Let’s Talk: Psychologist Waiting Periods.

The waiting periods to see a psychologist are far too long.

I’m not saying my mental health is more fucked than anyone else’s, or deserves to be seen to before anyone else.

But what I am saying, is that the waiting periods to see a psychologist are far too long. I’ve battled with my mental illness for many years, and I’m starting to come to the realization that half my problem is that I had stopped bothering trying to seek therapy of any description.

I know that might sound a little self-destructive, but hear me out.

I first saw a psychiatrist when I was under the age of 5.

He was trying to get inside my little, child brain, to understand what was happening around me, and whether I should be placed in the care of my drug-addicted Mum, in a dangerous house that had pedophiles, drug addicts and criminals coming in at all hours of the day and night, or my Dad, who hadn’t so much as raised his voice at me, ever.

When he visited me at my Mum’s house, I would be told by my Mum and Step-Dad that I should ‘tell the man you want to live with me, or all your toys will be sold and I won’t see you’.

Source: pexels

When he visited my Dad’s house, my Dad told me to ‘tell the man the truth’ to the questions he asked.

Do you know who the psychiatrist thought was the better option? My Mum.

And so, my poor relationship with psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors began.

I didn’t see anyone else about my mental health again until I was 15.

Source: pexels

I had been living with my Dad since I was seven (after the Family Court finally realized who the right parent to live with was), because I was a missing person for 8 months because my Mum and Step-Dad took off when they couldn’t pay a drug-debt.

Growing up, I had always been a quiet person, and found myself feeling a lot more mature than my peers most of the time. I didn’t know what depression, or anxiety, or mental illness was back then. I just thought that I was different.

And then when I was 15, a close friend of mine died, and I was encouraged to see a counselor, who I went to see at the local hospital. Even in a town of less than 2,000, it took me 4 weeks to get an appointment.

Then, the first thing the counselor did was point at the scars on my wrists and tell me I was obviously not depressed and just wanted attention.

I immediately disliked her.

I had a second appointment a couple of weeks later, which I decided to go to, just in case I had misjudged the counselor, or hadn’t given her enough time. But all she did was ask me why I was so sad, and then told me if I couldn’t tell her, that meant nothing was wrong.

I didn’t bother seeing her again.

I didn’t see another psychologist or mental health professional until I was 19.

By the time I was 19, I had finished High School, I had ran away from home, lived in poverty to the point of living in the street, moved to a big city to start University, moved in with a boyfriend, broken up with him, moved to an Aunt’s house, moved out with another boyfriend who was abusive to me, and began to realize that there was something seriously wrong with my mental health.

One day, I broke down and cried and cried and cried, walking around the neighbourhood after dark for hours. I was having terrible thoughts, panic attacks, mood swings and felt like I was all alone. It was then that I decided I needed help.

I went to a doctor, who ‘diagnosed’ me with depression, gave me some anti-depressant medication and sent me on my way. It wasn’t until I went back to the same doctor’s surgery and saw a different GP that they set up a Mental-Health care plan, which included a referral to see a psychologist.

I said I couldn’t afford to see someone. They put me in a queue to see someone in the public system.

That someone was a 45 minute drive away, and was only available to see me every 2 weeks. But I was desperate for help, so I drove the distance and waited for my appointments.

This psychologist was the first one who ever actually seemed like she cared about helping me get better. She asked me about my family history, asked me about my relationships and my studies and my home life. We began to dig a bit deeper, and I remember her telling me that she thought I should get a proper diagnosis from a psychiatrist, but that we’d organize it in the next session.

She moved states the following week, and I never heard from her again.

At 23, I decided to give it another shot.

After the last psychologist, I gave up on seeking mental health for a few years. I had broken up with my abusive boyfriend by this point, but the relationship was incredibly damaging to me. He had told me I was a psycho, that there was something wrong with my brain, that I deserved the things that happened to me as a child, that I should just hurry up and kill myself – among the physical abuse and the rest of it. I had carried the weight of his words ever since.

