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Story Submission by Duane, Age 41

Hi Cars For Hope,

I’ve bought a couple of stickers and see you share some stories on your page so I thought if I shared, maybe one, just one child wouldn’t have to go through what I did when I was young by creating awareness, and as we do, getting help and stopping tragedies before they go too far.

Just a bit of background info: I was hit on the back of the head and neck with a cricket ball (like Phil Hughes) and was knocked unconscious in Grade 4 at Gympie Central State School one day. The ball was hit for a six and I was walking away returning to class when I got hit. No ambulance was called.

I thought I was fine.

I can say now, one time when I was away with my dad, who was separated from my mother, he raped a lady while in the same motel room with me and her two daughters at about midnight one night when we were at Airlie Beach. It was dark and us kids knew what went on but what could we do? I lived on forcing myself to sleep that night. I only met her daughters once, and I hope they are alright.

Because of these events I looked up SANE Australia and everything started changing. I wanted out, trying to escape thinking I would end up like my dad: fat, no career and lonely. The truth is hard to bear.

Unemployed and trying to find work I took it to Centrelink, taking up the fight to give the unemployed more money to live on, and I did this the wrong way. My message was silly as I received a fail-grade in English one year combined with growing mental illness – I became unable to be understood and couldn’t communicate. Moving myself to disability JobSearch services along with growing concern from various miscommunication and even vacuuming at 10 p.m. one night, I eventually found help.

I was incarcerated in a mental health ward at Nambour Hospital in 2009 – twice now. Both times without medication; the second time was a trial without medication because I was getting symptoms of dizziness. This is when an MRI scan found an underlying lesion around my brain where I was hit with the cricket ball (how the cricket incident fits into this, and I also have a permanent lump there).

My diagnosis: paranoid schizophrenia probably exacerbated by the death of my father.

Before Cars For Hope, yes I got treatment and yes I was on medication; but I thought there was no group I could relate to. I wanted to give back. Now I have bought a #THEORANGEEFFECT sticker, and my next purchase is an #IAMDRIVEN sticker and donation. Thank you.

My brother is the reason I found a passion for cars and finding Cars For Hope is the reason I have hope now. I used to have an old Nissan R34 Skyline GTT but sold it before the value skyrocketed. Now I have a Nissan Pulsar SSS Heritage Edition. Like the colour orange with no rhyming word, the heritage edition is rare at a lowly forty rolled out of the factory. I feel unique along with my car. It’s a bond only known to some enthusiasts as I’ve even been told. I know you will know what I’m talking about.

So in conclusion, I’ve been discharged from the mental health ward twice, stayed on medication for ten years, and am now stable and still visit a psychiatrist when I need to. I’m venturing into self employment building fishing rods, mowing and computer consulting and saving for a house deposit. Well my car needs a wash so I’m off.

Lastly, just thank you for being there and providing a mental health portal.

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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