Enough Is Enough

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I feel like I need to speak out on behalf of the women,  children and even men who are effected by Domestic violence.

Why?

Because in our country, it seems that more people are afraid of terrorists overseas than of their own neighbours.  (i mean neighbours figuratively).

Sadly this week we have now seen at least 4 casualties of Domestic Violence.  However, the media reported them without really focusing on the main issue here that 4 People within 5 days are dead at the hands of a loved one or relative….   :

Ice Addict Stabs Grandmother and Nephew in Front Yard“;
Young Mum A Victim of Road Rage” and “Woman Dead After McDonalds Shooting“.

Let me be clear….

Regardless of the location, catalyst or weapon, these incidents are all Domestic Violence related deaths.  Sure one murderer may have been addicted to drugs, sure another murderer may have been part of a ‘bikie’ gang… but it still stands that people are dead because they were victims of domestic violence.  Instead of putting a scene grabbing headline and eluding to another alternative for the deaths, how about we start labeling these deaths as they are – people being killed by people they once loved and cared for.  Lets make this a NATIONAL CONVERSATION instead of sweeping it under the rug.

So why does our society continue to ‘tip toe’ around this very real threat ? Is it because we don’t want to think anyone we love is capable of hurting, let alone, killing us? Does that mean that perhaps, it’s a reflection on Australian people?  That perhaps we aren’t as fun loving, laid back and ‘chilled’ as we seem?

It is so much easier for media and society to brand these deaths as related to something other than domestic violence.  That way we can tackle the ‘real problem’ – such as ICE and Bikie Laws….

What this is actually doing is making it harder for victims of domestic violence to speak up as we are ignoring the real issue here – Domestic Violence is capable of being committed by ANYONE at ANY TIME…

Just look at Australian of The Year – Rosie Batty, she was a very well educated woman, she had a successful career and lived on a beautiful acreage in Victoria.  She wasn’t part of the slums or involved with some bikie or ice addict.  Two days after her son was murdered by his father, she bravely spoke out to the media and said:

“I want to tell everybody, that family violence happens to everybody. No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.” (source)

I don’t want to man bash here, and I think that moving forward there will be a strong focus on men being evil and capable of killing their partners/exes. Let me make it clear that we need to discuss Domestic Violence from every possible angle and not just focus on men, but women too who are capable and are guilty of domestic violence.

My father, my brothers, my sister and myself are victims of domestic violence.  Yes, you read that right, my FATHER is a victim of domestic violence.  I cannot even begin to explain the amount of times we all ended up hurt, scarred and broken after my mothers various ‘moments’ of insane bursts of anger and violence.  You know the worst part was, I tried several times to explain to adults … police officers, teachers, neighbours and even doctors, that my mother was the one causing all this pain and hurt.  I was treated like a silly little child, and nothing was ever investigated further.  I began to feel hopeless and absolutely helpless and almost resigned myself to the fact that my mother would either kill me or one of my siblings before anyone paid any attention to what was happening.

To this day, people are still confused how my father (who is a big burly man at almost 6″) could have been violently attacked (I remember one time with a knife) by my petite 5″2′ mother, who weighs about 45kgs….

The truth is, while women are often overpowered by men physically, anyone is capable of causing violence and hurt and we need to acknowledge this to be able to start to turn our society around. Regardless of the relationship and front that people put forward, there often lies a dark background that sooner or later will come out.

My mother to this day, will not admit what happened to us as children and refuses to take responsibility for the years of mental trauma that follow from suffering from Domestic Violence.

The appalling truth in Australia is that in the last year, if you calculate all the deaths caused by domestic violence, it equates to more than one person a week.  The even sadder truth behind this statistic is that the number is likely much higher, however often these deaths are recorded as something else.  Sure they are recorded as ‘murder’ but it might not be acknowledged that that person was in fact murdered by someone who they knew and at one point loved and trusted.

