Heidelberg Leader – 07.06.16

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Heidelberg Leader – 07.06.16

Posted on September 28th, 2016

This article originally appeared on The Heidelberg Leader on June 7, 2016.

Ex-AFL star kicks goal with own story of hope

“There is always a way to move forward” was the message former AFL player Lance Picioane gave Ivanhoe Grammer School students.

Founder of Love Me Love You, Picioane visited the school in his bid to quash the stigma associated with mental illness and to try and empower young people back into school, sport and life.

When his AFL career ended in 2005, the Adelaide, Hawthorn and North Melbourne midfielder said his life spiralled out of control.

Picioane said he had experienced anxiety and depression from the age of 15 and struggled with ups and downs throughout his football career.

“My career ended on a sour note and that’s when things went really prea-shaped for me,” he said.

“My depression was so bad that I was trying to get away from it with partying but if you keep going up, you’re going to come down sooner or later.”

After a move to North Melbourne, his career came to a halt 11 years ago with his off-season behaviour the final straw.

“I was self-medicating with substances and, after I did my knee when I was 30 and was told I would never exercise again, I became suicidal,” Picioane said.

After that, the sportsman said he started seeing a psychiatrist and rallied family and friends around him.

“I started training again and my love and passion for footy came back with time,” he said.