Health and Wellbeing

The happiness obsession.

June 18, 2014

australian blog festival
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.

charlotte dawson homewaresJai 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.

charlotte dawson

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


australian blog festival


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  • Reply mumabulous June 18, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I’ve got quite alot to say about this post but I’ll settle for just reiterating the message – if you are struggling get help. The difference a little medical help can make is astounding. Good job H.
    PS: A marriage breakdown is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. Go easy on yourself.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Spanks, Mumabs. I didn’t even say all the stuff I wanted to say but I can’t find the words. So yes, get help is so it. Things seem a little easier to bear with someone on your team.
      Thanks for post script. I’m working on it.

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design June 18, 2014 at 8:09 am

    We are entirely too hard on ourselves.

    The only reason to think about your own faults is if you plan on doing something about them. I always feel lazy. I don’t know why. I have a full time job, a freelance business and in between, I somehow find time to blog. Lately, I’ve even found time to exercise (never happened before). So if you can take your faults and do 1 thing to improve them, fine. But don’t dwell!

    I have a lot to be grateful for and my happiness often sits on the shoulders of my successes, new ventures and of course, love life. I think the biggest thing to remember is that when you are in the darkness that it will pass. As it always does.

    As terrible as it sounds, I only have patience to support the darkest hours of those I love. There are people I do not love that could probably do with a friend in bad times. Yet I shrink away from them. Does that make me a bad person? Being there for everyone drains me so I pick my very favourite people and I’m there for them, always. Anyone else will need to find someone else to support them.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 18, 2014 at 8:36 am

      You’re not Lassie, honey. You simply can’t help everyone. I think your philosophy is perfect. I need more of it and I’m truly going to remember your words next time I spread myself too thin for someone I shouldn’t.
      I think recognizing that is really evolved.

      As for the night time stress stuff, it’s not really changeable stuff. It’s inane paranoia over dumb shit. I’ve always done it!

      • Reply Bunny Eats Design June 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm

        I have paranoia but I like to think of it as preparing for the worst.

        If something is keeping me awake at night, I think of Plan B, Plan C…etc. until I fall asleep. Even more fun than that is thinking up Plan B with unlimited funds. Daydreaming seems to be a good happy place to escape to in times of stress.

  • Reply Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me June 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Oh lovely, I did wonder if I had read in between the lines a while back, sorry to hear about your marriage, well sorry might not be the right word, but is there a right word? I can’t imagine how hard it must be to cope with such emotions, stress, and anxiety. And it’s redick that we all should even try to be happy all the time, it’s just not possible. We have snatch moments of happiness in the mundane, crazy lives that we lead. Strength and love to you lovely. I have NO doubt you will get there, you writing is exceptional and only surpassed by your spirit, personality and drive. Hang in there. Em xxx
    ps LOVE the blog makeover 🙂 xxx

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      It’s as good a word as any, sweets. I know what you’re trying to say and I appreciate it! Thanks for the love. It honestly means a lot to me xxx

  • Reply San June 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Hey gorgeous gal, “the source of your sadness is the same source as that of your joy. You have to experience one to know and appreciate the other” (Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet, you can Google his wonderful philosophy, ) This quote has kept me going through some debilitatingly sad and awful times. I chose to believe it and you know what – it’s true!! You will get through this and know extreme joy and fulfillment my love. You’re a beautiful soul with a positive energy that will prevail. Great subject matter, we need to look after and look out for each other as best we can. Snogs and hugs…….

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 19, 2014 at 6:24 am

      I love The Prophet. I’d forgotten all about it until you reminded me. I’m truly ok. Just taking it one day at a time. And most days are wonderful. Xxx snogs back at ya!

      • Reply San June 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        Great ‘tood’ Girlfriend…..

  • Reply Zanni Arnot June 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    This is an important topic for me Dan, and I think you’ve hit the nail so to speak. When I realised that life was not about happiness, I was so relieved. I suddenly began to feel happy. This is a post I wrote a while ago, and I know from a few people it helped changed their focus. Having worked for Life Line, I have heard people weep from suffering. Some people cry every day of their lives. I think social media has a lot to answer for, for circulating the myth of happiness. It’s unhelpful and often detrimental.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys June 19, 2014 at 6:22 am

      I loved this post of yours,’s exactly it, isn’t it?
      I do think social media has a lot to answer for, as does simple comparison of our lives against others.

  • Reply Fabulous Mommy June 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    For some, the dark fingers grip them into the day, and day after day they struggle to pry themselves free.

    Every single day.

    Thanks for this post and for all your supportover the last couple months. It means more to me than yyou’ll ever know.

  • Reply San June 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Random acts of kindness…. these go a LONG way to making our day, both the givee and the giver…

  • Reply Sam Stone (@A Life on Venus) June 22, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Mental health is such an important issue. Cudos to you Mrs H. xo

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