Standing up for Canberra

Book Launch for 'The Way I See It'

*Acknowledgements omitted* 

No reader of this book can turn the last page without an acute understanding of what it is like living with anxiety, experienced through the life of the female protagonist Holly.

 

Holly’s experiences, her responses, are so real, so tangible, you will find yourself with heart palpitations when you finish!

Congratulations Lucy on this excellent contribution to our understanding of anxiety, which begins with news of the death through the suicide of one of Holly’s estranged high school friends, Claire and the anxiety that is triggered by the pain she feels at the funeral.

The game of anxiety.

Where in Holly’s words it is me versus the anxiety.

And it is a game where she always seems to be “the loser”.

“I feel like I have to constantly prove myself to everyone there, and when I make mistakes, I panic and when I don’t make mistakes I worry that I will. It’s like I’m permanently on edge with everything, and I have a co-worker who weirdly makes fun of me like I’m not smart enough to do my job...which I must be, otherwise I wouldn’t be there, but at the same time she makes me worry all the time that I’m not good enough.’

“I suppose that if you’re not good enough, then people won’t want you. For example: if I’m not good enough at my job, they will fire me, and then what am I supposed to do? I feel like being fired from your job because you’re not good enough would make it very difficult to get

another job in the same field, and if I tried for a job in another field, then my journalism degree would be a total waste of time. Then I’m paying off a debt for a degree that I’m not even using!”

Fortunately, Holly, with the support of her psychologist and her friends, made a decision to get better. 

And that’s the key takeout from this book. That sense of hope. That sense of optimism. That sense of resilience and courage.

That:

“Maybe I should face the day, and everything will fall into place. Maybe it won’t fall into place and this has all been a huge mistake. How am I ever supposed to know what’s around the corner? The only way to move forward is to take the first step. That sounds so motivational and cheesy that I almost don’t believe it.”

Thank:

“…Some days I feel like it doesn’t help at all, like I’m going backwards, and regressing into the anxiety further and further. But  there are times, moments, when I feel within myself a glimmer of hope for what could be.”

That:

“…Those are the moments I hold onto and if I can hold onto them tighter than I can hold onto my anxiety then I might just be okay.”

The book concludes with Holly’s visit to Claire’s grave, which represents an opportunity to reflect on their friendship, an opportunity to personally say goodbye and an opportunity to rebuild.

“I mourn for Claire and the life that she gave away. But I no longer have to mourn for myself, for the life that I was seeing burn out right in front of my eyes. I have a renewed strength and renewed light inside my soul and I will continue on every day of my life holding that light, letting it guide me and lead me where I am supposed to go.”

And that’s the thing about mental health, about anxiety, about depression, about fear. With the right awareness, the right acknowledgement and the right support, according to Headspace, bad days suck ­– but they pass.

Today’s breakfast reminds you of that, and the great network of support you have here, among the school community, among your friends, and most importantly among your family.

Please remember that. Never forget that.

And please remember – bad days suck – but they pass.