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 Alan, Age 30

I’ve always had a negative outlook on life, and when I hit my teens the struggles people have with self and their place in the world pushed me into a pretty lonely place. I had people around me, but even in their midst if I let my mind wander I’d feel like I was missing something inside.

Having made friends who went through the kind of depression that left them unable to leave the house I don’t know if I’d call my own experiences depression but I was certainly less than happy with myself.

This time also coincided with getting a license, and driving became my primary release. I never took illicit drugs and only socially (binge) drank, but the adrenaline rush from driving fast gave me a high and the intense focus required to drive like that meant my mind couldn’t wander and settle on things that dampened my spirits.

What I did wasn’t the safest thing in the world, as I drove like I had very little to lose. I wasn’t going out trying to kill myself, but at the same time my fearlessness came from not caring if I lived or died rather than a belief in my skill. In my mind the reason to avoid crashing was to avoid failing, not to avoid dying. I wouldn’t try to exceed my limits, but I’d try and find and hold it there on a regular basis. In hindsight it was more luck than anything that kept me from killing myself behind the wheel.

Even driving alone, slowly, around town with some music on my mind would wander but it dissipated the sadness and left me, while not happy, calmer. Being behind the wheel brought me both pleasure and peace.

While those thoughts of idle darkness have never gone away they’re not quite so black anymore. Through cars and the car scene I made a lot of friends who I spend most of my time with these days. Those feelings of loneliness rarely crop up these days and while I can’t say I’m content I at least care enough about my own life to try to preserve it.

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.

Stories written by members of the Cars For Hope community. Find out how you can submit your story today.

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