The following content may contain information about mental health and/or other related material which may be triggering. Reader discretion is advised.

Story Submission by Kasey, Age 29

Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues have affected every single day of my life that I care to remember. Both from myself and outside sources. I never thought I would have ever been someone who drinks to attempt to dull their emotions and feelings, and I never thought I would have been someone who verbally abused their younger sibling. I never saw myself using self-injury as a distraction to other issues. Not in a million years did I ever think I would have to convince my mother she needed to go to the hospital while she was begging me for money to spend on alcohol.

But all that happened unfortunately.

I quit drinking and I asked for my younger siblings forgiveness (he accepted my apology for my awful behavior). I refuse to mark my body with intent to distract or hurt myself any longer. But sadly I cannot thus far bring myself to speak to my mother any longer – the strongest person I ever knew who went through so much and instilled the values I hold to this day, saw me as a means to feed her addiction to alcohol, gambling, pills and tobacco. I wasn’t her son any longer. I was an opportunity to gain money (through stealing or emotional manipulation/abuse) for the things that had overtaken her. Maybe some day when I feel ready I can reform a relationship with my mum, but no time soon unfortunately.

The ugly truth of mental illnesses is it never really heals completely, much like a broken bone will always have a weak spot. An alcoholic is always an alcoholic, they just manage that part of their life through learning, practice and support.

Through learning about my own and others’ mental health problems I have gained insight into the causes, effects and triggers that can alter my thoughts and feelings.

Through practice I employ strategies when I feel myself unable to overcome an obstacle. I slip up, constantly, but there are times when I am able to succeed and feel as though I have accomplished another step on the road to being able to build up my ability to function.

Through support I have discovered how capable I am, how adaptable and resilient I am and how I have not quite allowed myself to give up entirely just yet.

My creative passion, building model cars, isn’t anything like building and driving real cars at all. But I believe a huge part of me being able to see in black and white terms that I am capable of learning, succeeding, growing and being creative is having the opportunity to enjoy my hobby and be a part of the wonderful community surrounding it. To have somewhere I feel as though I can be of value and I belong.

Thank you, Cars For Hope for this opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings. I hope through this avenue more awareness can grow for those of us who silently suffer and feel as though things are hopeless. I could write thousands more words about my experience. But I’m happy to even have a platform to share what I have.

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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