About the episode
This is the story of Ian ‘Eno’ Taylor. After battles with suicidal ideation, he learned the value of reaching out for help. When two friends didn’t do the same, he found himself asking why. That simple act might have saved their lives. Eno decided to take action - in a, literally, traffic stopping way!
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This podcast series will share personal moments of connection and deeply felt experiences. If anything you hear has a triggering effect, please reach out to someone who can help keep you safe. Or remember you can phone lifeline at any time on 13, 11, 14,
I've lost, I've lost my mother for a year ago to cancer. Um, this is completely different. Um, there's just so many unanswered questions.
This is the story of Ian Eno Taylor after battles with suicidal ideation, Eno learned the value of reaching out for help. When two friends didn't do the same, he found himself asking why, because that simple act might have saved their lives. Eno decided to take action in a literally traffic stopping way.
When I was, I was 19, um, I lost my, my father, um, due to a heart attack. He wasn't my biological father. He was my, my stepdad. Um, but I'd seen him as my, as my own dad. He was the one who, who raised me, um, taught me to be the person who I am, but losing him at the age of 19 was really difficult. Um, it was hard on my mum, hard on my sister, but all the friends and families turned around to me and said, well, you are the, you are now the man of the family. Um, you have to be strong. You have to be there to support your, your mother, your sister. I was told by quite a number of people that I couldn't cry in front of my mum. I had to be strong, strong, uh, for my mum. Every time I wanted to talk to my mum about how I was feeling, um, about how I lost my dad, the conversation always got turned back on her and, and it was all about her feelings and, and how, how she felt. Um, and I just wanted to explained to my mum, how I was feeling, but never had that chance to. At that time, I just felt like I really needed to talk to somebody. Um, I wanted to, to cry and have some of my emotions released, which it didn't happen. I was never given a chance to go see a counselor or even spoken, or even had the opportunity to go see a counselor. And I just had to keep, keep everything bottled up inside, um, and kept building up and building up. And then one night it all got a bit too much. And I decided to try and take my, my own life.
I was lucky enough at the time in the location where I tried to take my own life. There was a, a homeless guy who was, who I didn't actually sort of know at the time who seen what, what I was doing. Um, with that guy. I gave him my wallet, um, all my possessions. Cause I knew that I didn't want those possessions. I had no reason, um, for it to have any, any possessions. And I think that's where he sort of must have realized there was something going on on with me at the time he, he managed to call, call the ambulance and the police. Um, I've never seen that person again. I dunno his name. I know nothing about him, but all I was told was I was, I was, yeah, the homeless guy saved my life.
After that incident, I had to go into a psychiatric ward, which to me was, was quite a daunting, daunting, scary place. Um, I didn't actually feel like I needed to be there. Um, there was a lot of people in there with which I couldn't relate to, which I believed I was different to them. I didn't need help. Um, I was on a, what they call like a 24 hour watch where I couldn't even go to the toilet, my own. I couldn't take a shower on, on my own any time of the night. I, I I'd wake up. There was someone sitting beside my bed. I felt really ashamed of what I did and where I was at the time. At one stage, I thought I had a lot of good friends when I was in, in my darkest place. At that time, I learned that I had one good, true friend and his name, Shane he'd come and visit me every day and was really concerned about where I was and my welfare, um, even more concerned than some of my own family members.
And to this day, I'll never forget those moments when he just come and sat beside me, um, in the hospital bed and we spoke and laughed and yeah, sort of, he was the one that once I'd become out of hospital, we used to do a lot of things together. We would, would skate together. And yeah, it was a really good relationship that I, I had had had with him. Once I, I got through that, I living in, in Mildura, in a regional town, I sort of felt like I needed to get out. You know, I, I just got through or just gotten through with wanting to commit suicide and almost going through with it. Um, I just feel like I had to leave town for a while. So I decided to move down to Melbourne thinking that would, that would change everything. That would be a life change for me. Um, which wasn't, well, it wasn't too bad, but didn't go as didn't go as planned. There was still a lot of demons. I was fighting with a lot of things that I hadn't dealt with correctly. At that age, you're not aware or, or there was no education about mental health and especially, um, with, with mental health in young men and moving in into a city, which I did know nobody was quite tough, tried to branch out and make friends, but that really did didn't happen. Sort of got involved with the wrong people, started to smoke quite a fair, fair bit of drugs. And we got in into drinking and I could see my myself was starting to go back downhill rather quickly. Lucky enough, I'd be talking to Shane. Who's lived back in country, Victoria a number of times, um, we spoke. We didn't speak about stuff like mental health stuff, just, just life in general and what we're going through. And then one day Shane rings me up and I was actually quite, quite depressed at this stage. Shane rings up and he goes,
I bought myself a camper van, we're going for a drive to Cairns.
