ONEWAVE EVENT 24/06/15
Mental illness is real, and is being talked about more and more each day, which is a real step forward in the right direction and shows how far we have come in society BUT there is still a huge stigma that surrounds this silent killer & there is so much more we need to do to help raise awareness on this sensitive issue- I think you thats why these guys are on this planet!
As many of you already know I battle my own demons everyday, just like around 20% of adults are affected by some form of mental disorder every year. I have been asked if you can die tom mental illness? Mental illness itself is not life-threatening. However, up to 15% of people seriously affected by mental illness eventually die by suicide (compared to an approximate figure of 1% for the whole population). Effective, ongoing treatment is essential to minimise the risk of suicide.
For me, Wether it be getting out of the house by myself, the sensation when I walk I feel like I’m floating which is scary, not being able to shop at the supermarkets with out having a panic attack, not freaking out cause I can’t breath deep enough or the one the has really got me flat lately is the ability to be able to carry out a gym workout by myself without walking in and walking around not doing anything cause I feel numb, then leaving cause I freak out being by myself… all these things may seem very little and irrelevant but to me they are battles and little wins I deal with from day to day.
I got this email one day from a guy named Joel Pilgrim. He mentioned he worked for a not for profit organisation called One Wave which is a 12-week surfing program for people experiencing mental health issues.
I looked into this organisation and was blown away with what these guy where doing. Joel asked me if I would be interested in coming up to Bondi to do a charity event for their launch at the Bondi Pavillion on the 24th of June and I said I would love to be apart of this event and said how humbled I am that he would even ask me to be apart of it. Joel found me online and said he loved my blogs on this issue and he also loved the message of positivity and strength within my songs. He said he wanted me to get up in front of approx 220 people and tell them my story- i was nervous but felt like it would be a great opportunity to share my story and maybe help others that have had a tough run.
So, The boys flew me up on a plane on the Wednesday morning, the 24th of June, the event was on in the evening so it gave me plenty of time to settle in and get ready for the gig. I brought my Girlfiend with me because I felt it would be an amazing experience for her to see and also be apart of.
I didn’t know what to expect leading into the evening but was really excited to see what exactly the OneWave crew do. When the night started i got things going by doing 30mins of live stuff as the crowd was entering the theatre, once everyone was settled the night started. I must say the whole venue was packed, the boys did a great job in spreading the message and getting an amazing turnout to set the perfect `launch atmosphere.
The night started with an this video package, which explained the story behind OneWave and its goals. This short film was so powerful and the message was simple- These lads where just good Aussie dudes wanting to make a difference in this world, “one wave at a time!”
The night then consisted of guests speakers, including the founder, Grant Trebilco and also Joel Pilgrim, Both are instrumental in the core values and success thus far of this 12 week surf program and helping raise awareness on Mental Health.
It was so captivating and extremely moving hearing especially Grants story- After 10 years of battling with mental health issues, without seeking treatment Grant was hospitalised in 2012 and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The ocean and surfing was Grant’s saviour in tough times when he was released from hospital. He discovered that onewave is all it takes. After hiding mental health issues for years, he decided enough was enough, it’s time to start talking and sharing his experience to try and help others. “Maybe if I share the simple recipe of saltwater, surfing and talking about mental health I can prevent people from ever feeling the way I did”. So one Friday morning he decided to dress up in a shirt and tie and go surfing solo at Bondi to try and spark conversations about mental health. That was the first OneWave Board Meeting and 4 Board Meetings later Fluro Friday’s were born, which have now taken place at over 50 beaches world wide.
After he finished speaking every single person stood and gave him a standing ovation. It was a truly inspiring story which left me sitting there with tears in my eyes. I sat there and thought, Good on you, man! Good on you, from the lowest of lows, to harnessing the hurt and pain and bouncing back off the canvas to not only help yourself, which most people would be happy to finish there and get themselves right and thats it, but also help others get themselves up off the canvas, which is so brave and made me realise there is good people out there!
The lads then called me up to do a performance and have a chat. This was it, I’m standing in front of a theatre full of people about to tell them my story.
I thought this would be easier than what it was, it was like letting all these strangers into my life and into my head, which made me feel very vulnerable.
but after a few minutes it became easier and there was a wave of exception in the room (pardon the pun). As it began to get easier i felt i could speak a little deeper about my feelings and after my speech the feeling going through my body is something i can’t even explain.
I then performed a song i wrote to my grandfather called “me without you- Pepe” this was a song i wrote to him after he passed away. He was like a dad to me growing up and an significant part of the person i am today. everybody loved the song, it was the perfect setting for this emotional thank you to my Pepe (check out my song to him- click to listen to my song to my Grandfather
After the night ended i felt i just wanted to leave, I couldn’t deal with everyone and my anxiety had lifted. The place was crowded and even though i was comfortable on stage after my talk, I think my emotions had crashed and i was back down again. People wanted to talk to me about my story but I just wanted to get out of there and leave with my partner. She understood how i felt and helped get my out of there and we decided to go have some reds and dinner by ourselves.
People always ask me, “How do you suffer anxiety and depression and still perform on stage?” I say: “I don’t know what it is… as soon as I’m up there, I’m in my comfort zone, I can close my eyes and let the music fix me”.
It just shows how you can be travelling great one minute then how quickly things can change.
The next day i caught up with the lads and said i was sorry i left, and told them that we would be there Friday morning, for FLURO FRIDAY.
When Friday came it was unreal. EVERYBODY was there in Fluro wetsuits and fluro gear! it was insane, i felt so happy to be apart of this and jumped on a board and had an epic surf sesh with everyone!
OneWave holds weekly Fluro Friday sunrise sessions up and down the coast to raise awareness for mental health. We dress up in the brightest outfits possible and surf/swim/do yoga. Fluro makes people smile and it gets people asking important questions, which are normally avoided about mental health. Everyone is welcome and it is a free event.
That afternoon we left to come home, back to Melbourne, back to my safe zone BUT i am was so grateful to made the trip up and in a way faced my demons. even though the surfaced, thats just the way it is for me, but to get out there on the Friday and have a surf with everyone was the perfect end to a great little trip.
Please jump on to http://onewaveisallittakes.com/ and check out this awesome not for profit organisation! I have no doubt that this will be HUGE this time next year, with the amount of people that are already backing and supporting its program!
GREAT JOB GUYS! 🙂
HOPE TO SEE YOU AGAIN SOON! (as you all say, YEEEEEEWWWWW)