Honestly, I've had this article sitting here for months, unsure if I wanted to post or share it because, obviously, I was worried about what people might say or think about a very personal story. I shouldn't let what other people say or think about me dictate my actions, especially when I think it's the right thing to do. That's almost how we got here in the first place. So with that, here it goes.
I’m not a leader or a face for mental illness. I’m not a cavalier for anxiety awareness or the Beyond Blue Foundation. I’m not poor or sick or orphaned. I’m not any of these things, but my story started from agonising about all the things I wasn’t, or am not.
Growing up, I was always the happy-go-lucky kid. I always tried to make people happy and I always tried to make sure they would remember me. For the longest time I can remember I just wanted people to enjoy being around me, but for the longest time I could never enjoy being around myself.
When I was around 18 years old I was like most other kids: just out of Year 12, unsure of what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. Like most kids just out of school there were some celebrations and some drinks to boot.
When you're 18 you have schoolies, celebration parties, your first music festival, and the next four months consist of the least amount of responsibility you have experienced in 12 years. That summer I even got a job at a bar down the beach so I could stay, be with my friends and party for the last three months of summer before my first year of university.
I had experienced no major tragic moments in my life and nothing should have been wrong, but it was just that: nothing. A dark emptiness inside me that could only be described as my subconscious trying to eat its way out from the inside. I thought perhaps it was all over girls or other problems, some of which seem trivial with hindsight. But it wasn’t. It was nothing. I felt nothing. I felt I was nothing.
The only time I felt I could feel anything was when I was drinking, and even then it went from a few moments of laughter - my idea of happiness at the time - and quickly turned to the darker, more sinister thoughts that occupied my mind. With each passing day it would only get worse and, without knowing, I was drinking every night just to feel something. Anything.
Anything that wasn’t the soul-crushing emptiness that was inside me, making me feel like I was slowly but surely being buried alive. I would go over each former scenario and future ones in my mind, making me question whether it was all really worth it.
Was this all that was to become of me? Could I stand there in front of friends and family as a failure?
I was subconsciously trying to drown out all of these thoughts. Too afraid to admit that possibly me, the kid always known for being happy and laughing, was just the opposite, and had been for years. Too proud to think for a second that someone with no tragic life incidents could be depressed or even unhappy.
I didn't know who I could turn to, because no one could have the answer when I didn't know the question. Hopeless can barely even begin to describe how I felt. While my friends and the people around me were having fun, I seemed to be conveniently trying to escape from reality.
Believe it or not, I was lucky. I was lucky enough to have someone there for me. To tell me that they have been there, and done that, and it’s okay to get help. I was lucky enough that someone got to me before it might have been too late.
I got help.
It wasn't easy. It wasn’t like I was told some secret to life that gives me an advantage over everyone else. It didn't happen overnight. But I did speak to someone. I was shown that I wasn't the first to feel this. That I didn’t need to worry about everything I wasn’t, because everything I am is good too.
In my story, I realised I was an unfinished product and always will be. There is no harm in telling someone 'I'm scared,' or asking 'Will you help me?'. I know now that no one has made it on their own, and nor do we have to. I am my own project, and only now do I look forward to working on that project everyday.
But everyone’s story is different and they tell it in a different way. Mine is not the worst you will ever hear, but it is mine, and it's not over. It may never be. The point is that I spoke up about it. And anyone that ever feels this way, whether you think your problems are trivial or not, speak to someone. Anyone. There shouldn't be any kind of stigma toward breaking down a wall.
But, like I said before this, I’m not a spokesperson, or a leader, or a face for mental illness. I’m just a young man who wanted to share his story in the hope that it might convince someone else to share theirs. So that’s me and my story; my walls are down and now the world knows.
But that’s okay because I’m okay, and I hope you're okay too.
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Beyond Blue Helpline - 1300 22 4636
Headspace - 1800 650 870
MindSpot Clinic - 1800 61 44 34
MensLine Australia - 1300 78 99 78
Real life Bond villain Eddie Goldsmith has a passion for photography, movies, basketball and speaking in third person. Like most other sleep deprived 20-somethings Eddie's managed to find a balance between calm and collected to being one coffee cup away from never sleeping again. Writer, Editor, Generous Lover, Photographer and part time funny man I'm always looking to try my hand at something new.