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"Something popped into my brain." In 2014, Osher Günsberg was living in the grips of psychosis.

As experts in business, farming and sustainability came together last night for an ABC Q&A chat dedicated to climate solutions, it was a TV host who had the audience captivated with his relatable analogies and anxiety honesty.

The Bachelor’s Osher Günsberg compared new coal-fired power stations to using a Nokia instead of an iPhone and explained that his 16-year-old daughter is of a generation that will talk about dam levels one minute, and Snapchat the next. Reiterating that they are the ones that will be voting on our future soon.

In fact, it’s this very mindset that helped ease his anxiety about bringing another child into the world with his wife Audrey.

WATCH: Osher on Q&A. Post continues after video.

Video via ABC

“We’ve just had a baby, he’s five months old now,” he told the audience.

“Right before he showed up my wife could see me losing it again. She goes, ‘I’m going to need you to get back on meds.’ I had to get back on meds. Having Wolf in my life, with a baby in your life, that is hope. That is absolute hope. What can we build for this child?”

He said the world needed parents – who thought about climate action – bringing kids into this world. He urged a young audience member who was “too scared” to become a mother to “please reconsider’.

 

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Osher used this opportunity to tell the panel about his debilitating climate anxiety, which had manifested over the years as psychosis and paranoid delusions.

“I was on two different kinds of antipsychotics and was seeing things. You’re not alone and when you know what you know — it’s a completely ordinary normal reaction to have when you look at what is coming, and you hear some of our politicians going, ‘It’s all hot air.’ It’s horrifying to try and look at it,” he explained.

In 2014, Osher was in a Los Angeles cafe reading an article about climate change when he started to lose touch with reality.

He’d already been on anti-anxiety medication for nine months by this point, but in an episode of No Filter with Mia Freedman in 2018, he explained that something “popped into my brain” that day.

It was something that hasn’t ever entirely gone away.

In one moment, he became “100 per cent convinced that the full, catastrophic ramifications of the worst possible case scenario projections of full climate change were happening, and they were happening today”.

It was as though all of a sudden he knew “the seas are going to rise 15 metres, the earth is going to warm up 10 degrees and all food storage and food transportation and everything, our whole way of looking after ourselves and looking after our lives and the lifestyles that we live, will vanish”. Osher was certain he was the only person who had full knowledge of, and cared about, this imminent danger.

As he ruminated on the thought, he decided to go for a run – a coping strategy he’d always relied on when he was experiencing anxiety. But as he started to run, he says he got an “overwhelming urge to run up to people and warn people,” to shout at them and tell them the world was ending and they needed to get home and protect themselves.

He couldn’t tell the difference between real and imaginary but could sense he was “very, very sick”.

Osher described this period of his life – where he lived in the grips of psychosis – as “agony”.

“People are walking around saying ‘it’s so lovely and warm today,’” he said, “and I’m thinking ‘THE WORLD’S ENDING AND YOU DON’T KNOW IT’.”

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He still struggles with climate anxiety, but has learnt over the years how to shrink it.

In his 2018 chat with Mia, he used the analogy of a billboard. In the depths of his delusion all he could see was a giant billboard on a highway screaming at him about climate change, but after seeking support, and managing aspects of his lifestyle, sleep and exercise, that billboard gradually got smaller and smaller.

While speaking on Q&A last night, Osher said it’s important for Australians to give politicians space to change their positions towards climate change.

“You’re allowed to say, ‘I’ve got it wrong. Let’s do this instead’,” he said.

 

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Here we go! #QandA

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“Let’s just allow our politicians some room to move. If we go ‘Aha, you said something else eight years ago’. They’re so tied into this idea of catching each other out, they’ve painted themselves into a corner.

“Even though it’s very clear, we stand on the cusp of economic abundance in this situation, they’re so terrified to move,” he explained.

Feature image: ABC.

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