Shining a light on depression's dark grip
Carrie Rathbone talking about the impact of her then husband Clyde's depression. Photo: Melissa Adams
Carrie Rathbone wore herself out trying for years to deal with her then husband Clyde's depression - years in which he ''truly believed'' he was not affected by the disease.
The now re-signed Brumbies star has talked publicly about the fact his depression led him to being suicidal, and that was the tipping point for his wife to also seek out the advice of a psychologist and finally open up to family and friends about their private battle.
''It was not until Clyde's depression worsened to the point where our lives were at risk that I got the wake-up call I needed and sought help and support,'' she said.
The Rathbones divorced earlier this year and both are in much better places after he sought professional help for his illness. They have a relationship ''built on acceptance and respect'', she says. They have each turned a corner.
''I applaud his bravery in discussing his battle with depression, and am proud of his decision to return to the rugby field. I'll be expecting a few tries next season,'' she said.
Ms Rathbone, 32, has decided to speak publicly about her experience of living with a person suffering from depression at a Lifeline Canberra event on Friday to help others find the courage to seek professional help - both the sufferer of the disease and those who become collateral damage.
She suspected Clyde was suffering from depression soon after their wedding in 2005 but it was another seven years before he acknowledged it. His wife left the relationship in May 2011, leading him to put a searingly personal post on his Facebook page earlier this year seeking her return. He also finally started talking about the depression that had dogged him since childhood due to emotional abuse by a trusted adult.
Ms Rathbone said she wished she had sought help earlier, saying those years were lived in a daze, her confidence eroded. She felt overwhelmed. For three years she believed her husband would ''snap out'' of the depression. She became bitter and disillusioned as she tried to keep things in check by removing any potential obstacle or stress from Clyde's life.
''I felt a failure, in every attempt, to get through to Clyde and slowly withdrew completely to avoid confrontation,'' she said.
Ms Rathbone says people living with someone with depression need to seek help from bodies such as Lifeline. Society needs to keep talking about mental illness and continue to chip away at the stigma. ''Over the past year I have undergone training in crisis management and counselling, and am comfortable discussing my experience with anyone who may be helped by sharing. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have overcome these difficulties, and recognise my responsibility to reach out to others who are in this situation,'' she said.