There’s no denying Perth parents Chiara and David have worn their hearts on their sleeves throughout the House Rules competition.
From clashes with other teams to emotionally-fuelled fights between themselves, the feisty duo have had their fair share of drama.
However, until now, Chiara, 32, and David, 38, have kept quiet on an enormous health battle, which has greatly affected their time on House Rules.
‘I have been diagnosed with ADHD,’ David exclusively tells New Idea. ‘I had a complete mental breakdown on the last day of the Victoria renovation. I couldn’t cope.’
The proud parents of Seth, eight, Taya, six, and Ellie Mae, three, open up about the harrowing journey they’ve been on so far...
How were you diagnosed with ADHD?
DAVID: I was misdiagnosed with depression when I was younger. They thought I had really bad depression and anxiety. But it kept getting worse and worse. I got so depressed, I got so anxious. I felt like everything was on top of me. I couldn’t speak to anyone about it. I finally got enough courage to go and see a psychologist.
CHIARA: He lost his job and that brought everything to light. So, he bit the bullet. We just decided that money was nothing compared to his health. We just kept putting everything on the credit card. He went through several psychiatrists and we found a holistic one.
How has the ADHD affected your time on the show as a couple?
CHIARA: I think it’s the hardest thing we’ve had to deal with throughout this competition. He was only diagnosed a few years ago and he’s still on that road to getting medication right and seeing the doctor. Throughout this whole season it’s been a case of getting his dosage right. The doctor told him to increase his medication because of the pressure and the stress, but that wasn’t good. It’s really hard to wake up each day not knowing which mood he’s going to be in. I don’t know how to tackle him.
So how did you cope with it?
DAVID: I had to stand up and say: ‘It’s my problem, I’m responsible.’ There was a turning point at the Victoria build for me where I just went: ‘Nope, it’s got to change.’ So, I started increasing the good foods I put in my body and decreasing the medication under the advice of my doctor. So, now I’m on a lower dose. It made me happier and feel more confident that I didn’t feel like my brain was going all over the place. It’s been a constant juggling act in trying to not fall apart. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we’re not going to sit there and let it go past. Our three kids are our driving force. We’ve always wanted to give them a better life and we’ve got this opportunity to set them up.
How have the other contestants coped with David’s outbursts?
CHIARA: It’s just frustrating because, unfortunately, there are times when David gets in his mood and it’s really uncomfortable to be around so people just automatically judge or put him down.
DAVID: I want to learn how to deal with this because there are so many other people out there who are going through what I’m going through. I need to learn the tools that can help so I can reach out and help other people.
For the full story, and more House Rules exclusives, see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!
This week on TV podcast, Binge List, we discuss the returns of Arrested Development and The Karate Kid (as spin-off series Cobra Kai). Plus, what’s the verdict on Love Island Australia? We also take a look at hilarious spy thriller Killing Eve, crime docuseries The Staircase and comedian Ali Wong’s Netflix specials. Listen below, or on iTunes: http://po.st/syE3JF or via OMNY: http://po.st/28BGXd