New Zealand Instagram star @waverider_'s battle with depression

Last updated 16:49 11/01/2016
Liam Miscellaneous

Liam Miscellaneous hopes that sharing his battle with depression will help other young people.

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Kiwi teen Liam Miscellaneous, previously known as Liam Martin, shot to fame internationally by impersonating the likes of Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj on his @waverider_ Instagram account, but a battle with depression last year left him living out of his car, unable to continue his budding career online. 

Liam is sharing his story, in the hope of helping other young New Zealanders facing struggles with mental illness.

At 17, being struck with depression really took a toll on my body and the lifestyle I was used to. I have always suffered from anxiety, but it was an amount that I could control. When I started feeling depressed it really elevated my anxiety, causing anxiety attacks. My life got thrown into a downward spiral. At times I found myself in the clutches of attacks that would alter my ability to function and handle daily situations.

I found myself becoming a rising star on social media, but at the same time I was an adolescent, with physical and chemical changes already taking place, and I was at an age where adulthood and the responsibilities that came with it were creeping up. With social media being a big priority in my life, I found it very hard to find a healthy balance between my personal life and online life.

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Online it is important to always have a positive and happy persona for your audience, and at times I really struggled with that. Although my images and online character were able to provide so many people with laughter and happiness, nothing about my own life was funny or happy.

When I was struggling financially I didn't even have the means to feed myself or keep up with rent payments. I couldn't afford to produce content for my audience - something I found very hard to cope with.

As I began to pour more of myself into my online life and my happiness began to rely on it, it became very toxic and unhealthy. I had to remove myself from it all and really focus on myself. I had to shut down my @waverider_  Instagram account, which had nearly 2 million followers, and remove myself from all social media.

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After being on suicide watch with an array of different hospitals and mental health care facilities, I knew my life could not continue this way. I had to take some time to really process what had taken place that year. 

I was living at home with my mother when my depression first hit. In secret I went to the doctor and was prescribed an antidepressant and advised to attend a help centre. When my mum found out, she was hurt and we had a huge falling out. I ended up leaving home with $2000 to support myself.

Liam had to remove himself from social media to get through his battle with mental illness. Photo: SUPPLIED

Prior to this I had always lived a very sheltered life, not ever having to worry about having food on the shelves, keeping a roof over my head or dealing with financial hardship. I had no idea what to do.

I began living in various backpacker hostels around Auckland and was always too embarrassed to open up to my friends about how I was feeling and what had happened. After my year of success I was now living out of my car with all my belongings stacked inside.

I found it hard to open up to my friends as I felt so alone in my dark thoughts. I had left school before my peers and they were still in the comforts of the education system, where each day was set to a timetable and a system was in order. They all lived at home. I felt as if I had been pushed into adulthood and I was just trying to stay afloat.

Some nights I had to sleep in my car parked on random streets, so I was not only a mental danger to myself, but at times I was in physical danger too.

I didn't know how to deal with my mental illness, especially from the backseat of my car, and the plague of dark thoughts that haunted my mind were reaching a dangerous level.

Having been plagued by mental illness for the majority of 2015, I'm only now just finding my way back to being on top of things and becoming a functioning member of society again.

I knew I had to get myself into an environment where I was surrounded by supportive people and in a place where I felt safe and where I could be happy and regroup. Depression had a funny way of breaking me down to the point where I found myself feeling absolutely worthless, with no purpose to society. I needed to figure out who I really was as a person and regroup my morals and dreams for the future. Before that I didn't think I would make it through the year.

I've been writing a fictional book and it has been the most therapeutic experience for me. It has given me the time and means to really delve into all my issues, process them and make them into something beautiful. It has given me the chance to take all this pain and turn it into something that I can be proud of and that I hope helps many others who are in a similar position or struggling, because everyone deals with the concept of struggle. I have survived my current struggle, and want to be a voice for those who sadly haven't.

Liam is writing a fictional book on based on his journey into adulthood and dealing with mental illness in the modern world. He intends to publish the first chapter online.

Where to get help:

The Mental Health Foundation's free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812) will refer callers to some of the helplines below:

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 

Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757 

Healthline - 0800 611 116

Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)

Suicide Crisis Helpline (aimed at those in distress, or those who are concerned about the wellbeing of someone else) - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) 

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email


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