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Story Submission by Jared, Age 25

It’s taken me an awful long time to get to a point in life where I can open up like this, but if someone reads this and is helped by it in some form, then it’s all been worth it.

My love for cars started young, as for many of us. I was always fascinated with my dad’s collection of supercar flashcards he got out of cereal boxes, and naturally I began collecting Matchbox vehicles too. One in particular, a British racing green Jaguar XJ220, sparked a lifelong friendship that endures to this day. Such is the power of emotion cars can evoke.

Growing up in the country I learned to drive very young as well, and at age 17 I bought my first car – a Subaru B4 sedan. In an instant I was hooked. I loved the way I could power it up winding valley roads and know it would handle whatever I threw at it.

At 20 I moved to the city and had my first true taste of automotive enthusiast culture. I joined a circle of likeminded people and we met every Friday night to socialise and burn rubber. The stellar rate at which I was making new friends and connections left me walking on air; finally I had found somewhere I could fit in! This golden period also brought some well-needed romance into my life. Surely, with all my teenage angst behind me, my life was finally coming together! It was a shame I never saw the fall coming.

In the space of about a month, my entire life unraveled. Firstly, the relationship I was in at the time violently imploded. Death threats and all. While the breakup was incredibly messy, what followed was simply catastrophic.

Next, a freak accident saw my pride and joy totalled, and with myself living on a student loan I struggled to scrape together enough money to pay the insurance excess. Then two weeks later, the final nail in my coffin, a serious car accident the night before I was supposed to collect my new car. It was only by sheer luck that we survived, yet alone walked away completely unhurt. Well, physically anyway.

The combination of all of this all at once ultimately proved too much to handle and I went into freefall, spiralling down into a near-fatal depression from which I’ve yet to fully recover, 4 years on. I isolated myself from the people who cared and got involved with some bad crowds, taking myself on a self-destructive roller coaster ride. The only time I could feel safe and in control was behind the wheel, so I spent as much time there as I could, much to the detriment of my finances.

Fast-forward to today and I’ve reached a turning point in life. After months of saving I’ve finally achieved my dream of owning a Subaru 3.0R Spec.B sedan, which I’ve affectionately named “Phoenix” for its symbolism relating to rebirth and new life. And not only that, I met someone very special who tore down the walls I built around myself and taught me how to feel again.

I would never have imagined that I would be saying my life begins at 25, but this phoenix is rising from the ashes. Will I soar or will I fall again? Only time will tell. Until then, I pledge to seize the moment, and live one day at a time – improving both myself and my car along the way.

As far as learned wisdom goes from my experience, never doubt that there are people around you that do care. I didn’t reach out when I should have and caused myself far more damage as a result. I know how hard it is, but trust me, you aren’t alone.

And whatever you do, always keep fighting; always.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

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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