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Failure Part 1

I’ve always hated failure.

In high school, I became the master at avoiding anything that could risk me looking like a failure.

I booked doctor appointments on swimming carnival days.

I signed up for extra curricular stuff that could get me out of sports class.

Doesn't seem too harmful though right? Just getting out of sport in highschool.....

 

The problem is though, this avoidance of failure became a habit for me in every area of life. If I wasn’t 100% sure I would excel in something straight away, I would find a way out of trying it.

Sadly, every time you decide to avoid something out of a fear of failure, you shrink the boundaries of your life. When a fear of failure makes decisions for you, you stop yourself from learning some pretty valuable lessons that failure has to offer.

Now, people often throw around this question to try and inspire us to step out of our comfort zones, they ask, ‘what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’

This automatically positions us to believe that failure is bad and should stop us from trying things. When they ask that, we think of all of these amazing things we would do; the careers we would start, the people we could help, the dreams we would follow.

That’s all well and good to think about, but we know that failure if a part of life,. The reality is that if you ever find yourself in a situation where there is no risk of failure, it probably means that you’re not stepping out of your comfort zone at all!

I think a far more powerful question to ask yourself is, ‘what would I do, if I was the kind of person that failure couldn’t crush?’

If I could learn how to be resilient or strong enough to pick myself up after failure and take only the lessons I learnt, what would I do?

If I was someone who didn’t take failures on as part of who I am, what would I try?

 

We talk about this in schools all the time, because we believe that the way we see failure is going to be a game changer in life. It’s not your talent or personality or money that will determine whether you succeed or not, it’s how you bounce back from failure.

If you can change the way you see failure, then fear doesn’t determine the boundaries of your life and the stakes are lowered when you step out and try something new.

 

Coming next– we talk about how to change your mindset toward failure... BIG deal.

 

 

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Depression - 'THE AFTERMATH'

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Depression - 'THE AFTERMATH'

by Dakota Kenzig
I remember what it felt like, physically. People thought I was just emotionally struggling, but it was more than that. It felt like I was stuck in a wooden box. Like the ones they’d use on freight ships. Small, dark, only sometimes could I see glimmers of light between the cracks. But, the worst part about it was the feeling of suffocation. The oxygen was so limited, so much so I’d have to take small, shallow breaths just so I could preserve my energy. That’s the thing, people think you’re just sad.. But, it’s actually tiring. You feel so exhausted all the time and even the smallest task would wear you out.

I remember sitting for hours on end, asking myself what I had done to deserve this and what I could do to change it. Days seemed to blend together, colours soon appeared as shades of grey, food didn’t have a taste.. In the morning I didn’t want to get up and at night I didn’t want to go to sleep because I knew the next day would be exactly the same. I was so fixated on how I was feeling, I didn’t see how it was affecting my life and the people around me. My friends stopped talking to me, my mother was concerned, I was losing weight, I was sleeping all the time but I was always tired and I was failing in school. It felt inescapable, like I was trapped.

"For once, I could see a glimpse of the light and I didn’t feel hopeless, and it felt so good."

But.. Sometimes all it takes is someone to reach out their hand. I remember I was sitting with a friend and although I didn’t say anything, he could see just how much I was hurting. And then he took hold of my hand and said “Sometimes it helps to talk to someone. Its doesn’t have to be me.. Or your family.. But maybe if you talk to just one person, you might feel a little better.” For once, I could see a glimpse of the light and I didn’t feel hopeless, and it felt so good.

That night I started researching and I was so amazed to see that I wasn’t the only one. There were so many others out there, that felt the same way as me. For so long I had felt so isolated and this proved to me that everything I was feeling, was completely normal. It was more than normal, it was human.

That night, while researching, I found a not-for-profit organization that helped people just like me talk about how they’re feeling.

The first session I went to; I didn’t say a single word. I just sat there and cried. Which was something I hadn’t ever allowed myself to do. I thought I owed it to myself to find out if this was really for me. After all, it sure beat how I was previously coping. So, week after week I returned for my sessions.

Slowly, but surely, I was cracking open that wooden box I had felt bound to for such a long time. I could see the light; I could breathe again.

"If I’ve learnt anything from my experience, it's that nothing is permanent."

Now, let’s fast forward a few years. I’m a completely changed person. Now, I look forward to each day because I know there’s a new opportunity waiting for me. I spend my days doing things I love and with the people I love. I breathe so easily and I see the light in everything I do. I feel nothing but joy, knowing that I wake up each day a better person. Stronger, healthier and in control of how I feel. If I’ve learnt anything from my experience, it's that nothing is permanent. Pain is temporary and there is a life filled with joy, opportunities and experiences waiting for you. One day, you will look back and say to yourself “Man, if I survived that, I can survive anything.”


