Matter of fact – I’ve got it now…

It’s been close to a year since I wrote my last blog… and I know I’ve mentioned my inconsistencies… but this is dead set taking the piss isn’t it!!?

So… here I am… on the eve of presenting to 300 students at a Youth Summit… I figured it was time to pull my finger out.

You see, the thought process was, if you googled me… the first thing that comes up in the search engine was, “Renee Gartner and her battle with depression”, that’s a pretty intimidating thing to pop up – it shouldn’t be in today’s society – but it is.

I didn’t want it to define me… I said it almost two years ago when I was fresh out of the fishbowl, that I wouldn’t let it define me. But I went on a date once… yeup, the old girl gave it a crack… and the bloke said, “oh yeah I looked you up, you tried to kill yourself or something??” (sidenote – the dickhead still showed up… but let’s just say I put the beer to bed and hit the frog and toad).

But people like this dickhead stopped me from writing, I didn’t want it to affect my work.. I didn’t want it to affect meeting people… I didn’t want it to be on google.

It has taken me this long to realise that’s why I bloody started talking about it in the first place – to have it on an open format, because that starts the conversation yeah?

My name is Renee Gartner, and I STILL have depression. It STILL affects me, day to day, week to week… and any kids reading this – look away now… hell it even affected me mid stride once! How’s that for timing!? My boyfriend at the time thought I just got swept away in the emotions of love… I was probably more upset I had to fake it… again… just kidding… kind of… but seriously – that is depression. It doesn’t wait for an invite as to when it is convenient to hit. (Just in case you weren’t clued on to the first article “When’s your next fight?”… “Everyday.” )

If so, I’d opt for when I was dead… yeah… let me live footloose and fancy free now and THEN – post last breath – do your best champ! Wouldn’t that be delightful!

Like I have said in previous blogs… (click here to catch up What is Brave? ) It’s not brave to have this conversation – the word brave is reserved to soldiers or survivors of exceptional circumstances. Not for someone with an illness.

It doesn’t just chose people in unfortunate circumstances, be it monetary, genetically, geographically, male or female… it just is!

I have super mates, some have come and gone along the way, but such is life. I have a belter family – we agree to disagree on many things but that’s what family does! But sometimes for no reason at all I just want the ground to swallow me up. There is emptiness behind my smiles, there are tears in the shadows, there are moments I can barely put my feet on the floor, and those when I slide down the inside of my bedroom door because I can’t bear to leave it. I’ve tried to drown myself in the bottom of the shower many a time… I think after the amount of investigation I have partaken in here, it’s fair to say it’s not possible. (I’m taking the piss with the whole drowning in shower here… but I do just mean I’ve sometimes found it stupidly hard to leave the floor and even more impossible to try and roll the shoulders over in an attempt to freestyle… can breastroke but… we’re still talking swimming yeah?)

((As you can see I’m still a bloody clown also… with the bad comes the good and with the good comes the bad.))

I have also had it hit me in the middle of a football field when I’m about to go live with a national audience… I always thought I concealed it well until I saw the below picture… haha whooopppsssss.

IMG_2023.JPG

Rude head and internal dialogue photographed by NRL Photographer Rob Cox

This is me arguing with myself that I just need to get through the next hour, please don’t fuck up, please don’t fuck up…. Please don’t … – Hi I’m Renee Gartner and welcome to… and so she goes and nobody knows… except you do now… but you also know that I am capable of getting along with the job – as I did this night and I as I have done so many other times!)

The best way to compare it in my train of thought, is back to the old VB advertising days of the ‘hard earned thirst’, “It can come at any time – you’re mending a plow – or chopping a bow – matter of fact…. I’ve got it now!” ((SEE BELOW))

Depression is like that hard earned thirst… (can you tell I like beer yet?)… it can happen any.bloody.time.

I guess where I am going with this blog tonight is that I need to take my head out of my ass, as do we all – let’s talk more. I’m starting with our youth tomorrow – I’m going to stand proudly in front of 300 teens and tell them my story in the hope it opens them up to the fact, ‘it is ok, to not be ok. (another old flashback BE OK WITH BEING YOU. )

We will meet dickheads in our life that don’t understand or make us uncomfortable in our own skin – but truth be told, they’re probably not comfortable in theirs either. So speak up, ask for help, offer a hand to those that don’t ask for help themselves… and if people find out your deep dark secret that you have an illness that has taken more lives than our roads… wear it as a bloody badge of honour that you could possibly be not just saving your own life – but your ripple effect could be saving others!

Safety in numbers ya mad shaggers!

Advertisements

New Year – New View

New year, New you?

Fuck that – new year, new view!!

That’s right – we’ve gone for another trip around the sun, that’s all – no biggy… just little ol us circling around that shiny thing in the sky.

Imma be honest here – I hate the new years festivus… we all slip into a panic of;

‘Shit, we have to catch up with everybody and we have to do it NOW!’

