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mind body and soul

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the A word

Heart racing.

Shortness of breath.

Sweaty palms.

Thoughts so loud, I turn the radio off.

Distorted vision.

Alaia crying.

Migraine onset.

Welcome to my world.

They say a photo speaks a thousand words well, not always. The smile on my face and the gleam in my eyes is definitely deceiving, under the surface lies a whole other story.

It’s something I was always unsure if I would share just yet but, with my sole purpose of wanting to inspire and help others, how could I possibly not be real with you all?

Anxiety. That seven letter word that has seemingly taken over my day to day life over the past three months.  If I had to put my finger on a moment or event that triggered it, I would say it was my ectopic pregnancy loss but, I also believe it is a culmination of life events, motherhood and a recent drama which funnily enough really flipped the switch into full force.

So, what is it? Let’s start with the textbook definition:

“the state of feeling nervous or worried that something bad is going to happen”

My first thoughts – understatement at its best. So here’s my definition which I hope does more justice for sufferers:

An intense state of feeling overwhelmed, nervous and worried, sometimes for no good reason, accompanied by sweating, a significant increase in heartrate causing heart attack like symptoms, loud and overbearing thoughts and a gut wrenching feeling inside your stomach or chest also causing nausea. Sounds dreadful right? Well it is.

To onlookers, anxiety is often not detected. It’s silent and mostly only affects its victim. Because it comes with such a stigma, people often shy away from sharing their feelings. Society expects sufferers of anxiety to be weird, introverted, crazy or different in some way, but this couldn’t be more far from the truth.

More often than not it’s the so called “normal” person sitting right beside you, the girl with the bubbly personality, the overachiever at work who always gets a promotion, the clown of the group or that mum friend you think always has her shit together that in fact is suffering in silence.

One thing for certain, anxiety does not discriminate. Sadly, a staggering one in four Australians will suffer anxiety at least once in their life – one in four!!!! So why aren’t we talking about it?

It’s time we raise the lid on it and become more transparent and educated on it.

You see for me, I am totally new to this anxiety world, I am still identifying my triggers. And, while some days I am completely unaffected, other days I am so consumed and would like nothing more than to stay in bed all day and sleep it off, but I can’t because we all know a mothers job never sleeps.

Motherhood brings with it, its own share of anxieties – how will I get this all done? Am I doing a good job? What will other mothers think of me? I want to be a mum but also want to work and have a social life – how do I manage that? The pressures we put on ourselves are endless.

Some days, you just want to throw your hands up and claim defeat, we all have those days right?  But, instead, I find solace in retracting to a quiet room while Alaia plays, just to gain bearings again or even meditate. If I am out, I remain quiet or withdrawn which can make me seem socially awkward at times but it’s what gives me comfort in those moments. I know some people reading this will be shocked as it’s a far cry from my old bubbly, carefree, lively and social butterfly self, but lately it’s been my reality.

It sucks, it really sucks.

And while I kept convincing myself I didn’t chose anxiety, it chose me – I would be lying. A lifetime of high standards, perfectionism and people pleasing would lead me to this point. But, I am learning.

I am learning that firstly, I am not alone. SO many share this struggle with me and some are far worse. I am learning that I can manage the symptoms – I am finally making ME a priority because sometimes as mothers we lose sight of this. I am now on a mission to work on my mind, body and soul daily – I exercise, meditate and invest in self-development on a regular basis. And lastly, I am learning to love myself – would I be so hard on someone else as I am on myself? Definitely not. It’s time to be gentler on me.

The point of my article is far from a pity plea, but instead an arm reaching out to someone else out there suffering in silence, to shed light on a topic on that for so long has been taboo.

It’s a reminder for us all to really think before we speak. Is what we are saying going to add value to the people around us? If not, then why say it?

We may assume to be good judge of characters, but as I always say, never judge a book by its cover. Unless you have read every single chapter, you don’t know someone’s full story.

Moral of the story – be kind, always. Everyone has a story, every mama has a story and this is just one chapter of mine.

The Power to change

We all make mistakes in life, heck I’ve made hundreds. Would I turn back time and change them? My answer may surprise you – no. We are all human at the end of the day and mistakes are what help us grow by teaching us valuable and often testing lessons. I wouldn’t be the person I was today, if it wasn’t for all the times I fell down.