If you or a friend are feeling depressed or having thoughts about suicide, you need to know that many have made it through these feelings without causing harm and that there are people who care enough to help you. They aren't going to tell you that it's stupid or that you are over reacting-seriously, they wake up in the morning, SUPER KEEN to help people like you and they are GOOD at it. 

WHAT TO DO:

  • Get in touch with Lifeline- you can call them on 13 11 14 OR chat online from 6pm-2am.

  • Share with someone you trust – you shouldn't go through this alone. Tell them how you feel and that you are thinking of suicide. Ask them to help you keep safe. If they don't understand it, find someone who does.

  • If life is in danger – call emergency services 000

Or get some more info:

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Worry is a misuse of Imagination

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Worry is a misuse of Imagination

You were given this imagination, where you can create what doesn’t exist, where you can almost taste a reality so different to your present.

There are a million wonderful things we can do, places we can go, ideas we can create out of thin air with our imagination.

But what do we generally do with all of this power to create good? We make a long list of possible bad things that could happen and then we worry.

Instead of choosing to spend our imagination to create good things and imagine a future we will enjoy, we use our power to make ourselves miserable.

“Dad’s had a lot of headaches lately…. What if he is actually really sick and dies? Then I’ll have to quit school and work to help Mum and I’ll end up cleaning toilets for the rest of my life and I’ll die alone…”

“If I miss the bus today, then I’m going to miss Math and fail my test next week, then I’m going to fail the whole of year 9 and then none of my friends will want to hang out with me anymore and Mum will kick me out of home….”

When you worry, you are literally betting against yourself. You’re using your energy and ability to create good and you are finding ways for yourself to fail.

How do I stop, you ask?

 

One thing you can do, is get 2 mental boxes.

When you start to worry about something you need to put it in one of these boxes:

1.     A problem I can do something about

2.     A problem I can’t do anything about

The problems and scenarios in box 1 you can act on. Use your imagination to work out how to solve them! ie. You don’t have to keep worrying about missing the school bus, just be ready 5 minutes early. (that one doesn’t require much imagination ;)

The problems and scenarios in box 2, you need to put in the box and leave them there. We're talking about the 'what ifs?' and the worst case scenarios. They’ll keep trying to pop out and your imagination will love to create little stories for them, but keep putting them back in that box, as many times as you need to!!

You have the choice. Instead of using your powerful imagination to stress yourself out and worry, choose to use your imagination to create good.

 

If worry is a super big part of your life and you find your self getting physically anxious, it's really important that you get help with that. Chat with someone you trust about it and read more here:



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Beauty isn't Threatened

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Beauty isn't Threatened

"You can tell who the strong women are, they are the ones you see building each other up instead of tearing each other down."

Today is International Women's Day.
We think there are so many wonderful things about being a girl, so many reasons to chuck a party and watch a chick flick. 

We think there is a pretty big thing that can make us girls go next level though! You see a lot of girls seem to be a little confused when it comes to understanding their Value and Beauty. Somewhere a long the line, we girls started to believe the lie that someone else's beauty is a threat to our own; that somehow if someone else is beautiful, that must mean we are not.

We know, it sounds really stupid when you say it like that... Just because one cake tastes good, doesn't mean another cake can't taste good, but when it comes to our own beauty, we believe the lie nonetheless. 

Image by Harley Quinn and Co. 

Tragically, we feel so threatened by different expressions of beauty, we often either spend lots of time focussing on our own flaws, or feel the need to find flaws in others, to feel better about our own. 

A really cool thing happens though when we realise that someone else's Beauty or Value will never be in competition with our own, it is merely a different expression. 
When we start to understand that our value doesn't change, we feel totally free to focus on the good in others, without it threatening the good in ourselves. 

Imagine if we as girls felt free to build each other up, instead of tearing each other down. Imagine how confident YOU would feel if all of your girlfriends only built you and those around you up.

This International Women's Day, let's take a minute to remind ourselves that our Beauty and Value is never threatened by others and that you have the power to influence whether the girls around you are built up or torn down. We know which one we think is stronger! 

