Former Geelong Cat Simon Hogan | AFL Journey, Depression, BiPolar, Treatments plus more

February 24, 2020

Former Geelong Cat Simon Hogan | AFL Journey, Depression, BiPolar, Treatments plus more
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Simon Hogan is a former AFL footballer for the Geelong Cats who retired at the end of 2012 after being diagnosed with a depressive disorder. However, this has only recently been changed to BiPolar affective disorder type 2.  Simon chats about his journey so far and the battles he continues to face. We go into depth about his more recent diagnosis around BiPolar and the various issues that come along with the condition from two perspectives. One of those being a person who is living with the condition and our host's experience who grew up with a single mother with BiPolar type 1. Big thanks to Simon for his honesty and openness around his journey. 

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Transcript
Simon Hogan:

Welcome to the authentic combos podcast with your host Joel Kleber, which is a podcast conversation series with a range of interesting people in the business and sporting worlds. It does have a slant towards mental health, as I'm seeking to provide you with more varied information and insights into this area, away from the usual narrative that is out there. There's also a video version of the podcast available on YouTube, more information on that, and my various social platforms, make sure you check out the show notes. If you like the content, please feel free to subscribe and leave a review on your favorite platform. Enjoy the show. Hi, everyone with another authentic combos podcast and my guest today, Simon Hogan. So for those of you who don't know, Simon, first of all, actually appreciate you coming out this way and doing it's a long way out here. So no worries. Yeah. And so for those of you who don't know, Simon, who are listening, Simon was drafted in 2006 biologia, long cats, he played 22 games for the cats between 2009 and 2011, before retiring at the end of 2012, after being diagnosed with a depressive disorder. At the time, there's a lot of publicity around that a lot of ifl.com news stories and multiple publications pick that up. He also holds a science degree majoring in psychology. And you're also involved in headspace. I don't know if you still are. And he also created a program called thick and thin as well, which was the VA fa, which is about I think helping mates and stuff like talk about depression, anxiety issues and that sort of stuff. And yeah, is there anything I missed? Are there any intro there now? Well, I think because I've sort of moved on a little bit from the psychology path and write down a masters of health administration. More recently, I've been working in in hospitals and sort of always have an interest in the mental health space, but sort of moved out of it slightly. Yeah. So master mat, the masters of health administration, which is great. So high achiever, absolutely High Achiever and I personally know song we actually went to school together, so he's doing me a good, good solid here and coming on. So we had to manual college moldable there and we went from you 7012. Appreciate your assignment. So we'll start off with firstly a bit about your background. So where are you from? And where did you grow up? And so I was born in Denali Quinn, New South Wales, and then I moved to warrantable when I was five and grew up in Waterville, I just said and went to school together down in Emmanuel college there was a lot of fun. And then I was drafted to jilong at the end of 2006 So after we finished school nails from the Geelong Falcon from the Geelong Falcons yeah how do you the Falcons and then was lucky enough to get picked up? Yeah. Did you play Junio 40 with winnable footy club? Y ah, blues? Yeah, one more bl es? That's right. And so what was the like? Was that somethi g a bit more different? was it ike growing up in one was somet ing that only horrible people w uld know? Because there's a co ple of things that are painful ne, there's like probably 10 th ngs that only one will people w uld know. So what what makes one we're very unique and a ood place to grow up to are the first thing that comes to mind is the is the dirty Angel, which is a statuary moldable and around about that anyone from audible would know exactly what I'm talking about. But growing up was a lot of fun, that beautiful place down the beach and great place over summer and lots of very good sporting culture and very active place. So I had a lot of fun growing up in Baltimore. But there aren't there's lots of things you could if you go down on things that people will allow, you know, but be that appropriate. MIB and and your duty, Angela is actually shared on rove live. Now when they send me things and they had actually the dirty angel from the side. Yeah, it looks like it's doing performing certain action, we will say. So for people who want to know what that is, you have to get down on one level. And there's a bit of tourism plugin, dry around the roundabout and just stop there and have a look, that's for us. Don't miss it when you're there. That's it. And you're right, it does have a massive sporting culture. So I think when we were growing up, it was very much there was obviously no social media was just starting to touch it. But you know, probably it snon for Facebook, sort of Yeah, was really becoming inside was generally destroyed. I go to school and play footy and play cricket or basketball or soccer. And that was really it. So yeah, that was a life graph model, which is great, because a lot of fun. Exactly. Right. So now let's talk about your footy career. So obviously, you play you play professionally for too long. You're drafting in 2006. Yeah, you lit a 2012 I think you retired due to being diagnosed with depressive disorder. So let's touch on your career now. So what was the first couple of years like at the cats? So I was very skinny kid. I was drafted. I think I was about 57 kilos or something. Yeah. Yeah, no, I was I was very skinny. I had never been to the gym before and it was a was a good runner. I think that's part of the reason why jilong took a bit of a champ over an elite athlete. But yeah, my first couple of years was spent putting on weight basically. So I was planning the VFL was lucky enough to win the AFL Premiership in my first season. Which was great. But yeah, wild time in the gym, a lot of time eating lots of protein and and just bulking up really so there wasn't much pressure or expectation around playing AFL. I could just sort of work on my game in the VFL and All right, because you were drafted right in that time where that wasn't the jilong hitting their straps in that sort of golden era right when you had all the tablets and you had all in right all those sort of people coming at that time you got was a club like in those early days cuz would have been quite a surreal moment that you've seen these guys on TV all like superstars and yeah your your teammates with these people,

Joel Kleber:

it is very surreal, it was very surreal. And yet 2007 my first season there too long won the flag and they had all these superstars. And it was, it was amazing environment to be around. I think everything just sort of clicked that year. And the success continued on for the next few years. But it was just a very, it was also getting used to a professional sporting environment was what took a little while just the expectations around around training. And it was very conscientious group in terms of training and very everyone pushed each other and sort of was a very elite environment, they as you would expect,

Simon Hogan:

because you were very thrilled I know son was you've always been a really excellent achievement, whatever you've done, if it's basketball, school, footy, whatever it was, you've always done really well. So eight, that's strange that you said that the expectations took you maybe by a bit surprised when I think even prior to going along, you're already doing you're probably doing a high level of training before. So what was the difference in the step up? I think it was just that everyone was on the same page, everyone was pushing themselves everyone with pushing each other. I think some of the environments I've been in previously, you'd get sort of a handful or you'd have sort of the top half of the group would push each other but sort of drop away pretty quickly. I think that in that environment, everyone's pushing for sports pushing for to get better as a group and individually. So I think it was that sort of collective expectation and drive that really was the was the main difference. And it was that a pressure on yourself or was that something I was the actual pressures off that environment like on someone, it was pretty taxing, I think it took a little while to get used to and being a perfectionist, which we'll probably talk more around later on. It was quite hard to sort of not not be one of the better players and be right down the bottom and in really probably one of the worst players. And sort of, for me, that was a really, really hard thing to get my head around and to try and get comfortable with. And that's probably what what drove me to try and push harder and harder and perhaps sometimes still not healthy level that that just drive to be as good as the people around me. Which perhaps isn't the most healthy approach.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, let's talk about that. Now, actually, it's transitioned into that. Because this main, the main point of this having you on is obviously not that sporting side of us. It's a part of who you are. But it's obviously talk more about the battles with depression, more recent, some other stuff. So let's sort of touch on that now. So that thing that you said that being a perfectionist and the pressures are the people to give context, Simon Zhu boys were the top of everything that I've known you are your best that this vessel is best that this or that which is due to your hard work and talent and stuff like that. And then as you said, You've come now into a professional environment where you're down here. Now I don't I just someone outside looking in and probably knowing a little bit about who you are that competitive nature that would have probably drive you like a pressure or that feeling would have been really hard and awkward imagine.

