When I was 17 my best friend Corey needed footy players for this new Colts team. When I say needed players, he needed me to stand on the oval for 80 minutes and contribute nothing to the game. Surprisingly Corey was agreat recruiter and nearly everyone around me played for Kingsley.
4 years later October 12, 2002 we decided to go to Bali for the annual footy trip, I could not make it as I had other plans. The night the team arrived just six hours into that trip, the nightmare began, when over 700 kilograms of explosives were detonated at the Sari Club. 202 people died that evening, 7 of my closest friends from school and the Kingsley Football Club including my mate Corey he was 21. Looking back 16 years ago, the repercussions of this tragedy scarred so many people in the community directly and indirectly both Physically and Mentally.
I went through my own battle mentally for about 7 years, I really struggled to communicate and deal with my mental “negative” chatter. One day a colleague just asked me out of the blue. R U OK mate, and everything just came out. Not a lot made sense to my mate, it was mostly negative self-talk. I took a lot time off work and spoke to a lot of health professionals and they started to set goals for me. The goals were all about getting me out of my shell, seeing the outside and getting back confidence. Building up that mental fortitude. I started small with walks and runs and then started to increase into triathlons.
Three years ago, I did a Full ironman. Last Year I swam 20km to Rottnest Island for Mental Health Awareness and last month I ran 80km across rocks, trails and very little bitumen on behalf of LIVIN. The Livin Initiative and its message really resonates with me “it aint weak to speak” so simple but so true.
I’ll continue to raise awareness and work in my community to break the mental health stigma. I’m just thankful for LIVIN, my supportive wife and friends who push me. You just never know who is suffering, so remember the saying's “ It's okay not to be okay” and “It Ain't weak to speak”.
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