He had launched a new business, won his final mixed martial arts fight and was helping people face their demons through his charity.
From the outside looking in, Calum Owens’s life was happy and successful – but he took enough painkillers to “kill a rhino” on two occasions during the last year.
The former soldier was still confronting issues that had previously led him to start Inner Battles – a charity tasked with helping uniformed services veterans to cope with life back on “civvy street”.
Now, Calum, who runs Caledonia Health and Fitness in Carnoustie, has spoken about how he fought back from two suicide attempts in the last year – and how he plans on using his experiences to help others.
Calum said he had chosen to share his story during Mental Health Awareness Week – following the tragic death of Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison and also a harrowing Coronation Street story line on the subject.
He said: “It has been a year and this battle is still going.
“I had been opening a business and won my last fight. It was a really busy time.
“Looking back, I was concentrating on everyone else but I wasn’t looking after my own health.
“It is like what most people say, when you are at the stage of trying to take your life – you feel like there is nothing you can do.
“There is nothing someone can say to help you.
“You are in the loneliest place on Earth – it feels like you only have one option. I had friends that reached out but there is nothing anyone can do. All you are thinking is that you want the pain to stop.
“You take the painkillers because you want to be dead, but then you wake up and then it is the guilt and embarrassment.”
Calum admits that he had managed to put on a brave face to the outside world but says it was all “a front”.
However, he began therapy again and began to practice “mindfulness” in a bid to defeat the demons.
He now says he feels “much more positively” about his life – also crediting regular exercise and his use of CBD oil, which is extracted from hemp, for helping to improve his mental state.
He said: “It has improved my mind massively – it has vanquished my anxiety, it has helped me sleep.
“I was going eight to 10 days with only a couple of hours sleep a night.
“I am one of the most sceptical people out there but I have been battling these demons for eight years and I have to say it has made a massive difference.
“I still have down days –I have PTSD and depression – but now it is just about having a balance and picking up the phone and speaking about it.”
Calum returned home with a back injury and PTSD after spending 12 years in the battlegrounds of Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and in some of the Mediterranean’s pirate-filled waters, firstly as a commando operative and then working as a consultant in the private security industry.
This year’s experience has led him to branch out with Inner Battles to help anyone who is suffering from physical illness.
As reported in the Tele, Calum helped Lisa Thomson lose 17lb, free of charge, in just three weeks in order for her to undergo a 13-hour mastectomy and breast reconstruction operation.
For more information search for Inner Battles on Facebook.