Simon Hogan:

Yeah, it was really hard. I think for the first couple of years. As I said, it wasn't a lot of expectation just because also skinny and not ready for AFL footy. So I could sort of just go about my own business a little bit. But then coming into my third season, I probably physically was was sort of ready to start looking at playing in the AFL. And at the end of the preseason that year, I that was my first time I sort of experienced had it had an episode of of depression and put that down to Yeah, the expectation and the pressure around. Now, you've sort of had this opportunity, you've got another now the contract another couple of years. Now it's time to actually start playing some AFL footy and start building the career. So I think that expectation and again, being in that elite environment that was still experience a lot of a lot of success really. Both drove me to perform better, but also caused

Joel Kleber:

significant mental health models just told me a nasty Sydney third year, so to be around 2021 Yep. So the first time that feelings so that's when you first develop feelings of depression or anxiety or professional performance, maybe a little bit about probably your perfectionism and maybe you weren't getting the results that you want. So what's happened that first time the first time that's happened and you started feeling that way? What what was next? Or was it something you sort of sat on for a while? Or did you reach out some time or what happened from there,

Simon Hogan:

I signed up for a little while, I was just struggling to sort of get to training and perform in the geologists wasn't really that motivated, I just sort of lost my, my drive. And my well to push myself as a really, I started to lose my appetite. And that was a big issue with the way my body was and my weight and everything. So I had to keep up my my food, but I thought it was something that I could deal with, I didn't immediately think of it as a mental health issue, I just thought it was. Something's not quite right. And something that I can push through and, and fix on my own. got to a point where I was too unwell, I was sort of unable to really train and was noticeably fatigued and struggled to sleep, my sleep really, really went out the window. So I reached out to our club, jP jP, who was an excellent support. And he then subsequently sort of put me in touch with psychologists and then psychiatrists and sort of went down this path of building up a professional, professional network bit things. And then I was sort of still very much holding this to myself, and not really telling trying to hide it from the other players trying to deal with it on my own, to talking to my partner and my family about it, but it was very much sort of, this is something I can just deal with. And I can just push through. And I've reached out to psychologists, I've reached out to psychiatrists, that's sort of my job done in a way. And then yeah, things progressively got got worse.

Joel Kleber:

So must have made a lot of pressure on you, obviously being in like it's a blocky sort of environment you don't and back then probably wasn't obviously a lot more worse around it now. But back then it would have been pretty hard to sort of, I don't know what you would have felt, but you know, putting myself in your perspective, it would have been maybe, might be a bit embarrassing. I don't know. And might have been pretty scary to sort of say that. But so what happened regards to the clubs that you've gone to the doctor, and I put you in place with the network, but you said you did say you did tell your family or they do,

Simon Hogan:

I suppose Yeah, my parents Yeah, yeah. spoke to them about it. Again, they didn't really know what to do, apart from that sort of guided by the jaypee, as well in terms of whatever they say, and whatever. psychologists and psychiatrists say that that's what, that's what we'll do, but at least them knowing made a big difference. I think. Just just being there and being able to ring them and say, I'm feeling feeling true today and things really hard. And just having someone to listen with was really helpful. But I think they also they struggled with not knowing what they can do to help. And still still something that they they struggle with

Joel Kleber:

the frustration of many parents, you know, you're their child or their their kid and they seem in pain and whenever they want to try and help but it's one of those things where it's not a physical injury where you can go and do that it's a mental thing, right? So

Simon Hogan:

it's, it's something that I think people want to try and just fix. And that's also was my approach at the start, you just want to fix it and just get it set up. But it's not. It's not how it works. Unfortunately, there's no quick fix. There's lots of things you can do to help but there's, yeah, no magic bullet that can sort of get you get you through and just put you back to 100%. Well, unfortunately,

Joel Kleber:

so you wouldn't approach to the, the doctors and you started going and you sort of said, well, that's my job done. Yeah. What are you exactly mean? Well, that, didn't you? Did you go to some sessions or what happened from

Simon Hogan:

there? I went to some sessions. And I think I sort of with a with a psychologist, I thought that the hardest part was was reaching out and then

Joel Kleber:

speak, right? Because Yeah, just assigning a rap sheet, but that's pretty courageous. Because you're right, probably does seem like that's the hardest part for most people. And they go, why didn't I do it earlier? Which is

Simon Hogan:

Yeah, most of the thing I say, and that was definitely my approach, why not do it earlier? The, I think, by just having a few sessions, I sort of was like, Okay, this is this was what I have to do. But whereas I wasn't probably prepared to actually do the work that required, particularly with psychologists when sort of the work outside of the sessions and the way I thought about things and my perfectionism. I probably just thought that by going and tick is sort of ticking a box. It's like, Okay, if I tick these boxes, then I'll then I'll get back on track. And that'll be all I need to do. As I've gone on for 10 years now and had long periods of being well but some, some other battles along the way. I realized that it's it's an ongoing learning that's required. And it's lots of self reflection and self development along the way. It's not just sort of going along to a session and then leaving it at the door. And that's sort of done. So sort of,

Joel Kleber:

yeah. So what I want you to work on back in your initial search your first time, then they've given you stuff to work on. You've mentioned the word perfectionism. Yep. So was it something that identified it was your perfectionism one of the drivers to maybe making you feel that way? or What was it about that? Because the word perfectionism,

Simon Hogan:

yeah, perfectionism, and sort of comparisons to others and my ability, or my lack of ability to just sort of focus on what I'm doing and, and how I'm going and not worry about others so much, and how I, how I compare to them. So I think from a perfectionist perspective, it was just an inability to accept things that weren't done perfectly. So just be able to leave things as they are, and be okay with that and accept them is a huge challenge still is a huge challenge for me, and something I'm still working on, to just sort of not have to be one of the best and not have to be excellent at whatever I'm doing. Because the problem with that approach is, you're never going to be the best at everything. And I tend to, if I don't think I'm going to be very good at it, I just avoid it. I just don't do it at all. Which is not healthy at all.

Joel Kleber:

Do you think you're What do you think? Because you realize you were very high achiever at school? Obviously, ducks, obviously this best 45, athlete, all that sort of stuff. Do you think those that tendency in childhood or that thing when you're young person, sort of obviously that fiction, that's where you develop that trait?

Simon Hogan:

Yeah. So I think I think it would have been good to have some failures as a as a young person. And to learn from those, I think, I mean, I'm, I'm grateful that I was able to achieve those things. And but I never really had an opportunity to yet to fail, and to learn from that, and to not be good at something and to be okay with that. So I think I went through school thinking I can do whatever I put my mind to. And that sort of subsequently played out as a really unhealthy mindset to have and sort of is still something that I'm, I'm working on.

Joel Kleber:

Still to this day. Yeah,

Simon Hogan:

yeah, perfectionism is still something that I speak to my psychologist about now. And it's still it's, I guess, so ingrained. And yeah, it's a real challenge for me.

Joel Kleber:

So do you think that perfectionism trap was the main trigger? for your first let's say, we'll call it episode or whatever, at the age of 20? Or 21? Or was it something else, or

Simon Hogan:

I think it was the main thing and yet the expectation around the footy world, and not feeling like I could, I could live up to it and, and see myself as a failure, because I didn't think that I was, I was going to be good enough. And I guess being a fringe player, is a really tough position to be for someone who's a perfectionist and vain in and out in the side and sort of, and that even back then to sort of 2009 the scrutiny wasn't isn't like what it is 10 years later in today's world, but there's still a lot of scrutiny on on your performance or my individual performance. And I guess I was someone who would would read into that a little bit

Joel Kleber:

that was that when you say scrutiny, was that from internal sources? Or outside sources? Or?

Simon Hogan:

Both? Both? I think the more I worry, in my mental health issues were more related to the outside sources and sort of not so much. A little bit a little bit, maybe a bit sort of worry about what friends, people I know, people who know me, what think if I get dropped? And really, yeah, so there's a lot of sort of, I'm in this position that is very, very public world. So just the, the worry of what other people will think, at that time, and what other Yeah, but what people will think, is, again, a huge thing that, for me, that just hangs around, and it's in the back of my mind, and still something I'm working on.

Joel Kleber:

Well, how do you work on that then? So it's great that you can self reflect and actually say, that's a big issue for me. So how do you work on what do you talk about with your psychologist to help you manage that in some way or? Yeah, well,

Simon Hogan:

I've just started saying a psychoanalytic therapist. So it's a bit more trying to get to the root cause of things. So Talking about the perfectionism stuff as a child and that achievement stuff. But I think the previous work I've done with CBT psychologists, has more been around the let's CBT. So just focus on cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a bit more would be more task oriented. So there'd be sort of things that I talked about in my in my awake or things that come up. And then we'd sort of break it down into why you might think that way, and then what you can do to try and alleviate some of that negative thinking. And so it's more sort of task focus, whereas the stuff I'm doing now is a bit more exploratory. Which is a little bit tricky at the moment when I'm still not feeling great. But I think it's a really healthy thing for me to get down to the root cause of things. That's very interesting. So that

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, that's a great, that's an interesting approach. So it's, so you've done the CBT. But this is taking you right back and trying to go back to moments in time. So maybe when you're six or seven, isolate incidents or something like that, that you can maybe sort of get okay and work from there.