Of course, I don’t condone going out there and harming or hurting people and labelling it a mistake. But I do believe people genuinely slip up from time to time and you know what, that’s ok! Life happens, shit happens.

If there is one thing I loathe it is when people say, “he/she will never change” – I call BULLSHIT! Everyone has the power to change. I witnessed this firsthand over the weekend with over 6000 people.

The power to change lies within us. When we make a conscious decision to WANT to change and when we realise we are DESERVING ofchange, it will inevitably occur.

One thing I struggled with for so long was the notion of guilt. I brewed on my mistakes from years and years ago and the guilt manifested horribly inside me. I tried to go back and mend the pieces which were unamendable. I replayed scenarios in my head time and time again. I spent so much energy on guilt, regret and worry – I robbed myself of true happiness.

Such feelings of guilt, regret and worry are some of the most useless emotions known to mankind. What do these feelings really do besides bring us doubt, anxiety and negative energy? Do they change our reality? Truth is those emotions and authentic happiness cannot coexist. You need to choose which you want to manifest.

Once I rid myself of guilt and made a conscious decision that my past would not define me, but instead my future would, I began to let go of those worthless and life-sucking emotions and began to live. But most of all I began to find my inner peace.

You see, most of the time we blame others or situations for the way we are feeling when really, it’s our own perception or the way we look at ourselves which defines our state of being. Every event in life has its purpose to test us, to teach us or to grow us.

We can choose to be internally referenced or externally referenced. When we are externally referenced, we allow peoples moods, thoughts, opinions and behaviour affect us and change our state. While, when we are internally referenced, we are so grounded that we are indifferent to the outside noise which can distort us.

You are deserving of the life you dream of, you just have to choose to focus on the right energies and path and it will lead you to your destiny!

This too shall pass

Alaia’s being super cheeky at the moment and really testing the boundaries. And while today I had so much client work, editing, housework and blogging I needed to do, I instead spent it chasing her around. It’s hard being a mother sometimes, heck its hard being a woman, wife or better still even just an adult at times. One thing I have come to learn though is, nothing is permanent – this too shall pass.

I remember Alaia going through a car screaming phase when she was about six months old. I can’t count on my hands the number of times I resulted to walking up and down the side of main roads or highways just to calm her before going on my way again. I cried daily thinking that phase would never end, but it did.

I remember bad teething nights and thinking – god my good little girl is gone, but she wasn’t.

I remember having fall outs with people I thought were truly my friends thinking I would never move on from the hurt, but I did.

I remember moments of being completely overcome and consumed by anxiety thinking there was no light in sight and my life was over, but it wasn’t.

I guess what I am trying to say is, we can become so consumed in moments, singular moments that we forget just how insignificant they really are in the scheme of things. When we take a step back and appreciate our challenges for what they really are and that there is always someone else facing harder realities, we realise they are merely a pebble in an expansive ocean.

It’s so easy to become over focused on the problem at hand that we lose sight of all the things we should be grateful for. Ever disliked so much that even the way they chew begins to bother you? That’s because that’s where your focus lies. Every little thing they do will in some way will begin to frustrate you.  Yes my daughter screamed in the car for those countless hours, but how lucky am I to be able to hear her voice? There really is a positive to every negative.

Change the way you perceive things. Really take the time to evaluate them and  think, “hey, is this really worth worrying about?”

Whatever your little hardship be today, realise – this too shall pass. In a week, month or year this will become a distant memory. So breathe, ride the wave and come out the other end stronger than ever!

And don’t forget if those around you experiencing hardship, help put their problem in perspective so they too realise, this too shall pass.

I truly believe each of us is exactly where we need to be in life, no matter how hard it may be for us to see this in the present moment. Life gives us obstacles to test us and help us grow and reach our truest potential. It guides us to where we need to be and who we need to be around.

Start your week with a grateful heart – you’ll be surprised just how much good you have in your life, you just need to focus on it.

We’re all superheroes

It was literally the last place on earth I thought I would be judged for my screaming child, but there I was in the mother’s room of a shopping centre being stared down with a look of disgust by someone who was supposed to be on my side… another mother!

Firstly, my daughter isn’t a brat, she’s teething. See how I just felt the need to explain myself to you guys, even though I shouldn’t have to.

