Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Hey, I’m Nathan Cassidy the Founder and face of Unmask Yourself.
I feel it’s important to share a little about myself to help you understand who I am and why I do this.
My struggles started at age three when I was diagnosed with 'ADD'. The diagnosis itself wasn’t the issue it was the labels and limitations that came with it that were.
Labels such as being a "bad kid" because I have a condition and being told that I have a learning difficulty that makes me different from other “normal’ kids. This label was also used against me by teachers and family members to put me down and make me feel like a burden.
My mental health took a turn for the worst at age seven when our house was broke into and trashed by a drug addict . This had a damaging effect on my mum who was a single mum to myself and my 1 year old sister at the time. My mums fear and declining mental health rolled over to me. The moment I remember that happening and I knew everything was different was the day she handed me a baseball bat to keep myself safe while she showered incase someone broke in.
This resulted in me feeling as though I had to take on the protection role of the home, which was the beginning of a lot of changed behaviours including sleeping in my mums bed, the hallway or the lounge room for the next 3 years of my life so that I could be the first point of contact if anyone was to try and hurt my family.
"Along with this I also developed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) where I’d check that the doors and windows of the house were locked anywhere between 10-20 times before I could sleep."
At age 11 my OCD developed into excessive hand washing which happened after a family member had introduced one of her friends into our home. The following day he murdered two people (his housemate and the guy she was seeing at the time) by lighting their house on fire with them in it.
This then made me feel "dirty" and like a "failure" that I couldn’t tell the kind of person he was and the things he was capable of and I had allowed him to be in my home.
My hand washing got so bad that I’d washed both of my hands to the point that all of the skin on them were scabs. Even when they’d bleed I’d still continue to scrub them through the pain.
I eventually worked through this and got myself to a fairly healthy spot mentally.
Then at age 14 I received the devastating news that my dad had died. This then sparked a downward spiral of anger, resentment and destructive behaviours. The tension between my mum and I built to the point where I left home at age 15.
"Violence and substance abuse were my two main ways I used to deal with my pain, confusion and grief. I’d take a cocktail of drugs at every opportunity I had and I’d make sure I had some form of alcohol or drugs every day."
At age 15 I was drinking to the point that I'd go to the toilet and my bowel movements consisted of nothing but blood!
My living arrangements for the first 12 months of being out on my own were inconsistent to say the least. I’d lived/stayed in 11 different places along with random nights on the street or sleeping in cars.
My life finally took a positive turn when I’d managed to secure permanent accommodation with a couple I’d met through a community group. This gave me the opportunity to start working properly and start taking responsibility for my life. I was still abusing drugs and alcohol at this point but it had significantly reduced.
During this time I’d enrolled in a workplace readiness program with a hotel chain that had just built a new hotel in my hometown (Ballarat, Victoria). I was the youngest person to do the program and much to my surprise was the only one that was offered a job once it was over.
"This for someone that had no self worth, was an incredible feeling and allowed me to feel like I wasn’t completely worthless."
Within a week of this offer I’d been approached by the midwife at the community center I was a part of to tell me that she’d spoken to her brother who was the CEO of a company on Rottnest island Western Australia and she had a job lined up for me.
I’d gone from nothing and having nowhere to live to having a roof over my head and two job offers. I chose to take the job in Western Australia so that I could start fresh and get away from the life I was living. This whole experience at the age of 17 was pretty daunting.
I had just moved to the other side of the country to a place I knew nothing and no one. Being 17 made it very hard to find accommodation too, so I had to live in a hostel for nine weeks until I was able to lease my own apartment. The job I had moved to Western Australia for, unbeknownst to me was only a seasonal job. The island I worked on was only busy throughout the warmer months. After seven months I was made redundant.
I used this opportunity to study health and fitness and become qualified as a personal trainer.
"I wanted to do this to help empower and motivate people to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin."
I’ve now been lucky enough to have enjoyed an 11-year career in the health and fitness industry. Personal training people between the ages of 7-81 with a rage of goals from fitness, competitive bodybuilding and general health and wellness. I also managed 3 gyms over a 6 year period and became business coach and mentor for other trainers to build their own successful careers.
So, with all of this you might be asking what my motivation for launching 'Unmask Yourself' was and to be honest it’s pretty simple…
From my own life experiences to having worked with thousands of people on a deep and intimate level throughout my career it became very clear to me how limited life can be when we don’t have access to the support and knowledge needed to overcome our negative and limiting beliefs and behaviours.
I started Unmask Yourself to not only have an individual impact, but to also address larger social issues as well.
My mission is to help people be the best versions of themselves, for not only themselves, but for all the people they encounter throughout their lives too.
I don’t do this to focus on one individual group of people or one particular issue; my aim is to discuss all topics that negatively impacts us as humans…
"I aim to make personal development, mental health and social issues relatable and easy to understand with tools and ideas on how to improve them."
My passion is people, my purpose is to make a difference and Unmask Yourself is the way in which I’m going to do that.
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