And I said, I can't, I can't do that. Shane, you know, like I'm, I'm, I've got a full time job. I'm managing two bakers delight stores. I've got responsibilities and he is going,
Nah, we're gonna do it.
And I go off the phone to him and I sat down and thought to myself, you know, I'm, I'm 20, 22, 23 years old. What have I done my whole life? I, I was an apprentice baker from the age of 15. I've pretty much worked my whole life. I've lived in two towns. You know, life hasn't been that great for me. I need to make a change. So I rang up Shane and said, when do we leave?
I'll see you in two weeks.
So two weeks later, Shane turns up in this van, I've looked at the van and I thought, there's no way we are gonna get the Cairns in this thing, but let's go. And I think it was about two or three weeks into the trip where we were at this, um, caravan park. I woke up one morning, we've opened the side door. And it was the first time in my whole life. I was free. I had that feeling. It was just, I almost felt like a, a dog when you let a dog outta the car at the beach. And it just takes off, you know, not knowing sure where it's gonna go, what direction it's gonna head in, but having, having that, that, that moment of, of letting go and just going, I'm free, I've got, I've got no commitment. I don't have to be anywhere. The only person that I have to concern about myself is me. I've got, nobody rely on me. I've got no pressure. And to have that feeling, it's quite sort of hard to describe. And that to me was, was, was a real sort of life changer. It sort of made me look at life on a whole different way of, of things and, and really thought, you know, it's, I need to look after myself. Um, and that was, and that was good. And I think Shane felt pretty much the same way as well.
Eno had always had a good work ethic when he was offered a new career direction. He jumped at it, it changed his life.
What a, what a place Bellingen was. It was, um, completely different than what we ever expected. And, um, I'm not sure if you know, Bellingen, but it's quite a, a hippie relaxed little town. And, and I knew nothing. I didn't even realize the word hippie existed until we got, got to Bellingen. And, um, we're staying at this backpackers. And we, we fitted in, in really well there, and we're going off to Bundungeon down to the, to the nudist beach and getting our gear off there. And I'm sitting on the beach with Shane one day and we're both there totally starkers going whoever would've thought. And, um, yeah, that was, that was a very interesting time.
I'd actually got a job whilst working at the backpackers, um, working with a company called Oz experience, which was a bus company that took backpackers between Sydney, Sydney and Cairns and Sydney and Alice Springs. They actually offered me a job. I didn't approach them. They offered me a job that said, you'd be the, the right person to be driving for us. And I went, I had a big red Mohawk at that stage and I went, yep. Not a problem. So I went off driving for them, which was, was really good. Um, it really taught me a lot about the world meeting a lot of, um, international backpackers. It was really good, really very educational. I was over in Adelaide one day and I met my wife, well she wasn't my wife, then. She was a bus driver as well. And, um, we sort of had a, a relationship where I'd be in Cairns one day and she'd be in Adelaide and vice versa. And we made a decision let's go back to Bellingen and we'll settle down and, and, and raise a family which we did.
Uh, we moved to Bellingen and, uh, over the time we had three, three amazing, beautiful kids. I ended up getting into the, in, in, in the construction industry and doing a lot of scaffolding. And it was, it was quite hard in the local area to be doing a lot of like scaffolding, but I got into doing fly and fly out work. And it was quite hard because I'd, I'd fly to Gove or I'd fly to Brisbane, I'd be working away. And then when I came home, it was hard on the relationship because my wife at the time, she'd be a single mother. And then, then I'd for four or five weeks and then I'd come home and then we'd have to change her, she'd have to change her life around and put a lot of pressure on our relationship. And I didn't see at the time, the more I was away, the more further we, we were falling apart.
