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 Josh, Age 16
In July of 2014 I played a role on the hunt for a missing person who was battling depression, and for 5 days I was posting a distinctive photo of him sitting in his car. I felt like everyone involved, along with myself, were confident that he simply wanted time to himself – time to think more clearly – but 5 days later his car was found abandoned, with his body being found a short time later. I guess it was a surprise to everyone involved but it hit me especially hard.
In March 2015, automotive business owner Robbie Hatcher was racing in his recently completed Silverado truck at TX2k15, an event where some of the fastest street cars in the US gather to race. Three days later Robbie wrote a short online message saying he is sorry and telling goodbye to his family and friends. Moments later he took his own life. He was at war with himself for many years and no one including his family knew.
After Robbies passing I feel I should tell my story and help make sure people don’t follow me down my path.
I was a mistake at the end of the day and I’m completely cool with it; my Mum and Dad were both young and it wasn’t going to work so Dad left and never came back. My Mum raised me around old cars including an old VH Commodore. She was a massive tomboy, but nothing caught my eye about cars until she bought a tan VB Commodore wagon with a tan interior, a mildly worked 202 engine and me in the middle of the back seat in my baby chair. I remember the worn interior smell and the sun-cracked steering wheel. She drove this thing as if there were apexes on every corner. It scared the absolute hell out of me but I soon fell in love with what this machine could do.
That was my first love and like most first loves they fall apart. The car broke down one day and we left it with a friend for a month . I guess my love for cars were left with that car.
I was always a troubled child in primary school; always sitting at the principal’s office but that was just me taking all my anger and frustration out I would build up with 4 years of step dad and new step dad problems.
That resulted in me being a bully. It was all I had at the time to show that I was strong and I could take the pain but nobody I bullied deserved it and I wish I could fix that.
With all of my family problems I guess I needed a role model to turn to. I had a strange thought, “What about my real dad?”. As our family put itself back together I was still asking myself who he was, what he looked like and what stories did he have to tell? From that day forward he was a good man in my mind.
I had just turned 12 and after coming home from school I lost control and ran away from home.
My Mum fell into depression for the next 6 months because her son had just left and the more she tried to say ‘josh when are you coming home we missed you’ I fought the urge to give in and stayed at my nanna’s house.
On my 13th birthday I felt like I was getting older as I was now a teenager so after a month of thinking I felt like I should ask about my Dad and if we could get in contact with him. My Aunty still had friends that knew about him so I was eventually on his Facebook account every day for a month before I found the courage to message him.
We met and spent some time together, and I also met my amazing younger sister. Everything looked like it was falling into place and then he simply vanished. At first i was convinced he would return and as months went by I grew more and more distant from everyone around me; I was slowly falling into a deep hole of feeling like a nobody.
I had looked up to this man most of my life and now he had left me again. I felt so disgusted with myself, and being 13 these thoughts can slowly swallow you.
It soon did.
I had always held my feelings in and never told anyone about the war i was in. Everyday I could feel myself getting worse, kind of like I was rotting away and soon the pressure would be to much and i would fall apart and it would be over.
I had written long letters to my friends and family and my only wishes were for Mum to build her dream car and drive it like i was with her every time. 20 days later I left the letter on my bed and started to walk to a nearby park that was beside a train line.
I sat at the park until I could see the head lights of the train in the distance. I stood up, jumped the fence and waited, getting ready to walk towards the train. But as the train got closer I started to see my mum and sister, who looked up to me, and then my newly born baby brother. I started to cry as I walked closer to the train until I couldn’t walk anymore and the train flew past me. I remember staring at it while my my life flashed before me.
I got home and put the letters away and I guess had to see if I felt like I should just end it or fight.
The day I took the letters and set fire to them was the day I started fighting, and I’m so glad I did.
I’m now 16 completing a mechanics course and with a job that pays little, but the one thing that reminds me that I made the right choice that night is the love for my 1973 Holden HQ Premier. It’s only a rolling shell now, but my plan is to build it, complete with and LS1 engine, sunburst gold paint and a matte black 4″ cowl bonnet scoop.
I have also bought my new daily driver, a 1985 Ford XF wagon and I love it. My main goal is to finish the HQ with my Mum and then we are off to Summernats to drive the absolute wheels off of it.
To me depression was entering a tunnel with a flashlight: you feel safe walking through the darkness and unknown with a light, but every flashlight dies and when it does is when you will get more and more scared.
But just remember that no tunnel has a dead end. There is a light at the end of every tunnel and once you get there no one and nothing can stop you from reaching your goals.
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.