Hey there! I have honestly spent the longest time working out how to start writing this post. I have written and rewritten parts of my introduction, my opening sentence and even considered not writing this post at all. I’ve spent time researching, looking at different sources of information, only to keep getting the urge to “just write”. You see, I am nervous, unsure and feeling very under qualified, then I realised that those feelings surrounding this post, is no different to how I’ve been feeling anyway these past few weeks. So, what the heck, here goes……….
Everyone has facets of themselves that they don’t publicly display-I am no different. What parts of myself do I show to who? Do I risk presenting all of myself, or only part of myself? Which parts do I keep sacred? Then, of course these questions lead to more questions; will that particular audience like me? If not, why won’t they like me? This brings me to my next question, and one that has been playing heavily on my heart and mind; how can I live authentically and truly take care of me, if I’m not allowing all of me to be known to the world? To live my life, and be true to myself, without the fear of judgement?
In 2008, after struggling with emotions from my past that I had basically ran away from, or tried (somewhat successfully for several years) to replace with other emotions, was diagnosed by my GP with an anxiety disorder. This anxiety contributed to panic attacks that I suffered almost daily. Prior to our move to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, here in QLD Australia, I started my “self care”journey. I saw a medium, who by the way, blew me away with her knowledge of me and prompted the commencement of investing time into myself. I learned Reiki, joined a meditation group, practiced prayer and began to feel a sense of self. It was at this point in my life, I started to learn the importance of, and actively practiced daily positive affirmations. Then once again, fear set in!
What if I didn’t remain positive enough? What about the negative thoughts, or the unpleasant things that happened in my life? If your thoughts create your reality, I must be creating these unpleasant things that were occurring in my life! More fear set in, my self talk turned to only trying to focus on good, positive happy thoughts. Do you know how hard it is to actually do that? I do, it’s bloody hard, did my head in hard, until the day I finally spoke to my GP. He gently reassured me that I wasn’t going mad, and put in place a mental health plan and a referral to speak with a psychologist. Even speaking with the psychologist and opening up to her about my feelings, my past, my future, left me feeling embarrassed-even ashamed. What will people think? Will they think I’m crazy? I chose to only confide in a few close people, who I thought loved me unconditionally, my husband and my mother. My husband was supportive as well as thankful that I was finally getting some help, my panic attacks also took their toll on him. He was the only person capable of talking me through them and calming me down; my mother often accused my psychologist of filling my head with rot, and doing more harm than good! So once again, I had to choose what parts of me I presented to who.
Over the years I have learned how to fake a smile or happiness, not let myself get too close to people and resist help from others, just to save myself from embarrassment or the fear of not being liked or accepted for who I am. In my deepest and darkest times, I found myself contemplating my “way out”. You see, on the outside, to anyone looking “in” I appeared to be ok. I appeared to be happily married, I had three happy and healthy boys, drove a nice car, had a few friends and always had a friendly smile for everyone. On the inside, I struggled daily to keep up the act, eventually leading to my suicidal thought pattern. I honestly believed that my family would be better off without me. I owe a hell of a lot to the psychologist who helped me through those dark thoughts………without her professionalism, her ability to encourage me to see my own self worth, and her persistence in encouraging me to show her “all” of me; I’m pretty sure I would’ve either took my own life, or by now, be on a destructive path of self loathing. I am well aware of my blessings, and give thanks daily!
Last Thursday a young boy who also appeared ok, who was a fun, vibrant and full of life young man, decided to opt out of life. For reasons yet unknown, this young man who only last September/October captained his U16 QLD State soccer team to second place at Nationals in Sydney, who was athletic, a little cheeky, but always willing to support his fellow team mates, and appeared to have it all together, decided to take his own life. He was a young man that my 15 year old son got to know, room with, look up to, and had the pleasure to call his mate. I have since had the hard task of helping my son through not only his grief, but his confusion and questions of “why”.
