MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 15: James Hird, coach of the Essendon Bombers walks through Bombers supporters in the crowd as heads to speak to his players at three quarter time during the round 20 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Hird breaks silence over recent bout of depression

Former Essendon coach James Hird has finally broken his silence, writing an article for the Herald Sun detailing his recent stay at a Melbourne psychiatric facility.

Hird wrote about reaching his breaking point and just how supportive his family was in his time of need, especially his wife Tania.

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Here is an excerpt from Hird’s piece in tomorrow’s Herald Sun.

This is my first article of the year and I have been asked to touch on the events that lead to me spending five weeks in the Albert Road Clinic — a Melbourne psychiatric facility.

The words “psychiatric facility” conjure up images of crazy people strapped to tables or walking around in drug-induced comas.

The reality is that the clinic, and others like it, are very different to this and are essential to our community.

It was life-changing for me.

Certainly, it was no holiday camp but provided a supportive, welcoming, safe and caring environment and allowed me to receive the treatment I needed. I am eternally grateful for the outstanding professional support I received from the nurses and doctors.

Everyone has a breaking point and I reached mine after years of continual stress. I am not ashamed to say that I needed the care I received and without it I do not know where I would be. Depression is more than just sadness.

It is an all-encompassing, debilitating, real sickness that strikes many people.

In 2002, I fractured my skull and required multiple metal plates in my head. I, for one, would prefer multiple skull fractures to the feeling of deep clinical depression. My first call to beyondblue in 2015 was an admission I needed help but it took until January 4, 2017, when I took too many sleeping tablets, to truly accept that I could not dig myself out of this hole.

Life has taught me a lot about strength, weakness and how people deal with situations. Strength comes in many forms and I have seen many incredible athletes who possess a strength of character that is abnormal.

I have never seen or witnessed a person as strong as Tania. Her unconditional, all-encompassing love, positivity, strength and ability to keep rising to the challenges that have been put in front of our family has been extraordinary.

Over the past four years, I have been short-tempered, distant, hard to live with, rude at times, and ill.

Tania, my children, my extended family and friends have loved, supported and cared for me when I didn’t deserve their support.

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