Life: How To Be Cool – Part 1 – My Story

Last weekend I packed up my scrapbooking and a crochet blanket I have been working on all year and went on a craft retreat. I am not really crafty, but… CraftyMummy and my BFFs Jodie and Anna were going, so I figured it was a good excuse to hang out with them.

I was also going to be the ‘guest speaker’ for Sunday Morning. Eep!

I thought I would share what I spoke about… It seemed to get a good response. So for the next 6 Fridays, I will be sharing what I spoke about.

I was given free range to speak about whatever I felt to share. The premise was a time of reflection and growth, which is great, becuase something really kind of ‘magical’ happens when groups of women get together…

I broke the session into three parts:

1) My Journey {a small snippet}

2) 5 Elements of Being Cool

3) Reflection 

 

Part 1: My Journey – The Part About PND

Today, I thought I would share a bit about my journey. I haven’t shared a lot of here on my blog, this space was built to be an escape from what was going on in my head… But, I have learnt a lot over the past few years. The most striking thing I have learnt is that if you are brave enough to share your weaknesses, you get stronger and you can help other people.

Because we all like to put people into boxes, it is only human nature to try and label and categorise people, I thought I would start by giving you my labels… Just to give you a good idea of where I am coming from…

Wife

Mother

Daughter

Sister

Aunty

Friend

Teacher

Blogger

Shopper

Cook

Baker

Not really a crafter

I am going to tell you about my quest. A quest I have been on since I turned 30. When I turned 30 I had a terrible realisation. I realised with dismay that I was UN-Cool. This realisation hit when I was asked to go out for coffee with some cool friends and my best ‘going out with cool friends outfit’ consisted of brown corduroy pants and a green shirt with embroidered leaves on it. I was dressed like a tree.

I had to do something. I felt so self conscious and so conspicuous, I nearly didn’t go out. Of course I did and had a lovely time, but, I had arrived at a fork in the road. I could embrace my dressing like a tree – or – I could make some change happen.

At the time, I was anti-depressants for Post Natal Depression. Being on these really helped. I went from a crying, angry ball of misery who only just managed to get dressed before 3pm to a highly functioning, back in the work force girl who bounced through her days with her little blonde baby and a head full of dreams.

After 6 months, I decided that because my life was going so well, I would come off the anti-depressants and see how things went. My husband was very dubious. Which, was a bit of a clue as to how miserable I had been at my lowest point. I took a few months to come off the medication and when I was totally weaned off them I felt fine. And then, after a few weeks, I realised that there were some cracks showing. I was beginning to slip into some of the old thought and behaviour patterns of the PND.

Alarms bells went off.

I went to my doctor and had a chat with her. She is all kinds of awesome and gave me some really great tips. Things like; get out of the house, get early morning sunlight, see people and exercise. I was determined to get some things in my life sorted out so that I could have a happy life in the future.

One of the things that was constantly getting me down was my weight. I had tried all kinds of fad diets and would write the most elaborate exercise programs, but… they would remain stuck to the fridge with no commitment. What I hadn’t tried was grit, determination and sweat. In 2007, I lost 15kgs. Then I had another baby. Then in 2008, I lost another 10. I got so fit that I was able to run a half marathon. Remember that sad girl who was dressed like a tree? She was freeing herself! It was great!

In the process of losing weight and running I learnt so much about myself. I was strong, I was smart, I was courageous. I would never have learnt that if I hadn’t made a point to be better. The more I looked after my body and my mind, the better wife and mother I became. It was profound and infectious. I was inspiring people to start running and to achieve their best. It was a heady time.

This is when my quest really began in earnest. I decided to begin documenting things that I thought were cool on my blog. In no way did I think I was cool, but it was a way of being able to share my journey. So many young mothers give themselves wholly to their children and lose a bit of their own identity in the process. It became a focus of mine to connect with these kinds of mothers and let them know that looking after themselves is actually okay.

Other than my weight, the other thing that got me down was my lack of friends. I decided to join a homegroup at church and met some people. I made a lovely friend in a girl named Shelley. We had lots of things in common and our friendship grew quickly. Shelley and I went to playgroup together and there I made some MORE lovely friends, like the delightful Anna. Shelley also introduced me to two more friends Tonya and Jodie and before long I had more close, dear friends than I could ever imagine. I now have lots of beautiful friends who I walk through life with. I am truly blessed.

I was also learning a lot about the things I liked doing and why. I began writing more and being more creative within my house. I started working out what sorts of clothes suited me best and my hairdresser did some serious magic on my hair. I went to a skin doctor and had some of my acne issues seen to, which was a real blessing for my esteem. I saw that life was cool, there were so many opportunities to grow and to share and to be happy.

I would love to tell you that I am completely free of the depression. But, I am not. It is a shadow that follows me every day. Sometimes the shadow walks far behind and I don’t even feel its icy hand, and other times it clumsily bumps into me reminding me of its presence and reminding me to choose between embracing the old ways of thinking or turning and moving forwards. I am really fortunate in that I when things start getting me down, I am able to DO some things to ward off the depression. My most powerful tool is recognising that there are deep ruts of negativity in my thought life, and it is really easy to start believing those things. When I can isolate those thoughts and see them for what they are, I can start working my way out. Also, the early morning light, exercise and telling someone are in my ‘mental health’ toolkit.