That burden eventually became one of the reasons I didn’t have much success with relationships after that. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, I was lonely and I had to force myself out of bed just to go to work. I had started taking hard drugs and wasn’t in a good place.

But I finally built up the courage to speak to my (new) doctor, and asked her to help me, because I felt like I wasn’t getting better, I was only getting worse.

I asked her whether she thought I should be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, but she said no.

She upped the dosage of my medication and made a new Mental Health plan, referring me to a counselor close by.

I went to my first session, and was bitterly disappointed. This time, I walked into the room to find a man who spent half our session on the phone, and the other half telling me that the depression was all in my head and what I needed to do was change my attitude.

I told him I didn’t understand what that meant, because I was obviously trying to get better, otherwise I wouldn’t be in his office.

He then said “I don’t know why you’re here anyway, you seem like an intelligent person’.

I went to the doctor again when I was 25.

I told her straight out ‘I think I might kill myself one day’.

She upped my dose of anti-depressant medication, referred me to Yarrow Place (a service for women who have been raped) and recommended I join a gym.

I remember her saying ‘…Swimming is good for the mind.’

To keep things in perspective here, I never mentioned to this doctor I had been raped, that is something she simply assumed. The only other thing she did was give me a list of the crisis phone numbers I could call if I wanted to.

I contacted Yarrow Place and asked when their next available appointment was and they told me that unless it was an emergency (in their eyes?), the next appointment wouldn’t be for the following month.

I wanted to cry. Why was it so hard to get the help I needed?

Here, in the present day, I’m 26 years old. 

I went to my (new) doctor in March this year, and said I really think I need to see someone about my mental health. I told him that I had been feeling down for quite some time, and believed that medication wasn’t going to help me. 

He asked me straight out ‘…What could possibly make you so sad?’

This doctor is a nice enough guy, but he’s not a psychologist. I didn’t feel comfortable telling him much, and to be perfectly honest, I was kind of hoping to untangle all these years of feelings with someone who was qualified to do so. So I said ‘lots of things’ and he asked me to fill out the Mental Health Questionnaire that I’d filled in a dozen times before.

This time though, when he said he was going to make a Mental Health Care Plan for me, I asked him if I could be the person to choose who I was referred to. He said that I could, but that if they’re private practices, there might be a cost involved. I said I didn’t care, so he sent me away to research who I wanted to see, and to come back in a week and he’d write up a referral.

My doctor wrote the referral, and the very next day, I contacted the practice via email to organize my first appointment. The receptionist told me the first available appointment with the psychologist I wanted wouldn’t be until June.

My heart sank.

I asked her if there was anyone else I could see from the practice sooner. She gave me a date in late May and said it was probably best just to wait for my preferred psychologist, and that she would put me on a cancellation list, just in case a space became available.

I decided to grit my teeth a bare it, regardless of the wait or the cost, so that I can try and get better.

It’s now May 30th, and my first appointment is June 13th. I’ve been waiting for 3 months, with the only other alternative option being to present myself to the emergency department and be evaluated, and probably released the same day with no real therapy.

I’m just trying to get better. 

There are days where I drive home from work and honestly consider veering off into a pole, a tree or a ditch.

There are nights when I unpack the dishwasher and hold the knives a little too long, considering the ways I could use them. There are times when I wake up at night in a cold sweat and want to vomit my guts up or scream my lungs out.

There are days when I’m jealous of the people who get to go to therapy.

And then those moments pass, and I try again. I wake up to another day, and try to be optimistic. There are times when I  have arguments with myself in my head about whether I should be here, and I have to force myself to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving towards something that I can’t quite see yet.

I don’t need pills. I need therapy. But because I haven’t tried to kill myself yet, by professional measures, I’m fine. That’s just the way it is.

But the problem is, it shouldn’t be this way.