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Be Honest With You –Start to change Self-Esteem

If you are someone that struggles with self-esteem, if you feel like you have no value, if you feel like you have more bad days than good, or you struggle with feeling ok most of the time…you are not alone!!! There are so many people that struggle with how they feel about themselves – and that is exactly what our self-esteem is. Self-esteem is defined as how we feel about ourselves. It is so common now to meet someone or have a conversation with someone that in the midst of discussion you hear that they have depression or that they are struggling with their mood almost evert single day. 

As someone who has struggled with depression a couple of times through their life – I know exactly how it feels. The first time and probably the longest period was throughout high school.  Heck it probably started earlier than that…maybe mid primary school around year 4. I was probably just not a happy kid in my primary school years but for most of high school, from the beginning of year 8 until I got out of there at the end of year 12 I struggled to get out of bed every single morning. 

Nothing helped with how I felt, and the negative feelings seemed to get worse and worse as time went on. 

Unfortunately there is a stigma attached to having ‘depression’ or a ‘low self-esteem’ and as a result many of us deny that this is the case when we are in that exact position. I know I did. I didn’t even really know what depression was as a teenager but if I did – I know I would have said there is no way I have it!! This is a BIG part of the issue. Whatever issue we face at any age – the very first step to dealing with it in a healthy way is to acknowledge that we actually have the issue. From there we will be able to make the necessary changes, or at least begin to. If we never get to the point where we are honest enough with ourselves – we will never be able to change enough to get healthy in relation to how we feel. 

That first step is almost the most important – we all need to stop pretending that we are ok and admit when we are struggling. NO ONE has it all together. If we can all stop pretending that we are all good – and recognise that we need to change how we feel – the world would be such a healthier place. This is the first step but there are many steps beyond that. Namely these 5:

1) Change your lifestyle

The most effective way to change how we feel is to change the food we eat. Food can either be a form of medicine or the slowest form of poison that we encounter. Eating nutrient dense carbs and healthy proteins and fats actually changes how we feel faster and more effectively than ANYTHING else we can do. Beyond that the only other 2 factors I will mention are exercise and sleep. We need to be getting exercise every single day – 10-15mins of exercise is enough. And 8-10 hours of sleep a night.  

2) Speak to someone

There seems to be a stigma around seeing a counsellor or a psychologist – and always has been. My suggestion is that EVERYONE needs to see a professional at some point because we all have issues – and if everyone did it then it wouldn’t be weird!! We all have hurts and pain (mainly from our parents) and need to address that rather than getting caught up in coping mechanisms or addictions.

3) Get rid of ANTs

ANTs stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts. We have so many negative thoughts crawling around in our heads that cause us damage and pain. We need to choose to get rid of these ANTs as they not only cause us pain but even change how we interact with people, change how we hear what people are saying or how we perceive situations we face.

4) Choose friends wisely

Take a close look at the friends that you have around you. Those close friends will strongly determine the kind of person that you will become. Don’t hang around people that are super negative or that put you down all the time as it will impact how you feel about yourself. When you hear something about yourself often enough you will begin to believe it. Don’t place yourself in situations that you hear too much negative talk – especially about yourself.

5) Do good for others

Another effective way to change how you feel about yourself is to do good for others. Research shows that when you reach beyond yourself and act selflessly 2 things happen – you feel better about yourself and you are more accepted by your peers. So look for opportunities where you can help someone out or just commit a random act of kindness. These are things I have put in place over the last 15 years of my life and I believe I have a healthier self-esteem now than ever before. I am nowhere near perfect and never will be – but I will continue to work on it because I recognise how important it is to have a healthy self-esteem.

For more info on self-esteem you can visit the Armed For Life website at www.armedforlife.com.au and take the Self Esteem Questionnaire in the resources menu, or contact me at adam@armedforlife.com.au about the 8 week Overhaul Program I have put together that works on all of the 5 points that we have spoken about in the article.

Do yourself a favour, choose to be honest about where your self-esteem is at and start making the changes today to feel good about yourself.

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​Bullying: The Pain It Causes and How to Cope with It.

My bullying started in year 4. Until then I was a popular kid because I was champion boy every year from year 1 to year 4. Something happened in year 4 however that meant I had to take some drugs that caused me to gain heaps of weight (kind of felt like I doubled in size – but that may not be completely true) and as a result of losing my speed and perhaps my confidence, the bullying started all the way back then. By year 7 my own friends were bullying me and year 8 I moved to high school.

