Is Happiness Really The Best Revenge?

They say “Happiness is the best revenge”. But after a certain point, I wonder, does the pursuit of revenge make one truly happy?

I’m writing from the point of being divorced about 7 years ago. Then I remarried and had another couple of kids. When I got divorced, my depression spiraled to the depths of hell. The property settlement and child custody battle with my ex husband took a bashing on my mental health. Then I read somewhere that the best revenge was to be happy. To appear happy was the best I could come up with at the start.

After years of working on my own mental health, I learnt that showing my ex husband that I was happy, wasn’t actually making me happy at all. It felt like a competition in my own head that I had to make sure he knew how great my life was. I had to make sure I did everything I could to outdo his own happiness. And the competition was draining.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly pretending. My life – since I left him, really is great. I’m married to a man that is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better man, husband, father and step father to our children. But somehow, I still kinda wanted my ex husband to know that I was doing fantastic – without him.

When you see children playing at the park with their best friends, you see pure happiness in their faces. They don’t try and pretend to be happy in order for their other friends to think they’re happy. They’re just happy.

That’s when I realized how silly I was.

Did my ex husband care about my current happiness? Probably, most likely – No. So why was I trying to prove something that didn’t need proving?

So over the last 4-5 years, I decided to just be happy. For me. I worked on myself. I still continually find ways to make my life better, to learn to be comfortable with who I am. To concentrate on my own happiness, which led to everything else pretty much falling into place.

Revenge became irrelevant to me. Revenge put a negative slant to my own pursuit of happiness. The need for revenge made my ex still part of my life. And so I decided that revenge, isn’t for me.

And dare I say… I’m even happy for my ex. I’m happy he has a family and new additions as well. 

So “Is happiness really the best revenge”? It may work at the beginning, when you’re still angry… And being angry… is not being happy. You don’t see truly happy people going out seeking revenge. But you can fake it til you make it.

Don’t forget to actually work towards your own happiness and inner peace. Once that is achieved, revenge is no longer relevant, nor will it be in the forefront of your mind.

Pursue happiness for YOU. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Exercising Makes You Feel Better!

The other day I said I’ve started to do something about my weight. I love love love food. Cheese, fried chicken, noodles, rice, curries etc. I cringe at the thought of eating anything that resembles healthy-eating. “I’m not eating rabbit food.” – is my normal go to excuse. I’m not a big drinker, but I’m a big eater.

So what’s the other alternative? I’ve started exercising. I used to say to everyone that I exercise “solo”. I’d put on my headphones and go for a run. I used to love it so much. Just being on my own. But over the last few years I lack the motivation and the time or time management skills to actually get out of the house to go for a run on my own. Family came first. Then cooking meals or catching up with friends for coffee was waaaay more important. Oh and joining the gym is just financially not possible.

Then the weight piled on. I went off my meds, hated my body etc etc

One day my friend Kerry asked to join her for a 30 min exercise class at the park. It was fantastic, I was sore for days. So I put on my personal FB page “Who wants to train with me? It’s only for 30 mins!” And I was so happy that quite of few of them said YES!

The moral of the story is, it’s so much better exercising in a group, especially if it’s with your fellow sisters. ASK your friends to do this with you, and if they do, EVERYBODY WINS. It’s sociable, great for your mental health and you get to lose weight.

Look for exercise groups in your local area. Then drag a friend or a group of friends with you. Our trainer charges us $5 per session and it’s only for 30mins (for a high intensity work out). We take our kids with us and they play together while the mums work out. You might even make new friends.

And remember, ACTIVE WEAR IS OPTIONAL 😂 T-shirt and shorts is fine. Nobody actually needs fancy active wear to exercise.

Today’s session, someone said, “Oops I peed a little” and we all burst into giggles. Our trainer nearly swallowed a fly and we all cracked up.

Take the first step. Ask your friends. I did. I had a shit day yesterday. But I feel great today. Let’s motivate each other ❤️ One day at a time ❤️

 

#MyRescuePlan

So Adam and I talked about having a “rescue plan”.