How many people has the system failed? I think about this every day. How loud do we have to scream to be heard? How much damage and trauma is deemed acceptable for help?

And what about the people who don’t want to talk about it to just anyone? Is it not okay to want to talk to a professional about something, rather than having to admit it to a GP first?

What about the suicidal people who struggle in silence? What about the ones who don’t think their struggles are worth someone else’s time? What about the people who are sent home by the doctor with a prescription and a referral to someone who doesn’t care?

I wonder all of these things and more.

But most of all, I wonder when the system is going to change.

Resources for those seeking help:

Remember, your safety should always be a priority. If you are in crisis or your mental health becomes an emergency, call 000.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you, or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to use the following resources:

Websites:

Headspace

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

MensLine Australia

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Q Life (LGBTI+ Specific)

Phone:

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

QLife: 1800 184 527

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If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out more at ‘The Art of Overthinking‘.

The In-Between.

A poem.

 

my car sits in the car-park

atop this darkened hill,

i drove winding roads to get here

hoping my mind might untangle,

but now i’m here, i’m empty

stuck in the in-between.

 

the seat next to me is vacant,

this car seems too big.

the cold bites hard on my fingers.

it reminds me i’m alive

and that this pain is all too real

closing in on everything.

 

things aren’t always black and white

sometimes they’re grayer than the sky,

and it’s hard for me

to spend time with you

when i know

there are things i can’t share with you.

 

the wind whips my windows

as the darkness pushes in

and i realize i’m lost,

even though you said i’m not –

because i don’t know what i want

 

if it’s not you.

 

 

 

Climate Change Is Changing The Way Young People See Their Future.

If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.

 

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock…

Climate Change is a very real, defining issue of our time. Regardless of whether you live in a place like the United States, where the President denies Climate Change (along with pulling out of the Paris Agreement to curb Carbon Emissions), or somewhere more advanced in its leadership on Climate Change, like France, who’s Prime Minister ended an address on the subject with: ‘Make our planet great again.’ … Boom.

Either way, we all live on the same planet, and it is our individual and collective responsibility to take action on Climate Change if this planet is going to survive even the next 40 years. NASA says the evidence for rapid Climate Change is compelling, noting key indicators, including:

Global Temperature Rises;

Warming Oceans;

Shrinking Ice Sheets;

Glacial Retreats;

Decreased Snow Cover;

Sea Level Rises;

Declining Arctic Sea Ice;

Extreme Weather Events and

Ocean Acidification

Climate Change is affecting the planet in significant, detrimental and soon-to-be irreversible ways. Without drastic action, the planet we know today will be gone, replaced with a landscape characterized catastrophic natural disasters, mass-extinction, global food shortages and increased exposure to conflict.

It’s for this reason that the younger generations are gearing up for a rough ride, and changing the way they see the world, in order to survive the damage our ancestors have inflicted on the planet.

 

 

Young People Don’t Want To Raise Children On A Damaged Planet.

More and more Millenials are becoming concerned with what the future may look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. The phrase ‘I don’t want to bring children into this world’ is something you wouldn’t often have heard someone say 50 years ago. But in this day and age, there is a real, tangible fear of what the future may hold.

Global birth rates are declining, with more people becoming aware of the planet’s situation. The fear of bringing children into a world of uncertainty is a very real issue facing the young people of today. Even as recently as February this year, United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) asked the question ‘Is it still OK to have children?’ on her Instagram Story.

AOC argues that although the answer is not clear-cut, there is a scientific consensus that the lives of future generations will be difficult. And they know it. More and more young people are taking part in Global Climate Change Protests, like those started by Greta Thunberg who recently stated:

‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes… We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis…if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then… we should change the system itself.’

– Greta Thunberg

Younger generations are increasingly opting not to have children, with worries of food and water shortages, global unrest, natural disasters and political unrest present themselves as very real threats.

 

 

Young People Have Little Faith In Their Government.

