Rebuilding himself

Athlete Simon Dunn opens up about struggles behind his Insta-life

(Photo: @bysimondunn via Instagram)

Former bobsledder Simon Dunn has opened up about recent struggles, revealing the life he depicts on social media is only part of his story.

Last week, the gay Australian posted to Instagram and Twitter a photo of himself playing rugby. Topless, he looks a little bigger than some of his fans may be used to seeing him. He has frequently posed for magazine and online showing off an incredibly toned physique and prominent abs.

The message accompanying the image says:

“The online persona I show you is all photoshoots, parties and magazine covers. This hasn’t always been entirely the truth. Earlier this year, I found myself back in Australia, living in a country town in my mother’s spare room and financially broke.

“Having to rebuild my life at the time felt like a monumental task. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I stopped looking after myself, drinking most weekends away, stopped training, all things which compounded the low point I was in.

“It honestly felt all the years of hard work had only led me back to where I began. For the first time in my life I’d felt anxiety, which was something new, scary and very overwhelming at times.

Related: Gay bobsledder Simon Dunn blasts homophobic meme featuring his face 

“Only weeks earlier I was living in London with my partner, running my own business, attending every party I was invited to, appearing in countless photoshoots and magazines.

“Before this I was in North America representing Australia in bobsleigh, training and competing, whilst getting flown to media gigs and appearances all around the world.

“I was passionate about doing everything I could to show the world that out and proud athletes exist. I felt the world was my oyster and this was my chance to do exactly that. I felt like I’d failed and let so many people down.

“Life over the last several years has been a truely [sic] amazing adventure. This now felt all but a distant memory. Many tears were cried over many nights, and some days I didn’t want to even get out of bed.

“This image is me at the height of that time, I questioned if I should post it because it doesn’t portray the person I show the world. There’s no abs, I was unhappy and lost.

“It portrays the real me, someone who, like everyone else, has obstacles they need to overcome. My little victory is being able to post it now, only a few months later, passionate for life again and looking forward to the next adventure.

“The Simon you see online is the Simon I want you to see, may it be my pride or the influence of social media, but it’s not always as it seems. Life is a series of ups and downs, just remember – there’s always light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark it may seem!”

Related: Simon Dunn showed his stuff at the laundromat. Mad about it? 

After his time with the Australian National Bobsleigh Team, Dunn, 32, relocated to London, UK, and took up playing rugby and offering personal training. He’s also worked as a model.

However, as his weekend postings reveal, he recently returned to Australia and is in the process of finding his feet again.

The postings have prompted thousands of messages of support. Many gay men admitted they too felt pressure to present a perfect life on social media. Dunn today posted a message to Facebook thanking everyone for their support.

“Your messages of support in regards to my post last week have truly been amazing, I can’t thank you enough!

“Many of you related to the pressures of social media and also comparing ourselves to people whom seem to have perfect lives. I hope my candidness has shown you that this is often not the case but instead a story and image people put forward!”

Queerty has contacted Dunn for further comment.