“I’m Not 100% Today”

Say these words out loud. “I’m not 100% today.” Say it out loud until you can hear it ring through your head. And when your husband, wife, friend or family member asks you if you’re ok, you’ll be able to say “I’m not 100% today.”

Sure, we must say positive affirmations over and over again. It’s so important we do that. “I’m beautiful!”, “I’m happy!”, “My life is GREAT!”, “I’m going to beat all my challenges today!”

But you know what? Some days are just SHIT. You’ve woken up with a heavy heart and you don’t know why. You can’t shake it off, you can’t look in the mirror and put a fake smile on to face the world. 

And that’s ok. 

But don’t hide your feelings because they’ll fester for days. Tell someone, as soon as you feel it. Don’t pretend and say “Yeah I’m ok.”, or “I’m fine.” There’s no need for that. Be honest. 

My husband was annoyed a few weeks ago. I kept asking him what was wrong and he kept saying “Everything’s fine.” But I knew he wasn’t. He was quiet and a little tense. A few days later, we had a long talk about how angry he was over a certain issue. “Why didn’t you tell me straight away? Why wait this long, until you’re so angry?”, was my response to him. We’ve talked about it and have decided that we are going to try and voice our unhappiness immediately (but gently of course).

The other day, I woke up feeling unhappy. No reason. I was just unhappy. I knew I was going to be snappy. I was quiet and prickly. 

But I did what I’ve never really done before. I spoke up about my true feelings straight away. We’d already had breakfast and I crawled back into bed. He came into our bedroom and I looked up at him and said, “I’m not 100% today. I don’t know why, but I just am.” 

And he heard me. 

All day, he came up and cuddled me. Kissed me. Hugged me. No words, no questions asked, no solutions offered. Just pure love and affection. And I could feel, within a couple of hours, I was back to my happy self again. 

Because I felt loved. 

Don’t be afraid to say how you feel, don’t try and be brave and say “It’s all ok”. You don’t have to yell it out or scream. You can just say these simple words “I’m not 100% today.” This could be something you could talk to your partner about now, to let them know that when you feel this way sometimes, is to just give much needed attention and affection, or whatever you think will help lift your spirits. 

Head over to my other blog titled #MyRescuePlan for more help with your bad days. 

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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Was Blaming Myself Because I Was The One Carrying The Baby.”

Bec and her partner have been together for 18 years. They travelled to Europe together and had the most amazing time. When they got back home to Perth, her partner J, finally confessed to Bec that he really wanted to be a Dad. She was a little bit surprised at first, but she embraced the thought of having a child with the man she loved. She went off the Pill, and fell pregnant with their beautiful daughter Kayla. Bec was 32.

Since having Kayla, Bec suffered 3 miscarriages, all within 8 months between each other.

She was 11 weeks pregnant when she had her first miscarriage at home. It was on a Thursday, and because she doesn’t work on Thursdays, she was so thankful she was home at the time it actually happened. She felt awful; she felt it was an “absolute nightmare”. She sat at home and cried her eyes out.

Her daughter Kayla, who was about 2 at the time, tried to comfort Bec by wiping her tears off her face. “What’s wrong Mummy, what’s wrong?”

J’s sister babysat Kayla, while him and Bec went to the Emergency Department.

“Well, we got back late that night, so the first thing I did was have a beer!” she chuckled. “I haven’t had a drink for a while, and you know what, (I thought) bugger this, I’m having a drink. We were stuck in the emergency department for ages and all the nurses kept asking me if I was okay. But no one really pays attention to your partner.” And when they got home, Bec asked J, “How are YOU? How you going?” He had just lost a kid as well. They chatted for the rest of the night, then told the rest of the family about it the next day and they were all really supportive.

Bec didn’t handle the miscarriage all that well. She started drinking a lot and doing “stupid things”. She thought she was okay, but she knew deep down, she really wasn’t. It was only after a few months later that she realised she wasn’t dealing with life all too well and so she decided to get counselling. It helped her, though she didn’t think it would at first.

“I was always against that sort of thing. I always thought how can someone who doesn’t know you, would have any clue how to help you?”

But when she started speaking to someone about it, “She helped me realize it was basically a self-confidence thing. I felt it was my fault that it happened and without realizing it, I was blaming myself because I was the one carrying the baby. (She taught) self-love, and the ‘look in the mirror thing and tell yourself you love yourself thing’. I still find that difficult to do!” she laughs. She started keeping a diary to get all her feelings out, instead of bottling it all inside her.

Her next two miscarriages, were just as awful. Since then, she’d been to the gynecologist and did all the tests, but there was nothing physically wrong with her or J. “There’s no REAL reason why it’s happening.”