A lot of Millenials are written off as out-of-touch with politics.

But the truth is, Millenials simply have no faith in the people representing them. Evidence of this is in the record number of Australians enrolled to vote this election – 96.8% of the total eligible voting population. This includes a record number of 18-24 year olds.

The world’s leaders have a responsibility to fight against Climate Change. We can only hope that as the older generations die out, they will be replaced with more switched-on individuals, who are dedicated to helping the planet and the people living on it, rather than continuing to be more preoccupied with the 1%:

“That future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once. You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.”

– Greta Thunberg

A survey carried out by Triple J found that 89% of young Australians believe the politicians in power aren’t working in the best interests of the planet. And guess what? Those same young people voted Environmental Policy and Climate Change as the most important issues to them, come election time.

That’s pretty damning.

 

 

Younger Generations Are Experiencing Higher Rates Of Mental Illnesses Dubbed ‘Eco-Anxiety’ or ‘Ecological Grief’.

The negative impact Climate Change is having on the physical environment poses real risks when it comes to the Mental Health of young people. A sense of doom where the future contains things like poverty, unemployment, natural disasters and resource shortages are very real issues that young people are having to face.

Even as far back as 2012, the National Wildlife Federation reported that over 200 million Americans would be exposed to serious psychological distress from climate related incidents. Of a study done by Millennium Kids Inc., 94.6% of the target demographic felt that Climate Change would be a problem in the future.

In the face of a changing climate, Eco-Anxiety is only going to become more and more apparent, with Mental Health organisations starting to get on board, such as ReachOut, who have a page dedicated to: How to cope with anxiety about climate change.

The page in question lists a variety of reasons young people might feel strained, stressed or anxious about Climate Change, including:

Feeling like planning for the future is pointless and/or hopeless;

Angry that the people around them aren’t doing anything to help;

Frustration at a lack of action they can take to help;

Worrying about whether it’s responsible to have children (see above) and

Feeling like their future is out of their control.

All very valid points. Climate Change is a hugely relevant issue in the world today, and one that deserves to be treated with urgency.

 


HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. There are lots of ways you can help the environment in meaningful ways, including:

 

Taking part in conversations with others about Climate Change

Joining the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition

Taking part in School Strike 4 Climate

Joining the Australian Student Environment Network

Finding articles about ways to help the environment at home

Being active on Social Media Platforms

Joining clean up efforts, such as Sea Shepherd’s Marine Debris Campaign

 

 

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Join the conversation at www.theartofoverthinking.com

 

 

 

Editor’s Note: MAY.

Another Month Gone!

Another Month Gone!

It seems as though this year has flown by so far. There is so much to say, and so little time to say it!

Which is why I thought I’d take some time to remind everyone to take time for themselves. We can all get so caught up in our lives that we forget to unwind.

Mental Health Is Everyone’s Responsibility.

This month, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and writing about mental health issues, especially in the work place – see here. A lot of workplaces do not adequately provide for their staff who may struggle with Mental Illness, and it can make or break the way staff see their company, what the company culture is like and how loyal people are likely to be to their workplaces.

Having sound mental health is incredibly important, and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the topic talked about and away from stigmatization. Our mental stresses can sometimes be swept under the rug or left as a non-priority in lieu of tackling the other issues in our lives.

Balancing work, a social life, finances, relationships and family responsibilities can be difficult for the best of us, but that is all the more reason to prioritize our mental health.

We Need To Look After Each Other.

This month, I would urge each and every one of you to really keep an eye on the people around you.

Many people around us may be struggling and don’t have the courage to say anything (which is okay), but the more we ask those simple questions like ‘are you okay?’ or ‘do you want to catch up over coffee?’ or simply by taking the time out of our day to do a nice deed for another can really make a positive impact.

Mental Illness has touched my life personally in many ways, many times. Along with struggling with my own Mental Health, I’ve also been active in helping out the people around me who are struggling, including family members and friends. There have been times where I have appreciated a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, and there have been times when I have been that person for someone else.

