Thankyou and Goodbye.

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One afternoon when I was 7, my mother and I were reversing out of the driveway, when we were stopped by my brothers best friends father.  He came over to our car, and said,

“Did you hear the news?” We looked at each other confused, he continued, “Princess Diana died today..”princess-diana

I remember that being the first time a celebrity or public figure had passed away that actually had an impact on me.  I didn’t really understand who she was, or why she was so important, but I remember seeing her on the news for her humanitarian work and she always looked so poised, graceful and caring.

It wasn’t until I was about 13 when it impacted me again.  I was reading a four page spread on Audrey Hepburn.  I knew who she was, or atleast her face, but that day began my obsession for her.  Once again, she was known for her humanitarian work, her beauty, her elegance, her will to do more for this world than most people.  When I got to the end of the article, I realised it was a dedication to her life, on the 10th anniversary of her passing.  I broke 792fdcf55a98d4b916061e93edd2c0b4down in tears because after becoming so indulged in this beautiful persons story, from her childhood escaping World War II, to her failed ballet dreams, to her Hollywood success, then to her incredible work with UNICEF, I felt like this person was someone who I could just admire and learn so much from.  It felt like I knew her.

Of course in the years passed a number of people have passed away who the public felt like they could connect to, or that impacted their lives in some way, shape or form.

This week, we lost some incredible souls and a large part of the population of the world has been impacted by their passings. Myself included.

David Bowie was a part of my childhood.  My mother loved him and her car cassette player was always switching between Phil Collins, Prince, Queen and David Bowie.  I remember watching Labyrinth as a child and being scared by the Goblin King and laughing at his overly tight tights.  Then as an adult, I admired his music and his work so much more – particularly after visiting the exhibition ‘Bowie Is’ last year in Melbourne.

This man was a performer in every single sense of the word.  He had lived his life, travelled the world, loved and lost, done a shit load of experimental drugs, experienced fashion and culture from every last corner of the earth.  His art has inpsired so many artists, to this day and for years to come, he has left a legacy that cannot simply be ‘forgotten’.  He gave a voice to so many who were confused, or felt out of place – he made it cool to be yourself – no stereotypes, no rules.  Above it all, he was so incredibly humble and human.  He wasn’t fame hungry or greedy, he wasn’t doing it for the money, but rather the love.  And if you read accounts from people who knew him well, he had so much love and passion for everything he put himself into.

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Then at about 1am last night, I read a message from my brother stating that Alan Rickman had passed away too.  I read it in a half asleep state, my heart broke, but when I woke up in the morning I thought perhaps it were a dream.

I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook stating that Rickman wasn’t just Snape.  I completely agree, he was a brilliant and diverse actor and I wish I had seen him do live theatre because the energy would have been incredible.  However, I think at least for my generation, he was Snape.  I remember reading the books, not all of them and not thoroughly as a child, but identifying with Snape.  He was the kid that didn’t fit in anywhere in particular, and yet had the biggest heart full of love.   Snape was such an incredibly complex character, and reading the books again as an adult, I once again fell in love with Snape and to this day believe J K Rowling wrote one of the best literary characters of all time in him.  It is only fitting then, that she chose an incredible actor capable of being such a negative and sometimes nasty person, with such a complex history and beautiful heart, to portray this character.  tumblr_o028lldm6k1v13e13o1_1280

Alan Rickman brought this character to life.  Over 8 or so years, he became part of our lives in this character.  I know so many people my age that still love Harry Potter as an adult and I can’t see this love ever disappearing.  Alan Rickman gave that character more than it already had, which is so rare for an actor to do to a literary figure.  He showed us that life isn’t black and white and that love can last a lifetime and make us do incredible things.  He gave that character a voice and a persona that I don’t think anyone else could do justice.

 

The one thing you often hear when someone famous passes, is how it is such a tragedy to have lost them.  I don’t fully agree.  We all know death is inevitable, but if we could choose to live a life full of adventure, meaning, experience and love – how is it a tragedy ? It would be a tragedy for any of these people to not have achieved their potential or to die in vain… But they didn’t. 

