I'm not depressed, I'm just messed up...

We hear about it all the time, this thing called depression and anxiety. We know of it, but we don't know much about it. To be clear, I have not actually been diagnosed with it, and I refuse to see a doctor about it. I got myself into this mindset I can get myself out! 

So living life as Jaz from the outside seems great, I have a lot of friends, but not one I can call my best friend, yes truly I do not have a best friend I do not have that one person who knows me in and out, and I'm not the first person any of my friends will call with news, I'm the second or third to find out something... 

I go to a lot of places, yes I do but I'm working, my brain is constantly thinking of what to do while I'm there and degrading myself for wasting time relaxing and enjoying myself, I should be seizing this opportunity, I should be shooting, blogging and networking, editing what I've just photographed or planning the next adventure....

Throughout my life I have hit what some would call rock bottom. Many times! Growing up as a child my life was never great fun, it was always arguments and court cases and family fueds. Yes there were fun times, I won't lie about that but I always felt guilty and to be honest couldn't allow myself to enjoy the high as I knew there was a low coming very soon, there always was. I was always a problem, I was told many times by my step dad that I was a waste of money (due to the court case battles as mum fought my dad for custody). I was a "germ", I was the "pebble in his shoe, that would never go away". I was called pizza face weekly, due to my acne as a child... 

I've never really been the spoilt one, I was never allowed to do anything growing up but work and study... My brother played soccer my sister did art classes, I had to stop dancing after only a few months as it was too much for mum with all after school activities and I was told I didn't have the "it" factor to be a dancer. Everything I wanted to do was a battle, I had to set an example for my younger siblings. I also looked after the family while my mum studied law and my step-dad worked from home, late hours as a mechanic. So I've been "mum" since before I was 12, I cooked dinners and washed our clothes, I kept my brother and sister occupied most afternoons while still getting top grades until year 11.

I had dealt with a lot before the age of 16 but this is when I remember really being lost. By year 11 we all had our "groups", I had mine, roughly 12 people, a mix of girls and boys.

One of the guys, my closest mate at the time Erik had a fall at soccer and his knee never quite recovered, this eventuated to a call I'll never forget. (We were practically dating but keeping it hush due to a recent break up with one of the other guys in the group).

Well I was called by Erik in the calmest voice asking if I could come over, I had the day off school and was out with mum. She said no, Erik then told me over the phone that he had been diagnosed with bone cancer, osteosarcoma which eventually turned into every other kind of cancer you could think of, taking over his entire body. I cried and was taken straight to his home to be with him. I spent the next two weeks off school with him by his side, we watched movies ate oreos and peanut butter he played me songs on his guitar and we spent hours just living life, being teenagers. Erik began treatment and I had to go back to school. The next few months were hard for Erik and his family, his treatments were becoming intense and his mum felt his contact with me was taking too much of his energy. She called me one afternoon telling me to back off and cease contact and if I cared about him I would, threatening an AVO against me if I didnt. She thought I was a hussy as she had seen our "sexts", she had his phone during his treatments. (Erik had asked me to not let him die a virgin and we had discussed our "first time together"). Though Erik did not know of his mum's request and she had told him that I couldn't deal with his illness and didnt want to be apart of it. She had also told my group of 12 that I was messed up, and using Erik's illness to gain attention and the attention needed to be on Erik, I don't hate my friends for standing by him, he needed them but I was banished. I spent the last half of year 11 and all of year 12 sitting alone in classes and with the group but off to the side alone at lunch. I respected his family's wish and kept my distance, keeping diaries to then share with him all my thoughts and all the randoms things I wanted to share with him when he recovered...

During this time alone, I met and fell for Ash October of year 11. We became very close and I used to spend my weekends with him and his friends attending parties and motorsports events.