I asked Bec how J coped with all the miscarriages. “Pretty good, he probably went a bit into himself but he does that anyway. He’s quite the introvert. He tried to be as supportive as he can for us. But he never blamed me for it or anything like that, I was doing enough of that to myself!” And J would always say, “We’re in it together, it’s crap for the BOTH of us.”

“We put it down to nature. Obviously there was something wrong with them. For some reason, they weren’t quite right and nature was looking after all of us as a family. So we are kinda looking at it like that, maybe it’s for the best.”

“Did it bring you and J closer?” I asked.

“Yes, especially right after it’s happened. Because really, we both lost another chance of being a parent again. It makes us appreciate Kayla more too! She might be our only one… And she’s pretty perfect so we can’t complain!” she giggled.

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“When people say you’ll get used to it, you don’t. It’s a LIFE you’re never gonna meet. You do sort of start planning and how they’re gonna be different or the same to what Kayla was. Are they gonna play together?”

“And they’re not gonna be there anymore. But I’ll always remember them. I’m always gonna remember the days I lost those three. I’ve lost what ‘could’ve been’. In some ways, it gets harder because you really don’t think if it’s gonna keep happening. And then it does. And then I think how and why does it keep happening to me? If you DO fall pregnant again, you’re constantly paranoid for that first 3 months – that you’re going to lose it again. You’re supposed to have this glow and excitement that your child is going to have another sibling, and instead; every time you go to the toilet, you look straight at the toilet paper, you’re waiting to see if there’s any spots, or something that’s not supposed to be there. You’re constantly in fear that it’s going to happen again. It’s something you’re supposed to be quietly celebrating but instead, you’re just paranoid. You think it’s not gonna happen again, and then it does, and then you think it can’t possibly happen again. And it does.” She throws her hands up in the air, “And I think WHY is this happening to me?”

“I’m obviously not alone. I realized that after reading your blog. You do kinda feel sometimes that you’re the only person that this keeps happening to. You know people who have had one or two miscarriages but you don’t usually come across any more than that. So you kinda feel alone. And that’s just not the case. And since reading your blog, I’ve realized there are a lot of people who are going through it. Don’t give up. You’re not alone. We will have to give up eventually because we’re not getting any younger. We are going to keep trying until early next year, otherwise just one (child) it is!”

Bec has been given a prescription for progesterone for when she does fall pregnant again. And when she does, the first thing she has to do is to take them, then see a gynecologist straight away. They will start monitoring her “right from the get go”. She will have to get scans straightaway, and whatever else they deem necessary, in the hopes she doesn’t suffer yet another miscarriage again.

 

My Thoughts

I wish Bec, J and Kayla all the best in their journey to expanding their family. Whatever the outcome, they will always have each other’s support, including support from their family and their closest friends. I hope Bec’s story will help others who have suffered miscarriages and know that whatever emotional turmoil they are going through, that they are certainly not alone.


“Dad, Open Your Eyes, Why Aren’t You Opening Your Eyes?

3 years ago

It was about 7 am when Amy heard the kids wake up. Their normal routine was to come out of their bedroom, head to the lounge room to wake Joe up. He slept there most nights as he would have to get up early for work, and didn’t want to be woken up by Amy, who had to be up several times a night to breastfeed their 6 month old baby, Mia.

Amy heard the kids say, “Dad, wake up…” quite a few times. She continued to lay in bed with Mia, listening out for her two older kids, Henry (aged 5) and Ruby (aged 2.5).

She heard Ruby asking, “Dad, open your eyes, why aren’t you opening your eyes?” Henry and Ruby started coming down the hallway, yelling out to Amy, “Mum, Dad’s not waking up!”

Amy still didn’t think anything was wrong. Instead, she was thinking, “Why isn’t he getting the breakfast ready?” like he usually did. She got out of bed and saw Joe lying on his back, on the lounge room floor. She ran to him… and screamed.

“I was hitting his face to wake him up… but I could feel… that he was actually dead. He was cold and already going a bit stiff. I was screaming and yelling out his name the whole time. I was lost for a minute, and then I thought – oh my god I need to ring the ambulance.” She ran back to her room to grab her phone.

She sat on the floor with Joe, while stroking his face and rang 000. She screamed out to the operator, “My husband’s not breathing, he’s not breathing!” He asked her to check Joe’s airways but his teeth were together. She told him she couldn’t get her fingers in his mouth. She heard the operator go silent… That’s when Amy realized, “I think he knew… He said don’t worry, help is on the way.” She forced herself out of her hysterical mode and gave the operator her address. She tried to give him CPR. She panics again, “How many breaths? How many compressions? I can’t remember?!” The operator said, “Look, just keep doing what you’re doing.” Blood started coming out of Joe’s nose. That’s when Amy threw her phone to the floor and thought, “This is not gonna him help anymore.”

