FIND A FOCUS & CHANGE YOUR LIFE
MAKING A DIFFERENCE - DESANKA OGRIZOVIC
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 www.panda.org.au
JUST DANCE! - TRISH EVERETT
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.
‘FRESH MEAT’ ROLLER DERBY - NICOLE COLLIE AKA ‘NIKKI STYX’
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.