I’m Richie Hardcore and I’m very passionate about how we can combat New Zealand’s mental health statistics. I’m an educator and keynote speaker on Masculinity and prevention, and now I’ve arrived here. I’m on a journey helping people share their stories of
mental health. We’re on our way to meet Eddie Murphy. Not that Eddie Murphy, not the famous comedian in the United States, Eddie Murphy, but world famous in West Auckland
Eddie Murphy. The jiu-jitsu coach. He’s the all-around good guy and he’s
had a really long journey understanding his own mental health and in that
journey he’s learned a lot of really great lessons, I think, that he can share
with us. Hello Richie, nice to see you. Nice to see you too, thanks for having vulnerable conversation. My pleasure, my pleasure. So welcome to the people’s gym the home of Tukaha West Auckland. This is sick. Still teaching kids?
Yep, absolutely. Five days a week these days. So you grew up out west?
Yes, proud Westie, grew up in Titirangi yeah I was a bush baby,
so yeah this this is my home. It’s such a diverse place to be from, you
know you get people from all walks of everything, so you know, there is no
one way for a Westie to be but I am very much a bogan, so you know all black
everything (including your gear here?)
Exactly exactly this extension of jeans and a black jumper but
it is essentially the same thing yes. Do you think there’s an unfair stereotype
about West Aucklanders?
No I think we worked hard to earn that stereotype to
be honest I think we put a lot of hard work into that but it’s also one of
those ones where if if you’re not from here and and grow up around you know
Westie bogans and stuff it might seem a little aggressive and intimidating
that’s just people going about their lives. You have talked to me,
you know prior to this about the fact that you started experiencing
poor mental health really, really young. What did depression look like when
you’re 8 years old? That was a really major part of my life,
was trying to navigate my way through depression, which would lead to anxiety,
which eventually led to me suffering from symptoms of psychosis. I’d hear
things that weren’t there and you know depending on how far down the rabbit
hole I’d sort of gone it could get quite bad. Psychosis is a heavy term can
you explain what that means? It’s got very specifically different ways of
manifesting in people. For me, I was hearing things and it didn’t start off
as like, you know, hearing, instructions to do bad things.
It started off just purely me hearing my name. It was always a feminine voice and
it just kind of slowly moved on from there. Like once you start hearing things
and that it’s not something that’s occurred
out in the real world, that just lifts the anxiety up and you just sort of
start spiralling until you’re not sleeping you’re not eating. You’re not looking after your body properly. That’s when it will hit you really
really badly. The worst part was getting instructions to crash my car while I was driving and that was when I parked the car up and I was
just like “okay we’re not gonna drive for a while.” Have you ever figured out what
was the cause of you know your depression from such a young age? Well my mother was extremely unwell throughout my childhood, and she sort of went through like the worst the Mental Health System has to offer.
So I was kind of, from a young age really aware of you know mental health problems, and what was being done at those times to deal with them. I was scared really early on as to you know what could possibly happen to me you know if I got sectioned and had to go and get
get put away for a bit like that sort of thing really terrified me. There had to be medical intervention with me with the instructions while I was driving my mum
immediately got me in touch with a crisis team at the Taylor Centre and
they sent a crisis worker out to come and see me at my flat, which was awesome, best part of all of that was one of my flatmates just sat with me through
it, he treated everything as normal as it could possibly be so that I didn’t feel too ashamed about it. I was able to access CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, that’s when they started started me on a drug called Resperidone
,which was an anti-psychotic. That was probably the single most effective medical intervention for my mental health that I’ve ever had. Do you still use prescription medication
or do you manage your mental health through jiu-jitsu and training?
Jiu-jitsu is absolutely a pillar of my sort of self-care to stop me from
getting unwell. I used to feel very chained to my medication and that made
me really resistant to taking it. It wasn’t until I kind of got over that
whole like ‘I’m chained to this little white pill for the rest of my life I
hate it blah blah blah’ whereas I was like ‘okay well actually
that little white pill has kind of made it so that your life is bearable now and
you’ve let’s put you in a place where you’ve been able to work past some
really difficult things’. You’re not chained to it, you just kind of need to take it every day if you want things to keep going well. I did jiu-jitsu without being medicated for five years and I did really really really well up
until I just completely spun out and came to the realization that I did need
So it’s a combination? Absolutely, yeah one won’t work without the other. Was there a trigger that led to that that spiral after five years? I got injured and I couldn’t train as much. What would you encourage someone who is experiencing depression or anxiety? For me it was all about balance, finding a
equilibrium, you have to give your body what it needs to to get yourself to a
point where you can start asking for help. When you’re depressed, it’s
incredibly difficult to see positives like that and and not look at things
negatively. One little thing and for me it was finding Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and
becoming part of Tukaha, like I found my place
that perseverance mentality, just don’t give up man, just keep showing up. You just got to make this little incremental steps, just that 1% each time and adds up and suddenly like a year down the track, five years down the track, where I’m at now, seven years down the track, with BJJ, I couldn’t picture my life without it now. It’s that important to me.
I’ve lost an extraordinary amount of friends to suicide in the last, you know I guess
20 years now and you know I would have been one of those statistics and I’m so
glad I’m not. I’m glad you’re not too. Thank you my bro, thank you.