'I wasn't myself': Kiwi drift champ opens up about depression
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Depression has never been a more important topic than it is right now. Each year, approximately 500 Kiwis take their own lives (not including those who attempt suicide), and that number continues to climb. Males have long stood out on New Zealand's suicide statistics, with roughly twice the rate of females in this country (although the number of female suicides increased by 30 per cent last year).
It's no secret that New Zealanders have long struggled to talk about suicide as a topic, but that's particularly true for Kiwi men. It's a topic that deserves much deeper research and insight than a motoring website like ours would be able to muster.
But with that in mind, it's both eye-opening and liberating to see someone like multiple D1NZ National Drifting Championship winner Daniel 'Fanga Dan' Woolhouse open up on the topic — and open up on how it's impacted him personally.
Woolhouse is a two-time D1NZ 'DK', and has been a front-runner in the series since he joined the series under the Driftcorp team banner in the early 2000s. In recent times he's gained support from Ford, aligning perfectly with his acquisition of a Formula D–spec Ford Mustang RTR drift car.
Through a drifting career that's covered well over a decade, Woolhouse has always been regarded as one of the friendliest and most down-to-earth drivers in a series packed with approachable pilots. But, in a post on his Facebook page last night, Woolhouse confirmed that he was diagnosed with depression just over four years ago.
"I wasn’t myself, I was taking my frustration with not being OK out on those close to me. Finally I caved and went to the doctor," said Woolhouse.
"Prior to being diagnosed I was quite arrogant, I never believed in depression. I always thought people with 'depression' had too much time up their sleeve. Well, little did I know the “black dog” would hit me hard, when I least expected it.
"I hit rock bottom and I slowly climbed my way back out."
The post can be viewed in full above, and has since garnered support from various other drifters as well as fans of the sport, inspired to share their own stories.
"Some of you might think but you live the dream, you’ve got all these flash race cars, what have you got to be depressed about," added Woolhouse.
"Believe me when I say it, it hit me when I least expected it."
Where to get help:
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
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