I’ve been on and off my meds for a few years. Every time I went off them, I had no real plan to deal with the aftereffects and the withdrawals. I would wait for the side effects to happen and then the meltdowns. I can handle the physical effects (head zaps and wobbles) but the mental ones were really hard. I didn’t know how to cope, and Adam didn’t either.

We talked about it last night, about how to deal with these uncontrollable meltdowns – when my state of mind is all hazy and messy and all over the place. When I’m like that, nothing Adam could say would help me. So I came up with a plan. A “rescue plan”. For days like I had a few days ago.

The plan is for Adam to first recognise the signs. Then this:

Don’t offer solutions
Don’t say only I can fix this
Don’t remind me it’s my depression (because I already know that)
Don’t tell me to “calm down”
Don’t be defensive – It’s not about you

INSTEAD

Be soft with me
Tell me you “get it”, you understand
Let me ramble, even if you don’t know what I’m rambling on about
Hold me tight while I cry
Kiss me
Stroke my hair
Offer to take me out for a meal, just the two of us
Go for a walk with me, hold my hand or put your arm around me
Tell me you love me ❤️

Please remember I’m not telling anyone to go off their meds if it’s working for them. This post is for anyone who ISN’T on their meds. This doesn’t have to be targeted to husbands only. This could be for partners, parents, friends who are here to support you. Come up with your own “rescue plan” and the plans can ALWAYS be changed and altered ❤️

Please please please share 🙏🏼

#myrescueplan #postnataldepression #awareness

I Screamed At My Husband and He Didn’t Deserve It

I screamed at my husband on the phone this morning. He didn’t deserve it.

As some of you may know, I’ve come off my meds. It’s been about 2 months now that I’ve been completely off them. Most days I can handle. And when they’re really good, I keep thinking I should put up a positive blog on here to let everyone know that it’s all good. But I didn’t because I didn’t want to jinx it.

Last couple of weeks have been hectic and quite the strain on me emotionally and physically. More so emotionally. I’m letting idiots get to me. I’m letting people from every part of my life get to me. I’ve allowed people I don’t even really care about get into my head.

My kids are driving me crazy. Both toddlers and teenagers. The younger ones broke one of my favourite Christmas bells that I’ve had for 15 years. When I got home from work last night I found about a hundred (ok maybe less) sultanas all over the living room floor. And then I couldn’t find Miss 4’s school uniform, so I had to turn the house upside down. I can never seem to find anything in MY OWN HOUSE.

And the tears. The tears keep flowing.

I go to bed every night planning the next day and nothing goes to plan. Other shit keeps coming up because I can’t say no.

It’s end of the school year and I see everyone all organised with gifts for teachers. I haven’t even started and it’s the last week of school.

There is so much more but if I listed every single thing, my words would seem hazy and messy.

Last two nights at work have been mentally draining. So I let out a rant on my personal FB page about feeling so burnt out. I got so many messages from friends asking if I was ok and lending me support. So I quickly deleted that post. Last thing I’d ever want is for my friends to roll their eyeballs thinking I was being dramatic or attention seeking.

Then this morning I got a message from one of my friends, who opened up to me and was so honest in how he feels about his life. He said his life feels like it’s “wash, rinse, repeat”, and it annoys the shit out of him. Then he went on to give me the best advice “You’re a ripper Sharon. You’re a good person and the people around you enjoy your company. That’s a bloody good start. Take a small problem and make it go away, then work on the next one.”

I dropped Miss 4 off to school and went to Coles. Sat in the car for ages and stared out the window. Is it still postnatal depression? My youngest is now 3. How long is this supposed to last? Or is it no longer PND? Is it something else? Is it just “regular” depression? OR is my life just too busy?

I rang my husband on the phone in the car. I started off silent because I was all choked up. We talked about how I’m feeling. And as I’m telling him, I know those things are nothing in the grand scheme of things. But I couldn’t quite articulate it as well as I can write it. So it sounds like everything is shit. But it’s not. I don’t remember the whole conversation but it ended up with me screaming. I don’t even know what I screamed about.

I came home from Coles and there he was, Adam pulling up into the driveway. We had the same conversation in the kitchen. Everything he said or asked me, I took offense to. Naturally, he’s at a loss. I started crying again and told him it’s better if he left.

