Flat Chat

By Jarred Flanigan Join Me

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Their Conversation: Dane Tucker - Anxiety is a B*tch

Sunday 8th Aug
Anxiety is a bitch.

Everyone's mental health journey is different. Caused by different things. Experienced in different ways. Felt in different intensities.

I’ve been through some minor mental health struggles over the decades but I went through some pretty wild anxiety midway through last year, due to the combination of COVID
effectively shutting my wedding photography business down - a business that forms a possibly slightly unhealthy and large part of my identity - a long term relationship coming to an end, the resultant shattering of much of my social circle and a few other things. I felt adrift, untethered and lost and was constantly questioning myself. It was undoubtedly the lowest I’ve been in my 32 years on the planet. I was not sleeping. Waking up covered in
sweat when I did sleep. I had a constant pit in my stomach. I had no motivation to eat or really do much of anything. All the classics. It lasted for longer than I care to admit.

I’ve been working on myself and my mindset ever since (and am in a much better place now), but something that’s had an outsized impact has been actively trying to foster a sense of - wanky buzzword coming - gratitude. It’s obviously not a silver bullet, but I found actively looking for things to be grateful for single everyday - particularly in situations or relationships I found stressful or difficult - immensely powerful and helped lift me out of the
mire I was in.

When I’m stuck in an anxious loop, I tend to wake up with a pit in my stomach and negative and anxious thoughts immediately swirling around my head. This was a seemingly small step
in reframing that part of the day and changing my headspace to.

For me, having a (..another wanky buzz-term incoming) “gratitude practice” looked like keeping a journal beside my bed in which to write a few things down each every morning that I was grateful for that day, then reflecting on and writing down a few highlights of the day at the end. It may not seem like much but it had a few effects on me.

After enough repetition I feel it hardwired my brain to look for things to be grateful for in the morning, to start the day with a note of positivity instead of the inevitably spiraling anxious
thought.

I made sure to do it was the first thing I did each day so (…may or may not have taken my morning poo first) to create a habit of it and eventually just make it what I automatically did
every morning. It also made me LOOK for things to be grateful for throughout the day. I was more receptive and open and actively searching for things and experiences to be grateful for
and so was having more of them. Forcing myself to reflecting on each day also made me realise that so many of things that bring me genuine joy and happiness are such simple
mundane occurrences – listening to currawongs as dusk settles in, a delicious mandarin eaten in the winter sun, an unexpected conversation with a friend – and how attainable little things
like that generally are.

It felt like I slowly but surely trained my brain away from this constant background hum of anxious thought and constant negativity to one of normalcy and openness to joy. Of course,
other things helped (the usuals - exercise, meditating, time) but this has felt like the biggest and most lasting change I’ve made, and something I continue to do this day (..most days, no
one’s perfect).

It doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. I know people who incorporate a gratitude practice into their day by telling their dog what they are grateful for or just actively running through a list in their head, or message something to a friend. Start small, start achievable.

I’m not by any means implying that for those with acute anxiety or depression or other mental health conditions that you can just positively think your way out of it, nor am I advocating a kind of toxic positivity – it’s obviously so important to identify and sit with
your less enjoyable emotions in a healthy way. I also recognise that by the fact of where I was born and who I am I’m very privileged in a bunch of ways, and that my anxiety was
more situational than genuine long term mental illness.

But.

I can only speak to my experience. For me this has been such a seemingly simple concept that has completely changed my philosophy on a whole bunch of things and improved my
day to day mental health and mindset in really concrete ways.

I still have off days. I still struggle to see the light in all situations. But I’m trying to choose to, and it’s getting easier.

Their Conversation: Tyson Fury

Saturday 31st Jul
Life is hard enough without having to hear my story over and over. Not only that, I certainly don't have all the answers! So with that, I've asked my friends and family (and borrowed some celeb inspirations) to share their story; the challenges they've faced and what they do day-to-day to remain the best versions of themselves or inspire the same in others. I hope their experiences and suggestions help any or all of you the way they have me.

