Our world, the great melting pot of ideas.

Archive for October, 2014

Coastie Bra – How To Get Noticed On The Job Circuit

I’m A Coastie Now Bra

I moved to the coast with about three times as much gear as I’d lugged through South America for the past five months.

That is to say, not a whole lot.

Luckily coasties aren’t too fond of clothes, probably they were already starting to regard me as a native. The more skin, the more native.

I sat above Mooloolaba’s main beach and surveyed my new home. I liked to think I looked like a seasoned water woman scanning for rips. Probably I looked more like an unemployed 20-something eating her homemade sandwich.

Pedal power.

Pedal power.

Wind took up my hair to dance, sun bit deliciously into my back and with each white crash of wave I felt the pull to leave Australia growing a little weaker.

What a place.

I’d hoped to knock off work earlier to work on my tan and put my head beneath that famous blue water. No wonder travellers came here and never left.

And when I say work I mean unpaid trial. I’d been a coastie bra for four days now. I hated being idle.

After stressing about work on day one, I peppered the Mooloolaba esplanade with my resumes. On day two I’d been lined up for four trials.

Anything over two hours I requested pay for. Café trials meant making plenty of coffees under the boss’s watchful gaze…which meant I scored two free coffees per trial. I spent the day buzzing.

Unfortunately for me I’d just spent the past two hours working (unpaid) at a place that’d never heard of me. Ha! Let me explain.

These types of occurrences were commonplace in my life.

My phone had rung the night before.

“Hi, Lisa, it’s so-and-so from the something-mumbled Café Mooloolaba, just wondering if you could come in for a trial at 9 tomorrow morning?”

“Yes, certainly,” I said, scrawling ‘9am Café Mooloolaba’ on my growing list.

Shit yeah! Beachfront workplace.

The sun had a bite even at 8:30am. I stood high on my bike as I glided down Mary Street. If a car pulled out I’d have gravel for a face, but how good that wind felt, blowing my worries away.

My short legs pedalled me valiantly past dawdling holiday makers in too-bright prints. At the sound of a bell they seemed startled. A bike on a commonly used bike path!

I changed into hospo blacks, chained my bike and headed to my future workplace.

“Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m here for a trial this morning.”

“Oh, I didn’t know anything about that,” said the sprightly manager.

“My boss must have forgotten to mention it.”

I made coffees, learnt the till and took orders on the iPad. I was killing it, and we discussed the roster at the end of the shift.

I hadn’t been climbing or waitressing in months and my weak fingers rebelled every time I made them carry three stacked plates.

But it felt so good to be working after three idle days I would have almost paid the café to let me do the trial.

“Well thanks for coming in, you did well today and we’ll have a look at the new roster this week,” said my future boss.

I headed off, coffee in my belly and success on the horizon.

I sat on the beach to delete job rejection emails from Seek, which had the habit of collecting there each day for me. Like unwanted children.

Home sweet temporary home.

Home sweet temporary home.

Four missed calls from a coast number. Obviously someone had been gobsmackingly impressed with my resume.

A voice on the other end answered then handed me to her manager whose first words were “are you all right?”

“Yes….shouldn’t I be? This is Lisa…”

“What happened this morning? You were supposed to come in for a trial at 9am,” answered the owner.

Aaaaaah. Yesterday’s phone call. The trial at Café Mooloolaba was actually a trial at Envy Café, Mooloolaba.

We rescheduled for the morning and I walked back into Café Mooloolaba to explain I had just worked two hours for them without them contacting or meeting me ever before.

The barista who’d showed me the ropes looked at me with pity, the manager laughed and wrote my number on a docket.

Well that’s one way to get noticed at a place you want to work….rock up and work for them whether they ask you to or not. Fingers crossed….

That arvo I had lunch with my Nanna – collected in a real car for the occasion – what a treat. She was wearing a patch on her chest to help against memory loss. Oh science!

She told me life was no good when you got older unless you stayed cheeky.

“Each time one of the nurses puts it on I’m a bit cheeky with him,” Nan said with a twinkle.

“Raymond,” I tell him, “you get lower are lower each time!”

That arvo I pedalled off to my second trial, a German place on the esplanade where the owner made me taste Underburg, a German apertif that had the kick of cognac and the aftertaste of cloves. It was made on herbs. Not bad.

I managed to smash two expensive looking wine glasses.

“Ooooh, I’d hide those,” said the cherub-faced kitchen boy, clearly delighted there was a bit of a scandal on.