‘Sweet baby jesus  (wearing a tuxedo t-shirt, because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party)– these pants are tight – I must change that… but only on January 1.’

And so alllllllll of the resolutions and pressure cookers begin. WHY? I say FUCK IT! Do it when you are ready.

Catch up now! (now being your own interpretation… not like Veruka on Charlie and the Chocolate factory when she demands an Oompa Loompa)

image51

Eat well now! (but don’t freak out if you have a beer or indulge in some sort of insatiable craving)

i-regret-nothing-cat-eating-1.jpg

Don’t put off to tomorrow what can be done today.

I have developed new habits, and changes that I wanted to make… but I started when the thought entered my head – I didn’t say…no, I’ll make a list and just start it on the first day of the next year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be condescending (that’s when you talk down to people).

I told myself – training is back in full force – no more beers. Then the next day… I trained… and then cracked a beer.

I went to a wedding, I drove. I told my ill disciplined self, ‘this will mean I definitely won’t drink!’ then I wrote down in my diary, ‘Renee made a very funny joke today – and we laughed at it later on that night.’

I went back and got my car the next day.

You see… I’m learning not to be so damn hard on myself. You should try it.

Sure… maybe the silly season does make us all over indulge… in every. Single.way.possible! but fuck it!

Are you sensing my theme here??

Clearly, ‘swearing less’ wasn’t on my non-existent list of resolutions. But I digress.

If anything… this last year has taught me to;

Slow down.

Find balance.

 

It’s taught me to feel ok when I’m;

 

Happy.

Angry.

Sad.

Confused.

Impatient.

Depressed.

Lost.

Interpretive dancing.

 

I still haven’t mastered any of those things (except for interpretive dancing – I got that shit down pat)… but these are the odds and ends I am working towards.

As I am writing this I am also learning that my dog drops silent and deadlies better than any person I have ever met – including that phantom in a bar that makes your whole gang of mates start finger pointing whilst trying to remain conscious through the putrid gas pollution.

Again…. I digress… but how can something so small… never mind… play on.

I’ve always been jealous of my mates who had a vast array of books they had read, I was pumped if I got through someones facebook status without my mind going off on tangents.

My mind was like a a computer screen, with 30 or so tabs open – that I just click and cycle through… not really applying myself to the one thing at the one time. I was never truly present.

I’m still not – but that’s what I am trying to change at present. (no pun intended – but that was still pretty witty yeah?)

So I have started to reading… but I just read until the mind wanders and then I put the book down. I’ve managed half an hour at a time now.

Proof being… I was actually reading when I started to think – I want to write again… and here I am – now making YOU read – you’re welcome.

What book I hear you ask – yeup, I can read minds and you are one dirty son-of-a-bitch – I like you haha.

Anyways, the book is, ‘The Monk who sold his Ferrari.’

It’s a bit of a spiritual journey – but one part that resonated was this:

People that rise with a purpose, have one thing in common, they are driven by their priorities, but not in an unhealthy and obsessive way. It is more effortless and gentle than that, and given their enthusiasm and love for what they are doing in their lives, such people live in the moment. Their attention is fully and completely on the task at hand , therefor there are no energy leaks. These people are the most vibrant and vital individuals you will ever meet.

 Energy leaks; too many of us are consumed by needless and endless worry. This drains us of our natural vitality and energy. Have you ever seen the inner tube of a bicycle tyre?

When it is fully inflated, it can easily take it to your destination. But if there are leaks in it, the tube eventually deflates, and your journey comes to an abrupt end. This is also how the mind works. Worry causes precious mental energy and potential to leak, just like air leaking out of an inner tube. Soon, you have no energy left. All of your creativity, optimism and motivation has been drained, leaving you exhausted.

 My ‘inner tube’ is kind of half inflated – it has a SHIT load of leaks.

I quit my job 6 months ago… thinking that it was the equivalent of putting on a new tyre. I was wrong, it still has shit loads of leaks – but my epic circle of mates (friends and family) have been amazing at patch work. Helping me try and keep air in my tyre… showing me what it’s like to roll on when I can, and also letting me know it’s ok to just rest a while when I can’t.

I’m going to be honest – I’m still not entirely honest with my ups and downs – I’m the king of deflection. I know that most of us aren’t honest with our true states– but I am so dam grateful for the people around me that are helping make those hard conversations a little easier to have when I need them. I hope you are finding it easier too.

Remember, It ain’t weak to speak… reach out, listen, don’t judge – everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

LIVIN

Suicide Prevention Australia

LIFELINE AUSTRALIA 13 11 14

BE OK WITH BEING YOU.

So… consistent writing ain’t my fortay – but I figure you should only speak when you have something to say, not just to make noise and pollute the air. (not to say I don’t do this… just before those who know me start to pipe up).

I recently sat down and had a fairly candid chat with Journalist Jon Geddes, we spoke about boxing… and then depression.

MY TOUGHEST BATTLE YET (SEE THE ARTICLE HERE)

It’s funny – I keep thinking I will be comfortable speaking about it. But I’m not. I wasn’t.

