Last week another mate of mine took his life.
A great fisherman, a father, an exemplary sportsman, a championship winning coach.
And on top of all that a really humble and caring man.
One of our students Chris Ballard was introduced to Greeny after we raised $50K for Chris’ Tour de Cure fundraising, and really sums up how I felt about the man.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Green back in 2018. It was in Townsville during a weekend where Ryan and Karen Moody put up a prize of a fishing trip with Matty Singh and Andrew Ettingshausen for my Tour de Cure fundraising drive. ET invited Greeny out to dinner with us and this was the highlight of my trip. I’m not one to get in the face of sports stars or celebs as I see them as humans that need their space. I just sat back and listened. This bloke never once blew his own trumpet. He also took the time to talk to me one on one. He was genuine in asking about myself, my family, my interests and the Tour de Cure experience. We just chatted about life and it was comfortable, not awkward.
To think that such a great bloke and a great people person wasn’t able to express his mental health saddens me. Why are we scared to express our mental health? If we have a broken arm we don’t try to hide it so why do we hide any mental illness? I don’t know the answers but if anybody is doing it tough and needs somebody to talk to please don’t hesitate to ring, text or message me. I will never make a judgement. I’m just happy to be there to listen and lend a hand, similarly to what I’d do for a person with a broken limb.
I’m still at a loss for words surrounding how this could have happened.
Although I do recall sitting on the fly bridge of Mood Swings during a subsequent fund raiser organised by Paul Green (Greeny) himself for Motor Neuron Disease, which one of his mates was suffering from. Talking sincerely to Karen and I, he was lamenting on the pressures placed upon the young players (and to a lesser extent himself) due to social media. The sledging that occurs when someone makes a mistake. And the toll it takes month after month, year after year.
I myself have been subjected to trolling, from nasty criticism about the way I tie a knot, to the sound of my wife’s voice.
Of course, as a small business owner, we have learnt that this is far more of a reflection on the person making the comments, than on us. And we are small enough to just “delete and block” when things arise.
But for someone like Greeny, in the papers and on pages that he doesn’t control, it must have been very hard. The praise and adulation when the Cowboys won the premiership was astounding yet a few years later, when things didn’t go to plan, the amount of nasty personal comments directed at him were disgusting.
What doesn’t seem to be understood is that the people on the other side of the screen have real lives, real feelings and real struggles of their own. Online bullying does have consequences! No matter what age you are.
Now I have no way of knowing what was in Paul Green’s mind that fateful day.
All I know is that sometimes, it is human nature to believe the negative stuff over the positive. It really can be the stuff that sticks!
For example if we walk a mile then stub our toe, instantly the “why do these things always happen to me” can start. Negative self-talk like “For goodness sake be more careful and watch where you walk!” or “you idiot” starts to echo. Rarely do we ever reflect that we managed 999 steps incident free! The vast majority of click bait is negative, designed to keep us on the platform longer. A side effect though is it gets us angry – and keeps us there.
As we shared in a previous email (21 July), the disease of not enough is killing us. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough space in the kitchen, not enough respect from the kids, not enough attention from the husband/wife.
It makes us so miserable when in fact the average Australian has more wealth than 99.9% of people in the world. Yet twenty years ago, focussed on what she didn’t have in her life instead of what she had, Karen almost lost her life to alcoholism and at one point even tried to take her own life. Right after she won the University Medal and was awarded a $300,000 scholarship. It would have seemed that things were going very well. Yet inside it was hell. So she can definitely understand the mental twist that precedes such drastic action.
I certainly don’t have any solutions. I guess it’s not for me to solve. It’s for all of us.
Personally Karen and I do a gratitude list every few days. It helps us focus on the things we have – not the things we don’t.
And of course we delete and block people on social media, when faced with nasty comments. Everyone has their own challenges and it’s not something we need to engage with.
We try and reach out to our closest friends and family regularly. Humans evolved in a tribe and the lack of community today can take a toll on our mental health.
And when we are feeling down, sometimes the answer is to give back to the community in some little way. Picking up rubbish on the beach, helping a neighbour, supporting a cause. The gift is in the giving as they say.
In closing, I’d just like to tell you. You’re doing OK.
We don’t have to change the world. We just need to give a hug, a kind word, a helping hand, a walk in nature or with the dogs, or a fishing afternoon.
I am proud to say that two of my mates have reached out to me when they were doing it tough. That means more to me, that I can be that kind of friend, than any fishing success will ever give me.
To get our priorities right in this way is important if we have any hope of moving forward as a society.
Keep an eye on your mates. If you know that they have had issues but seem to be brushing it off, don’t just assume they are dealing with it OK.
And you manly men out there, it’s not weak to share.
Some support links below.
- Beyond Blue – Talk or chat to someone
- Beyond Blue – Anxiety and Depression checklist
- Beyond Blue – Learn out about depression, anxiety and mental health
- Lifeline Crisis support hotline phone : 13 11 14
Cheers Ryan and Karen