Category Archives: Mental health

The Wheel

So here you are again

The wheel has fully turned

Now it’s time to make a choice

About what you have learned


Do you let it go another round

And repeat it all again?

Or have you finally reached a point 

Knowing it will never end?


The wheel will keep on turning

The past will still repeat

Until you make a conscious choice:

Is this it what you really need? 


It’s like you’re stuck in motion

Not knowing how to stop

Asking why nothing changes 

Or why you feel so blocked 


It doesn’t have to be this way

But something has to change 

Will you jump off the wheel

Or go around again?

Thank you for everything 2016

Everywhere on social media (and in person) I keep reading how atrocious 2016 has been for people, and how they can’t wait for the year to be over. To be honest, it saddens and frustrates me.
There are a few reasons for this. 

What makes everyone think that once 31st December is over, that their life is miraculously going to change? What we should be asking is “what am I doing NOW to change my life?”

Leading in from my first point, why wait until 1st January to make changes in your life or strive for happiness/success/better health? To me, it just seems crazy. If you’re so unhappy right now, then ask yourself what you need to do to change this now, not next year. 

We are in a 9 year numerologically, so yes, 2016 has been a year of endings and basically, dealing with all of our ‘shit’ so that we don’t keep repeating it in the next 9 year cycle. The thing is, if you’ve continually put off dealing with all your past stuff and been too scared to confront those repetitive situations you keep finding yourself in year after year, then this year was a year where the universe has pushed you to deal with it all once and for all. If you’ve refused to acknowledge all of this for yourself, then clicking over to 2017 is not going to change a thing. You’ve been pushed and tested for a reason, and if you can’t yet see what it has taught you, or how much you have grown from it (which in turn, would see you being grateful for having been through it), then you likely still have more inner work to do. 

I’ve had my fair share of challenges this year myself, but I’ve also had some amazing things happen for me too. The difference is however, with the challenges I’ve been confronted with, I am fortunately in a state of mind where I can truly appreciate ALL of it. Yes, even the ‘negative’ stuff, because ultimately, they have taught me lessons and helped me to grow. 

The constant focus on how horrible a year 2016 has been for everyone seems to be a counterproductive behaviour. If you’re continually putting it out there about how hard you’ve had it, how negative things have been, etc etc, then aren’t you then attracting the very things you DON’T want into your life? It’s called the Law of Attraction, and unless you change your outlook on life and all that you’ve experienced (both negative and positive) throughout 2016, then you may just find that these things continue into the new year.

Some of the experiences you may have had in 2016 may have not even been to do with your own life journey; perhaps they happened for someone else’s soul growth or life plan. But it’s important to look at everything that has occurred throughout 2016 as either a blessing or a lesson (which in my opinion, is also a blessing).

Think about how much you’ve learnt about yourself this year. 

How much stronger you are.

How the universe has stepped in to remove all that no longer has a place on your journey.

That you’ve been forced to confront your past so you can move forward and heal.

That you’ve been pushed by Spirit to get back on track and live a life of personal truth.

How about we all start flooding social media with all the things we have been blessed with and are grateful for throughout this past year? Then maybe, just maybe, 2017 will be filled with joy, positivity and success because that’s what we’re attracting into our lives. In fact, let’s get that ripple effect going, if you want it to, it can happen RIGHT NOW; not at 12.01 on 1st January? 

Thank you for everything 2016

Thank you for the lessons; even the really tough lessons that helped me grow as a person. Thank you for the joy and blessings you allowed me to experience. I am grateful for every moment.

Why honesty is empowering 

I’ve realised something the last few days, and that is just how very empowering honesty is. 

Being honest with others, and most importantly, being honest with yourself

After posting my blog about my trip, and why Mum’s shouldn’t feel guilty about looking after themselves every once in a while, I received this message:

Honestly, you are amazing! I missed your first blog about your holiday and have only recently read it.

I cried whilst reading as I realised I’m one of this judgmental mums, I have always thought negatively about mums leaving their children to relax and have holidays. I have no problem with men doing it but always had issues with mums doing it.

I labelled them as selfish, uncaring and the list goes on.

UNTIL I read your blog.

I am embarrassed to say that these are my own issues and I am purely just jealous and envious and wish that I could do what you are doing.

You are doing such a selfless thing, by giving yourself the gift to recharge and heal you will be a better mum to your children than I am to mine purely because I am exhausted, cranky and unhappy most of the day.

So thank you for being so honest and sharing your story.

I will live this adventure through you until the day comes that I have worked through my own issues and take off on my own xox

This message was so inspiring to me, and I loved just how raw and honest it was. This Mum has not only been honest with me about my post, but she was also brutally honest with herself. This is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself, it truly is. 