The level of anxiety implodes, I fidget, squeezing the pressure point between my thumb and index finger. I lose my ability to make eye contact, I feel the gaze of pitty… of disbelief, “But I would never expect someone like YOU to have depression?!.”

But I do… and I figure someone has to start the bloody conversation and I’ve never been backwards in going forwards – so why should this be any different… so let’s Tango!

I woke up to messages of people having read my story – for some it was new ground. For others, it was a rehash of old ground.

I wanted the ground to eat me up.

People are going to think I’m contagious again.

People are going to give me ‘that’ stare again.

People are going to judge me.

“But I’ve never seen you depressed, and you have a great life (As seen on the hype reels of social media!)”

I mean let’s be honest – we don’t put the bad shit up do we? Unless there is some hilarity in it – I know I don’t.

I don’t put up pics when I look like & feel like, a truck has hit me and I’m in my doona fortress.

Nor when I’ve swallowed a sheep and I’m wearing a bikini.

We just don’t. But that doesn’t mean those days, moments aren’t there. Sometimes I am in the complete opposite mood to some of the stuff I do post – but I’m also trying to distract myself a little. Trying to take myself off to a daydream, give you a giggle and there-by gives me a giggle or smile!

I was at the hairdressers recently, and was doing the standard Instagram scroll.

Food shot… there’s meat it in *double tap

Mad out fit… *double tap

Insane holiday destination …. Slight day dream  – *double tap

Quote … pauses… “We all have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce”

BEYONCE

MIND.BLOWN

SHE has 24 hours!

I have 24 hours!

This is ground breaking.

Instantly in my head, I’ve donned a black leaotard – some Louboutin heels, big hoop earrings – and I am CUT-TING RUGS LIKE A BOSS!!!

giphy

During that moment – I realise…

I don’t quite have the same set of pipes… although you should hear me in the car!

I don’t have the same dance moves… although you should see me after a couple of beers… or wine… or vodka – or actually sober… I do both of these sober too.

So basically I’m nothing like Beyonce… the only similarity is we have 24 hours a day … and when I’m a bit pissy I am practically her… and also when I’m driving… I’m practically her.

(Please note: these are never done at the same time… unless I’m a passenger – then – YOU’RE WELCOME! *proceeds to start belting out ALLLLL THE SINGLE LADIES)

So I’m mid shimmy… when I realise the reality of the situation – I may well be an ambitious female, but I need not compare myself to a ballad belting – slightly hypermobile & erratic dancer. I am me – comparable to no one.

But we are all guilty of doing it daily.

To me, that has been a HUGE problem. Not that I sit there and compare myself and get depressed about not being Beyonce, although I wouldn’t be against it.

My problem is that, like many in our society who battle depression, I thought I wasn’t allowed to be depressed because of the age old saying – “there is always someone worse off.”

Too often I have heard, ‘you have a roof over your head, a bed to comfort you at night, friends and family that love you, a great job, and you’re always so happy!’

‘What’s there to be depressed about?!’

So you fight it even more – you go the extra round, you hide your wounds.

This does nothing but add to stigma.

This year has been the biggest battle with the stigma I have ever faced.

I’ve tried to fight it, hide it, been beaten by it and now I’m trying to break it, not just for the sake of it – but I don’t want to squeeze on the pressure point in between my index finger and thumb to take the pain away from speaking the truth.

I want comfort when you speak.

I want comfort when I speak.

I don’t want you to judge me for wearing a leotard and 6 inches in public and sounding like a screaming goat! J

So let’s all be a screaming goat wearing a leotard… I mean… I’ll be me and you be you.

Ignore everyone’s ‘hype reels’ on social media – you are you. Comparable to no one.

Remember, they too may have had a bad day, and that witty post, that epic throw back of them in a tropical destination, warm summer glow and banging body – might have been to cheer themselves up, that it may have been their form of escapism from a really shit day.

Too often we make the judgement of those pics, we find that ugly trait of jealously ooze over us. Maybe it’s your mind set that needs to change? Maybe you need to think – geez they deserve that holiday – I hope they’re having a ball! Or – wow – they look fantastic, good on them! Because you deserve the exact same in return.

Stop being arseholes to yourself and everyone else around you – even if it is just in your head!

Don what ever bloody coloured leotard your heart desires – and shake that booty like no-bodies business, be you -whatever form that comes in!

And most of all – be ok with it. Be ok with you.

Picture: Martin Lange. (Manly Daily)

WWW.LIVIN.ORG.AU

WWW.FTWREVOLUTION.COM

WWW.SUICIDEPREVENTIONAUST.ORG

If you, or
someone you are with,
is in immediate danger call 000.

Crisis and Counselling Telephone Lines

Lifeline:  13 11 14
crisis support chat 

Suicide Call Back Service:
1300 659 467
Online counselling

Men’s Line: 1300 78 99 78
Online counselling

Veterans Line: 1800 011 046

Qlife: 1800 184 527

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Visit the website for online counselling

Thank you.

