So, this happened today.
Did I know it was being posted? Of course.
Did I make sure I met the journalist in person to build a rapport? No doubt.
Was I surprised to see my story posted as a “2-hour ordeal at KFC”? Probably shouldn’t have been.
I didn’t really know how I was going to feel when the story got posted. I had been asked a month earlier by the team at Neura to be part of the article being written by a journalist representing news.com.au. I thought – “Sure, I love Neura, of course I’ll be part of it”.
I did the interview, smiled and nodded, followed what I felt was an internal script. I was honest, I didn’t hold back, and I did what I thought was the right thing to do. To this moment, I still have no regrets. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t come with a bucketload of fear and anxiety about how I felt about it all and what others would begin to think.
It is one thing to tell your story in a controlled way that you can make sure you feel safe. You can keep your distance, decide your boundaries, know exactly what is being said and how. But, when you throw your story to someone else to manage it, it all gets a bit more complicated.
Today has been one of those days where I haven’t been able to keep my head on straight. It has been a couple weeks now that I’ve gone into a sort of comatose about how I feel in regard to all the work I do in mental health. I thrive when I can feel the impact of what I am making, but on the days, weeks or months, where I cannot see it, I struggle to keep afloat – personally and professionally.
So, when I saw this article, and started to read the headline. My heart deflated. What I thought was doing the right thing felt a stab in the heart when the tagline “Women goes through 2-hour KFC ordeal” popped up on my phone. Front page of the most read news site in Australia.
Really? That is what she got out of our 45-minute conversation? 2-hour ordeal at KFC?
But this example was a moment in time for me that reflects my entire way of thinking. Instead of clicking on the article, reading it, and speaking sense to myself, and realising it wasn’t that bad after all. I closed the tab, shut my eyes, and started brutally telling myself off for being so stupid.
Just because I talk about my illness in the past, it doesn’t mean it still doesn’t affect me.
I still struggle to see when I am going well. I struggle to commend myself when I “achieve: – which, to me, I don’t even know if it is possible for me to see. I struggle to see positives. I focus on what went wrong. I am relentless in my self-perfection. I still struggle, every day, every week, every month. Because the very nature of my story makes me the perfectionistic, relentlessly anxious human that I am today.
It took until the day after, that my phone began to beep.
“Really resonated with me”
“I never knew, hope you’re OK”
“I just saw your face in the news!!!!!!” (I got a lot of these ones)
For the most part, each message was a message of hope and kindness. They were messages to tell me that I’ve done well in being so honest and sticking to what is real for me.
Sometimes our positive emotions may be delayed, and they may take someone else to remind us of them, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Deep inside, all I hope is that my story makes a difference, that it might help, or even save, someone one day. I hope that all this fear, anxiety, and exhaustion, will, one day, be worth it.