The daily battle that continues to build my resilience

As the plane taxied toward the runway I glance out the window and see our First Nations Aboriginal flag flying proudly in the wind; for a second it takes my attention away, and almost like a sign; don't panic, the old people, my ancestors have my back.

It's back, my heart beats ferociously, where I can physically see the movement against my shirt; with that my mind begins to race again.

Lately, it has been every time I get on a flight, do I begin to have these mini anxiety attacks where I am short of breath, struggle to breathe and like there is a net around my heart n lungs slowly squeezing the breath out've me.

I begin to practice what I preach, mindfulness. I slowly rub my index finger and my thumb together bringing my mind back to present. My mind is frantically running through every possible worst case scenario I can think of; I scan the female flight attendant, up and down to see if she could be possibly concealing a gun to plot a terror attack, I am seated in the very front seat of the plane so I am constantly peering over my shoulder as if the passenger behind me will try stick a knife into my neck at any moment. A little shake of my head, as if to bring me back to reality.

The next thought is, as if I am facing my own death with the plane crashing. Will my family know that I love them? Will I get to hug Court & the kids again? What will my funeral be like? Will anyone even come?

Again, I am to breathing deep, 4,7,8 inhale 4 seconds hold that breath for 7 seconds and then exhale for 8 seconds.

I am terrified, tears begin to well in my eyes, but in the surface I look calm as can be, cool as a cucumber; but on the inside I'm a nervous wreck, gasping for air and clinging to life.

The reality is, none of this is real, none of these thoughts can hurt me and hopefully the plane doesn't go down and I can live another day.

These are the tricks my brain plays on my almost daily. I know I can't control what goes into my brain, but I know and as I breathe through it; I CAN control the outcome.

This happened to me today, everything that you read above went through my mind whilst I was on the plane from Dubbo to Sydney. Whilst doing my 4,7,8 I literally sat and counted the 'seconds hand' on my wrist watch for 17 minutes during the flight. That's 1,020 seconds (yes I can count that high) and I would of went longer if I had to & if that's what I had to do to bring my heart rate down and my head back to present. That very step is what directly contributes to my resilience.

I am now sitting at Sydney airport, waiting to board another flight, this one longer - to Perth. Will it happen again? Who knows but I know I have the tools to get through it...

Many might ask, but why would you put yourself through that sort of mental chaos by living a life that involves many flights? I mean, I've travelled to 5 states in Australia & 30 states around USA delivering The Enemy Within - 100s of flights, why continue to do it?????

Yeah I love doing what I do, but there really is only one answer - helping people, helps me. By helping other people in my travels, I am helping myself.

 

One day at a time;

 

It May Battle Me; It Won't Beat Me

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2016 Lessons & Living

As always I would not be able to do anything without the love and support from my family; 2016, What a year.

The year kicked off with a huge bang firstly being nominated as the Wagga Wagga Australia Day Citizen Of The Year. Being nominated was a great honour as it was for me to be nominated, I had 60, 000 years of ancestry pulling me another direction. 'How could I turn up to a ceremony honouring the Australia Day Citizen Of The Year, when its all but common knowledge our people could never celebrate a day where our ancestors and loved ones were massacred & started a frontier war that have seen our people raped and battered from pillar to post?

I was in 2 minds but I thought it would be respectful to turn up and honour my nomination for suicide Prevention & mental health awareness.

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When I was announced winner I was blown away; under my suit I was wearing a a sleeveless shirt with a dreamtime print. I had splashed ochre across my arms and face, went up to deliver my acceptance speech.

This should've been the headlines, instead my decision to not stand for the national anthem earlier in the night, a silent protest and something I had been doing for almost a decade previous.

The Australian Anthem, written by a Scotsman about England, had no representation or mention of our countries first people, my people. I won't honour an anthem that doesn't honour our ancestors.

This received nationally spread media attention and I even were to debate wih a local politician who came out and demanded I give back the award outve disrespect.

It the few weeks furore that caused, the positive was that many Non Indigenous people had not known the history of the anthem or the date that is celebrated Australia Day. All in all I had received immense racial backlash but I will always stand firm with my beliefs and the fact that more people were educated of the issue our people face on this date proved a positive.

Early in the year I travelled to New Zealand as one of the head Keynote speakers at the World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference.