One night early February I came home from an event, I was actually half an hour earlier then my curfew time, I walked into my step dad's shed where the family was. I was on a high,  I'd just come from the top fuels and I was telling them all about it. My dad then looked at me and said, I hope you had a good night because that was your last night with Ash, you can see him during school holidays but for the next 9 months of the HSC I was to go to school, then work then home to study... No friends, no boyfriend, nothing. Of course I argued this point, he slammed his beer down on the table coating my family in beer and stood up, confronted me and attempted to take my keys, with my right hand I hid them behind my back as he grabbed my left wrist and bent it back to breaking point where mum had now gotten between us, screaming at him bashing his chest to let go, I was in agony. Once he let go we all packed our bags and fled for a friends house. The next day mum took me to Ash's work where I stayed for several hours. She went home with the kids and eventually came to pick me up. I returned home to all my belongings packed up in boxes, I was being moved out to live with pop. Mum said she was not going to choose a man over me and would be coming within the month, she just needed to sort a few things out.

Well months went by, I was going to school 45 minutes away from pops and attending art classes, helping my HSC art major an hour and 15 away from pops. These art classes finished at 10pm meaning I was not getting home until near midnight then still had to cook dinner as pop didn't cook. And I didn't have money to buy take-out as well as petrol, pay my phone bill, pay for schooling and my HSC projects. So these late nights became hard, I had promised mum that I would not stay at Ash's on school nights. I kept to this promise until his parents stepped in and stated that on Tuesdays when I attended art class they will do a baked dinner and leave it in the oven for me, he lived 15 mins from my school. This was a no brainer, so I began to stay at Ash's on Tuesdays which meant I was in bed by 11pm fed and ready for school the next day.

Well now I had broken the promise, I "chose a man over mum" so she broke her promise and never came to pop's, staying with my step-dad. He finally got his perfect family with mum and his two kids, I was out of the picture. Then pop wanted to move closer to his work, even further away from my school, but I was only months away from finishing my HSC. I wasn't going to change schools, and I wasn't going back home... Amazingly Ash's parents invited me to move in with them, they set up broadband wireless internet, and did what they could to support me. Well again I was now banished, but by my own mother and family this time. I was told I'm only going to drop out and end up pregnant by the end of the year and I'm making a big mistake like she did when she fell pregnant with me at age 16.... Mid year 12 Erik lost his battle, I attended his funeral where his mum demanded me to leave in front of a couple hundred people. With respect I said my goodbyes and left...

***I don't want to delve into too much info, we will be here for hours and I've actually deleted a lot! If you want to know more please don't hesitate in contacting me, I have nothing to hide*** 

Continuing my life and schooling I was actually offered a full time vet nursing job mid year 12, my dream job, and wanted to take it as my grades were so bad due to my crazy life, but all I could hear in my head was mum's voice saying you will only become a drop out... So I didn't take it, I wanted to prove her wrong, something that has affected me still today... For some reason 9 yrs into our relationship, also now married I still don't want to fall pregnant due to her words... And am constantly trying to be a "success" to again prove her wrong...and be accepted as family again, not just the girl who destroyed their family... I just want to be someone my mum and step dad are proud of...

I finished school and worked many jobs, at one point I had 4 casual jobs (not having much time to eat), I also bushwalked most of the Blue Mountains with Ash nearly every weekend (loosing a lot of weight), attening Motorsport events, attending parties and living life... trying to keep the mind busy...

I was grateful enough to be granted a one on one session with Mitchell Coombes, celebrity medium. I wanted closure and to know that Erik knew I did not ditch him. We had an hour one on one where he scared the shit out of me to be honest, he told me things there was no way of knowing. Erik didn't want to talk at first and was apparently sitting there arms folded not caring for what he had to say but then he told me my life number is 8, I slid back in my chair shocked, he told me I was in a car accident in a green car then Erik came through in full force, and he told me that Erik was in fact watching over me that night and the most freaky part of all he told me Erik was playing me the guitar... We went on air he did his "reading" (re-stated what he just told me earlier) and I had my closure...

But I was self harming... I picked at my skin, popping those little white sweat pimples, which then turned into scabs, scabs I had for years, my arms were covered. I can't explain it but I got to a point I didn't want scabs and hated the scaley feel as I touched my skin, so in anger I would then pick these scabs again and again as when they dried out they would be smooth, until the next day when they would scab up again.