No kind act is ever lost to the universe, and the more we give, the more we receive in return.

Let’s Make May A Positive Mental Health Month.

This month, take time to focus on yourself. Book that massage. Paint that painting. Buy those bath-bombs. Finish that DIY project. Learn a new skill. Finish that book you forgot you were reading.

But also, take time to focus on others. Ask someone out for coffee. Make a phone call. Send a message. Send someone flowers. Help someone with something. Ask if your friends are okay. Check in with your grand-parents, Mum, Dad, sibling. We are all on the same planet, and we’re all made just the same, and we all struggle from time to time.

Let’s not let our struggles define us, but instead let us be defined by how we react to the struggles around us.

Have a happy and positive month, and I look forward to hearing from you all. It’s been so lovely getting to know some of you over the last month and making friends all over the world. Be kind to one another, and I’m sure you’ll hear from me again soon! x

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

A review of: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – By Gail Honeyman.

TITLE:

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

AUTHOR:

Gail Honeyman

GENRE:

Romance/ Psychological Fiction

PUBLISHED:

2017

PAGES:

383

GET IT HERE:

eBooks.com

Overview:

Eleanor Oliphant is about to turn 30, lives in Glasgow, drinks vodka every weekend, has worked in the same office for nine years and is perfectly capable of living her life, thank you very much.

Eleanor has lived her life her way. Socially awkward, she leads a solitary life, without a thought for her appearance, her bluntness or her work colleagues jibes toward her.

That is, until a series of events unfold around Eleanor that challenge her very way of life.

After discovering the love of her life, Eleanor begins questioning everything about herself – what she wears, how she acts and what she says. She makes an unlikely friend in (the deeply unhygienic) IT guy from her office – Raymond, helps out a complete stranger and navigates her way through manicures, bikini waxes and hair cuts in an attempt to find her place in the world.

However, as we get to know Eleanor, we begin to unravel the ‘method behind the madness’ and soon come to realise that Eleanor may not, in fact, be completely fine. Little by little, the author shares details of Eleanor’s past, which shed light on why she is the way that she is.

My Thoughts:

My initial reaction when I began reading this book was that there was an ocean of difference between myself and Eleanor. She was a complete social outcast with clear, unresolved issues from her past that she either wasn’t willing to acknowledge, or didn’t realise she even had.

Yet as I read on, I soon began to realise that the author (Gail Honeyman) was slowly showing me that Eleanor wasn’t so unlike the rest of us at all. The task of connecting the reader with a completely at-odds character was done amazingly well by the author.

Eleanor may be odd, eccentric and everything in between, but she is also quick-witted, knows what she wants and strong-willed about getting it. She says it how it is, and there were many moments throughout the book where I laughed out loud. One example of the type of narration you will expect from Eleanor is:

I think that it is perfectly normal to talk to oneself occasionally. It’s not as though I’m expecting a reply. I’m fully aware that Polly is a houseplant.’

By the end of the novel, I realised I had come to see Eleanor in a different light, crying for her losses and cheering for her small wins. The novel is well written and evokes a roller-coaster of emotions.

This truly is an excellent book, with a clear message of hope and resilience.

My Rating: 4/5

Hopeless Musing #14

Themselves.

 

Source: https://weheartit.com/entry/250684855?context_query=picked+flowers&context_type=search

THEMSELVES.

I’m sad today.

The world is messy, chaotic and angry. There are people dying on our streets and people rich enough to end it all who instead have endless greed.

I judge a person based on how much they talk about themselves, but it seems these days that all anyone wants to talk about is just that: themselves. And those that talk about something else, are few and far between.

I’m starting to wonder if they’re a dying population. Because I don’t want to live in a world where people are so self-absorbed, either.

Does that make me selfish?

Why Mental Health & The Workplace Go Hand-In-Hand.

Something worth talking about.

