Lachlan Cosgrove shares his battle with the black dog
FORMER Gympie man and reality TV star, Lachlan Cosgrove regularly communicates many personal details of his life on a daily basis in his job as a radio host on the 93.1 Sea FM breakfast show in Bundaberg.
But the former winner of Channel 7's Beauty and the Geek Australia has used his local and national profile to share an even more personal and important struggle - dealing with depression.
An avid writer, Lachlan took to social media to add his voice to the fight against mental illness, and the stigma surrounding it. We've republished his post today.
LATELY, I haven't written. In fact, I haven't done much of anything.
There's a saying about writing - "write what you know". So here's what I know at the moment.
I have depression.
I'm not here searching for love, sympathy or support with this mental illness. Thankfully, I have those things already in my personal life. Undoubtedly, my depression is of little importance to you and your life.
What I am doing, however, is speaking up about my own mental health, in the hopes that we can all continue to break down the stigma attached to mental illness. The culture in Australia has come ahead greatly in my lifetime, but I still feel there's more work to be done. More work on backing our mates, more work on healthy workplaces, and more work on creating a culture where someone suffering in silence is not worried about seeking help.
Even in posting this, I am worried that it could have implications for my career - that my mental illness might be seen as a liability in the entertainment industry. So be it - I can entertain, without an industry.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44. Every year, 2522 people die by suicide. This is the worst manifestation of mental illness.
For the first time last fortnight, in the midst of a crippling anxiety attack that had physical manifestations, I got a grasp on why that statistic is so high. It was a logical, empathetic thought that entered my brain during the anguish - "imagine if this feeling went on for months, you would do absolutely anything to get out of this", I thought.
I can see a way out of my depression. There are environmental and situational factors at play that I can change slowly, but surely - even if it is painstaking. But what if I couldn't see a way out? What then? What does someone in that position do?
Plain and simple - they need help. And we can all be a part of a society that gives them the best chance to get that help. Break the stigma. Look out for your friends. If you're suffering, speak up. It's not weak. In fact, our society is almost manufactured to produce it. You're a completely normal human for feeling like you do.
If you are struggling, it is okay to seek help - I spoke to a doctor about my mental health for the first time, three weeks ago. It helped.
There's also helplines, internet chat services, as well as other resources and information readily available via the internet. Please seek it out.
This is probably completely unhelpful rambling, but it's my story for today.