I stuffed them under a milk carton in the bin and got back to the coffee machine.

“I’ll just take the rubbish out,” he called to the chef, giving me a co-conspirator wink.

Thanks mate!

The place was dead. I studied the menu (food is overpriced on the coast!), wiped the same non-existent puddle of milk and watched the clock.

“How do you feel about not wearing your nose ring?” the owner asked.

“Our customers are quite conservative here.”

Obviously I hope I get the other job…. You know, that one that didn’t know they were auditioning me.

“Ok,” she said at 4pm.

“We’ll be in touch.”

It was too cold to swim so I lay on the beach and read Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country.

I lolled raucously to myself like all lovers of literature do.

Read it and you too can lol on the beach.

Read it and you too can lol on the beach.

He was a cracking travel writer – this book on his misadventures through our sunny country. In one chapter he is walking through bushland in the middle of Sydney when he hears two dogs, barking threateningly.

He writes:

“They were coming toward me at some speed. Now the barking said, “We are going to have you, boy. You are dead meat.”…Note the absence of exclamation marks. Their barks were no longer tinged with lust and frenzy. They were statements of cold intent. “We know where you are,” they said. “You cannot make it to the edge of the woods. We will be with you shortly. Somebody call forensic.””

Oh Bill. I imagined him trotting in terror through our fine bushland.

Suddenly sand sprayed across my face as three little boys tackled each other.

They were nippers from the Mooloolaba Surf Lifesaving Club, which sat proudly over my shoulder.

Nippers at Mooloolaba

They ran back to their larger flock of nippers, clad in hot pink rashies. They looked like the good molecules on those indigestion adds.

Stoopid little nippers. One was standing on the 3m wall below the surf club, looking down at the sand.

“Ashton’s gonna jump,” yelled the nippiest of the nippers.

Ashton ran to the edge, reconsidered and backed up.

“Do it Ashton,” yelled his fellow good molecules.

Like all good young Australian boys he bowed almost immediately to peer pressure and leapt.

Luckily Ashton broke the fall with his face.

He dusted the sand off like a little trooper and was sweet.

I watched them doing their nipper activities. Line up, like a bright pink intestine, clasp their mini ironman boards and run into the waves. Paddle, run back up the beach, drop the boards and race each other to the finish.

The intestine of nippers.

The intestine of nippers.

An exuberant freckled lad took the lead but lost a few second swivelling his head back to enjoy the struggle of his fellow nips. Come on freckles, commit bro. Ashton smoked him.

I pedalled home up my hated hill, the mountain bike trying its best. A man on a road bike overtook me.

“Bit easier on this one,” he turned around to grin. Sitting pretty above his tooth-floss wheels.


Musings on Mental Health Week

“Clop, clop, clop,” barked the shoes, just below the white coat tails, which swung just above the white floor, which lay just below the white walls… who looked down flat noses at everything.

He had the feeling his eyes were too brown to be in this room, the white as suffocating as smoke, like the kind that crackled from the gumtrees every summer.

He grew painfully aware of his body, the way he was sitting, the way his eyes darted everywhere while his brain hissed at them to stop. This whole place made him nervous. He wanted to sneak back to the vending machine and get another Snickers.

The door swung open, deftly, just the right amount, and the doctor-type stepped in.

She was quite camouflaged in her gumtree-smoke coat, hidden against the judging, gumtree-smoke walls.

His eyes settled on her face; ambitious, in control and markedly attractive. He might have thought of asking her for a coffee if he didn’t feel like a shell.

He pictured her response as she turned to shut the door.

“I am sorry Mr Humphries, but it is my policy not to date shells. Solely humans. You’ll understand I’m sure.”

“Clomp, clomp,” snapped the shoes. Back to reality.

“Good morning Mr McKewan, thank you for coming in,” said the doctor-type.

“I’ve had a look through your files and I’m afraid we have diagnosed you with confounding sadness.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Don’t be – that is one of the things you’re going to have to learn to let go off – saying sorry.”

“Yes…it’s just…I don’t really have anything to feel sad about.”

“It is called confounding sadness Mr McKewan. The nurse will show you out.”

——————————————————————————————————–

Almost every time I connect with media I see something disappointing. A story about humanity letting itself down (teacher sexually assaults student; racial attack on train; charity worker embezzles thousands), or a crass headline by a newspaper that lets down humanity (Monster Chef and The She-Male)…but last week I felt proud from Monday right through to Sunday.

