The Common Thread – Country

The Common Thread – Country

– [Darius] Everybody has a story to tell when it comes to our mental health. My name is Darius, I’m a filmmaker, and I also live with anxiety. This project has taken me on a journey around the country, to
meet young Australians from all walks of life who have suffered various mental ill health conditions, but have bravely found a path forward and the tools to support their recovery. (soft piano music) Leaving my comfort zone of the coast and heading inland was
an insightful experience. I wanted to meet Ben to start with. Ben’s created an incredible
online community called The Naked Farmer, raising awareness about mental health
issues that people face in the agricultural communities, in a playful yet powerful way. He’s travelled around the country to meet and document their stories, as well as having his own lived
experience with anxiety. So I was very interested
to hear his perspective. – When I was 17, 18, I started
getting anxiety attacks. The next few years was really a time where I was experimenting
on how to overcome anxiety. I think there’s a lot of
reasons why the suicide rate in the agriculture industry is so high. There’s so many things
that can push you down on the ground and put
your face in the mud. Going through drought at the
moment is a serious issue, there’s floods, there’s insect issues, there’s fire, there’s so many things that determine what your year is like. Imagine working all year
and you’ve put your heart and soul until you’ve done
massive hours all year and then at the end of the
year, you don’t have a payday. You’re actually backwards,
and then the next year, you do it again, and
again, you don’t get paid. I think that’s one of the biggest things. A lot of people feel like they’re failing. – The main thing that
affects me in my own life, my day to day life, is anxiety. I’ve always been that kid that sort of like a bit different from the crowd, so being that in a small little
farming town wasn’t great and I was one of the only aboriginal kids in my class, also growing
up as someone that heavily repressed my sexuality
was a big thing as well. Just because I didn’t feel comfortable in the place where I was, that feeling of like everyone’s the
same and I’m different and I’m an outcast and I’m
not gonna be good enough because of that and da
da da ta da, which really yeah, that ramped my anxiety
up to a whole new level. – Started with school, like
I was just really anxious to go to school and then it
just got worse from there and then I had my own child at 18. I was 18, so I was only
like a child myself. And then I suffered with
post natal depression quite severely and my
anxiety has just been pretty well unbearable ever since. – You know as you can see here, not much grass on the ground sight. We’d been in drought here for um, full drought for about a year now. And the year before wasn’t that crash hot. And the year before that
wasn’t that crash hot either. And my brother Sam died by suicide. I was 17 at the time,
and I think its probably shaped my life more than I think more than I realised, um, but, uh, it certainly made me
make different decisions and made me more aware of who I am and uh and uh you know that’s a tough one. Certainly made me aware not to go down that path that’s for sure. And looking out for
family, making sure they’re in that same head space as well, I guess. Yeah. – What would you say to that 5 year old that was so scared and didn’t understand how she was feeling and
why she felt different now? – It’s gonna be okay. Regardless of how long it’s
gonna take, it’ll be fine. One day. – There aren’t enough
safe spaces in the world, and to find a place where you’re not only feeling safe, but you’re safe to share what’s going on in your
head, in your life, whatever and that’s validated is
incredibly important, and that’s what I found at Head Space. – Well, you’ve had crops
up to your knees here. Where we’re standing, so you
know it’s gonna happen again so you just sort of remember that. And keep going, you know
it’s gonna happen again. And I guess you, when
it does happen again, you appreciate it a bit more. – We’ve got this property,
it’s called Londsdale Park. Big gum trees, the
Grampians in the background, the rolling hills, the
sheep, it’s just magic and as soon as I unlock that gate I put my phone on aeroplane
mode and that’s like I guess my meditation in a way. Yeah, its just when I can
really just think about nothing and just chill out in my own mind. And yeah it’s like my happy place. – [Darius] I related to
what Wynonna and Ben said about a place that gives
you a sense of peace. It doesn’t really matter
if it’s a community or a meditative landscape,
finding that place that calms you and makes you feel safe is a simple and effective
step that anyone can take and I could definitely feel the impact that the landscape out here had on me. (soft piano music)

2 thoughts on “The Common Thread – Country

  1. This is sooo needed Darius! These deeply personal rural / regional stories are a fantastic catalyst for greater connection, compassion & for growing empathy. YES!!!

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