I stopped work working away, but things just didn't quite, quite work out. I think that the damage was, was, was already done. We broke up and I sort of found it quite, quite hard in a, in a small town, you know, of people, family taking sides. And, and, and I was sort of, well, I dunno if I was portrayed as, as a bad father, but that's how I felt. Um, and I actually felt like I I'd let my children down and let myself down. So I decided to move away again. Um, I left Bellingen and moved down to Sydney. Um, and that's where I was. I met my partner who I'm with now, uh, Nick. Living in Sydney and getting away from everything. I actually thought, you know, this, this was a, a good thing. Um, I actually thought that I was happy. I was with a, a new partner and a new job. I had had a great job earning really good money, but I didn't actually see my mental health starting to go backwards again. I didn't actually, it didn't seem to appear to me that I was going backwards because everything seemed so good at the time. But I was missing my kids. My kids were missing me. I was in this, this big city, which, which I thought that I liked, but I don't think the big city was really for me. So I actually started going downhill quite, quite quick. Oh, I started drinking again quite, quite a fair bit. And that rollercoaster had had come back. I was starting to fall down very quick. I couldn't communicate to Nick how I was feeling at the time, but I, and, and I don't think I, I really knew at the time how I was actually feeling and, and what, what was going on. Things sort of got pretty bad. And I had a, uh, Nick and I had a, a bit of a bad argument. And here I was, I was, I was stuck in Sydney on my own. I had nowhere to go. And those thoughts of suicide come back in again. I took myself off in, into this park and I sat on this bench and I was trying to figure out what's the best way to take my own life. And I was looking at the trees I was looking at at the traffic. And I was, I was starting to choose, um, a few different options. And I was, I was quite set in my mind. This is what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna, tonight's gonna be the night. I'm, I'm gonna end it here now
Through connecting with others, we can hold on to hope. To speak to a crisis supporter please call 13, 11, 14, twenty four hours, seven days a week.
Don't ask me why or how. I picked up my phone and I've just tried to find some help. And, and lifeline number came up. I rang lifeline,
Welcome to lifeline. May we help you?
I told them that I'm sitting in the park on my own, and I'm gonna take my own life. The first part of the phone call was a little bit, a little bit blurry. Um, but the voice on that phone was such a caring person on that phone, who it almost felt like they were sitting beside me with their arm around me. That person on that phone wanted to talk to me, wanted to make me feel safe. And I could feel after a bit of time on the phone, that that person was genuine. And they really wanted to help. Having someone or knowing that someone who you are talking to is genuine and a genuine of wanting to help and wanting to, to reach out. That was a turning point for me going, I'm not alone. I can do this. There are people out there that do actually care. Um, it was that phone call was, it was, yeah, it was a life changer and a phone call that I'll never forget. Um, never forget.
I'll never forget the sound of that voice and how genuine soft that voice was. And it just brought me back to reality, knowing that I'm not alone, there are people out there to help, and I can get through this. I did call again, um, because waking up up the next day, you sort of think, okay, we're all good, but I was still alone. Um, and I did take another couple of phone calls. When I spoke to that, on that I think it was the second or third phone call I I made with, with lifeline. They actually helped me answer a lot of my, my own questions and I actually had had the answers for, but not actually knowing I had the answers for, um, and getting to actually talk to someone about where you are going your direction. You start to think about now. Okay. From that, when had that initial phone call where there was, there was no picture in life to where you've started to talk and find out this picture is starting to emerge and okay. I, I, I have got a life. I have got people around that love me. Um, I've got three wonderful kids. Um, and this picture started to come back. I do have a partner who actually loves and, and cares for me. And it was that person at, uh, at lifeline who actually got me to paint my own picture again and started to see the things that I wasn't seeing when I made that initial phone call.
After talking to lifeline, Eno realized Sydney wasn't for him. He wanted to be near his kids. So he headed back up the coast.
