Lift Magazine - - Contents -


I’m a trained coun­sel­lor, and af­ter my sep­a­ra­tion, I sud­denly found that on top of ev­ery­thing else I was deal­ing with, I couldn’t find a job. One day while chat­ting with a friend about my sit­u­a­tion, she men­tioned an or­gan­i­sa­tion called PANDA (Post and an­te­na­tal de­pres­sion as­so­ci­a­tion). Post Na­tal De­pres­sion (PND) was some­thing I was very fa­mil­iar with as I de­vel­oped it not long af­ter my daugh­ter was born. There seemed to be so much pres­sure as a new mum, I felt judged a lot and I even con­vinced my­self that the mid­wives were go­ing to take my baby away be­cause my house wasn’t clean. So when I dis­cov­ered I could vol­un­teer as a coun­sel­lor with PANDA, I thought ‘I just have to do this!’.

In those early days af­ter sep­a­ra­tion, vol­un­teer­ing got me out of the house. As a sin­gle mum it can be so easy to stay at home and tell your­self you have to cook or clean, but get­ting out, con­nect­ing with peo­ple and hav­ing a dif­fer­ent fo­cus is es­sen­tial. As time went on, I found it was ac­tu­ally giv­ing me back my con­fi­dence. It was some­thing I knew I could do, and when­ever I was hav­ing a bad day, I would talk to peo­ple call­ing in and feel like I made a dif­fer­ence to them and the world. It also made me re­alise that my sit­u­a­tion really wasn’t so bad.

Now, I’m in such a good place and for the first time in my life, I feel free. I’ve learned to love my­self. I’ve learned not to crit­i­cise my­self. I’ve learned who I am, that I don’t need a man to feel loved and that I’m ab­so­lutely 100% ac­count­able for my­self. I’ve also come to learn that money’s not ev­ery­thing. If you’re mentally ok and help­ing your­self, that’s the most im­por­tant thing. I’m blessed I’m not in a bad re­la­tion­ship any­more and fi­nally can see that some­times di­vorce can be a good thing.

If you’d like to vol­un­teer with PANDA, you don’t have to be a qual­i­fied coun­sel­lor, you just have to have had some ex­pe­ri­ence with it - ei­ther your­self or with a loved one. You can find out more at


I’ve been a sin­gle par­ent for 18 months now and danc­ing was one of the most im­por­tant things I did to get through my sep­a­ra­tion. I’d al­ways been fond of danc­ing, but one day, not long af­ter I sep­a­rated, I was on the phone to a friend and found my­self burst­ing into tears. His re­ply was ‘Just go and dance through it‘, so I did and sud­denly all those heavy emo­tions lifted. From that day I danced ev­ery day for al­most a year. I started with any sort of mu­sic really, but then found a form of dance called the 5 Rhythms that really res­onated with me. It’s aim is to put the body in mo­tion to still the mind.

When I was liv­ing in Mel­bourne, I at­tended a few 5 Rhythms classes. I not only made new friends, but danc­ing with other peo­ple made me re­alise how eas­ily swayed I was as a per­son. When I would dance by my­self, I would be in my own dance, but when I joined oth­ers, I’d get lost in their move­ment and lose my abil­ity to be my au­then­tic self. By work­ing through that, I now know how to hold my own power and be my­self in any sit­u­a­tion, no mat­ter what’s go­ing on around me. I’ve also learned how to truly feel emo­tions, to ex­press them and then let them go rather than in­dulging in them.

Danc­ing also helped with my fam­ily dy­nam­ics. Some­times if we were a bit grungy with each other or hav­ing a rough day, I’d put on some mu­sic and the kids and I would dance to­gether. It was a in­stant mood lifter for all of us.

To­day, I have a strong theme of em­pow­er­ment run­ning though my life. I de­cided to com­bine my ex­pe­ri­ence of sep­a­ra­tion with my Mas­ters de­gree in Well­ness and cre­ated a frame­work I now use to help sin­gle par­ents move through their sep­a­ra­tion and feel em­pow­ered again. I’ve also just started a danc­ing group in my home town of Bega. So much has changed, and to think, it all started with one lit­tle dance.


I first went to a derby game a few years ago. I wanted to get into it in­stantly, but I’d just started my PHD so it really wasn’t the best tim­ing! Then, last year I ended up in a dif­fi­cult le­gal bat­tle with the fa­ther of my chil­dren. A friend took me along to a derby bout again and I thought ‘Stuff it! It’s time to do some­thing for my­self. I’ve just got to do this’ and so I signed up for their ‘fresh meat’ be­gin­ners ses­sions then and there.

Train­ing ses­sions ended up be­ing on the night I get my kids back from their fa­ther though. I thought it’d be such a push to or­gan­ise, that I nearly put it in the too hard bas­ket, but I was de­ter­mined to do it, so I did! On my first night, we were all in the car when my younger kids started com­plain­ing about hav­ing to go. My el­dest piped up and said ‘You know what? You need to be quiet. We do sport. Mummy de­serves to do a sport too’. It showed me just how em­pa­thetic kids can be.

Dur­ing my le­gal bat­tle, derby helped me get out of my own head. It’s such an adrenalin rush and I’ve learned so much - it pushes me out of my com­fort zone ev­ery week. It also really shifted the dy­nam­ics of our fam­ily. It’s stopped me from get­ting so hung up on rou­tines and has forced me to be more re­laxed, and if I’m re­laxed, the kids are re­laxed.

Train­ing night has be­come a real event for us now. We have an easy din­ner of some­thing like toasted sand­wiches, the kids get to watch me have fun (they’ve even made up a ban­ner say­ing ‘GO NIKKI STYX!’) and when we get home they have a hot milo and snug­gle up in bed.

The derby com­mu­nity is so in­clu­sive and there’s loads of sin­gle mums who do it - you just do what you can and it’s so good to have a com­mit­ment one night a week so you ac­tu­ally get up and do it. It may be a lit­tle hard to get started ini­tially, but it’s so worth it.

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