Content warning: This article discusses mental illness and alcohol abuse, and might be distressing for some readers.
In an interview with the Imperfectly Perfect Podcast on September 20, the 36-year-old confessed he “struggled” after being thrown into the spotlight in his role as Heath Braxton in 2011.
“I really struggled,” Dan admitted on the episode. “I was just some kid from the northern beaches, so then to shoot to fame on the biggest show in Australia in Home and Away… I wasn’t ready.”
Dan Turned to Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism
The Occupation Rainfall star also said he wasn’t aware at the time that he was dealing with anxiety and would turn to alcohol as a way to cope with his debilitating mental health.
“I’d just sort of tip all this grog down my neck and get absolutely written off on the weekend,” he explained, noting that he put it down to “blowing off steam” as a result of not understanding that there was a “better way to process”.
At the height of his anxiety, Dan was married to now-ex-wife Marni Little and despite “kicking goals work-wise”, the actor said that it was “not conducive to a great relationship or a great marriage or a great lifestyle.”
Reflecting on the time, the SAS recruit admitted he wasn’t “a fully-fledged alcoholic, but [he] was just getting blind [drunk] on weekends to subside this anxiety that I just wasn’t ready for.”
What SAS Australia Is Really Like
On the podcast, Dan also discussed what it was like tackling the Special Forces selection course.
Known as ‘Number Nine’ on the series, said SAS Australia is still very much “a TV show” with producers who have a hand in what happens on set.
Dan said they would often have to “reset” scenes in the midst of the show’s wince-inducing challenges, which gave the recruits a much-needed chance to catch their breath and recuperate.
Still, “the tasks and discomfort” viewers see the recruits tackle on-screen “is 110 per cent real”, Dan added. “Getting called every name under the sun and the sleep deprivation… all that kind of stuff,”
You can catch Dan take on the gruesome SAS Australia 2021 challenge on Channel 7, Monday through Wednesday nights at 7:30pm.
Where to Seek Help
For resources to help yourself or someone you know with issues relating to alcohol use, please call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800-250-015 for free and confidential advice.
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7.
You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.
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