It’s mental health week this week.
So it wasn’t a surprise that as I turned the TV on last night,
I saw an interview with NRL player turned boxer Joe Williams,
Who was talking about how he’d written a letter to his children,
Apologising that he wasn’t going to be around anymore.
How he was sorry he wasn’t going to be able to walk his daughter down the isle.
How he wasn’t going to be able to see them grow up.
He was going to end his life.
He was going to give up.
It was the only way he could ‘stop the noise’ he said.
To silence the voices, the expectations, the pressure…
He tried, but woke up the next morning still alive by some miracle.
From that point on he decided he was going to make a difference and use his influence to help others.
It’s a common story.
I hear almost weekly of people wanting to take their own lives.
It no longer comes as a shock, or a surprise.
It’s just something that I’m used to hearing,
From what many would consider the most unlikely sources.
Wanting to opt out has become more common than many would like to admit.
Wanting to escape the too much,
The too hard,
People everywhere are wanting it all to go away.
The noise has begun to drown out their hope,
Or any vision for their future.
There are so many factors at play as to why the noise becomes too much.
Some are struggling with unmet expectations,
Some with resentment,
The list most definitely goes on.
But there are a few things I have found that help remedy these kinds of powerful, noisy emotions.
Emotions like these thrive in silence.
My grandma used to say ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’
Find someone you implicitly trust with your life and tell them what you’re going through.
Trust is the key word here.
Talking to someone who can just listen without judgement is what you need.
Someone who will empathise with what you have been feeling.
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
It strips off the unspokenness of the problem and exposes it to the light so that darkness can’t penetrate anymore.
Next, be kind to yourself.
No one has it all together all of the time.
For perfectionists, lowering your expectations is sometimes key to being kind to yourself.
Own your not good enough,
Your suicidal thoughts.
Struggling with deep emotions like shame and despair and anxiety is more common than you think.
Own your story and start to confront it.
Only when we come face to face with what it is that we are most fearful of,
Can we then work through it and overcome it.
This takes an incredible amount of courage
And often when you’re in spaces like this,
Courage is the thing found in least supply.
But I want to encourage you.
Be kind to yourself.
Find someone you trust who will listen to your grimy mess and still accept you.
Heck, will even love you more because of it.
I’ve found that the people who reach out to me are the ones I am building greater and greater respect for,
Because they have owned their struggle.
They have had the courage to own their story,
Not make excuses for it,
But have put on the bravery needed to face it and try to climb that seemingly insurmountable mountain once again,
Even if its only one step at a time.
I applaud them this week.