“Looking back, I know I wasn't the burden that I thought I was. There were people who loved me and cared for me and wanted to help.”

I’ve lived with suicidal thoughts since I was a child. My intense ambition to succeed in my career was my way of dealing with difficult experiences from my past. It was almost manic behaviour, when I look back. Even when I achieved the success I aspired to, I just felt empty inside.

I’ve learned that things can happen quickly and unexpectedly. In 2005, I resigned from my job and faced a massive media fallout. I felt so much public shame and embarrassment about my behaviour at that time. I felt like I had let everyone down… all the people who supported and believed in me. I honestly thought that my wife, family and friends would all be better off without me, and I made an attempt on my life.

I now know that there is no shame from which you can’t recover. I’ve had professional support to manage depression for the past fifteen years. There’s a lot of pressure to maintain a particular lifestyle and image, particularly in places like the Northern Beaches. But I’ve come to see that people do want to support each other, even though it may not feel like it. Public empathy and sympathy helped build me back up again. There is hope and there is help out there.

Image
John and his wife, smiling on the beach
Image
John with a friend at a BBQ