Then in his early teens, Jake's thoughts turned sinister. 'Every single time I attempted something, it just felt like an incredible amount of effort for very little payoff,’ Jake continues. 'It was insidious in nature, but I started thinking, I just can't do this anymore. If I'm going to be around for another 60–70 years, and if this is all I've got to look forward to, then why bother? I don't want to be here.'
After attempting to take his life, he began the painful journey to address the harmful emotions he was harbouring. After several poignant events, Jake spoke with both his mother and brother, deciding that therapy was worth trying.
'I wasn't sure about therapy before going, but I knew how I was feeling wasn't ok, and I really wanted to get help.' Jake admits, 'I wasn't under any illusion that guided therapy would be a cure but felt it was a step in the right direction.'
Jake began the slow process of dissecting his thoughts and feelings – trying to piece it together and make sense of it all. ‘I had to be prepared to get really honest because if you're not, then it's not going to work.’
Aside from his ill-conceived idea that he was at fault for the turn of events leading up to his parents' separation and father's death, he had also manifested a distorted image of a father figure – an oppressive persona that harshly judged Jake's achievements and perceived failures.
'I didn't really have a reference point for what a father figure should be – so I created one, and it was pretty much a tyrant,’ Jake describes. ‘It was a case of if you do the wrong thing, you were stupid, you were an idiot, and you weren't worthwhile. Whereas if I did achieve something, there was no acknowledgment or praise – just an assumption that that was what you were meant to do.'
During the weekly therapy sessions, Jake realised that the constant barrage of negative inner dialogue was a psychological battle that he could never win. ‘It took me a long time to realise that what happened to dad was an accident and I wasn’t to blame.’