The kids were crying for their breakfast.

The next few hours were a blur. The police came, followed by the ambulance. Her neighbours rushed over. Her brother-in-law, who was driving past on his way to work, had seen the ambulance and police at their house. Little did he know then, that tragedy had struck the family.

The police advised Amy and the kids to go over to their neighbour’s house. She can remember saying, “He’s gone. He’s gone.” Over and over again. She was numb. She felt her body physically melting down. She threw up in the toilet several times. But she couldn’t really cry, she said. She was in utter shock. That was Day One.

Amy and Joe in Thailand, 2004

Joe died on a Tuesday and the funeral was about a week later. The celebrant for Joe’s funeral was the same celebrant that married Joe and Amy. “He married us, and he ended us.” Amy and Joe were both aged 36.

I asked Amy to describe the months after Joe was gone. “The hardest was not knowing what to do with myself. Anxiety was horrible. I didn’t know what to do, as in, do I speak to someone? Like a psychologist? People were saying I needed to speak to a counsellor or to a psychologist. But I felt sick talking about it. I almost didn’t want to talk about it but I felt like I HAD to. It’s the thing that you do… Someone’s died – Talk about it. And I found that really hard because it was hard to talk about. I got huge anxiety. I would leave the sessions and come home and take a Valium. I felt like everything lost its purpose.”

“I was at the shops and I’m like, what am I even doing here? What am I buying? Why am I buying clothes? My husband is dead, and I’m out buying clothes, this seems ridiculous. And I’d just go home. I’d be like, what’s the point in all this? And I did that for such a long time and I struggled with doing stuff. How can you function? How can you go on with your husband dead? It just seems wrong. So to me, that was a very hard thing to do.”

“I think what got me through, was having to get through with the kids. I HAD to get up. I HAD to feed them, I HAD to send them to school, I HAD to pack lunches, I HAD to feed Mia. I was still breastfeeding. I just had to do stuff. I just put up a wall and do what I needed to do. And not really think about what I had to do tomorrow, the next day or the next week. The best advice I got from a grief counsellor, was to just, at the very beginning, literally take everything hour by hour, then eventually day by day. As long as I get through today, that’s all I need to do. And that helped me because I didn’t have to think about tomorrow. That was too hard. And certainly not next week, that was too far away. So the advice of just getting through day by day was probably the only thing that got me through the first few months.”

Amy and Joe had been together since they were 16. She had never lived by herself, she had never been on her own. She always had Joe as her security. As tears streamed down her cheeks, she cried softly, “Losing him as my security, was the hardest thing for me. It still is. How was I ever gonna bring up 3 kids on my own without him? How could I live life without him? It was a really scary thought.” It was very raw, and she felt so lost. But she knew she HAD to keep moving. There was no escaping it, she had to deal with what she’d be given.

She described it as, “I was left out in the snow, completely naked, with no blanket, nothing to keep me warm and I had to find my way back to shelter.”

So she took things hour by hour, day by day, and then week by week. She took sleeping tablets to help her sleep. And after a few months, she was able to fall asleep without them.

There were adjustments Amy had to get used to since Joe’s passing. Putting the bins out, picking up the dead leaves, cleaning the pool, doing all the “man” stuff. The decision making. Not having him around to bounce ideas and concerns off. “It’s just me now. Where do I send them (the kids) to school?”

She talks about their son Henry, who is hearing impaired. “Joe and I used to talk about Henry all the time together, we were the only ones who understood Henry. He’s different… He’s just quite hard to get your head around. How to handle Henry, what set him off, why did it set him off, what do we do about it? So that was very difficult, I didn’t even want to talk to anyone about it because no one knew Henry like me and Joe did.”

Amy & Joe’s kids – Henry, Ruby & Mia

Amy still sees a holistic counsellor. She feels that it is much better for her than seeing a clinical psychologist. “I think I very quickly discovered myself. It probably took about a year that I started feeling ok about being by myself. And being able to make decisions and not be scared about it. Actually feeling empowered at the same time. I actually got through the first year of the worst entire time of my life. And I got through it. And I haven’t resorted to drugs or alcohol. I was happy that I was able to come through it in my own way, without people telling me how to do it.”

Just before Joe passed away, they had just finished renovating their home. Their house was a blank canvas. There were white walls everywhere. And so, Amy started painting. She let her imagination run wild with what she wanted to do with the house. It started off with the kids’ room, which was about a 2 week project, and she LOVED every minute of it.

“It took me to a place where my grief wasn’t there. And all that was there was… I was just IN THE MOMENT, enjoying doing what I was doing. I had to learn how to use a drill. I learnt by myself. When I finished that room, I cried. It was the biggest achievement I’ve ever done in my whole life.”

