Shining a light on Mood Active: Q&A with Nicole Franke


Nicole Franke is a mother, a letter writer, and a Home & Away aficionado. After the birth of her daughter 23 years ago, Nicole was diagnosed with Bipolar and has been managing her condition ever since.

Recently, she tried something new – Mood Active. Nicole completed our 8 week exercise program and is already seeing the positive impact on her life.

But don’t take our word for it; we caught up with Nicole to ask a few questions and see just how the Mood Active program is helping change lives.

Nicole, tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Nicole, I’m 48yrs old, and I have lived in the Coogee area most of my life. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Effective Disorder after the birth of my daughter 23yrs ago. I have been in and out of hospital  many times since then, and am on medication.

I enjoy walking but don’t do it enough and I spend lots of time with friends and enjoy writing letters. I hate to admit it, but I’ve watched “Home & Away” since day one and tape it every night so that I don’t miss an episode. I enjoy spending time with my daughter, – as well as with my partner, Michael.

How did you hear about Mood Active?

I saw an article about Mood Active in the local Southern Courier Magazine back in late July this year. It was exactly what I was looking for as I definitely wasn’t doing enough exercise and was never a ‘gym’ person. I had also never heard of an exercise programme directly aimed for people with mental illnesses.

What classes have you been involved in?

I have been a regular at the Cardio Tennis classes which are absolutely amazing facilitated by the most enthusiastic Cam Wilson.

I had never done yoga before until my two Saturday morning classes and my goal for 2018 is to attend every Saturday as I found it so relaxing and beneficial.

Why do you enjoy Mood Active?

I just love the 8am class start as it really gets you energised with the rest of the day ahead. I have arrived so exhausted time and time again only to feel so much more energy after just one hour of Cardio Tennis.

The facilitator Cam, who also has Bipolar is so enthusiastic and supportive.

The people who attend the classes are just so lovely, friendly and non-judgemental with an unconditional understanding of mental illnesses and exercise and having fun.

What’s something that has surprised you about the Mood Active program?

I was so happy and surprised that I was able to exercise, commit and actually enjoy exercising. Exercise has become such an important part of my life since joining Mood Active.

I usually end up in hospital with depression a few times a year but this hasn’t happened since commencing Mood Active despite still having episodes of depression. I was able to convey my difficult times with Cam and some of the team who were so understanding and actually felt a lot better after the class than I had at the beginning which I really had to drag myself to.

I certainly wasn’t expecting to meet new friends and some of us have had movie nights, coffee, dinner etc., outside of the class times.

I also didn’t expect my fitness to improve which it certainly does, despite struggling with weight owing to the side effects of medication.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining Mood Active?

Make that step, make a call or email and give it a go – what do you have to lose? It has really changed my life for the better and I know it can help other people too. All it takes is some commitment for some positive changes – and we all deserve that.

Any parting words?

The stigma with mental illness is starting to lift, and you are still a competent and worthwhile human being while living with one. It is reassuring to know that there is Mood Active, a non for profit organisation that is out there to help.

Mood Active classes are located in Kingsford and Surry Hills. Get in contact with the team or check out the timetable for more info.

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