I was a little nervous about high school but to be honest I was a little excited as well. This was my chance for a fresh start. Something new. Maybe I wouldn’t be bullied so much…maybe I could get a good group of friends and I wouldn’t feel so alone. Once I actually got to high school though all of these thoughts vanished. Not only did the bullying start day 1 of high school in year 8…but I didn’t find a friendship group until the middle of year 9. For more than a year I walked around at recess and lunch alone…sat alone…ate alone. Then I would go home and deal with loneliness there too. Interestingly loneliness is one of the issues I struggle with now as an adult.

For me…the bullying continued EVERY SINGLE DAY of my high school life. I would wake up every single morning of my high school life feeling sick… with a knot in my stomach because I knew that I was going to be bullied… but had no idea when it was going to happen. No wonder I fell into depression as a teenager… no wonder I had a plan in place to take my own life in year 10.

I was never taught how to deal with bullying. We were taught in school ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’. What a load of… crap. This is a lie. Words have the power of life and death. Death!! They can take away our will to live – that’s how powerful they are. And so I just pushed on through…using destructive coping mechanisms to try and make myself feel better, but that only caused more damage (and long term damage too).

How we cope with the pain is another topic on its own… but how do we deal with the bullying in a healthy way? We have 3 options in direct response to bullying:

1)     Passive – Being passive means to do nothing. I only spoke to one person in my high school years about the bullying and they said ‘ignore it…and it will go away.’ WORST ADVICE EVER. Bullies do what they do cause it makes them feel better. Being passive will not stop bullying.

2)     Aggressive  - People often think if we punch bullies in the face or if we yell and swear at them that the bullying will stop. Well I yelled and swore at my bullies and it did NOTHING…so that doesn’t work. If we respond in an aggressive way we only set ourselves up with an EXTREMLY unhealthy pattern of dealing with problems. Aggression does not have a happy ending either… I have heaps of stories of aggression ending badly. There will always be someone bigger and stronger than you!

3)     Assertive – Being assertive means standing up for yourself WITHOUT aggression. This has 2 parts.

a.     Speak to the bully one on one. Sometimes when you speak one on one things change – all of a sudden the bully becomes an normal human being (because there is no crowd to impress) However they respond…something will change subconsciously. You are no longer the guy or girl that won’t stand up for themselves.

b.     If the bullying continues then speak to a teacher (and one that you trust) Dobbing is COMPLETELY different to asking for help. Bullies use the term dobbing to keep victims trapped in the same cycle to prevent themselves from getting in trouble. When you need help…asking for it is the normal, healthy and appropriate response. When you are in a maths class and don’t know how to answer a maths question and you put your hand up, are you dobbing on the maths question? NO! It is the appropriate response. So make sure you speak to a teacher that you trust.

I chose to be passive 80% of the time and aggressive 20% of the time. Neither worked for me…as the bullying continued. I wish someone had of told me to stand up for myself without aggression. To tell a teacher that I trusted so that something could be done about it.

EVERY student deserves the right to go to school and feel safe. EVERY SINGLE ONE. If you are going to school and don’t feel safe make sure you are speaking to someone about it…someone within the school that cares. Don’t make the same mistake I did and just try to deal with it on your own.

If you have any questions about bullying then go to the Armed For Life Facebook page and send us a message.

 

Thanks,

Adam

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When parents divorce

My parents separated when I was year 8 and were divorced by the time I was fully immersed into high school in year 9. My mum was the one that left which would obviously have been a difficult decision for her. I stayed with Dad and unfortunately my Dad disappeared into work to manage his pain. In the same year my brother graduated from high school and was off partying with his mates and so I essentially grew up through my high school years alone.

We can often respond to this situation as a damaged teenager in unhealthy ways. There are 3 common responses as an unhealthy teen (and often we choose all 3):

  1. Blame ourselves - We can often take the heavy burden of our parents’ divorce on as our mistake, we somehow find a way to make it our fault. We need to clearly understand that it is not our fault – it is between our parents and we just happen to get caught in the crossfire. IT IS NOT OUR FAULT. I know this happens but this was not my response. I chose the second and third responses.

  2. Choose not to seek help  - We often either downplay the impact that this incredibly powerful (life altering) situation has on us and choose not to get help. Every teenager that goes through a divroce should be speaking to a counsellor or a psychologist at some point to help manage the emotions and pain associated with the situation

  3. Using unhealthy coping mechanisms - Unfortunately what most teens do is look to a coping mechanism of some kind to make themselves feel better – to medicate themselves (EG. Partying, drinking, relationships, pornography etc.) These coping mechanisms end up causing long term damage not just to ourselves but all kinds of future relationships.

