Best wishes…

Image Credit: Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Thank you for all your support this year, it has been a tough one. The upside is I’ve made it through to the other side! Wishing you and your families much love, happiness and laughter during this time of year. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas – I hope you enjoy time with family, friends and loved ones or strangers who become friends. May the New Year bring an abundance of love, happiness, success and good health! Peace and blessings and look forward to another year to put into practice – Laugh. Love. live! Namaste!

Image credit: Photo by Rafael Leao on Unsplash
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Fight Song

Image credit: Financially Blonde

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

And all those things I didn’t say…

This song came up for me a few years ago when my dear Uncle passed away and it helped my to feel through it all and be back on top of things. It has recently popped up again on my radar as I am healing from the loss of my Grandma. I feel the last 3 months have been a tough, challenging and growth filled journey. It felt as though I was down… but not out. This song articulates how I am feeling now that I am on the tail end of my journey with depression, grief and anxiety.

I used to think that it was inappropriate to write or post about something as personal as losing a loved one but after my journey, I have found that writing is cathartic. Hence, why I blog and have been writing since a very young age to help me process feelings and emotions. I find it helps me to express in words what I sometimes cannot express out loud. In this instance, writing about my experience helped me with my grief which proved a catalyst for my healing. As I have mentioned previously, grief is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong, just different and I have learnt you cannot superimpose your own experience onto someone else. What you feel or experience is very different to another – even family members. 

I share my experiences via my blog in the hope that it can touch someone else, maybe give someone a sense that they are not alone and can resonate with my journey. It is by no means an indicator of how anyone else’s experience or journey may entail but I would like you to know that you are not alone. Please reach out when you need help. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness but rather, a sign of strength. Remember, life will never give you what you cannot handle and if you ever need any assistance to handle what life throws at you – please remember there are always people who love you, help you and wish you well. They will assist you to regain your strength to fight and Laugh. Love. Live. another day! Peace and blessings – Namaste! 


This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

https://youtu.be/xo1VInw-SKc

Here is a list of some support services for depression and anxiety in Australia and please refer to your GP and/ or support services available in your country:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

https://au.reachout.com/articles/support-services-for-depression

Through the fog…

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Image credit: pinterest.co.uk

My journey with depression started 2 weeks before my grandma passed away. Or maybe earlier, I’m not too sure but I’m most aware of the last 6 weeks. When it was happening, I didn’t know what it was. I felt like I was not 100%, nor was I unwell. I just felt off but I didn’t know what it was. I may have been picking up on how my grandma may have been feeling before she passed away as I have felt her spirit since her passing in more ways than one.

On the morning of my grandma’s death, I had woken to go to the bathroom – this happens frequently during the night but what made it odd was that I had to do a bowel movement. This is not usually the case and it was very difficult but nothing much happened. I went back to bed and my mobile rang and it was on low volume so it took me a while to figure out it was my mobile. The call went to my voicemail. I think the call was at about 1.30am. Before I even checked my voicemail, I knew it was about my grandma’s passing. I can’t explain how, but I knew. I listened to the message, it was from the hospital saying she had passed away at 12.10am. I woke my husband and told him and asked whether I should call my mum, I wasn’t thinking, I was numb. He advised I should let her sleep and call her at a decent hour later in the morning. I did not go back to sleep that night.

My phone rang at 4.00am and I knew it was my mum calling to inform me about grandma, I was numb. My mum was distraught and I went into protective mode – of myself and my mum. I went into autopilot and starting doing what the eldest daughter needs to do at that time. It was hard seeing my mum’s grief, I was holding myself together the best way I could. I had to help my mum go to the cemetery, organise and purchase a plot, go with her to the funeral home and organise the funeral, flowers, hymns, readings, pall bearers, readings, pictures and slideshow along with the viewing and wake which ended up at our house. There was much to keep me busy, I went into auto-pilot and reminded my mum to eat, drink, rest and sleep. In the process, I was neglecting to do these things myself. I lost my appetite, was sleeping around only 4 hours each night and just kept going with everything that had to be done.

To make matters more hectic, I had my sister from Perth coming to stay from the night before the viewing until the Funeral, 3 days later. Every day since the phone call, I had every sibling, mum and other family members over at our place for 2 weeks. It was overwhelming to say the least. My younger siblings tend to drain my energy so I was conserving what little energy I had to get through this difficult time and trying to shut out the ‘noise’ from my sisters. I was trying to hold in my grief and not express it but when I read my remembrance at the funeral service, I broke down and you could hardly understand what I was saying about my grandma. I had to recover and do a reading later on which I was able to read more coherently.

I had no energy to tell anyone of my grandma’s passing except three good friends – one who I’ve known for 40 years, another for over 20 years and another whom she and I have a different spiritual connection. We can’t explain it but it is there. I did write a post about it to express some of my grief and emotion as I find writing helps me process thoughts and feelings. It helped to an extent. I felt at peace when we laid my grandma to rest because I knew she was in a better place and no longer suffering. I felt she could finally spread her wings and fly. When everyone left our place after the wake, I finally had some peace. Saturday was devoted to cleaning up and taking my daughter to ballet. I felt somewhat better.

