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Mental Illness does not discriminate

On average 170-180 people attempt suicide every day. On average 8 people per day will never wake up to a new sunrise, never have another hot meal, never feel the emotion of a hug, never walk through the park embracing nature’s feels, never be able to tell their story again which is the reality of many peoples journey.

For the 8 people per day who’s mental health journey can no longer be told, I bow my head with a deep level of sadness. I know your pain because just over 7 years ago my story was one that nearly had its final chapter. For 7 years I have been able to tell my story of “3 inches from death but 3 steps to my life.” Having lived in an undiagnosed nightmare for 18 years of my life, it finally took the darkest position in my life to see the pathway forward.

Mental Illness does not discriminate. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about and it scares us. As a past member of the AFL industry I know all too well the depths of despair that it can cause living the life of a professional sports person. I understand that many athletes or members of the community can flourish and make their way through the dark periods in their life to find strength on the other side. We put people of profile up on a pedestal and providing them with a different set of rules for life while praising every high and condemning every low to the point it creates emptiness and isolation.

Not a day goes by I don’t meet another person (or 10) who shares their journey of devastation that is mental illness. Waking up feeling overwhelmed by simple daily activities, the senseless race that goes on inside one’s head, the feeling of a sunken heart, the wrenching feeling in your gut that makes you just want to scream, the constant fear and doubt of not belonging to this world, the process of never being happy because you no longer understand what the other side looks or feels like and the desire just to feel normal again for just 5 minutes…is occurring more than we know.

As a society we are slowly making inroads to making a difference. More research and education is being facilitated more than ever before however we still demonize industries and organisations when mental illness and the stigma associated with it is a societal problem of epidemic proportions. Survey after survey, Mental Health is being rated the No. 1 issue or concern in life and yet we are still shocked when it occurs to a high profile person. It’s time we stop blaming and start listening. Open up conversations with people and create proactive frameworks that are that will provide you and those close to you with the right tools and strategies to tackle the beast head on.

For those fighting the battle, tell your story, be aware of it, acknowledge what you need to do about it then action it. It’s time to change. It’s time to stand up and make a difference!

No one travels their Journey alone!