My name is Mark Thomas and I am a mental health advocate and a lived experience speaker. I tell my story because I have reached such depths of darkness, that I know why people take their lives and I do not ever want you to know what that is like.
My primary aim is to support, or even challenge your thinking and influence you or your group/team to live better, mentally healthier lives.
As I continue to live a significant mental health journey that has taken me to some very dark places, it is important to me that I use this experience to help others.
To be very clear here, I am not a victim, I am a post traumatic stress disorder survivor. My story is a hugley positive one and so much good to come out of my experience.
I strive to influence, motivate, educate and inspire people to prevent them going through, what I have, and continue to go through. I am vulnerable, I am raw, I am open, I am genuine and I am honest and I believe when being a speaker, this is the only way to be. I am most certainly not at your location trying to sell a book or promote a product that I am getting royalities for.
I detail my journey from being a mentally healthy member of Victoria Police to my life turning point on 8 April 2003, when I attended my triggering incident.
Literally in the blink of an eye, the course of my life was changed. I only looked at the deceased male for all of .33 of a second, the blink of an eye, but that was enough to seriously injure me, without spilling a single drop of blood.
I failed to recognise the signs and symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety. I fell into a very dark world which culminated in 2013, when I was admitted to a psychiatric clinic for nearly two weeks.
I talk of my recovery to who I am today, a functioning person who strives to inspire, persuade and lead others that are living their own mental health journey. To give those that cannot see the light, light.
I will never be the same person that I was. I know that and have accepted that. You simply cannot "unsee" what you have seen and undo the psychological damage that was caused.
I fully respect and validate those who do not want to speak of their mental health journey. It is not for everyone as it is an extremely personal matter.
I still have so much more work on myself to do though. My self-confidence is low, my concentration is poor and my memory is severely lacking due to the trauma that my brain has suffered. Recovering from PTSD is not a weekend event, it is a lifetime event.
Despite still having plenty to work on, I am grateful for my experiences as I have been exposed to some incredibly strong, resilient, internally powerful and intelligent people. I now call these people friends which has enabled me to gain some incredible life skills.
What I am though is incredibly more aware of who I am and what I must do to keep myself on the upwards trajectory in mental wellbeing.
I simply need to use my journey and experiences to help inspire others, it is that simple. I am lucky to be equipped with this inbuilt attitude and I need to shine a light for others to see again.
I have an ability to tell my story, to be an inspirational speaker, be that in a corporate setting as the keynote speaker or in a more low-key intimate setting.
My story is far from over, there is so much positive work ahead, it’s an exciting journey.