The coverage of Mental Health Week, the online links to information and help, and even the ABC’s list of 20 songs (as nominated by their audience) to get you through a tough time, has been REFRESHING and EXCELLENT.

Despite the grit and doom of our world, sometimes great things can happen.

Last week lots of people were brave and told their stories on national radio or television.

It gives me courage as I go about small tasks that seem huge, like searching for overseas jobs, deciding what clothes to throw out and what to keep, sticking to the path I’ve chosen while people line my periphery and shout their bad advice.

It makes me feel like there are other people finding life difficult sometimes, and their perseverance inspires me.

This week was a shitty one for me. And you know how I got through it? I had a shower so hot my skin nearly bubbled and then I put in headphones and played The Mountain Goat’s ‘This Year’ so loud my ears tried to pack up and left the building.

“I am going to make it through this year, if it kills me,” yelled the lead singer down my ear canal and straight into the section of my brain where I store my strength.

It bolstered me. It reminded me shitty situations are just that – a slice in time. Things will improve.

I guess I fall into the ‘confounding sadness’ category. My life is good; I have a loving partner, have just returned from a fantastic trip and have a bit of money saved in the bank.

So why have I felt so down lately? It can be a million things, but the trick is being able to step back far enough to dissect these, figure out the problem, and deal with it.

If you can’t do that on your own (and that’s most people) you should go and talk to someone trained to see the bigger picture for you.

Stigma be dead! You can now get a referral from your GP to a psychologist and Medicare will hook you up with six free visits.

You may even find that saying a problem out loud will shrink it like nothing else has. I decided to look into a good psychologist in my new town. I was actually looking forward to getting someone else’s perspective on the things blackening out my skyline.

I trawled through the ABC’s Mental Health Week website and felt connected to strangers all over the world. How great it must have been last week for people down in dark places to feel others were going through that by their side.

I was highly surprised to read the stats on http://www.mindframe-media about mental health. A snippet:

• In each year, approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness.
• About 4% of people will experience a major depressive episode in a 12-month period, with 5% of women and 3% of men affected.
• Approximately 14 % of Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder in any 12-month period.

It also states mental illness is most prevalent in 18-24 year olds. This should come as no great surprise. It’s a time in your life you are expected to believe everything is possible, while at the same time enormous pressure is heaped upon your just-developed shoulders.

The point of today’s post is this:

Threats to our mental wellbeing come in all guises. Just because someone is living a good life, with all they can ask for, doesn’t mean the Black Dog won’t come looking for them.

Peel your eyelids back and have a good look at yourself and people you know, because sometimes all that’s needed is one hand to reach through that blackness and let you know there is an opening at the other end.

When somebody is diagnosed with cancer we rally behind them, it is talked about freely. When someone gets hit by a car, breaks an arm, contracts pneumonia we know what to do. We get them medical help, we follow their progress, and we help them get better.

So what about our mental health?

The conversation on mental health has improved drastically in this country, but as westerners I feel we still find it difficult to speak about. Some countries mourn loudly and unreservedly at funerals. We westerners weep politely, constrained by invisible social norms.

Mental health is to me almost more important than my physical health. For being unhappy eats at your soul, affects your relationships and steals your confidence and thus identity.

I am going to share three instances which have made me stop and think of the importance of checking with our friends, family and self whether we are all ok, need to talk to someone or simply need acknowledgement that we are not ok.

Sometimes when we most need help we can’t ask for it…. Instead we sit quietly and wait for someone to notice.

1)
When I was 18 I caught a train from Rosewood (nothing happening kinda town near the Lockyer Valley, Queensland) to Brisbane (sunny Queensland’s capital, in Australia) to visit friends on my uni holidays. I had to change at Ipswich, at night. I hadn’t panned on that (Ipswich can be dodgy).

I stepped onto the platform and looked around. A bird gave a languid shriek, the kind you’d hear from something in trouble that was beyond caring whether it lived or died.

I put a jumper on though it was hot. I felt safer with it, like sleeping beneath a sheet at night.

I sat on the platform to wait the 15 minutes for my connection, not thrilled at being there at night.

Pretty soon I heard an angry voice, making its muffled way ever closer. Great, I thought. I read the paper enough not to want to be there. I pulled out the pocketknife I’d been eating my green apple with and tucked it, open, into the band of my jeans. Just in case, I thought.

A man and woman came down the stairs. He on her heels. She walking ahead, but on a mental string that wouldn’t let her stray too far from his torrent of abusive words.

