A man who almost died after falling 22 storeys off a building while intoxicated has used his ‘miracle’ survival as a way to raise awareness and help those suffering from a mental illness.
As a teenager, Jacob Pearce, 30, from Melbourne, battled severe anxiety and depression which resulted in him self-medicating with drugs and copious amounts of alcohol.
The fall, which took place on March 18, 2017, happened while he was celebrating at a friend’s buck’s party.
‘I was highly intoxicated on a balcony and I managed to roll off the top but I survived, it was an absolute miracle and I’m lucky to be alive,’ he told FEMAIL.
‘I fell 60 metres and landed on the roof of a restaurant. I landed in the perfect spot in the perfect way as my arm must have saved my head and my spine.’
Australian man Jacob Pearce, 30, has been given a second chance at life after falling from a 22 storey building
Mr Pearce said he struggled with his mental health from the age of 18 to his mid-20s and battled in silence as he continued to live a reckless lifestyle.
Although he would only party on weekends he would be on such a high, which would all come crashing down during the week before starting the cycle all over again.
It was when he was 20 that he first came to terms with his mental health issues and chose to seek help.
‘At that point I told people what I was going through until one person told me to stop talking about it, which is because of the stigma back then,’ he said.
‘After being told that, from then on I kept it inside and battled on my own.’
‘I was highly intoxicated on a balcony and I managed to roll off the top but I survived, it was an absolute miracle and I’m lucky to be alive,’ he told FEMAIL (pictured after his fall)
‘I fell 60 metres and landed on the roof of a restaurant. I landed in the perfect spot in the perfect way as my arm must have saved my head and my spine,’ he added
Mr Pearce suffered from severe social anxiety and would be nervous about going to work, seeing his friends and family and found himself lying regularly.
He didn’t want to come across as ‘weak’, which is why being told by a friend to not speak about his mental health was so harmful.
This all changed after his big wakeup call two years ago.
Although he would only party on weekends he would be high the entire time and would crash during the weekdays before starting the cycle all over again come Friday night
Mr Pearce said he only has ‘good memories’ from the buck’s party but instead of waking up on the Sunday with a routine hangover, he woke up the following Tuesday from an induced coma.
The last thing he remembers was a group party photo.
‘I had no idea, I didn’t remember anything. There were 40 people there, we had been to the races and we had a great day but it got to a point in the afternoon where I was a complete mess,’ he said.
‘I made the mistake of going into that day with the idea of getting messy, I was also on prescription medication for an infection in my leg and was on illicit drugs.’
As a teenager Jacob battled severe anxiety and depression, which resulted in him self-medicating with drugs and copious amounts of alcohol
When his mental health was at its worst during the week Mr Pearce would be ‘extremely anxious’
When the fall took place Mr Pearce said he fell past hundreds of locals on their balconies.
The fire brigade and police were there in minutes and rushed him to hospital, where he ‘miraculously’ survived.
Mr Pearce was in a wheelchair for three months with a fractured pelvis, punctured lung, fractured ribs, snapped arm and now every ligament in his knees are torn.
‘Then about two months later when I was home my stomach organs herniated into my chest cavity and collapsed my left lung and nearly killed me,’ he said.
‘There was a tear in my diaphragm that they didn’t pick up on originally and over time everything moved up but at least I came out of it the other side.’
Mr Pearce said he only has ‘good memories’ from the buck’s party but instead of waking up on the Sunday with a routine hangover, he woke up on a Tuesday from an induced coma
Mr Pearce was in a wheelchair for three months with a fractured pelvis, punctured lung, fractured ribs, snapped arm and now every ligament in his knees are torn
The 30-year-old spent a lot of time in the hospital by himself, which meant he had time to think about what he wanted to do with this second chance and how he wanted to give back to others.
It wasn’t until two people close to him in his life committed suicide that he knew how he could help his community while also facing his own issues head on.
He realised that he wanted to raise money for young people’s mental health as he remembered how awful he felt struggling as a young person.
Mr Pearce discovered the Alive Project, which is a team that dedicates their time helping youth build resilience.
The 30-year-old had many times in the hospital by himself, which meant he had time to think about what he wanted to do with this second chance and how he wanted to give back to others
The 30-year-old contacted the team and with their help organised a 375km walk over 10 days that he will undertake to help raise money for the Alive Project.
Mr Pearce took off on Friday March 8th and is walking for eight hours doing 40 kilometres a day on average.
This will include stop-overs overnight as he travels from the Murray River to Melbourne.
‘It’s been 179 days since I told the world I’ve battled with my mental health for most of my life. I am now nine hours away from the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced and I just want to thank everyone that has supported me all the way,’ he wrote shortly before he set off.
‘I am doing this because I believe I survived for a reason and that reason is for people to learn from my experiences. I aim for a happier future for our young people. I aim to smash the stigma of mental health for good.
‘I am doing this for all the brave warriors who are no longer with us and also for my own mental health. Ghandi once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” and that’s exactly what I’m doing. ‘
Although his original goal was to raise $10,000 at the time of writing he had raised $28,771 through My Cause.
‘If we can build resilience in our young people it can set them up for life but often young people, especially young men, don’t want to come across as weak but now that I’m so open about my past struggles it has helped others,’ he said.
‘Since putting myself out there I’ve had so many people reach out and thank me for being so open, it’s had a good impact on other people.’