How do I explain to someone that it’s “not you, it’s me”? It’s not the untidy house, not the usual stress that we all go through, not anything that can actually be fixed. It’s my STATE OF MIND. It’s all over the place. Ask me what’s wrong and I can rattle off a list of things that’s pissing me off but I know every single thing on that list can be fixed. So what else is it?

How do I fix my mind though? Exercise? Straight jacket? Meditation? Medication? Probably. But right now, I’m just expressing my raw honesty of what’s going through my head. And the honest truth is, I don’t know what the hell is going on.

I’m okay though, really I am. I’m not suicidal (but possibly just a tad homicidal), I still love my husband and kids with every cell in my body. I don’t want any of my friends to come up to me and feel sorry for me, or even worse, see me as someone that needs fixing. If they try to fix me, I’ll probably fix their face with my fist.

Adam, I’m sorry. And thank you for coming home and I’m sorry for today. I appreciate your love and your patience. Don’t know where I’d be without you, I love you so so so much.

Friends who have sent me messages and the big warm hug I got from one of the most awesome friends I’ve got, thank you.

My state of mind right now, is all fucked up but I know I can fix this 💪🏼

Mr 3 has fallen asleep in my arms and there’s no better feeling than this. Look at that squishy face.

 

I Should Be Happy With My Body But I’m Not

I’ve seen plenty of positive body image videos and campaigns on Facebook and social media sources – enough to make me believe I should be happy with my own body.

I should. But I’m not.

Now I know I’m not overweight, nor am I obese. But my body makes me very unhappy. I feel like my mind is completely separate from my body. I’m outgoing, happy and positive with every other aspect of my life. I’m confident and strong, and there’s never a moment in my life where I’m bored. I’m constantly busy.

But when it comes to my body, I am embarrassed, I’m depressed and I hate it with a passion. I look in my full length mirror everyday and I hate what I see. I criticise just about every part of my physical self. My tummy, after 4 pregnancies, has been stretched like a shade sail over a family sized swimming pool.

I’ve told some of my friends about it and whether they’re being kind to me or if they actually do mean it, I don’t believe a word they’re saying to me when they say I still look great, or that I’m the perfect size etc etc. A few days ago a friend of mine said to me, very gently, that I’ve got serious body image issues. Yes, I know I do.

I’ve been so down with my body that at times I’ve cried to my husband, asking me why he’s still married to me. That he could be with someone so much thinner and fitter than me.

I know this may seem ridiculous to some. I know I’m UNdoing the work of many women who fight hard to tell the world that we have to accept and be happy with who we are. I know that I should be an example to everyone in my life, to show them that life is not all about your dress size.

At the moment, I can’t do it. I hate that I’ve allowed myself to get to the weight that I am now.

As a young woman, I could out-eat my two brothers. I could eat anything, whenever I wanted, and not put on an ounce. It’s a totally different story now. My metabolism has slowed down as I’ve gotten older. I still appreciate rich foods (ok, mainly KFC lol) and as an adult, I allow myself to give in to whatever I am craving at the time. The weight has now piled on.

But I want to say this. I’ve started doing something about it. If you’re happy with your body, great. If you’re not, the only way to deal with it is to do something about it. I’ve put off exercise for the last 3 years. I go through stages of going out for a run for a week, then I stop for 6 months. But this time, I’m taking charge of my own body. I’m not proud of mine right now and I want to be. I want to be happy with my body again. And it starts now.

“I can’t believe this was happening. They ended up in foster care.”

Tanzy’s scars from self-harming


Tanzy is a wife and mother of a 6 year old boy and 5 year old twins. Before she had her children, she suffered from depression; which resulted in her self-harming. And overdosing on antidepressants – was a regular occurrence.

Her parents separated when she was 7. They used drugs, were alcoholics and her father was a violent man. It was a traumatic time for Tanzy and her younger brother, their parents fought constantly and their dad used the court system to get back at their mum. “We were caught in the firing line.” This was the beginning of Tanzy’s struggle with her life.

“I remember when I was in Year 7, my mum moved, I started finding that I had a very depressed feeling, and I think that was when it all started. It triggered something. I saw a school psychologist, and they were quite worried. But my mum was more pre-occupied with my brother because he was always in trouble.”

