STOP THE DOWNARD SPIRAL: Karen Gibbs is writing a book to help fight the stigma's around depression and anxiety to remember her son.
STOP THE DOWNARD SPIRAL: Karen Gibbs is writing a book to help fight the stigma's around depression and anxiety to remember her son. Lacee Froeschl

Mum's book to finish son's fight, 'change lives for better'

FOR 12 long years, Matthew Gibbs battled with demons inside his head.

But his family were there by his side. His mum, Karen Gibbs, in particular was his rock.

When he suddenly passed away three-and-a-half years ago, Karen made it her mission to finish what Matty started.

Since Matty's death, Karen has gathered her thoughts to publish a novel to help others Stop The Downward Spiral.

"Being caught in the downward spiral of addiction and alcohol abuse was something he struggled with for a long time," Karen said.

"He made mistakes which really took a toll on his health. But over the years he helped so many people as he had definite ideas on what was needed to avoid the pitfalls associated with mental health."

The book gives a voice to those suffering depression and anxiety. Karen said it was essentially a carer's guide to helping others help themselves.

TOGETHER FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS: Matthew Gibbs and family.
TOGETHER FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS: Matthew Gibbs and family. Contributed

When Matty first began to show signs of depression and anxiety, the family did everything in their power to find help.

"It felt like we were forever trying to get help," she said. "There's such a stigma about mental health issues. We couldn't even find a doctor that tired to help with anything other than medication."

Karen added Matty was in the process of raising money to help others when he died.

"I now feel that I have a work to do, together with my boy, to fulfil his wish of helping others fight mental health issues," she said.

He left behind a loving family and his trusty side-kick Tipsy. Matty's parents now look after Tipsy at their new property called "Matty's Place".

FAMILY FIRST: Matthew Gibbs' dog Tipsy, who he left behind.
FAMILY FIRST: Matthew Gibbs' dog Tipsy, who he left behind. Contributed

Karen now lives her life motivating and inspiring others through her writings and blog posts following in her late sons footsteps and publishing his inspirational sayings.

"He always said that 'hope is eternal'. There is always hope. He often spoke of his mistakes and what he had learned. He wrote that if one person could be saved from despair then his suffering would not be in vain," Karen said.

She has begun collecting emails through her website for those who wish to keep in touch with the book's progress.

She said she intended to offer a free e-book when it is released later this year.

LOVES FOREVER: Matthew Gibbs and his dog Tipsy under the rainbow.
LOVES FOREVER: Matthew Gibbs and his dog Tipsy under the rainbow. Contributed

"My heartfelt wish is to honour Matty's life by getting his message out to as many people as possible. Hopefully it will change lives for the better," Karen said.

To follow the progress of Stop The Downward Spiral sign up here: karengibbs.com.au.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.


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