 

I think it’s just so incredible that in our lifetime, we have been able to witness so many revolutionaries, so many devoted philanthropists, so many incredibly talented people who did it for the love of the art rather than the money.  It seems these days there are a lot of people who seek fame for the wrong reasons, that it makes it so much more special when you come across one of these rare gems who are famous because of their talent, passion and love of their chosen art.  It also makes it so much harder when they pass, because part of you realises that that person was something so special, they’re not created everyday, particularly in the public eye.

After reading about Audrey Hepburn’s life in depth, and for a long time not being able to understand why the world would take away someone who made such a difference, who made so many people happy, who left a legacy… I realised that this is why life is finite.  We only have a certain period of time to make a difference.  To make people laugh, smile, sing along, relate to us.  We only have so long to give the world what we are capable of giving.  To make a legacy.  Of course it’s not going to be to the extent of Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, David Bowie or Alan Rickman for all of us, but we all have the capacity to be kind, caring , to give, volunteer, create something and love. Surely.

So while I have shed a number of tears this week, I also smile and say a massive thank you to those who have given us that happiness.  If we can all aspire to have that impact on at least one person in our lives and leave a legacy of our values, create something in our lifetime that was a true reflection of ourselves, wouldn’t we all die content, thinking to ourselves, ‘wow… what an incredible ride’?

 

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Suicide

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In a week, 33 men and 11 women will kill themselves in Australia. We will not hear their names, the wails of their families, the guilt and sadness of those who would have stopped them if they could. Most will fall silently…..

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/time-to-address-the-issues-that-lead-to-suicide-20140228-33qy8.html#ixzz2usyDR1w9

 

The title isn’t to shock anyone or instil fear in anyone.

The title is because I am so damn sick of people walking on egg shells about this subject and I’m sick of it being so taboo in society.

More people die in QLD from Suicide every year than car accidents – yet we’re never allowed to publicly advertise this due to the fact that the Government believes it will spawn ‘copycat’ suicides. ¬†You know, because I watch those smoking ads and car car crash ads on TV and think “HEY!! I really want to do that too!!” ¬†It is complete and utter bullshit.

I wanted to write this blog, because I wanted to provide an insight into how it feels right now when I am at a very low point.

I will be quite frank – I can’t afford my medication at the moment and I HATE borrowing money from my dad, brothers or anyone – So I thought the smart thing to do would be to just hold off a few days.

That isn’t the answer – definitely not and I know this right now because for the last 45 mins driving home I’ve been fighting with the demons in my head and bawling my eyes out while trying to just say ‘hold on a little bit longer’. ¬†Thoughts of driving into every pole, every passing car and going off the bridge crossed my mind every second.

I had been doing alright considering everything that has just happened in my life (loss of job, family breakup, being broke, being continuously used by sex). ¬†But then just the other day, a lady who was a dear friend to my big sister and who I had met and spent time with on several occasions… a lady who I admired for her strength in being a single mother, working her arse off and being very successful… ended her life. ¬†It’s been a week.

You may not necessarily need to be close to someone to be completely devastated by their death. ¬†It is the fact that for some reason, that person felt like they just weren’t good enough or didn’t deserve to live, that shakes you to your core. ¬†Thinking about her as I was driving home, broke me… Thinking about the fact that I just wish someone had been there to just hug her and tell her how amazing she was… Wondering what could have been done… Thinking about my big sister and how absolutely broken she is, is hurting me so badly. ¬†As much as you would think these thoughts were the reason I felt like ending my life – these were the thoughts that actually helped me get home alive and are the reason I am writing.

I am sick and tired of people dying because as a society we are not educated. ¬†There is the scary ‘S’ word. ¬†When you ask how someone died, it’s never an easy question but it seems as though if it is suicide, this word is whispered or we dodge around answering the question. ¬†This attitude needs to stop.

Depression isn’t just a sign of weakness or going through a bit of a hard patch. ¬† But how can I expect this to stop if I don’t actually write something brutally honest and try to educate those who are not aware of what it is like?

Depression is like this – you have a never ending feeling of absolute hopelessness. ¬†You can take medication and years of therapy and although you may know how to deal and cope with bad things in life, there is still part of you that will continuously blame yourself for all that goes wrong in your life and those of the people around you. ¬†You’ll always think “If only I had done this…” or “Fuck I wish I hadn’t done that…” You constantly live in regret of what could have been, should have been and blame yourself no matter how illogical the feeling is.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had control over this beast for a while now but I still have my bad days. ¬†The days where beyond anything else I just want all this pain to be gone. ¬†It takes more strength than you can imagine to fight these emotions day in and day out. ¬†Particularly when you live in a society that doesn’t understand what depression is… and you are surrounded by people who feel like they have to walk on egg shells around you because if they bring ‘it’ up they feel like they may trigger it.

