Tag Archives: Danny Baker

Depression is not Destiny – Campaign

Today my friend Danny Baker launches his campaign to show 100,000 people that Depression is not Destiny campaign.
Danny is only 25 years old and is dedicating his life to help other people climb out of the hole of depression, that he experienced as a teenager.

Danny suffered from clinical depression and came very close to killing himself. Fortunately, he was one on the lucky ones, he got help and managed to turn his life around. Danny was studying at a top University in Australia and was on track to go become a management consultant. He gave up all of this to try and build a career as a writer and advocate for depression. He wrote a book about his experiences called ‘The Danny Baker Story – How I came to write “I will not kill myself, Olivia’ and founded the Depression is not Destiny campaign.’ Danny gives this book away for free.
The response to the book has been overwhelming for Danny, he has people contacting him from all over the world, who tell him how less alone they feel now.
Isolation and loneliness are what depression feeds off and Danny is passionate about removing the stigma around depression so more people can get help.
He is working with a consultancy company to launch a ‘Depression is Not Destiny’ International day.

Depression is not Destiny

Depression is not Destiny

Danny is seeking to crowdfund $20,000 (Australian dollars)in order to get his book out to anyone suffering from depression via Facebook ads. His book will always be free, he just needs to pay for the advertising to reach as many people as possible. If you have been affected by depression and would like to support Danny’s campaign you can read more about it here.

Danny Baker – Depression is NOT destiny

I’ve met an incredible young man. His name is Danny Baker and he lives is Sydney, Australia.

Danny Baker

Danny Baker

He is 24 years old and has recovered from depression. His depression was so serious and so crippling that it almost killed him. He abused alcohol and drugs in an effort to try and deal with how he felt. Thankfully he eventually got the right kind of help and is well on the road to recovery.
Instead of just getting on with his life, Danny realized that depression was a common problem and that young men were the least equipped to deal it.

So he decided to do something about it.

Last year he founded the Depression is not Destiny Campaign which aims to inspire suffers of the illness to never give up on happiness.
In addition to that he has just published his first book: ‘The Danny Baker Story – How I came to write “I will not kill myself, Olivia”‘which you can download for free on his website.

As the mother of a 2-year old little boy I’m incredibly passionate about what Danny is doing. I believe we are failing our young people because we are not educating them on how to manage their emotional lives. We are particularly failing young men when we don’t teach them how to express their emotions healthily. Instead the feelings they can’t handle are expressed in anger, violence, depression or suicide.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death on 15-24 year olds.
I mean just stop to think about that. Our children feel so bad, they want to kill themselves.
We are doing something very wrong and it we need to change.

Which is why I’m supporting Danny and I hope you will too.

Please read my interview with Danny and forward it to whoever you think may benefit from reading his inspiring story.

1. How old were you when you first realised you were depressed?

I was almost 20 when I was first diagnosed, but in hindsight I’d been depressed for at least nine months. It started when I was 19, but because I didn’t know anything about depression, I didn’t realize that what I was feeling – constant misery and vehement self-loathing – were symptoms of an illness. Then one day, I found myself standing over the edge of a bridge wanting to jump. I later told my mum about it and she insisted I see a doctor. That’s when I was first diagnosed and realized I was suffering from depression.

2. What help did you get?
I initially started seeing a GP on a regular basis and was taking antidepressants. The medication was helpful, but it didn’t fix everything. My mum wanting me to see a psychologist, but my GP gave me some bad advice and said I didn’t need to, so for the next year, I didn’t. Then a variety of things precipitated another breakdown and I found myself suicidal on a daily basis – then I saw a psychologist, who over the next couple of years was able to lead me to recovery.

3. What was your lowest point?
This is a difficult question to answer. There were so many lows, many of a very different nature. In total my depression last for approximately four years, and was fraught with alcoholism, drug abuse, medicine-induced psychosis, near suicide attempts and multiple hospitalisations; the alcohol cravings were awful, many of the depressive episodes were close to unbearable, and the psychosis was just flat out scary, because I lost complete touch with reality. But if I had to pick a day, I’d probably pick one in particular from November 2010. Below is an excerpt from my memoir The Danny Baker Story – How I came to write ‘I will not kill myself, Olivia’ and found the Depression Is Not Destiny Campaign (available for free on my website) which describes it in detail:

