26 April 2024

Morrison sought help from a Canberra doctor for anxiety medication while PM

| Chris Johnson
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Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison has revealed he was taking anxiety medication while he was prime minister. Photo: Screenshot.

Scott Morrison was a prime minister on anxiety drugs, recently revealing in an extract from his upcoming memoir how he turned to medication and leaned on God to help him through the toughest times of his leadership of the country.

The former PM, who served in Lodge from 2018 to 2022 and quit politics completely in February this year, said he had suffered anxiety that was both “debilitating and agonising” at times throughout his tenure.

He turned to a Canberra doctor for help.

“My doctor was amazed I had lasted as long as I had before seeking help,” Mr Morrison wrote in The Australian newspaper.

“Without this help, serious depression would have manifested.

“What impacted me was the combination of pure physical exhaustion with the unrelenting and callous brutality of politics and media attacks.

“As a politician, I know this goes with the territory. That’s not a complaint or even an accusation. It’s just reality. Politicians are not made of stone, yet they’re often treated as though they are, including by each other.”

Morrison was himself an aggressive politician and not one to shy away from personal attacks and controversial commentary.

His prime ministership was most notable for managing the COVID-19 pandemic and establishing a national cabinet to deal with mandatory lockdowns and the rollout of immunisations, for which he variously received both praise and criticism.

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However, that followed his highly criticised decision to holiday with his family in Hawaii during the devastating bushfires in Australia over the summer of 2019-20.

During his time in the top job, tensions between Australia and China escalated, resulting in Beijing ramping up trade sanctions against Australia.

It also saw the establishment of the AUKUS agreement – annoying the French government over the cancelling of its submarine-building contract.

He believes that without his faith and without the medication, he could have become seriously depressed during that period.

“I think it just sort of built up. I couldn’t put my finger on a particular time,” he told The Australian.

“It was a very stressful period and the combination of the weight of issues, the length of hours that we were working, the physical demands that brought and, to be honest, the stuff around China was as, if not more, distressing than the pandemic.

“You’re flesh and blood, so it would start to impact you.”

In his book, Plans for Your Good: A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness, the former PM recounts how he tried cooking and swimming to relieve his anxiety, but he needed more help.

“You dread the future and you can’t get out of bed,” he said.

“It can shut you down mentally and physically.”

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His memoir describes how his Christian faith sustained him and even guided him through the pandemic and the big decisions he was confronted with.

One of those decisions was to secretly give himself five extra ministerial positions without the knowledge of the public or his own government and, in some cases, without the knowledge of the actual ministers holding the portfolios.

News of the extra portfolios didn’t break until after he lost the May 2022 election.

The Labor government of Anthony Albanese subsequently opened an investigation into the scandal.

Morrison claimed his actions were motivated by the nation’s best interests in extraordinary times.

He was eventually censured by the House of Representatives over the secret appointments, making him the first former prime minister to be censured by the federal parliament.

After losing the 2022 election, Morrison remained on the backbench in Opposition as the Member for Cook long enough for the expiration of an 18-month cooling-off period forbidding former ministers to work for industries they oversaw in government.

He then became a strategic adviser with the AUKUS-associated DYNE Maritime with former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He also joined American Global Strategies as a non-executive director.

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Love_In_A_Village9:19 pm 30 Apr 24

It’s important that our politicians can safely reveal their mental health struggles. Nobody is immune. Good on him. As for the title of the memoir – he’s gotta be kidding! We should not have those running our country seeking the counsel of an invisible man in the sky! Keep that rubbish to yourself.

Heywood Smith3:37 pm 30 Apr 24

Can imagine how anxious one must get trying to be 5 ministers all at once!!!

Let’s talk about the anxiety and mental health impacts of the robodebt scheme!

Please forgive me if I don’t feel any compassion for him. One of the things you omitted from the list of what he did while a minister or Prime Minister was his role in establishing Robotdebt (he wasn’t PM then, but he was the minister in charge of Centrelink). A lot of people developed depression and some took their own lives because of the false accusations against them that were the result of a program Morrison helped establish.

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