Taking Time to Connect
Angus Patrick, Quambone
Watching our land suffer, constant feeding and putting down livestock was enough to make anyone upset. It brought everything undone for me.
Fifty kilometres west of Gulargambone lies our family property, in a big open space where you have the most freedom you can dream of. The dams are now full and there’s plenty of feed, which we hadn’t seen in ten years due to years to relentless drought.
I remember listening to Alan Jones on the radio one day last year, he was speaking to a bloke at Bourke who was very emotional due to the ongoing drought. All that man wanted was hope. He felt that they had nothing else out there, in such an open and isolated place. It really stuck with me.
Experiencing severe drought made dealing with my own emotional problems much harder. Being isolated while watching our land suffer, constant feeding and putting down livestock was enough to make anyone upset.
It brought everything undone for me.
One Friday afternoon, I went home and cracked a bottle of wine. As I sat and thought, I suddenly realised how isolated I actually was, as a young person, a farmer and farm hand.
I was isolated from society and my closest mates.
As the drought intensified it became busier, harder to take a few days off. I began to recognise how much it was impacting me. I reached out and spoke to a friend on the coast… about the good and the bad. This was the best thing I ever did. Talking to someone outside the industry and area helped, because all my mates locally were in the same situation.
I recognised I needed to look after myself more – I started running regularly, and focusing on eating and sleeping properly. I began creating videos to post on social media, as a way to reconnect with my peers and communities.
Recording a video while riding my motorbike through a howling dust storm, I wanted to remind everyone in my situation, my friends, community and that bloke at Bourke, that despite the distance, isolation and continual challenges – there is hope. That we’re all in this together, so bloody well hang in there!
The response to these videos has been amazing, with so many people reaching out to talk.
From my challenges, I have recognised how important it is to look after myself, and how much I care for others. One day, I want to pursue a career in the mental health field.
It’s never too late to learn, to change your future, or to help others and that’s what I really want to do.
Life is hard. Life is challenging. There are always ups and downs, but I’ve learnt that if you get down, you get back up. You’ll be stronger for it.
That’s what life’s about, and it’s worth living for.