Interview and feature image by Nina Phillips
Bachelor of Psychology (Counselling and Interpersonal Skills)
What? I hate that question so much—like, what do you want to know? Be more Pacific Ocean… Man, I hate talking about myself. Just try make me look good and not like a dick. Okay. Continue.
Why am I studying psychology? Mostly for the money. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding… Coming from a male perspective, mental health and the way mental health is viewed, it’s like very interesting how, you know, men aren’t allowed to talk about their emotions and stuff. A lot of what I went through with my mental health journey, if I was just able to talk about it, and there wasn’t so much stigma surrounding it, it would have been a lot easier. And like, possibly opened some doors that were just slam closed when I was really struggling. So, I think a lot of the reason I’m doing it is because I want to change that perspective and start to normalise conversations around mental health. But also, obviously, the money and prestige play a part in it a little, but mostly to help people.
It’s like 80% to help people and 20% like, ‘150K a year doesn’t sound too bad’.
But that’s if I get into Masters… So really, it’s to help people. It’s just fun making jokes—that are semi-true. Dot. Dot. Dot. Unless?
How did you know I went to a boy’s school? Yeah nah, I only went there for three years, so, I don’t think the culture really impacted me much. But like, that was probably the peak of the not so good stuff. I think it had accumulated by that point. I grew up in a country town, multiple country towns, so I think that played a pretty big part in it all. The idea of mental health in country towns is pretty much non-existent… When I was there anyway.
Do you really want to do the COVID question? Oh, alright. Essentially, most faculties at UniSA have gone back to in-person tutes except psychology—for some unknown reason… So, we’re disputing it and hoping to get some sort of answers and/or get it put back in-person… Yeah, that’s probably all I’m going to say on that… Like fuck. I’m paying money to do university in-person. I’m supposed to be on exchange in Canada and I’m not. I’m fucking here, doing [uni], through Zoom.
Am I keeping busy? Oh, how? I’m an SANFL umpire. So, umpiring league footy. I also coach the SANFLW boundary umpires… Um, I climb stuff. Yep, there you go. That’s a big one. I climb up walls in my spare time… Yeah, bouldering. Where? ABC. Adelaide’s Bouldering Club. Hashtag promotion. Hashtag pay me. Nah, it’s great gym if anyone wants to start bouldering and climbing up walls… Running! Yes, I run! Because it’s good for your mental and physical well-being.
That’s pretty much it… Oh, I do photography as well. And I write poetry. My poetry’s not good though… It’s like, just a great way to express your emotions without having to directly address them. That’s why I do it because I’m terrible at addressing my emotions. I was terrible. I’m getting better. Maybe…
For me to sit down right now and be like, ‘Nina, this is how I feel,’ it’s super hard. But you also don’t want to ruminate on how you feel because that leads you down a very dark path. So, if you have a creative outlet, such as writing or photography, it allows you to express those emotions without having to sit there and think about the emotions. So, I just sit down and write, and then I’ll read it and I’ll be like, ‘Wow, that’s how I feel. Okay.’ I think the value of having creative outlets are wildly underestimated. Especially from a male perspective—it’s very much frowned upon to do anything that’s mildly feminine. Because we are men! And men don’t cry!
Batyr runs a thing called Being Herd…
It’s essentially a program for young people to share their stories of lived mental ill-health experience.
So, I did a two-day workshop where you sit down with a bunch of people and write your story. But mine was really weird… It was run with only men. Yeah, no. On purpose… It felt very—for lack of a better word—empowering. Seeing men talk about stuff like this, gathered together to change the stigma around mental health. It was super weird because of the social stigma of men not opening up to each other… It was also online because of the pandemic, which kind of sucked. I’m a very face-to-face person… it would’ve been better to be able to hug everyone. But it was still a really cool experience.
We’re doing more speaker development stuff, so hopefully, I’ll be able to share my mental health journey with a whole crowd of people. I’m actually terrified of public speaking. But everyone knows the best way to get better at public speaking is to speak about a very very vulnerable subject in front of hundreds of people. That’s obviously the best idea…
For sure, I think if we’re able to listen to people’s stories and see things from other perspectives, it allows us to understand them… their world and their community better. And therefore, make better choices on the basis of that rather than just our own opinions and beliefs.
Last year in uni, I learnt about white privilege and the extent that effects, well, everything…
I think I knew about it before, but I didn’t understand it… I did an Indigenous studies course that, essentially, teaches you the “actual” history of Australia. And there were a lot of things I didn’t know… It was very—I don’t want to say confronting—just very much a, ‘here’s everything you ever knew, but also, here’s what it all actually means,’ type experience… I think, exploring both sides—all sides—of a story is super important. Because if we don’t do that, we’ll never move forward.
This piece was originally published in Edition 36 of Verse. View it in its original PDF form via ISSUU.