“I’ve never really felt like I had a passion for anything. And all of sudden I was doing something that I was totally in love with. It was therapy, I just let my mind go where it needed to go. I stopped thinking, which was for me – a huge relief. It was a confidence builder. And I finally said to Joe… ‘There you go, I just found my passion, Joe.’ He’s always wanted me to find my passion. His was surfing and he always encouraged me to find mine. We tried everything together but I never stuck at anything because I never liked it!” she laughed. “Nothing made me want to go back and do it even more. Except now… Interior design. It’s the path I’ve found myself heading. And I’ve never looked back!”

Amy was always under the umbrella of Joe’s big and strong personality. She said people would always see her, simply as – ‘Joe’s wife’. But she’s now a very different person to who she was 3 years ago. They would say to her, “Amy, I don’t know how you do it.” “Well, I actually don’t know any other way.” she said. “I don’t know if it’s come through Joe or whether I actually, deep down, AM this person. It’s just – I wasn’t able to BE this person with such a strong personality over me… I feel like I’ve really found myself. I’m now very perceptive of my feelings and my emotions and my thoughts.”

I asked Amy what it was that actually killed Joe. She explained that Joe had a blocked artery in his heart. There was some plaque in his artery, and a tiny piece of it broke off. It was just enough to stop the blood from coming through. She was told by the medical team that his death was near instant. Her spiritual counsellor had also told her that he passed over very, very quickly. But Amy adds, “He had no symptoms of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or was overweight. Very, very healthy. Very fit. He ran to work or rode his bike every day. Hardly drove to work, surfed all the time, ate normal food, probably ate too much salt and fat but his body could handle it. He was young and fit. However, anyone that knows Joe, knows that he was quite highly strung. On the edge a bit, and stressed. He always was quite stressed. He was worse at home, than what he showed anybody.”

What Do You Want The World To Know?

“I know I have friends there but what a lot of people who have gone through grief would say; that if you haven’t been through it, you JUST don’t know. And even if you can imagine it, it’s just not the same. So in the early days, I found myself only wanting to be around people that have lost a husband. I almost wanted to seek it because that was all I wanted to know about. That was a very strong emotion that I so desired to get. But I never got it.”

“What I need my friends for – is almost like an escape. I need them to make me laugh. I need them so I can let my hair down and have some fun, and escape the life of having three children. Escape a bit of motherhood. Not too crazy but I do love to have a laugh. I’ve got a new appreciation for girlfriends. Now I really appreciate the time I spend with them. I’ve had a few friends that have dropped in and talked to me, and I think I’ve helped them, through just talking about me and what I’ve been through, and also how I see life now in a very positive way.”

“And I was told this by a spiritual person and I truly believe it… Is that our whole lives together, Joe was up on the stage. When he died, he pushed me up there and said ‘It’s your turn now. It’s your turn to shine.’ So I feel like he’s given me a gift and it’s his gift to me to say, ‘You deserve happiness. You deserve life. You deserve the path that you’re meant to be on. Go find it.’ And I did. I thank him every day for giving me the life that he did with him. There’s no way anyone would’ve travelled the world like he did… And I got to go along that journey with him. And I consider myself so lucky. I’ve travelled the world, I have 3 children, I have a beautiful home, I’m looking at a new career which I love. I’m content, I’m happy. Life is good. So without Joe dying, I may not have had all this appreciation and love for life and myself.”

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Some of Amy’s creations!

My Thoughts

My husband Adam was best man at Joe and Amy’s wedding. Joe was one of our groomsmen at ours. I remember the day Joe died. I got home from work and Adam was home early. I asked why he was home early and I could see tears in his eyes. “Joe’s gone. Joe’s gone. He’s dead.” I was shocked, speechless and we both held each other in our arms and cried. All we could think of was, “How could this happen? He was so young… What’s going to happen to Amy and the kids?”

I recall having coffee with Amy a few months after Joe’s death. She saw a friend from Henry’s school at the same coffee shop and I remember her saying, “She doesn’t know about Joe. I don’t want to have to say anything. I just can’t.” I felt so much pain for her, but like she said in our interview “If you haven’t been through it, you JUST don’t know. And even if you can imagine it, it’s just not the same.” I understand that now.

While we all miss Joe dearly, I’m so proud of Amy. So proud that she has been able to blossom, with Joe’s death, she found herself. She found strength, passion, contentment and self-love. I wish Amy and her 3 beautiful children – Henry, Ruby and Mia, all the best in the world. And I love that she believes Joe will always be watching over them.

Let’s all appreciate the life we have now, the people we have around us and always, always be grateful. Find the positives in what we have now, and be thankful for it all.

 

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“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!