Adam Boland opens up on “deep depression.”

Wake Up producer writes a frank disclosure about his illness which adds some much-needed perspective to a personal story that became so public.

2013-11-10_0016Wake Up producer Adam Boland has written about his health following weeks of breakdowns whilst producing TEN’s new breakfast show.

Much of the news articles surrounding Wake Up, and specifically Boland’s condition, have been without a complete context. Hopefully this goes some of the way to remedying that.

Writing for TheHoopla, he outlines his diagnosis by Professor Gordon Parker at the Black Dog Institute and the depth of his affliction, and bad decision to “can the drugs” which were part of his recovery.

The breakdown I suffered last month was worse than anything I’d experienced. It involved police, an ambulance and time confined to a ward that I never want to see again. (For the record, I think the concept of locking up someone whose mind already feels trapped does nothing to help. I have an uncle with schizophrenia and I accept that sometimes forced intervention is necessary. In my case, the sole sound of a ticking clock only made matters worse.)

All of this unfolded late on Tuesday night. It was Melbourne Cup day but for me, the only thing racing was my mind. I lost focus and perspective. My new partner watched me in the studio control room that morning and thought I had no control at all. He was right. He took me home as soon as the show was over. I then spent the day pacing, rambling and even fitting.

That night, the paramedics did what they could to calm me down. It wasn’t their fault, but some of their actions backfired. By the time we reached hospital, the bright lights were hurting my head and I had no sense of where I was or why.

That was the start of two weeks of deep depression. The anxiety attacks were daily – in fact, sometimes hourly. They were also exhausting – but sleep wasn’t an option.

Boland then notes the diagnosis as “biological melancholic depression” the medical care he received. He thanks his employer for their understanding but also raises concerns about the misunderstanding of mental illness in the wider community and media.

I received a tweet from someone I have never met telling me to “man up”. Even worse, one of my own shows trivialised the condition of English cricketer Jonathan Trott. I watched as three panel members on Studio 10 argued with Jessica Rowe over what they considered to be an overused excuse. These are people I respect. Intelligent people. It struck me then that we have much to do. And when I say us – I especially mean the media.

But there is also good news:

I’m no longer scared. I’m no longer down. I feel “normal” and am keen to return to work next week. I have a clear head about where I want to take the show (more newsy, for those interested) and most of all, I again have perspective.

Boland’s article should be read in full at TheHoopla.com


14 Responses

  1. I was so pleased that Adam chose to write this article, I really hope that it helps explain what mental illness can feel like to people who haven’t experienced it. I am going into hospital tomorrow for the 7th time with bipolar and even after 25 years of dealing with this it still shocks me how ignorant and callous the wider public can be. And the mental health care system is a mess, very expensive to get treatment, long wait periods, a lot of hoops to jump through to get anything to happen. No wonder so many mentally unwell people wind up homeless.

  2. Well done to Adam Boland and Jessica Rowe for highlighting this issue. When a condition like depression leads people to take their own lives, to say people should man up is just not good enough. It is very real and thank goodness society is recognising it as an illness. An illness that can be treated.

  3. I have only seen bits and pieces of Studio 10, but one of the segments i happened to catch is the one Boland references.
    I was beyond appalled at Joe Hildebrand sitting there and saying that people over exaggerate depression and anxiety etc and use it as an excuse.
    Good on Jessica Rowe for speaking up, but what a disgusting thing to say on air, and it says a lot about Hildebrand, and shows the kind of intelligence he has (or lack thereof).
    I already thought (along with most people it seems) that he is the worst thing on that show. He needs to go and it might be half watchable.
    And well done to Boland for being so brave and writing so openly about his experience. Hildebrands view shows that there are still people out there completely ignorant as to what depression/anxiety really is. That it is not about being a little “down”, it is a mental condition.

  4. Get well soon.

    But at least now Adam understands that unqualified talking heads on morning shows can speak crap.

    Sorry, but Adam has made a living out of having pretty idiots give us their unqualified opinions on all manner of things and only now he’s shocked because they’ve revealed their ignorance on a topic that he understands? That’s a bit rich.

    Hopefully he has seen the light and will see merit in getting actual impartial experts to educate his audiences rather than bimbos and himbos having brain dead discussions purely for “shits and giggles”.

    Wake Up! and other breakfast shows can barely muster a million viewers between them. Apparently, 20 million odd others find something better to do…

  5. I have a friend who suffers anxiety and depression and the two worst things you could do to someone in this condition is 1. Tell them to ‘man up’ or ‘get over it’ and 2. pile on more stressful things for them to do.

    My friend was working 16, 17 hour days for an organisation I won’t name here and when he asked for support he got none. He couldn’t sleep or eat and eventually had a nervous breakdown.

    And unlike Adam and Jessica – his ‘illness’ is still with him and he didn’t get the magic cure to make him ‘normal’.

    If anyone out there is suffering from anxiety or depression – get help! This illness affects a lot of people – not just celebrities and television producers.

  6. I feel really sorry for Adam, very tough times, but I also feel sorry for TEN who trusted him with aprox $20 million budget for these two shows when he was not mentally stong enough to deliver them.

  7. It pleases me to see that Adam appears to have bounced back this time much quicker than what I have seen in friends.

    Is there a higher chance of an episode occurring when someone is in a high pressure situation?

  8. As someone with Anxiety and depression, I sometimes cannot contemplate a few hours work in a retail store, so I can only be in awe of Adam for being able to to everything he has done, and will continue to do. I was very saddened to read what he went through, and that supposedly intelligent people still just don’t understand the illness, or do they really want to?
    Now when I look at his shows, I do not see little niggly things to criticise. It’s easy to nitpick from a lounge room or office computer. I see an amazing effort from a very talented man who has not been beaten, taking on pressure that even the “sanest” of us would shy away from. Adam is a role model for those with anxiety and depression everywhere. I know he may not want that tag, but his honesty is refreshing and helpful to others. I’m glad he is well again.

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