The thing that has certainly shocked me the most since becoming a mother, or actually even since I was first pregnant, is the pressure, comparison and judgement passed upon you by those that are supposed to know better. It seems pregnancy and motherhood come with right to tell people what you think or ask them questions which would once be considered intrusive.

Your belly is too big. Your belly is so small. Are you having a natural birth? Did you have an epidural? Are you breastfeeding? Breast is best. Has your child done this yet? Your baby eats a lot. Your baby doesn’t eat enough. Are you back to your pre-baby weight? Are you back at work? Does your child watch TV? Do they go to day care?

Why is it that as women and more so as fellow mothers some feel the need to belittle the parenting or decisions of another? I’m here to tell you screw all that!

Screw the mother who was looking down on me in the mother’s room because my child was tired and crying. Screw those who look down in shame on you for having an epidural or an elected cesarean – it’s your child birth and you are free to choose how you want your baby to enter this world. There’s no medals for a completely natural birth let me tell you. Screw those who tell you ‘breast is best’ – in my opinion, fed is best! As long as your child is not starving and you are giving them nutritious milk, you’re doing a better job than what you think!

Screw those who tell you your baby/belly is too big/too small. Little do they know you’re worried about how little your baby is or on the contrary that you’re self-conscious of how much weight you’ve gained.

It’s time that we as women become more supportive of each other rather than competitive – and that goes further than pregnancy and motherhood. How about we just start empowering each other full stop.

In this day and age it seems woman are getting bitchier and bitchier. We go on and on about this alleged sisterhood but does it really exist or is it just a facade? Enough is enough! Let’s celebrate each other, each other’s children, each other’s achievements, each other’s triumphs, each other’s success. The world has enough chaos, why add to it?

Real queens fix each other’s crowns

How about we stop ripping each other’s off?

And men, don’t be sitting there shaking your heads thinking “woman”. I have seen some of you act bitchier than woman – so get your act together too.

There’s plenty of room in this world for everyone to be successful and happy – wouldn’t that be a dream?

It’s time to put an end to the judgement, let’s stop the hating on each other in fear of someone being better than us. We are all on the same journey here as mothers and it’s about time we banded together and celebrated each other for taking on the toughest job in the world. Like really celebrated each other from the deepest pit of our soul. Because we are all pretty fricken amazing when you think about it. We create, carry and raise those little humans, no matter which way you choose to do it.

We are all superheroes in our own right and it’s time to start making each other feel that way!

To all the superheroes – much love,

Conveniently compassionate

Conveniently compassionate – we are all guilty of it. But why do we do it? Why do we wait for something awful to happen to show people we care?

I know, I know, we are all busy – we have work, kids, school drop offs, gym, countless appointments, social life, egos and the rest – but really? We have time for social media, our favourite TV shows and online shopping don’t we?

Truth is everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. And even though selfishly at times we may think our battles are greater than others, it all relevant to the person experiencing it. What we may perceive as a non-issue could be something catastrophic to someone else.

So in short, be kind!

Make time to check on those around you, just because. You never know the battles someone else is facing silently. By reaching out and showing compassion, you could quite literally be someone’s saving grace. I know the power of this firsthand as I was fortunate enough to be picked out of the darkness by  a handful of those close to me and the impact for me has been immeasurable – I will be eternally grateful to those people!

And, aside from myself , I too have witnessed those close to me experience tremendous hardship which has opened my eyes and heart to a greater level of compassion and empathy.

With that in mind, if someone acts out of character and treats you badly, instead of being quick to judge – which is the most common reaction, try and understand life from their shoes – what happened to this person to make them act this way? What battles have they faced to get them to this point?

Empathy and compassion are two of the most powerful emotions known to man and yet are such rare qualities in this day and age. If each of us make a conscious effort to exercise a little more of both, the impact would be considerable.

Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself – Mohsin Hamid

Someone’s story may not be the same as yours, but doesn’t mean the pain is any different. Empathy is about finding that connection with someone to truly understand how they are feeling.

We are all humans at the end of the day and thrive on giving love and being loved. Life is too short to wake up with regrets, make time to show those around you, you care. You never know just how much it could change someone’s day.

Sending so much love and light to all reading this. And, my email is always open to anyone who wants to reach out.