Sunday, I took my mum to watch the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” to bring some laughter back into our lives, even though there were some tender moments that also brought some tears. It was just my little family around me on Monday which was nice and brought some peace. The next day, I was going back to work. I thought getting back into routine would help – it turned out I was very wrong about that. As I am also a Life Coach, I provide Management Coaching at work. I love the coaching experience but it does take a lot of my energy. Something I didn’t have much of at the time.

I remember surviving through each day with very little sleep, I was making myself eat even though I had no appetite. I couldn’t afford to get sick. After being at work for 1.5 weeks, I received a work email and was also receiving coaching myself – yes coaches need to be coached too! Both the work email and coaching made me realise I was breaking down and not coping – it was costing me my inner peace which is too high a price to pay. I realised I needed to ask for time off work to grieve. I had been holding it in for far too long.

The weekend before my week’s leave, I had a Holy Communion to attend which was giving me anxiety. I experienced the worst anxiety I had ever felt. I was up early in the morning going to the toilet several times, not able to eat breakfast and not wanting to socialise as I knew there would be other people I knew at the service. I was using all my energy to get dressed and out the door. As I walked into the church, a friend saw me who I had not seen for some time, looked at me she asked “Are you OK?”, I manged to reply “I’m ok, Just Ok.” She let me have my space as I went to find my other ‘friend’. When I found her, she did not ask how I was, did not check if I was OK. She laughed and smiled and chatted. Every sound was too loud, laughter was an assault to my senses and smiling was painful.

I used all my energy to get through the mass and held back tears. During the mass a friend sat next to me who always gives out positive energy. I think that helped me half way through the mass. It was so difficult during mass as there was an elderly man in a wheel chair with his loving daughter which reminded me of my mum with her mother when she was still alive. When I turned behind me to shake hands to say ‘Peace be with you’ there was a lovely elderly lady wearing a hat which reminded me of my grandma. It was tough. When the mass was over, I could only manage to see the girl who was having Holy Communion to say “God is in your heart”. I was almost at breaking point, I was trembling with the effort of keeping my composure for that long. Her daughter has anxiety and I could see how strained she was on that day as well. We bid our goodbyes and went home. It was tough but I survived!

spbh.orgImage credit: spbh.org

The next day I went to my family doctor because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I knew something was out of balance but I didn’t know what. I didn’t know what was happening to me, I felt like I was in a fog and couldn’t get out. I burst into tears when I explained what I was feeling, what I was doing or not doing and he diagnosed me with depression. It was both a relief to know what was wrong and also filled me with dread to tell the news to my family. My doctor prescribed me antidepressants so I could sleep because the chronic lack of sleep was contributing to my depression.

I had a good night’s sleep for the first time in 3 weeks. I had the week to recover and time to grieve. I scheduled a few activities I wanted to do on my own and also visited my Grandma’s grave on the one month anniversary of her death. I had anxiety that morning too but I was determined to go. I bought hot pink and white roses and drove to the cemetery. I grabbed a flower holder that is provided by the cemetery, put some water in it and placed the flowers in the holder. I walked to my grandma’s grave and placed the flowers at the top of her grave. I took off my shoes, sat on the grass and grieved, wept, spoke to her in Vietnamese and at times sat in silence. I felt such a release and my heart was finally lighter. I finally felt like the fog was lifting. I thanked my grandma, said goodbye and left.

I finally felt like I was on the road to recovery. I hope my story helps others who may be experiencing anxiety and depression or helps others pick up warning signs from friends, family or loved ones who may be experiencing anxiety and depression. This week, I finally took my own advice to take some ‘me’ time to look after myself so I can then look after others. I also put into action something I posted on my Instagram Coaching page:

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I let go of energy, habits, behaviour and people that didn’t serve me. I was taking back my power – something I coach others to do and it was good to finally take my own advice!

Someone once showed me this quote by Buddha:

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The Buddhist way of life resonates with me and I found this saying to be fulfilled during this week. I am going to borrow another saying by Buddha when he was teaching about the Not Self “This is not mine. This I am not. This is not myself.” but insert the word ‘depression’ into it – “Depression is not mine, Depression I am not. Depression is not myself.” This has been a tough week but a journey I had to have. I feel I am stronger because of this and enables me to be a better coach to enable others to Laugh.Love.Live! Peace and blessings – Namaste!

 

 

 

One month on…

grief

Image credit: themindsjournal.com

It’s been a month since you left your physical form on this earth,

Yet your soul is ever present.

It has been both comforting and sad,

Today, I visited your resting place,

And finally released emotions – both good and bad.

I know you are in a much better place,

You can spread your wings and race.

It finally feels as though the fog is lifting,

Sunshine, warmth and joy – uplifting.

Thank you for your love, kind words, compassion and understanding,

Our love and memories of you are never-ending.

