Father-of-three Tony had a positive outlook on life, but like many people he fell victim to circumstance, which left him feeling trapped and without direction.
After previously working in a bank, Tony then set out on his own to start a business.
Unfortunately, that venture went bankrupt.
"I had skills but no qualifications as such," Tony told Yahoo News Australia.
"So that sort of made life a bit difficult financially, particularly when we had to sort of get through the bankruptcy and then move on from there."
A friend gave Tony an apprenticeship but once that was complete he struggled to get any work.
"That was probably the low point, I was then qualified and still financially in a hole," he explained.
Negative feedback resulted in "spiral"
As Tony struggled to find work, he said he felt trapped and had a feeling of helplessness.
Every morning, he would get up and look at the job listings, the pool of jobs suitable growing smaller by the day as he continued to apply for jobs only to get knocked back.
"It is a bit of a spiral because the more negative feedback you get, the more that does affect you," he said.
"It makes you think how helpless or hopeless it is. That's probably a bit dramatic, but it's along those lines."
As we enter 2021, after struggling through a devastating 2020, Yahoo News Australia has teamed up with Lifeline to tell the truth about mental health with real stories from the real people who have lived it.
Have a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony says he felt as though his children were also "suffering" and missing out, explaining he wanted to take them on holidays, but his financial situation meant they couldn't.
Looking back on it all, Tony recognises it was a tough period in his life, but at the time he had nothing to compare it to and he just did what he could to get out.
He knew the apprenticeship wasn't going to be the "fixer" for his problems, but rather it was a"stepping stone" which gave him the qualifications to help him get out.
The 'ripple effect'
Tony sought help from Iswara, a service which provides online programs to help people feel empowered in their lives — using tools, such as meditation, which are easily accessible.
Sonia Lancaster, the co-founder of Iswara, is also a lifetime meditation and eastern medicine practitioner with ten years' experience as a behavioural ecologist.
"It is really all about empowering and equipping people with the knowledge, skills, tools and support so that people can positively transform their lives, but also the lives of those around them," she told Yahoo News Australia.
"It's never just their life but the lives of those around them. It's that ripple effect."
In addition to providing online tools, Iswara also offers one-on-one mentoring, which is something Tony found beneficial.
One of the things that helped Tony through the program was having someone who believed in him, so he could start believing in himself.
"One of the things they [Iswara] do talk about is your self-worth," Tony said.
"When you're in that position, you feel you're worth the amount of money in the bank — which is zero."
Through Iswara, Tony was able to realise his bank account does not dictate his self-worth, allowing him to give more.
"I think if you're more confident within yourself, you've got that ability to be able to share," he said.
Sonia explained once you are empowered within yourself, you're able to give more and show more kindness — not just to those you love, but also strangers.
The example you set for others, wherever you go, ripples out.
"That is an indirect form of kind of inspiring somebody, and showing them that despite the challenges or the suffering we experience in daily life, we can stand up and still be more," she said.
These days, Tony has his own business, with his son joining as an apprentice and his daughter working for him on a casual basis.
While Tony still has stresses in his daily life, he is able to work through them. He likened to the work he did with Iswara to working out — it takes time and you need to train.
If you utilise the tool accessible to you regularly, you're able to better equip yourself in your daily life, he explained.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com