‘You are not a burden’ — Albany’s Tim Edmunds opens up about his mental health struggles
Tim Edmunds has enjoyed some significant highs in his cricket career, from winning premierships with Railways Cricket Club to winning a national championship as coach of the WA Country XI.
Now, he is helping to build the game he loves as the WACA’s Great Southern cricket manager.
In his previous career in journalism, he worked as chief of staff at the Albany Advertiser and specialised in covering crime, courts and sport.
He was a fount of knowledge for his colleagues at the Advertiser and someone who knew how to lighten the mood and make people laugh.
Below, he opens up about the mental health journey he has been for the past two years.
Your belief you are a burden is the greatest fear I had to find the courage to overcome.
I was ashamed, and I carried this for two years.
“I’m not OK” were the three words which took years to accept, finally blurted out as I sat slumped in a chair in tears.
I will always be thankful there was someone close enough to me to listen who I was comfortable with.
For the past two years my mental health has been a consistent battle — a work in progress.
“But I’m too much of a burden, Who would listen to my problems?”
This is just one of the catastrophic thinking errors I battle, with my anxiety and negative thinking taking over my life.
From the outside it might appear I lead a life I enjoy. I have a career I enjoy, a loving family and a caring circle of friends.
But the reality is my mind is telling me I’m leading the worst life.
Things aren’t always how they appear.
At my worst, late last year, I became scared of myself.
I was distant, struggled to hold conversations, and at many times avoided them all together.
The aspects of my life which made me happy no longer did.
I’ve got no shame in admitting I inexplicably just started crying during a seven-hour trip to Perth from Albany.
I had to pull over.
Through the pain I continued to put on my mask.
I couldn't afford for people to see me in a vulnerable state.
What would they think of me?
I was leading two lives and felt like an imposter with fake smiles.
The move to open up and see a psychologist earlier this year is the most proactive move and defining thing I have done in my life.
I now practise gratitude daily in a journal to remind myself my life is ahead of me. I read a lot on mental health and wellbeing, and every podcast I listen to allows me to learn more.
In this journey, I made the error of believing if I want to be a good leader I have to be this strong person who shows no signs of weakness.
The second error was confronting this challenge as something I could only win or lose.
That is not the case.
This was not a cricket match.
The first change is being comfortable being vulnerable.
You aren’t a burden, because people in your life care, love you, and will listen.
In no way have I conquered this challenge, but we must start somewhere.
This Saturday in Cobba’s Round, through our common connection, the game of cricket, we share times together as mates we should always be grateful for.
At times, we all share the same struggles, and the statistics don’t lie.
As a mate, you just need to be prepared to listen.
Support is everywhere.
You are not a burden.
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