That dark beast: depression
Posted Saturday 26 May 2012
I have found a purpose for the summer of 2012! I’m on a mission.
I’ve spent the last three years swaying as to which way my career should be heading.
The high was scoring a century for New Zealand in a test against Australia at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) on my debut at age 22. The low was the very next game against Bangladesh. I got a duck.
In fact, this is a perfect example of how my life has been at times.
That dark beast called depression came out to play and I had no idea what was going on. I had a new friend controlling my decisions.
It really hit home when I was sitting in my house in Kaukapakapa, New Zealand with my wife at the time. I couldn’t move from the steps of the house for what seemed like hours. I looked at my wife and daughter and all I felt was emptiness. I looked at myself and all I could think about was wanting to die.
Since that day it has been a constant battle to find self satisfaction and purpose.
I decided not to represent my country, New Zealand anymore. I joined the Indian Rebel Cricket League then decided to make the UK my home. I wanted a change of scene and to try and beat this dark beast that was crippling my world.
Unfortunately it doesn’t matter where I went in the world because The Beast has the same plane ticket. It also lives at the same address and has followed me around getting me to make bad decision after bad decision (including leaving my wife and two kids).
Being a typical bloke, keeping things to myself I didn’t find the support around me, more likely I didn’t want to speak to anyone about my negativity and the concerns I had. Eventually the negative became constant and the hole I dug myself into got deeper and deeper until it finally cracked and I didn’t want to exist anymore.
It still brings tears to my eyes when I look back at what I became and the damage I did to the ones around me who loved me. It’s like a conman who steals from you, when it happens you feel emptiness and anger.
It was around this time that I met David English and the Bunbury cricket team’s family. Month-by-month over the last three years I’ve started to rebuild my life and get an understanding of what we are on this earth for.
We’re here to love our family and friends; learn from our experiences; share our stories and talk to strangers with an infectious smile. But most importantly, no matter what comes our way, we must always see the positive side.
Then, fingers crossed, at the end of the day, we have popped a few coins in our back pocket to buy some petrol so we can get home again.
To achieve them, I’ve invested in a 30 year-old camper van to help me love, learn and talk to as many strangers as possible.
Why? Because it will be fun and I will have the most amazing opportunity to help people.
Who am I going to help?
On the playing side I will be touring around the UK playing for these cricket teams:
- Lashings cricket team Profesional Cricketers Association ‘Masters XI’
- Bunbury’s Cricket Team
- Oxton Cricket Club (Cheshire League)
On the bigger picture of what I want to achieve, I hope to show people that mental health problems are a serious issue that affects 1 in 4 people in some way.
I am getting behind what Mind charity are doing in the UK to show support towards an area which is still a bit taboo to talk about.
Sky Sports have also given me an amazing opportunity to put my adventures on RV.
I’m going to record a Tour Diary. Every Saturday morning on Cricket AM, starting today, and you’ll all be able to see who I’ve met, and who I’ve helped.
So, come out and meet me; listen out for me on the radio. Don’t miss Cricket Am (every Saturday for 11 weeks starting from today on Sky Sports in the morning) and join me on Twitter, Facebook or email me.
Or send me a postcard at junction 4 on the M40
With your help this summer I’ll have more innings like the one at the WACA and none like the one against Bangladesh!
Enjoy the summer.
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