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  • lennydeeder

Mental Health in the Outback: A Personal Story

Living in the outback can be both rewarding and challenging. The isolation, long distances, and every change in your living conditions can take a toll on our mental health. As a coach working in town, I have been talking with people who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. And I’m grateful for our conversations!

Because today, I want to share a personal story of my own challenges.

When I moved to the outback, I was excited about the new adventure. And what an adventure it has been! But I realized it was also harder than I thought. The feeling of not fitting in, not being as bush-skilled as others, and living a great distance from family and friends started to weigh on me. Feeling lonely, overwhelmed and the feeling of not being good enough were of a weekly occurrence.

At first, I tried to ignore my feelings and push through. I thought being educated as an applied psychologist, I would and should have all the tools to cope with and manage my emotions. But I was wrong. Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of their background or profession. Besides that, my first impression of people in the Outback was, everyone can handle anything. You just suck it up. Well, that was not me haha. Luckily, I love to chat with anyone, and I started talking to others. And I noticed that many people in the bush had their own experiences with mental health challenges that they try to deal with. I know this sounds bad… but hearing about other people’s hardship can help to feel less alone and more understood.

When I moved to Tambo, I started my practice and people started to reach out for sessions, and it’s my believe, when people get “real” with each other, have real conversation, have a real connection…there is so much that you can learn from each other and help each other grow.

And yes, there is a time you might have to push through, suck it up and get things done. Since there are occasions when this becomes necessary, you should also make it a point to take a time-out, pause, connect with your inner self, and devote some attention to your thoughts and emotions.

It’s comforting to know, that wherever I go or end up (even if the new start might be daunting), having real, genuine relationships and conversations will help dealing with new situations

Being in the Outback has taught me even more about dealing with the things that need dealing with. Try and fix it! When something is broken, or almost broken you deal with it on the land, you fix it. You try to be as good as you can with the people in the community because you need each other out here. There are many distractions if you like out here, but I believe, if you don’t deal with your own challenges, they will affect your daily life more than you think!

I’ve worked through my challenges easier because I reached out to friends in Tambo. It’s comforting to know, that wherever I go or end up (even if the new start might be daunting), having real, genuine relationships and conversations will help dealing with new situations.

My first impression is that the Outback is a home for very resilient and inventive people, real go-getters. And if you open up about whatever you feel you like to share of feel the need to express, you’ll find the right people everywhere. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been allowed to be a part of it for three years.

Thank you Tambo!

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