At around the age of 12, Tanzy felt she couldn’t connect with her mum, and so she moved back in with her dad and his girlfriend. But it was then that she saw the violent streak in her dad. He was violent towards her, and always put her down. He would always either be at the pub or at work, which meant Tanzy would be left on her own for quite a lot of the time.

From Year 8 onwards, “I started spiraling out of control. I was left on my own a lot of the time, I had a lot of time on my own to think about things. I ended up cutting myself. It was more of a release because I wasn’t very good at expressing my emotions and the cutting was another way to release how I felt.” She was referred to a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker. “At that point in time, my dad had no clue what was going on. He doesn’t quite understand about mental illness and why I was going through what I was going through. He put it down to just attention seeking behaviour.”

The stress from her parent’s constant arguing and not being to cope with her studies brought up a lot of anxiety and depression for her. Her psychiatrist at the time diagnosed her with clinical depression and prescribed her antidepressants. “At that point, I was sort of in the path of not coping at all, so I started overdosing. I was hospitalized over 20 times from the age of 14 until 18.” Even then, both Tanzy’s parents would still blame each other. Her dad would accuse her of being “an attention seeking teenager” and that it’s “all because of your mother”, while her mum would say things like “You’d never do that under my roof.” All this time, they were blaming each other. “No one really understood what was going on.” said Tanzy.

When she was about 16, Tanzy had had enough of her father’s violence. She moved out and lived with a friend and her family for about 18 months. Over the course of the next few years, Tanzy lived in a few different places. She only had the support of a few friends, her psychologist and her support workers. Her parents didn’t see her and her dad had cut ties with her. She felt alone and depressed, and was hospitalized often from overdosing on her medication.

She met a man and fell pregnant after 4 months. He was happy at first but changed his mind very quickly. He felt it was all too hard, he had another child from another relationship and didn’t want to have anything to do with her pregnancy. He wanted her to have an abortion but she refused, and so… he left her. “I was left on my own devices again, (I thought) what am I gonna do? I was distraught, everything was falling apart.” She had a friend who would take her to her appointments and that was when she began to feel more stable within herself. “I always say that my oldest child was really my saviour. It wasn’t just about me anymore. I had to think about my child. What am I gonna do for him? It wasn’t until I got pregnant with him that I thought I gotta change something. Something inside me said I had to keep going. I started improving. Getting through things a lot easier.” Shortly after her son was born, she started dating a friend (who is now her husband) she had met in high school. She soon fell pregnant again, this time, with twins.

Life after the twins was very hectic for Tanzy. Her older boy was only 18 months old, her newborn twins were in and out of hospital (one had contracted Cytomegalovirus while still in Tanzy’s womb), they were moving house and her husband had just started a new job working 10 hour shifts. Tanzy’s psychiatrist advised her to take sleeping medication as she needed adequate sleep in order to function with her daily life as a mum with three very young children.

But life got a lot harder again.

When her oldest son was 21 months old, he jumped off a treadmill and landed on one of the twins and broke her arm. Tanzy found that her daughter’s arm was limp and she rushed her to the GP. The GP did not order for any X-Rays to be done and was sent home, asking Tanzy to just watch for any swelling or redness. 2 days later, there was swelling and redness. She rushed her to the hospital where they checked on her and took X-rays.

With the X-Rays, they found that the twins both had fractured ribs. “I was on sleeping medication and my husband would get up. He was struggling as well with his new job, with 10 hour shifts. He couldn’t cope with the twins and got frustrated with them and they got injured. My husband got frustrated and didn’t say anything. I was in my own world, he hurt them without realizing. They had fractured ribs and he didn’t say anything. We had a health nurse come out weekly and she didn’t realize either.” The hospital informed her that they were going to contact the Department for Child Protection (DCP).

