Paul Whatuira is best known as a hugely successful NRL Athlete, Kiwi player, 2 x Premiership winner.
He has played for the Warriors, Melbourne, Storm, Parramatta Eels,
West Tigers, Huddersfield Gians. But the high points of his athletic career were matched with lows in his personal life, his mental health.
A victim of sexual abuse as a child, he realised he had really never dealt with the trauma and when his wife became pregnant with their first child it sent him into a tail spin that lead in 2009 to him being admitted to a psychiatric ward in England after attacking two men. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and heavily medicated, effectively ending his league career.
Paul spent five years heavily medicated and trying to work through his problems but emerged a much stronger man for his experiences.
In his own words Paul says:
"I had to rediscover myself, and build that self-confidence and that reconnection with family and people that are important to you, and having the awareness for living for today," explained the 16-test Kiwis player.
"I genuinely believe that your strength is for living in the now and you have to forgive yourself from the past - you can't bring it back. You have to focus on today and be grateful for the things you have."
"The healing for the things I went through was reconnection with my family, culture and being grateful what I have. Your wellbeing is important - it is important you exercise and do things that make you happy during the day."
In this candid and very real interview he talks about his journey and his work now doing workshops and speaking engagements talking about Mental Health and how he overcame his demons.
You can find Paul at www.internalstrength.nz
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