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 Jono, Age 24

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for a long time. Four year’s ago my grandmother passed away from cancer and my girlfriend at the time left me. I purchased a 2002 Nissan Stagea, a car I wanted for a long time. Through owning this car I’ve met some amazing people; a lot are my closest friends now. I increased my driving ability in this car, and modified it from stock to what it is now, pushing through what I was struggling with over the years.

Fast forward several years to a year ago this month. I had blown the gearbox. Three months off the road and $6000 later I had my pride and joy back, but it was only two weeks before I was involved in a crash that almost killed me. The next day my dog passed away, and a month after that my project car was written off from another driver. I was left pretty shattered and felt pretty down. It was around this time that I found Cars For Hope and it really connected with me.

Some wonderful people from all across the country through one good friend helped me to save my Stagea from being written off, and seven months later I got the car back from being repaired. Since then I’ve bought a 1995 Toyota Aristo and I’ve been driving it daily ever since.

Recently I was in a pretty bad place again, and looking back onto Cars For Hope inspired me to enter my car in a driving event in Perth two weeks ago at the last minute. It brought a lot of my driver confidence back and reignited a lot of passion that had died with everything that had happened.

Over the weekend I went for some long random drives: one where I took my Stagea, and the other where I took my Aristo. It reminded me that no matter how bad I’m feeling, no matter how dark things get, the minute I turn the key and I hear the roar of the engine, nothing else matters. I can turn my music on, enjoying my cars, appreciating my friends who have helped me, and loving life.

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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