This book changed me

RunningLikeChina I was in an airport recently, about to embark in to a sunnier world with a handful of oncoming delicious experiences. I’d had a good flight (36,000ft in the air is where I find my zen sparkles), I was only hours away from being in the space of dear loved ones I hadn’t seen in a while and from the outside perspective, my life was picture-fucking-perfect. My visions in reality. Adventure awaiting.

But in that airport, after that flight, I was sitting on the floor alone, struggling to keep myself together. Sweating and shivering, stuck in the moment and crying without tears while anxiety riddled my body with exhaustion and stimulation at the same time. Very alive, yet numb to life. Many of you know this experience, as anxiety is all too common in our world but still not so much a conversation we have over coffee.

Endless waves of travellers strolled past me, likely stressing about time as they powerwalked from either ends of the departure hall. I shared glances with hurried eyes and not one person stopped to ask me if I was doing okay. And that to me, is a problem of humanity. We are scared of the insane moments, afraid we will catch the madness or get caught up in crap - yet if we truly acknowledge the reality of our personal lives, we all have those experiences.

So while my muscles tightened and my internal energy frazzled my outer world, my unblinking eyes searched for a taste of calm. They found the dreamy icecream-coloured sunset sky of the front cover of Running Like China, and I felt immediately a little lighter.dipmyheartThis memoir of ‘a life interrupted by madness’ by the stunning Australian Sophie Hardcastle melted in to my bones. I read every word in two days. Opening the covers to her story is like Sophie welcoming you in to the coziest corners of her home with a warm embrace. She tells the immensely raw version of her experience with a mental illness with vivacious vulnerability, the reader cannot help but adore her golden soul. The scatter of my own senses felt whole when immersed in China’s world.

Running like china illustrates the importance of reflection, gratitude and humour as being high priorities to our personal journeys.

A beautiful reminder of the enormous value of the simple things like family, love, health and breathing. The whole book is an exploration of how truly feeling is such a gift, as Sophie lost so much time faded out of consciousness with a cocktail of medication. I realized that we with sensitive souls and psyches need not ‘toughen up’ to deal with the effect of the outer world on us, but welcome our empathetic traits as richly alive and human.

Brave and bold, I honour Sophie for creating more of a conversation about mental illness, especially in our young lives. I truly wish for more vulnerable truth in our society, and this book is just another step closer to liberation against taboo, the struggle, saving face and going it alone.

So reach out your hand to those that need a help up. Ask R U OK. Inappropriate jokes and radical humour is what gets us through the hardship, but let's take our mental health a little more seriously. Choose to uplift and inspire and share your deepest truths, for your pain-and-rise rollercoaster may be someones beacon of hope to keep going.

Be free in devouring darkness and dancing in the rain,

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