I felt anger bubbling up inside me. Nobody should be spoken to like that, but sometimes people don’t have the strength to leave. I thought carefully about the situation, there were two people in danger here and I didn’t want my unchecked anger to get her into trouble.

The bird called out again to underscore the misery of the whole yellow-lit platform.

“You can be a pretty stupid cunt can’t you?,” he said to her back, following antagonisingly on her heels.

They came down the stairs, she looked around 30, her hair bounced as she stepped, her shadow followed her sadly.

I thought about putting my pocketknife through his eye and telling him not to speak to a lady like that.

Sigh. Why wasn’t I six foot and strong?

Then I thought about the place she was in, to let somebody speak to her like that. Probably she was a confident woman once, who didn’t hang her head and put up with scumbags. Her sense of confidence must be so eroded that she felt she needed him. I knew nothing about this woman and yet I felt her pain so keenly it was strange.

Empathy is a quality often missing in cruel people. How else could you treat somebody like that?

They walked down the platform towards my bench. Nine minutes until the train. The man looked up, spotting me.

“You gotta lighter?,” he yelled in my direction. His words falling like little stones on my erect nerves.

“Yeah,” I answered, crossing the space between us, acutely aware of the knife poking gently into my belly and the fact I was 165cm tall.

I held out my lighter, my hand with its body attached – reflected like Esher’s sphere self-portrait on its chrome surface.

He took it like a taker would. No thanks. No pause. His nails were short. I tried to look into his eyes to see what kind of a man this was, but he looked over at her instead.

I wished he wouldn’t.

“You wait a long time for a train here,” I said, to break the murderous silence folding in thick layers around us like honey dripped from a great height.

“Look what she’s fucking wearing,” he said, not taking his eyes off her.

She said nothing. Her hair moved slowly in the wind. Moths flung themselves with dull pings into the tube light above our heads. Her shadow hung back with trepidation, kinked on the concrete by a pole’s interjection.

“Are you finished with my lighter?,” I asked as he blew a cloud of smoke out through his nose.

It moved slowly like her hair. Wanting to go somewhere but stuck in that train station with him.

“I like what you’re wearing,” I said to the lady.
“That skirt looks good on you I reckon.”

He came over to me, looked in my eyes. I could see what kind of man he was now. Not much control on his own life so he had to control someone else’s. Mean, but perhaps not once, not always.

I looked back at him, not caring that much if he hit me now, as long as someone had said something nice to her today. Who knows when the next time might be.

He stood there for seconds, which slunk past slow as cats through gravy. He gave me the lighter and turned slowly to walk to the pole, leaning there like the purveyor of misery he was. I could hear my heart in my ears.

She followed on her mental string. She never looked at me, perhaps that would have been co-conspiracy.

I walked back to my bench and put headphones in with no music. I felt my heart losing little drops of blood for her. I decided then and there to one day to volunteer in domestic violence shelters.

Nothing happened for four minutes, long minutes. I caught my train and left them on that yellow-lit platform. Her with her nice thing said, that was hopefully strong enough to break through the misery and remind her there is better.

Mental health is not just depression or anxiety, it is self-esteem and identity too. And it has serious consequences.

2)

After several lectures staring at the professor and wondering if she was for real, I realised Speech Pathology was not for me, or certainly not at that point in my life.

I packed my bags and took a semester off uni, deferring my course until I figured out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.

This is six months of my life, I thought to myself. I will never get this back.

The prospect of working in a café or bar bored me, so I began to trawl for jobs that might have an actual impact on my character.

“Carer – facilitated mental healthcare: experience favourable, must be able to work unsupervised.”

Bingo. I got the job, seemingly based solely on my common sense, as I had not a wisp of experience in that field.

My first two weeks were under the calm guidance of fellow carer Kelly, who rocked a fantastic short hairdo, shorter than I’d ever dared to cut my hair, and who was fazed by nothing.

There were around 40 residents with varying mental health issues from dissociative disorder to chronic schizophrenia and anger management issues. It was a real mixed bag, and my eyes were being opened wide to a world I knew little about.

Like nannying young children, I believe if you have empathy and common sense you can contribute positively to the lives of those in your care, so I was unfazed by my lack of training (though I am glad people doing this for a career receive some!).

