When former television producer Adam Boland had a very public breakdown in January, he was looking for a life beyond television where he could find a new beginning.
Boland says he’s found that – and much more – in Canberra, having made the move south a month ago.
Known for taking the reins at Sunrise on Channel Seven and making the breakfast show number one in the country, Boland left in early 2013 to launch rival breakfast show Wake Up on Channel Ten.
Only three days after the launch of the show, Boland had a breakdown.
Having been previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he knew it was time to put his health first.
Boland’s partner Kenny Ang had a job in Canberra at Department of Defence, so the pair decided it was the perfect place to base themselves.
“For me being here intentionally is about calming my mind, finding some stillness,” said Boland.
“I want to still live in a city and the reality is Canberra is a city but it’s without many of the burdens that come with other cities like Sydney.”
The couple has set up home in the Nishi building in New Acton, which Boland said is great for both his mind and body.
“It’s close to the lake and I’m starting to ride my bike. I’ve never been a physical person – maybe because I was always at work,” he said.
“I’m 38 now and I’m starting to develop Buddha belly and I think it’s time to start increasing some of my other priorities.”
Leaving Sydney meant moving away from an industry he had been immersed in his whole life, but Boland said he isn’t looking back.
“I think part of the problem I had with television is I got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t learning anything – I want to learn stuff,” he said.
He is now working on a book for Melbourne University about all things television.
“My psychiatrist suggested I go and write theatre, but I don’t have the creativity,” he said.
“I’m told the book has a few people worried – it shouldn’t. It’s not a revenge manual. It’s more just an observational piece on TV.”
Writing the book has given Boland a chance to reflect on his almost 20-year television career, which he says has been a cleansing experience.
“It’s fascinating to look back at that career with the benefit of hindsight. There are many people in the industry who still don’t talk to me and I understand that,” he said.
“You can’t change things you’ve done but you can at least re-examine the way you did certain things.”
Given his very public battle with mental illness, Lifeline reached out to Boland, and he is now working with the charity.
He will deliver the keynote speech at their annual Gala Ball this year.
“I take the view that everyone has a right to be happy and some aren’t simply because of the actions of their own mind,” he said.
“If I can even in a small way help, then I feel an obligation because I’ve been through that. The whole reason I’m in Canberra is because my mind collapsed and I think without the support of people around me I fear what may have happened.”
While Boland isn’t sure how long he and Ang plan to stay in Canberra, nor if he will return to television, he’s happy with their decision to move south.
“We were talking about going to Vanuatu – we had some really weird thoughts. But then we said no Canberra works for so many reasons," he said.
“For me I want to be under the radar. You can live your own life here and find your own piece of happiness.”