“I can’t believe this was happening. They ended up in foster care. I was down again. My whole reason for living is my children. All three were taken. They said it was more of a precautionary (measure). Because of my (mental health) background, it went down pretty quickly. They said you’ll get them back, you just have to jump through all these hoops…. Because of everything happening, I went downhill very quickly. My body went into overdrive of shutting down. I’d get viruses, the flu, even got the shingles because of the amount of stress I was under. I also got Fibromyalgia. I was struggling with everything. DCP wasn’t easy either. The supervisor was set in her ways, if we didn’t parent HER way, we would have a bad report. It took 4 years. I got my oldest son almost 2 years into it…. The twins came back after 4 years.”

“I was trying to keep my emotional feelings stable. Because of my history, they would say I’ve got mental illness. They always try and pick up on the mental health (issues). Thankfully I’ve always had my psychologist and my psychiatrist and support workers who have been there telling DCP she’s actually doing really well.”

During those 4 years, Tanzy and her husband had to fight hard to get their kids back, Tanzy’s dad and his wife intervened in a very negative manner but they eventually saved hard to hire a lawyer to assist them.

About 16 months ago, Tanzy went back to live with her mum for about 3 months to take care of her. Her mum had leukaemia. It was then when Tanzy finally started to bond with her mum again. After spending those 3 months with her, she realised what her mum had to live with when she was still with her dad. And it opened Tanzy’s eyes. And since she got her kids back, she has stopped all contact with her dad. “I’ve managed to say ‘Enough is enough, I don’t want to see you. I feel you’re a toxic influence, you don’t do any good.’ I don’t want anything to do with him. I’m learning to stand my ground and saying no, enough is enough.”

“How did it feel to cut yourself?” I asked.

“In the beginning, it’s like a rush. It’s like an over-feeling of intense, impulsive feeling. Almost like a kid with candy. It was like a feeling of “you need to”. It was hard to control it. I find that after the initial feeling, sometimes it would get full on and the impulse would kick it. During it, I can feel it but it wouldn’t hurt as such but it would just be seeing the blood and feeling just the blade, cutting your skin – is something that, sort of, was a release of all the feelings. After, I would feel a lot better. It’s a very intense moment. When I was in high school it started off with sharp sticks. Then I went to blades. I found that the blade cut deeper, that gave me some form of feeling of release.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“Mental health is real. The fact that my dad didn’t understand it, it made me feel worse. If people know that it’s real, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. That’s what I found a lot at school, you get teased a lot. I was always the quiet one in the corner that self-harms. You do get a stigma from that. If more people understood what mental illness is and that it’s not something you choose. You don’t choose it. That the world might actually be able to help younger people to get intervention to get through it (instead of struggling). A lot of my friends have struggled because a lot of people didn’t understand and I find that if people understood that mental illness is there, that it’s not something you choose. Anything can trigger things off. It’ll be a lot easier to get better quicker if we can recognise those triggers.”

My Thoughts

If you suffer from depression, have suicidal thoughts or feel like you have a mental illness, PLEASE get help. If no one is listening, then SHOUT it out. Shout so loud until someone really hears you. Go speak to a counselor, speak to your GP, a family member or a friend. Whatever it is, don’t ever feel like you’re alone, or that you have to go through this on your own.

If you have people in your life that do not offer you any positivity, CUT them out. Maybe not forever, but if you’re down, you have to stay away from people who are negative NOW. Weed out the people that are harmful and toxic to you. Get some help and surround yourself with people who care. Don’t let anyone say that you’re just “attention seeking”.

It took immense strength and courage for Tanzy to invite me into her home and tell a complete stranger about her past. But in sharing her story, she hopes that others will know that they’re not alone, and with help, there’s always hope to recovery. I thank Tanzy for coming to me and I wish her and her family all the best!

 

 

 

“It Was Hard, Everyone Around Me Was Getting Pregnant”

Nicole’s favourite past time: Mahjong


Nicole, aged 40, is unable to have children because of existing pre-cancerous cells in her womb. And because of this, she is not eligible for IVF treatment. This is Nicole’s story.

Nicole was 32 when she got married to Andy, and that was when they started trying for a baby. For the first 3 years of them trying, her periods were very irregular and she would experience excessive bleeding for more than 20 days at a time. Her doctor told her that it was due to “hormonal changes”. She brushed it off, not thinking much about it, thinking she was invincible. “I thought nothing was going to happen to me.” she said.

