I am back at work now after having a few weeks on medical leave for anxiety and depression. I am working short weeks for a while and have made other arrangements to support my re-integration back to work.
Firstly, and just so you all know, I am receiving good medical care and medication is starting to kick in, and also I am receiving counselling and other support. Most importantly I am safe.
I still am battling through, which is not easy at times and is tiring, and certainly have my moments when I need to take a break.
Some of the people and things that are good and are helping me get through are, my very loving and supportive wife, some very good friends, music (writing, performing, and collaborating), and MusicHelps .
Anxiety has been great for writing songs and I have written 14 songs in the last 6 weeks, while depression makes me not want to even pick up my guitar. Anxiety and depression are a very strange combination.
Why am I being open?
As kiwis and as blokes (generalisation), we are terrible about seeking help and support when we need it.
I thought that as I have always been an advocate for people with mental illness that it is good for me to be up front and open that I am now one of the many people who also have a mental illness.
I have sought out help from my GP and a counsellor for what I am dealing with and it does help.
Hopefully this will encourage others to get help too.
So the important take away from what I am going through at the moment is this…
…Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to seek help if you are struggling – use the 1737 help number if you need to, make use of the EAP services, counselling, or other support services that are available, talk to your close trusted friends, discuss it with your doctor.
Check out for your friends, ask them if they are OK and genuinely support them if they need it.
Know that you are not alone in the dark, and there is hope even if it doesn’t feel like it now (note: even as I write this I have to remind myself of this. )
New Zealand Support Contacts
- 1737, free 24/7 phone and text number
- Healthline: 0800 611-116
- Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543-354
- Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865
- Samaritans: 0800 726-666
- General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366
- The Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757
for NZ music industry people
Check out MusicHelps
Think about this before you start condemning others due to their religious (or non religious) belief systems.
Is there a single religion anywhere in the world that has not been tainted by extremism, violence and other abuses? I am struggling to think of any at all. (I am including atheism in this also)
The answer to peace lies within acceptance and tolerance of the differences we have. To embrace that we can each have a belief system (or not) that is different from others.
By alienating, hating and dehumanising anyone because of their belief system is itself a path to destruction and provides the necessary environment for extremism to exist.
Get to know the people around you, accept them for who they are, do not try to forcibly convert them to your ideologies or belief system. Let there be a meeting of minds and hearts.
Have a good open conversation not just about what someone believes, but why they believe. It is a fantastic thing and sometimes you find you have similar experiences even though the outward expression may be different.
Perhaps you will find out more about other people and even more about yourself.
Think about it.
I am deeply saddened by the news that 49 people in Orlando Florida in the USA, have been murdered in cold blood and that 53 others have been wounded in this latest horrific incident.
These murderous attacks are happening across the planet killing many, many people. More often than not, the targets are innocent people going about normal everyday activities.
The hate and the killing must stop!
No one should die because they have different belief structures, or are different in any way from another person.
Let us forget forever the name of the Orlando murderer, banish it to the loneliest unmarked grave, without honour or epitaph. Do not show his picture and do not give coverage to his extreme and twisted personal misinterprtations of a particular religion.
Let people remember the people who died, remember their faces, their plans, their hopes and dreams. Support their families and communities…
But more than that…
Let us all learn to truly accept people and respect them as they are regardless of their faith or non-faith, gender association, sexual orientation, skin colour, ethnic origin etc.
Although not an excuse, our problem is that we can only see through the eyes we have, and they are biased, due to our personal experiences and what we have been taught or modelled. However change is possible for all of us, but only if we are willing to start.
We must always search for better ways, always question entrenched ideologies, always ask for help if you need it, and offer it where you are able.
- We need to start to see the person, the humanity, within each individual and respect them as they are;
- We need to stop labelling and putting people in boxes that make it easier for us to dismiss others as different or inferior;
- We need to remember that the blood in all our veins runs red, that we breathe the same air, and that this tiny little rock floating in space that we share is our only home.
It is a bold, courageous and glorious goal to love everybody and it is not easy, but even a small step in the direction of love is a good start. The trick is, when you start the journey, keep moving.
We must remember that this is a journey and
- We are all at varying stages along the way,
- We are not perfect,
- We are broken,
- We can’t do it alone,
- We need help,
- We need patience with others on the journey.
May be, just may be, if we all take a small step towards love and peace the world will be a better place.
Paul S Allen
Sometimes, in all our lives, we will all fall off the wave.
The wave is a metaphor and it will mean different things for people and at different stages of our lives. It could be a particular skill, a career, anything. You are a student of life, constantly developing and growing (whether you know it or not).
Being a student means to try things beyond your known ability, this will lead to you making mistakes or not succeeding at times. You need to develop strength and new skills. One day you will succeed, you can become an expert and yes, even then you will make mistakes and fail at times.
Failure is not the end, don’t give up, don’t take it personally, learn from your experience.
The lesson from this surfer is you just try again. (here was his next wave)
Photos ©Paul S Allen 2015