KSA Shark ©

Clyde Rathbone gives an insight into HIS struggle

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Wallabies on 2 Feb 2012 at 10:44
Tagged with : , ,

Former SA u/20 RWC winning Captain Clyde Rathbone has written a straight talking candid letter about his life and suffering from depression.

He wants to get his story out there and I feel it is a worthwhile story.

“Sometimes we have to take risks, be terrified and do it anyway”. Julian Smith wrote this, so I decided to contact him, below is what I wrote. Just like I’ve asked Julian, I’m asking you all to send this to somebody you know if you think it might help them.

I’m not really sure where to start, if this appears as unlettered and rambling as I fear please accept my apologies …

I first heard about you whilst listening to Robb Wolfs podcast, from there I found your blog, read every single post, downloaded & read “Flinch” which resonated with me in ways I’m not nearly well enough equipped to articulate so I’m forced to drag out the cliché that it changed my life, but fuck it it did!

I know my story is neither as boring or as interesting as I think it is, I hope you’ll bare with me and read it (there’s an idea at the end, and I know you like those) but if you decide not to I’m fine with that too.

I was born in South Africa 30 years ago I’m the oldest of 4 boys, I had a difficult childhood, I was abused emotionally by someone who should have been looking after me. And it had a huge effect on me. A number of things can happen when you’ve been emotionally abused. Every negative thing I heard about myself, things that were said repeatedly to me became my truth, I started to believe that negative voice until it became ingrained, it affected me in nearly everything that I did and every decision I made. Usually people who are exposed to this abuse have extremely low confidence and low self esteem, In my case that was certainly true but those that knew me in high school may well describe me as arrogant, my defence mechanism was to project an image of myself that most protected me.

I was lucky in a sense because the abuse I suffered was inconsistent and definitely not as bad as many others are exposed to. So I ended up a confused, conflicted & pretty angry child and I know what saved me was that I was always good at sports, I was good at just about any sport I tried and gradually over time I started to challenge some of these negative thoughts that I had by performing well in sport. Ironically I used those negative thoughts as a driving force, as if every time I achieved success it was a reaffirmation to myself that those negative thoughts weren’t true. Every time I trained hard or played well I felt I was winning the battle against those thoughts.

And I did this most of my childhood and adulthood, this unlikely process turned me into a world class athlete, I captained the South African National U21 team to victory in the 2002 Rugby World Cup. Shortly after that I was offered a contract to play for the Brumbies rugby team in Australia. And since I knew my family planned to immigrate to Australia soon I decided to take up the offer. It was not long before I was playing for the Australian National Team, travelling the world and basically living what I thought were my dreams. The thing is I was never happy, I felt guilty that I could not appreciate the life many others could only dream of. By this point I had convinced myself that what I had gone through as a child was not that bad and I basically tried to forget about it. The fact is those issues never left me completely, they would express themselves in many ways. I would be angry or irritable or feel tension and stress and not really know why but for the most part I would say I functioned as well as I could and anyone who met me would think I was completely “normal”. And I maintained that fictitious existence for years.

But this all began to gradually change about 5-6 years ago when I picked up some serious rugby injuries which ultimately forced me to retire @ 27. That was a catalyst for a flood of all those negative thoughts I had pushed to the background, many I had not had for years slowly began coming back and over time I slipped further and further into depression until I was chronically and severely depressed. Though my body was broken I agreed to play some minor level club rugby, I injured myself in a match and needed surgery to insert a titanium plate in my face. I was on a lot of painkillers and I would go days when I would hardly get out of bed. I felt despairingly low all day, I had no motivation or optimism, I began having suicidal thoughts. And I want to say this about depression, I always looked at it as something that happened to “other people”, until I become depressed it never even crossed my mind that it could happen to me. What I’ve learnt over time is that any of us can become depressed given the wrong mix of experiences.

