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 Anonymous, Age 20
I’ll start straight off the bat with the unfortunate reality: If you’re looking for a story of triumph over mental illness then stop reading because this isn’t one of them.
My interest in cars never really had a beginning, it was just an ever-present interest that was in my world for as long as I can remember. The country of origin and purpose barely mattered back then. Growing up I learnt more about them. They were my thing.
I don’t know when I started to lose control over how I would feel on certain days, or how I felt about life in general. Early teens most likely. I well and truly hated high school. I was (and still am) a talkative person who had plenty of friends early in life but in high school, especially in the first 3 years, my only first friends were the people who made my life hell. Slurs about my background were common, and to fit in I would use self-depreciating humor. I had not an inch of confidence, no respect for myself, and no happiness. Suicide was a common thought, and a common desire, but I didn’t have it in me to do it, nor any sense of self-worth to try and improve my life, if that were possible.
A strange saving grace was my laziness. Self-harm, and other forms of coping seemed pointless, but it would also prove to be my undoing. At 16, I tried an online practice test for my learner licence, failed, and didn’t have the confidence to try the real deal. This was a big mistake.
Finally, my interest in cars had finally narrowed to specifics: German luxury V8s, R32 Golfs, and 80s-90s JDM, and at 17, I had had enough and finally got my learner licence. This was futile, but more on that later. I screwed up school and tried to join the Australian Defence Force, who decided the best course of action was dishonesty with my application. I was at a loose end: I was pretty much jobless and in dire poverty, so could rarely afford to hangout with the few friends I had.
I struck gold in the form of a car I never knew existed, all because of a glance in such a way that I saw the car resting in someone’s front yard. I was hooked, and visited it everyday for 4 days in a row afterwards. It was a 1 of 600 made Nissan Silvia S13 convertible, in midnight blue, coach-built by Autech with a K’s spec CA18DET and some rare options, such as a front aero bar with factory fog-lights. After several days I asked if I could buy it and within 3 weeks, with a loan from my parents at the age of 19, I’d bought my first car.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing due to continued financial difficulties, it hasn’t been completed. This, coupled with the inability to obtain my licence, and due to busy parents and university, I have not been able to achieve a means of stability and coping in life, or to even maintain happiness as a more common component of my life.
So I wish I could tell you that things are getting better because of this hobby that we all share. That it changed my life, rather than isolate me; that it gets better the older you get. But that simply isn’t the case for me, and it won’t be for some time, if I can make it that is. I wait patiently as every day goes by to try and fix it, and by extension, fix myself.
I hope your journey with mental illness can meet a positive end, but I urge everyone to look out for each other, no matter how they appear. It has been assumed by almost all that I am a happy individual, but in reality I’ve thrown on a mask to appear as likeable as possible, and thus smile despite feeling awful.
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.