Adam Medaglia could always feel the darkness within him.
While on occasion it stirred, it was hidden just enough to pretend it didn’t exist.
But as time went on the beast within grew stronger and stronger and a failed business venture saw his world crumble as his mental health battle took total control.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia as part of its What's Up? mental health series, Mr Medaglia, from the Central Coast in NSW, said he had complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of past trauma that he had suppressed deep within him.
"It was in the form of repressed anger, fear and helplessness and that created what I call the blackness," he said.
"I didn't know what it was, I didn't know why I had it, all I know it was there, it was in my heart, I could feel it."
Man reveals 'darkest hour'
As his mental health deteriorated and Mr Medaglia suffered from flashbacks and depression, he had a rage that came out of nowhere and he simultaneously felt lost, confused and lonely.
He always managed to repress those feelings when they would bubble to the surface before getting out of control, but it was the stressful event of his failed business venture that sent him on a downward spiral.
"The business failure was a catalyst that unleashed the carnage," Mr Medaglia said.
"I became the biggest asshole on the planet.
"Because I didn't know what was happening within me, I felt I had no control of my emotions and the blackness was in control. I became more argumentative, all I wanted to do was really lash out."
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In 2017, Mr Medaglia went into a deep, dark, and depressive state and he said he felt the walls closing in around him.
It was then he found himself in what he describes as his darkest hour.
"All I could feel was this blackness welling up from the depths of my being. I was in a constant state of anger and agitation. And then there was an incident on the road," he said.
"It was raining, and a driver was talking on his mobile phone, drifting between lanes, I could feel the anger and tension rising as he kept doing it.
"I was beeping my horn but he kept drifting between lanes talking on his phone and I remember making up my mind that I was going to damage this person. That was the lowest point, that was my darkest hour because the blackness had taken control."
Mr Medaglia said it was at that moment he realised he needed serious help, so he checked himself into a mental health facility with the help of his psychologist.
How Adam regained control of his life
To deal with his PTSD, Mr Medaglia received Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment, a psychotherapy technique that is used to relieve psychological stress.
"It helped me deal with the blackness and heal from it," he said.
"EMDR and my psychologist saved my life, I was at the point of no return."
Throughout his mental health battle and in addition to his therapy Mr Medaglia had started creating what he calls the Ollin System, pronounced "all in", which helped him create balance in his life.
He now coaches and encourages men especially to take control of their mental health using simple techniques like establishing routine, meditating and exercising.
He also practises gratitude and journaling as a way to stay grounded and balanced amid his mental health challenges.
Book documents battle with PTSD
Adam wrote about his mental health battle and the Ollin System as a form of therapy and will now publish it all in the book, WARRIOR: Biting Back Against the Black Dog.
"When I wrote the manuscript I never had any intention to publish it, it was for me and my eyes only," he said.
"I wrote it for closure and it became cathartic for me."
However after speaking to others about his struggles with mental health, he realised he had the power to potentially save a life.
"In the book there will be instances where I come off as the villain," he said of his personal story.
"I used mental illness as an excuse for the carnage – but I'm still responsible and I still had a choice. I needed to own up and man up."
Adam’s key message is that "you can bite back and you can defeat the black dog ... it doesn't matter how dark it is or helpless the situation, you have the choice".
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