Osher Günsberg penned an emotional letter to his 18-year-old self, which he read live on air this morning to mark RUOK Day.
The Hit radio host’s heartfelt missive tapped into everything from success to addiction and his struggles with mental illness, and ends with the one message a young Andrew G desperately needed to hear:
It’s all going to be okay.
Hello. I’m an older version of you. I’m very different to the person you are now. So different I even changed my name but you’ll find out about that in 2009.”
“You’ve just finished high school. I say finished because technically you did finish but you didn’t pass or anything. Right now you’re watching all of your school friends go through the adventures of first year university, and you’re feeling ashamed and honestly quite stupid that you’re not as smart as they are.
“You’re ashamed that you’re not smarter, you’re ashamed that you’re unemployed and you’re ashamed that you’re overweight. To top it off, the people that you thought were your best friends in the world are keeping an arms length from you, because you’re starting to act out and get pretty weird.
“You’re experiencing the early but significant signs of what will one day develop into a mental illness, which you will end up taking daily medication for, and I know it’s quite scary. But you think you’ve got it under control because you’re handling those intrusive thoughts and anxiety in the same time honoured way that Australian men have been dealing with mental illness for years, by drinking enormous amounts of alcohol.”
“You’re not going to believe me when I tell you, but here goes: I’m writing this to you six-and-a-half years sober. Reading this you’ve only tried weed and alcohol but you’re gonna give pretty much everything a go and pretty much everything will make you feel horrible and induce terrifying states of mind that you will barely escape from.
“But you’ll keep ingesting drugs and alcohol because you’re thinking all you have to do is keeping drinking and using and then, as if by magic, the party’s really going to start and you’ve finally arrived. You never do and it never does.
“All you’re going to do is permanently mess up your brain and make the symptoms that you’re trying to drink away worse and worse. You’re going to start drinking more and more until one day you’ll have a moment of clarity where you decide that facing life with the brain you’ve got is actually less frightening than your rapidly approaching yet inevitable demise.