Why did this young man, with his whole life ahead of him feel like he had no other options? Why did he not talk about his feelings or whatever was going on in his life? Was he afraid of what others would think of him? Did he feel he wasn’t worthy of support, or his feelings weren’t important? These are questions that I don’t think my son will ever know the answers to, all I can do is be there for him, listen, give advice on the facts I have, and know the answers to, offer comfort, remind him to openly talk about his own feelings, not bottle things up, and know that no matter what is going on in his life, my job as his mum and just a caring human being, is to never judge, but only to love.
We as a collective need to practice kindness, not judgement. Who are we to pass judgement on how others feel. We are not them, we haven’t walked in their shoes, hence we should never judge. If we lost the ability to judge, maybe we would find the ability to present our true selves to the world. If we practiced kindness always, maybe we would feel valued and loved. If we listened to our hearts and spoke out of love, kindness and mindfulness, maybe we would be free to openly be our true selves.
These are qualities I try to live by daily and instil in my own children. I’m hoping, if nothing else, that the sad loss my son is feeling at the moment, will help him be a kinder human being. Teach him to look, love and care deeper. To look past the smile or what appears to be happiness, and see the people around him for the same loving soul that he is and offer friendship even when it appears it’s not needed. Treat people how he wishes to be treated, and hopefully do so out of love, not fear. Maybe, due to my own feelings around taking my own life, has equipped me to support my son at this sad time in his life. Everything happens for a reason after all, even if we don’t know the reason at the time.
As for myself, I still suffer from anxiety, not to the extreme that I did in the past, and I now have the skills I need to cope. My anxiety doesn’t define me, it is simply an aspect of me that I usually choose to hide from the world. I’m hoping that by me presenting a little more of my true self to you, that I will lose the fear of judgement and maybe help someone else lose theirs as well.
Suicide is a serious issue, and unfortunately it is increasing. If you, or someone you know needs help to talk through, or cope with any feelings regarding suicide, please know that there are people and/or services willing to be of assistance. Your feelings will be heard without judgement. If fear or judgement is preventing you from speaking with a loved one, your GP is a good place to start. Lifeline and Beyond Blue are also trained professionals, I have spoken with both at different periods in my life, and everything you share is strictly confidential.
While I’m on the subject of presenting all of me to the world, here is a copy from my “notes” on my Facebook page (written a little while ago, but still true to this day)
25 Random things February 24, 2009 at 1:21pm
Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 random people to be tagged including the person who tagged you. (To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right-hand corner of the page, then click Publish)
- I enjoy being a wife and mother.
2.I married my best friend, Craig!
3.I believe in God.
4.I believe everything happens for a reason….even if at the time its the worst thing to ever happen to you!
5.I believe in telling/showing the people who are important to you just how much you care/love them…….life is short!
6.I suffer from anxiety……
7.The safest place in the whole world for me is in Craigs arms!
8.I miss my friends in Uralla……and i think of them often!
9.I loved drama at school.
10.Was born in Inverell N.S.W
- Love playing netball.
12.Love sleeping in on Sundays with Craig and the boys all in our bed…….
13.Love watching the boys ,whether its their choosen sport,watching t.v,playing..it doesnt matter.
14.Enjoys long talks and lots of laughter with Craig.
15.I have a tattoo and would like at least 1 more.
16.Loves watching sport….footy, soccer, tennis, netball….not to keen on watching golf……would rather play it, though Im not very good at it!
17.Sad songs always make me cry!
18.I like fishing and camping….but can no longer relax like I used too, cause Im always supervising the boys!
19.Used to do gymnastics up untill the age of 14.
20.Likes being pampered with a massage or foot rub.
21.Wishes I could sometimes be more patient!
22.enjoys catching up with old good friends and family!
23.Love reading…..will read nearly anything!
24.Loves music….listening to it, trying to play it…singing,although not great at it…love singing with the boys! I listen to music all day…..there is always music at our house!
25.Feels very blessed to have met and have the people that i have in my life! They are all wonderful people…..and I consider myself to be the luckiest mummy and wife in the whole world to be blessed with my three beautiful boys and loving husband…. I thank God for these special gifts every day!
Until next time, take care of you! Trene x