Well meeting up with mum every now and then to rebuild the relationship I was accused of being on drugs and ice. I wasn't allowed to take my brother and sister out and they were not allowed in the car with m due to these accusations. I was 10kgs lighter then I was, working flat out not eating right and bushwalking 10kms every weekend combined with severe stress will do that to you but then I had the scabs, and well you can see how that would have looked...So now my sister hates me thinking I didn't want to see them...(fortunately I have a really good relationship with my brother). As seen below I got to a scary 42kgs, leaving home I was 56kgs, my arm was not much thicker then a golf club...

A year after living with Ash we were given the news his father Ian had been diagnosed with cancer, he began the treatment process which took a toll on him and the family. Fortunately for me I had been through this before and was able to become the family's rock. Ian was given 9 months with us, we lost him after 4. The family went through many emotions and our lives drastically changed. I took on the "mum" role again age 19, cooking for the family and again trying to be a stable rock for Ash, they had lost more then me, but I had lost the one man in my life that asked how my day was, rather then belittle me, he loved me like a daughter and I finally had a family, a real loving family. 

As mentioned in a few of my recent posts I then worked several jobs finding my way. My true passion was now photography and motorsports, so I had to find jobs that would work with this passion. I was still self harming, covered in scabs for over 3 years. I would always wear long sleeves and would rarely go out. Which meant missing out on events, how can I go out and look professional with an arm covered in at least 20 scabs at a time, how could I take selfies and show off my body when my arms and chest were covered in scabs. How could I be me? This affected jobs, photography, my self esteem and our relationship as a couple.   

It took a hot day at a friends house to change me, I was in long sleeves and was boiling up, I felt odd and ended up taking myself to the bathroom, where I actually fainted and began to have what I'd call a fit, I came to and cried, I pulled myself together and went back out like nothing had happened. I had to beat this. Ash never really truly understood and begged me stop, which made me feel worse, I was now failing him, how could he be proud of me, why would he want to take me out in public, I looked gross. I failed Eric, I failed my parents, and now I was failing Ash. And I couldn't "just stop". So I just hid where I could, and faced the world when I had to... As seen below another rediculously hot day wearing a long sleeve and hiding my arms from photos :(

I was working at a golf course and found these golf sleeves used by the Asians to keep the sun off them. I began wearing them to hide my arms. This gave me a cover and didnt help me. I approached my boss and told him the story, and that I was going to try and shame myself to stop. I was going to show my scabs, that way when people asked what was wrong with my arms I could stand tall and say I self harm, but I'm going to stop. It worked. I had my regular members turn up weekly and check in with me and see how I was progressing...

The below image is one I seriously um'd and ah'd about sharing, and believe me when I say there is more confronting images I cannot bring myself to share, but I took this image believe it or not when I was on the road to recovery, this was set as my lock screen on my phone to remind myself of what I not longer wanted to be... I used shock tactics to overcome this and decided the only way I could move forward was to cause myself some kind of embarassment...

I stopped harming my arms, but was in fact harming other unseen areas, which continued for another year before I completely stopped. I'm proud to say today that I haven't had a self inflicted scab for 2 years. My Celebratory photo as seen below... Finally free from scabs! No more hiding!

Yes a good thing but no not really, mentally I was stable when I was self harming, it gave me something to do when I was upset  ... Now I was left with my messed up brain. As mentioned in previous blogs I lost my job at the golf course, I had zero funds for months on end, I had just upgraded my photography gear and purchased my Silvia. Nearly having to sell everything. At this time I wasn't able to drift anymore so Ash supported me in attending events to try and sell images to afford to drift and keep my camera gear and my car, as well as supporting me financially. I then began doing portrait work as motorsports did not generate any money. We were seen as successful people to everyone else, and I had a reputation to live up to. I was being told I "lived the life". I smiled and agreed.

I stayed positive and believed in the passion within. Though I had many moments questioning if I was doing the right thing. My photography was and still is costing us money, not yet making us money, but I can taste success, we are so close...

