“Talking about what’s going on with other people and realising that your worries aren't a burden is a huge help to yourself, I've learnt that.”

I feel really lucky to have grown up around the Sutherland Shire and beaches in Sydney, and I had an incredibly happy childhood. As an adult, I found success in niche areas of the construction industry and lived in a huge house on the water. I had an amazing partner and a great group of mates.
 
From the outside, it seemed like I had a perfect life. But deep down I was struggling. I felt like I couldn't talk to my family and friends, for fear of burdening them. I didn't want them to know the horrible feelings I was having. I was embarrassed to tell them I was suicidal. I was having negative, paranoid thoughts, worrying all the time, and drinking to numb the pain.
 
I often wouldn’t show up to work and I felt so bad that I was letting everyone down.  My manager encouraged me to go to a doctor, who diagnosed me with chronic anxiety, coupled with bouts of crippling chronic depression. Even though having that diagnosis was a relief, I still felt that my problems were taking a huge toll on the people around me, particularly my girlfriend. When she went overseas, I felt like I had no one to turn to, and made a plan to take my life. I’m incredibly thankful that I decided to make contact with her, and she talked me out of it.
 
Since then, I've travelled the East Coast, and across the world. I’ve worked at sea for months without seeing land. I’ve challenged myself, and started studying music. I'm so stoked that I got to do the things that I've done. Now, life couldn't be better. It’s amazing how much things change, once you find the right person to open up to. The road to recovery isn’t a road walked alone. It doesn’t make you any less of a person to talk to someone.

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Mark playing with his dog in the park.
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A portrait of Mark, smiling on the beach.