Simon Hogan:

Yeah, incident. So behavior patterns or things I, yeah, used to the way I used to think and feel, as a young person, and sort of, I guess, for example, the way I used to push myself so hard to achieve things, because of this fear of or one fear of failure and to want to be better than whoever was around me. And why that was important. What sort of the questions that come up for them? What would it matter if you weren't the best? Yeah, it's sort of a discussion around around that sort of topic.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, it might sound like a simple, simple question, but it's not really as if that's asked to someone in your position, like any sort of gun. Well, yeah, I haven't really experienced that. Or what would you know, it's sort of a interesting approach. I actually haven't learned I've actually learned something new. So I listen to that, but I haven't heard that. So. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So let's now talk about you're 21 you have your go back in time. Now. You're 21 you have your first episode, the club knows about all that sort of stuff. Now, the next couple of years. Were you ever hospitalized during that time? Or what happened in those next couple of years wash whilst you're playing? Or what was what happened? And your journey from then on

Simon Hogan:

top ended up being hospitalized when I was 21. Okay. So that was my yet the first time I was hospitalized, went to the jalon clinic for a couple of nights. So I think now

Joel Kleber:

let's talk about that process for people who don't know because people probably aren't, aren't aware of it. They when people talk about hospitalization, psychiatric wards, what happens? So where you may where your voluntary person or involuntary or how did what happened there,

Simon Hogan:

I was a voluntary person yet, so I decided with, with the health professionals that I'd built up plus my family, and my partner, that we would go down this path, it got to a point where I was I was that unwell and not so much suicidal. But just couldn't, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't get couldn't eat, couldn't function couldn't function. Yeah. So it was a decision to try and get back to a functional level. I went to the clinic for a couple of nights and found that really challenging just been in jilong and into smaller hospital. So made the decision to go to the Melbourne clinic, which is much

Joel Kleber:

bigger, gets you out of there. Right. You know, that fear of saying What if someone sees me or?

Unknown:

Yeah, exactly. A bit of element of anonymity, anonymity? anonymity? In in vain in going to Melbourne, which was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do the first the first night in psychiatric psychiatric hospital. You know, with people checking on you overnight. And

Joel Kleber:

so you would have been in a we were in a locked Ward, or you were in an

Unknown:

open one in an open Ward over what Yeah, yeah. So it was a ward for depression, basically, and my memories a bit a bit hazy of the whole experience, but I just remember being very scared at the time, and I think that's very normal thing for people the first time they are going. And then I sort of got used to it and and I think I, I needed that, that break and that sort of complete removal from my normal world and access to psychologists and psychiatrists on a daily basis and sort of that, you know, try things with with medication. It was just a very safe place and, and also to be around other people who are experiencing similar things. Who? You know, and well as well. Sometimes it's very, very helpful just to just to hear that someone else is experiencing something similar. Yeah, so I found that that sort of peer support that came through that really, really,

Joel Kleber:

really helpful and probably would have removed as well, that fear of that people judging you, because everyone in there as well as similar conditions, right. So you don't have to worry about that element, at least, you know, sort of concentrating just by yourself and getting yourself right without fear of judgment from others, because everyone is in a similar

Unknown:

Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was still one of the hardest things to have to reveal that I was having time off from the footy club and the playing group. And so how did you reveal that? And

Joel Kleber:

what would what happened? What's the process?

Unknown:

So once I decided to take time off, I was just, I was just out of there. But I to other guys that were drafted with me, really good night, Joe sold and Tom Hawkins, they told the group what was going on, on my behalf, because I was sort of not not in a state to be able to, to be able to do it. So that was a bit of a relief that it was out in the open more than anything.

Joel Kleber:

I think this all happened when you were in.

Unknown:

Yeah, so a couple of days after I decided to take time off. Because up until that point, I was still sort of around people. Some people definitely would have been aware that I was I was struggling, and I would have sort of mentioned bits and pieces, but no one probably knew the full extent of how I was going. So once I took time off, it's very obvious when someone's not there for training. And it was the end of preseason. So no, no games yet. But once that happened, yeah, that was time to sort of let everyone know, and get out in the open. And it was great that Tom and Joe could do that on my on my behalf. And then I can sort of not worry about rushing back, not worry about sort of, you know, it was great to get lots of messages of support, and all those people looking out for me and all that sort of stuff, which was, which was really nice. And how do I get in position? I

Joel Kleber:

don't know. That's a thought she had? Absolutely. Yeah. And then you sort of go from there. But um, so you've got so in there, what were you actually diagnosed with? What was your official diagnosis back then.

Unknown:

So back then a major depression disorder,

Joel Kleber:

major depression disorder, and I would obviously put you on treatments and stuff like that. So even if it's 12 days, and now you've come out, you're back into the real world? Yeah. What was that first sort of coming out of there? What happened the next couple of weeks? Like,

Unknown:

what what was the plan? So I sort of ease back into the normal, my normal world, sort of ease back into training, and was just doing my own program were animated, in lots of ways, incredibly lucky environment to be to have support staff around you. So you can always train with someone they can, you know, keep you actually, you sort of stay fit been sort of keep things ticking over. And you've got a whole team of physical professionals that are really on your, on your side to make sure you're, you're still doing stuff. So I sort of trained away from the team for a little bit. And I was sort of up to the psychologists and psychiatrists appointments, and was they were pretty frequent. And I was really lucky that I had great support from the club, to be able to organize all that sort of stuff. And they really helped with making sure that the appointments and things worked around training, and I sort of could leave that a little bit, which I know is a huge, huge burden for for individuals that don't have that sort of team working for them around them. You'd have to do it all themselves. When you're when you're unwell can be so hard to organize appointments and get your life organized. So yeah, it was a sort of a gradual build back into training, a gradual, gradual increase in those appointments and things. And really, there was no expectation on getting back to full time training or plane anytime soon. So really out of it had really lucky support really good support.

Joel Kleber:

So it's sort of interesting timing, because that time was mainly when mental health and mental illness was starting to sort of come to fruition. Yeah. So what was the attitude originally, like when you came back into the club? Obviously, this the people who can support but what about the team mates or was it how'd you feel we sort of came back into the mix.

Unknown:

I was so worried about how people would react but I think Once once it was out in the open, people were really good. And as you said that sort of transition time 10 years ago, between being more accepted and more out in the open, and people were very supportive, the conversations were always positive. There was no one who said anything negative or anything that made me feel worse, which is pretty lucky. I think not in hindsight. Yeah, generally, people were just just wanting to know what they can what they can do to help. And I didn't have a good answer for that. I still don't really have a good answer for that

Joel Kleber:

anyone does? Because it's, and that's the frustrating thing for people, right? they'd want to help somebody. It's because it's a mental affliction or mental illness. You know, what, what's the other than just saying are? You could be added to the chat anytime? And that's really, yeah. What else?

Unknown:

I think, yeah, I think that's the thing, just being there, knowing that they're there, knowing that they can help with just just taking you out for coffee taking, taking you to making sure you get to training, I can show you eating and that sort of stuff, that sort of can be very helpful. But there's still just a lot of things that you need to work on with professionals. And I guess, at times, just giving you a space to do that, as well.

Joel Kleber:

So we'll go touch now. So you've come back into the fold. And he did end up playing 22 games in the senior side in a very competitive side. So we'll call that 50. We'll give him a handicap of a half now. So did you get during before you national retirement? We'll get to in a minute. Did you? Did you get into any trouble again after that first episode during the career? Like where you got hospitalized again? Or was there any other episodes or something like that before you ended up calling it retiring? So I didn't get hospitalized again. But I was once the during those six years

Unknown:

during those six years? I think so. My memory is fuzzy, which we'll get to at some site. But I I did have more episodes. And no, I not as not not quite as severe. But I took I think I had some time off again, later in the age as a leader in MMA in those six years. So as I started playing games, I had a I had a pattern of becoming unwell at the end of preseason. So I'd sort of three years in a row where that time of year was was really bad, nothing that was initially plied as seasonal affective disorder, sort of coming into winter. But it was more to do with the expectations around the season starting and probably a bit of exhaustion from the in the preseason. And yeah, not sure what, what your what to expect from the year ahead and just building up those, building up those expectations and putting a lot of pressure on myself to be in the team in round one. Yeah, so that had sort of three, three years in a row where that time of year was particularly hard.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, and I wanted to just touch on now you're very academic person as well. And that frustrate you back then just being known as a football? Dude,

Unknown:

I was I was studying part time. So I started started studying at Deakin in jalon Health Science degree and that was okay, but I found it hard because it was jilong and any sort of person that followed the football and most people in gelang follow the football and follow along would sort of know who was who and so I sort of couldn't get away from football even while I was at uni people want to talk about the cats and

Joel Kleber:

and that sort of thing. So because you just wanted to really just segment it didn't you like that's the 40 side that outside of that I've got my goals to do this, this and this and this and this sort of you wanted to just focus on those

Unknown:

Yeah, exactly. I wanted to have yet the my academic side taking over and so I eventually transferred to Melbourne Uni and started going to Melbourne Uni

Joel Kleber:

was that's just avoid those conversations about video What was that? What was the reason? Or was the Melbourne Uni like I get to do I went to Deacon as well but Melbourne Uni being a better unit but was that because just that that side of it or just wanted to get out of that job long to separate it?