If you are currently dealing with parents going through a divorce and are reading this I strongly recommend that you reach out to someone for help (a trained counsellor or a registered psychologist is best) and put the right steps in place to ensure that you do not blame yourself or use damaging coping mechanisms to survive.

 

Thanks,

Adam Przytula

Armed for Life

We recommend chatting with your school chaplain, psychologist or Kid's Helpline

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Conflict

I'm sure we've all been at a place where the situation feels too sticky to go back to.

Of course I am talking about our old friend conflict.

I can often recall myself thinking back.. Was I actually right? Was the other person right?

Does it actually matter who was right?

One of my less finer moments I can recall was with a teacher. I had been caught red handed in year 7 spreading vicious rumours about other people in my class. SCANDALOUS!

In the moment- I was so desperate to find someone else to pin it on. Someone else who made me do it! Someone who blackmailed me and forced me to do it because I was being held against my will. Unfortunately my life was not an episode in NCIS. I really had no line of defence, or even someone else to blame. It was simple. It was me. I was the problem. But I never would have admitted it at the time. Who would?

Through experience I've come to see that as people, we are pretty rubbish when we are all fired up. I was great at getting fired up to prove I'm right. Sometimes it's a teacher, sometimes it's a parent. And sometimes they are wrong.

But most often we find, the battle is inside of us. Yes, we may be disagreeing with someone, but what's stopping us from letting go of wanting to be right all the time? Where to from here? If we face a situation or a person how should we respond?

Here's some tips:

1. Find your cold spot: Pulse racing? Volume increasing? Maybe it's best to remove yourself from the situation. If you can't remove yourself from the place or away from a person, maybe take some time to find your mental cold spot. That place where everything is great, and you're on an island sipping a coconut. Find that place where you can relax.

2. Take some time: However long you need to remove your thoughts from the "I am right, they are wrong" mentality- take that time! You won't be able to be diplomatic in your actions or words when you're still thinking about that stuff.

3. The balance: Ask yourself, is my relationship with this person/people worth more to me than this disagreement?

4. Time to talk: Don't leave the situation or person guessing on whether you're still cool with them. Go back, talk to them in person and be super clear about how you're feeling. If you need more time, be honest.

5. Be close: When we learn to work through a disagreement and we actually make it through- we become closer to those we once disagreed with. We learn to work better with the people around us, and we start to see how different we are from each other. And different is okay. You are never going to be the best at everything, so you need a team around you who can compliment you in your strengths and weaknesses.

Hope this helps you navigate some disagreements. And remember, often the biggest battle is inside you.

 

Tim Jenner

Social Worker and Chaplain Extraordinaire 

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How To Read Your Friends and Understand Yourself Better

If you clicked on this article with the hope that by the time you finished reading this you you would have mind-reading telekinesis powers, unfortunately, you’ll have to take your search else where…

But don’t be disheartened! You don’t need neurotechnology or telekinesis to understand the 'why' behind people’s 'whats'. Through education and a proper understanding of human nature, you can begin to see things you will never be able to not see again.

Even from a first impression, you’ll be able to rearrange a person’s Metallica tee, top knot, or crocs, and all their other features, into an informing insight about who they are. But the benefit of being a good people reader is not just being able to send your bullies insane. It’s actually being finally able to understand yourself better. When you can understand your own weird ways and the odd reasons you do things, you’ll be able to challenge yourself and improve who you are.
Then, you’ll be able get into less drama with friends and family because you’ll understand why they are like they are.

Sold yet? Well, this all sounds a bit too good to be true. But I’m not saying you can learn this skill by tomorrow. The trick is that we are sometimes too attached to our own thoughts, emotions and biases, that we cannot understand other's thoughts, emotions and biases. You must learn the art of arranging your thoughts, not as who you are, but as files to be read, analysed, determined whether helpful or unhelpful and either discarded or used. What I mean is: you’ve got to be able to think about … thoughts! about what you did, and if it was right or wrong under the circumstances.

That ability is a precious gift. Why? Because being accurate in your perceptions of your own and others behaviour is the key to locating deeper philosophies that guide our lives. But the first step is education.

And the first lesson is contained in the wise words of Shrek himself. Because people, just like Ogres are like onions. That's right, some people, like onions, some people when you make them cut, you make them cry. But more importantly, people like onions, have layers. Because people think a lot. What are the layers then? They are thoughts that over the years we have chosen to believe in and live by.

