'˜I was so low I felt suicidal'
It was New Year's Eve, 2014, and Dave Taylor was sat at home wondering where his life was going.
He’d had a good job in security, but after losing 75 per cent of his sight he’d had to give up work.
Dave, 52, still hasn’t had a diagnosis to explain why he became visually impaired.
But now his energies are directed towards running an online magazine for others who suffer problems with their vision.
Dave’s prescription for his glasses began getting stronger and he then failed a vision field test five times.
He was referred to his GP and there were fears that a brain tumour may be the cause.
He says: ‘Two days before my 50th birthday, I lost my job on the grounds of ill health. I got enough to pay off the car and a few bills as I didn’t want my wife to stress about things.
‘But then I had no direction in life and I felt a failure.
‘I’m an old-fashioned guy and see myself as the breadwinner.
‘I was no longer that, even though it didn’t bother my wife.
‘It didn’t even enter my head that I might be going blind. I thought I was just being clumsy and I was tired because I was working nights.’
Dave admits that he was asked if he felt suicidal when a council worker came out to see him.
‘I did feel suicidal, but I didn’t tell her that.
‘I was contemplating all sorts of things. I used to sit in the lounge and think ‘‘why me?’’
‘I was still getting up early, even though I wasn’t working, but would just sit and watch TV and got more and more depressed.
‘I cried on the sofa and wondered if it was really worth carrying on.’
He adds: ‘I could be in a room full of people, but I still felt lonely.
‘With my depression, I comforted myself by eating and I gained weight, which made me even more depressed.’
Dave also says that things became strained with his wife, Rose, following his diagnosis.
But he cannot thank her enough for the help that she gave him and has described her as his rock.
‘When you’re depressed, nobody else matters apart from yourself,’ says Dave.
‘But my wife was there in the background. She was going in another room and crying because she didn’t want me to see how it affected her.
‘When we started the Finding Your Feet courses, things started to unravel and I realised I wasn’t on my own.
‘At the end of the course we managed to talk to each other. We held each other, cried and spoke about our problems.
‘Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength.’
Dave went online for some inspiration, looking for magazines that catered for those who had limited vision.
He soon discovered that there was little on offer that he liked and decided to take it upon himself to create an online magazine that focused on local news.
His magazine, Losing My Sight, contains Portsmouth news and has featured interviews with Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond, Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, and also covered events such as the America’s Cup and the Victorious Festival.
Dave, of Hilsea, says: ‘I knew I couldn’t just sit around watching daytime TV any more.
‘I typed ‘magazine for the blind’ into Google and I couldn’t find anything at all really.
‘The Royal National Institute of Blind People has one, but it’s more for giving information out on things such as benefits.
‘I wanted to do something that interests me and other people.
‘People have said that the magazine is inspirational.
‘We’re only a small company but when people realise what we’re doing, it opens so many doors.
‘The magazine is quarterly. The first edition had hiccups, which I got a bit down about. But since then it has been great.
‘It is designed not just for the partially-sighted, but also their families to help them understand.
‘All the responses have been inspirational.’
He adds: ‘It was leaning towards sport because Pompey helped me out a lot. But I soon realised that everyone is not interested in sport and started to cover everything.
‘We do politics, sport, health and general interests.’
Dave has ambitions to continue to grow Losing My Sight.
In November he planned a trip to Abu Dhabi and decided to apply for press accreditation to attend the Formula 1 race that decided the world championship.
He recalls the tension between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who were fighting it out for the title.
‘I will take that to my grave,’ Dave says with a smile on his face.
‘People at the event wanted to know more about the magazine and couldn’t believe I was there on my own.
‘Those who I spoke to at the event said there should be more people like me in the industry.’
After a difficult few years that have been an emotional rollercoaster, Dave says things are on the up and he is looking forward to what lies ahead.
He says: ‘In the end, with the help of friends and my church, I got through it.
‘I would like to have more money, but I’m happy with what I’ve got. I have a roof over my head, a good wife and enough money to live on.’
Dave adds: ‘I have found that sight loss holds no barriers. Now I want to put something back into the community, because I have received so much help.
‘For instance I would like to contribute to counselling for people who have just been diagnosed with sight loss.
‘I know I can reach two million people in this country with the magazine, but I need more volunteers to help me achieve that.’
To see Dave’s online magazine, go to lms-magazine.co.uk