Last night I was so lucky because Vanessa Gordon asked me to a be a panellist at her first ‘Telling Stories’ event in Brisbane. Vanessa launched My Father’s Daughter which draws together her stories and poetry and empowers women. The topic for the night was “Shame and Other Things” and we discussed depression, mental health in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region with a focus on body shaming, positive body image and abuse which is often intertwined. It was inspiring for me to sit with Vanessa and a group of incredible people and talk about depression. One of the attendees asked – how do you manage anger? Anger is a huge part of depression and it was a fantastic question and I never got a chance to talk to her after the event so I am sharing here on my blog in the hope that my message will reach her.
Losing my voice
I have been angry about many things in my life. I am a happy go lucky person, but I feel anger and sometimes as a woman, you can be taught that it is not OK to feel anger. From a young age culturally women are conditioned to sit down and shut up. However, led by my mother who is a vocal and steely woman(!) I use my voice. I am supported by my Dad and brothers who are my biggest fans and believed in me. They believed in me long before I believed in me. They want me to use my voice. And it is only now at 35 years of age that I believe in me and use my voice fully.
So when I lost my voice in 2013 to depression and anxiety, I felt like I was in a black hole. I made a commitment to my mental health that year and promised my Mum and Dad that I’d find my feet. My parents were in PNG and I was in Australia, they were at a loss with what to do with me and how they could support me. It was a journey I had to walk alone, to work through my anger and to find peace within my raging heart.
Finding my voice
Over the past few years through a commitment to my personal development and committing to a regular practice of yoga, journaling, self-development workshops, retreats, religious practice, volunteering, seeing the beauty in every day and counting my many blessings in my life that I have made peace with how I feel. That it is OK to be angry and pissed off with the world. That it’s OK to be disappointed that something did not happen the way you planned. That it’s OK to feel happy. That it’s OK to love the skin you are in. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it can also hold you if you don’t learn the lesson, whatever that may be. Anger and hindsight has the potential to hold you in a space and time and for me it is through movement through yoga, gym, running and writing that I have been finally able to heal.
Your body stores every experience
Your body carries and holds so much emotion. So much love. And so much pain and trauma too. Some people can release this emotion through singing, through dancing, through crying, through writing, through running, through travelling, through listening to music. You can also deal with pent up emotion through alcohol, over-eating, smoking, destructive relationships. The greatest relationship you can have is with yourself and through getting to you know yourself, you can heal in a healthy and happy way.
A way forward
My hope is that you will accept anger. It is a perfectly healthy and normal emotion. It’s what you do with it and how you use it to move forward. To find what works for you – whether that is running, writing, connecting and sharing. Find what works for you to heal rather than let anger keep you in a holding pattern and keep you from living a full and beautiful life.
Lots of love to you, Roxy xo