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The mental health journey of 24-year-old university student Adam Schwartz has taken him to the darkest places since he was 10, but "hope for the future" is what saved him from severe depression.
Mr Schwartz — who is now an author, speaker and Black Dog volunteer youth presenter based in Sydney — said he had suicidal thoughts from a young age.
"Mum has reminded me that when I was 10, I told her my heart is black, my body is full of anger, and that I wish I was dead," he said.
'Hope that things could get better'
Mr Schwartz's family supported him as they sought professional help.
He saw psychologists and psychiatrists and tried a number of different medications over seven years, which saw him gain over 30 kilograms.
"When I was like at the point of going to push myself down the stairs, I had that moment — it was a split second, it wasn't a long thought — it was a moment that came and went that just stopped me," he said.
Successful treatment leads to new life
At 16, Mr Schwartz received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), with that treatment ending just before his 17th birthday.
With successful treatment, Mr Schwartz turned his energies on rebuilding his life.
"Hope is the most important thing — that's what keeps people fighting, that's what keeps people alive," he said.
Passion for helping others
During this time, he lost over 35 kilograms by going to the gym and eating well, as well as regularly seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist.
Mr Schwartz became a personal trainer for five years before taking on university to study philosophy, and remains off medication.
He said he was passionate about sparing others the ordeal he and his family endured.
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