To the silver lining in my storm cloud,

I have some VERY special people in my life – you know who you are – but more so… I know who you are!

You all played a huge part in the reason these words are finding their way to you.

Thank you.

I have never NOT been grateful for having you in my life, you’re the family I get to choose, and I choose you every single day, in the words of Allie to Noah, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird!”

I thank you for allowing me to see your eyes light up when you speak about something you love, for I lived off your passion for years – it was the closest I had to feeling.

I thank you for allowing me to hug you, in my creepy ways – even when you weren’t an affectionate person, for I lived off your warmth – for it was easier to love you than it was to love myself.

I thank you for telling me your stories of travel, of debauchery, of adventure, for I lived for your free spirits – for I wasn’t free.

I thank you for this times you ignored my requests to leave me alone, let me sleep in, give me space, because although we all need to love a little solitude, sometimes you need to be reminded that there is such a thing as too much. (not the case when the question is Chocolate)

I thank you for your kindness, for I didn’t know how to be kind to myself.

I thank you for the way you looked at me, although I was jealous – because I could never look at myself the same way.

I thank you for more calls than the continuous call team of 2GB, and for the text messages that I sometimes couldn’t respond to – because sometimes I didn’t want to lie, fake… or have the courage to face the disappointment.

Through every moment, journey, and adventure – you are the ones I want to thank. For the unconditional love and light you do bring to my life. Trust me when I say I adore you and the world is a better place for having each and every one of you in it!

Thank you for being my silver lining!

Much love ya mad shaggers!

Garts, RG, Ren, Renee, Missy, Sis…. Call me anything but late for dinner!

#ItAintWeakToSpeak

http://www.livin.org.au

What is Brave?

In the words of Ron Burgandy, “That escalated quickly!”ron

To be completely candid – I was shitting myself when I hit ‘publish’ almost a week ago today.

I still feel like the elephant in the room, that so many are unsure what to say, how to act – and hell…. Neither do I?

hands

Ricky Bobby … and his hands.

I start resembling Ricky Boby from Talladega Nights when he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. (see pic)

I almost feel like mixing it up and going all Jerry Maguire to break the ice… you know… when he grabs his gold fish and starts screaming – “What do you think I’m gonna do – JUST FLIP OUT!”

(By now you’re realising I make up majority of my conversations in movie quotes – you’re welcome)

But you know what, if I had the choice to do it again – I would.

Ten times over.

Because since that day, I have been privileged to be on the end of a plethora of conversations. From friends who have put their hand up and sought help, to others who have shared the story with their networks and now have a friend that is still with us – tell me that that’s not proof that this is a conversation that needs to happen more regularly!

A key word that has consistently been verbalised throughout this cathartic process is the word ‘Brave’.

What does it mean to be brave? Shouldn’t that be reserved for a combatant of war? The Mick Fanning’s and Julian Wilson’s of the world?

I’ve punched things… but no sharks!

Would you say it was ‘brave’ to say you have cancer?

To tell people you have broken your ankle while skateboarding (because I have done that too!) – I’d say ‘no’ to both of these questions… mainly because I felt like a dickhead when I said I fell off my skateboard and broke my ankle).

It’s heartbreaking to think that we have to be ‘brave’ to ask for help. That I was – again to be candid, shitting myself, to hit that publish button, and be brave!

That even a month before that, that I thought I wasn’t brave enough.

I refer to a charity two of my close friends have started, LIVIN – their motto? “It aint weak to speak”. I’ll go further and admit I have promoted this sentiment, and it mirrors everything I started this blog with – but there I was using it to shield my own fear of feeling just that…too weak to speak.

Yes, here I am speaking… but I’m doing it with sweaty palms, knees are knocking, fear of judgement still clouds my thoughts, but what I am learning is, I have depression – but it doesn’t define me.

I didn’t realise this until I was 13 days into my new life. It doesn’t define anyone anymore than a broken limb, cancer, the flu… being uncoordinated on a skateboard.

The definition of the name ‘Renee’ is reborn, and that is what a close friend told me in the emergency ward – that I had to consider this moment, as being reborn – fresh start.

Much to the disappointment of this good friend, I didn’t need to create the full newborn experience of wetting the bed and vomiting over an adults shoulder.

That’s probably been the most comforting part about my experience, is that I am surrounded by mates that all just take the piss out of each other yet they are rock solid by your side.

A confronting thought for you to process is that I was mortified I had survived, months and months of agonisingly planning… except for anything beyond THAT point – and my mates made me laugh about it!

I had put them through one of the most helpless, desperate and terrifying situations you could imagine, and there were my mates – one had rocked up with a strategically placed bottle of wine (accidently) ((she was the nurses favourite)) (((She had also driven straight from the Hunter Valley after a call was made))), the other was laughing and telling me I needed to wet the bed to make the full transition or I wasn’t doing it right, and my mum was pointing out any good looking nurses and doctors for me to work my magic on.