The Government and Media seem to focus so strongly on outside terrorism and push towards creating such xenophobia and hatred for those who follow a different religion, wear different clothes and speak a different language.  I can’t help but feel like we are being brainwashed to believe that people who look like us, live in the same country as us and are even our mates, lovers and relatives, are not capable of committing the same amount of violence and hateful acts.

We are so focused on believing evil doesn’t exist in our own backyard, that it happens right before our eyes without us noticing or knowing how to handle it.

Let’s just look at the statistics: the amount of Australian’s to die from terrorism in the past year is 2 (Martin Place Sydney Seige) compared to the amount of Australian women to die from Domestic Violence which is 65 by Sept 10th 2015.

Moreso, these statistics are just WOMEN – not children or men, and as I have experienced first hand, both children and men are very capable of being at the receiving end of domestic violence.

I understand how hard it is to come forward and reach out to someone to let them know you are suffering and need help.  However, as a society we need to be more willing to accept the victims of DV before they become another fatality.  Instead of sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring this issue, we need to put it at the forefront of our agenda.

Children need to grow up to learn that violence against anyone is not warranted or acceptable.  Men and Women need to be able to report Domestic Violence in a comfortable manner and be able to seek refuge or help if they need to – particularly in the case of emergency or fearing for their lives.  There also needs to be help available to those that commit Domestic Violence – some sort of rehabilitation or process to help them not commit violence again before they land themselves in jail for killing someone.

We need to talk, Australia, because before you know it, someone around you will become a victim of domestic violence and you won’t be educated on how to help or be prepared to have that difficult conversation to seek a resolution.

If you know of someone who is a victim, or you are a victim, you need to seek help and get out of this toxic relationship before you become a statistic.  I will ALWAYS have an open door and an open heart for anyone who needs help or assistance.  Please do not suffer in silence and hope it gets better, because my experience proved to me that it never does.

If you know of someone who is committing Domestic Violence, talk to them, seek help for them and make sure they are aware that what they are doing is far from right or socially acceptable. Let them know they are better than that; that violence cures nothing but destroys everything.  Worst case scenario, report them to the police – don’t let the person you know become a name in the news for killing someone they loved.

Together, little steps and truths can become a big change in our society and how we tackle this very real, devastating issue.  No one should have to live in fear in their very own homes.  No one should have to wake up wondering if they’ll make it through the day without a new bruise or scar being added to their body.  No one should have their life cut short because they trusted and loved someone with a violent temper and rage, and didn’t know how to leave safely…

I am grateful every day that my father had the strength to leave my mother and rescue us from her when she kidnapped us and took us 1000kms from home.  I didn’t understand what was happening at the time (I was only 10), and I was angry at my father for a long time too.  However, now that I am much older and understand how close I came to losing my life at the hands of my mother,  I am passionate that no child, woman or man should experience brutal violence from someone they love.

So please, if you are passionate too – speak up, let your voice be heard, let your friends and family know that you won’t tolerate domestic violence and that you will be there for any one of them if they suffer.

Together we might be able to save a life.

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The White Ribbon has a list of helpful numbers for men, women and children.  If you need help or just need to talk please contact myself or one of these numbers – http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/finding-help

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Interesting Articles to Read:

Domestic Violence Deserves The Same Attention as Terrorism

Women The Victims of Intimate Partner Terrorism

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Hey Baby, I Think I Wanna Marry You…

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woah, calm your tits – no I’m  not talking about you or anyone reading this

I’m sure you’re a lovely person, but it’s just not on my cards RIGHT now…

 

Seriously, I cringe EVERY single time I hear that song.  I never know if Bruno Mars was just taking the piss out of Britney Spears and other drunk Vegas weddings, or if he genuinely thinks the sanctity of marriage is that worthless that you can marry anyone you want, while drunk, just for fun, and if you regret it in the morning, can just get divorced..