The issue is, we are constantly treating mental illnesses as ‘something you can just fix with the right attitude’. ¬†Yeah, sure that might be the case for 0.05% of the population suffering. ¬†But it’s just as good as saying, “oh you’ve got a broken arm – just think that it’ll get better.. and hope and pray.. and it will heal”. ¬†Yeah doesn’t fucking work, does it?

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Imagine the most physical pain you’ve suffered or the worst physical injury you’ve incurred. ¬†Now imagine having that in your life day in day out for weeks, months and years on end. ¬†The only thing that will make it better would be therapy (for instance physio) and medication to ‘dull the pain’. ¬†The pain and suffering are still constant. It debilitates you and restricts you from doing certain activities or from being in public, you lose a lot of confidence because you suddenly are not the same person you used to be. ¬†You don’t want this to ‘rule your life’ but in a sense, you feel like you can’t help but let it.

This is depression and anxiety.

Sure you can’t physically see a¬†crutches or a¬†‘cast’ over the injured area, but it is just as debilitating as walking around with a broken leg for your whole life. ¬†While everyone else is running and jumping and doing flips and shit… you sit there, watching on and hoping and wishing that one day you will be able to as well – but knowing that day is probably far away if not, non-existent.¬†

See the thing is – we don’t get told this. ¬†We don’t get told that suicide happens. ¬†It happens every day more than you would know. ¬†It happens to some of the best sporting players, some of the most professional executives, some of the best mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and friends and girlfriends and boyfriends.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve accomplished, who loves you or what you have in life… depression can just knock you straight down and out and make you feel like you are worth nothing and that you have nothing worth living for. ¬†That if you just end it, it doesn’t matter – people will get over you. ¬†They always do and they always move on. ¬†You’d just be saving everyone else a whole lot of trouble and pain because you’re sick of people worrying about you. ¬†It doesn’t matter how many people tell you this is bullshit, part of you will always believe this.

I wish I had the answers to avoid this pain… I really do. ¬† Just look at my wrists, they tell a story of their own…
I was sick of looking at them. ¬†I went through months of constantly covering up with bangles and watches (even though I can’t read analogue watches .. don’t ask.. I am retarded) and wearing long sleeves… One day, I got sick of it. ¬†I got so sick and tired of covering up and pretending to be this person who I wasn’t.

I have depression.  I have borderline personality and it fucks with my life from time to time.

I work my arse off to be better than it though.  I am constantly trying to improve myself through education, work, writing, loving my family and friends and letting others know how valued they are and how special they are.

I don’t hide my wrists anymore.

Instead… I got a tattoo alongside the scars… it reads, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’. It’s actually a quote from the bible, even though I’m one of the least religious people out there.

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There are a few things I’ve learnt since dealing with depression and sucidial thoughts.

1.  Love, love and learn
Don’t expect love in return because you will be let down in circumstances. ¬†But know that you loved and that you made that person happy for a period of time. ¬†That they experienced love deeper than most people give. ¬†You will get hurt from loving, it’s inevitable… but this teaches you two things (1) That you are strong enough to cope and deal with heart break and (2) To look out and learn from mistakes and past experiences.

You don’t always have to love the opposite sex. ¬†Love your friends, love your family, buy a pet and experience true raw uncoditional love … My dog is more intuitive than my dad. ¬†Dad might see me upset and just think I’ve got my period… but my dog on the other hand will sit with me all day, lick the tears away and do her silly little yoga poses. ¬†She knows. As much as it hurt to lose my other dog last year, the love that I felt and that he gave me was one of the greatest loves ever.

Being scared of loving is being scared of living.

2. Be the best person you can be.  
I know this is really funny to say to someone who has depression or anxiety because the thing is, if you’re like me – you’re probably a perfectionist so you’re already trying to be the best person you can be. ¬†But try and be analytical. ¬†What is it that you want to do, how can you get there, what baby steps can you take to get there. ¬†How do you treat people? ¬†How can you be a nicer person to people? How can you be more satisfied in yourself?