I found this an amazing experience as I got to mix with other First Nations people from throughout the world.

The common theme was that First People's throughout the globe have been facing a crippling crisis with our people and Suicide. In Australia our men are 6x more likely to die by suicide & our women 7x. From this conference many ideas were shared and all cultures across the globe came up with outcomes and goals to work toward in our home countries. I met friends who I consider family and keep in regular contact.

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Ever since I was a kid I would watch television in awe at the thought of America and everything that happens in the big apple. I got the opportunity to meet Kevin Hines through my close friend who later became my manager/organiser, and had agreed to take part in filming of Kevin's doco Suicide The Ripple Effect.

Through close conversations I began to develop quite the relationship with Kevin and his wife Margaret and was asked and agreed to firstly join the rest of #TeamRippleAus at mental health conference NATCON in Las Vegas but then tour alongside Kevin and then on my own throughout USA. Inside the space of 9 months I toured and spoke in 30 states delivering my messages of wellness and the practical methods that have kept me well and alive for all of my life. Not only was I touring around rural and regional Australia, The Enemy Within was now international.

During my travels I have physically flown my Aboriginal flag at the White House in Washington DC, in New York at the world trade centre memorial, Las Vegas Blvd and the very place where my not close friend (brother) Kevin, attempted to take his life, the Golden Gate Bridge.

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My personal favourite in all my travels throughout USA was my time at Standing Rock, Nth Dakota.

It was like an obligation to travel to Standing Rock in support of the Native Americans as we consider native people across the world as all one Native people, our brothers and sisters (family).

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Standing Rock saw a gathering of Native people and many Non Indigenous people protesting (protecting) the planned pipeline running through natural water supplies.

I had an amazing time shared love, respect and humility with our native brothers and sisters from across the waters.

In all my time in NZ & USA in working with Native people - In 2017 will see me shoot a documentary on what I believe will be the answers to rid suicide. An exciting adventure that I hope one thing comes out of it, plays a part in helping people find hope and want to survive.

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In wrap I would like to thank all the amazing friends I've made, the people I have helped and the ones who have helped me. In particular Kevin & Marg Hines & Lauren Breen. Living with mental illness isn't easy, but it's those who love and support you and help you up when you are down that help make these dreams become reality. You 3, we met as friends, I now consider you family - thank you.

If 2017 is anything like last year, I'm in for a ride.

Yindyamarra Marrumbang - Respect, Love & Kindness

Alcohol - Not Good, Just The Bad & Ugly

This time of the year is synonymous for people having a good time.

I'm never against having a good time, however why is it that amongst every social event there is enormous amounts of alcohol??

Personally, I am approaching 11 years of sobriety, almost 11 years without alcohol as I recognised it was destructive in my life. Alcohol turned me into someone I never wanted to be.

The one major thing I've noticed since my sobriety, is the negative destruction alcohol causes in communities this time of year.

Alcohol is often talked about as positive in regards to the easy community get together - 'let's get together and celebrate over a few beers' but for me, the negative far outweighs positive.

There have been 2 significant deaths in the 2 communities I've been living in, Wagga & Dubbo, of over the past few weeks. Both deaths have rattled the communities and were both very differing circumstances; one, a young man ran outside of a local watering hole to witness a fight and was king hit from the side killing him. The other, a local sportsman and larrikin who died by way of suicide.

The Christmas period just around the corner, the time of year to be with loved ones - we find two families absolutely shattered. I ask myself, could these situations have been avoided??

Both deaths very different, yet both seemed to have the common theme of alcohol present in the situations of story. If both young men weren't out partying, if both had not consumed fair amounts of alcohol, would two families be spending Xmas with their full family, rather then mourning a death?

Of both deaths I'd seen, a status on social media saying; 'let's get together for a few beers to send ..... off'

& of the other - a relative of the family had told me of his arrival to the wake - 'why do we see everyone at a wake of a funeral, smiling, even laughing, having beers - what's to celebrate or be happy about'??

He's exactly right - what is there to celebrate about death?

Alcohol is the cause of so much destruction in our communities, I really urge people to love and look after those close not just this holiday period but every day. Let's, as a community move away from applauding people, laughing at people who are so intoxicated that they make silly decisions - drink water between drinks; there are no prizes for being the drunkest, loudest or most stupid - alcohol is a leading catalyst for many accidents and in many cases deaths.

