Taking Time to Talk Things Through

Rex Cochrane, Orange

One of my daughters was really upset after my accident, but I told her “I’m still me. I’m still here... It’ll just be different."

I kept a positive mindset at first, even after my accident. But as time went on, I ended up in a very dark place.  

It sort of affected me at first, then it started to affect my family. I just thought, you know, the way out of all the suffering was to harm myself. I didn’t really care what happened to me, but when it started to affect my family, that’s when it really got me. I’ve got my partner Mary, eight girls and a boy, my grandchildren and our foster kids.  

One of my pets, one of the things I’ve always wanted to get across to the kids I’ve worked with over the years, is mental health. I’d tell them, “It’s not to say you’re crazy or you’re out of control. There’s nothing wrong with you. We all need help sometimes, someone to talk to. There are great people out there who can give you strategies to help.”  

It’s hard… to take your own advice, you know. 

My family said to me “We know you’re strong, we know that you’re a tough person. You’ve always been there for us, but you need help with this. Put your hand up.”  

They were right.  

I tend to just go quiet, but talking about it has been the best thing for me. The hard part was finding that trust in professionals, but I’ve found that. I’ve met so many great people in my life, before the accident and even more since then.  

I grew up on a farm. I’ve got lots of family here and out West. I’ve got lots of mates who are on the land, lots of mates from sport and other things. They’re all tough, but they go through a lot.  

I hope that even one person can see this and think, “Well if he can get through this maybe I can too. It’s time to put my hand up and accept help.” 

I try to get up in the morning with a positive mindset, keep ticking off small goals; getting back to my work supporting kids in school, that was a big one for me. Even the Wiradjuri language course I’m doing at the moment. I’m hoping to get back in to fishing… things like that. Mindfulness has been really good for me too.  

One of my daughters was really upset after my accident, I think she was worried I wouldn’t be able to do things with her. But I told her “I’m still me. I’m still here. I can still do things with you. It’ll just be different… you might have to fix the car but I’ll be right there to tell you how.”  

She still rings me up “They’re saying I need a new carburettor, Dad.”  

And, I say, No you don’t. Bring it over, we’ll sort it out. 

And we do.