"IT'S A sh**y day. I've got to bury Mum today, and it's going to be a really humiliating experience because I don't have shoes to wear."

It's a rainy day in Melbourne, and former truckie Michael is sobbing because he's running late to his mother's funeral, and he's terrified of seeing his family - who have described him as a "junkie dog."

As expected, Tuesday night's premiere of Struggle Street season two made for tough viewing.

We met Michael, who has battled addictions and mental health problems his entire adult life - and after two years living on the streets, is now in transitional housing in Melbourne's inner-west.

Heartbreaking moment.
Heartbreaking moment.

 

The 44-year-old explained that his life went off the rails after suffering years of bullying at school ("I just wanted friends"), which prompted him to turn to heroin at 19.

He's off the "hard stuff" now, but still uses methadone.

"What a sh**ty f**king life. For f**k's sake. You gotta say to yourself, how did it get like this?" he asked on camera.

 

On the day SBS producers turned up to film, Michael was preparing himself for his mother's funeral, and viewers were given a heartbreaking look into his life as he sat on the floor of his squalid accommodation, with tears running down his face.

But even without shoes, Michael is determined to farewell his mother.

"I'm not an a**hole, I'm not. I have to just keep reminding myself of that."

Watching Michael sob in the rain because he's running late to the funeral after struggling with the bus system made for incredibly difficult viewing - and while he eventually got there half an hour into the service - many were left asking: Why didn't producers help?

While viewers were divided on their empathy for the other people featured throughout Tuesday night's episode of Struggle Street, Michael's story seemed to really hit a chord.

 

Struggle Street returns tonight at 8.30pm on SBS.



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