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Wales vs England 1999

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Monday, October 25, 2010

All Blacks Don't Cry - A short film about John Kirwan

While most of us know John Kirwan as a legendary All Black wing who played close to 100 Tests and won a World Cup in 1987, what many don’t realise is that at the height of his career, young Kirwan suffered from clinical depression.

All Blacks Don’t Cry is a short film from multitalented filmmaker Julian Shaw that highlights the debilitating illness that Kirwan, along with countless others, have suffered with in silence.

Shaw, who idolised Kirwan while growing up in Auckland, teamed up with the great wing to help create awareness during Depression Awareness Month and paint a real picture of what one can go through, even when seemingly living the life.

“Depression is something I have lived through myself, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve been through as a young man,” says Shaw on his website.

“Someone like John helped me a lot. Growing up in Auckland when I was a kid, John Kirwan was my hero - he was the most famous man in New Zealand, a World Cup winner, and probably the best Rugby player in the world for a while.

"When I later learned about his struggle – that this mighty All Black had been to the edge and almost lost his life – it gave me a new perspective on what I’d been through myself. He was definitely someone who left me incredibly inspired."

Shaw is actually a regular visitor here on Rugbydump, so he reached out after completion of the project. "I'm a big fan of your site. It's where I get my fix of Northern Hemisphere rugby, which can be televised at some pretty tough hours Down Under," he said earlier.

If you or anyone you know has suffered from depression, please support this powerful film by sharing it. It’s about awareness, and it’s about realising that you too can be helped in the same way as JK was when he finally broke the silence.

Learn more about the film at www.allblacksdontcry.com, where you can also purchase John Kirwan’s memoir ‘All Blacks Don’t Cry’ to help support depression awareness.
You can read more about Julian on his website www.julianshaw.com.au, which also includes information about his current project, Cup of Dreams, in which he follows the All Blacks in their build up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year.

Time: 13:17
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  • cool vid

    By Anonymous Matt, at October 25, 2010 11:43 pm  

  • Good on ya Julian! And very good of Kirwan to speak so openly about such a personal thing. I had no idea.

    By Anonymous Laz, at October 25, 2010 11:44 pm  

  • 3rd!!!

    By Anonymous Flooz, at October 26, 2010 12:19 am  

  • Very good video. Very inspirational and I'm sure many people can/will relate to it when they watch it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2010 12:52 am  

  • looks alright
    but come on, surnames on jerseys !! and the AB of all teams!!!
    and also, seeing 1980s players with recent nike and adidas boots is very unrealistic...

    By Anonymous Luxi, at October 26, 2010 1:33 am  

  • What were you expecting, Luxi, Invictus II? It wasn't a high-budget film, I'm sure; rather something made to get people talking/thinking.

    I thought it was pretty interesting as I had no idea about Kirwan being depressed. I bet it happens a lot more than I'd imagine, given the pressures of high-level athletic professionalism.

    By Anonymous k, at October 26, 2010 1:53 am  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous englandwillwin, at October 26, 2010 2:09 am  

  • englandwillwin said...
    Quit crying about it Kirwan you faggot. Theres people worse off than him and depression is only as bad as you make it.

    This is just the kind of ignorance and stupidity that things like this little film are trying to change.
    I have had some involvement with people suffering from clinical depression and your comment could not be more wrong.
    It's not just a bad mood, it's an affliction that can affect people of all sorts in all walks of life and can be completely debilitating, and frequently leads to self harm and worse. To say it's "only as bad as you make it" is idiotic.

    By Anonymous Perry, at October 26, 2010 2:35 am  

  • JK is a AB legend who i will always have a lot of respect for.

    Over the last 4 or 5 years he has been fronting the NZ mental health awareness tv adds, telling his story and really showing people that mental illness can affect anyone, normalising mental illness, and teaching people it is ok to ask for help.
    (Which RD may want to post on here as well).

    By Anonymous Craig, at October 26, 2010 2:51 am  

  • Englandwillwin is an example of why people won't talk about depression.
    It's not something someone can control, though there a things that people can do to ease the suffering of having depression.
    The more research that's done, the more it's being realised that depression is almost entirley chemical, a chemical/nuerological imbalance in the brain.

    Some people are idiots though, and wouldn't understand. I guess that includes Englandwillwin.

    By Anonymous Bill, at October 26, 2010 2:54 am  

  • englandwillin, depression handicaps your ability to feel pleasure. In fact, for those at the severe end of the spectrum, they really can only feel bad all the time.

    What do you do in your spare time? Taunt blind people for being bad at I Spy?