Is Mental Health really a big deal?

Would it shock you if I told you that according to the World Health Organisation, Mental Illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide? Or that the Australian Human Rights Commission predict that 45% of Australians aged 16-85 will experience a Mental Illness at some point in their life – or 1 in 5 Australians experience Mental Illness in any given year?

That’s a lot of people.

Would it then surprise you if I said that the Australian Human Rights Commission found that half of all senior managers believe that none of their workers will experience a mental health problem at work?

That doesn’t seem to add up…

We spend how long at work?!

Now let’s think about work for a second.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, full-time employees in Australia work an average of 40 hours per week (keep in mind these numbers don’t account for preparation, travel and over-time the average employee might work).

If we calculate that 40 hours over the space of a year, it ends up being a total of 2,080 hours – 2,000 hours if we account for paid annual leave.

We work 2,000 hours a year.

Now let’s think about how many years we work over the space of our lifetime. Australia no longer has a set retirement age, however, if we assume that the average person retires around the age of 65-70, and begins full-time work around the age of 20, that leaves us with a total of 45-50 years.

So let’s say 47.5 years of work, to account for holidays, earlier retirement, younger starting age etc. – which equals 47.5 x 2,000 = 95,000.

This means the average person will work 95,000 hours in their lifetime.

Mental Health & Stress Leave.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, 3.2 days leave per year are taken by employees as a direct result of workplace stress. That is the equivalent of 25 hours.

25 hours a year are lost due to workplace stress.

That’s a lot of hours over the space of a worker’s lifetime. Which means a lot of lost time and money to any given employer.

A survey conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions of 5,000 employees found that 25% of works took time off each year for stress-related reasons. That’s a quarter of all employees.

Which begs the question:

Why aren’t our employers taking this more seriously?

It is abundantly clear that the cost of ignoring an employee’s Mental Health Concerns is a far greater issue than the cost of developing an inclusive, safe and productive work environment.

The Australian Human Rights Commission estimate that every dollar spent on identifying, supporting and managing workers with Mental Health Concerns yields nearly a 500 percent return in productivity.

That’s a huge return, for a small bit of effort.

In fact, a preliminary investigation into how Mental Health affects Australian businesses, carried out by Mental Health Australia found that Australian Businesses lose over $6.5 billion a year by failing to provide adequate Mental Health Support to employees.

Put simply: supporting employees supports the business.

It should be every workplace’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees experiencing concerns regarding their Mental Health. Besides the obvious cost benefit of implementing mental health strategies, their are also an abundance of other benefits businesses can access by being proactive:

  • Improved employee morale & company culture
  • Obvious avoidance of litigation and fines relating to health and safety
  • A greater staff loyalty
  • A higher return on training investment
  • Increased productivity
  • A reduction in in sick (and other) leave

So what can employers do?

There are a plethora of ways that workplaces can help their employees, which can be accessed via the Australian Human Rights Commission website, or by contacting Safe Work Australia. Some of the ways other workplaces have chosen to implement strategies to combat Mental Health include:

  • Having accessible information regarding Mental Health
  • Encouraging conversations in the workplace
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Inviting a Mental Health Specialist to speak to employees
  • Adequate training for Managers on the importance of identifying and managing employee Mental Health Concerns
  • Being creative – some workplaces have a weekly Yoga session, or a gym set up out the back to let off some steam in lunch breaks
  • Encouraging employees to take their breaks away from their desks

There are plenty of great ways to help reduce stress at work – try Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. It’s all about thinking outside the box.

Mental Illness can affect anyone.

Mental Illness is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s time workplaces really started considering the benefits of being a proactive, progressive place to work, instead of doing to bare minimum to scrape by under the ‘law’. No matter what your age, your gender, your race or your status, we all need to come together to tackle the epidemic that is right in front of our face.

