Now a volunteer Beyond Blue Speaker, he is passionate about encouraging people with mental health issues to seek help as soon as possible.
‘It’s pretty simple really: the sooner you get help, the sooner you’re going to get better,’ Rick says. ‘Why suffer any longer than you have to? I know it’s not the same for everyone, but for me it was awful.’
Rick says living with anxiety meant simple activities, such as going to the mall, were fraught with tension. Bewilderingly, he found himself suddenly dreading what lay beyond the sliding glass doors.
‘I would feel my adrenaline going through the roof and think “this is stupid, why am I scared?”
‘[But] if I had to describe the anxiety, it’d be like getting put in a cage with a tiger. That’s what going to the supermarket felt like, walking into that cage.’
Recent research indicates that men are far less likely to seek help for mental health conditions than women, and are three times more likely to take their own lives.
‘The hardest [part] was I didn’t know when it was going to end or if it ever would,’ Rick says. ‘I didn’t want to be here, and to think that was going to last forever…if you lose hope that’s going to lead to tragedy.’