I may look perfectly normal, confident and happy but I was at a point in my life where I felt so completely worthless that I questioned whether or not I should continue to live…
The problem was, I wasn’t living, I was merely existing.
I had isolated myself from friends and family to the point of having no meaningful connections. I had developed a powerful addiction to gambling that I just couldn’t break free from. I had my dreams shattered of playing AFL football when I was 18 and went undrafted. And I knew absolutely nothing about what the words mental health even meant so my mental state was spiralling out of control so fast I thought I was going insane. I felt I had no one in my life who would want to spend time with me, I had no prospects moving forward, no one who came into my life would want to put up with all the shit & I felt completely worthless.
Fast forward to 2019 and I am full of motivation and passion to provide knowledge and motivation to anyone who is on a path to considering self harm or suicide.
Where did you come from?
As mentioned above, I’ve come from a very dark place. I began to isolate from everyone in my life from the age of about 19 once I left the SANFL system. I no longer felt I belonged anywhere. I was chasing money in the country in SA & Victoria to feed a gambling addiction, I was moving house time and time again as I could never settle & I was continuously breaking down in any attempt of a relationship because I had developed severe fear of commitment and being hurt.
I self-diagnosed myself with depression in 2013 before things all got too much for me whilst travelling alone in Brazil in 2014 which is where I first considered the thought that the world was better off without me.
I then continued to try and “get over” my depression and addiction myself, kept creating more and more stress for myself & in 2017 I had a major panic attack which led me to going to the GP and being diagnosed with anxiety.
I felt trapped, isolated & alone from the age of 16 to 28. I was in denial that I had any problems and was convinced I could do everything myself.
Where am I now?
I am someone who has lived with addiction, depression & anxiety. I still have days where I self-doubt everything, my mood is so low that I feel nothing & I do not want to talk to anyone. But I have learnt to accept that this is okay.
I now understand my triggers, I work on myself daily & I ask for help when it is needed. I most certainly have had challenges and setbacks but each time this happens now, instead of letting it derail everything, I process it and learn from it.
I exercise daily. I meditate daily. I connect daily. I read daily. I have empowered myself to use my struggles to learn, adapt and grow from them.
I am now the founder of I Am Worthmore, a charity with the purpose of creating a mentally healthy Australia. Through lived experienced facilitated stories like mine, we share these to help break down stigma associated with mental health and mental illness, and educate people on how to manage and improve their mental health.
I speak & run workshops all over Australia to help explore themselves to become self aware of their current situation.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who have overcome extremely difficult situations. The types that make you sitback and go.. wow! How the hell have they not given up yet? One for example is Alex Johnson, I mean come on, 6 knee re-constructions? How on earth do you keep going from that?
People that deal with mental illness daily amaze me. The invisible illness that makes you feel like nothing. People who live with this are stronger than they think and more powerful than they know. I am driven to show anyone who wants to listen.
There is power in stories and everyone has a story. I am motivated to help people find their story and use it to motivate and inspire.
Where are you going?
My personal mission aligns with the charity I founded, “creating a mentally healthy Australia”, so one person at a time, one day at a time, I will strive to learn and improve and help other people do the same.
My goal for 2020 is to travel around Australia delivering free education and awareness sessions to over 50 towns. I will film the trip and use it to really educate Australia on the issues we face but bring light to how we can solve them.
I am proactive, I believe mental health is not a curable thing. It is a sliding scale. So instead of pumping money into research and support, we need to take ownership as individuals that instead of letting our mental state get to the point where it feels like rock bottom, lets start to change behaviours and habits now to be more productive and mentally healthy!