Resources for those seeking help:

Remember, your safety should always be a priority. If you are in crisis or your mental health becomes an emergency, call 000.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you, or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to use the following resources:

Websites:

Headspace

Black Dog Institute

Kids Helpline

MensLine Australia

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation

Q Life (LGBTI+ Specific)

Phone:

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978

QLife: 1800 184 527

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If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out more at ‘The Art of Overthinking’.

How To Find Your Purpose.

How do we combat the feeling that something is missing from our lives?

 

Some people seem to have it all.

Have you ever looked at someone, and thought to yourself:

‘Wow, they really have their life together.’

Chances are, you answered yes. Me too. I have friends that just seem to get it. They knew what they wanted to do before the High School teachers even started asking.

They applied for University, got in, smashed out their degree, and now they’re doing what they always wanted – and posting about it all over Facebook and Instagram, almost as if to rub it in. They’ve got it all together.

Or so we think, from the outside looking in. But in reality, they probably don’t. In fact, most of us don’t really have a clue what we’re doing or where we’re headed. Some of the people we think have it all together are just as discontent as us – you see it all the time:

Person who has seemingly perfect life throws it all in for a life of travel‘ or;

Guy with Engineering Degree decides to open a cake shop’.

It’s like a light-bulb switched on in their brains and they suddenly saw the light. The thing is, everyone is on a journey to find their true purpose in life, and sometimes it takes some of us a little longer to figure it out.

So how do we combat the feeling that something is missing in our lives? How can we find something worth throwing it all in for? Something worth waking up in the morning? Something bigger than the mediocre-at-best life we’re sold in High School?

 

Motivations vs Inspirations & Head vs Heart.

The real reason so many people struggle with the concept of ‘purpose’ and accept their lives as they are, is that they spend all their time in the corner, thinking about themselves, what they want, what they need and where they want to go. But finding your true purpose starts with a change in perspective.

You need to stop using your head, and start using your heart. Motivation is not the same as inspiration. Most people are motivated in one way or another – usually by money. Because we need to be. We need money to live our lives – pay our bills, buy a house and car, travel, have children and pets, go out with friends… The logical, level-headed thing to be motivated by, is money.

The frustrating part is that your motivations can sometimes get in the way of our inspirations. 

Our purpose gets left on the side-lines while we chase a way to pay for life. The one day, we stop and realise there’s something missing – sometimes known as an existential crisis.

This is where the idea of using our heart rather than our head comes in. Because in this world, there’s nothing logical when it comes to love and passion and inspiration. Consider this scenario:

You are financially stable. In fact, consider yourself as part of the top 1% of the world. You have absolutely no need for money – you are infinitely rich.

What would you do with your time?

If you had everything you could possibly dream of, how would you spend your days?

When I first considered this question, dreams of living in a huge mansion, being by a poolside with a cocktail and reading a book was the first thing to come to mind.  But when I really thought about it, I realised that no-one in their right mind could do that forever – they’d get bored.

So what would I do? I thought long and hard about what made me sad and what made me happy. I thought about my experiences, and I thought about other people going through the same thing. And I realised I wanted to help them. All the kids from broken families, experiencing homelessness, witnessing addiction or had nowhere and no-one to go to.

 

So what next?

So let’s snap back to reality.

I’m not infinitely rich. I didn’t have endless amounts of time or money. But what I did suddenly have, was inspiration. 

The same inspiration that lead me to research, apply and eventually become a mentor for at-risk young people. And it has helped me see the difference between motivation and inspiration, and want and need. 

I wasn’t just someone who went to work and paid bills anymore – I was someone these kids looked forward to seeing. Someone who gave advice, listened, laughed and was present.

I had suddenly figured out what it was that I needed to do to help fill the void I was feeling in my life. In order to find my true purpose, I had to think about something other than my situation.

Because once we strip back the want for money and the responsibilities of life, we suddenly stare at what’s left of us.

Maybe we don’t all have unlimited time and money, but we all have a person hiding under all the baggage of life. We shouldn’t let that baggage limit the difference we can make in the world.