Not wanting to self harm again I fell into a state of mind I can't explain. I knew what it was, I was depressed, I was anxious and I was scared, confused but determined. Personally I love challenging the brain and believe the mind is a powerful thing. When playing golf I made sure I could play right and left handed. I write both right and left handed. When playing darts with Ash I would make sure we had a left handed comp. I understand the brain, and enjoy controlling it. Though I couldn't anymore, I had a bad few months last year where I didn't want to wake...

I have 3 days a week off, working my full time hours over 4 days allowing me to focus on SMM on my days off. But I wasn't, I was sitting in bed watching TV and spending hours upon hours on social media. Some mornings I didn't even have the motivation to do that and would just sit there in bed curled up thoughtless only getting out of bed for the bathroom, food and a shower for 3 days straight! The only thoughts I had were that I didnt want to be here anymore. Ash just didn't understand, he has never delt with stress and has been looked after very well by his family his whole life, but loosing his dad also knocked him about and he became very "poor me", for quite a few years. I wasn't able to show emotion, I had to be his strength but when I needed him he didn't know how or what to do. 

I felt like I was a burden to him, he was finally happy and enjoying life and I was this dead mopey weight full of negative thoughts.

I had opened up to him and said the words, "I don't want to wake up tomorrow, I don't want to live anymore" not knowing how to react he just didn't respond and shrugged it off... Usually if your wife says that only months after your wedding you do everything you can to make her love life again, but no I was ignored. Then I began to feel like a bitch for feeling this way, Ash still didn't understand often saying we just got married you should be happy... He thought I didn't love him anymore. It wasn't until we had heard one of our good mates had tried to commit suicide that the pieces began to fall together. Ash spoke to the guys at work who then told stories, he read articles and realised I didn't control the way I was feeling, I couldn't control my emotions... And I was in fact dealing with some kind of depression/anxiety. This was a massive step forward for the both of us I had someone who finally somewhat understood me. He finally realised that it wasn't about him, I wasn't falling out of love with him, I was loosing myself... Hating myself...

But now what?

Well I'm definitely better then I was 6-12 months ago. I feel I may now have a split personality. We called them J1 and J2, I am now able to to acknowledge when I'm J2 and feeling shit. And those days are become less and less. I would be pissed at something and J2 would want to cry and breakdown, but then at the same time J1 would be like wtf snap out of it, get over it, move on do something to make it better. I can't explain it but now, today I encounter a bad experience and can shrug it off as just my luck. Another life lesson! 

I am extremely driven with many expectations of my myself, my business, Ash and our relationship. These expectations don't help the anxiety but they help to move forward in life and achieve our goals. 

Ash has become more open to the fact that life isn't one big happy playground and is fact a struggle for some, he has become more driven and this has helped me to direct my focus again. 

If you follow me, you know I've encountered many ups and downs this year alone... As soon as things go good I'm faced with a challenge. I have had a few of you message through regularly to check in on me and a few message asking for advice which prompted me to write this long ass blog. 

So where to from here?

I aim to keep striving for what I want and who I am, and who I want to be!

I am Jaz, I am a down to earth car obsessed chick with passion like no other. I'm not perfect I don't live "the life", I'm TRYING to live the life! 

Unfortunately no stupid exercise routine will change me, no food diet bullshit will help me, it might help some but not me! And I refuse to be medicated! Small successes drive me and being able to be better then what I was last year will help me become the best I can be! If I get out of bed, that's a bloody good day already...

Life is hard for some, it's a struggle and you haven't lived life if you haven't wanted to stop living. Because waking up and finding a purpose for being IS living!  

We get so distracted by others and their picture perfect lives we don't stop to think they are only showing you what they want you to see... 

I didn't expect this to be this long so I'm sorry but I hope I have given you meaning to your life and a reason to keep going...

I'm not depressed, I don't need to be medicated, I am just messed up with one hell of a story. I wouldn't change a thing, I am who I am today beacuse of what I went through yesterday. I got myself into this state of mind, I can get myself out! And so can you!

12 months ago I ago I didn't want to live... Now I can't wait for what tomorrow has to offer me, whether it be good or bad I know I can face it! 

Please feel free to share your story below in the public comments or privately message me, I will do my best to reply as soon as possible and we can chat about stuff, I like stuff, do you lie stuff???

Onwards and up guys xx

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