I’ve been quiet for a while – not just on the blogging front, but on the social and social media fronts in general. What started as a little bit of introspection as I decided how to proceed with the next phase of my book tour rapidly turned into a period of withdrawal as my resilience was tested by a number of events.
It started just over a month ago, as I worked my butt off attempting to lock in enough venues to conduct my Let’s Talk About Depression talks to make it worthwhile to travel outside of a two-hour radius from home, because of the flow-on effect in terms of travel costs.
Being a self-funded and not-for-profit speaking tour, I spent a massive amount of time emailing and phoning libraries across several states to attempt to set up dates and times where I could come – at my own expense – and talk about mental health and wellbeing (quite timely, given the fact that October is Mental Health Awareness month in Australia). Unfortunately, some people seem to find it difficult to respond to emails and/or return phone calls which resulted in several weeks of messages back and forth (mainly forth from my end) with little traction.
In the end, I made the decision to focus on the remaining sessions I have locked in across New South Wales in October and then to pause my efforts to lock in more sessions for now and, instead, to revisit it later this year or early next year, because clearly the universe was sending me a message (very loudly and VERY clearly!) and steering me in a different direction.
Even though there is no doubt in my mind that I was steered away from my gung-ho and rather extensive delivery plans for a reason (and it was very gung-ho; I approached over 100 libraries in NSW, ACT and Victoria alone), it still frustrated me and left me feeling a bit defeated. During the sessions that I have delivered I’ve had a fantastic time and met some amazing people, and I want to do as many of these sessions as I can. I love public speaking and I love connecting with people, and I could happily run these sessions all day and every day because I can feel the tangible difference they are making. It’s been exciting as well because it has led to some more opportunities to get involved in mental health initiatives in a number of local communities, which is incredibly rewarding. Regardless, I had to take it on the chin, pull up my big-boy pants and move on.
All of this happened in the second half of August, coinciding with the 17th anniversary of my Dad’s passing. Every August I tend to have a few days around the date of his death where I find myself withdrawing subconsciously, most likely because of the way we left things (not speaking for the two years leading up to his death, therefore never resolving our issues). It is what it is and, being a typical Cancerian, there are certain things (like this particular anniversary) which are guaranteed to see me retreating into my shell. It certainly doesn’t really help that the anniversary is in the lead-up to Father’s Day in Australia, so I find myself bombarded with father messages for several weeks whether I like it or not.
Then, just as I was coming out of my ‘father funk’, a good friend passed away from cancer. Unfortunately it wasn’t a massive surprise – in fact, I’d had a feeling for some time that it was going to happen – but it was devastating. I spent a few days in a cloud of grief, then finally began to process my way forward.
I’m slowly coming out of my withdrawal phase now which means I need to catch up on messages and start reconnecting with people, which often takes me some time because it can be emotionally taxing, as I tend to get a bit anxious about having potentially upset people (or even pissed them off). It’s hard to explain why I go into withdrawal mode from time to time yet I do, so all I can do is hope that friends and family will understand. Most do, and that’s a relief.
You’ll likely see me returning to blogging and social media activity slowly over the next few weeks, so in the meantime please be patient. Thanks!
Upcoming Let’s Talk About Depression talks are happening October 5 in Lavington and Albury (NSW), and October 31 in Orange (NSW). For more information visit www.jeremygodwin.net/events.