When we moved back up to here, I went back to my old GP in Bellingen, um, that didn't quite work. And then just on off chance, I had to, we're living at Sapphire beach, which is up near Moonee. And I had to go see a doctor to get some, some scripts made up. And um, I went and seen a doctor up there. She was a really good doctor. I said, look, I'm not sleeping at night. I said, I need some Valium and she's going, well, no, you don't need Valium. There's got to be issues, the reason why you're not sleeping. And the more we talked with her, the more she was giving me the answers that I didn't want, but I really wanted them. I just wanted a prescription to help me sleep. And she gave me different alternatives. Um, we've tried melatonin, which is, which has been, been really good. Um, and also working with the, the antidepressants, um, the ones that I was on, I didn't feel like they were the right ones for me. And I actually spoke to her and, and said, you know, these, antidepressants I've, I've been on now, I've lost my sex drive. I just don't feel like they're the right ones. So then we, we got talking and the more that we talked, the more that I opened up to her and, and told her about my life with mental health and depressions. So she was aware of, of my background, which I've never shared with a, with a, a doctor before. Which I think it's something that you you need to do is because if you not telling your doctor everything that's going on, they can't do their job properly and, and, and help you out the best way that, that they, they can.
So going around and finding that doctor or the GP who you feel that you can be honest with, makes a world world of difference. And we've got a really good relationship now. Um, she knows all my past about when, you know, I've tried to commit suicide and even like when I'm, when I'm feeling down, she'll actually make me go out and take blood tests and, and all that sort of stuff. So it has been a real, it's been, been really good. And I actually believe that, you know, if you're not comfortable with, with your, with your doctor and you don't feel comfortable, shop around. Same as, same as buying a car. You know, if you are not happy with your car, doesn't quite feel right. You're gonna shop around. You're gonna have a look at a different car or, same as a mechanic. If you're not happy with your mechanic, you'll shop around and find a new mechanic. And I believe you need to do that with your GP. And you need to find someone who you can definitely be honest and open with someone who, who you can trust. And we've got a really good relationship now, and I don't think I'll be seeing any other GP anytime soon,
Eno decided to go back to truck driving.
So when we moved back to Coffs Harbor, um, I really wanted to get back into truck driving again. It's a job that I, I love, love to do. Um, so I was actually driving. I was driving interstate doing Sydney to Brisbane. Um, so I'd leave, leave home Sunday afternoon, Sunday night. And I wouldn't get back home until Friday, Friday night, sometimes Saturday morning spending a lot of time in a truck on your own things, start to start to talk to yourself. And it's quite a hard job and it's not suited for everyone. Um, I had an incident where I was starting to get a bit worked up, bit depressed. I think I was overthinking things. I wasn't seeing my kids as much as, as I planned. Um, and I found I was getting quite angry, really, really easy.
Eno's anger led to an altercation with a fellow truck driver now more aware of the need to look after his mental health. He knew things had to change
After that. I got back in the truck and I, I was quite quite upset with myself and I realized that I need to get off the road. Spending so much time in a truck on my own. It's it's not, it's not for me. I love the driving. Um, but being in that spot, in that combined cabin space on my own, just wasn't for me. And I had to get out.
I was quite lucky enough to score myself a job in Coffs Harbor with a local excavation company. Um, and I, I drive the truck that transports all the big, heavy machine machinery around. Drive all the, that sort of thing. I've got a really wonderful boss. Phil he's quite an older person. He had one of the drivers who's been working for him for over 13 years, which is his name is Mark, Mark Haynes. Mark was the sort of driver who sort of kept him himself. He'd come to work every day. Everyone knew Mark. Mark had been driving trucks. He'd been driving log trucks around, around Coffs Harbor for 35 years. Everyone knew Mark. And, um, and I actually knew Mark from previous jobs as well. And now there's one time there Mark actually had to, I think he, he took a week off or, or something and I had to drive Mark's truck and I'm driving Mark's truck. And there's so many people waving to you. And then on the radio, oh, how you going Hansey? I'm going, oh, it's not Hansey, it's Eno, and oh, where's Hansey? Oh he's off on holidays. And I'm driving Marks truck I thought, how do you do this every day Mark? You must, you're right arm from waving to everyone and talking on the radio. And, and it was quite different spending a week in Mark's truck to where, you know, you've got all this interaction from everyone from when I was, I was driving interstate and you don't have that interaction.