She was then put on medication to regulate her periods. Her womb was scanned and was told her Fallopian tubes were clear and that her eggs were healthy. At that point, she started blaming her husband Andy, saying it was because of his (very slightly) low sperm count. She said, “But all we needed was ONE sperm to make it work.”

During that time, a lot of Nicole’s friends got married (and she snapped her fingers), “They got pregnant, just like that.” Then her friends had their first kids, and everyone would start asking her, “Hey, so when’s your turn? Have you seen a doctor?”. She took a deep breath and said, “It was hard, everybody around me was getting pregnant.”

“I used to think what’s wrong with me? I used to cry myself to sleep. When I turned 37, my biological clock was ticking. I felt anxious. I kept asking myself over and over again, what have I done wrong? Is it because God doesn’t want me to have a baby?”

When Nicole turned 39, she started bleeding heavily again. She shared two experiences of her having bled so much, once having a coffee with one of her best friends, and another time, just after her holiday with her husband. And so after that, she went to see a specialist. When the results came back, Nicole, accompanied by her god-sister, went back to see the specialist together.

The specialist asked, “Is your mum or husband with you?”

To which Nicole replied, “No, but I do have my god-sister with me.”

“I actually haven’t got very good news for you, it looks like you might have to get a hysterectomy.”

She felt like it was a death sentence. Her god-sister started bawling her eyes out. The doctor was trying to explain it to Nicole but she was in shock, she just couldn’t understand it. They were brought into a little room, and that was when it hit her. “If I have a hysterectomy, that’s going to completely deplete my chances of having a baby, ever. There’s no turning back if I do it. Then I started crying as I realized the severity of the decision.”

Her world collapsed. She said she will only ever be able to feel the desire and the yearning to have children. She described herself as “barren”. She felt it was so unfair, she loved kids, and she knew she would have been a really good mother. She said she can never be complete. “I’m never gonna be a mother, ever…. My family has no history of cancer, so why me?” So for nearly 3 weeks, she cried her eyes out. She started blaming herself. She went and got a second and third opinion. And they all said to her, that time was working against her. They all said she needed a hysterectomy.

Tears rolled down her cheeks, “Andy and I would fantasize about what names to name our kids. We were going to convert the study into a nursery. A friend suggested we buy little clothes and onesies. We even tried different types of superstitions, but they were all false hopes.” Then she said, “I grieved, then I had to face reality. I couldn’t keep moping. I started playing golf and mahjong. I did whatever I wanted. But at the back of my mind, when I see other peoples’ kids, I know I’m never gonna be a mother. So I pour all my love to the kids around me. It doesn’t change the fact that I still love children. I’m very lucky to be working with children. But the void is there. It’s something I can never give Andy. I can only look at other peoples’ kids and imagine what it would be like.”

On her husband, she says, “My heart aches for Andy because I know he wants a kid. You can see the joy in him when there are kids around him. Kids gravitate towards him. He’ll play games with them. He even has toys from when he was a kid that he has saved, for when he has his own. I know he longs for a child too, and I can’t give it to him. I’ve asked him to remarry (she laughs). But he says we have each other and that he wants to grow old with me.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“It’s not the end of the world. Life still has to push on. I’m still allowed to go to a corner and cry. There’s no shame in it. I’m allowed to have those times to cry in front of my friends. There are ups and downs, but they’re mostly up. I don’t like going back to that place (depression). You can still plan your life without kids. After I opened up about my situation, I realized that there were people who were going through similar issues. You just gotta make the best out of the situation.”

Nicole and her husband Andy


My Thoughts

Nicole and I known each other since we were in our late teens, so this interview was hard to do, as she is one of my very best friends. She has been coming to Perth to visit me and my family every year. During the interview, we both cried. My heart ached so much. And as I wrote her story, I found it hard to fight back my tears. She is my friend, she is in pain, and there’s nothing I can do to help her. The only way I know how, is to help her tell her story. I find peace in knowing that she has a husband that loves her dearly and has stood by her this whole time. I also find peace in knowing she has a supportive family and a wonderful network of friends around her. Til we see each other again, I love you Nicole xxx

Best friends!