The job description can be largely summed up as this: Arrive at work, strip all beds and wash sheets, complete a billion cycles of washing machine, dryer, and clothesline, remake beds, listen to strange stories from Peter (“I’ve hidden people on the highway to NSW you now, all up and down that road”), prepare lunch for 40 people and serve this and midday medicines in the dining hall, break up arguments at the tea and biscuit cart, do more slave-like hours of washing linen, add two cups of disinfectant wash to shitty or urine-soiled bed-sheets and wash twice, spend time in the garden with the Alzheimer’s patients, placate some of the patients suffering schizophrenic episodes, switch the TV to the afternoon movie, hide in the laundry and read a quick chapter of your book so you don’t get swallowed up by it all entirely.

On day two we arrived at work to find a foul stench.

“Oh great,” said Kelly, “Looks like we’re playing ‘find the poo’ this morning.”

And that we did. Unfortunately I was the ‘winner’.

Our patients had varying degrees of different mental illnesses. One man was not mentally ill, but his family couldn’t afford care-accommodation anywhere else.

“I was fast as a cheater when I was playing footy,” he told me.
“I’d flick the light switch at the door and be in bed before the room went dark.”

He had had two heart bypasses, and though his legs had slowed his mind remained sharp as a tack. I always discussed the latest book I was reading with him, and the current state of the Liberal Party.

Every day Ray, whose mental capacity had been estimated as that of a 9 year old, would come by and want to help me with the laundry. This wasn’t allowed, so of course I let him. He would laugh like a delighted kid when I’d let him hit the dryer button and watch the sheets spin.

One day I hid in the dryer and popped out when he came in. He laughed so much I changed his pad.

Sometimes he would run laughing down the hall and fetch a battered, blue bear from his bed. Then we’d both sit and laugh as it did tireless somersaults in there with the piles of linen. Him laughing at the bear, me laughing in joy at his joy.

On my break I would read the patients’ files to understand their conditions better and get more clues on how best to interact with them. It was often a tricky balance of authority, understanding and compassion played out in those dingy hallways.

I was about 20 years old and it was a great life lesson. It put all ‘problems’ into perspective and taught me you can achieve great things when nobody is watching and you’ve the only one who’s got your back.

One of my favourite patients was abandoned at three years of age on the steps of a hospital. He had severe autism and another form of retardation, and three was an age it could begin to show (I did learn something in that Speech Pathology degree!). Evidently too much trouble for his parents.

I began to know each one of them.

The shrunken, toothless and sweet-as-pie kleptomaniac who would grudgingly relinquish her spoils from the night’s wanderings when I searched her cupboard each morning; beautiful old Merv who had some of the most violent and abusive episodes but the most caring personality; rebellious Christine who insisted on striding through the hallways ringing a bell to summon everyone to lunch, while belting out “ring my beeeeeee-el, ring my bell,” at the top of her lungs, and silent Dawn who once caught fire and asked calmly for help from her wheelchair.

As I cut my countless laps through those underfunded hallways I developed a huge respect for people who learn to live with their mental illness, and for those who dedicate their lives to helping and caring for them.

It’s tough. Sometimes it’s thankless. Sometimes you feel as mentally unstable as your patients.

Our patients could no longer live without fulltime care, due to either mental or physical conditions, and it was a draining but rewarding job to help them.

Often times I felt beaten down at the end of a day. Surrounded by a forlorn kind of hopelessness. Nothing much changed in that brick place.

Other times I felt completely uplifted, finding joy in the smallest things: when patients would help me collect the fallen pegs from the lawn or tell me I was beautiful and should marry a prince, or when Ray could tell I was sad and give me a hug, his chubby hands hitting me firmly on the back in comfort. Breaking the rules, but saving my day.

A lady I will never forget, who suffered very bad hallucinations from her schizophrenia, once came to find me. She was highly agitated, eyes flying left-to-right in frenzied panic.

She led me to her room, too scared to enter it.

“They’re in there, they’re in there in the shadows,” she said growing more distressed and pacing.

The situation was escalating quickly, other patients were getting stressed out and anxiety was building in those claustrophobic little tunnels they called hallways. I began to feel like I was in the burrows of Watership Down.

I was not a nurse, I couldn’t administer sedatives or the like. I had no real training for a situation like this, and in my fourth week on the job I was on by myself until our one-hour shift overlap at 5pm.

“Sshh,” I said soothingly, rubbing her shoulder, “there’s nobody in there, I’ll go in and make sure for you.”

Nothing I did or said could convince her otherwise. She began to hyperventilate. Some of the more fragile patients became deeply distressed, listening from the hallway.

