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MP reveals faith helped him 'see light out of the darkness' in maiden speech at House of Commons

by Ruth Sax

Newly elected Wolverhampton MP Stuart Anderson has revealed how going to church and finding faith after battling mental health issues helped him "see light out of the darkness."

Anderson made his first speech in the House of Commons on Thursday; a heartfelt and open account of how he ended up becoming an MP.

During his maiden speech, the Conservative MP said he considered taking his own life after he was left "broken" by his time in the Armed Forces.

Mr Anderson said he turned to alcohol to "escape reality" during a distinguished career in the British Army, which saw him serve as a rifleman for the Royal Green Jackets in The Troubles in Northern Ireland, as well as in Bosnia and Kosovo.

But he said his efforts to block out pain, caused by a being shot in a training accident, led to him living in a "virtual coma" where he was incapable of feeling emotions. He said he eventually decided to end his life. 

 

 

Mr Anderson told the Commons: "The decision I made to shut out my pain when I got shot meant I struggled to feel anything emotionally.

"I was numb. The more I progressed the more the pain hurt. I was going through life in a virtual coma. I would spend evenings in my garage on my own, drinking, looking at a brick wall, wishing my life would end.

"I remember the first thought in the morning when I opened my eyes was one of dread that I hadn't died in my sleep.

"Desmond Tutu once described hope as the ability to see light in the darkness. I got to a place where I had no hope. Enough was enough, and I finally decided to end my life."

He described what made him stop: "As I was in the process of doing it, I had one thought that stopped me. I didn't want my children to grow up without a father like I had.

"I couldn't do it. I actually felt a failure not being able to take my own life. There was no escape from the life I was in. I was stuck.

"In my mind, my life was over. I had been dealt a bad hand, and that was my life."

The 43-year-old told MPs that in a moment of desperation he took his children to church, which led to him finding faith and learning to "face reality".

"There are many reasons why people come out of despair. When I was trying to do something right by my family, I found faith. For the first time in many years, I could see a hope and a future.

"As the Wolverhampton motto says, out of darkness cometh light. I could see light out of the darkness," he said.

Anderson was congratulated by Conservative colleagues after giving his first speech in the Commons. 
 

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