    By Anonymous Jeremy, at October 26, 2010 3:52 am  

  • cheers bro

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2010 4:29 am  

  • Been there myself. All I wanted to do was sleep. Point being, as soon as I spoke about it for the first time at 20 years old, I could actually deal with it finally! Ergo, shut up Englangwillwin, you have no idea what you're talking about (as your name/alias demonstrates, (from another Englishman!)).

    By Blogger Alexander, at October 26, 2010 5:01 am  

  • that was great! Just had to post

    By Anonymous Ned2or3, at October 26, 2010 5:44 am  

  • Interesting vid and I hope it will help. Kirwan is the perfect example of how ANYBODY can suffer from this.
    Btw, this try vs Italy right after the kick off is legend.

    RD, thanks for proving that this sort of videos deserves to be on the blog and that somehow rugby still is a little more than just one sport.

    By Anonymous Maximus, at October 26, 2010 9:53 am  

  • I'm a rugby player with depression, and I think playing the sport helps. Not just getting physical activity, but the brotherhood. Knowing there's a group of people who I can count on when things get bad is a positive.
    I still have some bad times but it's not as bleak as it has been in the past.

    By Anonymous Micah, at October 26, 2010 10:31 am  

  • Please don't anybody assume Englandwillwin is actually English - I think he's probably a troll trying to stir up argument and anti-English sentiment. Also, forgetting the nastiness, he's also making a really dumb point.

    By Anonymous J, at October 26, 2010 11:39 am  

  • RD - pls can you get rid of trolls?

    especially on subjects like this one, where Sympathy is the only response.

    my sister and mother have suffered from depression and as with all mental diseases, its extremely tough on the sufferer and family. if Kirwin makes money from this - good, he deserves it.

    If sufferers from depression and familys who support them can benefit then even better.

    there are some really negative people out there arent there? i bet they are not real rugby fans as we know that rugby is about respect and friendship and the trolls on here simply are not in our club!

    By Anonymous Jimmymc1, at October 26, 2010 1:18 pm  

  • It is a real pity when types like Englandwillwintake center stage with their ignorance. Depression is a clinical fact and a chemical mess up in the brain. Too much cortisol (drug that causes stress) and too little adrenaline (drug that, let’s say, pushes you forward) result in excessive daytime sleeping and insomnia at night, not seeing a way out, feeling unworthy of the things you have because you simply can’t enjoy them and possible suicide. Every person who is depressed is desperate to get out of that situation because it is a living hell. If you narrow it down to ´just get on with it´, people will feel ashamed to seek help and some of them will end up dangling from trees whereas with help they could have gotten out of the situation and become again valuable members of society, great parents and can save lives by sharing their experience.

    To Englandwillwin, take some time to read about it and post a comment a week from now and honestly say if you still feel the same. Depression can be cured with treatment, ignorance with knowledge. It takes a big man to admit that he is wrong. Let’s see what you are made of…….

    By Anonymous Bart, at October 26, 2010 1:36 pm  

  • Very interesting, and very brave of Kirwan to speak openly about this illness.

    And that's the point that can't emphasised enough, depression is an illness, and people suffering from it need to seek help. The most difficult step is to ask for help, so anything like this which can help remove the stigma and shame that people suffering from depression feel, that can only be a good thing.

    By Anonymous Edbok, at October 26, 2010 1:40 pm  

  • Well, as much as I enjoy being the resident troll, generally speaking im not the worst kind of troll,.....I do understand the guts it took for Kirwan to come out with this sort of stuff, (the same as Gareth Thomas and Nigel Owens coming out with their secrets)

    Ofcourse sensitivity is the key.

    My main purpose on this website really is to highlight the idiotic behaviour. Ofcourse my comments are generally over the top, but really have a read of my comments and then scroll through many other comments and see how different they are.

    At least I can joke that im doing this to highlight the idiots, (hence the name 'Resident Troll') whereas 90% of these other idiotic comments on each video are genuine comments....

    By Anonymous Resident Troll, at October 26, 2010 3:13 pm  

  • What a fantastic video. Great acting too, i'm sure it's very difficult to portray and help people understand something that is going on inside someone.

    I can't believe some people even respond to Englandwillwin, almost as bad as the comment he makes himself. And he's obviously not English which is even sadder.