This is going to be left field for most of you but whether you're a boxing fan or not I'm sure many of us can relate to the message. Tyson Fury is a British heavyweight boxer - we are the same age however he is a two-time heavyweight champion. I don't pretend to know him personally or that I've followed his career, I came across a podcast of his discussing his battles with mental health, the high and really lows, what drove him and how he structured his road to recovery largely without medication, resolute that he knew himself and his ability to forge a path out.

Personally I found it inspiring and related many of his thoughts back to my own drawing board. I won't write it out, if you'd like to listen I've copied the link below, he begins discussing mental health around the 15 minute mark.

Lastly TF - if you somehow read this - you're a hero and should be proud.

Link to Podcast - https://open.spotify.com/episode/6hChfQF2Sj5aSkyr9peT7R?si=OsybErkmRQe1iJXdd3jUpw&dl_branch=1

“I didn’t care what no-one was thinking, I didn’t care about hurting my family, friends, anybody. I didn’t care about nothing, I just wanted to die so bad, I gave up on life. And just as I was heading towards that bridge at 190mph in this Ferrari – it would have crushed like a Coke can if I’d have hit it – I heard a voice saying: 'No, don’t do this Tyson… Think about your kids, think about your family and your little boys and girls growing up with no father and everyone saying your dad was a weak man, he left you and he took the easy way out because he couldn’t do anything about it."

“Before I turned into the bridge I pulled onto the motorway and I was shaking. I pulled over and I was all nervous and I didn’t know what to do and I was so afraid. And I thought that I’ll never ever try or think about taking my life ever again.”
“I want to spread the word on mental health so when other people are in this position in the future they know where to go and they know what to do because there's a blueprint.”

“I am not a special human being. I am a normal man. I wasn't just down for me and my family; I was representing people with mental health problems around the world. I had to continue and carry on.” - on his miraculous recovery from THAT 12th round knockdown by Deontay Wilder.

“I fought back from thinking about suicide, mental health, depression, anxiety. I wanted more than anything to show the world it can be done. Anything is possible with the right mindset.”

“I have been so dark that everything was pitch black. Before, every single day for me was a grey day. And some people might not know what I am talking about when I say that, but every day shouldn't be a grey day. Because life is a blessing. And now I know that every day is a rose-coloured, sunshine day. Which I appreciate. I appreciate every second, every hour, every day, because life is so very short.”

“You are not a weak person, you are not a let-down, you are not a failure. People won't laugh at you. It is an illness. Just like cancer. Just like every other illness out there. It's a silent killer. It's just a constant battle with yourself.”

“Having a family and having a supportive family, it helps. But it's not just family because we don't choose our family. We choose our friends. People may not have great friends, people might not have top friends or people may not have any friends. But you always need to speak to somebody and I believe talking is the key to everything.”

Their Conversation: Madeline Rees

Sunday 25th Jul

Why do we as a society value our own busyness?

 Stop being busy and start creating meaning in your life by contributing something of value to your corner of the universe.

 Why is “busy” a status to strive for. Like if we’re not busy we’re not accomplishing enough or important enough or trying hard enough. 

It seems that our expectations as a culture are to drive forward hard and fast, so we can be productive and feel valued and fulfilled.

 For me though, I eventually found that all the busyness, the 16 hour works days caught up to me and all I had to show for my busyness was stress and exhaustion.

I felt disconnected from friends and family and the people that mattered most to me and what I thought were priorities like my health and well being were a far cry from what was actually my reality.

I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I had  lost the most important connection of all, my connection to myself.

 It was then that I realised I wanted to make the most of every minute, I would say no to pointless busyness and get comfortable with a new reality , one where all labels, definitions, judgements and identities that I associated with success were removed, I would redefine success for what it really meant to me, to me and no one else.

Success for me is the progressive realisation of worthy goals

 Success for me is the ability to love and have compassion

 Success for me is to get in touch with the creative centre of my being which is the creative centre of the universe.

