Last month, I sat with Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller and his wife, Michelle, as he opened up to the media for the first time about stepping down as Leader of the Opposition in July for health reasons.
Such was the shock of Muller's departure even he didn't see it coming. He had won the leadership role, by ousting former leader and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, only in May.
This week, Muller has gone one further by revealing more detail – in his own words - the suffocating hold his mental health had on him at the time.
I had approached Muller to see if he was willing to write a first-person piece as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
The result is a powerful, cautionary tale.
Whether one supports National, Labour, Act or Vision NZ, what Muller has done transcends political divides. He has done what few others could have.
Detailing the beginnings of his panic attacks, and the fallout from them, he has helped others to recognise warning signs. Being open about his own fragility has reminded others it's okay to ask for help no matter who you are.
What a brave man.
At the time of his departure, and peak of his mental anguish, Muller had one of the highest profiles one could have in New Zealand. He also had a real shot at becoming Prime Minister.
Yet his journey is a very real reminder that the impacts of mental health don't discriminate. I cannot fathom the courage it must have taken him to share such a deeply personal journey with the rest of us when he was already so vulnerable.
Muller has used his high public profile for the greater good.
His key message is for people to share their struggles. For him, and his family, it made the world of difference. His hope is that his story will potentially help others.
I'm sure it already has.
Muller has not shared his story as the local MP. He's shared it as him – all of him. The family man, the politics geek, the kiwifruit and dairy businessman, and also as an average Kiwi bloke.
With this editorial, I salute him for his actions.
Thank you, Todd.