And every single one of us is different. Some of us join the RSPCA, start a wildlife sanctuary or foster cats. Others play cards with veterans at the retirement village or work on cars or coach a sports team. But one thing they all have in common is they aren’t motivated by money. They’re inspired by a cause.

And every single one of us is capable of being more than their surroundings dictate. It’s just a matter of choice.

5 Reasons To Practice Empathy

Why is empathy important, and what function does it serve in everyday life?

 

Being empathetic is often associated with being soft and sensitive, rather than a trait of an intuitive powerhouse. But being able to listen and truly understand the people around you is a sensational skill to have.

Regardless of what scenario you are in, whether it be work, at home, in a relationship or part of a friend group, empathy is an incredibly important part of being a good leader, a good partner and a good friend.

So why is empathy important, and what function does it serve in everyday life?

 

 

NUMBER ONE:

Connection.

Empathy is crucial in connecting with people at a higher level. Being aware of the people around you and how they think and feel can help you understand what they need, what motivates them and what they care about.

If you don’t know what makes someone tick, it’s almost impossible to be able to connect with them in a meaningful way. But more than that, being able to truly appreciate and empathise with someone’s feelings can really help and encourage people to feel that they can open up to you and talk to you about things.

 

 

NUMBER TWO:

Perspective.

Being able to understand and empathise with people can really help you look beyond yourself and see the bigger picture. Suddenly it’s not about ‘me’ but about ‘we’. Yes, some people are naturally more empathetic than others, but that’s not to say you can’t stop, look and listen to the people around you.

 

 

NUMBER THREE:

Respect.

If you’re empathetic, not only will you have more respect and appreciation for the people around you, but you will notice you will get the same in return. People are more likely to hold you in a higher regard and be loyal to you if they know you would do the same thing for them.

 

 

NUMBER FOUR:

Spirituality.

Not everyone is religious, but everyone believes in something. And usually it follows that being a good person will attract a sense of achievement and spiritual peace. Whether you believe in Karma or God or Reincarnation, the theme is generally: ‘what goes around, comes around’.

Being at peace with yourself and your actions is more powerful than you think, and can bring an abundance of positive energy into your life.

 

 

NUMBER FIVE:

Appreciation.

When you open your eyes to the people around you, you start to appreciate a lot more in life. Things aren’t always as bad as you think they are, and a lot of people have it worse. Not only does being empathetic and having genuine connections help you in your relationships, it can help your mood, too.

When you practice empathy, you’re practicing seeing the world from someone else’s perspective, or ‘stepping into someone else’s shoes’, so to speak. It’s hard not to appreciate things when someone may have it harder than you. And not only that, you begin to appreciate the small things in life too; like a random act of kindness, a ‘good-morning’ text, someone thinking to grab you a coffee, or even just a smile from a stranger.

 

Empathy is a beautiful, powerful action to practice, and is something incredibly important to maintaining relationships throughout your personal, professional and spiritual journey.

 

Remember:

  1. Connection
  2. Perspective
  3. Respect
  4. Spirituality
  5. Appreciation

 

 

 

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Deadpan Stares.

A poem.

 

your questions

deserve an answer –

one i’m afraid to give.

because there’s no easy way

to tell someone

you don’t want to be here.

 

when you ask if i’m okay

and i say i’m alright

‘just tired’

i’m not lying

it’s just a bit more complicated

than i admit.

 

you want the truth,

i know.

i know my deadpan stares

and my silence

keep you at a distance

that you don’t belong.

 

but how do i tell you

about the demons i fight

every morning,

just to live another day

another hour

another second on this earth?

 

how do i show you

the claw marks

on the inside of my rib cage?

and the graffiti

on the walls,

inside my head?

 

the constant battle

to stay on this planet

is fought with an iron mind

holding these thoughts tight,

stabilizing the dam walls –

for God forbid they collapse.