“Come on,” I said, taking her hand, “I know what to do.”
“You stand here in the doorway and watch to make sure they’re all gone.”

I grabbed the spray deodorant from her duchess and stepped into the shadowed corner of the room.

“When we spray this it means you have to leave,” I said to the empty wall.
“Julie doesn’t want you in her room anymore. Thank you. Ok, bye.”

“You need to go and find our own room to live in now. This is Julie’s.”

Her eyes were two bruised plums in her skull. She came in slowly, looking all around, gradually calming down.

“I hate it when they just come in here. It’s not their room,” she said, indignant.

“They’re gone now, it’s ok. They know now,” I said, looking into her haunted eyes.

I will remember that day forever. The thought created by her own mind that caused so much distress. Acknowledging and dealing with a mental illness is in my opinion one of the bravest things a person can do.

We cannot always cure mental illnesses, but we can treat, manage and show understanding for them. It is the least we can do in today’s society, where people have enough pressures without the ignorance of others.

3)
This is a memory that still sometimes brings tears to my eyes, but more regularly remind me that everybody is locked in their own story, and we never know exactly what they are going through. So be kind to strangers, you just never know.

While we were at uni one of our friends took his own life. It rippled through our college community, through his family and friends, through everybody who had ever known him.

Some felt angry, some felt guilty, some felt cheated, all were devastated.

I share this story now in hope that you’ll watch for the signs in family and friends, and realise that mental health is not something to be spoken of in hushed tones, but something to be spoken of in the same way that going to the doctor for a checkup is not a taboo topic.

If you are going through a hard time, if you are sinking below an impenetrable mess of thoughts, talk to someone. If you aren’t ready to take that step, tell someone you think you might need to. Reach out.

The funeral was just like him, an eclectic mix of a lot of different things. People from all social groups were there, the nerds, the jocks, past teachers, his partner, his parents, his brother, his individual friends and his larger group of friends.

We all stood, spilling out the doors, such were our numbers, and looked at the white coffin. A life gone too soon.

The lump in my throat went up and down. The North Queensland air was hot. I stood there wishing I had been there for him, wishing I hadn’t moved away.

I had never met his family before, but that day told his Mum through tears how much we had all loved him.

When I flew back home I wrote them a letter, about what their son and brother had meant to all his friends. How his mischief brightened our time up north, how his inquisitive mind was never satiated.

A year later for his anniversary we all gathered for a ceremony in his hometown. I went up a few days early with one of his closer friends and we stayed for a night with his family.

Saying goodbye to a friend.

Saying goodbye to a friend.

I slept in his old room. I will always remember that ceiling, the feeling of those four walls around me, wondering how he must have felt looking up at this very view.

Some of us knew he was unhappy. Mostly we didn’t know the extent of it, only the very inner circle did, and even then you never know what someone is really thinking.

Afterwards we grappled with this overwhelming concept. And tried to heal our hearts.

Lying in that bedroom that night I finally understood the importance of reaching out to people. Nobody can say what it’s like until they have been there. Down in that dark place.

As depression sufferers often say when interviewed, or writing about their experiences, it is not sadness that takes over in the end, it is a life-crushing apathy. You just don’t care anymore.

An excellent blog I’ve discovered by a woman who suffers from depression is this: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

In the link above, Depression Part Two, she writes:

“The beginning of my depression had been nothing but feelings, so the emotional deadening that followed was a welcome relief. I had always wanted to not give a fuck about anything. I viewed feelings as a weakness — annoying obstacles on my quest for total power over myself. And I finally didn’t have to feel them anymore.

But my experiences slowly flattened and blended together until it became obvious that there’s a huge difference between not giving a fuck and not being able to give a fuck. Cognitively, you might know that different things are happening to you, but they don’t feel very different.”

I think it’s important to remember though people may want to help themselves, sometimes they can’t.

depression-quote_zps4ad13361

All we can do is be there for them, and keep an eye on our friends. I strongly recommend reading that post if you want to understand more about depression from someone who lives with it.

And remember when the sads hit you that you are not alone in feeling this way, and that things can change.

Just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking until you see your horizon. Foot by godamned foot.

Oh, and play this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii6kJaGiRaI

That’s it from me today beautiful people. And thank you to all last week who took the time to share their stories or engage in someone else’s to bring dialogue to Mental Health Week.

Someone, somewhere in the world probably sat up late at night… scrolling through your story and realising they’re not the only one who feels like that. And sometimes that’s all a person needs.