 

If you are going to drink, be responsible - best case; don't drink!!!

 

The 2 boys who passed recently - Rest Easy Boys ❤️️

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The Suicidal Battle, I Dont Tell Many About

Behind everyone's smiles, there's always some kind of battle - Be kind 

Behind everyone's smiles, there's always some kind of battle - Be kind 

Can you imagine driving down a highway doing over 100km/h - and having voices and thoughts in your head that are so loud, so deafening, to the point you can't hear the conversation going on around you, the music playing on the radio - you know it's not real, but it doesn't take away the impact it has on you. Screaming at you telling you to jump. Would you get to the point where you open the door and jump????

Fill you in on a secret - that was me 3 nights ago (Sunday) and that's exactly what I was about to do. But I know they aren't real, they aren't reality.

Although forging what outsiders would deem a fairly successful life with sports and other ventures, I am plagued with chronic suicidal thoughts - not that I want my life to end; I have a great life & so much to be thankful for, but end it because that's the only way to make the mental pain go away, when I am in the grip of darkness.

I had not been having these thoughts for about 4 weeks, & since I'd been out bush on cultural obligations. Middle of nowhere, away from the city lights, the noise & demand of what society brings us. When I head bush, it connects me even stronger to the old people, my First Nation cultural ancestors. For almost a month I was rid of the pain and torment of the Depressional demons & suicidal ideation.

You see, I'm diagnosed with Bi Polar disorder, which is an alignment issue with the chemicals in my brain, causing me to have extreme highs & extreme lows. Managing this disease has became easier to me over time, with education on only the brain and what effects it but also myself, on how why & what triggers these episodes.

I am a highly functioning person, living a normal life with Bi Polar disorder, there are many who aren't. I live a normal life, live with purpose, helping people & love my family & friends.

So why now, why come back after I thought I was doing all the right, positive actions to keep them at bay?????

My lesson in all of this is, not to be complacent and let go of the things that keep me well. My cultural values has been the biggest influence in my recovery, and it's not that I let go of my cultural beliefs and practices, I've actually increased certain practices; it is the other values I hold close that I must stay strong and connected to.

Out of every tough situation I take, a lesson out of it & find gratefulness & compassion - everybody acts the way they do for a reason, weather we agree or not I always try to treat with compassion. Gratefulness, always try to find gratefulness in every tough time we have. Always be grateful of the situations, circumstances, & encounters we have as they all play part in our greater journey.

My suicidal ideation is a big part of my life, it may be forever but I'm guessing that's because I had not had it for almost a month, were the reasons I was hit so incredibly hard & realistic 3 nights ago. All I know is that, I'm grateful to be alive every minute of every single day, because it can all be taken away in an instant.

I thought it would be important to share, as from the outside looking in my life may look amazing and great; my post is here to show you it ain't all sunshine & rainbows - but I learn from every thunderstorm in the midst of the hail, lightning, fire & rain.

Yesterday learnt to tell those close, & that gave me the courage to write about it further more.

Each day I am alive, I learn - I'll learn today & everyday & ill continue to improve the person I am! 

Today I am back on top, attempting to helping many around the globe stay alive.

 

It May Battle Me; It Won't Beat Me

Culture keeps me strong 👣 

Culture keeps me strong 👣 

Controlling Anxiety - Opinion Piece

**Opinion Piece**

Joe Williams - The Enemy Within

Joe Williams - The Enemy Within

As a First Nation Wiradjuri man from

Australia - I've learnt the major value our old people benefited from was having no EGO.

Ego is the root of many evils & the more I've looked into & the more I've learnt about our old people, is that by living with minimal to zero ego played a big factor in why there was no thing such as Anxiety.

Anxiety is triggered by thoughts - thoughts about the future; not necessarily deep into the future but many occasions the direct & immediate future.

See, our old people (ancestors) lived with purpose. I can hear everyone saying 'well I live with purpose too' but do you Really?? Our old people lived by tasks, from day to day, often hour by hour, moment by moment, there was no concept of time; so they just got on with the task at hand - and they did this by living present.

