If the last 24hrs have shown anything no-one is immune to mental health issues. Last year it was Buddy Franklin from the Sydney Swans and also Mitch Clark from Geelong who took extended leave from their professional sporting roles to deal with their mental health battles in private. Last night Parramatta Eels released a simple statement stating that Kieran Foran has been given indefinite lease to deal with some personal issues for which he is receiving treatment in hospital.
There has been a huge amount of speculation as to what those issues are. The reality of mental illness it is absolutely irrelevant what the trigger is (except to hopefully avoid it in future – though sometimes this is not always possible) when someone is in an acute state that requires hospitalisation and medical treatment. Triggers are best dealt with in a calmer environment when things are not so raw and acute.
It is great that the sporting world especially the NRL community has gotten behind Kieran and is for the most part sending out their support. Of course there are those jerks who think that a bloke playing footy for a living and getting paid a bucketload to do this simply has nothing to be depressed about and he should suck it up and front up to work tonight to play against the Bulldogs. Thank goodness it seems that this attitude is in the minority.
The reporting of Kieran’s leave of absence also differs depending where you look. The above picture says he has been stood down, yet the attached article which is basically the Eels press release states he is on indefinite leave. I know to you it might not seem like much but to me it is a big deal. One implies that he has potentially done something that requires investigation and the other is far more forgiving in its language.
Over the years many sportspeople have dealt with mental health issues. Some have gone off quietly and dealt with things and no-one is any the wiser and some have rather spectacular public moments that force them or those around them to seek help for them. It is easy to sit back and think that someone who gets paid to do something they love has no reason to have any mental health issues. This attitude in itself shows how far we need to go in our understanding of mental health.
No-one would blame someone with Type 1 Diabetes and say but you get to do all the things you love so you have no reason to have diabetes. You know what that is exactly true. No-one should have to live with diabetes but some do and some don’t. It is the same for the vast array of mental health issues, no-one deserves a mental health issue regardless of who they are and we simply do not know why some have to fight the mental health fight and some don’t.
Thank goodness for Kieran we have made the progress we have that he was able to reach out and get the help he needs at this time. Thank goodness for Kieran he didn’t leave it until it was too late. Thank goodness the help is there.
I was reminded this morning with a blinding slap of somethings that occurred during a time that I simply can’t piece together and simply can’t reconcile with the person I believe I am. The biggest regret I have of all is not reaching out, not getting help until everything fell apart spectacularly. The biggest lesson I have learnt is that even when you think you are least worthy and you are certain you have no-one there to carry you when you can’t carry yourself, just reach out you will be surprised by the support I promise.
In the meantime I will leave you with the reminder that no-one is immune to mental illness and one day we won’t say mental illness it will just be considered the same as all physical illness.
If this raises any issues for you please seek medical help. If it is urgent contact