As I sit here writing this post, it’s crazy to think how far I have personally come in the past 4 years. Not with my career or friendships. It wasn’t with my diets or exercise. It’s not even my love life or family relationships. Instead the most important one of them all. My Mental Health. For those that don’t know me, about 6 years ago I started really feeling the effects of Anxiety and Depression. In the beginning I was also getting severe Panic Attacks every day and I was an absolute mess. It even put me in hospital a few times.
Now for those of you that may have stumbled on this blog who are going through the same thing, the good news is:
“You can 100% get back to being your good old happy self again. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
I know that if I was able to get on top of this, you can too. Now, you might be sitting there thinking to yourself “ Nup. I’m glad you got over it and whoop-dee-doo for you, but what I have is different. What I feel, the thoughts that I get, yeah i’m pretty sure no one else on the planet gets this!” Truth is, while your reading this article, there are approximately 400 million people at any one time feeling the exact same thing you are. When I read that number (in a book that I would highly recommend called “DARE - The new way to end Anxiety and stop Panic Attacks”) I realised pretty quickly that I wasn’t as unique as I thought I was! While reading this book, it was the first time in a long time that I actually felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Although only temporary, it was the most incredible feeling I’d had in what felt like FOREVER. I knew then, that Education and learning as much as I could about this topic was only going to help me get on top of crap and get my life back.
Just a quick backstory in a few short sentences. I’m Adopted. My background is African/Australian with a birth mum that’s a white red headed lady and a birth dad as black as the ace of spades. I grew up with an awesome kick arse loving family. Byron Bay is my home town. Surfing became a big part of my life where I would represent Australia and be chosen as Australian Captain. I worked as a Ch9 TV presenter for 7 years. Yes, this is my natural hair. I lost an older brother 8 years ago. Im currently a National Sales Manager living in beautiful Bondi Beach with a girlfriend most people only dream of being able to find in their lifetime with a child on the way in less the 5 weeks (see other blogs below). Like anyone going though life I’ve had my fair share of rough times, but over all I would have to say that life has been pretty good to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked bloody hard along the way to get where I am but in general pretty good. So where the F#%K did this Anxiety and Depression come from and why so suddenly!?
After reading the book above I decided that I would go on a mental health plan and see someone for 10 sessions. Medicare basically covers (most of the payments) for you so there’s no excuse. It’s important to say here that if you weren’t feeling yourself in the belly for days on end or you had a headache that was lingering for a while that you couldn’t quite shake, what would you do? Correct! you’d see a doctor right? I was blown away with just how many people a) have a mental health issue and b) don’t go and see anyone about it. It’s not a weakness or a weird thing to do, it’s insane not to do anything about it! Would you say the same thing with a bacterial infection picked up overseas? Would you ignore it and hope it goes away? NO WAY IN THE WORLD!
My psychologist was a big help with getting me to understand what was going on internally. I explained that my symptoms were:
Feeling super disconnected from my body to a point where I felt spaced out.
Feeling I was going crazy or about to loose the plot.
Terrified for no reason at all.
Head noise and constant negative destructive thoughts.
One of the first things he said that made me laugh put me at ease was this:
“you can’t be going crazy if you think you’re going crazy. Why? because crazy people are just crazy. The don’t think that they are going crazy. They just are! Therefore, if you have the sense to be able to think you’re crazy it’s impossible that you are!”
Crazy right :P After a few more sessions and stories of what my mind/body was doing, I knew that I was definitely starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Usually there is something that can trigger Anxiety or a Panic Attack. The tricky part for me was, there was no trigger or reason. I learn’t that some times you can get it for no reason at all and it’s perfectly normal. Sometime you catch a cold because you were out in the rain, where it’s wet and cold. When you catch it you say to yourself “ oh yeah I’ve caught the flu from the other day when I was out in the rain.” It’s pretty easy to pin point. Other times you just get it and you have no idea where that sneaky little bugger came from. That’s what was happening with me, which made accepting it at the time so tricky.
Although I’d come a long way I wanted to really knock this on the head and this is the Daily Routine that really helped me escape:
Wake up and avoid looking at negative news, pics or emails first thing in the morning
Listen to Headspace for 10-15 minutes as often as possible (once a day)
Exercise - for me this was a morning surf, walk or gym session
Say a couple of things I was grateful for. (a must)
Make someone else’s Day (Mantra on my wall)
The list is pretty self explanatory. I really want to make a special note of why the last point is so important. I try to do this when ever possible. Making someone else's day doesn’t mean grand gestures, it could simply mean listening to a friend, opening a door, giving a heart felt smile, helping a buddy move, making someone laugh, complimenting a stranger etc. The reason I found this to be so effective, is because you stop getting caught up in your own head and start looking at ways to help others. When we help others out, we feel great about it and this translates into a good feeling internally. Win Win. If you’re not the outgoing type, it can still be achieved by doing little things like cleaning you sister’s room, picking up rubbish on the side walk, donating some clothing just to name a few.
If you’re suffering yourself or you know someone who is, don’t put this off any longer. Go and get your life back.
This is what lead me to starting Mana. I really wanted to help others out that are going through what I have been through. Mana represents a reminder to do these things and become your better self. Every time you wear a mana hat, necklace, shirt, singlet etc use it as a reminder to win your day ——> win your life!
To sum up I just want to say that these feelings are as normal as breathing. I am a lot stronger for the experience and feel it’s my calling to help normalise this issue. Join me on the Mana journey and help make a difference to yourself or someone you know that’s been through this.
Please Share and leave you comments and thoughts below x