The farmer who hit rock-bottom and fought back from the brink
CHRIS Wilson is alive today thanks to his sister.
He knows the dangerous pull of depression. The relentless “background noise” as he calls it, started at age 22 with the unresolved grief over the death of his 15-year-old brother in a farming accident. It deepened over time.
“It starts off slow and you don’t let anyone know and, by the time you recognise it, it’s too big to reveal,” the 49-year-old Wagga Wagga farmer said.
Chris Wilson’s sister, Joelle, locked him inside and demanded he call help for his depression.
Mr Wilson hid his pain for 15 years.
“No one knew I had a problem, I was fairly gregarious in public, but the cracks had begun to show,” he said. After a year into a crippling drought, Mr Wilson hit rock bottom and contemplated suicide.
“I just couldn’t handle it. The dark feeling, the angst, the background noise,” he said.
Chris Wilson: “I touched the bottom and started coming back up.”
“I knew I was depressed but so depressed I didn’t know what to do about it, I was too scared to approach it because depression holds you under,” Mr Wilson said.
“But after a party in town I was staying at my sister’s and she said ‘what’s going on with you?’ and I admitted I think I’m depressed and she said ‘let’s do something about it’.
“I panicked and said I have to get something from the ute and I took off.”
Three months later, Joelle cornered him.
“She came over and said: ‘I’ve locked the doors and windows, you are ringing someone now’.
“I was at my wits end, I was tired, worn out and we looked up the phone book and made an appointment. I put the phone down and cried and said to my sister ‘you’ve just saved my life’. That sinking feeling stopped, I touched the bottom and started coming back up.”
Now Willo, as his mates call him, campaigns for mental health through the Riverina Bluebell initiative, a not-for-profit organisation raising awareness about mental health issues in the bush and encourages people to open up.
You will need to register here to attend one of the forums.
May 6, 2016 12:00am
JANE HANSEN The Sunday Telegraph