Image source:  Mental

This morning I was watching Studio 10 when Joe and Jess had a little heated discussion about the news that broke over the weekend that Garry Lyons was seeking treatment for depression.  Apparently it also broke that Lyons had had a relationship with the ex-wife of his best mate Billy Brownless (if you want to read more of the details you can here.)  It certainly isn’t the first sex scandal to rock the footy world and to destroy friendships (Carey/Stevens,) and it also not the first time depression has also been used in the disclosure (Ettingshausen/Mellor.)

Jess was trying to say that above all else that the mental health concerns of Lyons should be paramount in the concerns and that his actions should be considered secondary.  Joe was of a different opinion and took the perspective that Lyons should not use depression as an excuse for his actions and Joe also felt that anyone who hadn’t found themselves depressed after loosing a best mate and a relationship wouldn’t be quite human.

Sitting back watching Jess and Joe (both of whom I love) it was a little bit like neither of them were listening to each other.  Jess is extremely passionate about mental health as am I.  Joe was trying to look at the story objectively (not that Jess wasn’t) and was wondering based on the information released which came first the chicken or the egg so to speak.

I feel like I am in a unique position (I very much doubt I am Robinson Crusoe here,) of having made a fairly huge mistake that hurt and disappointed a lot of people who loved me AND I also have a pretty significant mental health diagnosis.  So my perspective is a combination of what both Jess and Joe were trying to say.

Part of my mental health condition is that I have dissociative amnesia which means that for whatever reason I have no recall of memories that have occurred over the last few years, we think they are there I just can’t easily access them.  Every day I wake up and my hubby or family reorientate me to where I am at!  However, in spite of all this I have accepted responsibility for my actions.

My mental health diagnosis (that came to light after my big cockup!) is in my opinion not an excuse for anything that I may have done, it can only help to explain or try to find understanding but never an excuse!  The reality is that I still need to own my actions whether I can remember them, whether they fit within my value system or not, whether I can even comprehend what I have done.  I did them and I need to own those actions, apologise and make restitutions to those that I have hurt.  Without doing any of that I don’t believe that I can even have a way forward.

So given that I think Joe & Jess were both right.  Garry Lyons needs to accept that it is his actions alone that have caused the breakdown of his friendship.  Sure according to sources in the newspaper there is a sex scandal which means it takes two to tango, whether the Brownless marriage had previously ended or not, Lyons’ actions have hurt his former mate.  He needs to own that depressed or not.

It absolutely goes without saying that Lyons’ mental health needs to be treated with utmost concern and that he should and needs to be given the space and privacy to get the help he needs.  Mental health is no joke, depression is a serious condition and there are many things that people do to try to cope, self medicate – with pills, alcohol, illegal drugs, gamble, have affairs combination of all or any of these; hide and isolate themselves; to hurt themselves; to punish themselves and many of those actions are anti-social; hurtful to others, damaging to their careers.  I would hazard a guess that the person that will be punishing himself most in all of this will be Lyons and honestly nothing anyone else can say or do will be any worse than what he can do to himself inside his own head!

We need as a society to talk about mental health more, we need to understand it more (I really don’t think we do), we need to empathise more and judge less.  Sure we don’t all make public cockups but is that because we aren’t all ‘famous’.  I also think that we need to be careful like Joe was trying to say that we don’t hide behind a diagnosis when we cockup!  Mental health can help with an explanation but should never be used as an excuse to have inexcusable behaviours forgiven without an acceptance that we did what we did and that we will do everything in our power to not do them again.

I think that we are all missing the point and truth is we all make mistakes, some bigger than others, we all need support at one time or another.  We don’t do well at talking about mental health and truly understand the effects it can have on a person and we are even worse at understanding it in men!

Jess & Joe keep on fighting the good fight, you are both passionate amazing people who do great things!

Cathy xoxo 

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