If the family was hungry, they caught food. If they didn't collect food - the family went hungry or food was shared between families. If it rained, you get shelter & if it were cold you build a fire.

There was an expectation that all was shared, so there was never a 'what if/futuristic' thought put into the mind which causes Anxiety. 'What if I don't catch some food, my family will go hungry, if they're hungry my family will starve, if they starve they will die, if they die I'll be classed as someone who can't feed their family, if I can't feed my family I'm not classed a man, if I'm not classed a man, I am shamed and outcasted, if I'm shamed then I won't be excepted etc etc etc

These thoughts are all powered by EGO. Ego is the thing that spirals our mind. To a point, where it gets out of your control. The experts call this an Anxiety or panic attack.

Whether you think you have ego or not, you actually DO - it's just a matter of how much you have...

When your ego is smashed or you feel let down - you reflect. Right in that REFLECTION MOMENT you have a choice; dwell on the past situation, which triggers depression; or spiral over the 'what ifs' by looking into the future; or you can stay present and work forward by learning how and why you got there in the first place.

Every single decision in life we make, is yr responsibility. We may have instances where certain actions cause us hurt - but again, we have a decision to make whether to dwell on that situation or learn from it and move forward.

Again our ego plays a significant role in how we respond. We can, show compassion learn & GROW as an individual or we can get stuck, dwell on the NEGATIVE and let your ego get in the way of healing..

I believe - if you live with little to no ego you will see drastic changes in your anxiety levels bought on by opinions.

Worrying about opinions of others is a huge contributor to anxiety attacks - by letting go of ego, this will minimise also..

As many of you know, I am not a practitioner, or professional in this field. I am an advocate and sportsperson - but it's worked with me and many of those who reach out to me to help with anxiety levels. I was someone who struggled with intense anxiety, but with hard work I now live with it, and manage it. 

Why wouldn't you try...

Culture keeps me strong 👣 

Culture keeps me strong 👣 

Racism; Is yours, mine & all of our business

With many communities around the country recently celebrating NAIDOC week we hear so many positives, that one would be in climbed to think that the country we are all so proud to call home; is moving forward together harmoniously.

I would like to shine some light on 2 particular incidents that was bought to my attention in the midst of NAIDOC week

 

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One, where a First Nations woman was laughed at & mimicked during a particular welcome to country & traditional dance performance. Laughed at & ridiculed to the point where she was reduced to tears & felt so uncomfortable she had to leave the venue.

The event was one held by NSW Tafe, however I must make clear that the people alleged to be involved in the racial remarks were in attendance as part of the audience & were NOT actual workers within Tafe system - The other, was again a First Nations woman who was laughed at & turned away by her boss because she wanted her work place to celebrate NAIDOC week; a work place that is a Childcare centre which has First Nations Aboriginal young people in attendance & also as part of the staff. The staff member was told, if you would like to celebrate it, you organise it - with little to no support from the Non indigenous executive & staff & whilst expected to carry out her regular duties as per normal .

Here we have just two examples in two vastly different locations, where we see our people confronted head on with racism. We see one example where a young lady was traumatised so severely that I personally received a phone call at 1am crying in hysterics because she was so upset of the way she was treated during the discriminative ordeal.

Both examples a sign that we have much further to go on the road to a quality.

The young man who made such comments isn't the only guilty one when talking the terms of bigotry & discrimination. The man in question was surrounded by a small group of friends who both giggled & smirked at the comments. It is in my view that those friends who not only smirked or found it funny are just as much to blame as the perpetrator of the racism & discrimination, for they had ample opportunity to step in & put a stop to such behaviour. We can't put a stop to racism by only having people of colour speak out about it. Racism is everybody's business.

I feel the second example has a much broader effect!

The Childcare centre who chose not to support there staff by celebrating NAIDOC week could have have a much greater role in the national reconciliation process. By celebrating NAIDOC week they intern are supporting there staff, supporting there First Nations students & educating the broader community of non indigenous people about the hard times of the past, present & the richness & depth of aboriginal & Torres Straight Islander culture; the longest living continuous race on the planet. A chance to highlight to the Non Indigenous students how special our culture really is.

In final, I'd like to thank the many 10's of thousands of people of all race across the country who celebrated & are learning with us during NAIDOC week; but these two examples are just two are many we see everyday in our communities. We must continue our fight together, both First Nations & non indigenous to build a brighter future for our generations to come.