Just to make something clear, just because I have managed my depression without anti-depressants, does not mean that is the path for everyone. Please, hear my heart. For me, they really only masked things that I wasn’t managing myself.

Now, back to my quest. Let’s talk about what it means to be cool. I have a little catch phrase that I use on my social media pages that says, ‘B is desperately trying to find out how to be cool before the need for sensible shoes and elasticised pants set it’. The clock is ticking here people!

Come back next Friday to find out what my 5 Elements of Cool are…

 

I am linking in with Team Friday over at Get On With It Already…    and    Flog Your Blog with With Some Grace

 

 

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  • http://imaginemakebelieve.com/ Janelle

    Thanks for sharing at craft retreat! It was great to hear a snippet of your journey in this world.
    Janelle recently posted..Coming Soon…My Profile

  • Ness

    You’re amazing for sharing your journey. It’s always so helpful for people who are struggling with stuff hear that they’re not alone in it. And I can’t imagine that you ever looked like a tree :o)

  • http://www.handmadetearsandtriumphs.com Kelly HTandT

    Am I allowed to giggle at ‘dressed like a tree’?
    I’ve only been reading your blog for a few months and I think you are the epitome of cool! Even more so now that I know the lengths you’ve gone to to improve your life, and especially because you work at managing your depression without meds. So many people think there is a magic pill to cure any ailment, not many are strong enough to actually put work into it. Awesome work B!
    x
    Kelly HTandT recently posted..Beautification: Is it worth it?My Profile

  • http://howtocrochetaheart.blogspot.com.au Emma

    that craft retreat sounds pretty cool. thanks for sharing
    #fybf
    Emma recently posted..Yarnbombing VineMy Profile

  • http://footprintsaustralia.com/blog Janet

    B, this is an absolutely AWESOME post. Thank you so much for sharing and I look forward to reading the rest of this series!
    Janet recently posted..I was an Ugly DucklingMy Profile

  • http://www.caitlinshappyheart.blogspot.com Caitlin

    Great post B! Open and honest posts are so powerful, thanks for sharing your heart. I’m sure your speaking was powerful also.
    Caitlin recently posted..Happy 3rd Birthday T-Star!My Profile

  • http://www.getonwithitalready.com/ Stacey-Lee

    Wow B, I am sure your speech went really well with words like that. Your journey is very similar to mine (same kind of time frame too!) Except I fell off that wagon of looking after myself, let it slide and am just now getting back on, with a lot of hard work. I am also making new friends and that helps a LOT! I too chose to deal without the meds after having taken them for a considerably lengthy period. And you are sooo right, a Mumma looking after one’s self is very important and beneficial to all other aspects of our lives, children included. Looking forward to the next instalment and thank you for linking up with TEAM Friday x
    Stacey-Lee recently posted..TEAM Friday: Just Do ITMy Profile

  • http://www.bubsweatandtears.com Pip

    WOW, amazing story. I can so relate to it. I went through the exact same ups and downs and not sure I’d have the guts to do it twice as boy is it challenging to combat – but I’ve found exercise has been my main saving grace, that and the great friends and the incredible online community there to support you and encourage you all the way. Lovely to stumble across you! cheers, Pip
    Pip recently posted..Take Me Away…My Profile

  • http://www.debmills.com Deb @ Aspiring Mum

    Awesome post! We share a similar story – I didn’t go the meds path for PND, and it took a lot of hard work, prayer and a change in mindset to get through. I still have dark days, but am thankful that for the most part, the fog has lifted. I am also rediscovering running – have always loved it, but have had health issues set me back in my goals. But I will not let that hold me back any more! It is the one thing that I can do just for me. I look forward to reading your 5 elements of cool (I need some pointers!)
    Deb @ Aspiring Mum recently posted..Fruit and Nut Balls.My Profile

  • http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/ Carol Sherritt

    Your talk was so inspirational and also very interesting. I enjoyed being able to read it again and will be sharing it with some of my friends. I know they will love it as much as I do.
    Carol Sherritt recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge – GeometryMy Profile

  • Anna

    Love you B! Perfect sharing for a diverse group of ladies.

  • http://neesayer.com Née Say

    You made me snort. Did you seriously have an outfit that resembled forestry?

    I love you so & you know how much your journey inspires me. Good on you for getting up and sharing your story in person xx
    Née Say recently posted..A letter to the Wilful One @ 6 yearsMy Profile

  • Wendy Langerak

    Good work baby Be! I’m proud you have gotten so far. I have been a bit shaken up lately myself, but nowhere near the depths of despair you feel, which makes me realise I have a lovely life and should make the most of it! I am currently decluttering in readiness for our garage sale and it’s quite therapeutic. So much crap has been hiding in my closet, can’t believe I kept some of that stuff so long! But I am not going to get rid of classic stuff, I have some regrets of other stuff I have gotten rid of and that will not happen this time. Am very tired now, cleansing crap is emotionally tiring as well as a physical thing……

  • http://essentiallyjess.com EssentiallyJess

    Loved hearing this B.
    I’ve tried weaning off my Meds and had not a lot of succes, but knowing that you did it gives me so much hope.
    Thankyou. Xxx
    EssentiallyJess recently posted..Jess’ Countdown to Awesome- Update 1My Profile

  • http://thecraftyexpat.wordpress.com/ Rita

    Such a great speech and an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure it can help many women who are reading.
    Rita recently posted..Guest bloggingMy Profile

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