Josh Crickmay (middle) with father Andrew and mother Kathy.

A spellbound audience hung on every word as Josh Crickmay spoke about his journey from the throes of depression as a teen gripped by Aspergers to a self published wildlife photographer with his first coffee table book out.

Speaking during his book launch at the Mitchell Park’s Blue Zoo cafe, Crickmay shared snippets from his Big Year, a year of birdwatching from the deserts of Southern Africa to the thick of Equator’s jungle. The big adventure formed a family solution to a troubled time. “I fell into a deep depression, I was in a horrible place and it took a while before I was diagnosed with Aspergers which is now known as high functioning autism. At the time I had no idea what that meant, but it didn’t sound good.

What I did know was that I was broken, I had no hope for the future- I was a lost cause,” said Crickmay who aims to help others with struggles.

While Crickmay mentioned that medication combined with the excitement of the trip helped him to overcome his problems, he credited his parents for their dedication and support. “We decided to take a year off from work,” said his father Andrew. “The whole idea was based on the scripture that says without a vision, a man will perish,” added Andrew.

Attending the book launch was Julia Armstrong (22). “I am completely inspired and deeply moved to see someone choosing life over death- I’m going to tell everyone I know about this, I know people suffering with similar situations- it’s a story of hope and we need hope.”