Woke up feeling ghastly. Dad drove me to uni for my exam. Silence all the way.
He dropped me off. I dragged myself to the exam room in a soulless, debilitated shuffle. When I got there I fell to the floor, sat slumped against the wall. My classmates talked to me, asked me questions, but still . . . nothing.
We got called in.
‘Ten minutes reading time, starting now,’ the announcer said.
I tried to read. I understood the words on their own, but put together they made no sense. I flicked through the exam. Not much of it did.
The exam itself began. I reread questions I knew I’d studied for, but in the moment the answers were a blur. I felt like I was in a trance. The world seemed a black hole. A vacuum of agony. I couldn’t see any escape. The only possible salvation seemed death.
I scribbled down a few answers before the end of the exam.
‘How did you go?’ one of my friends asked. But I just shook my head and shuffled spiritlessly away.
I pulled myself into the streets. It was pouring down with rain. I had no idea what to do next. “Should I go home? Go back to uni and study? Go to a coffee shop? Call a friend? Get smashed at a bar?” Every possibility seemed brutally unbearable. The only one that didn’t was killing myself.
As you know, I’d always thought suicide was selfish, because even though it might’ve given me peace, I knew it would’ve left my family in ruins. But right then, on what was, unquestionably, the worst day of my life to date, I started to think that maybe I was wrong. I started to think that perhaps I’d been too narrow-minded.
“Because I swear,” I vividly remember thinking, “if my family knew how depressed I am right now . . . if they could comprehend the gut-wrenching severity of the pain I’m in . . . I swear they’d want me to put myself out of my misery. I swear they’d want me to end it all and finally be free.”
It was a dangerous revelation.
“Does this mean I can die now?” I thought. “Guilt-free and with my family’s blessing?”
I stopped walking, let the rain pound down on top of me.
“Can I do it? Can I really kill myself? Jump in front of a speeding car and join the rest of the road toll casualties?”
I stood at a right angle to the road, watched the cars zooming by.
“Is this really it? Can I really end it all right here?”
My mind was a warzone. So much conflict. But eventually there emerged a definite answer.
“I can’t do it”.
It’s the answer I’d always reached, but this time, the reason was different.
It wasn’t for me.
It wasn’t even for my family.
It was for those less fortunate than me.
“Regardless of how depressed I feel right now,” I thought, “I know that I’ve been tremendously blessed: with a loving, supportive family; with First World privileges; and with the opportunity and the ability to do whatever I want to in life. Regardless of how I feel right now, I have had a lot bestowed upon me, and I have to use my good fortune to help others who aren’t as immensely privileged as I am. If I kill myself, Open Skies [an NGO I’d founded to create sustainable change in Third World Countries] will disband. All the charity work I’d planned on doing will never get done. I’d be abandoning all the people I have the capacity to help. And no matter how much pain I’m in I just can’t do that. To whom much is given, much is expected [my motto]. I can’t kill myself. Not now, not ever.

4. How did you turn the corner?
At the end of the day, I just refused to let depression be a permanent feature of my life, so I fought with everything I had to beat. I got sober, diligently took my medication, committed myself to therapy, read self-help books, made challenging situational changes in my life, and made sure I always ate well, slept well and exercised frequently. And over time, I was able to empower myself with an acute level of self-awareness and an extensive, refined psychological skillset, and combined with the lifestyle changes I’d made, I grew to understand my triggers so well that they failed to be triggers anymore – or if they were still triggers, then I’d learned to structure my life in such a way as to avoid them triggering me. In other words, I was able to make a full recovery.

DB Cover big
5. What made the difference in your recovery?
Attitude. I go into detail about this in my recent blog post Recovery From Depression Begins With Attitude .

6. What’s your life like now?
It’s great. I’m happy and healthy and in a position where I can help thousands of other sufferers through my Depression Is Not Destiny Campaign. I feel so blessed.

7. What would you say to other young men with the same problem?
Get help. The social norms of manliness suggest that reaching out for help is “weak” and that we should deal with our problems on our own – but that’s just stupid. Depression is an illness, and the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can recover and get on with your life. I speak in detail about this in a recent guest post I did for The Good Men Project titled Attention All Men – Time To Soften The F*ck Up.

Danny’s book is also available on Amazon.

October blog round up

Every so often, I publish a round-up of blogs I follow. They are all linked in some way to the subjects of alcoholism, addiction, mental health, spirituality or personal growth.
These are my favourite ones at the moment:

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pole to soul
Christine Macdonald’s blog Poletosoul has the tagline tag line: ‘From working the pole to sharing her soul. Author, Speaker. Recovering Narcissist’.
Christine is an ex stripper and addict who now writes about her experience in a honest, funny and deeply moving way. Her blogs are always insightful, full of hard earned wisdom and never shy away from saying what really needs to be said.
I just love her fearlessness and passion for life. When you read Christine’s blog you get the impression that this is someone who didn’t just peer into the the gates of hell, but went in and made herself at home for a while. When someone who has known the darkness as well as Christine has and manages pulls herself out, they have a unique appreciation for living life in the light. I urge you to take a look at her work, she is really gifted.

Christine has a book ‘Pour some sugar on me: Tales from an ex-stripper’ that is out soon. She will also be the subject of a Recovery Rocks interview shortly.

Sober Mommies
Sober mommies are on a mission to fight the stigma against addiciton and alcoholism. Their excellent blog SoberMommies.com is a fantastic resource for all women struggling with a drink problem. Let’s be honest alcoholics are still judged and alcoholism is still seen as some kind of moral failing. But no one is judged more than a mother with a drink problem.
Sober Mommies want to change that. Their posts are full of truth and wisdom, they don’t shy away from the difficult subjects and they refuse to be ashamed of suffering from a disease.
They want to provide a supportive and informative space where women can reach out and support each other. Drinking isolates people, especially mothers who are terrified that people find out they drink, or used to have a drink problem. If you know a mother who is struggling with a drink problem please forward this site to them.

Depression is not destiny
I met Danny Baker on Twitter. He is an extraordinary young man who at 24 has just published his first book: ‘The Danny Baker story.
Danny suffered from severe depression as a teenager, was suicidal and had drug and alcohol problems. Not only did he overcome these problem but turned his life around and is now determined to help others who suffer. He has started a global campaign: Depression is not destiny’ in a bid to educate and support others. I love what Danny is trying to do here because so many young men suffer from depression and feelings they struggle to manage, yet so few ask for help. Danny understands this and knows the only way to help is to be honest about what happened to him.
I’ve worked with lots of young men who have suffered through what Danny has and I’m so proud of him for overcoming depression and going on to help others. You can buy Danny’s book here.