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When I was a child, I remember thinking how amazing it would be to find ‘the one’ and get married for eternity and just be in love all day everyday…

Growing up, after watching my dads several failed relationships and marriages, I started to resent the thought of marriage and vowed I would NEVER get married myself because it was just a waste of time and money.

Then at the sweet old age of 14 and 9 months I got swept off my feet and spent the next three years with someone who I thought I was going to marry and spend the rest of my life with… three weeks of living together and we were ready to kill each other…

Most recently, my ex and I were thinking about going down that path.. and by thinking I mean there was a lot of pressure on us from family and friends because we had known each other for years, seemed happy enough and the fact that we tried to do the whole long distance thing would mean that we should at least just get engaged to prove that we were going to be faithful to each other.  Hell I remember one night when I went down to Brisbane to visit him, I was crying and begging him to just hurry up and propose because I wasn’t going to sit around and wait forever in Mackay for him to make his mind up…

Yeah… like I said, he is my ‘ex’… and ‘example’ of who I definitely should not marry…

Being an adult, watching people around me get engaged and married all the time, has completely changed my perspective of marriage alllll together.  The truth is, you can marry whoever the fuck you want.. but what makes them ‘the right’ person, is the question.

 

I’m not an expert in the matter, but I like to think that due to the ten million weddings and engagement parties that I have to attend this year, my own failed ‘pre-engagements’ and wedding plans, and just general relationship mistakes have made it pretty clear to me who you should marry or at least some key points to consider before walking down the aisle…

 

1.  You Should Be On The Same Page

Find the closest book, turn to page 45 and if your names are not on the same page then your relationship is doomed…

In all seriousness though, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re forever explaining yourself because the other person doesn’t ‘get’ you or understand where you are coming from.  You should be able to understand what they mean when they say something that has everyone else scratching their heads or saying ‘WTF’.    Sometimes you sit there and cringe after what you said, because you know you’re going to have to explain yourself to everyone else, but your partner just laughs because they get you and know you just said the stupidest fucking thing.

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You should have the same future wants and needs to an extent because you shouldn’t really be marrying someone who wants to have kids in the next 6 months if you NEVER want to have kids.  If you hate smoking and smokers, and they refuse to give up smoking, you should probably have a pretty big chat about that one too… Or if they like doing recreational drugs on the weekend and you’ve never touched drugs in your life and are pretty against them – consider that maybe JUST maybe, you should not be marrying this person.  If they are talking about retiring at the age of 30 and you’re the most motivated person in the world and love working and would happily work until you’re a billionaire, then they probably are not the person you should consider spending the rest of your life with.

If you’re not on the same page BEFORE you’re married, then it’s only going to get worse after you get married.  This will be pretty obvious planning the wedding though (I would imagine) as this task in itself requires a lot of team work and shared decision making.  If you can’t even agree the specifics on the wedding, then how are you going to agree on any other specifics afterwards?

Remember, this is the person who you will be (or should be)  making joint decisions with for the rest of your life, so you need to make sure before the hard decisions have to be made, that you’re on the same page.  Or you could end up like my old school friend, divorced within 6 months of the wedding because he wanted to stay in his home town and have babies and she just didn’t really know what she wanted and felt like she was too young to ‘settle down’…

 

2.  Have They Got Their Shit Sorted?

In the words of TLC … “a scrub is a guy who thinks he’s fly, he’s also known as a buster… always talkin bout what he wants and just sits on his broke ass… ”

Getting married should be an ‘adult’ decision and is like making an investment.  You might buy a house that you plan to renovate, but you shouldn’t marry a person who you need to strip down and rebuild.   If they are still struggling to manage their finances, health, well being, relationships, job and life then they probably don’t have their shit sorted.

This is a bit of a controversial topic though, because I don’t think you’re ever going to find anyone who has everything sorted out and things change and shit happens.  Look at me, I lost my job just before I met my current partner and I would never think he would take me on board while I felt so disorganised and messed up.  Because of me not having a job for a few months, I now have a lot of overdue bills and expenses that I have to work towards paying back.  However, upon reflection this was not something I had a lot of control over and I was working my arse off trying to find a job and minimising all my costs and expenses while I was unemployed.