Unknown:

Maybe I don't know. I'm all wanting to experience the Melbourne Uni. Whiteside a few few mates are at Melbourne Uni. My partner was at Melbourne Uni and I also couple of years. Coming what year I moved to Melbourne but I actually started living in Melbourne and commuting back to jilong. Just to sort of Partly to escape those those conversations but to really try and get that separation between fully and which was important

Joel Kleber:

to you, it wants to have that line in it for yourself.

Unknown:

Yeah, I did. I did. So I I found a lot a lot better for me when I was at Melbourne Uni just because no one knew who I was and no one cared about. people cared about 40 but now I'm not the same way that people enjoy lawn care about jilong footy. So, yeah, I finished up doing as you said science degree, and add a few years studying in Melbourne Uni. But it was always tricky trying to study both semesters because of the offseason and the second semester, but some of my best memories of my uni life or doing exams overseas, I was able to organize to do really well in different places. Yeah, yeah. Which was great meant I could study for the whole year. Where some were some other place. You did a Melbourne Uni university exam. So I did one at NYU in New Zealand. Yeah. It was great. I remember skateboarding across. Central Park Central Park. Yeah, skateboarding across Central Park. And then during the exam, NYU Really? Well. I mean, it was it was, which was a great experience. did one in Sri Lanka, which was very different to that experience, but

Joel Kleber:

I like to do it as well. And you can do

Unknown:

exactly, yeah. made me more relaxed. Yeah, so it was good to be able to fit, fit uni around the 40 schedule, because that was important to you obviously have that educational side, you really important to you? Yeah, it was, it was really important. I did feel like I was tapping into to another side of me that fully was never the be all and end all for me. And I was sort of very late on the same in terms of getting drafted and never really, I never grew up wanting to play AFL necessarily. It was just something that I enjoyed playing. And it was great when it happened. But there was always what am I gonna do? After 14 being in the position I was in on the fringe never know how long it's gonna last and, and having the depressive episodes that I had that sort of also put things in perspective and was kind of like, well, this is I've got I've got a I've got to have other stuff going on. So yeah, it was really important to me.

Joel Kleber:

Now let's talk about neither retirement, obviously, I think there's a few Eiffel articles on Google come up on this few stories on you and stuff, which are pretty good. And but you decided to call it quits at the end of 2012. Now, that was a nice cited you cite I think was cited due to two dimensional health issues. So and it does a lot of media at the time over there. Let's just talk about that time.

Unknown:

So in 2011, I had another episode, which I can't remember that well, but it was reasonably severe. And I had to take some time off again. And I ended up making the call sort of coming out of that experience that this footy world isn't for me. So I told her told the club, sort of at the end of 2011, that I'll I'll see at my contract, play, just play in the AFL in 2012. And then finish up with the club at the at the end of that year. And so that was actually a huge relief. Once I sort of made that call, I think I was trying to fight. Because I thought that's what I had to do. I thought I had to I had to make this work. And I'd already committed five years where you had sort of missed out on the classic uni sort of experience of going to going to college or doing doing all those things. And so I sort of felt like I had to I had to make it work. And once I sat back and did some work with with again with psychologists and psychiatrists, particularly psychology, psychologists, at the time, became clear that it wasn't going to be that healthy for me to continue. And I didn't want to just push through because that's what would be expected. No, it was I was worried about how they perceive you have to like really lucky position to be on an AFL list. And a lot of people would love to be in that position that never get the opportunity. So I didn't want to come across as sort of.

Joel Kleber:

So you're still always worrying about the perception even though you knew that was probably the best decision for you. But you might have even I'm not saying would it but you might have even hang in there just because of what that perception of other people thought of Regarding opportunity and stuff like that,

Unknown:

yeah, a little bit, and I remember a few conversations with certain people will one conversation in particular with the coach where I said, I'm not sure if what he is for me, he basically came back and said, Well, what the hell are you doing here? You know, it's a lot of people would want to be in your position. And that really stuck with me and still sticks with me is sort of the attitude of some people around, not accepting an individual for who they are and what they're actually interested in. And it's not to say, I hated fully, I had some really good times and really enjoyed parts of it. But the lifestyle just didn't suit my didn't suit me, and into my approach to things. It wasn't as an unhealthy place for me to be when I was thinking about things in the way I the way I was, in some ways the way I still do.

Joel Kleber:

And you've made that call. So it's done. 2012. And so what's happened after then you've sort of got this Did you feel like I've, as you said before, big wide if your shoulders and I don't have to worry about what people's perceptions I can go in Melbourne now I can go do my thing. So what happened there? Did you pursue your study even more? After that for the next couple of years?

Unknown:

Yeah. So I finished off my degree the year after I had sort of three or four subjects left to go. So I sort of did that part time and worked at headspace. So I was really keen to let's touch on that real quickly. Actually. Sorry, I

Joel Kleber:

had that write down did mention that. So you were headspace is organization which deals with young people and yeah, around mental health issues and stuff like that. And you did a I think for a while your ambassador, and you did some stuff with them. So yeah, for a little bit.

Unknown:

Yeah. So I was an ambassador for them. And then I went worked in their community engagement team as community engagement officer. And really, that focus was on so they they target 12 to 25 year olds provide service services around. I'm not sure how many centers they're up to now. But there's centers all over the place. And they have a lot of online services. But really, the role in the team I was in was around building awareness, but in a practical in a practical way. So we help design programs that went out to schools and community groups, footy clubs. So I did a lot of stuff, still using the back of my on the back of my footy career where I did a lot of stuff with, with young young men, just talking about mental health issues, and about my experiences and about what you can do and help seeking and I guess, trying to break down that stigma around around around mental health issues.

Joel Kleber:

Did you find that therapy therapeutic for yourself? In a way?

Unknown:

Yeah, I did. I did. It was actually a big part of my recovery was was getting involved with with headspace. And it was a just a really supportive environment where you could I was able to sort of golf and really use my experience to sort of develop different, developed content and go and I really did love the facilitation of workshops and talking to young people and being able to tell my story and sort of use it in a positive way.

Joel Kleber:

So how long did you do that for during that time? post that how many years? Was it until you had let's say, another episode or some more issues? Or did you always have ongoing issues while showing that doing headspace stuff and

Unknown:

so I was pretty good for that period for for those few years, probably actually had a really good, stable, I'd say almost five years of being well, where I was. So I did the headspace gig for a couple of years a month. And then I've traveled for a little bit and then I started a program where I did a masters of health administration through the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Big one to get out people want to get out whether the Masters was was three Latrobe uni but the college runs a program where you do the masters and you do for six months rotations at different health organizations. And I finished my last rotation in that program was at Alfred health, well then I ended up working until May during this year. So for the majority of that, sort of end of 2012 or 2000, including 2012, where I was where I was well until sort of 2018 I was I was pretty, pretty stable pretty well and if you know a few ups and downs within a normal range, but no real depressive episodes are still So we're a psychologist, and we're still on medication and still sort of psychiatrist as well, but was

Joel Kleber:

stable. So that's, that's what we're more of your recent battles. And so we had a call for a B prior to doing this just to sort of talk about a few things. And you've had a few recent couple of issues. It's up to you how much you want to go into it. But maybe shouldn't touch on that, because it's led to a new diagnosis that I think is quite probably important to talk about, because it doesn't get spoken about enough. Yes, maybe just tell us a little bit about that.

Unknown:

Yeah, so 2019 has been a pretty new year for me how I've in May, I was hospitalized again. So I think I think that's the second time.

