As a young kid, I always wanted to be the centre of attention, trying to do the most extreme acts I could think of and always pushing the boundaries. I was incredibly active, which, even as a little kid, was a way to cope with putting my overactive mind at bay. It's incredibly unpleasant to have compulsive thoughts, and trying to ignore them or push them away doesn't always work.
One of the earliest stories I remember is my obsession with Gary Ablett Senior, an iconic player in the AFL. My dream as a kid was to play AFL and he was the pinnacle, arguably one of the greatest players of all time, who played for the team I had grown up supporting — the Geelong Football Club.
I remember once heading to one of our family holiday house trips at Wye River and stopping in Geelong to visit a sports store. In the corner of the store, I spotted him — Gary Ablett — and instantly froze. My dad offered to approach him and introduce him to me, but I was so overwhelmed by the situation that I ran and hid in the change rooms, refusing to come out, not reappearing until Dad assured me Gary had left.
For the next month all I would talk about was how devastated I was with myself about passing up an opportunity to meet my hero. It ate away at me. More comically, and not long after this incident, I was in religion class at school and we were asked to draw a picture of God. Very seriously, I drew a picture of Gary Ablett kicking a goal in football.
A few weeks later, my uncle took ...