"I didn't realise"

Being away in the USA for the last two and half weeks has been incredible. Being able to do what I love and spread the message of hope around the world is surreal. However, there were a few things I didn’t anticipate happening while I have been here.

I didn’t realise that being away from my usual supports and routines would have such an impact on me. I didn’t realise that I am still great at putting on a front when I am not feeling mentally well. I didn’t realise that even though such amazing and inspirational people surround me, that my self-doubt/negative self-talk would be so loud. I realized that I had become lost in trying to be “on” all the time. I have tried to maximise every opportunity that has arisen and haven’t wanted to let anyone down; all the while forgetting about self-care, forgetting about me.

The last two days have been tough. The flying every second day and being in a new bed every second night caught up with me. My anxiety has been through the roof and because of it my depression has been playing up. What that looked like was me crying inconsolably by myself locked in the toilet cubicle freaking out, not being able to breathe and crying while trying to call home (which was 2am Aussie time). As I was experiencing these thoughts and feelings I noticed a constant sentence that was popping up. “Your inner ninja doesn’t exist, you never really had one”. Now you can imagine how negative my self-talk was getting at this point. My old friend depression had arrived.

Figuring out that it was depression and anxiety talking was the first step in helping myself settle down. Why? Well, in that exact moment I showed and proved to myself my inner ninja is certainly alive and kicking. I had the ability to reach out even though I didn’t want too. I called my partner and cried on the phone even though it was 2am for him. I let my friends in, instead of trying to block them out and most importantly I removed every aspect of the façade and just listened to my body and stopped running.

See, it’s ok to have flat days and after having so many great days, the last couple sort of punched me in the face. Reminding me that I cannot take my mental wellness for granted. That no matter how tired I am, busy it gets or excuses I make for myself. I need to take time out to look after me every single day. I could sit here and battle the same old “why do I have this illness, why can’t my brain just give me a break for once” but I don’t want to anymore. My illness is a gift. I have the self-awareness to realise all this, something people without self-awareness find hard to do. 

I’ve chosen to share this with everyone because it is important for us to know that we are not alone. That by sharing our experiences not only does it help us it helps someone else see that what they are feeling is “normal” we aren’t going crazy. Most crucial being that our inner ninja is always there sometimes it's voice may be soft and in those times, that’s when our body is reminding us to look after ourselves a little more or little better.

I am so grateful for the experiences I have had the last few weeks and I will be forever thankful for the absolutely astonishing people I have met and have the pleasure to call friends.

I’d also like to give a huge shout out to my partner, parents and sister for always being there for me in particular the last couple of weeks, even when I am being a handful or they aren’t having a good day themselves. You all give me the strength and encouragement to continue doing what I am doing and follow this journey that I am on.

Live, breathe, embrace;


Tenille Westerhout