Joel Kleber:

So what do you think has brought this on because you've had such a, you've had this period where you've been managing everything around and something's just happened or what's triggered it, you reckon, or what's happened to,

Unknown:

I think there is a bit of stress with work and a bit of, I've sort of gone from one thing to another and had sort of a clear plan. And I didn't really have a clear plan of what I was doing. Next with my career, I guess. So there's a little bit of that also went off. So medication. Lithium, which we'll talk about more in a second, but when I went off that, because my old psychiatrist didn't think I needed it. And I've been on it for a long time with him. Commonly used for for bipolar, oh, I'll build, build, build towards that. But I said I was hospitalized in, in May, and I tried TMS, which is trans magnetic stimulation, which is basically not what you'd call it, but a little sort of thing that goes on inside your head and taps away. And you sit and sit and just get that for about half an hour. And that's meant to sort of stimulate the brain. And I

Joel Kleber:

want to touch on this now because people won't be surprised, like hear about that, like, obviously, because we think obviously, all these medical advances and that but something like that sounds pretty, let's say old school in a way. So just so you sat down, and they sort of sit down and just taps on your head for what like half an hour.

Unknown:

Yeah, they work out the exact position for you. And there's, you know, technology involved in terms of working it, working it out. But it's a relatively new age. For this. Right. I know how long it's been around for, but the value added at the Melbourne clinic for a couple of years, I believe. And I had a really good response to that, to that treatment, as well as I was on medication and things but missed a couple weeks of work with going to hospital and then went back to work. And then my wife and I went on holiday meant to go for about seven weeks, I think. And I can't remember any of these holiday, she can get to the explanation a bit. But I became very unwell while we were away. And we came back early, flew back early and I went back to hospital, tried the TMS. Again, because I had such a good response didn't have a response this time. And eventually went down the track of trying at electroconvulsive therapy, which we've discussed. Yes, at length. Yeah. But I had treatment that has a lot of stigma associated with it used to be what's the movie that everyone talks about? wildflour like

Joel Kleber:

clockwork orange maybe or something like that? Yeah. kwibi

Unknown:

where you know, it's sort of things attached to people's skulls and inducing seizures and it is it is a full on medical treatment medical treatment that shouldn't be taken lightly but I started that and you don't know why did in lots of six. So I had

Joel Kleber:

a yonder Sorry to interrupt you there but just for people it used to be why noise electric shock treatment has gone up and it's obviously easy to electric convulsive therapy. Now when you say lots of six now we under put you under General what's happened sedation right?

Unknown:

Yeah. So you go under general anaesthetic, so it's pretty. It's pretty full on on my end. One of the big side effects is memory loss. And that's why I keep saying I can't remember much because my last 12 months are very, very vague. And even before that long term memories is still very vague. It should all come back eventually. But my last PSAT was only a month ago. So I'm sort of recovering, still, but talk more about that, because I had. So when I'm talking about it, now, I'm talking about from what my wife's told me or what other people have told me, because I can't remember it at all.

Joel Kleber:

So you can't have that time at all really, in the hospitalization or even as you said, the holiday just gone. Right.

Unknown:

The holidays is gone. I had summer road trip last Christmas, that I can't remember at all and gone through photos and things. And it's sort of I know that to me,

Joel Kleber:

it doesn't jog or you haven't got no association with at all. Not yet. Yeah,

Unknown:

not yet. So it's been very distressing. And it's a very tricky one. To sort of try and explain and then it's really, it's, it causes a lot of social anxiety, because it's sort of like Hoover saying lightly in Hoover caught up with and I can't remember our, our catch up. Because that was within the last few weeks. And that's when I've been been able to hold down memories. But anything. Before the start of November, is sort of,

Joel Kleber:

yeah, that will interest we'll talk more about that in detail. So thanks. Because with the lithium, so being taken off with him, it was that because he thought of talking about that real quickly, because lithium is used for people with bipolar. So it was that because he thought you didn't need it or you just Yeah,

Unknown:

yes, yes, basically. So I went on that initially with first psychiatry service, or who thought about the seasonal affective disorder, side of things, and bipolar, help stabilize the mood throughout the year. And then the change in psychiatrists when I went to the Melbourne clinic, and then he just kept me on paper, then I think I sort of started to question it just because a drug had been on for a long time. So it was definitely me being like, what do I need to be on this, and he couldn't come up with a good enough reason to stay on it. So we decided to go off it. So to sort of jump jump ahead, the having malassezia at a month ago, I on that. on that particular day, I saw a different psychiatrist who diagnosed me with bipolar, bipolar type two. And put me straight back onto lithium, complete change of medication. So everything I was on, straight off, it stopped the AC T, AC t can be used, as you know, for bipolar and is commonly that my pattern with AC T was odd. And again, this is what people tell me, I would get very elevated after having six AC T and be really up and about for maybe a week or a few days. And then I'd crushed panic attacks. And yeah, I was having a lot of panic attacks. So we sort of tried different things with the AC T, try doing the sort of maintenance to reduce the crash down. But it wasn't probably the right treatment for me at the time. So yeah, since that last one, since I saw this new psychiatry list. We've had complete change in medical menace, medicine, medicine, regime, medication, regime, and treatment plan. And now it's a bit of a transition period as the old medication gets out of my system. And so it's Yeah, four weeks. Since then. I've still been feeling pretty crap. And it's good. It's Yeah, so it's been a huge four months since we got back from

Joel Kleber:

going imaginary says but in pain, in essence, it relieved in a way that you've now got the proper diagnosis, because you've had those years where you've been treated under the assumption of one thing. Yeah. And now after let's say 10 years, you finally get feels a font, or you've got the right diagnosis and you're on the right path.

Unknown:

Yeah, I do feel that it's the right path. I feel a lot more confident confidence in in having that diagnosis and the treatment plan we're on and it makes a lot of sense. The the ups and downs that I have had. I'm someone who Doesn't haven't had full blown mania, that type two is more sort of flat, more flat, more on the flat side and then out periods of elevation. And I do have periods of of elevation. And so now the hard part is this waiting, waiting to sort of get back to myself. I feel like I'm just sort of in

Joel Kleber:

poetry almost in a way you sort of waited for that thing just to finally hit the switch where you sort of feel I'm back again, or I'm

Unknown:

back. Yeah, exactly feel like my feel like myself again. And that's where I sort of not joke about it and shouldn't joke about it, but like wanting to almost have a say again, because it did boost me so much. But then I know that crashed and Yeah,

Joel Kleber:

well, we keep will, while my screens for those who are watching or listening is my mom's got bipolar type one. So bipolar type one is the more we'll have more manic episodes, right? They're not they are they are flat, but they're more, there's way more mania, whereas type two, bipolar affective disorder, type two is more or flat. So there is two types that aren't the things people when I talk about it because they still shocked that electric shock treatment goes around. I think it's part dissociation. This is a barbaric thing. It's been around for years, which it has been. And people are being treated with it. For years, it just never been really talked about. But in their surprise, even in 2019, that still goes on. The scary thing for me. Growing up this was a CT was seeing the after effects. So with us, what happened was the old girl going and we'd have it, but the thing is, she'd want to see the kid straightaway, right? So they'd bring you into the cycle, and she's just had a CT the day before or whatever. And there's a lot of drooling, and all this sort of stuff. And the person is not the person, you know, right. So they're shuffling their feet or whatever. So my question regarding that is with us, how did your family take it? Because it can be very telling on the families? I don't think it's talked about enough, which is what I'm hoping these conversations and sort of do is that there's a family element, the kids all that sort of stuff, and how how your mom and dad, first of all, when your wife was seeing you going through this, especially the AC t because it's not an easy thing to see someone afterwards who said that alter ganda psychiatric facility and see some athletes heard that I was used to it because I've been, you know, whole life have experienced it. But I can imagine for someone from the first time, or the first couple of times, I would have been very hard for

Unknown:

would have would have been and again, my my memory limit. Yeah, what I what I can sort of say but I know. I did the first load of six as an inpatient in hospital. So I was since came back from overseas as I've been hospitalized a couple of times. And we volunteer every time.

Joel Kleber:

Yes, yeah. Yeah. Because there is a difference. There is why I keep pointing that out as voluntaries when obviously you go and voluntary, whereas involuntary Where's from my experience, my mom a lot of the time was involuntary, and she couldn't get the help you need until she was made involuntary. involuntary is very embarrassing, because what happens is cops get called or neighbors will call the cops and put them in there. And that's the way they get done. Because there's still a lot of issues with this system, which we'll talk about in a bit. Yeah, sorry, you can't continue what you're saying.

Unknown:

I was just gonna say, I know, it's been particularly traumatic for my, for my wife, because the second lot of six hours I did as an outpatient. So you can actually get taken in in the morning. So they were the Melbourne clinic does it anyway, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I think it was 7am get dropped off, and then get picked up in a day. Yeah.