In that state, in the deepest of my depression my marriage began failing, I become short tempered and verbally abusive to my wife, there was never physical abuse but there is no doubt she suffered hugely emotionally. I completely neglected her and her needs. I did not know how to climb out of the hole I felt I was in, I did not even know where to start. Finally in Late 2010 I told my wife what I had gone through as a child, 10 years after our relationship began and 5 years into our marriage she was learning this for the first time.

And while it felt initially better to finally tell someone what happened, in some ways it made things worse because I began to see how much of my life had been affected by what happened to me as a child and it brought a lot of anger and resentment to the surface.

By mid May of last year my wife had had enough, she came to the conclusion that she could not help me. She had tried everything she knew to try and nothing seemed to change. She packed a bag and left to stay with her friend. Going through depression is difficult enough, but since I’ve recovered I’ve begun to realise just how tough it must have been for my wife to observe the person you care about most struggling for as long as I did while nothing my wife tried seemed to work. I think often we forget about the toll that depression takes on the people who are caught trying to help those suffering from it. If there is a hero in this story it’s how my wife has managed to remain as strong as she did for as long as she did.

Carrie leaving devastated me, that’s is both the most difficult and most valuable thing I’ve been through, because it was the first time I felt as though I was going to lose the most important thing in my life. It focussed my mind for the first time in a long time. I was at a crossroads, either I do whatever I must to completely rid myself of depression or it was likely going to cost me my marriage and probably ultimately kill me.

So as Carrie had been bugging me to do for ages I went to see a psychologist, I went to 5 sessions and they were incredibly valuable in helping me focus on the things I have control over and challenging the way I was thinking about things. After I started getting some help the main thing I developed was consistency. I started working out again, dialling in my diet, working and reading like I was starving for knowledge and I began seeing old friends again.

For the last 6 months I’ve been completely free of any sort of depression, I experience the general ups and downs of life and every now and again you get a curve ball thrown your way but at no point have I ever felt as though I’m becoming depressed or that I’m slipping back into old habits. I think of my mind in the same way I think about a broken bone that heals stronger than it was before. I feel indestructible, I rarely flinch and when I do I make sure forge ahead anyway.

Today I will finally share this story with my brothers and parents, that will be both painful and cathartic. On the 10th Feb I’ll be sharing this with a few hundred people at a speaking engagement I’m doing through work (I own a corporate health business: www.healthfutures.com.au) I feel as though by talking about it at least some good can come from a bad experience, that maybe some of the people I talk too are struggling or know someone that is and perhaps hearing my story might help them to take come action.

All of this brings me to my wife. Carrie is far and away the best thing that ever happened to me, she’s the most kind, gentle, generous, smart, funny, beautiful soul. She sees the world differently to most of us. No matter how dark a situation seems her strength of character and spirit see her through. Her strength ultimately wore her down, when I was ill she told nobody, she took every single burden of my depression squarely on her shoulders and she did everything she could. By the time she left she was literally done, I had been emotionally shut down for years and I had worn her down to the point where she had to choose between becoming depressed herself or staying in an abusive situation. She did the right thing in leaving.

Since then I’ve made incredible progress, I don’t recognise myself. I’ll send you a picture taken in Jan 2011 and another taken a little while ago in November. Transforming my mind has allowed me to transform my body. I’ve never in my life felt as capable of anything I decide to do as I feel today. I seek out things that scare me and I attack them. I feel things deeper than I ever have and my mind is always searching for that next morsel that might just change the way I view the world. Julian, I feel lucky to have found your blog, to have learned who Robb Wolf is and to have been exposed to Mark Sisson’s work. I feel enormously enlightened and humbled by the works of Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. The internet is fucking amazing, I guess I just feel lucky.

And I need your help. I need this story broadcast, I need everyone I know and everyone I don’t to read this. I need that for me but mostly I just need to tell my wife that I love her and that I’m sorry, and that anything she chooses to do for her happiness is the right decision. I need her to know that she should never settle for happier than she’s been in 10 years when what she deserves is happier than she ever imagined you could be.

