A Conversation about Herman’s Hands


I want to further articulate what my brand is all about (www.hermanshands.com). Herman’s Hands makes a lot of sense to me. But I know it’s still somewhat unclear at times… With time though, as the brand evolves, it will become clearer.

This article is quite simply a conversation I had with one of my older brothers via Whatsapp a few of days ago. It was early in the morning and I’d had a cupla of coffees.

I’d wanted to share myself and my brand with my brother in more explicit detail for a very long time but didn’t know how to. I guess he never really asked. A couple of days ago he did though and I did my best to fill him in – Hopefully you can find some truth in these one-side caffeine-induced ramblings.

I think sharing our conversation (no matter how one-sided it was) is a genuine and honest way of sharing my ideas and message(s) both in more detail and in context. Our conversation is a pretty clear example of the Herman’s Hands mission – CREATE DIALOGUE – INSPIRE CHANGE.

It’s pretty rough and raw at the beginning but I think I present some valuable points towards the end. It might not line up with you and you might see me as a bit of a loon – but so be it… This is me and I’m glad I got to converse about these things with my bruzzy.

I’m not even sure if this conversation really articulates what Herman’s Hands is about – but at the very least it should give you an insight into the way I think after a few espressos.

For the purpose of this article we’ll refer to my brother as Chipper.


12 August, 2016.



Morning Poppycockle. Is it about mental health or depression relating to suicide? Mental illness has a plethora of symptoms.

“Mental illness”*

Like our auntie is bat shit crazy due to mental illness. She’d never commit suicide though.

Is depression always the cause of suicide?

Most probably a high percentage of the time?



Good morning.

I’m just driving into Newcastle.

Herman’s Hands about mental health in all forms.

I think “Mental Illness” is pretty stigmatised terminology. I’ve seen people using “ill mental health” or “mental ill health” instead now because when you use “mentally ill” people immediately think of clinical depression and schizophrenia… like you have here.

This is one of the stigmas I want to help remove I guess – among others.

I’m mentally ill some days just like I’m physically ill other days.

Some days I suffer from ill mental health – in the form of anxiety. On these days my thoughts and feelings are DILUTED or DELUSIONAL. They are SUBJECT to my ILL MENTAL HEALTH.

Suicide may not always be caused by ‘depression’ as such. But, it is caused by ILL MENTAL HEALTH or in other terms MENTAL ILLNESS – In EVERY case… (Please excuse capitals).
Anyone who commits suicide is diluted. It is inhumane and not an option for someone with good mental health.

With COLLECTIVE awareness of mental health in all forms WE can stop mf’s killing themselves and support those diagnosed with a mental illness (helping stop them from killing themselves too…).

The more aware I am of my own mental health the less anxious I feel.
The more aware I am of our brother’s chemical imbalance and bipolar disorder, the easier I can support him

When talking about the subject of ‘awareness’ sometimes I start crossing into spirituality… (or ‘mindfulness’?). I think in genuine forms of spirituality or being ‘spiritual’ you are basically using techniques to strip back the delusions that your thoughts and emotions create – In an effort to see things clearly and objectively and through it ultimately find happiness. (The very same delusions that are caused by and cause mental ill health).

Anyway, I can go on all day if you want to know more of what I’m about…

I started writing a whole lot more stuff but deleted it just now. If you’re interested in more I can tell you.

Obviously I feel a deep sadness for anyone who ends their own life or who is suicidal. I think I can somewhat understand why people do it and think that way. It’s awful.

But, at the end of the day anyone who kills themself or thinks about doing it is diluted. Their thoughts are SUBJECT to things that are NOT REAL.

If anyone thinks suicide will end suffering they are hugely diluted. It does not.

…The can of worms has been opened in my mind chipper… Hahaha.



Thanks, I’d like to hear more. Very clarifying.



You’ve created a dialogue here and I’m doing my best to inspire some change haha.

It’s hard though, I’ve spent the past few years studying mental health and the likes.

I’d recommend (very much so) looking outside the box – for answers or just for the sake of finding more. Start your own spiritual path and then I’ll be able to share a lot more with you.
I would love to be able to share the things I’ve learnt with you.

If I write some of those things here now (I’m physically stopping myself from doing so) – I’ll just sound like a loon.



I’m at work. I’ll spiritualize later today.



Something that’s spinning around in my head that I’ve gotta address now though:
(I can’t seem to let go of it – maybe because I can’t deal with people making negative misinterpretations haha – – – also, I’m not sure what your stance on my work is or where you’re at with your own mental health… In all honesty I’m pretty cautious of what I write to you because of a certain level of fear that something won’t line up with you and you’ll blow up in aggressive rebuttal).

From what I was rambling on about before though – about how anyone who ends their own life or thinks about doing it being diluted -> their thoughts are subject to things that aren’t ‘real’. And, if anyone thinks suicide will end suffering they are hugely diluted because it does not.

– I obviously thought of our dad’s situation immediately (you probably did too – this is why I bring it up). I thought of how dad underwent shock treatment and was bloody cooked – some may say “too far gone”. I was only young and had no fucking idea what was going on – but after having shock treatment and all that shit it would have been pretty tough to get back to life. From this point of view and based on what he wrote to me in the suicide letter I can understand why he did it.

