An interesting article in the Guardian about Jacinda Ardern’s anxiety

There have long been rumours running around about Jacinda Ardern’s ability to lead…mainly due to her anxiety and exhaustion.

Indeed during various leadership battles Annette King, Sue Moroney and Damian O’Connor have been heard to make such utterances.

So it was with some interest that I saw a supposedly soft piece in a left wing news site mention the unmentionable.

Empathy and approachability are Ardern’s stock-in-trade and they are on full display as she campaigns along the working-class west coast of the South Island, encouraging juvenile offenders to pursue their plan A and laughing with locals at the Blackball Hilton pub, where everyone wants to buy her a whisky. Her famous smile dropped as she spoke with the bereaved families of the Pike River miners. But it was back the next day for a rally of 400 in Greymouth.

It is an impressive performance from a politician who said for years that she was not interested in leading the Labour party, let alone the country. She has given multiple reasons, including a desire to have a family; a concern that her anxiety would preclude her from the top job, the condition having “ballooned” during her time as deputy; and a wariness about the demands of the job, something she observed working for the then prime minister, Helen Clark, in 2005.

and;

Ardern has frequently spoken of her anxietyAs recently as June, she said she was not cut out to be Labour leader: “When you’re a bit of an anxious person, and you constantly worry about things, there comes a point where certain jobs are just really bad for you.

So how is she managing now? “I am a thinker and I do muse over things a lot and am constantly assessing whether I am doing enough, or what I should be doing more of to make sure I am not letting anyone down,” Ardern tells the Guardian. She has stopped reading media coverage of herself, she says.

“I set quite high expectations. So do a lot of people. For what I do, is the experience that I have [of anxiety] normal? Probably. Probably.

That raises a lot of questions from me, and as a sufferer of extreme depression I can understand her anxiety.

However, this is important. If she has got anxiety problems then that is a concern…for her own health. I know what it feels like and I experienced over 6 weeks of intense pressure at the last election and months of more afterwards. It was not pleasant.

My understanding is that her anxiety has led to hospitalisation and I know of several MPs across the house who remember sending her messages of support the last time it occurred. It may have been something else that caused her hospitalisation but I think it warrants her clearing that up for us before the election. She could easily do that by releasing her medical records…and challenging other leaders to do the same.

The point remains though, that her anxiety issues were sufficiently severe for her to raise that herself several times over the years. These sorts of things do not magically disappear, I should know. In times of high stress, it is easy to succumb again.

I hope she is doing the right thing here, not just for the country, but also and more importantly for herself.

 

-The Guardian 

 


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