So never thought thought much of it. Mark was at the time was living with his mum. Mark was, was 50. He just, just turned 50. And his mum just, just sold her house. He was looking around for a property and Nick and myself, we actually had some land for sale. So we actually sold that land to Mark. It was strange where on the Friday afternoon, he'd say Eno, I'm going up to the property. Um, oh, I wanna do this. Or can I do that? And I said, well, Mark, it's, it's your property. Like the deposit's been made. We're just waiting on, on the paperwork to come through and the settlement date. And um, okay. So off he'd go, he'd do the stuff up on the weekend and then the same thing next Friday. Oh, can I go with the property? And I dunno how many times I told him, I said, Mark, this is your property. You, you actually own it now. You know, you don't have to ask me for, for permission. So that, that Friday afternoon, everything was fine. He goes, I'll, I'll see you Monday morning. And, um, I, I got to work work early Monday morning. So I actually got there before Mark was meant to turn up. And, um, I was off doing my thing and I, I got a, got a phone call from work saying that I, you need to come back to the office. I got back to the yard and I seen Phil standing there and Phil was just shaking his head. And I said, said, what's what's going on? And he goes, Mark's taken his own life. I couldn't, I couldn't believe it. I spoke to Mark Friday afternoon. He, he told me that I was gonna see him Monday morning. You know, Mark was we're nine, I think we're nine days off settlement of the property. We're so close. I just, straight away I thought to myself, what have I done wrong? You know, like why? Um, yeah, it was, it was terrible. It was, I've lost. I've lost my mother four year ago to cancer. Um, this is completely different. Um, There's just so many unanswered questions. I, I don't, I don't know. Uh, and that's, that's the hardest thing about when, when Mark passed away was there was no answers. There was, there was, you know, and then, and, and knowing what I've been through and just going only if, if he called someone, if he called me, um, Mark would be still here today. And, and, and I know that and, but why didn't he, and, and how long has, has there been, been this way for? About a week, a week after Mark suicided I, I got wind of an, another friend. Um, Tom Secom. Who, who suicided not long after Mark. I think was about, I think about, about a week. Um, and that sort of just made me think what the hell is going on here? Tom Secom was a truck driver. Um, he done a fair bit of interstate work and he was only quite very young. Also knowing the way how he took his own life. There was a lot of thought and planning going on in, in that as well. It wasn't just, uh, a rash decision. It was a prepared decision and the same as Mark. They were thinking about this. And I'd been in that situation where I'd thought about it, but I'd actually reached out. And, and why couldn't they reach out and what was stopping them from reaching out?
So, after I heard about Tom, there was something in the back of my mind saying, there's something gonna be, has to be done. Something has to be done. This, this can't go on. And the more people that I I spoke spoke about, there was other stories of, of other truck drivers who had taken their own life. And the situation that I thought was was two truck drivers was actually three truck drivers become four truck drivers become five truck drivers. And in a matter, matter of a short time. And I thought, well, what a good way to, to say goodbye to Mark is to just have a little convoy of just a couple of his close friends, just to have a drive through town, um, just pay some respects and then have a small barbecue back at, back at the, um, at, at our yard. So day one of planning, I thought we we'll do something small, but I dunno. I dunno how the word got out there, but the word just got out there saying that, well, I'm gonna, well, Mark's my mate. You know, Tom's my mate, you know, it started, um, the ball was rolling. And then, um, Brooke, Tom's brother, um, approached me, um, with Sarah and said, can we be part of this? We wanna say goodbye as well. So I think this was about day three and I had a, I dunno how many days I had until the actual date when we decided that we're gonna do it. So I said, this is actually turning out a bit bigger than, than I expected, but then I thought this is a way that actually I can turn this into not just a way to say goodbye, but a way of how can we help? How can I bring this dark conversation that no one wants to talk about that no one just wants to, wants to hide. Out in the open and get people talking about it because I don't, I don't wanna lose another Mark. I don't wanna lose another Tom. So it's, I can do this.
Eno spoke to Angela Martin, communications and community engagement manager at lifeline, North Coast. He explained what had happened and how he wanted to help organizing a convoy of trucks to highlight the issues around suicide in the industry. Here she explains her response.
What was incredible with Eno's story was the, in the ripple effect. From his own experience of depression, thoughts of suicide, wanting to act on that to then calling lifeline, having that experience. I think there's nothing more powerful than having a crisis supporter sit with a help seeker in that pain. So from that experience of being with lifeline, then coming full circle around to having his mates, his workmates die by suicide. He wanted to make such a big difference that that opened our eyes to well whatever you need, mate, will do that for you.
