The following content may contain information about depression, anxiety, self-harm and/or other related material which may be triggering. Reader discretion is advised.
Story Submission by David, Age 26
I hate when people talk about depression like Mr. Miyagi; “The waves may crash on the stone and yet it holds strong, but over time water wins”…hell no! Depression is not something that should remain a mystery, it should not be a guessing game; it should be transparent so we can understand. But I get it: how do you express something so unfathomable?
So here is some of my story, straight up and fully transparent.
My name is David, I am 26 and I drive a Series 5 RX7 Turbo. The one word people use to describe me is stubborn. When I was young I thought it was an insult, until I found out how hard it is to wake up in the morning and to be stubborn every day.
If you want to really know what my life is like then I will be totally honest: I’ve had an awful last 2 months. Just before Christmas I started to feel unwell. I’ve always been fit and haven’t needed a doctor in over 10 years. I woke up one day and my stomach hurt, I was downing water like you can’t believe and my eyesight went so bad I could hardly see my feet let alone drive.
So then the doctor leans forward and says “Diabetes: here”, as he scribbles a script out. I have a pretty much perfect BMI of 20 and I can probably out run most quite easily. I hate desserts (sugar does not cause it, its purely genetics), but my blood glucose level was maxing out the machine; normal is around 6 mmol and I was above 30 after not eating for over a day.
You may know what diabetes is like but for those who don’t, I have to stab my fingers a minimum of 6 times a day (average is around 10 times a day) and put the blood into a machine that tells me my sugar level. On a great day I have to also stab myself in the stomach only twice to inject insulin (without insulin I would last about 3 months). Diet, alcohol, physical activity, driving, my life – everything – has changed.
If I want to drive anywhere I have to stab my finger and make sure my blood sugar level is high enough. If I am too low then I have to eat jelly beans and wait half an hour for it to come up (I HATE jelly beans now).
If I want to exercise then I have to be careful of my ketone level (when you burn fat your blood can turn acidic and that hurts. Your brain feels on fire and your stomach hurts like hell).
My work hours dropped from around 190 hours a month to under 80 because I am so exhausted and always at one doctor or a different specialist (podiatrist, dietitian, endocrinologist, and the list goes on), which means money is tight. I am physically not like I use to be. My body doesn’t even feel like my own anymore. I am weaker, dumber (yes when your sugar levels are off you can even feel your brain slowing down), I heal a lot slower, and injure a lot easier (currently sporting a stress fracture in my left ankle, swelling from a dislocated finger, swollen right knee, bruises everywhere, burns from getting a fireball in my face, sleep deprived and a 2 month old headache among the other constant pains).
So for you car guys and girls: Last week I was driving home and a knew something sounded off, all of a sudden about 2km from home my car blew the front rotor, so that motor is going to be torn down and eventually rebuilt. I knew it was coming and was planning a rebuild for the future but a vacuum line came off an oil injector and she went pretty quickly. So the Mazda is back in its home territory on jack stands (yes you can all make the jokes too).
That’s a little bit of my last 2 months, it’s not the worst time I’ve had in my life and it won’t be the last hard time. I’ve lost a lot of friends to depression, a family history of depression including my psychologist dad, people with diabetes are twice as likely to get it. I’ve already been through it before and looking at my life now I am scared to feel that way again, but I’m stubborn.
Here is why I am writing this: I wake up in the morning, roll over and grab my needles, stab my finger to check my levels and think “I can kind of understand why people cut themselves to feel something, but I hope they never have to go through having to do it every day to live”. I go to the fridge to get a drink, see the beer and remember the times when I have looked for the numb feeling at the bottom of a bottle. I take a tablet to protect my kidneys, remember the anti-depressants and not wanting people to know I was on them for fear of the stigma. I walk past the computer, where I lost myself in games to hide from the world. I walk out the front door past the blown RX7 and remember the times I drove to escape, and all the friends that taught me how to work on cars who lost their battle with depression. Each step every day is a stubborn one, but I can do it because I know what being depressed is like and I don’t want to feel that way again. It’s not easy, but its possible and it won’t always be hard.
If you are depressed and I could tell you one thing it would be to stop thinking that telling people you are depressed will be bad; we are all human and have all felt bad at one point or another. The most likely thing to happen will be people trying to help you. It just takes that one time to say “I’m not OK”. Tell people straight up and you will be amazed at the length people will go to help you.
Maybe one day you will see a white RX7 with a Cars For Hope sticker on the rear window driving down the street and remember that sometimes you just need a little help and time to get back on the road.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm or addiction, please reach out. Call 13 11 14 for Lifeline’s 24hr Telephone Crisis Support or contact a mental health professional. If you are looking for other mental health resources, browse our Find Help page.
If a life is in danger call 000 immediately.