January of 2015, my friend’s mother brought this picture out of the archives and put it onto Facebook (the one on the right). I, and I’m sure many others, all had a good laugh at the time. But after I laughed, that picture really hit home! That picture was taken of me after 2 years on antidepressants ( 4 years all up) and 15 medical kilograms of weight gain, at time of my life that I was SO unhappy and had buried away deep inside. I guess it was safe to say I never wanted to see it again or be reminded. Yet staring at that picture it now resonated with, me that this most certainly was my defining moment, “life changing” as they say!

Mental illness is something that I never thought would ever hit me, especially depression! My first dance with the devil began when I was in my early teens, and my father fell ill to mental illness. I saw a man that I admired and loved dearly so WEAK, so FRAGILE, that it broke me! We lost our breadwinner, our house, we had no money. My mother not only had to look after 3 children and my father, but took on everything else as well. Eventually my parents had to move interstate and I decided to stay and live with my grandparents. To an extent I thought I was ok but my behaviour spoke differently. I became violent, negative, and insolent and had lost respect for ANY and all authority. This pattern continued for years. This saw me eventually moving back with my parents, whom had relocated from Melbourne to Brisbane. Brisbane posed many new challenges that I had never experienced, for the first time in my life I was all alone, no friends just a broken family and my new puppy Tyson, whom I bought so I’d have a companion. I was miserable, I went from being somebody to nobody, and my mind struggled to comprehend! I spent years travelling back and forth between Melbourne and Brisbane, never really knowing where I belonged, all the while grasping onto any moments of happiness, as if I’d never be able to feel that way again, then BOOM the black dog came, and he came collecting! Leaving me a broken man, mauled and gripping onto what little will to live I had left!

To be continued…

I want to take this moment to tell you all some home truths. I was truly SCARED, I felt absolutely ALONE and I honestly felt my life would never ever CHANGE at that time! But I want you to know it CAN and it WILL! Never give up the fight to live, and the chance to create the life you’ve always dreamed of. Although I may not have everything I want in this world, I found the strength to beat the “black dog”. The last few years I have managed to find myself again and become the master of my mind & body (that’s me today on the right) I have once again become that fighting fit man I once knew, except this time nothing can ever take that away from me. Peace and love and always remember #speakingupismanningup #achanceforchange