Tim Membrey ‘chokes up’ discussing wife Emily and their daughters in first interview since off-field battles

Tim Membrey has choked up while talking about his wife Emily and daughters Wren and Beau in an emotional first interview since missing an AFL final with mental health challenges.

The veteran forward withdrew from St Kilda’s elimination final last year after what coach Ross Lyon described as a “delicate” situation unfolded in the hours before the match.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Membrey opens up in first interview.

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Any concerns around Membrey’s future in football were secondary to his health and wellbeing — but significant progress allowed the 29-year-old to return to training in October.

Membrey has now opened up in a sit-down interview with St Kilda ahead of next weekend’s season opener. He said he is proud of getting help and is now “coming out the other side in a really good headspace”.

“It’s probably the first time I’ve done something like this. I know there’s plenty of questions but I feel it’s the right time to share my story,” he said.

Membrey conceded he had been dealing with his troubles for a long time and can now admit he was “putting a mask on” at the club.

“I didn’t know how to deal with what I was going through or who to speak to or who to trust,” he said.

“My wife certainly knew what was going on and she was pushing me to get help but at the same time, push as hard as you want — I didn’t know what to do or how to get help. Ultimately it just came down to I had to get on top of it pretty quickly and thank god I did.”

Tim and Emily Membrey pictured over summer. Credit: Instagram

The Victorian said things would linger in his mind and he would “ruminate … and probably just get caught in own head”.

Membrey’s wife had given birth to their second child just months before September’s low point.

He said it was a struggle battling within himself when Emily and their children needed him at home.

But today it’s a different story.

“That’s probably been one of the toughest things when I look back on the whole experience is with the girls, going through it all, you just get yourself in a headspace and you’re not really thinking at times,” Membrey said, at times stopping to compose himself as his family came to mind.

“For me now to be really well and coming out the other side, Emily’s been a great support my whole life really.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her, and she’s just unbelievable. To have our two little girls Wren and Beau — they’re just amazing. I just get a little bit choked up a bit.

“To come home every day from the footy club and to see their faces, and whether it’s just laying on the ground, playing with them and having a laugh, it really does make all this stuff worthwhile.”

Membrey promised to one day tell his daughters all they want and need to know.

“One day hopefully when they’re old enough and they might be going through things, they might be able to speak to me about some stuff,” he said.

“And I’m certainly going to be an open book and try to help them out as much as possible throughout their lives.”

Membrey pictured with newborn Beau and older daughter Wren last year. Credit: Instagram

Membrey said he never has to look far to notice the changes in himself from two years ago to now.

Where he never thought about his mental health wellbeing previously, he prioritises setting goals and feeling good about himself for the little things.

“When you achieve those or you’re working towards them you’re taking the right steps forward,” he said.

“It certainly makes you feel good about yourself. Now I fully understand why it’s such an important thing.”

Membrey paid tribute to St Kilda’s players and coaches for their support.

But he again admitted holding things back from his long-time teammates is difficult to look back on, knowing what opening up has meant since.

“They sort of knew a little bit what was going on but probably not the full extent of it. But they’re just great support and the playing group’s been awesome,” he said.

“If the shoe was on the other foot I know what I’d be doing, I’d be supporting them and really wrapping my arms around them.

“It does feel a bit awkward when it’s coming back your way at times but I think that’s the whole thing about it — you’ve just got to lean into it, embrace it and roll with it a bit.”

Membrey (right) celebrates a goal in St Kilda’s final pre-season match last week. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Membrey spoke ahead of St Kilda’s latest edition of Spud’s Game — their clash with Collingwood in Round 2 at the MCG — in support of the late Danny Frawley and their Moorabbin HQ health facility named in his honour.

He said his biggest lesson and advice now is to realise “the happiest you will ever be is when you can just be happy in your own skin”.

“Be proud of what you’ve done, be proud of what you’ve been through and coming out the other side,” Membrey said.

“I just feel like if you’re in a good headspace you’re happy, you’ve got people around you who you love and are close to. For me now that’s really all that matters.

“I just want to enjoy my life going forward.”

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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