Worthy recently interviewed former AFL footballer Lance Picioane, who openly shares his story of suffering and overcoming anxiety and depression. Now he dedicates his time to his own charity, aiming to breakdown the barriers some people face when it comes to dealing with their own mental health.
 
'It's pretty common in today's society. Especially in post-footballers in that professional sports world. But my history with mental illness started when I was a teenager. This is 20 years ago, it took me a long time to understand my journey, and now here we are,' he explained.

The former Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Adelaide footballer detailed how he didn't understand his own feelings, or know how to seek help to overcome such complex issues a critical age in terms of development.

'Understanding what's going on in your body, your head and your mind, friendships, school and sport, you just don't understand it. You just think that it's a part of life,' he said. 'You just don't talk about it. Especially if you are a guy, it is just one of those things that you just don't talk about.'

By the time Lance was 13, his football and sporting skills were starting to show, with several AFL clubs keeping him under close watch.

'I was speaking to AFL clubs when I was 13 or 14, so yeah it was always one of those things that I was always going to do. I was always going to play professional footy, but probably didn't understand the hard work that was associated with it to achieve something.'

Lance was never diagnosed during his career. It wasn't until after he stepped out of the spotlight of the sporting world, when he was forced to deal with his mental health.

'When you take that structure away, the constant support network, that are always there for you, you're sort of left to fend for yourself. (It was) A massive shock. So I replaced chasing those highs on the footy field with chasing those highs off the field. You know, I made a few wrong choices along the way and it wasn't until later that I realised those choices aren't helping me.'

'I wasn't working. I wasn't doing anything for anyone around me that was any good. So that was my rock-bottom. But from rock-bottom you can always go up.'

Lance credits his family, wife and friends with his recovery and new path to success where he now helps others to overcome their own hurdles at LoveMeLoveYou, raising money for those who need it most.

'So through their support I just took those baby steps and turned it all around and chose understanding the triggers. When you talk about triggers you talk about, everyone talks about what makes them sad or what causes a challenge but for me it's about understanding the triggers that make you happy and what's going to make you do what you want to do. I now live by the 3 A's, I accept, I acknowledge and action. So, accept what is, acknowledge what I've got to do and then I action how to do it.'

If you want to know more about mental health or Lance's charity go to LoveMeLoveYou.org or if you or someone you know needs help you can access help in your respective countries. If you're in Australia you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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