 Success for me is being happy for no reason. 

Not needing to gain happiness for external sources, people and material things or specific outcomes. Sure I still experience happiness from all of these but it is not the only source of my joy. I can allow myself to be happy without them.

 Instead of just being busy I was now trying to understand my real purpose so that I could make a real contribution to the world in a way that truly fulfills me.

 This change in perspective gave me a new eagerness for life, an energy I had never experienced before, deeper more meaningful connections and relationships, I was healthy and happy for the first time in a long time.

 Sounds easy right but when we’ve become so accustomed to doing more and having more that we’ve failed to notice that we’re living according to someone else’s purpose instead of our own. Our priorities and daily efforts are misaligned.

 When I look around at all the busyness , I feel sadden to hear the 'busy' responses from friends and clients when I ask how they are going. Because I see for most that they are not enjoying or even experiencing their lives, they too have lost their connection to themselves and to their life.

 Now it could be that some of these people actually revel in whatever it is they’re doing that makes them so busy. These fortunate souls are likely experiencing a state of 'flow' and feeling super creative and productive. They’re in the zone and that’s amazing.

 Yet either way , whether busy because you’re in flow or busy because you’re overworked and overwhelmed, I feel we should stop glorifying it and making it a status to reach for.

 Imagine what our lives would be if we could make ‘Purposeful' instead of 'busy' the new end game?

One week in

Saturday 17th Jul
What's surprising is that we are still somehow surprised.

Since launching the Flat Chat pages I've had some of my oldest and closest friends reach out both to check in on me and share some of their own challenges. I think the reluctance in having these conversations proactively speaks to two challenges - the sometimes confronting nature of the discussion and the disbelief that our closest friends and family members who seemingly have it all and have it all together can be struggling underneath.

For me, I've only just turned a corner and felt confident in sharing my story in a broad personal as well as professional medium. I did this with the knowledge that sharing a difficult experience may just show others it's OK to take that first step.

Long and short of it - stay connected and where possible don't rely on assumptions, ask the question of those around you and really listen the answers, you never know whose life you could be changing. Also if you're the one who needs to chat - call me anytime.

Lastly anyone who has some extra cash laying around from lockdown or Dry July or is just bored and this eats up another 30 seconds, jump on in and support a great cause.

Donate - https://join.ruok.org.au/fundraisers/jarredflanigan/flat-chat
Flat Chat Event Tickets - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flat-chat-2021-tickets-162385251659

What is Flat Chat?

Wednesday 7th Jul

When I hit rock bottom it felt like I had nowhere to go. Incapable of opening up or even how to even start, the shame at not knowing how to articulate it all only added to the depression. I struggled to share how I was feeling or why and began to implode. It was my now wife and inner circle of family and friends that got me to where I am today.

It is a tragedy both how overwhelmingly common these feelings of helplessness are and how many people slip through the cracks. Sometimes it's because they aren't blessed by circumstance to have the support network that many of us do, that the people close to them don't have the tools or the language or the belief that they can help, or that they simply don't know how to open up.

Flat Chat, in proud support of R U OK?, is an attempt to help address these issues with the firm belief that a conversation could change a life. To give back. To empower people to have tough conversations and give them the tools to both listen and talk, no matter which end of the conversation they are on.

The experience of the day will be one of sharing experiences, hearing and learning from those directly impacted by mental health issues as well as from R U OK? themselves. The takeaway, I hope, will be that each of us will have a better understanding of the issue, a more confident approach to having these conversations and an even bigger network of people to share in the highs as well as lean on for life's inevitable dips.

Jarred

Event Details:

Fundraising Link - https://join.ruok.org.au/fundraisers/jarredflanigan/flat-chat

Purchase Tickets for the Event - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/flat-chat-2021-tickets-162385251659

On the Day:

8:30AM - 9AM: Registration & Opening Notes at the Discovery Centre

9AM - 10AM: Check in hour - Cycle, Run, Walk at your leisure around Centennial Park. Start your conversations and really check in on your friends and family or make a new connection. *If you're coming by yourself don't worry, we have a number of Flat Chat 'Champions' to lend an ear*

10AM-11AM: Guest Speakers & keynote R U OK? Ambassador

11AM - MIDDAY: Provided morning tea & networking. Raffle Draw.

