What’s something that you are passionate about?
What am I passionate about? That is a very good question. It’s been a very difficult couple of years for me so I think at this point in time I’d say my passion is really to appreciate the time I have to myself. Really, I’ve taken quite a bit of time away, and that passion of just being alone with myself and understanding who I am has been quite confronting and it’s been a lot of fun for me.
What is a significant achievement of yours?
Most significant achievement, very difficult, that’s a very egotistical thing to say. I think some level of achievement is probably taking care of myself after I had my first heart attack actually, which was close to 15 years ago. You know that was quite the challenge. But it worked for me.
I’ve got four heart attacks my friend, four heart attacks, 7 stents, and my last one was was five years ago. It has been a very difficult process to actually acknowledge certain issues. One of the main issues is stress that goes with having a life threatening illness.
Post traumatic stress disorder, it sounds like a funny bunch of capital letters, but really it’s a real thing. I just wish that I had have looked at doing some sort of thing about it a lot sooner in life rather than later.
Who is your role model?
My role model… I would say my wife. I would say she has displayed a phenomenal level of courage, perseverance, she has actually expressed and exudes a great deal of integrity, and you know I’ve seen a great deal of honesty and openness from her. So I would say from my perspective, a person of influence as to my thoughts and behaviour would have to be my wife.
What is the greatest risk you’ve taken?
The greatest risk I have taken… The greatest risk I have taken is actually to acknowledge that depression is real. And I have the courage to actually do something about it. So the good thing is there are processes and facilities available that I have been fortunate enough to visit recently and the impact on the mental wellbeing has been phenomenal. So I would say admission of depression is one thing. Having the courage to do something about it takes commitment. And I would say that has been my thing of the last few weeks.
Recognition is one thing but you must do something actively about it. Dealing with it yourself doesn’t really work. I’ve tried that for years, it doesn’t work alright. You’ve got to get the information that has been tried and tested all around the world. And surprisingly to acknowledge to a mental health illness is very hard. To receive prescription drugs for it is another issue but we’re not there yet. But really it’s just phenomenal what methods and techniques are available out there, and the support that is out there is really mind blowing for men. That is my message. Have the courage to admit something, have the commitment to do something, and have the right to ask for information and for people to support you, because it’s out there. It’s just not regularly available to men, and men by nature tend to keep things very internalised. And I’ve found that it is detrimental to both my mind and my body.
How would you describe the feeling of being depressed or anxious?
You become fearful, unmotivated, unappreciated, alone, you feel like venting your frustrations at anything or anyone sometimes. A real feeling of being overwhelmed – even with little things.
What’s something that has changed your life?
I think keeping it very simple, praying 5 times a day, on time, going about my usual day but making the five times a priority that supersedes everything else. And just keeping things simple, it’s very very calming.
What’s your best advice to give to other people?
If you have the honesty, the rest will come. But be honest with yourself, be honest with those around you, you’ll earn the best relationships of your life. You won’t have to worry about compassion, you won’t have to worry about integrity, you will be displaying all that and even courage. It takes a personal commitment to yourself, start as soon as possible, be honest.
Is there anything people should know?
Lead an honest and compassionate life, because it’s the only thing that the more you give the more you are given it, and that brings a great deal of happiness in anyone’s life. That’s it.