Joel Kleber:

I didn't know they still did that. So I did not I did that. So that's pretty. Yeah,

Unknown:

yeah. So it's. And yeah, I don't know, if the treatments changed, or, but I would sort of be okay, generally afterwards. So they wouldn't they, Kate, my wife would walk with me to the waiting room and then sort of Hand me off and come back four or five hours later,

Joel Kleber:

after you've had the round of positive.

Unknown:

And then by that I have had flashes of memory of being on the bed and sort of waking up and you know, feeling much just not knowing what's going on what's where am I and what's what's happened. And then funny,

Joel Kleber:

scary isn't it's confusing. It's scary, you know, you don't want to have to do it. And I can imagine, like your cake, like seeing you after that as well would have been pretty, pretty tough to take.

Unknown:

I think so I think it's been in a way it's good thing that I can't remember it. The traumas sort of not as not as prevalent. And I know, yeah, it's been a really traumatic period for Caden and for my parents who I think really, again, hard for them. They've been gelang hard to know what they can do. And you're just going to get this treatment and it's a highly effective treatment. Should I? Even though I had the crash afterwards? It was very good. It lifted me out of the very, very, very dark place.

Joel Kleber:

What's that implies? Because it does work. And that's the thing. It does sound barbaric to people and people get shocked when they hear about it. But even in 2019, it's still with people with bipolar, it's still very effective. Yeah. For training.

Unknown:

Yeah. And equally people with with with severe depression, I think, yeah. I think it has some sort of success rate of about 80%. of I think that's just getting people out of lifting people out of whatever state they're there in. So I'm not sure how effective it is in the long term as, as I spoke about this sort of crush effect. And then now, I think that the the memory loss is really making things hard.

Joel Kleber:

Which is an eye for medical hearing, hearing you say that not not annoyed at all, I have an order hearing you say that because for me, I've always been told by psychiatry or so whoever was treating my mom has no long term effects, right? There's no effects to it. You actually Google there's a whole website dedicated to saying, AC T's got no harm. And there's no proven science on this, which I think is a lot of crap. In regards to memory, for example, because with my mom, for example, her long term memory is fine. But it's the short term memory, which is just like there is no short term memory, which strange are worse, because you're saying your short term memory recently is there, but your long term memory for some things is not there. Whereas with my mom's experience, and what I know, it's her short term memory is not really existent. Yeah, long term memory things from you know, 2030 years ago is that which is just, which is one of those things are working right now it fix it.

Unknown:

So you can she can hold memories down afterwards. Like,

Joel Kleber:

I look not really nice. So I speak to my mom pretty much every day, or every couple of days. And it's always after I get frustrated person, because I'll tell us something from two days ago, and she just can't remember it. Now, this is June because she's just been recently diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 59. She's now 60. So I've got to manage that. through that and not get frustrated with it. Yeah, for me. That's perspective. Yeah, the memory. It's interesting. You have memory still from let's say, 3040 years ago. But if it's something from the day before, I've told her and whenever I'm trying to deal with that myself as I get really frustrated, so when I'm talking to her, and she'll have told us something yesterday and sort of try it myself out of that frustration and sort of understand that but I personally look decisions based on lived experience. It's not based on me being an expert or anything like that. I'm not just so I can only deal with what I deal with and actr. My mom, she's had a lot more regularly. So she had it pretty much every year or two from the age of 18. So that's gonna take an effect over 40 years if you're doing that all the time, right. And what what I've seen notice happening is that the brain deteriorates is that the hospitalizations were shorter. So at the start, when I was younger, it used to be like year and a half, two years, and then that's a year. Now it might be three months, and now like she's living in and our Ward full time now. So yeah, I think if it's something where if it's done every routinely, like year on year on year, and it does have an effect. Yeah. And I hope you never have to have it again, personally, because I just think it's it is one of those things I love if there's an alternative treatment, but I don't know, I could still find it, which is why they're recommended and use it. But um, I think the way I always viewed it was a reset. Yeah. So that's the way I was always told, it's just going to mom used to say I'll reset, it's going to reset my brain, which sort of put me a bit more at ease. So I thought of like, like a shock in your brain to resetting itself and rebooting. Yeah. And then you get the medications. Right. So then you experiment with different medication mixes. And until you get that right, then you solidify that program, in a way. Okay.

Unknown:

Yeah. And I had I had that as well. Right. That reset? Yeah. Which is sometimes what the brain needs when you're in a certain a certain place. Yeah, and I hope I don't have to have it again, just more because of the memory stuff I'm experiencing at the moment. And the doctors say,

Joel Kleber:

sort of comeback and all that sounds bad. Yeah.

Unknown:

Which, you know, it's only 24 weeks. So it should it should come back. But it certainly is making things challenging at the moment.

Joel Kleber:

I can imagine is that and that's more decision of personal frustration or you said you said you meet someone and you've taught that said I'll worry about this some a week ago or whatever or Yeah, just it's frustrating cuz you just can't recall. It's just

Unknown:

frustration. Yeah. And a bit of, yeah, I sort of want to opt out of it of social things just because I'm not sure who I've seen lately and what discussions but, but I've found once once I discuss it people are really interested in people are fascinated like it is pretty fascinating, really, this whole. You take out a whole chunk of time and you're caught with some mates on the weekend to had a holiday who met us for a period of time on the overseas trip. So that we sort of a recounted though period together for me, which is nice, but at the same time online, that's a complete blank, yummy. I can't remember any of that. And I think I probably, if I really try hard, I can sort of maybe get some of the memories back. But I think I've just been so frustrated that I've sort of given up. Yeah, and just sort of been like, No, I can't remember.

Joel Kleber:

So where are you being? Currently? Just some obviously be on medication and currently on some medical medications? Or what's the current treatment plan for us really talking to Sykes? Is it something like mindfulness you practice or what's your current sort of plan of attack did, which is great in sort of way got the diagnosis. Now, as I said, you can put something in place to deal with it. So what's your way of dealing with it or attacking it moving forward?

Unknown:

So yep, on a mix of medication, not as much as I was on, but more for bipolar. They see psychiatrists weekly, and a psychologist weekly. I'll see him later today. And then I big thing for me is getting into a routine. So meditation is part of that routine that I've been just from from last week, start getting up. First thing, get to the gym, get up at the same time, every day, get to the gym, even though it's the last thing I feel like doing. And it's, I have to drag myself there every time. But I always feel better. I post it. Yeah. post it. And then, because I'm not I'm not working at the moment, I'm not going to I'm not going to work until the new year. So it's sort of trying to build in a routine for each day where I fill fill stuff in. So both with people and in my own time, so So yeah, sorry, go gym, get home meditation breakfast, and that's sort of my start started the day routine. And people with with bipolar routine is

Joel Kleber:

it is absolutely crucial. Mom never stopped doing that. Yes, it is. Very hard. It is yes. So with because the thing with bipolar people don't realize I don't know if it's so much with type two component could be completely wrong. him still and from my experience, but he was bipolar in my experience, or my mom, certainly in a couple of hours. I know. always thought they were better. So I'll never go back in again. And that will come out and go on better. Now I don't need to take my medication. So then I take the medication, and then you know, yeah, cops get caught or whatever. And then they back into square one as shock treatment again, come in, I'm never going to get sick again. Take it two or three months, stop taking it, I'm better now I'm cured or whatever. And then they way they go back again, I've heard that as a common story. Actually, a couple of other people are now that so it's quite it's quiet the routine. And growing up, the old girl never had much of a routine. I think her having kids was lucky for her because it gave her that some routine where you have to make breakfast and drop them off. And, and that's it. But then you have all that old idle time during the day where sort of things would happen. But it's interesting to say that the routine, you're doing it now so that when you're getting back into the work environment, where it's sort of there's another thing coming at you, you're going to have that set in place.