Problem is, we often react to people’s rough outer layers, when we need to be able to listen to inner thoughts that are the reasons behind behaviour. And it’s 'whether these deeply personal thoughts or beliefs are functional or not’ that fills our gossip, funds our research and divides our families.

But, if we can learn to understand these inner reasons we cling to, we can also challenge them and move our lives forward with love, grace and respect.

 

Dylan Goode

Psychology Major, Theology Graduate, Counsellor, Bassist and polished Super Smash Mario Brother

 

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Walking Through - Adam Przytula

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Walking Through - Adam Przytula

iZRA #2 001 | (IMG_2809) | joshfernandes® Photography 2014.jpg

I think I suffered with depression throughout my entire 5 years at high school. Some people love school (I know because my wife was one of them) and some people HATE school. I hated school. It was a terrible experience for me. I was bullied every day of my high school life, my parents divorced in year 8 and things only got worse from there. I had a plan in place to take my own life in year 10 because I couldn’t handle the pain I was experiencing anymore. I had no ability to deal with problems, I would fall apart as soon as a problem would hit me, and I had about as low a self-esteem as you can have.

All of this explains why I am so passionate about helping teenagers as they go through school, to change their behavior in order to change how they feel about themselves, and change how they deal with their problems. My focus with my organization has always been to help deal with mental health problems, but what I didn’t understand is that a person’s mental health state is only part of the problem. That’s why I talk about Health and wellbeing as a whole now. The best way to change how you feel is to change the lifestyle you lead – most importantly the food that you eat. I have sat with people one on one in a coaching session and even though they had about as traumatic experience growing up as you can have and were depressed, within 4 days of eating differently they text me so excited that they don’t feel down anymore.

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So often in life we find ourselves facing problems of many different kinds. What we need to do is choose to deal with those problems, whatever that requires, rather than sweep them under the rug and pretend like they are not there. I encourage everyone that I speak to in a group session to talk to someone one on one about the problems that they are facing. Not only can you sometimes get the help that you desperately need at that time, but it also just lifts a weight off our shoulders. Give it a try some time, you will be surprised how good it feels if you can trust the person you talk to!!

Adam Przytula 

Armed for Life

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LOST

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LOST

Have you ever felt lost?

 Not in the, ‘oh crap, I should not have left my class group at the Royal Show to look at the puppies,’ kind of way.

 I’m talking about the ‘I don’t feel like I fit into my world like I used to,’ kind of way.

 There have been countless times in my life that I have felt disconnected from everything that used to feel safe and familiar- a little numb I guess?

 Or sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve changed and I don’t really feel like me anymore… like nowhere feels like it used to.

 

 In those times, my natural response is to try and find something drastic I can do to take control, or to feel something again.

 My attempts always looked like me trying to drop out of school, wanting to cut all of my hair off or trying to start up a relationship again that I decided to shut down in the past- never a good idea by the way!

 The way you deal with that numb and lost feeling probably looks different for everyone.

Sadly, our attempts often have consequences that will be with us for a long time, leaving ugly scars and regrets.

When I feel a bit lost and like I want to feel safe again; like I want to make drastic choices to change that, I have to remember a few things:

Who I am is fluid:

I have to remember that as I grow up, the things that have made me me, might start to change and evolve.

Some of the things that I identified as or the people I hang out with, won’t always stay the same. When those things change, I don’t stop being me, it’s just that I’m on a journey to find out who I am and there are going to be HEAPS of different parts to that.

 I go through seasons:

There might be times in my life when everything feels a little numb and disconnected.

 Sometimes it’s because my environment is changing, sometimes it’s because my interests are changing and sometimes it’s because I might need to talk to someone about getting some help.

 We all go through seasons and seasons don’t last forever.

 

It’s not something to freak out about or to feel like it will last forever, it’s just something to ride out.

 Riding it out might look like learning to be ok with change and a lack of control, or it might mean being honest and talking to someone who can help you deal with the way you feel.

 If you need to talk to someone, we think a parent, teacher you trust, school chaplain or counselor are a pretty great place to start! If you don’t feel comfortable with them, here are some other good peeps!

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YOU belong here

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YOU belong here

Feeling a part of something, like you’re meant to be there, is one of the best feelings in the world. 

 

That might be your basketball team, your group of friends, your family, or your band. Whatever that group or thing looks like, knowing that you are meant to be there, that those people get you and that you have a part to play, helps you get through a lot of other things that aren’t so great in life.

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If you are a human, you probably know what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong somewhere though….

 

That feeling is really crap- actually, it’s worse than crap, but we try to keep our language decent around these parts, so you get our drift yeh? 

