JK: Hi, it’s JK here, and I’m on a farm with Doug. But exactly where are we Doug?
Doug: We are in South East Marlborough, 35 minutes South East of Blenheim. The driest place in New Zealand basically.
JK: Now Doug and I have got a lot in common and what I wanted to start talking about today, Doug, was your journey with depression.
Doug: I started off in life feeling pretty flash about myself but when I got to about 40 I dived into the dark pit. We had eight years of drought. No matter what I did on the farm it was unsuccessful and I had no, no idea of how I could help.
JK: How did you know that you were falling into depression?
Doug: I didn’t know that I suffered from depression; I just knew that I had gone from being a person who was popular and happy to a person who was angry and bitter.
JK: How did you reach out for help?
Doug: In my case help reached out to me in the form of a young sales rep and he invited me to attend a field day in North Canterbury. A guy called Dr Derrick Moot was talking on Lucerne. Within 5 minutes of that man opening his mouth, I was asking people for a pen and paper and feverishly writing down stuff. We got home quite late and I went onto the computer to try to figure out how we could get it to go and my wife came out and said "what the hell are you doing" and I said to her “I’m starting a new dream - starts tonight, here".
Doug: Hope, I could see that there was an opportunity to do something, but I guess it came down to I finally accepted that I needed to change.
JK: So, what sort of help did you seek?
Doug: I had a very good friend, close by here and him and I were both feeling the stress but he was a person that I could talk to and we would sometimes get together and sit on a hill and share our feelings a bit.
JK: What was softening from your point of view?
Doug: Softening for me was accepting help, inviting other people to rejoin my life. When I softened my attitude and softened my arteries my whole life started to function again.
I sought people who came and helped us right across the spectrum of my life really, primarily in farming. That was the bit that had been too tough for me to take.
I employ a mentor to keep me thinking straight and I employ people into my life all the time. I’m terrified of the isolated place that I went to in the past, so I’m now really a collaborator, you’ll never find me working independently again. I love the culture of the business that we have grown.
JK: So how do you stay well now?
Doug: I keep myself involved in a lot of different activities off farm and I keep myself fit, reasonably fit. I go in patches. I bought a bike and ride everyday. It became a hugely important thing in my life to have other things that are not agricultural based, so yeah, I engage in all sorts of different things. The squash club, the sailing club, there’s a few farmers in there but there’s mostly other people from other walks of life so it works.
JK: So what would you say to someone who was feeling like you were feeling?
Doug: Get help, accept that you possibly have got a problem, read the stuff on the depression.org.nz website. Other people can’t wait to help you but they need to understand that you are seeking help. So seek help is the bottom line.
JK: Doug is getting through depression. I’ve got through depression and The Journal is the way that I can help you. It’s really simple, it will give you a practical lesson on how to get better. Take a look, it’s for you.
We had eight years of drought
We’re in the driest place in New Zealand, basically. No matter what I did on the farm it was unsuccessful and I had no idea how I could help.
All sorts of things affect your mental healthSEE THEM ALL
I dived into the dark pit.
I didn’t know that I suffered from depression; I just knew that I had gone from being a person who was popular and happy to a person who was angry and bitter.
Depression or anxiety is different for everyoneLEARN ALL THE SIGNS
Hope, I could see that there was an opportunity to do something
I guess it came down to I finally accepted that I needed to change. I sought people who came and helped us right across the spectrum of my life really. Primarily in farming - that was the bit that had been too tough for me to take.
There are things that can help you get throughSee them all
I keep myself involved in a lot of different activities off the farm
It became a hugely important thing in my life to have other things that are not agricultural based, so I engage in all sorts of different things. I keep myself fit, reasonably fit. I bought a bike and ride everyday.