The brief back story I lost my older sister 13 years ago, it was sudden and unexpected. A moment in time where I can remember exactly where I was, and a moment in time I can't ever un-hear or un-see the events of that crushing night.
“You become the things you think about" - Earl nightingale.
She was my idol and her influence helped me grow into the person I am today.
We, like all sisters had our moments of fights, banter, and disappointments, but in the end, we would do anything for each other.
I've witnessed firsthand what debilitating injuries can do to the mindset and quality of life of someone. Witnessing these changes in a person and feeling helpless, lead me down a path of wanting to understand people better, and be aware of the subtle changes in language and behaviors of a person.
I was overwhelmed with guilt for not doing enough to try to help my big sis.
It wasn't until someone pointed out to me
"You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time!"
This helped me shed some new positive light on the situation.
As the years went by it was the big events that were always hard, Christmas (our favorite holiday since we were kids), my wedding day, her birthday, my birthday as it was the last day I ever saw her alive. The anniversary of her death was a hard day but one that I could usually mull through just keeping myself busy.
We all have a history, a story, and a journey that has molded us into where we are today!
Life has its high of highs but also dark soul-dwelling lows!
Something as simple as a song or a smell can trigger something deep down that you didn't realize was still there. We are allowed to have an off day, we are allowed to recognize these moments, and we are allowed to tell others "I'm not ok!"
First things first...
I'm no psychologist, nor do I think I'm qualified at all professionally in this area.
What I can offer is that I too have these dark soul-crushing moments that can take over me when I least expect it, and I'm learning new things about myself and ways to help me deal with such moments.
June of 2019 was completely different!
I was struggling - my usual tools of keeping busy, training hard, teaching my little bunny tricks - all the things that made my heart dance were simply not working.
I was sad, felt incredibly lonely, and had a sense of blankness that I couldn't shake.
It took all of my energy to put on the positive front for my clients, then in the alone time I just didn't feel right, I couldn't shake it, I couldn't bring myself out of this little dark hole.
Sitting alone in The Tram Sheds (a public eatery in Sydney), focusing on client programming it hit me, a track came on my Spotify which left me sitting sobbing heap.
Those lyrics just cut through me and emotions hit me like a ton of bricks!
Sitting alone balling my eyes out a stranger walked past, saw this, and came and asked if I was ok, it was at that point I admitted NO - I'm not ok!
She asked if I needed a hug and I admitted yes please. So here I was in the arms of a stranger, tears streaming down my face and body just sobbing uncontrollably, it was at this moment I knew I needed some help to bring me out of this, I couldn't do it alone.
Life isn't always as cute as puppies, rabbits, and penguins!
Life isn't always as bright as unicorns and rainbows!
Life isn't always filled with laughter and smiles!
My takeaways throughout the years that I've acknowledged and have helped me, include...
1. ACKNOWLEDGING THE FEELING
Like really assessing what may be bringing this emotion on.
Is it a habitual reaction to something?
Is it an emotional time of year?
Has something just been a trigger, a song, a smell, a sighting of something, is this emotion viable right now for a reason?
If it's something of the above, ok, acknowledge it and ride out what you need to.
If this feeling is lingering with no apparent cause as such, maybe it's worthwhile talking to a professional to work some things through.
Some examples of who you can reach out to include:
2. CHANGING MY STATE OF MIND WITH SOMETHING THAT EXCITES ME
What usually makes your heart dance?
Is it talking to a certain someone?
Dancing around the room to your favorite track?
Watching cute puppies on youtube?
Changing your surroundings or going for a simple walk?
Getting out into the fresh air or hanging with your gym crew?
Whatever it is make it a priority to go and do it. A shake-up is sometimes all it can take.
3. TELL SOMEONE I'M NOT OK!
I am super grateful that I have an amazing support network. Old friends know the days that can be a little emotional, new friends are already seeing a mood shift and my hubby knows when I just need a big bear hug.
I have different groups of people that I can turn to for a bit of a pep-up. Moving for me is my main outlet, I did karate as a kid and have a punching bag in the garage at my folk's house. I love a good roundhouse kick or punching combo to bash out some emotions.
I also love my Animal Flow practice to keep my body moving in any way I have the energy for.
I have mates that have known me for over 20 years, new friends with common interests, and family that is usually hurting at the same time I am too.
These networks are my rocks and I'm glad that I can turn to either one of them in times for support.
After my hug from a stranger, I did reach out to my top 3 girls just to let them in on how I was feeling. The four of us are always there for each other with no judgments, we know how we all tick, and just a few simple words from these lovelies gave me the strength to get through the rest of the day's sessions.
But not all of us are this lucky, so if you find yourself in this situation know there are numbers you can reach out to. A stranger who is willing to listen and acknowledge you for what you need, no judgments.
I am also grateful to my said stranger that made me realize I'm not ok.
So if you happen to notice a shift in someone, see a person sobbing or notice some unusual behaviors in a friend - sometimes a simple "Are you ok?" can be the nudge they need to tell you the truth. If the words say one thing but mood or body language say another challenge them on it with an "Are you sure?"
For all of you who need some extra encouragement to get through, I leave you with two quotes...
"If there ever comes a day we can't be together, keep me in your heart and I'll stay there forever" - Winne the Pooh
"You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think" - Winne the Pooh
Hug a stranger if they need it!
If I'm classified as a stranger to you don't be shy to reach out either.
Until next time
Remember if you need a little help you can reach out to professionals