‘Be kind to yourself’: Julie Goodwin opens up on mental health battle

Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin has opened up about her battle with mental health. Source: Getty

Former Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin has opened up about her tough battle with mental illness and how it has led to her end with a popular breakfast program.

In 2009, the talented cook took out first place in television program Masterchef and has since then reached many successes, including the opening of her own cooking school and appearance on radio. But, behind the curtains, Goodwin has revealed she’s been struggling with anxiety and depression.

Taking to social media this week to address listeners of her radio show Rabbit and Julie Goodwin, the cook described the battle as the “darkest place I’ve ever been” and said it came to the point where she decided to check in to in-patient care in a mental health unit.

Goodwin explained she has had depression and anxiety on and off for many years and while on the surface it may not have seemed that way, she was struggling and had put a lot of energy into making sure it wasn’t obvious to others. But, after weeks challenging her ideas in care, the 49-year-old said it was time to be honest and, hopefully in turn, help others who may be facing a mental health battle.

Four years ago Goodwin was running a new business, Julie’s Place cooking school, and had started working on the breakfast radio show. She had a tight schedule and said “I have done my level best to keep on juggling and keep all those balls up in the air,” but, some important things in life took a backseat.

Goodwin said she didn’t have time for family, friends or to even rest and recover, and eventually six months ago she reluctantly decided to acknowledge her mental health was declining and she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and put on medication. Now, to help her on her journey, Goodwin has chosen to end her time on the morning show after a tough Christmas period.

“A whole list of things went wrong and I just didn’t have the resources to deal with any of it,” she said on the Facebook post. “I was physically sick in the guts for weeks, my mouth and nose full of ulcers, my hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Emotionally I was just spent. Anxiety kept coursing through me life electricity. I felt like I was trapped under a wet woollen blanket and every move was a massive effort.”

She described how she felt as “being in the middle of the ocean, not knowing which way to swim to reach shore, just treading water more and more slowly,” and said in the end “the wheels fell off”. For over five weeks now Goodwin has been receiving care in the mental health unit and although its been an “enormous shock”, she said she’s learnt a lot, and now hopes to pass on some wise words to others who may be struggling.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned, and this is what I’d like to pass on: treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love,” Goodwin said. “Don’t work more than you would allow your partner or child to work. Don’t speak to yourself with harsh words you’d never use towards your friends or colleagues. Be as kind to yourself as you try to be to others.

“And if you’re overwhelmed, if you’re struggling, ask for help. Do it before you can no longer hear the logical voices, the clear and good voices. Do it before it’s too hard to see a way forward. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the ones who love you the most.”

If you are concerned about suicide in your family, friends or workplace, contact Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978, Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 for confidential support, advice and referral that will help you explore your options.

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Can you relate to what Julie said? Have you ever struggled with your mental health?

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