Olympic gold-medalist Daniel Kowalski says he wishes he sought help sooner, but feared his loved ones would think less of him.
“It was one thing to try be the fittest athlete I could be – but mentally I couldn’t keep up. So finding that balance between being strong physically and mentally is difficult, but important.”
He’s spoken to What’s Your Problem? | The Aussie Men’s Health Podcast about why it's so important to each out and talk to people about your issues.
“I had all the resources and support at my fingertips but so some reason it was ingrained in me that getting help, particularly from a mental point of view, was a sign of weakness, a vulnerability and I tried to distance myself as much as possible from that, I felt as though I could do it on my own without anyone’s help. The reality was, I couldn’t.”
He said he was concerned how people would respond, particularly people close to him would react:
“I always felt as though it would affect my relationships and the way people viewed me and if they liked me and if they loved me. I always thought they wouldn’t. And what I subsequently found out is I couldn’t be further for the truth.
“If anything, my relationships grew stronger once I was able to talk openly and honestly with them.”
He’s now calling for parents and teachers to normalise conversations about mental health and wellbeing – the same way we talk about physical health.
“I’m more than happy to speak openly about it these days, because I think it’s very important.”
Listen to Daniel here:
If you, or anyone you know would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service provides advice and support via telephone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636.