 

Feeling like it wouldn’t matter if you disappeared, like no one would notice, like they might even be glad if you weren’t there, is pretty depressing.

 

While some of us may feel that way at school or in our group of friends, some of you may feel that way about your life in general.

 

You might be going through a time in your life where nothing seems to fit right, not school, or home, your friends or your job; you don’t feel like there is anywhere you fit or belong. Like no one actually gets it.

 

If that’s you, we want you to know that you do belong here; that you have a part to play. The future is unknown, but it has a spot for you in it- YOU belong here.

 

It can be easy to kind of give up and give in to the thinking that everyone would be better off without you and that you will never find where you belong.

 

It can seem simpler to retreat into yourself, put up walls and not share what you’re going through; what makes you tick. That is definitely the easier option, BUT the easy road never leads to the really good spots.

 

There are going to be plenty of spaces where you don’t 'fit' in life, but there will also be some that you do, people who get you – YOU belong here.

 

Life isn’t going to go to plan and some things will disappoint you, but there are also going to be some amazing moments; moments so great that you could never have concocted them in your head, they are worth sticking around for – YOU belong here.

 

Even if it doesn’t look like it now- YOU belong here.

 

The future is unknown, but it has a spot in it for you, it’s worth sticking around to see what that spot is.

 

YOU belong here- don’t ever let yourself believe otherwise.

 

If you find yourself thinking suicidal thoughts, that doesn't make you weird and it doesn't mean that you're supposed to follow through with them, it just means you need a little help right now. Check out our article here and chat with someone you can trust, like your school chaplain, a parent or some of our friends below.

 

 

 

 

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Never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings

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Never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings

Never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.

Or, ‘don’t do anything crazy when you’re all worked up in the moment’.

Our feelings are often our biggest motivators to make a change.

It probably sounds like "Right, that's it!, I can't take it anymore." or "I am never going back there again."

The problem with this is, that we can’t always trust our feelings, our emotions and our thoughts.

Emotions are very real and there is no doubt that you feel that way in the moment, but the truth is, our feelings and emotions aren’t always based on fact and don't always reflect reality.

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We are big belivers in the fact that just because you think it; just because you feel it, doesn’t make it true and doesn’t mean it is final.

Maybe your girlfriend broke up with you and you feel like no one is every going to like you again. That hurt and pain is real, but it doesn’t make it true.

Maybe you fumbled BIG time in your rugby game and everyone yelled at you. You feel like the biggest idiot and like you will never get that play right, but that doesn’t make it true.

We have to recognize that feelings come and go and take that into account next time we want to make a decision based on how we feel.

Because we at iZRA get what it’s like to be very emotional people (trust me, sometimes there is more drama in my head than a Kardashian wedding), here are some checks that I’ve put in place to stop me from making permanent decisions based on temporary feelings:

1. If you feel the same way about a situation for even 2 whole weeks, no changes, no doubts, then maybe it’s time to talk to someone about making some serious change.

Growing up, I would always change between wanting to cut my hair off and wanting to have it super long- like every week. So my Mum made a rule that if I wanted to cut my hair off for a whole month, then I could do it at the end of that time. If I changed my mind at least once in that time, I had to start counting again- my hair stayed long. Basic example, but it can save you from BIG mistakes. 

2. Have someone who can tell you when you’re letting your emotions run wild.

Find someone a bit older than you who you can trust and who you can be really honest with; someone who generally makes pretty good decisions. It might be an older cousin, a teacher or a chaplain, someone who isn’t afraid to tell you when you’re being a bit of a drongo. Make a promise to yourself that you will always run big decisions by that person first, whether it’s getting back with that ex, getting a tattoo or quitting your favourite sport because you’ve had enough.

3. Remember, 'just because I think it, doesn’t make it true'.

Your feelings are valid and real, but they are just that, feelings not fact.

 

Hang in there! 

 

But sometimes it's a little more serious….

If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis and you think immediate action is needed, call emergency services (triple zero – 000), contact your doctor or mental health crisis service, or go to your local hospital emergency department. Do not leave the person alone, unless you are concerned for your own safety.

To speak to someone immediately contact the beyondblue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline 13 11 44.

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Friend = Superman? Oh heck no!

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Friend = Superman? Oh heck no!

Sometimes being a good friend doesn’t mean you have to save the day or be the answer for all of your friends’ problems, it just means being there and offering suggestions of who to talk to when they need.