Let’s play that one out in our heads for a moment…

“Oh hey! Do you come here often?”

“Me… well I like Pina-coladas, long walks on the beach… I tried to kill myself tonight and I’m going to give wetting the bed a good nudge a little later on – do you wanna swipe right and we can see where the night takes us?” (That’s a joke about tinder for those playing along at home) ((I also don’t have tinder)).

Who said technology had killed conversation!

God, I felt like a failure.

I broke from my tears (imagine Gweneth Paltrow wearing that pink dress as she accepted the Oscar) and I started laughing at my mates, “I’m that shit – I couldn’t even do this right!!” I’d said.

I just wanted to get out – pretend like nothing had happened – no-one would know and we would all just move forward… I had to get back to work. I didn’t want people to know, or come up with their own interpretation of events.

Why?? Because I was embarrassed.

Why was I embarrassed? Because I felt like a failure.

Returning to work wasn’t an option – and so the sabbatical began, off I flew to Bali to turn myself into a human pretzel and try to calm the mind with meditation.

My first attempt at meditation involved counting my breaths from 1 to 7, then 1 to 14, then 1 to 21, As soon as you lose count (yes this happens), or your thoughts wander off from counting… and or breathing (again – yes this happens), then you have to start at the beginning again.

I reached 18 ONCE in 20 minutes – killing it.

My meditation went a little something like this.

1 – 2 – IS THAT A ROOSTER??!! SHIT – start again.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – I declare a thumb war – SHIT!!

I continued to get weird for the remaining 20 minutes, I solved the problems of the world, discovered I resemble a 7 year old primary school student who can’t sit still in assembly, and I had some work to do… I also had to work out how to untangle my limbs.

My journey isn’t for everyone, but the sentiment is one that we can all benefit from – It aint weak to speak, and I will do everything I can to make the steps to get help easier… I will do everything I can to make everyone, Brave.

“When’s your next fight?”… “Everyday.”

Why am I fighting everyday? Because my name is Renee Gartner and I have depression.

Those words were harder to type than I thought they would be… and I thought I was actually a lot longer off saying them – but today, after my first day back at work in over a month – I felt it had to be done.

Why? Because I feel like I am just burying what I have buried for years and I don’t want to end up on another ‘holiday’ again.

It was the constant questions of “How was your holiday?” that started my ball rolling. I could have answered with white lies and not many would be non the wiser… but neither would I.

I hope that this will not only help in my healing, but possibly have the flow on to help you – or someone that may be close to you also, for it’s safety in numbers in my eyes.

This initial blog may surprise many, anger few, upset others and provide solace for some… but I hope you respect all of my decisions just the same, and for many I still consider close – I’m sorry if this is the way you have learned of my actions and illness,,, but I have found it exceptionally hard to voice.

Why am I fighting everyday? Because my name is Renee Gartner and I have depression. Those words were harder to type than I thought they would be... and I thought I was actually a lot longer off saying them - but today, after my first day back at work in over a month - I felt it had to be done. Why? Because I feel like I am just burying what I have buried for years and I don't want to end up on another 'holiday' again. It was the constant questions of "How was your holiday?" that started my ball rolling. I could have answered with white lies and not many would be non the wiser... but neither would I. I hope that this will not only help in my healing, but possibly have the flow on to help you - or someone that may be close to you also, for it's safety in numbers in my eyes. This initial blog may suprise many, anger few, upset others and provide solice for some.

.

“Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.”

 

I didn’t JUST go to Bali…

On June 21, for the first time ever – I threw the towel in on the fight for my life… I was clearly shit at quitting… so I wrote the below from an involuntary stay in a psyche ward almost a week later.

‘This is my Last night from my involuntary stay – and it has served it’s purpose.

My repetitively cluttered and loud mind – which normally races at speeds that make Usain Bolt look like he has turned into Jane Saville (That’s an Australian power walker who was disqualified for running in the Olympics…in-case there are any kids playing along at home).

I digress – the last two days in particular the volume has turned down… a certain calmness has set in – is this what ‘normal’ feels like?

Mind you… normal is not walking into a room and having to hand over your chucks – because of the shoe laces, tracksuit pants & hoodies – because of the draw strings… who knew my wardrobe was so dangerous!

I don’t remember coming in the ward to be honest… but I do remember when I finally came out of my room… Silver Lining Playbooks was the movie on the TV – ohhhhhhhh the irony! I kinda felt like Angelina Jolie in ‘Girl Interrupted’… but not as hot… and well – nothing like her… but I was now in a fish bowl. My friends pretty much got a frisking when they entered the the doors of Narnia.

I called the doors Narnia… because I felt like I had no idea what was beyond those doors – but that’s where my family and friends came through. I had no idea where I was… I had to ‘drop a pin’ on google maps when I was in the emergency ward that first night.

My week in here has been a huge mix of emotions. First i was angry that I had been stopped, then embarrassed for what I had done, I STILL feel like I have let so many people down. I’m sorry…. I’m so, so, sorry!

