Mitchell Opens About Bipolar Fight

Date: October 28, 2011 / Posted by control

By Ellie Turner, Northern Territory News, 28 October 2011 –

 

The man who was once the voice of Australian sport still feels the cut of a “double-edged sword” that took him to the point of suicide.

People are shocked when they hear that Glenn Mitchell – a father, husband and former premier ABC broadcaster – suffers from bipolar disorder. But Mr Mitchell is open about the depths of depression that saw him quit his dream job of 20 years in May and almost take his own life in the hills outside Perth.

“I really hit rock bottom when it sank in that I had lost my job,” he said. “It had defined me and I felt like I was worth nothing. “I parked on a track but a ranger came over, saw the garden hose on the back seat and just talked to me.

“I drove home but my wife saw the hose – she rang the psychiatrist.” Mr Mitchell, 48, told a handful of Territorians when he arrived in Darwin this week. He also spoke at yesterday’s Strong Families Award Night Dinner.

“I really want people to realize there is no shame in depression,” he said. “I had no trigger. It’s through not seeking treatment that you reach a crisis point.” Mr Mitchell said he tried to bury himself in his work but at the start of this year he began to unravel.

He said he still felt grief at losing his life at the ABC. “My colleagues at the time told me to take leave,” he said. “I could have kept my job but it would have been a band aid. This could be happening in a year from now. It’s a double edged sword.”

He said his wife – ABC Grandstand presenter Karen Tighe – had kept a mood diary without him even knowing.

During intense therapy his psychiatrist determined he had bipolar type 2 and altered his medication. Mr Mitchell said it took the realization that he was not being a good father to his son James, now aged six, to make him seek help. “When he was little he would come up to me, wrap his arms around me and say ‘I love you daddy’,” he said.

“If I had died he would have grown up without a father – it would have been awful. We play together every day now. This is the best I’ve felt in 20 years.”