Unknown:

Yeah, that's the plan was the plan to sort of set it up definitely for that morning plan. And at the moment, even though I feel pretty shitty. I feel like it would be great to be at work almost Willie's doing something regularly from your nine to five domain. It's amazing how much you sort of rely on work to to fit your routine. And once that's taken away in China feeling as you say, I'm really struggling with that. And the fact so at the moment when I when I say I'm shootie I'm sort of in a more depressed state as the LSAT wears off. And this change in medication hasn't quite kicked in yet. So I'm just not interested in things. So I'm sort of just like, I can't concentrate. I'm really struggling to read and do things that, you know, on one hand, you'd think, great, you've got another month before you have to go back to work or for all of December, where I'm not working. But I sort of don't know what to do with myself. And it's a real a real struggle. So I can understand your mom having that idle time in the middle of the day. Yeah, just

Joel Kleber:

was dangerous because she was she's uptight, which is more mania, right? So my mania is like, when manic someone's manic, it's not good. It's crazy. I could end up getting in the car and driving to Perth, just because they think someone's doing this and that you know, and then you come home and it was the old girl, whatever, she's not there or whatever it is, right? They have all these grand plans and all these schemes and stuff they want to do and all these paranoid thoughts and stuff they put in your head. So now I just want to talk about bipolar awareness in general. So I think it's around 2% you told me before as a stat i thought was 1% but it's 2%. Yeah. Do you have bipolar? You know, I think it's 5050 in terms of couples in regards to what I know. So living this someone, well, being a partner of someone with a severe mental illness can be pretty, pretty taxing. So from what I know, it's either they stayed together, which is great. I'm a massive respect for that. Or they're either a single parent or whatever. Yeah. So in your, in your time working because you've worked with programs to deal with mental health. Was there anything ever touched on about let's say, bipolar schizophrenia? Or kids who had parents who those situations or anything like that, or?

Unknown:

No, no, there wasn't, I was all about anxiety and depression was the work space I was in. And I think that, that has become a lot more accepted. And people, you know, people can put their hand up and say they've got depression, and it's sort of now well understood. And, and well known, and workplaces are much better at just giving people time off and having post processes and programs in place to help people deal with those sorts of issues, which is, which is great. But yeah, having recently been been diagnosed with with bipolar. It's, it is pretty amazing how little there is around bipolar and schizophrenia and other issues that are less less common, but are also pretty, pretty prevalent. Like the I think, I think it was an America that's 2% of the population that have been had bipolar. And that's a lot of people. As you said, you look at an Australian population that 26,000,002% It's a large number. Yeah. And so I think that is probably the next, the next wave of mental health. And initially, it is just about awareness. And I think as much as the time for awareness is sort of, particularly around anxiety and depression. It's kind of come to a head where, okay, there's enough awareness out there, what what are we doing what, what, what things actually help, and what things can people actually access to do? And I think that's the important piece of work on that front now, on a more practical sense, but then there is this awareness around other issues that people experienced to sort of get them up to the same level of as where anxiety and depression is at.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, yeah, I agree. And that's, that's one of the reasons why we're doing this sort of content is to sort of, sort of get something out there, at least in some way. Because there's still I still personally think there's a massive stigma with bipolar and schizophrenia. The reason why I know it's because I've had, I've had people when I posted something on on LinkedIn, or Facebook DNA out of the blue, and I had no idea they had a similar situation to me, growing up with a single parent with with mental illness or schizophrenia. And that's only stuff I'm like, I know exactly what you're going through, but you never hear about it. No. And there's a lot of people who are 50 or 60 years old now who had parents with that, and back in the day are sort of hush hush under the rug, right. So yeah, you know, who are in a position to speak out and actually use some of the let's say, they've got money or voice to do something about it. So but they don't, because I still think there's a bit of embarrassment about it or stigma about it. Because when you grow up with a parent, with that situation, you always told that telling one? Yeah. So you go to school, and you might act at school and they why you know, and you get in trouble you get treated like because they aren't the school, can I take your papers, I take you for what you present, right? You're not where your life resume on your sleeve, right? So people can take it for what you are. So as a young person in those formative years, you do have a lot of issues, growing up with that situation, you know, a lot of a lot of things that you do act in a way because it's still not there's not much awareness around it. So the May as you said, I think majority of mental health awareness is associated or just people just not as depression and anxiety, which is very serious and I'm not trying to trivialize it for make might be a lot of it, you know, but I think all the resources like it's the awareness campaign around men bipolar, I mean, sorry, depression, anxiety has been great. It's done its job. But I agree needs to be started shifting into these other areas of social issues with kids who have parents with that, or depression, and I'm sorry, bipolar and schizophrenia and start normalizing normalizing it but raising awareness to those pockets of mental illness, which definitely don't have any conversation, that I think that's tangible, really in the public. And you can just do a quick YouTube search for their man of conduct online or even or even Google, about this sort of space and is hardly anything nothing and and it's really frustrating for me, because that if the person obviously has the honest policy, that they are the priority, and that's how it's treated. But for me, if that person is responsible for other people's lives, you know, the people who they're responsible for should be the priority, which is never the case for what me and my younger sister were growing up, you know, we're always left in the lurch and whatever else and then he pulled back in our home with someone who's a pretty got a pretty severe metal on us, right. So from our point of view in regards to negligent Sort of sort of dangerous environment that always hangs over your head and causes you a lot of stress. And that's shaped who you are. It does affect you who you are moving forward. So that's my issue regarding the bipolar. So that's why I'm passionate about getting this sort of stuff and just sort of saying, yes, there's a large amount of people who function in society or died with bipolar and schizophrenia, there's things like electric shock training, which still go on what you don't know about the psychiatric ward locked wards, you know, they're not a nice place to go. Yeah, they're almost sort of think that the depression and anxiety site seems to be everyone now, just post on social media about depression, anxiety, and that's it right? Just seems to be that way. Whereas to me, my cynicism kicks in and sort of says, Well, if you think you're depressed, I'll take you out, let's go to a psychiatric ward, let's put you in overnight and give you a better VCT. And, you know, let's see, you know, that's this my cynicism coming into it because of the lack of awareness around these other issues. And they have a massive social impact on people. Because if someone's bipolar, schizophrenia, they obviously it's a massive amount of resources return, they should get that but the people around them as well, yeah. And I get no help. And that's, that's the big frustration I have is that children or parents, like, what's the support for them, like, if they want to go talk to someone, this is what I had to do. So it's my personal experience. So I never really talked to anyone about my mom's issues until I was 28, which is far too late and stupid. But to get that help, or to talk to someone about it, I had to go and pretend to the doctor that I was had depression or anxiety. So if you get those six sessions to save money, and it's just like, it shouldn't be that way. You know, it should be a free thing. You know, and in my, in my cynicism, and anger from it was basically like, as a government, you know, you didn't do nothing for, for me, as a young person really done nothing. So it's just like, now when I need a little bit of help, maybe I should have, you know, it should be, you know, you want it to be there. But there's nothing really for the families in that. And you know, we've got a large amount of people who have have children with serious issues, or could be you have a parent with a serious issue, right. But for that person itself, or the family, they need, where's their support network for someone, but they also need their own support network or something in place, which there's nothing around. But there's nothing that can go to, there's nothing that can really look up online, there might be some groups and some smaller org as an organization, which they are, who do try and do something about it. But for me, those large organizations who have built that massive brand, they are brands, brands beyond blue, and that they have nothing on their websites that they don't donate that spending of the money to these other ones like that. And for me, that's the very, very frustrating thing, which is why I appreciate you talking about this so openly, because it's not an easy thing. I do, I do think there's a little undercurrent of lack of understanding of what Apolo schizophrenia is for someone who's not experienced with it. Yeah, there's a massive like, I think it's someone's not experienced with depression or anxiety. Now, they sort of got an idea about it. But with the more serious conditions, bipolar schizophrenia, I don't think someone unless they've experienced a bit of famine with it. They've got no ID. And what goes with that sort of stuff? Because it's a lifelong thing. It's something you can't cure. Yeah, it's a manageable it's a managed condition. Yeah. And it's a very serious condition, especially in times when the person is not feeling the best.

Unknown:

So who's But yeah, I think organize the big organizations do have a role to play, nothing gets tricky. With how much those organizations try undo. I think that's, I think that's probably why they haven't mentioned down that space, because there's almost too many too many things I could cover. And it's that, that probably smaller organizations you talked about that might do stuff for kids, of parents with bipolar or, but they're not not nearly as well known and don't have those those big brands. So it might be I mean, be great to say, it'd be really interesting to see what comes out of the mental health Royal Commission.

Joel Kleber:

Yeah, we haven't talked about that, actually. Yeah.

