Nedlands cyclist opens up about mental health struggles

Michael Pyne (Nedlands) talks to year 9 students at Narrogin Senior High School. Picture: Andrew Ritchie   d492039
Michael Pyne (Nedlands) talks to year 9 students at Narrogin Senior High School. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d492039

NEDLANDS husband and father Michael Pyne can cope with his wife getting angry at him but he can’t handle her tears.

It was those tears that led the Ride for Youth cyclist to seek help for anxiety and stress six months ago.

Mr Pyne, or Pyney to his mates, bravely shared his story to Year 9 Narrogin Senior High School students on Thursday, the school he attended from 1988-92.

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Michael Pyne (Nedlands) at Narrogin Senior High School where he was Head Boy 1992 Picture: Andrew Ritchie d492039

With his peloton offering words of encouragement, the 44.year-old said that his definition of success was staying married to his wife and making her and their 12-year-old daughter happy.

“I’ve chosen to speak today because just recently I’ve had to get help for issues I’ve been having for awhile and just realised the affect it’s been having on those close to me,” he said.

“I don’t deal with stress very well and it’s affecting the relationship I am having with my wife and daughter.”

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Jarod Stone (Floreat) with Michael Pyne (Nedlands) talking to year 9 students at Narrogin Senior High School and Emma Brierty (GM Operations Youth Focus) Picture: Andrew Ritchie d492039

Mr Pyne said the first sign of his issues with mental health was in 1999 when he called his mum in tears on the way back from a holiday.

“I was 25 at the time, I should have realised then it was an issue I needed to deal with,” he said.

“In the past 20 years I’ve been through bad periods when I can’t sleep at night and it affects those at home.

“Six months ago I made my wife very upset when we were returning from a holiday in Albany.

“It was the first time my wife was in tears and expressed the impact this was having on her.”

Mr Pyne said he went to the GP and got a referral for extra help and while he hadn’t acted on it yet, he would when he returned to Perth.

Mr Pyne has his best mate form high school Jarod Stone, of Floreat, riding alongside him in his third Ride for Youth, which raises money for Youth Focus.

The students asked…

Q: What do you do if you see someone suffering from an anxiety attack?

A; Stay calm and don’t overcrowd the person. Get help from an adult. Get them to think about their breathing and they can give you tactics they use to deal with it – Youth Focus Operations general manager Emma Brierity.

Q: What’s a good way to cope with anxiety and depression?

A: Keep active. I enjoy riding, going for walks with my dog and my wife. I spend time with my wife and daughter but everyone deals with it slightly differently – Ride for Youth cyclist Michael Pyne.

Q: What are some signs of anxiety and depression?

A: Feeling down, not feeling right and removing yourself from activities you like doing. These are some signs you might need some assistance – Ride for Youth cyclist Michael Pyne.