So thank you to this amazing Mumma for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me. You probably don’t even realise just how strong and powerful you are as a woman (not just a Mum), but I believe the message you sent me may just be the beginning of a beautiful journey within, and I am so honoured to have been able to ignite a spark in you without even intending to. 

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

– Brene Brown

  

I’m a Mum. Does that mean I can’t have a holiday?

In a couple of days time, I am leaving for an overseas holiday with my Mum and I’ll be gone for two weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary really, except that I have three children, and they’re not coming with me.

I saw a post on social media recently where another Mum was in a similar situation, and I felt for her, I really did, because some of the comments she received were horrible. She was called selfish, a bad parent, and irresponsible, just to name a few. There were only a small handful of people (including myself) who actually supported her choice to go on a kid-free holiday, and I found that very sad indeed. Why people find it necessary to be so damn judgemental is beyond me. This poor woman was doing something very similar to me, and her children were of course, going to be in safe hands with their father while she was away. Yet still, in their eyes, going on a holiday without your children was a massive no-no.

I must admit, I still have a lingering feeling of guilt about my upcoming trip; after all, I am going to miss my children terribly, which is natural of course. BUT,  I’ve realised that the guilt I’ve been feeling is not so much coming from within, but externally, from people like those commenting on that woman’s post, who have this preconceived idea that it’s wrong for a mother to have a holiday without her children.

So, to those people who think that this is somehow ‘wrong’, I ask you the following:

If it were Dad taking this holiday, would this be viewed differently? (Mind you, in my case, Dad is taking his own holiday later this year)

If it was a business trip I was going on, would that make a difference? 

Do I not work hard enough, live each day on hardly no sleep, give my heart and soul 24 hours a day enough to deserve a break? 

I noticed one comment on that particular post where someone had said, “You’re a Mum. That’s your job. You don’t get to do things like that when you’re a parent.”

Well, I disagree. Yes, I am a Mum, and it’s the best job in the world. I love my children unconditionally. But I am also human too, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with honouring myself as a person as well as being a Mum. Being a Mum is not the only thing that defines me as a person; I am many other things as well. 

So, I am going on this once in a lifetime trip, and I am going to do so with no guilt, because there is nothing for me to be guilty about. I am going to relax, explore the culture of the places I’m visiting, and be grateful for this amazing opportunity. I am going to enjoy a much needed break, and quality time with my Mum. I am going to share my experiences with as many people as possible, without feeling as though I should somehow be ashamed of what I’m doing, because that’s what people do when they go on holiday. 

As for my children, they are going to spend some quality time with their Dad, and are of course, in great hands. I’m sure they will miss me just as much as I’ll miss them, but you know what? I am going to come back home in just two short weeks, getting right back into the swing of things, but there’ll be one difference. I’ll be relaxed and re-energised, ready to keep being the super awesome Mum and wife that I already know I am.

  

No Room for Comparison 

Enough is enough. I’ve decided to make a promise to myself. A promise that I should have made long ago, and one that every person would benefit from making for themselves.

I promise to stop comparing myself to others.

It seems quite a simple commitment to make in such a small sentence; one that many people will know, that in reality, isn’t quite that easy. On the contrary, you may be reading this thinking, “Oh, I don’t do that anyway”, but let me ask you this: Can you honestly say that you never, ever judge yourself based on what others think of you (whether real or perceived), or that you don’t question your decisions with someone else’s beliefs or way of life at the back of your mind?

Perhaps you can, and if so, that’s wonderful. But for those of us that do need a little reminder, it’s time we took back our personal power and lived authentically!

When was the last time you stopped yourself mid-thought; wondering whether “X” would make the same decision? What would they do in the same situation? Should you do what they would do, or go with your own instinct? What would they think of your choices? Would you feel as though you’re being judged? Better still, what would society think of your the choices you make?

These are all questions that we need to stop asking ourselves when it comes to making life choices; whether it’s a big decision like changing careers, or an everyday choice such as whether you can afford to buy yourself that new book you’ve had your eye on.

Comparison comes in many forms. You may be comparing:

– Your career and the success you have in the workplace

– The way you look 

– Your relationships with others (family, marriage, friendships)

– The amount of money you earn 

– How you should ‘behave’ in certain situations 

…and the list could go on…

Now, let this sentence sink in for a moment:

Each time you compare yourself to another, you are taking away your own power.

Personally, I’m not too fussed with material things, such as having fashionable clothes, or the latest hairstyle. Comparing myself to someone based on what I have or don’t have, is not an issue for me (thankfully). For example, I couldn’t care less about owning a big fancy house; that’s not what’s important to me. I am however, happy for anyone who is able to have this for themselves, if that’s what brings them joy.

