need some guidance and support in moving forward...
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