“When I was about seventeen, I had the police knock down my door because they were worried about my health. I was sent to a psych ward and they realised that I was bipolar type two.”
Nineteen year old Rob Brady became very political at the age of fifteen. Listening to rapper ‘Immortal Technique’, Brady found himself being drawn to the rappers passion for causes and describes his lyrics as being a ‘history lesson in every song’ which assisted Rob in finding his passion for politics.
“I just started to read everything I got my hands on and watched any documentary” Brady explains as he lights up a cigarette. When asked if being a politician was something he wanted to pursue, he simply said “no, because I don’t want to be a snake for the rest of my life.” Firmly believing in politicians ‘keeping to their word’, Rob explains that “they’ve got to be kept on track sometimes”. Protesting being a way of implementing this track.
“I was more of an observer than anything else”, Rob says of his involvement in the 2012 Anti-Muslim protest. “It got to the point where the police were pretty much cracking the whip. It was peaceful at first, then the protesters were fighting back, it was quite extraordinary to see”. Although Rob does not agree with how violent the protest became, he believes that they had the right to demonstrate their feelings about the issue.
“When I was sixteen I used to have really bad mood swings and there was a lot self-harm involved and I put my life at risk” explains Rob. He moves his hands up and down, mimicking the track of a rollercoaster to animate his adolescent behaviour.
“It took a lot out of me because the medication is quite daunting. It’s hard to get up in the morning because of sleeping meds and I used to have really bad acne because of it.” He explains that sometimes the medication helped and sometimes it didn’t.
Rob being diagnosed with bipolar type two is only an iota of what he has been through. At the age of fourteen, Rob was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“Three weeks before I was diagnosed, I had really bad vertigo, I couldn’t keep any food down. I’d been to my local hospital about four different times to have nutrients pumped through me.”
“They did an MRI scan and they found that I had a golf ball size tumour at the back of my head. They gave me brain surgery.”
Rob was diagnosed in July 2010 and did not stop chemotherapy until the 28th February 2011, after his fifteenth birthday. The aftermath of the surgery resulted in Brady not being able to perform to his former abilities in sports such as cricket, AFL and rugby union.
“People don’t understand that it’s not as easy as getting a kidney operated on – they will damage part of your brain. It’s inevitable.” Rob soon explains that his teammates were getting ‘angry’ at him for not being able to put in his full effort due to his situation. He then told them that he couldn’t do it anymore.
The protests were a way for Rob to be able to do something that was interesting to him while he was unable to continue sport.
“I had nothing to do for a long time and I was just sitting around on the couch watching television. I was just looking for something and I found what I needed in protesting.”
Written by: Jade Fitzpatrick.