So what I’m asking is that you post this on your blog, send it to anyone you can, comment on it or don’t. I just need it out there…

Thank you,

Clyde Rathbone


  • Stumbled onto this story yesterday. Hope he finds a way to work it out with his wife! 🙁

    I’m so glad he makes mention of Mark Sisson in his article who is probably in huge part responsible for his physical transformation. I’m a huge fan of his stuff – go check out his site for more info on paleo living: http://www.marksdailyapple.com//welcome-to-marks-daily-apple/#axzz1lDGY5Nzi

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.02.12 10:57:03 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • I’m one of the guys who used to think of Rathbone as being an arrogant git.

    This letter sort of makes me feel pretty shit about that. 😳

    A great example of not judging a book by it’s cover.

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.02.12 11:01:10 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 2) : Same here 😳

  • Comment 3, posted at 02.02.12 11:04:18 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) : One of my riding partners who also happens to be the family GP has been trying to get me to read the dailyapple for ages I didn’t know this is who he was refering to. (maybe I will now go and read it)

    He (my riding partner) is ripped as hell and loves the primal diet. 🙂

    I published this for Rathbone’s story rather than the apple story.

  • Comment 4, posted at 02.02.12 11:05:39 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Wow…as they say in Afr…ander mense se boeke is duister…wishing Clyde a speedy recovery and continued stable life.

  • Comment 5, posted at 02.02.12 11:09:32 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : Apologies, didn’t mean to hijack the thread or take anything away from Rathbone’s story. It’s just that Mark Sisson has had such a huge impact on both my wife’s and my own health (and standard of living in general) that I was really excited to see the mention. By the way, Prof. Tim Noaks has also very recently endorsed the paleo diet which is all kinds of awesome. 🙂

    Anyway, enough about that. Good for Clyde for facing his demons! Great example to others who have suffered emotional abuse!

  • Comment 6, posted at 02.02.12 11:12:51 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : No need to apologize 😆 I just mentioned it as a matter of interest. 🙂

  • Comment 7, posted at 02.02.12 11:20:24 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • What an eye opener 😎

  • Comment 8, posted at 02.02.12 11:25:26 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 2) : Same here. Didn’t even like him when he was playing for the Sharks. I dislike him a little less now.

  • Comment 9, posted at 02.02.12 11:38:38 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) :Vanmartin how do you get onto the paleo diet, I am really interested, I weent onto weighless which worked for a while – I last 8kgs it just becomes impracticle weighing everything and now over Christmass and moving house etc I have gone and put it on – and am really keen to find a more sustainable solution

  • Comment 10, posted at 02.02.12 11:40:36 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • Get into crossfit, i added 2 moves into my normal training and 3 KGS later i am stoked as hell

  • Comment 11, posted at 02.02.12 11:45:08 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Could this be why he couldnt remember the words to Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika a few months after leaving?

  • Comment 12, posted at 02.02.12 12:01:05 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 12) : 😛

  • Comment 13, posted at 02.02.12 12:02:32 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • I feel sorry for him and hope he recovers soon. All the best

  • Comment 14, posted at 02.02.12 12:20:00 by Mutley Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 11) : YIP, Crossfit works!

  • Comment 15, posted at 02.02.12 12:21:33 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 7) : No worries then 🙂

    @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 10) : You mind if we take the discussion offline? Just don’t want to derail the thread any further. E-mail me: vanmartin at gmail dot com and I’d be happy to discuss my experiences with you and offer advice. The invitation is open to anyone else as well.

    @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 11) : Crossfit is awesome! 😎

  • Comment 16, posted at 02.02.12 12:34:47 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : thanks VanMartin will do I’m far from a computer today, but tomorrow I should be in the office so will contact you thanx again.

  • Comment 17, posted at 02.02.12 12:56:43 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 17) : No problem at all! Chat to you tomorrow then!