You have to figure out whether their life situation or their situation they are in right now, is one they will continue being in or if it’s one they have self  built and don’t want to get out of.  My ex and were a perfect example of this, he was quite happy being ‘unemployed’ and watching movies/playing PC games in his undies in bed all day while I worked… likewise, I was quite happy living pay cheque to pay cheque because even though I was working a very well paying job and had no assets to show for it, I couldn’t resist buying a new outfit or pair of shoes every week…

Both of us were prime examples of people who didn’t have their shit sorted, and were quite happy with it being that way.

 

3. They Should Understand Respect

This is a massive one for me.  A girlfriend once told me, ‘If he speaks badly of his ex then he will speak badly of you’.  It is so true.  While I don’t always speak very highly of my exes, I value each one of them for what they taught me and for the times that were good.  You should rarely look back on a past relationship and speak horribly of an ex day in and day out and particularly with your partner.   The truth is, at one point, you were happy with that person and there was a reason you were dating them.

It is natural to go through a phase where you constantly want to tell the world how much of a shit head they are and how heart broken they left you, but you should reach a point where you just learn to accept and appreciate it for what it was.  That being said, there are still some real assholes in the world that can’t be avoided.

If they talk about their family, their friends and their exes with respect, than they’re probably only saying respectful things about you.  If they take every chance they can to bag out their friends behind their back – you need to question what the hell they say about you.  Likewise, if you hear them talking in depth about this one time they did this to this girl and how funny it was, it’s probably time to put on the invisible cloak and run away as fast as you can.

There is a difference between criticising someone and being disrespectful… Make sure you understand when someone is just speaking their mind because they are frustrated or they disagree with the choices of someone and when they are downright being nasty, cruel and like a school yard bully.

 

4.  You Shouldn’t Feel Pressured/In A Rush

There are two sides to this, but anyone in my opinion who gets married VERY quickly is either insecure about the strength of their relationship or opinions of others or hasn’t really thought it through.

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Think of my example before, I was crying and begging my ex to just hurry up and propose so I could prove that what we had was worth fighting and waiting for.

BIIIIGGG Indicator we weren’t meant to get married and I was literally just trying to mask the insecurities I had, because I knew waiting for him and making long distance work was basically pointless because something told me it wasn’t right.

You shouldn’t be marrying someone because all you’re friends are doing it, or because you’re getting ‘old’ and need to get married now because you could end up single for the rest of your life, or because the other person is threatening to leave you if you don’t.

Marriage and engagement should be some of the happiest times of your life.  Not the times where you feel as though you’re walking on egg shells, about to make a huge mistake or are continuously questioning yourself and your decision.

One of my best friends has been engaged for close to two years now, and while I think they rushed in getting engaged (it was on their one year anniversary) they have spent the past two years happily engaged and just living life out together.  Just because you’re engaged does not mean you need to make wedding plans ASAP.  Engagement is your time to work through your future plans together as a couple and make sure that you are in fact making the right decision.

My cousin was engaged to her partner of several years, and a few months before their wedding they broke up.  Both of them are happily in other relationships now and there is no animosity.  This is due to the fact that they spent that time talking and discussing future plans about life after marriage, and came to the realisation that who they were now, and what they wanted in the future were completely different to who they were when they started dating.

The truth is, people change.  Particularly when you’re young.  It’s not a bad reflection on yourself or the person you’re dating or engaged to if you are no longer in tune with each other.  It just means that you’re not meant to spend the rest of your life together.  Our wants and needs change a lot in our teens and early twenties, and sometimes who we began dating is very different to the person we break up with.

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5.  They Aren’t Afraid to Have Adult Conversations

If the person you are with can’t commit to having a conversation about weddings, babies and marriage then they are probably never going to be ready to have that conversation with you.