 

JW

Culture - More than just a word

During NAIDOC week I documented how many times I read or heard the word culture, when referring to the nations week of celebrating Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.

143 times I either heard the word spoken, written, and even sung. It bought me to think - the word is so often spoken about, do people know the true essence of what our culture is, who it belongs to, do people really understand it or to many is it... Just a word.

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I have been a First Nations Aboriginal man for 32 years, since the minute I was born to this earth. I never shirked away from it and always known and proud to be part of the longest living continual race on earth. A race that has been around for over 60,000 years (man dated) - but to us, we know through our creation stories, since the beginning of time.

It has been in the past 3 years that I have really connected both emotionally & spiritually, that made the penny drop to what that 'feeling' is where our mob get together & connect to culture.

I often hear kids talk about how proud they are to have their culture in their life, which is fantastic - but what is it & what does it mean to you? Can a 7 year old and or a Non Indigenous person describe in depth what our culture is?

Dance is a significant part of story telling for our people

Dance is a significant part of story telling for our people

I see and mentor many youth on a daily basis and we talk of what it means to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. I hear, we are deadly at sport, we wear ochre & can dance (traditional & contemporary), we got dark skin, we might know a few words of our native languages that have been lost over time - & we have our culture.

Until my adult years, I always knew being Aboriginal was special, but in all honesty I thought being Aboriginal was many of those things mentioned above.

I spent time in remote Northern Territory, central desert Aboriginal communities, where I saw children taught since birth their tribal language and taught our ancient Lore. The mother of my 2 eldest children Brodi & Phoenix is from Northern Territory and her family is traditional owners in Larrikia country and have great cultural understanding - I was envious, so I begun searching for our ways back home, Wiradjuri country.

Traditional world

Traditional world

It wasn't until my mid 20s did I begin to delve deeper into what it is, what it means, & why I feel that special feeling we have, we call connection.

I would go on weekly trips out bush, sit around a fire & listen to older uncles tell me many stories, that in turn teach us our lessons in life. I have grown not only culturally as a person, but also as a man who proudly walks in 2 worlds. Traditionally with the importance of going bush, connecting spiritually to the old people, learning lessons from elders, sharing with our youth and connecting to country and or Mother Earth; and regularly partaking in trading cultural practices & ceremonies - to the modern western world - meeting and delivering to corporate entities, to adapting to the use of technology.

Walking in 2 worlds  

Walking in 2 worlds  

For me personally, both worlds are just as important as the other, as we continue to learn to integrate our cultural lessons into a modern society and bringing all corners of the divide to living harmoniously.

The corporate world

The corporate world

For those Non Indigenous people reading this, I'll try give you a comparison; my cultural journey has been one of love, humility, empathy and care - I put it on par with the birth of my children & is something I share with enormous pride.

The above statement gives you an indication of the enormity I consider my journey.

For my fellow First Nation brothers & sisters; if you have it & know it, I'm sure you will agree with my comments - if you don't, I urge you to seek it, learn it & live it.

I believe culture & Lore is the answer to many problems is our communities with alcohol & drug abuse, domestic violence, mental health & suicides.

Our traditional old people didn't have those problems that are burdening our communities.

 

I urge you to find our culture & in the words of Uncle Paul Gordon;

 

'Listen, Learn, Love, Live, Lore & Lead'

 

Yindyamangidyal Marrumbang

Respect, Love & Kindness - Wiradjuri 👣

Being A Role Model - My Journey

Sitting on the plane I find myself writing another blog; something about writing that is therapeutic for me - I used to hate it at school, now I jump at the bit to write my feelings down or about an event I am presenting to.

Today I am off to Newcastle for the Nation of Origin Rugby League carnival here I am the ambassador.

In processing my thoughts, I am proud to wear the tag 'Ambassador' for this event as it sees youth from right across the state representing their Aboriginal Nations ie like mine Wiradjuri.

I am proud because my journey could well have been so different.

During my early NRL playing days, I developed quite a heavy addiction with Alcoholic binge drinking and recreational drug use & prescription drug abuse.

It is coming up to the point that I have been 11 years clean and free from alcohol and drugs; so it is with enormous pride I walk with when asked to be an ambassador.