Notes:

Cost of admission includes morning tea, an R U OK? cap and for anyone with kids attending, we have free access to the Ian Potter Children's Wild Play Garden.

If you have any questions please reach out to me directly at any time.

:D

Thank you to my Sponsors

$8.28k

Jarred Flannigan

$1.6k

Aaron Jacobs

$1.57k

Cameron Reid

$1.35k

Trang Dao

Well done Jarred on supporting this important initiative.

$1.22k

Cameron Reid

$1.22k

Nicki Dewhurst

$1.1k

Charnelle Willis

$518

Anonymous

$515

Zoe Flanigan

My sweet King, I am so impressed by you everyday. You embody the 'rising tides lift all ships' saying but taking action and following through. I am so proud of you and everything you do for me & others. *noses*

$515

Gavin Struthers

Thank you for your service to the community. Best Gavin

$500

Aaron Bugal

$490

Secil Yanik

$465

Jarred Flanigan

$450

Philip Dimitriu

Congrats on putting this together and and good luck with the remainder of the fundraising effort!

$290

Mat Stone

$263.75

Zoe Flanigan

$263.75

Sally Pelbart

We love you CCC’s . Happiest of birthdays. Love the Pelbart’s xxxxx

$250

Kathleen Grahame

$219.24

Charnelle Willis

$211

Dane Tucker

Ya big caring beautiful legend. You are one of a kind. Happy birthday fella.

$211

Madeline Rees

Happy birthday J! We hope this is you’re most amazing year yet. We are so grateful to have your friendship in our life. Love you heaps tans and Mad xx

$211

Jane Huang

Thank you for organising this :)

$208.80

Jack Haynes

$208.80

John Hackett

Well done Jarrad

$208.80

Tans And Madeline

We’re so proud of you Jezabel

$203.58

John Donovan

Awesome job Jarred

$158.25

Cindy Dickson

I love your commitment to this amazing cause. Have a great birthday legend x

$156.60

Andrew Goodlace

Great initiative - good luck

$150

Louie & Matt

Hey J, Happy Birthday! So proud of you for always sharing the ‘happy’ in birthday with others through RUOK. Have a cracker day and the best year ever! Love Lou & Matt

$105.50

John Flanigan

$105.50

Georgia And Andrew

Happy birthday J! Wishing you the best day. Lots of love, Georgia, Andrew, Glen and Millie xoxoxo

$105.50

Trish And David Payne

Hi jarred. Wishing you a very happy birthday. We are so proud of the work that you do for others. You are such a kind and caring person 💗 💕

$105.50

Samantha Tang

$105.50

Aleks Jakowlew

Wishing you the happiest bday! Hope you will have an amazing day. Your passion and effort you put in to RUOK is so inspiring and I can’t wait to represent RUOK alongside you at the next TRI! Aleks xxx

$105.50

Brett Flanigan

Have the most wonderful birthday son. You are the most amazing son a father could ever hope for.

$105.50

Janet & Momo

$105.50

Mezzy & Jordy Borbello

Happy birthday to our beautiful, kind and wonderful friend, J! We are so grateful to have you in our lives, and can’t wait to be a part of all the exciting milestones to come. Love you lots, Mezzy & Jordy

$105.50

Emma And Seb

Happy Birthday old man! You are the most kind, selfless and generous person and we are so lucky to have you as a friend. Lots of love always ♥️

$105.50

Dave And Niki

Happy Birthday to someone we are privileged enough to call our dear friend. You are one selfless, kind and loving human being whose dedication to this cause never goes unnoticed. We hope you know how much your efforts, achievements and awareness for the R U OK? Charity has saved and impacted so many lives for the better. You are one incredible human. The world needs more Jarred Flanagan. We love you! The Loves X