You need to know your flaws first.  Know what you could improve.  Know what probably makes you unattractive.  Know what pisses you off more than anything else, about yourself.  Then make one of two choices (1) Learn to accept it, make fun of it and live with it or (2) Change it ..

It takes time, but I always envision the people I admire the most and see what they have done and how they act around people and most importantly why they are happy. ¬†If it’s material posessions, then how did they get them – what can you do to get them… work hard. ¬†If it’s decent friends, then who do you have in your life that is bringing you down, why are they bringing you down and who should really be in your life.

When I was at a really low point a few years ago, I looked to one of my dear friends in Brisbane, V, who was quite religious. ¬†I am not a religious person – but I decided to start going to church with her. ¬†The reason? The Bible actually has some pretty good shit in it. ¬†Yeah, it’s got a lot of stuff that is pretty boring or doesn’t seem to mean much – but the foundations of all religion are very similar and very much based on love, respect and honesty.

Sometimes you might not understand the lessons taught or you might sit there rolling your eyes, but every now and then one story will come up or one passage that will just change the way you think about something or will just speak to you in a way that you’ve never felt.

Church and religion isn’t for everyone – and you don’t have to be devout – but there is also a reason that there are so many followers and that is because sometimes when you don’t have enough faith in yourself, it’s nice to have faith that it will get better somehow.

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3. Love yourself
Most people don’t ever truly love themselves or find out what makes them tick – they always rely on other people. ¬†Figure out what actually, genuinely makes your heart sing. ¬†Spend time with just yourself, no technology, just outside walking, and just enjoy the silence and your own company. ¬†You’d be amazed how much fun you actually are.

I cannot express how important it is to find a hobby you love and to do it whenever you’re down. ¬†Mine is writing – the moment I feel shit – I think to myself, “I’m going to write this down..” I mean it helps that I’m writing a novel dealing with depression and loss, so most of it is pretty relevant to that.

More importantly – exercise! When we exercise we release endorphins – and they make you super fucking happy sometimes! Yeah it might suck half way through, I mean half the time when I’m doing cheer leading I’m asking the coach if I can just take a nap… if I screw up a stunt or a tumble.. I will just fall on the ground and lie there for a moment hoping that no one willnotice if I just fall asleep. ¬†But after a good session, I go home smiling and happy and ready for the next challenge.

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4. Reach Out
This is often the hardest thing to do. ¬†You reach a point where you are sick of burdening the ones who love you, of causing pain and heartache of them picking you off the floor for the 50 millionth time. ¬†You feel as though if you just ended it now, it’d be over and done with and they’d never have to worry again.

The truth is, suicide effects everyone you have ever met. ¬†I mean this. ¬†I went to school with a girl who was very popular, beautiful beyond all belief and talented. ¬†She had everything I wanted, and yet somehow she didn’t think it was enough. ¬†Her suicide still effects me today. ¬†I still think about her at least once a week and wonder why? wonder what I could have done, wonder if I’m good enough to be here, if she decided she wasn’t.

Trust me, it is always better to ask for help ten gazillion times than to end your life once.

All of these things will eventually make you happier and make depression and anxiety and life in general just easier.

There is nothing I wish for more in this world than to make the pain of depression and other mental illnesses go away. ¬†I lived with a mother who was great sometimes but pretty terrible most of the time. ¬†I was physically, verbally and emotionally abused every single day for the first 11 years of my life. ¬†She had schizophrenia. ¬†Let me tell you – if you think depression is bad, schrizophrenia is just … insane… literally.

The thing is, mental illness is real, no amount of wishing, hoping and praying is going to make it go away… more people deal with it than are even aware and most people don’t get help. ¬†As a society, we owe it to one an other to let them know that we are willing to help. ¬†We are not afraid of mental illness. ¬†We won’t judge if they need some ‘quiet time’ or are having an ‘off day’… we won’t sit there and tease the girl with scars on her wrist, or whisper about the kid who overdosed.

So please – help each other out, let the world know that you support depression and mental illness and that you are not afraid to reach out to those in need or let others know that you are suffering and need help from time to time. ¬†We can’t resuscitate someone if we don’t know CPR so how are we expected to save lives from depression and suicide if we’re too afraid to reach out and offer assistance?

Mental illness is real and it’s time that society accepts that it can no longer hide behind closed doors.

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