Sunday 5th May 2019 – 10.41 am
It’s about this time three years ago that I first moved to Melbourne. Guess I’m a “Melbournite” now.
I certainly start my day like one. I just got back from grabbing my morning coffee. Although, despite being the start of Autumn, I did walk over in a t-shirt, thongs and festival shorts with palm trees… Still a QLDer at heart I guess.
And that’s my segue into this post’s topic: home and things of heart.
I made three posts during my recent holiday — two in Brisbane, one from under my bridge, the other my childhood bedroom; and the last in Sydney from under the Harbour Bridge — but I figured I’d also give my blog some loving with some sort of summary. I’ve got two points.
Firstly, I’m incredibly incredibly blessed. Every time I visit home, there’s no shortage of people willing to make time for me, to pick me up and take me places. When you connect with someone in a meaningful way, time nor distance can pull you apart. That connection is based on sharing your struggles, victories, fears and dreams. Not seeing one another as competition, rather cheer-leaders. Their happiness is your happiness. It’s about being real and being present. Not always having answers, but always willing to hold space and listen.
Secondly, the fact time doesn’t change things is can also be unfortunate. Despite all the work and growth I’ve done since my first “dark night of the soul” in 2010 and “fleeing” Brisbane in 2014, there’s always this familiar cloud of sadness waiting for me. It’s there the moment I land — slowly getting closer as I drive through familiar suburbs. Until I’m in my childhood bedroom, engulfed in its grip and waking up under its weight.
My decade of journal entries tells of the fight — all the temporary triumphs and permanent scars. But it’s only during my recent visit that the story has started to really change…
I had always seen my feelings as a problem — an opponent. Its presence was indicative of my weakness and failings. In retaliation, I would arm myself with more self-care strategies and consider different perspectives. This went on for most of the ten years. As detailed in my book, it’s how I started this journey as the Boy Under the Bridge.
Then, in 2017, I started seeking professional help. This lead a proper diagnosis and being prescribed medication. Almost instantly, my opponent surrendered. There was no more fight. This is how everything changed. I realised that I didn’t have as much control over my feelings as I thought. And that being sad “is what it is”. Which isn’t the worse thing. That would be the guilt and self-condemnation over feeling how one feels.
It’s a paradox. The realisation of my helplessness has been rather empowering. It’s also enabled for me to foster a deeper level of self-compassion and forgiveness. This time in Brisbane, I just sat with the cloud in meditation — asking myself what I need in this moment, and doing my best to hold space like I would for any of my friends. When I stopped struggling, the grip loosened. The weight lifted.
There are definitely times when you need to be hard on your own case. But I’ve been going at this hard with my whole heart for a decade. I’ve shown up time and time again with a smile, an empowering attitude and my quirky sense of humour. These books tell of a long fight. A fight not won, but also not lost. That is resilience defined. And sometimes, that itself is where victory lies.
I also haven’t always made the right decisions, but for the most part, I’ve always made them from the right place. This is all we can ask of ourselves.
I’m still working my way through the maze medication is. Minds and bodies can be tricky f***ers to navigate. But despite how dark things get, I know there will always be a light on in my heart. I hope you find that switch in yours.
“Weather is real. It is absolutely real: when it rains, it rains — you get wet, there is no question about it. It is also true about weather that you can’t say if I wish hard enough it won’t rain. It is equally true that if the weather is bad one day it will get better. What I had to learn was to treat my moods like the weather.” – Stephen Fry