But, does it justify what he did? – No.

Did it end his suffering? – I don’t know… My personal beliefs disagree with this fully. I don’t believe suicide ends personal suffering. It creates bad karma for wherever the hell you go next. Suicide is born out of delusion. NOTHING good comes from it.

Did it create a ripple effect of immense suffering in at least 50 people? – Yes.

Did it fuck up my adolescence but make me super strong now? – Yes.

His case, like a lot of peoples’ from an era where mental health was pretty much taboo, is kind of subjective. Some people will understand and agree with his decision, some won’t.
Despite the positives that have finally been born out of his death (from A LOT of hard work on my behalf) – I don’t agree with his decision. I mean his choice will never be justified in REALITY because it was born out of delusion – no matter how severe the situation may have been.

EVERYTHING has a cause and effect. From the coffee I just drank to dad’s death from suicide. As well as you life getting to the point of being “too far gone” and ‘needing’ to undergo shock treatment on your brain.

I understand we don’t have a lot of control over the causes and effects but at the very least, we have control over a few. AND, we all have exactly the same potential!

Some people are from fucked up backgrounds, have tough lives and end up killing themselves – whereas others thrive. Some people who find their dad’s dead body close up – whereas some become open and raise awareness so this shit doesn’t happen to others.

Dad’s situation was born out of level upon level of causes and effects that mostly involved a COLLECTIVE LACK of awareness. Our Auntie’s too.

I duno man, I’m tangent-ing like crazy here.

Anyway, our thoughts and emotions are only as real as we make them.

A great practitioner of mindfulness or someone who’s developed a high level of awareness is able to detach his or her self from emotion and thoughts – making it impossible for his or her peace of mind to be broken.
A person who thinks “I’m so sad I have to kill myself to end this sadness” is not a mindfulness practitioner. They are diluted.

BECAUSE, at the end of the day (I mean provided you don’t already have a chemical imbalance in your brain) – the sadness is made in the mind. It is a delusion. There is nothing external that can affect the mind. You can kick me in the leg but you can’t kick me in the mind.

With awareness and mindfulness we are learning to detach ourselves from emotion and even thought.
This is why people meditate or do other spiritual practices and maybe why nanna listens to hymns while she cleans the house to a certain extent.

I think that with collective (all of us together) awareness less people will kill themselves.

This be fresh off the dome in a cafe coincidentally called “Good Brother” in Newcastle, NSW haha.



Amen – good brother x o x o

I love what you are doing. And agree with all of the above. Was just asking about it after your post about “what you are spreading”.

You should do some posts including a little bit of the above. But brief and subtle or just a little bit of insight for the masses.



Yea ok thanks xo.

I’m driving to Port Macquarie now.



How can one improve their mental health…?

By exercising like u I guess?

Drive safe.



No, I reckon by developing awareness and mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions.

First through studying theories and techniques and then applying them.
I’m still learning about the application.



I probably have a skewed view. But little more message – a little less sell sell sell. Dunno.



For Herman’s Hands to work people have to buy.
But yeah, I get you.
If no one buys the gear then there is nothing.



You obviously know what you’re doing.



My words are just words…. I need people to buy Herman’s Hands and then let it help them make their own words if ya get me fam.

Then -> by donating larger amounts of money to good organisations I should be able to help make more of a difference – plus get more exposure and so forth…



Yeah, good work brother.



Chat to ya later. CIAO.
Thanks for getting me thinking.





End of convo.


To finish, here are some photos taken in 1991 that I only found out existed a few weeks ago.

See what you make of them. I think they’re amazing. As you’ll see (oh so clearly through these photos) my dad was perhaps the clearest personification of the rough, tough Australian male stereotype that ever existed – the very stereotype and associated culture that Herman’s Hands aims to help break down.

Create Dialogue – Inspire Change.



























6 Comments. Leave a comment


  1. Denise Close
    August 18, 2016

    keep up the great work Brendan xx Your dad would be so proud. xx

  2. Aunty Cecelia
    August 19, 2016

    Bren, thanks for sharing your conversation with Matt and creating dialogue around the stigmas associated with illness of the mind and depression. The photos are beautiful. The tattoos are simply Skin Deep. “Not very deep at all: relating to, affecting, or involving only the surface”. Dad was really the deepest thinking person I knew. And a true family man and mate to so many people. He lived to make others lives better. You are just like him!

    • Brendan McDonnell
      August 19, 2016

      Thanks auntie. And thanks for the photos!
      You write so beautifully – I think you should start a blog of your own one day!

      • Aunty Cecelia
        August 19, 2016

        ❤️ Thanks Bren. You must be closer by the day to your sweetheart Steph now. Always with you xxx

  3. Joanne
    August 19, 2016

    Much gratitude to you for sharing all of this Brendan. Keep going, your making a huge difference to the lives of many all ready… Love your work.
    Jo 🙏🏼💜✌🏼️✨

  4. Susie
    September 13, 2016

    Omg thankyou Bren .your family always in my heart .susie

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