Grief alone

Image credit: balmtomysoul.com

Weary

Where-do-you-go-when-you-are-weary-1

Image credit: doyoubelieve.com

My heart is heavy,

I’m sick, mostly sick of people being unkind to each other

Inner peace, a high price to pay

When it is absent or in conflict

Transform, change, renewal

Time needed to heal

Release emotions, grief and sadness

Find hope, new beginnings

Everyday moments of wonder

A new day, a fresh start

Being present, focus on the now

Release fear and look ahead.

Weary - greet the new morn

Image credit: hugsandkissesandnot.com

 

What sets your soul on fire?

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My own learning journey has been lifelong and my passion is learning. I have been lucky to build my career in learning, specifically in adult learning. As part of my journey, I am now also a qualified Life Coach, something I have been wanting to do for 4-5 years. I have been on my own learning journey, learning about myself and others – especially due to losing loved ones.

I am so energised by coaching others enabling people to live their best life. Seeing people feel they have the power to change is amazing. I feel that this is what I am meant to do. I have also realised that due to losing my Grandmother, I have not had the time to grieve – I’ve been taking care of others – my mother, sister, husband, daughter but not had time to renew and rejuvenate myself. I have found that I need my alone time as this is the best way I can recharge and bring my best self to help others. Decisions I have been making in the last few weeks have not been optimal and have been affected by not being able to release my grief. This is going to change – it needs to change. For my sake and the sake of my family.

I’m not angry or sad, just done. This time will enable me to refresh, renew and regenerate. This way I can continue to Laugh.Love.Live and share the love with others.

I’ve included a link to a blog post below about the reasons why Life Coaching sets my soul on fire. It has also been shared on other social media sites. Taking time out to be true to myself will enable me to continue this passion. Peace and blessings – may you have a great week ahead. Namaste.

https://www.learning4life.com.au/blog/wwwlearning4lifecomau/blogpost-5

 

In Loving Memory…

Winnie the Pooh

Image credit: Pinterest

Our family suffered a loss last month. It is still quite fresh as we laid our beloved Grandmother, Mother and Great Grandmother to rest last Friday. I feel as though I was in a fog for the last week and a half after we were informed of her passing. Seeing my mother’s grief, organising the funeral, burial, wake and viewing was tough to say the least.

I believe everyone grieves differently – there is no right or wrong, just different. I tend to be quite private but I feel posting about this contributes to my healing process. I have fond memories of my Grandma with my family. Grandma was a kind soul, always friendly and tolerant. Grandma had a hard life, she lived through the Vietnam War, losing a few children and her husband before her. My grandma lost everything she had and still fought on, forging a new life for herself. Even so, she lived a long life, living up to 96 years old. Grandma would have turned 97 in December this year.

My mother was able to sponsor her mother, our Grandma and we met her in November 1995. I remember thinking Grandma so cute, funny and friendly. She talked incessantly of her grandson in Vietnam who she had to help raise as his father passed away when he was young. His father, my uncle was a soldier in the South Vietnamese Army and when the North Vietnamese won the war, he was captured and tortured as were many. He was finally released and his family were so happy to see him, most of all his mother – my Grandmother. However, shortly after he arrived home, he passed away in his sleep. The joy of having her son back was short-lived.

My Grandma is from North Vietnam but ended up living in South Vietnam with two of her children, my mum and older brother – my uncle who passed away. The reason for this is because my Grandma went to visit her father who lived in the South when she was upset with her husband. My Grandfather was a very good looking man and my mum said apparently, he could be a bit of a playboy.

While my Grandma was visiting my Great Grandfather, the instability between North and South Vietnam increased. As a result, travel and communication between North and South Vietnam was cut. No one was allowed to travel between the two or communicate via phone or telegram. This meant my Grandma was now cut off from her husband and other children. My Grandma had about 10 children. She had her only daughter, my mother with her and my mum learnt later from an Aunty that her father loved her dearly as she was his only daughter and thought my Grandma took her away to punish him.

When the Vietnam war was over and communication between North and South Vietnam was restored, her sons went looking for my Grandma – their mother. They did find her and this was a happy reunion for my Grandma but her husband had moved on. My Grandma chose to stay with her father in South Vietnam with my mum and uncle. She raised them on her own. The rest of the children stayed with their father in North Vietnam.

It is amazing to think of what my Grandma has lived through and experienced but was still a loving, kind, compassionate soul. She lives on in our hearts and our memories. Grandma is in a better place now, no longer suffering as she suffered two strokes in the final years before her passing and passed away with pneumonia. I believe she is now free to spread her wings and fly, always watching over all of us. My Grandma was happiest when surrounded by family and when she could express her independence – something that was taken away from her after her second stroke. When we visited Grandma, I felt she was no longer smiling with her eyes.

Remembering my Grandma reminds me to Laugh.Love. Live. Life is too short to only survive, it needs to be embraced and lived to the full – be present, enjoy the little things because I feel it’s the little things that you cherish in life. Peace and blessings.

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