Mental Health. A stigma in Australian society, because we were brought up to believe showing emotion or being deemed as vulnerable is somewhat what ‘weak.’
What ‘weak’ is, truthfully. Is not being ‘real.’
Real with your loved ones. Your acquainted, sometimes. But most of all ‘real’ with yourself.
Now, it’s my time to be brutally real with you. I feel extremely vulnerable sharing this with the world. But in the Hope of bringing a hope to someone who is going through something, similarly. Here goes. You are not alone.
Although I’ve been infamously known as the happy-go-lucky, always smiling optimistic girl. I’ve suffered bouts of clinical depression for many years of my life, and counting. But it hasn’t, not will it ever. Win.
It stemmed from a childhood of having a pre-conceived notion of myself, of having to be ‘perfect.’
Perfectionism. Literally myself as my own worst enemy. Perfect in everything. From school work. To my career as an athlete and my sporting life. I even Tried to attain what I thought perfection was, in things I could never control, like physical looks.
But To what? A materliatic image society has pre-convinced you to believe as sometime you must attain toward. To be successful in life? To be happy?
Now that, is not real. It’s only even lead to feeling like I’ve let myself down. And then in turn my parents, My family or my friends. A feeling of defeat. Because I was trying to live up to the impossible. A standard so high, it didn’t even exist.
How do you tell that little girl, with the world at her feet that – she’s good enough. When she doesn’t believe she ever will be, Because her own mind is the enemy?
It has its bouts. Sometimes I’m up and forget about it all together. And sometimes I’m down. And I forget about Hope all together.
I have fought some demons. And continue to. Like we all do. Everyday. But, then when all is said and done. When my serotonin levels are stable. When the world is being kind to me. And I feel truly happy. I think, wow! Maybe I’ve beaten it once and for all, this time!
That Dog, Comes back and bites again.
It only takes a small thing, like an injury. A family crisis. An episode of challenging self-doubt to make the Big Black Dog, resurface its destruction on my mind, once again. A battle between reality and perfection. Because scientifically my brain no longer produces enough serotonin levels in order keep my mood stable.
But I have learned to know my limits. To know the warning signs. And then to be kind to myself.
I have strategies. I take a self-care day. I go to the beach, which reminds me of home. I feel Safe there. Alone but not lonely. I get lost in the waves and enjoy the sun. And the sand between my toes. Getting lost in the beauty of creation. In the wilderness. On adventures that distance myself from civilisation.
Or I listen to music and dance, freely. Expressing myself through the melody; unaware of my surrounding. Or Sometimes I just cry. Let the salt of my tears, wash away those bad feelings. Until I can’t cry anymore.
Sometimes I lift. Something heavy. Real heavy. Deadlifts, Preferably. But mostly I run. Around a track. As fast as my body will take me. With every ounce I my being, every muscle I can contract and every breath I have pumping through my lungs.
But I am blessed. I am continually Reminded, I’m never alone amongst this sadness. I have God. Who doesn’t want this for me and my life. And I am reminded to have faith in His plans for my future.
I have my family. Who are my biggest unconditional support. Through the highs and the lows. And The Journey. Alongside my partner. Who won’t let me be anything but real with him. And he pushes me, to push myself. To better myself.
And I have my strength. That always pulls through. That’s unrelenting and stubborn. That will ultimately, help me win this battle.
But I’ve learned I can only beat this, once and for all – by being real with myself. 100% down.
None of this hiding behind a mask, pretending it’s all okay. Smiling happily, unbewildered to those around me, I’m suffering in silence of a ‘crawl-in-a-ball’ crippling sadness. The kind that that comes back to bite me at the worst possible times of my life.
It’s about breathing. Relying on myself for healing. Not anyone else. Not any doctors or medication, that I’ve been spoon-fed for years on end.
It’s going to take the deep, wild, unexplored depths of my soul. To fight this. And I really want to fight it. More than anything.
To no longer feel wanting-to-sleep-all-the-time ”tired for no reason.’ Sometimes bouts of emotions that can’t be held in at the most inconveniant times. Like during a university lecture. Or on the train ride home. Or a social event, where the pressure to be ‘perfect‘ and to impress. Becomes all too much.
And Dog, ol’ pal. I’m done with you. Oh, I am done!
Life isn’t an instagram filter. Or happily airbrushed like it seems on social media. People go through things. Through pain, trials and tribulations, everyday. And that’s part of being tested. Building resilience. Making you grounded. Making you feel.
But it’s important to also reach out to those who need a shoulder. Please be a listener. Someone next to you might be suffering and you don’t even know it! Create a safe space of sharing and support other humans. It is all too important in our destructive world. Let someone know it’s okay not to be fully okay. And to show the world that.
One day, I will be free. Free from all of this, bullshit. I will fight this. Because I’m worth it. Because even when there feels like there’s no more hope left. Other people will always have a hope in me. And I have hope in you, too.
Never give up on yourself. Even when it seems like the world around you has. You are worth more, than you could ever imagine.
And someone, somewhere. Is thinking of you. And values you. Without you even realising.
You got this.