I confessed to a friend recently that in the middle of the night I get struck down by paranoia and stress. I actually think I’m way too paranoid to be a writer, but I can’t seem stop typing (read: talking).
I told them that I start to obsess about my future, and my faults, and what I’ve recently written or not written, and I imagine that everyone is aware of these failings and they’re probably all thinking about them too.
No one could possibly think good things about me. Certainly not at 4 in the a.m. anyway. Naturally, my logical brain knows that everyone else is asleep or thinking about their own shit, but gripped in the long dark fingers of night I can’t make sense of it.
I’m finding this especially at this moment in my life when everything seems amplified because of the great changes going on in my life with end of my marriage and all the grown up, night time stress worthy things that go hand in hand with that.
Generally, I wake up feeling gritty eyed and mildly zombified, without the bad teeth and shocking death breath, but I snap out of it, go about my day and my equilibrium finds me and my wobbly sea legs are left behind.
On this particular day, my friend listened carefully and talked me down from the ledge with logic and love.
Not everyone is so lucky.
For some, the dark fingers grip them into the day, and day after day they struggle to pry themselves free.
I was recently invited to an event at the Australian Writer’s Centre as a part of the Australian Blog Festival. I often feel awkward about attending blog events but when I heard they were discussing mental health I knew it was an important thing for me to attend.
Jai Evans, a dear friend of the late Charlotte Dawson was there, as was Peter Bliss, brother of the late Diana Bliss, and they both discussed the crippling affects of depression and watching their loved ones lose the battle for happiness.
Just before her death, Charlotte was about to launch a homewares line of gorgeous hand made, hand screen printed cushions and coasters that she has discovered in Bali: her home away from home. Her friend Jai has continued her legacy by launching that line and 80% of the proceeds go to Charlotte’s top 5 charities, Lifeline, Community Brave, ACON, Angels Goals and The Smile Foundation.
One of the things everyone says about Charlotte is how what you see is what you get. She was kind, fun, loyal and loving, but on a bad day, she let you know where she was at.
I only met Ms Dawson once. I was producing a music video that she played a small role in. I guess I met her on one of her off days, and she certainly let me know where she was at!
Listening to Jai discuss her struggles made me view my only meeting with Charlotte a little differently.
A little more kindly.
Diana Bliss was a dynamic writer and wife to the infamous Alan Bond. Her darkness overtook her life and for years her family watched her slip away into the shadows of life. Her brother Peter is a life coach and an advocate for mindfulness who now dedicates his life to helping others find balance. His talk was most inspiring.
One of the most profound things I took from his talk was that the happiness movement is delusional. You can’t be happy all the time and the pressure we place on ourselves to be so is causing issues.
The desire for happiness is creating discontent.
All in the room were touched by depression in some way, and one particular person whom I admire greatly had been touched profoundly, both suffering it long term herself and her brother had taken his own life after deciding he was tired of the battle. As her tears fell while she talked of this heart ache, she apologised to us for her grief, and my throat tightened and I was gone.
Laugh and the world laughs with you, but cry?
You need not cry alone.
We discussed the importance as bloggers to have conversations about mental well-being. If someone tries to tell you they’re struggling, don’t try to fix it, just listen. Just sit with them. Just love them.
If you’re worried about someone, let them know.
There’s much help out there, so don’t stop until you find the right people to help you.
Lifeline – 131114
BeyondBlue – 1300 224636