Two Important Things for World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

G’day crew,

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.Β πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

This is a day, and a cause, close to my heart because of what I went through growing up.

Getting help for feeling depressed and suicidal is something I have *never* regretted. As a man, it made me feel stronger, not weaker, to tackle my problems head-on by getting support. And it made me want to keep living. πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ

I say this in particular because male suicide rates are triple those of female suicide rates. Triple! And even worse for men who are gay, bi, trans or intersex, or who are indigenous, or who live in rural areas, or who are elderly. Instead of seeking support or help when we’re in crisis, us guys often stop talking, shut down and isolate ourselves. I want to help others but particularly boys and men know that talking about how we feel is a source of strength, not a source of weakness. Learning how to be vulnerable and manage our emotions will literally save our own lives. Showing our mates that it’s okay to be like this will help save theirs.Β 

I wanted to share two things with you all today.

Firstly,Β I wrote a new article for my publisher Fremantle PressΒ about my own experiences with mental health issues and suicide and how this led to my decision to become an ambassador for suicide prevention organisationΒ Lifeline WA. If you or someone you know is in crisis or thinking about suicide, get help immediately. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14. These guys are absolute legends.Β πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

You can read that article here.

Secondly, on a slightly more personal level,Β I want to share a song I came across when I was bleakly suicidal at the age of 18/19.

The song is “Joining You” by Alanis Morissette. This song was the one that blew my mind, that helped start to pivot me around to rethinking whether death was the best option, because it didn’t just say “don’t kill yourself, dude” or “life is worth living” or anything generic or meaningless.

It said, “Well, if I saw the world the way you’re seeing the world right now, I’d be joining you. I’d kill myself, too. But, this isn’t what the world is. You’re seeing it wrong. You aren’t your body, your culture, your future, your denials, your emotions, your afflictions, their condemnations. These things are not you and you’re more than any of them, and none of them are worth taking your life over.” The underlying message being, effectively, fuck everything that’s hurt you, and live anyway.

I’ve always found this song helpful – to getting through those moments of suicidal ideation, and also to processing the resultant trauma and shame of having those feelings in the many years since.

Big love to you if you’re struggling atm or if someone you know is struggling. Seriously, reach out, even anonymously. It makes it much easier to breathe once you tell someone else how you feel. You can always call Lifeline on 13 11 14, too.

– Holden

Lyrics to “Joining You” by Alanis Morissette (1998):Β 

dear dar(lin’) your mom (my friend) left a message on my machine she was frantic saying you were talking crazy that

you wanted to do away with yourself I guess she thought i’d be a perfect resort because we’ve had this inexplicable connection since our youth

and yes they’re in shock they are panicked you and your chronic them and their drama you this embarrassment us in the middle of this delusion

if we were our bodies
if we were our futures
if we were our defenses i’d be joining you
if we were our culture
if we were our leaders
if we were our denials i’d be joining you

I remember vividly a day years ago we were camping you knew more than you thought you should know you said “I don’t want ever to be brainwashed”

and you were mindboggling you were intense you were uncomfortable in your own skin you were thirsty but mostly you were beautiful

if we were our nametags
if we were our rejections
if we were our outcomes i’d be joining you
if we were our indignities
if we were our successes
if we were our emotions i’d be joining you

you and I we’re like 4 year olds we want to know why and how come about everything we want to reveal ourselves at will and speak our minds

and never talk small and be intuitive and question mightily and find god my tortured beacon we need to find like-minded companions

if we were their condemnations
if we were their projections
if we were our paranoias i’d be joining you
if we were our incomes
if we were our obsession
if we were our afflictions i’d be joining you

we need reflection we need a really good memory feel free to call me a little more often

Why 30 is the New 18

Hey guys,

So, I turned 30 recently, and now that I am on the other side, I can firstly confirm that it was a survivable experience.

Secondly, being your standard navel-gazing author, I thought I’d write about what turning 30 meant to me. But as I started writing it, I realised how many parallels there are between the idea of “becoming an adult” (which used to be ascribed to turning 18) and what our culture now expects from us when we hit the big 3-0.

So I pitched the article idea to an editor, and my article has now been published today at Ten Daily.

Have a read here if you’re interested.

I’d really love to hear from readers on this one. Did you feel like a ‘real’ grown up when you turned 18, or 21? Or was it closer to when you reached 30?

Did your Saturn Return (from the ages of 27-31) have anything to do with it? My own Saturn Return (not that I believe in astrology, but just go with it …) played a major role and was a pivotal point for me.

I have to say I’ve grown accustomed to being 30 now – and it actually makes me feel more confident and more like a grown man than I’ve ever felt before.

Here’s to the thirties. πŸ™‚

Holden

How My Life Has Changed Since Australia Voted YES

Good news, people! My article “How My Life Has Changed Since Australia Voted YES” has been published on Network Ten’s newly-launched news website, Ten Daily.

The article outlines the impact and effects the introduction of marriage equality in Australia (by popular vote) has had on my and my boyfriend’s lives. It coincides with the six-month anniversary of the vote result coming through.

Also, although most of the images used in the article are stock photos, the very first one is actually a photo of our hands together (feat. our engagement rings) on the day same-sex marriage became legal in Australia.

If you’re interested, you can read my piece here.

Stay classy! πŸ˜‰

Holden