Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil Shares His Family History with Depression

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Being a big fan to this day of Australia’s Midnight Oil, I was keen to listen to this interview with drummer Rob Hirst. I did not expect to find such a compelling mental health story in the midst of this interview, but there it was.

Early on Rob talks about his brother’s struggle with depression and anxiety, and later he also mentions his own struggles with panic attacks. But it’s toward the end of the interview, around the 42nd minute mark, when he talks about his mother’s struggles and ultimately her death, where we can really see not just the affect her illness had on her, but I think he also paints an interesting picture of how much her struggle impacted the day to day lives of her husband and her family.

This story struck me differently than many stories I’ve heard and read about an individual dealing with depression, I think it’s because we’re hearing a son talk about someone who isn’t here to tell her own story, and who has been deeply affected by what he saw her go through and what he saw his Dad go through to try and support her. Those other sides of the story aren’t things we usually hear about, but as Rob says himself in the interview, we need to talk about these things. We need to let people know that they are not alone and that help is available. I especially like the fact that we get to here this story in sort of a unexpected place, a radio interview about a musician.

I read and hear a lot of people’s stories but I also know that I seek them out. I don’t know how often other people are learning about mental health issues. Hopefully it’s occurring more and more, and reducing the stigma around it.

Thank you Rob, for sharing your family’s history. I only hope it reaches as many people who need to learn more about depression and anxiety as possible.

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