Unknown:

So the interim report just just came out. And I guess, though, a lot of it was about the changing funding. I couldn't concentrate on reading that will read that way. I couldn't either. But it'd be interesting to say as that continue to next year, and how much of a focus that has and what the government does do, because they've already committed to putting in all the recommendations,

Joel Kleber:

right? We'll see if they do because the spend is not enough. And as in, as I said, like, it'll be interesting to say, for me, as I said, for my lived experience, my passion is the welfare of the kid, or the welfare of the young person or the welfare of the adult moving forward. And I see welfare of the people with those conditions as well. So usually see what happens in that. I personally don't know if kids will be addressing that. And what I mean by that is, generally what happens is if you have someone who's got bipolar schizophrenia as a parent, unless you've got a family who can support you, you've barely generally get placed into a foster home and then there's your new foster home and away you go and you and that's really it. There's no one can To see like a social worker Check, check up on you every couple of weeks. But other than that, there's nothing that also be interesting to see if they commit to it. I don't know what the spin is, but it needs to be a lot more spin, because I can imagine the flow on effects of the economy. Like as an economic decision, like, I'm not too much into the theory a bit like just just the flow on effect that someone with that with a condition can have in regards to like the kids are effective, and the kids statistically more likely going to be more likely to go to jail or not have a job less contributed to society, like the flow on effect is fee for for years for decades. So

Unknown:

yeah, I think that's what, that's what a big part of what will come out of the Royal Commission. Because there's such a, and in terms of actual service provision, same before that. So the awareness raising is sort of around certain mental health issues is certainly at its peak, and has done enough, sort of almost in lots of ways. But it is about, okay, now they're sort of bottleneck with with services, because people are more open to accessing services and more able to are more willing to sort of put their hand up and say I need some help. And the problem is, is there's not enough places to go.

Joel Kleber:

So I Gracie and I think the accessibility of movement, like you have to go to the doctor to do that to get the thing on Medicare. Like Yeah, like, that's pretty standard, you know, and it's one of those things, but you're right, the bottleneck of services, how they're gonna expand that. What are they going to do accelerate? That will be quite interesting.

Unknown:

Yeah, it will be Yeah. So we'll have to wait and see on that one. But it's only only can be a good thing. And it's happening. And I think we will.

Joel Kleber:

So what's your plans for the for the future? mate? What's the goals? Anything you've got set out you want to achieve? Or obviously, you're going to start a new job next year, which is great.

Unknown:

Yeah. So I said, I'll start a new job in the in the new year, and build on that routine that I spoke about. At the moment, I'm sort of focused on just just getting out and doing things. So I've actually had a be completely honest, to really crap days where I've struggled to get out of out of bed of Australia to get out of the house. And Ben, sort of my wife forcing me to get out and do stuff. And

Joel Kleber:

I think, with people who are watching all this thing with bipolar, that's pretty normal. That's several a month experience, like my mum used to sleeping too bloody two o'clock in the day, some time. So she'll be up and about two or three in the morning, like it's it's not a it's not a not common thing with people with bipolar.

Unknown:

No, it's not, unfortunately, but it's sort of I know, my take on it is I've sort of gave in for a couple of days and just couldn't handle couldn't handle the the rural world and trying to try and get myself out there and just let it take over, which is not a good thing.

Joel Kleber:

But your partner obviously pushed you to get out there, which is great.

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah, she did. And, and sort of develop a routine for the, for the week, sort of contact friends and booking, lunch catch ups and different things to sort of just have a have a schedule that I'm then committed to, I think. So for me, my current goals are pretty simple around to get back into that. So that routine of the morning routine I spoke about, and sort of be easy on myself until Christmas. And be easy on myself afterwards as well. But particularly with sort of all that's going on, not expect not expect too much. It's still a huge challenge for me, you're still working on that, that. That perfectionism and that thing I spoke about, if I can't do it, well, then I won't, I won't do it. So I've just got to do things. I've just got to

Joel Kleber:

put my hand up and do try to actually actively trying to do new things that you don't think you might be good at, what's the sort of off sort of forgotten how to do? like cooking, cooking is a good example. I'm not I can't cook. So

Unknown:

no, like I could cook. Something's very simple. But I won't do it at the moment. Because I'm

Joel Kleber:

to do even attempt it because you don't think

Unknown:

don't think i'll do very good job. And I'm currently living with we're living with my wife's parents, which is great. They've been a huge, huge support. And sort of, we'll take a bit of time living there while we sort of thought sort things out. Her mom, my mother in law is an excellent cook, and sort of has very well planned. And so I sort of almost don't want to impose on on that and produce something that's not nearly not up to standard. And I sort of still think that works the way I think about right. So that's so that's really my long term goal is to change that, but you can recognize it at least recognize that I can recognize it for me The recognition parts somewhat easy. It's the actual accepting and change changing it right? Yeah. Yeah. And that's being back to that. I just want to fix it, I just want to see

Joel Kleber:

does the normal vlog mentality, right? Yes, want to fix things, I just

Unknown:

want to stop thinking that way and start thinking this other way and have a more healthy approach and and that's going to take time and work with, with psychologists and and just generally a lot of self reflection and a lot of a lot of work.

Joel Kleber:

So have you any advice for anyone who may be listening or watching this? Like, if they're sort of feeling your legacy, we're gonna be journey, like, it's been 21, obviously, now, before you really got the right diagnosis. So what how did you? How would you advise someone if they sort of may think I've got something like, I'm like, that sounds similar to me, or what? I've that sort of something I can relate with? What sort of advice would you have for someone in that position?

Unknown:

I'd start by saying, sometimes it is just shit. And that's that, okay. And and I think a lot of it's easy to give advice. But it's really hard to implement that advice. Advice.

Joel Kleber:

So you can take that advice, but you can go Yeah, yeah, but actually do it is, yeah,

Unknown:

it's bloody hard. And I think recognizing that is sort of the first most important part because, like, right now, I've, I know, I should be doing certain things, but I just can't. And sometimes it's okay, to not be able to and to just let things let things be. But the quicker you can sort of get into a routine, develop those things, and probably the, the biggest thing is to get the right professional help. And by that, I mean get second opinions, it's probably the biggest regret of my last 10 years is sort of having any Do you just trust the professionals that you sort of when you turn up to a house, when you when you get when you turn to a hospital, you give your assigned, and a psychiatrist, and that's been my psychiatrist ever since. And he's, I don't put any blame on him not recognizing the diagnosis, he's only doing what he thought was best. But I wish I had have gone out and see, sought second opinions and seen some other people to try and work out. And maybe this bipolar diagnosis would have come up earlier, and would have changed the treatment plan on and I wouldn't have had the last the last 12 months that I've had. So I think that's, that's something that is when you're in the thick of the shit, it's really hard to go and as you say, go to the GP, get sessions to psychologists, organizers say psychiatrist, it's expensive. But at the end of the day, your health is the most important thing. And so if you can, and there's waiting lists and all that sort of crap they have to deal with. So like, I give this advice, knowing that it's bloody hard. But I think the better the quicker you can try and say seek professional help. And the quicker you can work out if you like them or you don't like them, or you're not happy with something and you can move on and see someone else, the better. It's very hard to do. But it's so important.

Joel Kleber:

Now, thanks to their hugs, and appreciate you doing this. I know it's not not easy for anyone. And I really do appreciate your openness and your candor about the it's an important conversation to have, as we were saying before, while we sort of agreed to do this was there's not much content around the bipolar space and anything like that. And I really appreciate, as I said, your honesty and your openness in telling us your story. And I encourage anyone to please, if this resonates with you implement Simon's advice, as someone who's from a lived experience point of view as well. He's, it's all practical advice. So please take action. But once again, really thank you very much for doing this. Anyone who wants to learn more about this passion anywhere, bipolar, there's coffee as well for children, so children of parents with mental illnesses and Institute there, which has lots of good material on it. There's also won't be too late with satellite foundation. And obviously we've patched in Simon Hagen's name into Google. There'll be a lot of videos with you as well with headspace and some stories on you as well. If you want to learn more about Simon, please do that. Good luck with everything in the future mate. I really do appreciate this and it's been great. And it's been great to listen to this. And I'm hoping that people online to find it if you do, leave a comment, or even a question we'll try to get back to you make sure you subscribe, and hopefully give us a rating on iTunes. store if you can't or Spotify that helps us out. But hit that subscribe back to the authentic socials authentic condos podcast but we'll leave it there hoax. It's been a great, it's been great conversation and I really do appreciate your time doing this. Thanks, guys for having me and thanks for sharing all your stuff as well no writes Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for listening to the authentic combos podcast Feel free to drop me a line or comment on my various social platforms links for those are available in the show notes. If you like the content, please feel free to subscribe and leave a review on your favorite platform. All episodes are also available on YouTube as well for those who prefer to watch a video that's listening to the show and I'll see you next week.

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Simon Hogan

Headspace Ambassador and Former AFL Player for the Geelong Cats

Simon Hogan is a former AFL footballer for the Geelong Cats who retired at the end of 2012 after being diagnosed with a depressive disorder. He is also a headspace ambassador and lead many mental health initiatives for different organisations.