TROUBLED Estate star Kyle Montgomery has admitted to a £300 a week cocaine habit that drove him to attempt suicide and self-harm by slashing his arms with razors.
On BBC1’s hit fly-on-the-wall documentary, which follows the residents of Coleraine’s Ballysally estate, Kyle is portrayed as a happy-go-lucky lad who enjoys a carefree lifestyle of boozing with his pals paid for out of his weekly benefits.
But in reality Kyle, 23, said his life has been blighted by depression which he believes was made worse by his heavy drug use and led him to try and hang himself four years ago.
This week Kyle said he was only able to turn his life around following the birth of his now three year-old daughter and he wants to speak out to show other young men that it is possible to cope with depression.
“Depression is something I live with every day but a few years ago things where really bad,” said Kyle. “I was in a bad way taking drugs every weekend. I would spend between £200 and £400 a weekend on coke.
“I would stay up all weekend at house parties. I’d take coke, mephedrone, pills - whatever there was. It was crazy.”
But just before Christmas 2007 Kyle, who is originally from Carrickfergus and moved to Coleraine when he was a teenager, was suddenly made redundant when the firm where he worked as a diesel fitter went bankrupt.
“I suppose looking back I always had depression but I just didn’t notice it as much,” explained Kyle. “Things got really bad. We only got a couple of hundred pounds as a pay off from work and I had no money any more.
“Everything felt black and then I would get so angry. They tell me I have a personality disorder. I don’t know if the drugs have made me depressed or if I would have been like this anyway.
“One day when things were really bad I tried to kill myself. I went into the garage at my mum and dad’s house where I was living and I stood on a step ladder with a rope round my neck. I tried to kick the ladder away but it slipped under me and didn’t fall away.
“I managed to get back on the ladder again. I wanted to die but it didn’t work. The next day I was admitted to a psychiatric unit.”
But it was in the clinic that Kyle saw other patients self-harming and started to copy them as a way of relieving the feelings of pain.
“I started self-harming, cutting myself. I saw the others do it and did the same. It felt like a relief from the depression,” said Kyle.
“I’ve cut myself so many times. I have scars all over my arms but I have them covered with tattoos.
“I was in a few different hospitals but I just played the game when I was in there. It was pretty scary so I just told the doctors what they wanted to hear so I could get out. I would have said anything to get out.”
Kyle’s drug taking, depression and self-harming continued until he learnt that he was about to become a father. He said he knew he had to clean up his act and live for his daughter.
He is currently managing his depression using anti-depressants and last year moved into his own flat in Ballysally. He is in a steady relationship and he said he no longer takes drugs and would like to eventually find a job and get back to work.
“On the show it looks like I party all the time. I don’t. I drink about one night a week. I’m not a party animal these days.
“Since I’ve been on the show I have had a lot of abuse on Facebook. Just last week I almost got into a fight when I was in Scotland because some people recognised me from The Estate.
“There are a lot of haters out there. They call me a waster but I’m not. You can’t judge someone until you have seen what they have been through.
“Depression is an illness and I think I need to speak out and let people know my story.”
STORY: KIM KELLY