For me, at this point in my life, comparing my parenting choices to those of others (as well as what is ‘expected’ from society in general), is my greatest challenge, and one that I intend to put a stop to right now. The choices I make daily as a parent, is what I struggle with the most; even though in reality, I shouldn’t. The fact that I’ve been a parent now for almost thirteen years, have three children, and several years of early childhood education training and experience up my sleeve, still doesn’t seem to stop me from questioning my choices at times; simply because I am comparing myself to others, or wondering whether or not my decisions are ‘the best thing to do’ in societies’ eyes.

So, for anyone who finds themselves guilty of comparing themselves to others (in any form- not just parents), I ask you this:

Why do you allow yourself to do this? What makes you think that you are not capable or knowledgeable enough to make the best possible choices for yourself (or your children) without comparing yourself to others? Why do you even think that others would be judging you anyway, and if they are, why does it matter so much?

 

In my situation, there is quite a simple answer to this question. It’s because as a parent, I want the absolute best for my children; that’s a given. The choices I make however, should not be based on whether I think others would agree with me, or how other people might think or feel about my decision. I am the parent of my children, and ultimately, I know what’s best for them, based on how I want them to be raised.

If I co-sleep with my children because it helps me to get some sleep at night (and I sometimes like the snuggles myself), that’s my choice. I own that choice.

If I take loved ones up on the offer to babysit my children for the night so my husband and I can go to the movies, that’s my choice. I own that choice.

If I enrol my children in daycare because I believe it is actually beneficial for their learning, that’s my choice. I own that choice.

And finally (this is a big one that I’ve been made to feel guilty about), if I want to go on a holiday and leave the kids at home with their Dad while I’m away, that’s my choice. I deserve a holiday and I own that choice.

It’s also important that I acknowledge the times where I don’t have the answers, or when I’m having a challenging time. 

When all I feel like doing is crawling up in bed and sleeping because the kids have kept me awake all night, that’s okay. I’m allowed to feel that way. 

When I sit my toddler in front of his favourite movie or give him the iPad to ‘keep him entertained’ so I can have a moment’s peace to fold the washing or heaven forbid, go to the toilet, that’s okay. I’m allowed to give myself some space.

When I’m so flustered from lack of sleep, trying to work from home, and having a nagging teenager, toddler and baby all wanting my attention at once, that I fall into a heap and have a good old cry, that’s okay. I’m human.

Obviously, these examples are based upon my personal situation, and are relating to parenting, however, this same concept can be adapted to any situation where you wish to take back your power and stop comparing or questioning your life choices. After all, who is in charge of your life? Is it society? Friends and family around you? Or you?

I promise to stop comparing myself to others. 

Do you?

   

 

Ten things to remind yourself today 

We all need a little reminder sometimes, and here are just a few things that you might like to reflect upon or remind yourself today.  1. You are doing your best with what you’ve got to work with at this moment in time, and that’s okay.

2. You can’t please everyone, and not everyone needs to like you. As long as you’re living your life truthfully, that’s all that matters.

3.  It’s vital that you take time for yourself and to do things you love, and to not feel guilty about it. 

4. The challenges you’re going through are for a reason, and are ultimately going to make you stronger and wiser.

5. Love yourself first. If you can genuinely do that, the rest will come easily.

6. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t try and squeeze everything into one day/week/year. There’s plenty of time, and it’s important to appreciate the journey.

7. Make time for rest. Put something off for a little longer if needed so you can recharge. 

8. Don’t own other people’s feelings or problems. Be compassionate, yes, but they are theirs to own, not yours. You have enough on your plate without other people’s stuff adding to it.

9. Breathe. Exhale all your worries, frustration, and anger… Allow any negative emotions to be releasd with each breath out. As you breathe in, allow nothing but love, joy, and positivity to flow through your body.

10. View everyone and everything from a place of love. Even the ordinarily most frustrating of people or situations can be dissolved by simply looking at it differently. Try it. 

I’d love to hear your feedback on any or all of these that you decide to try.

You CAN get out 

Depression – I’ve been there. 

Post natal depression- been there too. 

Anxiety- yep, I know all about it.

Almost my entire life, I’ve been exposed to the realities of mental illness. I’ve supported and lived with loved ones suffering a range of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Some of them have overcome their illness, some are on their way, some haven’t reached the point of acknowledgement yet, and sadly, I have lost one to suicide.

More importantly though, and the reason why I feel I can speak honestly on the matter, is that I’ve also been the one with mental illness. I’ve been the one who needed patience and support from others while I worked through those struggles myself. I’ve been in that place where I was so low and lacking motivation that I felt as though I’d never come unstuck. I’ve had the manic episodes where I was careless with my own well being, and at the same time, felt so very alone. I know what it’s like to have an anxiety attack and feel as though you you’re genuinely going to die, and no one would be there to help you. I’ve worried over things that were never really happening in reality, and cried so much it made me feel physically sick. I’ve also felt so numb that I couldn’t possibly face the world, let alone socialise. The incessant worrying, the unprecedented thoughts, the sadness, the anger, the numbness, the loneliness, the sporadic highs and lows…I know how it feels firsthand.