$105.50

Bel & Lemeki

Happiest of happy birthdays you amazing human. We feel so blessed to share all the life stuff with you and are so grateful for your kindness, your genuine and legendary approach, the giggles and adventures and your warm and thoughtful presence. We hope this year and every year ahead brings you all the amazing things! Love you plenty x

$105.50

Keryn Franklin

Happy Birthday Jazza I’m so proud of you raising awareness for such a great cause! I’m so lucky to have you as my little brother always inspiring me . Love you lots xx

$105.50

Lacey Payne

Happiest of birthdays to one of the kindest hearted people I know. Thank you for everything you do for all. You are an inspiration. So proud of you. We love you so much. Can’t wait to celebrate with you. Love Eddy and Lacey.

$105.50

Pip And Elise Wells

Well done J for all you do to raise awareness around such an important topic. Happy birthday and all our love, Pip and Elise x

$104.40

Arnt

Delighted to be a part of this x

$104.40

Jan

Love your work, mate. Keep talking and being the awesome human you are.

$104.40

Elise & Pip Wells

$104.40

Damian Bryant

$104.40

Stephanie Foran

Great work legend. Such an important message

$104.40

John Flanigan

Keep it going J

$104.40

Trish Payne

Love my beautiful boy for helping those in need.

$104.40

Marilyn

So very proud of the beautiful caring and compassionate person you have become. Or for that matter have always been and how you are channeling that unbounded energy of yours into such a deserving cause. Very proud of my gorgeous son for all he is doing and continues to do by your side. Love alwaysxxx

$104.40

Steve Hall

Such an important cause, you are amazing to raise the awareness. Love you xx

$104.40

Anonymous

$100

P Kumar

$100

Meagan Halliwill

$100

Hd It

Great cause mate. Well done. Always here for you too mate.

$100

Kyle Howitt

Happy birthday legend! So thankful to have met you four and a bit years ago my man. You have a heart of gold and I cherish all the hilarious moments we have shared in australia. Thank you for welcoming me into your friend group and making me feel at home. Cheers to this one and many more you sweet piece of ass.

$100

Rob Darwell

$100

Meg

Happy Birthday J!!! Hope you have an amazing day!! We will celebrate when I get there :)

$100

Mel Lucas

$78.30

Nicki Dewhurst

$78.30

Cameron Reid

Great, work mate, and sorry that I was unable to make it along. Cheers, Cam

$78.30

Janine Pilgrim

$73.85

Emily Mcquarrie

Happy Birthday My beautiful friend! You are an absolute light in everyone’s lives and I am so grateful to have you as one of my closest friends. Thank you for being the biggest supporter for everyone around you!!! ❤️

$52.75

Gerry Mccloughan

Happy happy Birthday J. Have a good one buddy 🍻🥂🏌️‍♂️🎉 G&D and Fam

$52.20

Anonymous

$52.20

Stella Coe

$52.20

Lacey Payne

So proud of you xx

$52.20

David Bauk

Good luck brother! You’re an absolute legend! Smash this out!!

$52.20

Joan Flanigan

Lots of Love Jarred

$52.20

Annemarie Mcquarrie

Proud of you. Love you xx

$52.20

Satoko Handa

$52.20

Anonymous

Good on you Jarred.

$52.20

Cindy Dickson

Amazing cause, never stop talking and listening :0)

$50

Jess Bent

Great initiative! Happy Birthday J 😊

$50

Sharon T

Happy birthday Jarred!!! Made it another year round the sun! Looking more like a silver fox by every year mate. Have an incredible day and keep being the excellent human being you are and hope you're having a big bevvie today! Miss ya and take care of yourself, give me a ring when you have some time so we can catch up! Xx Shaz

$26.38

Asanga Tennakoon

$25

Natalia Jaramillo Gonzalez

So proud of the man and friend you are. Love you!