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The Challenge That Led To The Fairy

As January appears quiet in regards to public charity events, I quickly realised that I would have to tap into a little dormant creativity in order to keep things interesting. I never set out to turn myself into a fairy- certainly not at this early stage of my 2018 challenge, but nature took it's course and it would be silly of me to fight it!

One of the key organisations that I wanted to support this year is Beyond Blue. With anxiety and depression currently affecting over 3 million Australians and this number on the rise, I have enormous respect and gratitude for the work of Beyond Blue. Providing critical information and services to both people experiencing anxiety and depression as well as their families and loved ones, Beyond Blue offer printed material, a comprehensive website, help line, online chat and events which promote the identification of symptoms and practical steps for prevention, management and reversal of these often debilitating disorders.

I have always held the belief that the more we are able to openly discuss these issues, the greater the knowledge and wisdom shared, the better our collective understanding and the more likely people are to be compassionate towards those suffering. These effects combined promote healing on all levels. It seems to be that when a subject is taboo and secretive, it is more severely judged and feared. Of course we have to be mindful of presenting accurate, up to date and age appropriate information, with a certain sensitivity towards our particular audience (can you tell that I'm a Speaker?), but to avoid and shy away from discussing the very real issue of mental illness does not help anyone.

Anxiety and depression are multifaceted conditions involving biological, environmental, social and often spiritual aspects. We are learning more and more about the importance of gut health in the role of mental wellbeing, attachment disorders and trauma as precursers to poor mental health, the effects of social media including cyber bullying, constant personal comparrison, exposure to false images of what happiness looks like and involves and the fear of missing out, decreased exercise and outdoor activity and a world that appears to be getting faster, harder, more toxic and more expensive with each passing day. With all of this in mind, it is no wonder that the rates of anxiety and depression are on the rise, but there is SO much that can be done to counter this.

In my quest to support the work of Beyond Blue, I accepted a challenge this week to dye my hair blue. Being a sensitive creature, I wanted to avoid the chemical overwhelm of bleach, but this left me with few options. I was assured by two independent hairdressers however, that a particular product would get the job done- I wouldn't be smurfy blue, but "would definitely have a noticeable blue hue". Well, apparently not. My blue hue was drowned out by an overriding black... Not one to give in, I needed an alternative. I suddenly remembered my clown debut at a school circus performance and rummaged through boxes to find my fabulous blue hair- but suddenly the hair was not enough. I needed MORE! Quickly transforming my shiny and somewhat amused self into a Beyond Blue Fairy was the next logical step. So without warning, there I was- presenting as Beyond Blue Fairy to my somewhat surprised husband and two young sons.

An unexpected gift from this experience was a fantastic conversation with my 7 and 11 year olds about emotions, support, seeking help for ourselves, how to support others and the importance of kindness, gratitude and flexibility. We did have this conversation while I was dressed as a fairy, which I highly recommend to other parents! I hope that there will be many more of these chats, not just within my family but within our global community so that we may all pull together to create a calm, bright, healthy future for our most precious assets- our children. Thank you xx

Beyond Blue: phone: 1300 22 4636


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