He’s the buff TV personality known for his tough treatment of contestants on The Biggest Loser.
But Steve Willis – aka ‘The Commando’ - has revealed a very different side to himself, opening up about his private battle with depression for the first time.
“Even to this day I’m dealing with my own issues,” the military man turned personal trainer told News.com.au.
“Life is tough – we all have our own demons and I’m no different to any other human being.”
“Pain and suffering and fear is real, but it’s not unique. You might think that someone else has the perfect life, but do they? I deal with the same struggles as anybody else.”
The father-of-four has struggled with his mental health since leaving the armed forces in 2004, admitting that the transition back to civilian life was “scary as hell.”
“Stepping out from under that umbrella of the military and serving your country which has so much meaning and purpose to it, you leave it and then you end up asking yourself, ‘Who am I?’” he explained.
“You become a product of your environment and if it’s not upbeat, then it can be very serious and you take that seriousness with your when you leave the military.”
But it’s not just the 40-year-old’s own issues that have inspired him to speak up about the cause.
Willis claims that as many as 10 of his former colleagues have taken their own lives since he left the armed forces in 2004.
“I’ve had a lot of mates who have done many tours and its definitely affected their psyche,” he said.
“Before you know it, you find yourself going down a rabbit hole and, unfortunately for some, they don’t come back.”
This year the TV star will act as an ambassador for Australian suicide prevention charity R U OK?, an initiative he hopes will eventually “break the cycle” of depression.
“I’m willing to put my hand up and say: ‘Life sucks. I don’t know which way is up at the moment – can somebody give me a hand,” he said.
“None of us have got it made and being around others that can help lift you up can often be the difference between life and death.”
This article originally appeared on New Idea
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