  • Comment 18, posted at 02.02.12 13:00:23 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • long long ago in a galaxy far far away I used to be a succesful advertising excecutive – Depression has stolen 6 years of my life, 6 years of my joy and late last year after completely disappearing from society I realized I was dying a slow ugly death because of Depression. But I’m back in 2012 and will rid myself of the Dark Side hopefully… Depression is no joke – I salute Clyde, I know his pain. Fitness is a huge contributor to wellbeing and if it wasn’t for fitness I’d probably have killed myself in November – didn’t help that we lost The Currie Cup…

  • Comment 19, posted at 02.02.12 13:32:10 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 19) : Wow! 😯

    Hang in there DD! Have you got someone to talk to when the going gets tough? I really hope you’ve got a good support system in place for when life throws those lemons at you. Good luck man and I think I think I speak on behalf of all SW regulars – give us a shout if we can help out in any way!

  • Comment 20, posted at 02.02.12 14:21:31 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) : I have a fantastic family, a beautiful supportive wife and yep; I sincerely believe the hardcore stuff is behind me truly… I’ve come out the otherside after a long and gradual decline and have been better than ever… I appreciate the sincerity and look forward to chatting rugby again…

  • Comment 21, posted at 02.02.12 14:35:46 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 21) : Glad to hear it DD – no one should face depression alone!

  • Comment 22, posted at 02.02.12 14:43:32 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 19) : Yowser, hang in there bud.

  • Comment 23, posted at 02.02.12 14:46:56 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 19) : Really glad you could post this.
    STERKTE, always.

  • Comment 24, posted at 02.02.12 14:51:17 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Thanks guys, appreciate the kind words. Don’t wish to create a sympathy thread, all is well positive and strong for this year and will keep on strong… Looking forward to a stellar year and rebuilding my social and private life – my career is back on track and my business is doing well – all will be good. I fell last year before The Bulls VS Sharks game @ Loftus really hard and piece by piece I’m getting back into the game. Thats why I missed all meets and greets – maar die swart hond is klaar! Dankie manne… Koms on praat rugby…

  • Comment 25, posted at 02.02.12 15:02:04 by DarkDestroyer Reply

  • wtf?? Robs love child gets England call up and no article?? 😯

  • Comment 26, posted at 02.02.12 15:49:02 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • :mrgreen: sorry Rob bro , had to stir a bit, Barrit is gonna whip the Scots 😉 😆

  • Comment 27, posted at 02.02.12 15:50:37 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 27) : 15 of my closest family members could be starting for England and I would still back the Scots. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 02.02.12 16:31:16 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 28) : 😆

  • Comment 29, posted at 02.02.12 18:39:33 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 28) : A guy I know has a brother starting at lock for England and I assumed he would then somehow back England for certain games, my last converstation with him went something like this.

    I never back England,Ever. I always hope they lose, If my boet is playing I wish him well and hope he has a good game and that England lose.


  • Comment 30, posted at 03.02.12 07:53:39 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @DarkDestroyer (Comment 25) : Hey DD, weldome back bud! I missed seeing your dark visage around these parts! Sorry to hear about your tribulations, but am immensely glad that you’re in a better place now.

  • Comment 31, posted at 03.02.12 08:04:54 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 30) : Now that seems like a sensible approach. I’d include Australia in it too.

  • Comment 32, posted at 03.02.12 08:05:50 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 30) : 😈

  • Comment 33, posted at 03.02.12 08:32:46 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I know I can’t live without him because of the love I have for him. I tried everything possible to get him back, but non worked for me, I came across this man called ((Robinson.Buckler)) on the internet, he promised to help me and behold my ex came back after few days, begging me for forgiveness, I was so surprised, If anyone needs some help, with all sincerity, Contact him today via Google his name as [[Robinson.buckler]] ……………………….????????

    Contact him for a solution to relationship/marriage problem

    I am Glad to let you know it will work for you…


  • Comment 34, posted at 06.01.21 05:13:56 by Sharon mike Reply


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