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 Robert, Age 43

This has been going on since I can remember; my childhood, youth and adulthood. Now I have finally been diagnosed I look back and realise why I did and what I’ve done, and get frustrated that no one assessed me earlier. If they did, I’d have less charges on my record and had done less jail time. But, better late than never I guess.

Because of it, I was kicked out of home at the age of 15 and spent over 7 years on the streets and roughly 6 years in total in lock up but on different sentences. Most for violent crimes.

I attempted suicide a few times but couldn’t even do that right. I ended up in mental health clinics and rehabs but back then they never took the time to really assess me. I was also probably too stubborn to open up as I closed right up from street and jail life. And what I seen in that time didn’t help. I nearly died from being stabbed by a sword and 6 months later nearly executed in a home invasion.

It was then I realised I needed to do something, so 3 days later I was living in Queensland under a new name: new name, new state, and new me with a new start. I spent over 10 years up there and in that time joined up with the Rural Fire Service. I saw a lot as our patch covered a high accident area. Most motor vehicle accidents were truck against car head ons so they were not a pretty sight but I learnt to switch off and just do the job.

I missed family and came back. Worked odd jobs through my life but couldn’t keep them for long. Eventually once I got out of and away from that life I still had that one thing that hung onto me and I couldn’t let go fully: my drug addiction.

But my morals helped, because I never broke the law to get a fix, no matter how sick I was from withdrawals. It all came to a head and I finally buckled and wanted out again. This was last October; I had it all sorted out and just needed the booster first and that’s when I badly busted and dislocated my ankle. So that saved my life again. After 2 months of physical healing I planned to do it again. I just wanted out but my ex wanted me back. I came back but I was still wasn’t right mentally and I left again to go end it again, this time my mate kept me at his place and took me to see my doctor the next day. I did and was admitted to the psychiatric ward where this time I was properly assessed.

My diagnosis was chronic depression and anxiety, PTSD and bipolar social disorder and put on the right medications and discharged with referrals for ongoing treatment. I’ve been doing everything that was prescribed and am now more stable but still very slowly healing mentally. The main thing for me was I was finally shown the right door to open to be put on the right path.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am far from, if ever, being healed. All I can do is take it one day at a time. Yeah I still have suicidal tendencies but I fight my way through and have help a phone call away. My fiancé is now my carer but I feel guilty and like a burden on her. I can’t thank her enough for taking it on. Yeah, I still have my bad days and outbursts but nothing near as they used to be nor do I keep that aggression built and stew on it anymore.

This is my story and I hope you read it all and even if I save just one life, I’m over the moon. You are not alone and don’t have to suffer that way. Be VERY honest, open to your doctor and if needed, ask them for help before you take the alternative action. I really hope they too can show you the right door to open as mine did for me when I arrived in tears.

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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