Biggleswade man who battled drink and drugs pens autobiography raising awareness for mental health

'Never give up on yourself and don't give up on people'

By Joanna Gravett
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 1:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 1:56 pm

A brave Biggleswade man has opened up about his struggles with depression in his new autobiography.

Christian Govan, 44, has penned The Enemy with My Face in a bid to help people who are fighting mental health conditions and inspire them to seek help.

The author will be donating a percentage of any royalties he receives to the Samaritans, a charity that provides support to anyone in emotional distress.

The Enemy With My Face and (right) Christian and Elizabeth.

Christian told the Chronicle: "I hope it lays out what happened to me and I hope somebody will read it and say, 'He's got it worse than me' or 'I've got it bad, too', but it's important not to pull the trigger too soon; you don't know what's around the next corner.

"Be human, be kind, and love one another. There's more to life than money and wealth.

"I want to donate a percentage of my royalties to the Samaritans because I'm so aware of how important mental health is. It's such a big part of everyone's lives and we've got to look at it."

Christian says he had a turbulent childhood and suffered emotional and physical abuse, but was able move forward as an adult and become a successful businessman.

And his book recounts that in June 2015 his world turned upside down when the police stormed his house, executing a European arrest warrant over a "60-million-euro tax fraud".

For nearly a year, Christian says had to report Stevenage police station and wear a tag on his foot, before he found out in April 2016 that the case had been dropped.

This, and a fallout with a family member, meant his recreational drink and drug use spiralled out of control.

He told the Chronicle: "It took two weeks for me to feel the depression creep up. [The actor] Jim Carrey says it's your body saying it wants a rest - 'I don't want to be that character anymore'.

"The only time when I was OK was when I was asleep.

"I remember I wore my 'coke cloak', my comfort blanket - but it's not - and I was boozing to get away from things.

"I remember at one point the door shut behind me and I didn't care if it opened again..."

Christian "suffered immensely with anxiety, severe depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings", and even though the case was dropped, he says it was not easy to step away from the drink and drugs.

However, a suggestion from a friend would change Christian's life forever.

He said: "For me, I was going to die in this world of cocaine or alcohol and I accepted this for what it was.

"A friend invited me to a CA [Cocaine Anonymous] meeting, which I'd never heard of before. But if I hadn't gone I don't think I would have changed, because I didn't see a reason to.

"Not only did I see people like me, but I realised I had a problem."

Christian has now been drug-free for 11 months and is looking forward to the future.

He added: "My friend had been doing well when he invited me along - I realised he didn't invite me to support him, he did it to support me."

His new book, released on November 25, had initially started as scribblings on any old bits of paper that Christian could get his hands on, but once he was free from drink and drugs, he took the chance to write the book properly.

He explained: "My new book is in my hands now and I feel for the first time OK. I thought it would be a magic cure but it dredged up a lot.

"I hope someone can pick it up and relate to it.

"I have been brutally honest, truthful, and I have turned myself inside out to write something very special in the hope of sharing my story with others, and to give a little hope that all is not lost and that you definitely are not alone."

Christian would like to say thank you to his partner, Elizabeth, who never gave up on him and was "there for him when the chips were down".

Advising others, he concluded: "I want to raise awareness about mental health and suicide.

"Never give up on yourself and don't give up on people. Don't run away from them, run towards them."

You can buy Christian's book, The Enemy With My Face, from Amazon, Waterstones and Olympia Publishers.