    By Anonymous Siesta, at October 26, 2010 3:23 pm  

  • Thanks to those who have taken the time to leave informed, positive comments. Keep sharing the video and talking about it and to those who suffer in silence, don't be afraid to seek help. Hopefully Kirwan and his message can take on a bigger role in your lives from this day forward. Cheers

    By Blogger RD, at October 26, 2010 3:29 pm  

  • John Kirwan: I did not know my respect for him could grow higher but it just did.
    I hope this message reaches everyone that needs it: people suffering depression and the people that don't take this disease seriously. To be clear: depression does not feel the same as stepping in dog-shit and having a flat tire in one day. Comparing it to the feeling of losing someone dear ALL THE TIME might be a lot closer

    By Anonymous dutchrugbyplayer, at October 26, 2010 5:26 pm  

  • The quality of the video is irrelevant , who really gives a shite about jerseys , names on jerseys or boots what really matters is that an icon of John Kirwans stature an All Black would come out and admit that he suffered with depression and had the courage to ask for help.

    If this video gives one person the courage to ask for help then it will probably save one life and thats all that really matters

    Good on you JK and good on the film makers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2010 6:30 pm  

  • inspiring
    also apologies for my earlier comment, it's cos i thought this was only a trailer to a future movie

    By Anonymous Luxi, at October 26, 2010 8:49 pm  

  • Ahh Luxi you beauty! It takes a true rugby nerd to focus on the quality of the jersey over the quality of the message.

    Then again you did repent.

    Fairly incredible to think that someone who appeared to be on top on the world was far from it.

    Well done Shaw for producing this video and RD for posting it.

    By Anonymous Canadian Content, at October 26, 2010 11:49 pm  

  • So. Much. Respect. For the filmmaker, for John Kirwan, and for you, RD. I'm a young black woman from the US and I've been battling depression for several years now. I came close to ending it too. One of the things (aside from my family and friends) that gets me through the day is rugby, particularly All Blacks Rugby. As some of you may know, it's hard as hell to find rugby in the states, but RD helps a lot.

    Thank you, RD for posting this and for being a significant reason why I smile everyday.

    Also, sorry if this was tmi. I'm just really moved by this post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 27, 2010 2:28 am  

  • Great Vid, well done for making it Julian.

    Just goes to show how bad depression can be, people think just because things aren't too bad for you that there is no reason, making a mountain out of a mole. The more people Like John Kirwan that come forward and share this the better, then hopefully people will begin to understand.

    Remember reading Jason Robinson book, not sure how much of it was depression, but he did drink a lot in his league days. shows how easily these things can be hidden. Players performing to the top of their game but struggling underneath

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 27, 2010 3:05 pm  

  • Good vid. Kirwan is the face of mental health awareness ads in NoisyLand.

    Just to add to the (mostly ) emapathetic and informative posts here.

    At the sharp end of depressive illnesses - bipolar disorder - 1 in 3 sufferers kill themselves. So, if you know someone who is or you suspect might be suffering from depression, keep supporting them. You might literally save their life.

    By Blogger RememberTheMer, at October 28, 2010 11:28 am  

  • I went through a pretty dark patch when my long term relationship broke up. I had just finished at university and started a job, was working all hours and rarely saw any of my friends. I devoted all my time to my partner but I felt like I was the only person in the relationship. I was giving and giving and getting nothing back and I was getting progressively more down about the situation mover the course of about three months.
    Eventually my girlfriend broke it off and for at least two months I couldn't talk to anyone. My family had to walk on eggshells when I was around and I wasn't a good person to be with.
    The only time I was able to forget about the situation was when I was playing rugby, either training or playing. For an hour and a half on a Tuesday and Thursday I was able to forget it all and as the season progressed and I played more and more, the pain eased. Over the course of three or four months I got back to something approaching my old self and my form improved at the same time. My friends rallied round to support me and things gradually got better, with help.

    That said, I still feel very down about it all at times and my feelings veer from anger to sdness, from frustrated to desperately unhappy. This was several years ago and things didn't get better over night and they still aren't perfect, I'm still afflicted. Rugby helped ease my suffering massively though and I owe this game a lot.

    Thanks for posting a very thought provoking video. No it's not the most authentic film in terms of the kit the players are wearing etc, but that's not the point of it.

    (They could have worn Adidas World Cup's though!)

    By Anonymous Joe, at October 28, 2010 2:29 pm  

  • Good to see a video like this posted on Rugbydump: I'd have never imagined someone like John Kirwan suffering from despression ...

    Guess the problem could be a lot bigger than one might think.
    Shows the measure of the man, in Kirwan's case, to come forward and make an effort to help other people with their struggle.

    By Anonymous Sander, at October 28, 2010 8:12 pm  

  • Very touching film and very relevant. Not much more to add as its' already been said..

    Mortified that Englandwillwin's comments might actually be by someone English. Hope not, but if so apologies from another Englishman.

    By Anonymous NiWiTa, at October 29, 2010 2:28 pm  

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