It’s not your responsibility to decide whether what they are feeling is real or serious, you just need to let them know that you are there for them and that while you don’t have the answers to help, there are people they can talk to.

You also don’t need to feel guilty about not helping enough. As a friend, there isn’t always a lot you can do, apart from being there and letting them know you care.

Sometimes when people are in a bad place, they can want to blame people – that doesn’t make it your fault, it just means they have things to work through.

Other times when people are in a bad place, they will want you to be more to them than you can, it’s like they want you to fill the holes and solve the problems. No one person can do that for them though. The best thing they can do is chat with an adult they trust who can help them work through some of the things going on in their life.

You might recommend they chat with a chaplain, teacher, counselor or parent. If your friend feels they don’t have anyone in their world they can chat with, we have a couple of people we think are pretty darn ace at talking through things and getting help!! 

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"You are not only your pain."

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"You are not only your pain."

" If you struggle with self-injury,

you are not "a cutter"

you are a person. 

You are not only your pain, 

you are not only your wounds and scars.

You are better things. 

You are possibility and promise,

hope and healing, daydreams, 

favourite books and favourite songs. 

You are the people that you love

and the people who love you.

You are hope and change and things worth fighting for. 

This is all your story, 

and your story isn't over. "

Jamie Tworkowski - To Write Love On Her Arms 


If this is something you struggle with, we think one of the best things you can do is talk an adult you trust about it- seriously, getting the help you need is brave, not weak. 

It might be a chaplain, teacher, parent or someone like that. If there isn't anyone in your world you feel you can talk to, we reckon you should chat with one of our friends below!



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Anxiety- When it's more than a little worry

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Anxiety- When it's more than a little worry

We all worry about things-

Is Mum going to find that rotten banana at the bottom of my bag and make me clean it out?

Will Mum and Dad stay together? 

Is that guy going to pick me out and embarrass me in sport again today?

 

Sometimes this worry can be a bit more intense and consuming though, as you become anxious.

You know when your hearts starts beating faster as you open that exam paper? 


Your breathing speeds up and you fill with adrenalin?

Those feelings generally fade away after a minute or so as you calm down, but for some, those feelings can happen multiple times throughout the day and sometimes for no apparent reason. 

Anxiety can feel hard to control and can stop you from being involved in everyday life.


If you feel this way, it's not something to be embarrassed about, but it's definitely something you should learn more of and talk to someone about.

You don't have to live with it forever and if left untreated, it can become all consuming and make everyday living difficult.


This is a link to a page all about anxiety; what it means, how it happens and how you can recover with the right support and treatment.

Remember, getting help is BRAVE, not weak. 

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Thoughts about suicide

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Thoughts about suicide

If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis and you think immediate action is needed, call emergency services (triple zero – 000), contact your doctor or mental health crisis service, or go to your local hospital emergency department. Do not leave the person alone, unless you are concerned for your own safety.

To speak to someone immediately contact the beyondblue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline 13 11 44.

Having thoughts about suicide is not uncommon.

It doesn't make you weird, but it also doesn't mean you have to follow through on them.

A lot of people struggle with thoughts of suicide at some point in their life and are brave enough  to get the help they need to keep living. That doesn't mean their problems just 'go away', it means they connect with people who understand and have been there before. 

 

What you think doesn't have to be who you are, in fact, what you think today, might not be what you think tomorrow and may be totally different to how you feel in 4 week's time. The feelings are real, but they can change.

Just because you have those thoughts, doesn't mean you have to act on them, it just means that there are some things you need to work through. 

There is no reason to feel ashamed of these thoughts, or to feel weaker than the people around you.

We here at iZRA understand that life often doesn't go the way we like, but we also believe that you are strong. 

 

No matter what thoughts go through your mind, we want to remind you that-

You are not weird.

You are never trapped.

You are never out of solutions. 

You are strong enough to get through- you have a future.

You are never alone. 

The good in life is worth sticking around for.

If you are having thoughts about suicide, you need to know that many have made it through these feelings without causing harm and that there are people who care enough to help you. They aren't going to tell you that it's stupid or that you are over reacting- seriously, they wake up in the morning, SUPER KEEN to help people like you and they are GOOD at it. 

WHAT TO DO:

  • Get in touch with Lifeline- you can call them on 13 11 14 OR chat online from 6pm-2am.

  • Share with someone you trust – you shouldn't go through this alone. Tell them how you feel and that you are thinking of suicide. Ask them to help you keep safe. If they don't understand it, find someone who does.

  • If life is in danger – call emergency services 000

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