But I deserved to be here – as confronting as it is… it was the first time I shut off EVERYTHING. No external chatter / pressures / distractions. I deserve here because I decided to take my own life.

Funny saying that, ‘own life’. It is our ‘own’ life – until we decide to take it, then you find it is far from that, for every loved one, as well as those you have yet to meet, all have ‘stock’ in your life – and they sure as shit don’t agree that it’s yours to take! Believe me! My friends and loved ones have a firm grip and I love them for it!

On Sunday at 5 pm, I took a handful of pills and I swallowed them – I had been staring at them for hours… I had been planning this for months – but I was caught.

I was crying uncontrollably, not because I was scared – but because I I wasnt going to be there to make my loved ones stop hurting – I was going to be the cause of it, and that broke me… but it was also the reason I had held off for so so long… I felt guilty.

I’ll spare the details for now… but I had spoken to a friend that day, one that I wanted to go and see that very morning because I knew how much he was also struggling, I couldn’t leave my room but. I had barely left it for two days. I was the lowest of low – it was like someone had told me everyone I loved had died… that was the depth of my darkness.

I thought chatting to this friend, that I was safe because he was physically unable to get to me… I was wrong – alarm bells were ringing louder than Big Ben (there is some irony in this analogy) and a domino effect from some very instinctive people led to my flatmate bursting into my room at the exact moment… and here I am.

I was ANGRY – I just wanted to go to sleep… I’d written countless letters. I’d written individual letters, family letters… but they broke me EVERY time. I always felt like those words would never be enough – you would never understand… you would never stop hurting… you just wouldn’t understand.

I’d spent months, ‘saying goodbye’. I campaigned on seeing as many people as I could in those last months, I hugged a little longer (even more so than my creeeepppy hugs – you know them), I asked you about everything you loved and I watched your eyes light up, I told you I loved you – more than usual. I laughed more… I tried to make you laugh more – but I didn’t feel a thing.

That was my constant frustration – I couldn’t remember the last time I felt – happy! truly – happy. 

I know I have people that love me, I know I just had to reach out to them, but it wasn’t that… it was that they couldn’t fix me internally.

I tried medication – it made me sick… like vomiting all day sick.

Boxing was my life saver a few years ago… but now I couldn’t even look at my gloves. I grew more and more depressed every time someone asked when I was fighting next – because I already was… I was fighting everyday.

I had put it off for long enough, I just wanted to go to sleep.

Again, I am sorry… I am sorry you are reading this – I’m sorry if you feel anguish, anger, resentment, or any other judgement for that matter.’

Here I am almost a month later, I speak to a psychiatrist once a week, I am medicated, I am smiling, I feel – I am a better version of myself.

Thank you for those that have been through this by my side, the whole way.

Those who have known the truth, protected me, not judged me and have just held my hand through this whole scary process.

I’m not 100% yet – I am a work in progress, we all are… but we are all just so damn hard on ourselves.

Safety in numbers I say, I will fight this – and I will get my first TKO!

I hope to use this blog to share my VERY personal journey, in the interest of starting a very hard conversation and turning it an easy one.

I am now learning to ask for help, I am learning to say, “I’m struggling.”

It’s getting easier – it can for you too! whether it be speaking to a friend who you know is struggling, or if it is you!

I have advocated enough through my own charity work – to start the conversations, but it is not until now, I have started them myself.

L I V I N – IT AINT WEAK TO SPEAK 

FTW

SUICIDE PREVENTION AUSTRALIA

BEYOND BLUE

Bambi on ice…stuck in a skirt, being an angry ant.

Have you ever seen the movie Bambi? (anyone born post 1990… Google it or ask Siri) anyone who just nodded in agreeance, let me take you to the scene where she hits the ice with the rabbit (here’s the link for those playing along at home https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSh1eLrxiqs Skip to about 1:35…) NOW – add the following reactions:

  • Walking through a spider web
  • A Dutch windmill caught in a hurricane
  • A ninja fighting an invisible ninja
  • And an angry ant

How’s that for conjuring up the weirdest boxing you’ve ever seen?!

You see, many people envision boxers for aggressive people – it’s quite the opposite.

Now don’t get me wrong. I can get ragey in a “someone stole my baseball” kind of way… but I can proudly say I’ve never been in a fight outside of the ring, and I’d rather my “wit” (or lack thereof) talk my way out of any escalated situations… however, I’ll let you in on some back story;

I lost a close friend of mine recently, way too young, way too soon… beyond explanation. I’ve been hurt and angry – so much so I couldn’t box… I couldn’t train. I couldn’t have fought my way out of a wet paper bag.

It took me almost 2 weeks to throw a punch, and I had to do it without any rage in my body, otherwise I would have swung and missed and given myself an uppercut (I’m not going to lie… this has actually happened… I’ll let you envision that for a while)

Anywhoooooo, my point being – when you go in like an angry ant you’ll be lucky to land a single right hand on a New York Time Square Billboard!