But I also know how it feels to overcome it.

If I was given the choice to go back and not experience anxiety and depression, you know what? I wouldn’t. I have learned so much about myself and others, that I am grateful for having lived through it. I am thankful that I am now able to truly empathise with others who experience similar challenges, and as a parent, I am better equipped to support and guide my children with their own mental health. I am grateful for having a much better understanding of life and of who I really am. Nope, I wouldn’t take it back.

Unfortunately you can become so stuck in a depressive state that it can just feel easier to stay there. It feels safe. It feels familiar. Even though part of you knows that you don’t want to be living like that, and that it can be overcome, it just all seems too hard. Loved ones may ask you to get help, or it may even take a big, sometimes painful, ‘wake up call’ (like a relationship breakdown or loss of some kind) for you to finally realise it’s time to reach out and get help.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to reach a catastrophic moment to recognise I needed help; I was just lucky I was open enough to listen to my loved ones, as well as my own heart when they brought it to my awareness. I’m glad I did too, because I was then better prepared and in a much healthier6d0cae2f35046d4c78ea1a448747786d place when it came time to face some of the toughest experiences of my life. If I hadn’t made the effort to begin the healing process when I did, I might very well still be suffering to this day, and would likely be in a much darker place than I was initially.

No matter how deep your depression has gotten; whether you’ve felt this way for a few months or several years, you
can get out. Not only have I done it myself, but I’ve seen others who were in a much darker place than myself do it too. But first, you have to want to get better, and to do that – to be in that mindset in the first place – you have to acknowledge you are depressed.

Among many helpful tools such as reading up on mindfulness techniques, cognitive behaviour therapy, medication, and the support of my psychologist and loved ones, the most important part of my healing was allowing myself to feel, and then, to express those feelings. So, if you’re in a place right now where you’ve been able to take that first courageous step of acknowledging you need help, my suggestion to you is this:

Feeling your emotions 

Allow whatever feelings arise to flow naturally. Whether it’s anger, sadness, disappointment, guilt, jealousy, or even rage, allow yourself to feel it. Don’t keep trying to push those feelings aside because the more you bottle them up, the harder they are to manage when they eventually resurface again (and they will resurface-even if it’s years down the track). It’s much safer and healthier to cry, yell, sob, or throw punches at a punching bag than it is to get to the point where these feelings may come out in other ways (such as violence, self-harm or addiction). 8ae5f3198179e992f7020a77b0e9fab5

As difficult as it is to believe that really feeling these emotions could be helpful, I promise you, it is. They’re obviously not nice feelings to be experiencing, but they are there for a reason, and that reason is to be feltYou will quickly start noticing just how different you feel afterwards; how much lighter you feel, and what a relief it is to have finally let it out.

This is a huge part of the healing process and is called releasing or letting go. Once you’ve been able to do that things will start getting easier. You will have made room in your heart and mind for more positivity to enter.

Expression

Another very helpful thing to do when processing your emotions is to express them in other ways, such as writing or speaking about them with someone you trust. Until you’ve done it, you will not believe just how therapeutic this is. Again, it may bring on tears or feelings of anger or sadness, but being able to express your innermost thoughts in this way gives you a more ‘concrete’ way to further release them through the use of words (eg. on paper, on a computer, or by speaking).

A great way to think of this process is that once you’ve released these feelings by turning them into words, you no longer own them. They are no longer intoxicating your thoughts, your heart, or your mind. This again, leaves a much bigger space for you to start the road to healing.

While suffering from depression or any other mental illness isn’t easy, it can be overcome, and ultimately, will make you that much stronger and wiser as you make your way through it. Life does get easier, the days will be brighter, and you will know again what it’s like to feel joy. This is in no uncertain terms, the absolute truth, and believe me, I know, because I am now in that place. No matter how long you’ve been there, or how deep or dark a place you are in right now, you CAN get out.

“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” – Doe Zantamata

If you are feeling depressed, or know someone who is, there are many support networks out there, as well as useful information available, with just some of them listed below. If you are ever in a place where you feel like harming yourself or others, please reach out to someone you trust and contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Emergency 000 or 112 from your mobile phone. You can also contact the Crisis Support Chat online.

Beyond Blue  1300 22 4636

Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation  1800 650 890

Black Dog Institute Information on symptoms, treatment and prevention of depression and bipolar disorder.

Kids Helpline A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.  1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia A telephone and online support, information and referral service, helping men to deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way. 1300 78 99 78

MindSpot Clinic An online and telephone clinic providing free assessment and treatment services for Australian adults with anxiety or depression. 1800 61 44 34

SANE Australia Helpline Information about mental illness, treatments, where to go for support and help carers. 1800 18 7263