I’m not Crazy, I’m Just a Little Unwell.

By Leigh Hatcher, Strand Publishing 2005


Here speaks a patient, not a consumer

Leigh Hatcher is one of Australia’s most experienced radio and television journalists.  A high achiever who embraced journalism as a young cadet with the Sydney based, Macquarie Radio Network in 1973, and went on to cover some of the biggest events in Australia’s history during his lifetime.  A familiar face, due to his many years of TV reporting for the 7 Network, he is now the morning presenter for Sky News.

His book, “I’m not Crazy, I’m Just a Little Unwell,” covers a more personal story.  It started on 19th January 1998 at 3.00 pm when this fitness fanatic and freestyle ocean racer woke up after a holiday nap to discover that his many years of good health had deserted him. He had become unwell.

In this book, Hatcher takes us on his journey.  It is a desperate fight not only to regain his health but to keep his family, career and sanity together.

This 2-year travail was frustrating, painful and depressing.  He had to leave work and become dependent on others.  Instead of covering major news stories he finds himself attending patient support groups in a never-ending search for a diagnosis and cure.

Yet eventually Hatcher got well and emerged stronger mentally and spiritually from this ordeal.

There are few if any better objective accounts of the development and progress of this illness which all sufferers of any illness will relate to and draw strength from.

In this book, Hatcher brings to bear all of his journalistic skills to tell a compelling story.

Most importantly he has meticulously detailed the reactions of others and himself to his circumstances.  There are heroes and non-heroes in this story.  Surely his wife, Meredith and his children, Tristan, Amy, Joanna and Sophie are on the side of the heroes.  They stuck with him and encouraged him in his long personal battle.  His journalist colleague Dr John D’Arcy, of Channel 7, is another genuine friend in a fickle industry.

On the other side are those poor souls who seek to dismiss real illness as fantasy, who prefer untruths and myths to real experience and greater understanding.  This may be a description of any of us at any time.  Hatcher teaches us that how we react to those who suffer is important.  His only request was for others to “meet me where I am”.

Hatcher gives a helpful and objective insight into his relationship with doctors in the struggle to find out what was wrong.  Here speaks as a patient, not a consumer.

This book which has just won 3rd prize in the Australian Christian Book of the Year awards, is highly recommended.    It is written by the patient about the patient for the benefit of others.  A must read for all those who care for the sick and suffering in whatever capacity.

Leigh Hatcher is not crazy and he is no longer unwell and we are the beneficiaries through his book of a deeper understanding of the human condition.  He should now add, successful author to his CV.

Written by Stephen Milgate AM,
Australian Doctors’ Federation 18/12/2019