‘Empty feeling’ pushes young woman to inspire others
An empty feeling in her chest eating away at her is how Samantha Armstrong described the depression that convinced her she didn't want to live anymore.
After battling depression and anxiety for four years Ms Armstrong hit rock bottom in April when she attempted to take her own life and spent three days in Nambour General Hospital.
Now on mental health leave, the 27-year-old is determined to use her time off to make a difference.
She has pledged to walk 200km within 30 days to raise money for Beyond Blue, a service she said saved her life.
Ms Armstrong said she had felt down for a long time and didn't address her feelings even after her diagnosis.
"I just thought it was just being an adult and that's what it felt like," she said.
"The way I describe it is this big hollow black hole in my chest and it was constantly eating me, a lot of days I felt I was alone even though I was surrounded by people that loved me.
"I medicated myself, but it wasn't until April this year after my failed suicide attempt that I actually sought therapy."
Since receiving therapy and losing two of her friends to suicide in the past three months, the Woombye resident realised the importance of speaking out about mental health.
"Being on mental health leave I was sort of lacking a lot of purpose in my days and I needed something to get out of bed for," she said.
"I was starting to feel selfish that every day I was doing things for me.
"When people are in a state or dealing with mental health, they don't really know how to deal with it, and I thought by doing this challenge it might encourage some people."
Ms Armstrong said exercise was an important part of her recovery, making it the perfect way to share her message.
"The biggest thing that has helped me in ensuring I'm happy every day is exercise and going outside," she said.
"If I had a bad day, I wouldn't leave the house, but the days where I did drive myself out, I was significantly better.
"Exercising releases all of the good endorphins in your brain that makes you happy, so I thought I'm going to do it in a way that is going to benefit me and Beyond Blue."
Ms Armstrong set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $2000 which was achieved in under 48 hours.
Now with nearly $100 shy of $3000, she will increase her walking distance to 300km within 30 days which she intends to complete with her dog, Jax.
You can follow Ms Armstrong's fundraising efforts on Instagram @sammas.fm.
To donate click here.