From all the self-help books you’ve read, what strategies have worked the best for you?

Author: Anonymous

My husband asked me this question without any malicious intent but I could feel the insecurity within myself leading to me wanting to respond defensively. I was drawing a complete blank.

In a way that only family can get under your skin, I could tell this was a helpful question… the sweet spot between discomfort and challenging my way of thinking enough to promote real change.

Reader, I’ll be honest with you… I have an agenda here. As a fellow Australian from an immigrant background, I want us all to take charge of our lives to reach our full potential. I strongly believe that we all innately have the drive to be “better”, well-adjusted human beings but that we lack the clarity and, in most cases, the right support to reach our goals.

I don’t identify as having a “mental illness” but I don’t sleep well and I certainly experience a lot of moments where I feel down. “No one understands” is the soundtrack that seems to play on repeat in my mind. For the most part, and at best, I nap it off or simply check out of life for a little bit to reset with varying degrees of success. At worst, I take it out on myself or the people I love, lashing out about a negative emotion/thought/belief, which I don’t even realise I’m experiencing at the time.

This next paragraph was hard for me to admit but in short, I’d describe the last 30-odd years of my life as a rollercoaster journey. The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated for me a current “crisis” of burnout where I’m thinking of changing careers, fuelled by a lifetime of anxious thoughts and safety behaviours. My issues have stemmed from a lifelong history of dealing with Asian parents (adjusting to life in Australia) and still ongoing toxic family behaviours.

I consider myself lucky though because I have a supportive partner, good friends, books, and occasional psychology sessions to pull me through. So, calling all second generation Australians, how do you describe your current mental health? I encourage you to take that first step toward seeing support, in a form that works for you, so that we can all be better.