So tonight… I was back in stage 5 or 6 of the mourning process, let’s call it “Angry Ant”, and it’s not obvious to those around me, I’m just dealing with my internal voice of ‘Renee #7’, and she is a bitch… she’ll look at a chick eating a cracker, and be all like, “Look at that bitch eating a cracker…” and then realise she’s just caught her own reflection in a window… eating a cracker.

So tonight – I thought, what a great way to release some tension – NOPE!!! Let’s revisit:

  • Bambi on ice
  • Walking through a spider web
  • A Dutch windmill caught in a hurricane
  • A ninja fighting an invisible ninja
  • And an angry ant

You see… we aren’t all perfect… athletes don’t always get it right. I don’t always get it right. Bambi on ice doesn’t always get it right… but we persist.

And the word persist brings me to a completely ‘non-sport’ but relevant story of what also contributed to my ‘angry ant’ stage… but also made me laugh immensely. I figure my place in this world – is often more than not – to make you feel better about life… because I can be that much of a battler sometimes, it’s sure to make you laugh – here’s a fine example:

(I have added a video for your viewing pleasure but lemme give you the run down (I’ve rightfully given it the hashtag of #zippergate):

#zippergate

#zippergate

Details not disclosed in video diary include but not limited to:

  • I tried on clothes…
  • The zipper was faulty…
  • I couldn’t undo it and remove my skirt…
  • I went to bed after burning at least 2000 calories trying to remove it…
  • Flatmate came home…
  • I jumped out of bed thinking Hamish (Bec… the devil reincarnated… remember I mentioned her last time) would release me from my Aldi Chastity belt (like a regular chastity belt but due to the fact it could ultimately be hoisted-it’s cheapened) …
  • She then burnt 2000 calories trying to help me…
  • Decided to think of it as more of a sleeping bag for my thighs…
  • Hadn’t worn it yet so after legitimately showering my legs and top half separately, including washing my hair in the bathroom sink… (side note: I was fresh out of the shower when I decided to try said ‘thigh sleeping bag’)
  • I wore it to work….
  • Post work I went to training and had to propose the “heyHakan Saglam (Haks is one of my boxing coaches… He
  • often finds my ‘huphoto 1mor’ a little too much, see his response on your right) can you get me out of my skirt”…
  • He thought I was being creepy…
  • This just entertained the boxing class…
  • SIDENOTE: Ladies let’s not judge Harks on his inability to get me out of a skirt…
  • That shit was jammed! ….
  • Then there were scissors.
  • THE END.

Again…. You’re welcome!

Warm ReGarts,

photo 2

RG

P.S

You may have heard me mention the words, “Mr Crackles” during the #zippergate vid… it is basically a food-gasim. an orgasim of the food kind-If you like pork belly… it’s off the hook and usually only reserved for ‘Post-fight’ tucker because it is INSANELY over my calorie intake… and my arteries clott at the mere thought… but they also say, “well I died doing what I love”.) If you check out my insta… it will give you a small glance… I’m still new to this biz.. and embedding instgram vids hasn’t quite hit my tool belt yet – so go check out @renee_gartner. ( http://instagram.com/renee_gartner/ )

 

Saunas, Vaseline & Polaroid pictures… the scene is set!

Forgive me father who’s name is “Gym”

It’s been a while, and that’s a sin…

Orrrrrrrr alternatively… we could all accept the fact I was injured and saw a window to rehabilitate my wrist with a strict ‘resistance’ regime… raising schooners of beer to my mouth… we all good? YUP! PLAY ON!

You see, my name is Renee Gartner and almost 3 months to the day I was covered in vaseline and sitting in sauna, and no I wasn’t playing an extra in the upcoming ‘50 Shades Of Grey’… or making any home movies. I was in fact putting my body under immense stress to ‘cut weight’, as they say in the boxing realm.

I’d had a bit of a horror run with the immune system and a wee little injury and battled a little bit hitting the magical 69 on the scales (get your mind out of the gutter people…there’s only room for one of us in here!).

So… for amateur boxing  – we have to weigh-in within hours of our fight… in this case it was only 3 hours before we touched gloves and swung like windmills caught in a hurricane.

Pretty much what I looked like on the scales... exhausted. (also me weighing in at 2 yrs old - I haven't changed a bit)

Pretty much what I looked like on the scales… exhausted.
(also me weighing in at 2 yrs old – I haven’t changed a bit)

In order to make weight… YUP… I vassed up, sat in a sauna… chewed gum and spat in a cup… why am I single? NO IDEA – let’s move on!

This is me... covered in Vas... in a garbage bag and two spray jackets... spitting in to a cup - in a sauna! oh the glamour!

This is me… covered in Vas… in a garbage bag and two spray jackets… spitting in to a cup – in a sauna!
oh the glamour!

