On October 4th, 2022, in cross-sport collaboration, you launched your passion project, Treading Water tomorrow in partnership with youth mental health charity I Am Hope. This project is a vulnerable and honest tale of your mental health journey, which sees other NZ athletes do the same in a bid to help others struggling with the same issues know that they are not alone, and help is around the corner. Along with filmmaker Hamish Johns, this project sees you interview seven people about their harrowing mental health journeys. Tell us about this endeavour of yours of giving back to society.
In 2020 I faced my own battles with depression and anxiety. In 2021 I reached a crisis point and couldn’t see any light. My family saved my life and my family gave me hope when I lost it all. Having hope is so important. I have seen family and friends struggle around me. Throughout school and after school my community was surrounded with suicide. That broke me.
Once I had come out the other side of my mental illness battles all I wanted to do was help other people. I know how alone you feel. How invisible and scary it can be. Mental health affects us all and we need to normalise the conversation and we need to ask for help.
Everyone has a different story and that is why I wanted to speak to a range of different people so there are more stories out there that people can relate to so they know they are not alone and most importantly that there is hope and the world is better off with you here! We need to be kind and empathetic towards each other and ourselves.
So from me please keep looking after each other. Watch these videos because every story is inspiring and strong and offers so much insight. I wish I could have seen these videos when I was struggling. I love what I am Hope stands for, so I feel very fortunate to have had this partnership with them.
You have studied at Tawa Intermediate, where you became a teacher aide for autistic students. Tell us more about this part of your life and experience working with such special children.
Being a teacher aide at Tawa Intermediate provided me with so much perspective. All the kids I worked with were incredible and I absolutely loved that I had the chance to make a difference in their lives. Sometimes I think we forget the impact we can have on other people.
For me all I want to do is help someone have a better life and be happier. It doesn’t matter who. Being a teacher aide allowed me to help others. Help young kids who didn’t have it all, kids who struggled and that are how I wanted to give back to my community who have given so much to me.
What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you may wish to share?
If I have a winter training block I am able to train more for cricket and physically as well. When playing and touring the focus is more preparing yourself for the games ahead and you have more rest days as your body needs to be fresh for games.
Do you take a special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Not really. I don’t follow a strict plan. I like to be healthy and eat foods that are good for me because they make me feel better. It is more about eating enough food in and around trainings so I am fuelled and can recover well. It has probably been a work on for me in not being so strict with my eating and finding a healthy balance.
When my mental health was bad one of my first warning signs was feeling guilty about the food I was eating and therefore trying to control my diet. I have now found a healthy balance which is still a work on for me today but most importantly it’s about having enough food so I can train at my best.
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