I wasn't chosen as an ambassador for a carnival for a police citizens youth club (PCYC) carnival because I gave away alcohol and drugs, I was chosen because I am seen as a mentor and someone who kids can look up to because of my path and some things I have achieved.

There are many other Aboriginal men out there who have played many more games than me in the NRL and won many more boxing fights but it is the hours, days & weeks I commit myself to mentoring youth that puts me in line to be seen as a positive person. I know 100%, there is no way on earth that I would be spending the time that I do helping youth and adults to become better people - because during my days of alcoholism and and substance abuse, my life consisted of lies, late nights and a struggle to help myself to be positive person! So how on earth could I be a role model for anyone else...

My days of living a clean and sober life I have learnt and uncovered many things about myself - I have gotten to know the real me. A man I am proud to say that kids can look up to about living a positive life of helping others.

I am looking forward to interacting with some talented kids from right across NSW, each representing their native areas of origin.

In reflection I'll share some great advice I received from my sponsor (mentor) when I first walked into AA. He told me;

'It doesn't matter if you are an NRL player, a pilot, a cab driver or a toilet cleaner, you are going to be better at whatever you do if you give away the drink'

When I was drinking and taking drugs 11yrs ago I wasn't someone people would inspire to be;

Today, I'm not perfect, but I am a mentor, an ambassador, a leader & a role model for many young people - all because I choose to live alcohol & drug free. My life has improved beyond comparison and my sponsors words were correct.

 

If I can do it - so can you

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Hope Helps Heal 2

Another #HopeHelpsHeal tour complete. A month flashed by like a blink of an eye with many good memories but most importantly got to deliver my story of resilience and survival & spread messages of hope to many people experiencing similar circumstance.

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This trip I was lucky enough to tick off many adventures of my life 'to do' list. I proudly flew our 1st Nations Aboriginal flag in front of the White House; arguably one of the most influential and recognised buildings through out the world. I got to hold a baby alligator from the swamps of New Orleans and listen to the sweet sounds of Jazz & Blues in various clubs & bars in the Deep South.

It was in San Francisco I had the honour or sharing stories with my Native American brothers & sisters. Our cultures are so similar in our care for Mother Earth and our cultural belief systems.

The city of San Francisco is the reason I am writing this blog. It is some 15 years ago, my close friend and suicide mental health advocate Kevin Hines (@kevinhinesstory) attempted to take his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Against all odds Kevin survived that jump and it is through his upcoming documentary, Suicide The Ripple Effect we met and I have since had the wonderful opportunity of touring with Kevin around the USA - so in walking onto the Golden Gate Bridge, I had a great sense of emotion. It has been over 2000 people that have died off that bridge, but I also sense of gratitude that my good friend and now call a brother Kevin Hines survived.

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Again this trip, it wasn't only the people Kevin & I delivered our wellness sessions in front of, but the people we ran into and sparked conversation by circumstance that had most impact and showed the the ripple effect of suicide. Lauren & I got talking to a lady who was our Uber driver, who lost a close family member to suicide. That suicide in turn directed that lady into care for others and she worked for many years as a pastor, helping people through the word of the gospel.

Growing up a proud First Nations man, I have heard many times the story of the great Martin Luther King (MLK). It is in the city of Atlanta, we call our home base in the USA - the MLK museum, the house & street where MLK grew up, & the Ebenezer baptist church where MLK took up his role as a pastor.

The King Household  

The King Household  

I got to sit on the same steps MLK sat as a kid, see his bedroom, feel the gospel spirit inside the Ebenezer baptist church, and finally sit close by to the great mans final resting place, the tomb in which he was buried.

It is in MLK I thank, for standing up for the equal rights for people of colour he taught people like me there is such things as non violent protests through means such as intelligence.

Nashville, Tennessee  

Nashville, Tennessee  

My love for music as a young man made it all the more special to visit cities of New Orleans & Nashville. Both varying genres of music but the music of Blues, Jazz, Soul & Country is the types of music I grew up listening to as a kid and even more so now as an adult - music with meaning & songs with a story. Being in Nashville & New Orleans took me back to my childhood or growing up wanting to be a blues singer and entertainer & was also lucky enough to catch a gig at the renowned Reservation Hall - bands suck as foo fighters have shot music film clips at RH.

