Tune reveals suicide attempt

2013-05-12 12:29
Ben Tune (AFP)
Brisbane - Former Wallaby winger Ben Tune has told of his suicide attempt from a drug overdose in 2009 that ultimately turned his life around and helped him overcome chronic depression.

Tune, a member of the 1999 Wallabies that won the Rugby World Cup, came forward last week after the recent suicide deaths of three National Rugby League-contracted players.

The Sunday Mail in Brisbane said when Tune, who retired in 2007, heard of the death of young North Queensland Cowboys hooker Alex Elisala last month, he contacted the newspaper wanting to tell his story.

"Four years ago, almost to the day, I sat alone in my apartment and decided to end my life. It was a decision that ultimately made me a better man," the 36-year-old Tune told the newspaper. "This is a serious problem that no one wants to talk about. No one, no matter how strong the person is, can beat this illness on their own."

In his first-person story for the newspaper, Tune wrote that he's been despressed for over a year and started stockpiling "what I needed to kill myself."

"I prepared my final instructions to my parents and my brothers; and I wrote three separate letters to my three boys to read when their mum deemed them old enough, and finally compiled an iTunes "farewell" song list."

"On what I thought was the last night of my life, I took the three pictures of my beautiful boys out of their frames and sat resolutely on the couch. Hugging my kids' pictures, I ingested a potentially lethal dose of pills and chased it down with a bottle of bourbon."

He said he estimated he only had 20 minutes until he lost consciousness so he sent a text message to his girlfriend at the time and "apologised for turning her life upside down."

"For the next 10 minutes, haunted by my past and indifferent about my future, I sat on my couch ... and with tears rolling down my cheeks, I waited for death to greet me. It never did."

Tune said doctors don't know how he survived, and that after his attempt on his life, he spent a month in a psychiatric hospital and under a suicide watch.

"It was the start of a grueling, thankless road to self-discovery that involved hundreds of hours of cognitive behaviour therapy and thousands of dollars spent on doctors, tests and medication," Tune wrote. "It is five years down the track and I can honestly say only the last year has been one filled with anything coming close to happiness."

"In my insanity I managed to destroy my marriage, lose every cent I ever earned, tarnish my reputation, push away many friendships and, worst of all, I had totally eroded any self-respect I had ever garnered. But I can honestly say I am now a relatively content man, who can actually get excited about a future I never thought I'd have."

Tune scored 24 tries in 46 Tests for Australia, including one in the Wallabies' 35-12 win over France in the World Cup final in 1999.

Read more on:    wallabies  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee remains defiant, saying he won't resign despite a shambolic two years at the helm. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.