The Thursday beforehand, I went down to the police station and said, look, this convoy that I was planning of, 15 trucks is now looking at to be 120 to 150 trucks. Yeah. It was a bit bigger than I thought, but that actually made me realize that there's a lot of people out there that need the support that are actually hurting out there. And, and I didn't realize at the time how much the community really wanted to be part of something where they they've lost a friend, a husband, a brother.
On the day itself. When I got down to Woolgoolga where, where the meeting place was. I actually found out we were gonna meet at, we meant to been at eight o'clock, but I actually heard there was people waiting down there since five o'clock in the morning, I've turned down into, into Woolgoolga, and just see the, the number of trucks, the families, everyone involved there. That's when I realized that this is a lot bigger than I planned and straight away, I thought I'm, I'm gonna jail for this. What have I done? But also knowing that is that there's a reason why everyone has turned up is a reason why everyone's here. So when we started the convoy, we've come out of Woolgoolga, and I was in one of the lead trucks. We actually put Mark's truck up on, up a float. And as we'd come out of Woolgoolga we've come across the first overpass. And just to see everyone on the overpass with signs. And that was so overwhelming. Like I just never expected the, to see what I see or feel what I feel. The turnout of, of the people, of people on the side of the roads, wherever there was a, a small spot to park. People were parked there with, with videos and signs and waving. And the talk between all us truck drivers on, on the radio was just, was just magic. You know, people saying this one's for you, Hansey. You know, only.
if Only Hansey could see this.
if only Hansey could see this., and Tom could see what was, was happening, you know, the support the community that, that were out there. Maybe that would've changed their decision. As we come in into Coffs, it was, I was so touched by the, by the community and the way how that the community come out in, in, in full spirit. And we've moved in into the showgrounds and, and we've had people got barbecues organized. There was coffee vans organized, there's all this sort of stuff that, that went on. That was just absolutely incredible. And, but the one thing that, that, that really stood out there was, was just seeing all these families from kids to parents, to grandparents have all turned out. It was a really safe environment and it was something that, that was close to everyone's heart, but has never been done before. Um, and I've, I've just looked at everyone and said, this is a really safe environment. And we're actually getting the word out there, you know, that is okay to talk and you can, you can reach out.
It was incredible. And there was, there was hundreds of people, um, from Woolgoolga down to Coffs, which is a good 20 minute drive, um, across the bridges on the side of the roads, waving flags, people had been sitting there for hours, little kids cheering on, and the trucks were, um, pulling the horns. And it was, it was an amazing day. That's what we're all about. Lifeline North Coast is all about reaching out and supporting community local community. Um, we have a strong brand, but being the face to face, um, of our local spirit is what it's all about.
So after the, after the, the convoy, I was actually, um, approached, um, from a department of the Heavy National Vehicle Regulator, which is based, based in Canberra. But they, that they seen what we've done done with the convoy, and they want to get on board and, and start, start doing what we are doing, but also in different parts of Australia as well. Which I was pretty touched by when you get a phone call saying, oh, it's such and such from the national heavy vehicle register in Canberra. And I thought how'd, you know, about it sort of thing. But, um, hopefully you know, that the whole idea, and this is what I want to achieve is to get people talking. Um, and that's, that's the only way that we are gonna gonna get this, this really dark conversation and, and bring it into some light so people can talk about it and be aware of it. And, and the more we talk about it, and the more that we're aware of it, the more that we're gonna see it, and the more that we can actually do something to help other people
Thank you for listening to holding on to hope. Lifeline Australia is grateful to all our interviewees who share their stories in the hope of inspiring others. We also acknowledge all of you who provide support to people in crisis, and those on their journey to recovery. If you found this podcast helpful or inspiring, please share it, rate it, write a review or subscribe wherever you download your favorite podcasts. If the story has affected you and you require crisis support, please contact lifeline. You can call on 13, 11, 14 text on 0477, 13, 11 14, or visit lifeline.org.au to access web chat. You can access all these services at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If it's inspired you to be a lifeline volunteer or to donate, please visit lifeline.org.au. With thanks to Wahoo Creative for interviews, editing, and production, and the voice of lived experience, which is essential in the development of our work.