Kiri Allan speaking to media. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Note: This article discusses mental health issues including depression and PTSD
Former Justice Minister Kiri Allan has opened up about the grief she has experienced over the last month, the cost her job has taken on her family and new mental health diagnoses.
Allan, who resigned her portfolios and went on indefinite leave in late July after crashing into a parked car in Wellington, said in an Instagram post she had been struggling for a long time.
“While I tried to change things up, this year from the start to the end, just felt like a rolling maul of yuck. Cyclones, communities in desperate circumstances, the unravelling of my long term relationship.”
From the top of her maunga, Mauao, Allan said she was reflecting on the past three years as a Minister of the Crown, six years as a Member of Parliament and four years in a relationship she hoped was forever.
“Over the past month I’ve experienced all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and now, acceptance. I’ve been wrapped up in love by those that love me genuinely, whānau and friends and I can’t express my gratitude to those that held my hand in some of the darkest times.”
Allan said she had been deeply unhappy for a long time and people close to her knew she felt unable to keep going any more.
“I’m an all or nothing person, and that has plenty of consequences – means for someone like me, I’m pretty good at my job, but the costs come at the expense of those you love, and that love you. Partners, kids, whānau, hapū, iwi. Life. Joy. My authentic self if I’m being real.
“I never could bring myself to leave a job I loved, but also brought a lot of pain personally. So, I guess my tupuna took that decision on my behalf.”
Since then, she wrote that she had worked though some “deep shiz” and had been diagnosed with ADHD, PTSD and dysregulated emotions.
“Having been diagnosed with depression and anxiety for years, it was a slightly painful experience realising I’d been misdiagnosed and mis-medicated for years. Now I’m getting the right support for that, but it’s a new journey of learning a complete different way of operating. If I can have a laugh at anything, it’s the number of people that have said, “BRO, WE KNEW FOR AGES!”. Shot guys… well, now I know too!!”
On the work front going forward, she said she will be doing what she’s done her entire life.
“Advocating for causes I care about, a focus on economic growth and development, and connecting people. The stuff I love and brings me joy.”
Allan thanked those who had showered her with aroha throughout the last seven years, as well as her local Labour crew and colleagues.
She gave special thanks to Jacinda Ardern, who she said was one of the most incredible leaders she had had the chance to work with.
“I’ve love you mate, and am forever grateful for the opportunities you gave me personally, but mostly for the way you led in some of our darkest hours – with deep aroha for those that needed, and a courage to make decisions in some of the worst times we’ve seen recently.”
She also thanked her former partner Natalie for raising their baby when she went into Parliament, and Meka Whaitiri for always showing up when Allan needed her strength.
Finally she thanked her recent former partner Māni Dunlop who had been by her side during some of the hardest times in her life.
“From cancer, to the pressures that come with living with someone with an undiagnosed mental health issue, and simply for showing up even when I was not present – when you deserved a lot more from someone who you gave so much of yourself to. You are a shining light, talented, and you give all of yourself to our people, and to those you love.”
Where to get help
If it is an emergency and you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
For counselling and support
Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Need to talk? Call or text 1737
Depression helpline: Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202
For children and young people
Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 or text 234
What’s Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm)
For help with specific issues
Alcohol and Drug Helpline: Call 0800 787 797
Anxiety Helpline: Call 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
OutLine: Call 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE) (6pm-9pm)
Safe to talk (sexual harm): Call 0800 044 334 or text 4334
All services are free and available 24/7 unless otherwise specified.
For more information and support, talk to your local doctor, hauora, community mental health team, or counselling service. The Mental Health Foundation has more helplines and service contacts on its website.