That doesn’t mean that you should start talking about it in the first week of dating or that you should be sitting there waiting for the right time to bring it up.  You don’t want to scare the poor guy/girl away in the first couple of weeks of dating them by sounding like you’ve already planned out your whole lives together.  I.e ‘I can’t believe they’re having 300 people at their wedding, we’re not going to…’

What I mean, is if people around you are having babies, getting married etc.  you should naturally be able to discuss this with the other person in a non-committal sense.  Figure out what their thoughts are on those around you who are getting married or having children – or if you’re watching a movie or TV show, just bring it up in conversation.  This is all about being on the same page as each other – if you are talking about your best friends child who eats all the chocolate in the world and doesn’t exercise and lives on their Xbox  and how much this disgusts you, and your partners sees nothing wrong with it – you’re definitely going to have issues later down the track.

If someone is grown up enough and ready to find that person, then they won’t mind talking about these things from time to time.  They won’t mind expressing their opinion because chances are they’re sussing you out and what you would be like as a mother/wife before they make a massive mistake.   If they are afraid to talk about these things or constantly shy away from the conversation, then they probably are just thinking this is a high school relationship and the future is not really important to them (or atleast their future with you isn’t important).

6.  You Are HAPPY and Are In Love

I cannot stress this enough!  If you are not happy with the person you are engaged to or married to, then get the fuck out of there!  It’s not always going to be sunshine and butterflies, but it should be at least 70% of the time.  The amount of people I see getting engaged because they have been together forever and just think it’s the right thing to do, but are actually quite miserable is unbelievably high.  Sure behind closed doors they might have the best sex and laugh all the time, but usually other people around you will know if you’re in a happy relationship.

Your parents will be happy when you’re partner is around because they know how happy they make you.

Your friends will smile when you bring them up in conversation because they know you’re in love.

Your heart should flutter when you see them every now and then because you realise how lucky you are and how amazing this person is.

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If you’re not happy while you’re engaged – then don’t solidify you’re wedding plans… work through it and see if you can make the relationship get back to that point where you were happiest and got butterflies and SMILED.  If you can’t, then don’t be afraid to end it.  Relationships do reach expiry dates.  Don’t keep at something that is making you or the other person miserable – you’re much better off being single and enjoying life and one day, the right person might come along.

On my birthday weekend, we were sharing an apartment with one of my beautiful friends and her fiancee.  I couldn’t help but smile like a little child when I woke up early and walked out to the lounge room and heard them giggling constantly in bed together.  They have been together for 8 years or so and have definitely have had their fair share of ups and downs and criticism.  But they are in love and they are happy.  His words later that day were, “Fuck if I wasn’t attracted to her still she’d be long gone… sorry baby, but it’s the truth”.  That is how it should be.

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Above all else, the one thing that has spoken the most to me about marriage and love is ‘Don’t marry someone you wouldn’t want your child to marry’.  We often think of our future children and place more value on them then ourselves.  So if you can’t see the person you’re marrying being a good role model or good mother/father, that’s a big sign that they are not the person you should be marrying, but beyond that – if you wouldn’t want your child to marry them – then don’t marry them yourself.

 

While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the things that I value and that upon talking to several other people, are pretty darn important when making that big decision.  The sad truth is, divorce rates are ridiculously high so most peoples weddings you attend will end up in a broken marriage.  But if you yourself don’t want to make that mistake, heed the wisdom of those around you and most of all TRUST YOUR INSTINCT.  We all know that we have those weird little gut feelings that churn when we’re in a situation we’re not comfortable with – so if you have that, sort it out and be honest with yourself.  Because there is nothing worse than letting yourself down – than knowing that you KNEW something was wrong but you refused to acknowledge it.

 

Marriage is an investment and like any investment has risk.  But you can curtail this risk by being honest with yourself and what your expectations are.  Don’t get married just to become a divorce statistic.

 

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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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