The Train That Never Came

Tony Cox shares his experience of mental illness with us, and why he founded ‘Free and Above’, an organisation which supports those who suffer with mental health problems.


June 15. That’s the day I could’ve and should’ve been dead. I lay next to the railroad tracks at 1am, drunk, more of a mess then than I was before. But let me tell you about before, so you understand how I got here. Before the breakdown, and my walk to what really should’ve been the place I took my last breath.

I’d always thought about this moment, that if things got too bad this would be the way I would end my life. I came to this conclusion many times but never had it in me to actually go through with it.
People sometimes ask me why I’m so sad all the time. They tell me to smile, like I have an on and off switch. My depression doesn’t work like that. It’s on 24/7. When I wake up, until when I’m in bed about to go to sleep. It overshadows me and tells me ‘you’ll never be happy’. It whispers to me ‘you’re not good enough, loved enough and it’s better that you go.’ ‘Your friends don’t need you, if they did, they’d call you to come hang with them.’ ‘Your parents think you’re a burden and a waste of a child, you mess up too much and they think you’re crazy.’ Depression clouds your head and rewires your brain to see the lies and not the truth. The awful and never the wonderful.
June 15. That train never came. I was saved.
Here I am telling you guys a story that could’ve been an ending, but it  was just a beginning. The beginning of my recovery and process of being healed. I thought it was luck that I was still alive, but now I have a purpose. I am meant to be alive. And so are 350,000 million people who suffer with depression.
This is why I founded Free and Above. We have to stop sweeping mental illness under the rug. Conversation is much needed. Awareness is needed. We have to let others know they’re not alone, and that support and treatment are available. We need to start opening up our hearts and our hands, and being there for those struggling. I founded Free and Above to make a change. People need people. We need each other. May we be there for someone hurting and bring hope and light into their life.

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