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Story Submission by Dantae, Age 21

My name is Dantae and I was diagnosed with psychotic depression and anxiety in 2018.

Prior to my diagnosis I was in a relationship which began in February of 2017 and ended abruptly in February of 2018. That February in 2017 I bought myself a 2005 WRX Club Spec Evo 8 in champagne gold. Since leaving Year 12 and acquiring my drivers license it was my dream at the time to own and build that car. Also during that month I met a girl who soon became my girlfriend in early March. At the start of our relationship everything seemed fine. I thought I had found the love of my life however, that opinion soon changed. Throughout the course of our one year relationship I was subjected to emotional and physical abuse. This affected me in a way I never thought was possible. My dignity, my manhood, my trust and the positive respect/opinion I had of myself was taken from me. I saw myself as an individual who was simply worthless. I could handle the physical abuse, that is a pain that fades and goes away. The mental imprint it left on me, though, was something I could not bear to handle. The emotional abuse, that I could not take. The constant array of words flooding my mind: you are weak, you are small, you are inferior, you are ugly, you will never be loved by someone else. The poison from her mouth dwindled me down day by day. I was isolated, I felt alone and I could not speak. There were many nights where I would just cry myself to sleep. She would lay right next to me and not say a word, nor would she ever mutter an apology. I was isolated from my own family. She would constantly belittle my mother and father; she would say how horrible my mother was. I knew this was not true. But I still listened. I listened to everything she had to say. All of which left an imprint in my mind. The subjective nature of her words I took as objective.

During this time my car gave me hope. It gave me something to look forward to. It was my pride and joy, but most importantly, it was my safe haven. I felt safe inside my car. It brought smiles to my face. It gave me a sense of happiness. It gave me a sense of normality; what it was like to be myself again. Even if it was just for 30 minutes of my day. It was an escape from it all. I poured lots of money into modifying that car. I loved it. Things progressively began to worsen as the time went on in that relationship. I was too afraid to leave. Afraid of the consequences. I met a lot of great people through car events. I made new friends. Going to these meets alone and talking to other people who enjoyed the same passion was great. It was another escape for me.

Time progressed and the sinister comments and actions were no fewer. I was subjected to one of the most demoralizing acts, one I had never dreamt off. It crushed me. It embarrassed me. It really ruined me. I felt so trapped and isolated. I couldn’t speak to anyone. I couldn’t tell a soul. I was so so humiliated. Dealing with being beaten up or verbally abused was in comparison so much easier to deal with for lack of a better term. The beating, the comments, whilst so so hard to fathom and cope with, as hard as it is to say, I would have preferred that any day of the week rather than the one demoralizing action I endured and now carry with me. With this weight now on my shoulders I had lost all hope. Any hope of happiness, any hope of recovery, it was gone. After nearly a year of being subjected to this behavior I didn’t see a future in this world fit for me. I looked in the mirror every day and just saw pure hate and disappointment. I saw embarrassment. I looked at my own eyes in the mirror, I looked at myself and didn’t foresee a future. I had lost all hope. I only saw one way out. That way out was suicide.

Working in healthcare I knew I needed help. I accessed therapy with through my work employer assistance program. This helped somewhat in terms of tactics to calm myself down. Breathing exercises and such. Whilst this helped me at work I couldn’t practice these within her company at home. She would see that. And for her that is a victory. I saw my GP and asked to go on a mental health care plan. I gained access to 10 visits and was referred to a lovely psychologist. As lovely as she was I couldn’t tell her what was really going on. I remained a closed book in terms of the abuse I was experiencing. I was prescribed some anti-depressants and my ex hated this. She called me a looney and told me that she would not support someone who was always spaced out on medication. Yet she never was a support to me in the first place. Despite seeing a psychologist I was still carrying so much pain and humility. In my eyes I wasn’t a man anymore; not after what had happened. I got beat up by a girl numerous times; what kind of man is that. I got emotionally abused and listened to every cruel sentence that rolled off her tongue and took it onboard; what kind of man is that. I was humiliated in the worst way imaginable; I was no man after that. I would sit at my desk at work and hold back the tears. Every single day. Sometimes I would cry. But I was never approached. No body asked me how I felt. All I wanted was one, one person to ask me if I was okay. I emptied all of my anti depressants in the palm of my hand, I formed a fist and walked to the bathroom. I took what I had believing it was enough to make me brain dead. I went back to my desk and said goodbye to my family and broke down waiting for my spirit to leave my body and be free from the pain I felt. I thought I was going to be freed from all that had happened. A work colleague asked if I was okay. I told them what I did. I was sent to hospital in an ambulance and was placed in emergency care. She had the audacity to be there like nothing she had done ever caused a problem. She could do that because I never spoke up. I lied on my bed and told my own mother that I just wanted to die. I felt no attachment to this world at the time. In my eyes I had failed once again.

Following my first attempt two others have since followed. I have finally spoke up though. It may have taken two admissions into a psych ward and years of therapy with my psychologist and psychiatrist and finding the right balance of medication. But I am feeling like myself once more and I have so much hope. I now drive a turbocharged BRZ and like my old WRX this too is my safe haven. My pride and my joy. It has gotten me through tough times. It gives me hope and excitement. What to do next, where to go, the thirst for more power and more mods. If anyone out there reading this wants to talk, please send me a message. Are you okay? Don’t be afraid to speak up. There are people that will listen. There are people that can help. They won’t judge you but guide you. You can do this. You can do anything in this world of ours. Live it out and to the fullest. You never know what joy is awaiting around the next bend.

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.

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