As I have mentioned previously in several posts, the writing in the blog is the first time I have discussed my addiction and my lifelong battle with anxiety and depression. It has been terrifying and healing all at the same time.
One of the things that brings me incredible joy is when people write to me privately and thank me for expressing what is in their heads and hearts. If only one person ever did that then I would be a very happy woman, but dozens have done so and I can’t tell you what a privilege it is for me to share that space of vulnerability with each and every one of you.
We all know how powerful vulnerability can be and how much courage it takes, but I have been reflecting on some really good examples of this with people who live under the constant scrutiny of the oh so critical public eye.
Let’s take Oprah as a great example. Think what you like of her, she’s one of the worlds’ most powerful and influential people. I used to watch her show back in the very early days and enjoyed watching her blossom and develop into the confident woman she is today. I like her a lot and one other thing I noticed was that the more she gave away, the more came flowing back to her with even greater abundance, that’s the law of attraction, but that’s a whole other story. One shift I observed with her and her popularity and relatability to the public, was when she started sharing her vulnerabilities around sexual abuse, relationships, weight loss and other personal struggles. One of the most public battles she has fought has been with her weight and she is making a lot of press at the moment with her agreement with Weight Watchers. Good on her. She has tried every single thing, thought she had her shit together, picked herself up and kept on going again and again. With every single media expert and other so called experts and observers watching and commenting on her every success and perceived failure. Even today I heard media commentators speaking of her being vulnerable when it comes to sharing her weight issues. Awesome to hear this kind of talk!
Another great example of success in the face of vulnerability is Garry McDonald. Garry is one of Australia’s most famous comedic icons who has lived a public battle with anxiety and depression, which resulted in him having to withdraw from the relaunch of his famous Norman Gunston show in 1993 after having just one show to go air. Oh the flak he copped, but he spoke publicly then and continues to speak openly and vulnerably about his battle with depression and anxiety. He is a truly inspirational man who isn’t afraid to share his vulnerabilities and I use him as an example in much of my work.
So many other public figures shine as examples to me and I could write forever on this, so I will just name a few: Stephen Fry who speaks openly and bravely about living with bi-polar, Carrie Fisher also with bi-polar, Jessica Rowe who speaks with such courage about post-natal depression and the terrible intrusive thoughts she experienced, Meshell Laurie who has written some of the most eloquent posts on food addiction I’ve ever read, Fiona O’laughlin who talks bravely about her battles with alcoholism…and so many more.
How wonderful that we no longer pretend that everything is perfect and every day a sunshiney day (cue Brady Bunch lyrics). We are real, we are human, we are imperfect – yes all of us.
I now really love being vulnerable. I love speaking up and I love the fact that occasionally I can help someone else to realise that they are not alone in in this one wild and crazy life.
We are all just walking each other home.