Now… with 2 minutes to spare – my skeletal system (I was soulless for this part of the journey) was dragged onto the scales wearing only my birthday suit – that’s right ladies and gents…. Not a stitch of clothing was going to weigh me down and out of this fight… it was truly a unique experience and one I will never forget.

We fast forward… the fight was had… the fight was lost… but it was the best bloody fight I’ve ever had so I’m extremely comfortable with that. Post-fight, that wee little injury I spoke to you about briefly… well it was my right wrist and I now had the shakes that would have made Outkast proud – had I had a Polaroid picture in my hand at the time – I didn’t.

This is the part you may find amusing… even though I lost I got the little tap on the shoulder from ASADA for a random drug test.  The poor bird who got me was regretting it for the next 2-and-a-half hours.

Did I mention I had been in a sauna all morning…and the days before… I had ingested about 2 ice cubes… I was dryer than the Sahara desert AND I had the shakes.

Now to really glam up the situation – when you go do your business, the ENTIRE process has to be visible… hand… cup… the stream… Now imagine Muhammad Ali trying to pour you a beer and the keg all but empty – THIS WAS ME! The horror on my ASADA ladies face was not too dissimilar to the face I have when I almost fall over in the shower and the thought passes through my mind – “I’m going to die here and they are going to find me naked!”  It was desperation AND fear!

No beers allowed on the AIS Campus, so I had to make my coach Nudge, come to the Raiders v Eels game so we could have a beer post fight!

Anywhoooooooo – 2 and a half hours later, ASADA and I parted ways and I was heading like a bull to a red flag to my first beer and steak… small hiccup… I took a cheeky blow to the jaw and the mere thought of opening my mouth and then masticating was so far beyond my reach…SO –  there is a steak in every beer!

Now, that kind of gives you the foundation to my 3 month hiatus. The wrist injury proved to be a royal pain in the ass… but not my ass… more my wrist… but you know #STRAYA. Add to that – I’d taken myself mentally to some of the darkest places I have been. My usually chipper inside voices had sucked back a few too many bitter pills and really gave it to me in those last few hours.

To put it in short (which as you may have noticed – is not really my thing) I’d burnt myself out, physically and mentally.

This fight, and the several others I had that year – had all been strung together with minimal prep and huge stressors! I’d had glandular fever and a string of injuries but I had made the NSW team for boxing and held my own on the Australian stage. My development was not limited to just boxing – I had grown and learned so much.

But post this last fight – I had finally learned to listen to my body and in the words of Vanilla Ice, I stopped… collaborated and listened!

Meet Bec, the devil reincarnated. (Otherwise known as Hamish)

Meet Bec, the devil reincarnated. (I refer to Bec as Hamish… you’ll see along the way) ((I also may or may not have drawn on this picture to create full affect )

Admittedly, I tinkered with training along the way with my flatty Bec (aka Hamish) – she is the devil reincarnated just quietly – you will learn more about her along the way (I have a couple of these people in my life). But I wasn’t really there. I avoided the boxing gym like the plague because I’d been told I wasn’t allowed to hit…and I’m like a 2 yr old toddler placed in the lolly aisle at Coles when your mum has said no, ‘JUST ONNNNEEEEEEEEE??!!’.

NOW though…. GUESS WHO’S BACK!!?? (Hint: it’s neither Slim Shady or the Terminator)

Now when I say ‘I’m Back’…. It’s loosely put, I’m not sure if even Elmo would  smirk let alone giggle at the way I have been putting them in the bag –  but my mojo is back. My drive. My determination. My want. My will.

gold

NSW Women’s Elite Welterweight 2014

My next Beer dangling in front of me,(way more appealing than a carrot) is defending my NSW Welterweight Title in February. This will mean a VERY quiet Christmas, New Years and my birthday… but this time I want to do it differently. No more INSANE SOUL -DESTROYING weight cuts, but I’m not going to ignore life either. I’m devising a plan – and I guarantee you, come Feb – I will be a lean mean fighting machine who can still enjoy a beer and an occasional sleep in!

Strap yourselves in for this weird little verbatim of my adventures… I hope it gives a different spin on what is considered the ‘normal’ athlete… and you enjoy my left-of-field injections to life!

Warm ReGarts, (see what I did there)

RG

no-time-to-explain-just-get-in

It begins here…

Hi My name is Renee Gartner, you may remember me from such films as… umm.. ok – I’m not in any films but I can’t say that line without quoting Troy McClure from the Simpsons – so I’m glad we got that part out of the way!

Who am I really? I’m a 30 year old, Australian lass who works in the realms of media and Rugby League and I thought at the tender age of 28 – it would be a great time to take up amateur boxing because, why not?

My view on the world is always a little left-of-field, I figure the glass is neither half-empty nor half-full, it’s just half way to another drink. (most cases this is beer)

So, join me in exploring the worlds of sport, the trials and tribulations of training to swing like a Dutch windmill in a hurricane, and trying to squeeze ice cold beers into the ‘Primal’ way of eating…there’s a steak in every beer right? OK – PLAY ON!