By now, everyone knows of my battle with mental health.

In fact, I’ve even published stories here about those exact struggles.

But what I haven’t spoken about, in great detail yet, is the woman who saved my life.

This letter is for you Jordan. The best partner in life a man could ask for. My true soulmate.

If it wasn’t for Jordan, I don’t know where I would be right now.

At the back-end of last season, I knew I was in a hole – I was struggling big time and couldn’t find enjoyment in things that would usually fulfil me.

I wasn’t enjoying footy – I’d get home from training or away trips and isolate myself away from Jordan and everyone else. At the time, I didn’t see the toll it was taking on her.

I withdrew from speaking to my family as well… I basically just withdrew from the world. 

I didn’t want to do a whole lot of stuff outside of just sitting at home… my motivation to do anything was at an all-time low.

We’ve all had days where we just want to be left alone… those days were just becoming more and more frequent for me, and I could tell my moods were really being affected as well. 

I sort of thought in my head that I was alright but at the same time I knew I wasn’t. I just went about my day and did what I had to and got home and then I didn’t have to worry about it.

But then, after the season ended, I sat down and spoke about my situation with our team manager.

He was relieved that I finally came to see him, as he said a few of the boys had spoken to him in the days leading up to our meeting about my behaviour. 

He said he had been monitoring me from a distance, contemplating when would be the right time to pull me aside for a chat.

Hearing that, probably made me a bit relieved too. I knew I wasn’t myself. 

It was from our chat, when I decided that I needed to go to rehab. He knew of a world-leading mental health retreat in Thailand and believed it was my best interests to go.

Driving home that afternoon from training, I knew that it was something I had to do. Not just for me, but also for Jordan, my family and for my teammates as well.

I spoke to Jordan about it as soon as I got home. She became emotional, knowing how hard it was for me to talk to her about it.

I wasn’t against going, but the idea of spending a month in Thailand… well, I didn’t really know how I would respond to that.

I said yes and two days later I was on a plane to Thailand.

What made it a lot easier boarding that flight was Jordan came over with me for the first couple of days, so it wasn’t just like an abrupt “I gotta go and I’ll see you in a month”.

Jordan and I had a chance to spend a couple of days together before saying our goodbyes.

Then, basically it was all on me to make it work. It’s exactly how you probably picture it… it’s very much a retreat.

All guests have their own schedule and you have everything in your daily planner from P.T. to yoga, to one-on-one therapy with your therapist and group sessions.

Every morning we’d do an open group and everyone would just sit down and talk about how they we were feeling on that day.

It’d change from day to day, whether we’d say three things we were grateful for or three things we’d want to be better at or just how we’re feeling. 

And then our closing group was pretty much the same. For the first week I sort of just sat back and just watched and observed, and took a lot out of everyone else’ experiences.

From week two onwards, I ended up just going straight into it. I dove into it, poured right in and started everything and got a lot out of my one-on-one therapy with the therapist I had. I’ve brought back a fair few things that I’ve implemented now.

The biggest thing I suffered with was just the balance outside of footy. 

It’s not the be all and end all. Yes you’re good at it and yes we love doing it, but we’re human beings and we need a pleasure and a joy outside of that.

That’s what I struggled with and I found that now with my youth work and social work. 

I’ve just started my diploma in counselling, where myself and Andrew Fifita are doing a mens’ home program at a local juvenile justice center. 

That first week was pretty emotional. It was tough being away from home.

You know not only for me, my Mum and Dad were struggling too, knowing that I was that bad, that they didn’t see the signs. 

They sort of blamed themselves and I said to them, it’s got nothing to do with you guys – it’s all me. You know you’ve done the best you can and everything that’s happened has been my own doing.

So, once I’d reassured them of that and the same with Jordan, because she also felt guilty.

There was no ill feelings from me towards me anyone else. I had to get my shit together basically. 

And if it wasn’t for Jordan, I probably wouldn’t have found the motivation to do so.

I guess you sort of take for granted how good you have it and how good a person you have by your side.

And looking back on it now, it’s definitely something I’m very thankful for, to have her by my side and be my rock. 

I feel like, without her there I’d hate to think what could of happened because things like this have happened before in the past and I’ve got myself into a lot of trouble when I was younger. But having that support network there now with my partner and my family, although they live in Canberra I’m still very close to them, and Jordan’s family as well I’m really close with, so I’ve had a pretty good support network and that’s been the saving grace.

Without her, I joke about it but she’s a bit of a ball breaker but I needed that in my life.

If I didn’t have her looking out for me and telling me what to do sometimes, I’m very easily lead off the path – not by anyone else but more so myself, I do get selfish at times and if I’m feeling down I go, “Stuff it, I’m gonna do this, or I’m gonna do that”.

I’d hate to think where I would’ve ended up without her if I had been left to my own devices… its a scary thought.

Jordan saved my life.