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In NashvilleI got to visit the Johnny Cash Museum. Cash' music made even more famous to the younger generation through the film 'Walk The Line' sharing history of J.R Cash & his beloved wife June Carter Cash.

The Country Music hall of fame was simply spectacular, seeing memorabilia from artists made famous by their brilliant music, to many to name.

Back home safely on Australian soil although there no rest for the wicked - straight off the plane to deliver at a your leadership conference.

I got to spend the a much needed night with my beautiful 2 eldest children Brodi & Phoenix with dinner, chills and laughs in Sydney.

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I am currently on route to Melbourne to hang out at a local NAIDOC community day chatting and sharing with local Aboriginal & Torres Straight Island mob. Then tomorrow - finally home to Wiradjuri country to the rest of my family; Fiancé Courtney, and 2 boys Rome & Ari - can't wait to take my shoes off & feel the soil of Mother Earth and Wiradjuri between my toes.

Jw

Living with constant Suicidal Ideation - My daily battle

I thought it would be important to share some of the rawness of the thought patterns I encounter whilst in a moment of depression.

I went from a moment of serious depressive and suicidal thoughts to levelled functional thinking, all within a matter of hours. I am also hopeful the studies within the CTE field continue to learn more about the illness.

**warning, reading is a little raw and after a few hours was considering not posting, but realised it was important to show people that follow my journey - 'It ain't all sunshine & rainbows' but equally wanted people to know, those moments don't last forever and with persistence and mindfulness, you too can climb your way out of the depths**

 

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"Have you seen the movie titled concussion, with award winning actor Will Smith? Smith plays an African Forensic Pathologist who studies the brain & impacts on concussions.

The doctor studies and discovers an illness he calls Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

 

https://www.bu.edu/cte/about/what-is-cte/

 

CTE is bought on by repeated brain trauma (TBI - Traumatic Brain Injuries) over an extended period of time, with with repeated mild to severe concussions.

Although 'Concussion' is just a movie, if you read the above link to studies, you will notice, as I certainly have, the commonalities I have with professional sports that I have played for some 15 years. Although CTE is diagnosed post death, there have been pre death diagnosed athletes, notably NFL & combat sports athletes (MMA & Boxing) in the USA.

During the past 2 years I have noticed a considerable increase in the symptoms of CTE in my life - most notably, depression and suicidal ideation.

At the age of 32, this scares the hell out of me. Knowing the symptoms and the road CTE could eventually lead to, makes me all the more concerned.

The most important thing for me right at this present moment is to continue to raise the awareness and help others on how to live a functioning life with mental illness. By delivering Enemy Within sessions across the globe enables me to do this, and in turn help myself stay well.

Right now, I am sitting, waiting for my weather delayed flight to be called in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Whilst writing this piece I am in deep thought, experiencing extreme paranoia, deep depression, and having suicidal thoughts.

Although knowing the concussion film is only a movie, the mind can't help but wonder into the 'what ifs' - what if I end up like a scenes from the concussion movie - retired sportsman, living out've my car, ending in my eventual death and even suicide.

I have promised myself and my loved ones, that I will never die by my own hands - but as I have discussed many times during my Enemy Within Suicide Prevention workshops; I live with constant negative & suicidal thoughts almost on a daily basis, it is often a huge struggle to forge through the day. But the fighter in me, won't let it beat me.

As hard as it is, it is part of my wellness plan to write when I am feeling as such as writing helps me to eventually feel better.

I am now sitting on the airport runway in a tiny plane, rain and wind outside,again with the negativity bellowing at me with my thoughts. Each breath I know that these thoughts aren't a reality, I grip my hands and breathe in slowly with another one of my coping mechanisms 4, 7, 8 - inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds & exhale for 8 seconds.. By doing this, lowers your heart rate & brings you to present.

I guess if you are reading this, we landed safely, the mind settled & I'm back in the fight once more.

Every single Day, I make that choice, to fight the battle against an enemy that in embedded deep within each thought; thought that continues to tell me I'm no longer worthy to exist on earth - that everyone around me would be in a better place with me not being alive.

 

I'll continue to fight...

It Battle Me; It Won't Beat Me"

 

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Tomorrow is a new day...

JW

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