Evolve or Remain
I needed to step away, I needed to hear the truth, I needed a kick up the bum and to stop and take a deep breath. This life of advocacy and vulnerability is one that resembles a whirlwind and I got caught up thinking I could walk through it and out the other side unscathed.
Mindfull Aus began with a Facebook, January 7th of 2016. By September of 2016 that Facebook group I started to just share some thoughts and feelings, some passion and story tell had due to overwhelming demand and interest become an Australian Registered Non Profit Charitable organisation. Its been amazing, its been crazy and I am very proud of everything we have achieved to date and the exciting services, programs and events I have ready to roll out in the near future, its given me purpose and brought me lots of joy. To think that in such short time, I had spoken to tens of thousands of people in 3 different countries, hosted some of Australia's biggest events, been continual support for thousands struggling in 8 different countries around the world and developed initiatives and campaigns that will bring a beautiful everlasting change I truly am blessed and grateful to live this life of purpose, to be able to not only find my passion so young but to turn some of my most horrific circumstances into somebody else's brightest of lights.
Often telling people that I have a fair idea where I would be if it wasn't for Mindfull, the truth is it was Mindfull that had taken me back to the darkest, most exhausting and debilitating feelings and thoughts that led to several attempts on my life from 2012 to 2015 and as we now approach our 12 month existence in the industry, I finally got the smack on the ass I needed. I was not Superman and I will never be.
I had taken on more than I could handle, I had become so enriched and caught up in helping people, bringing change and trying to make the biggest impact I could that I had forgotten about why I began this journey and thats to ensure nobody had to suffer in silence, that we could bring acceptance, hope and a courage to speak up and share our emotions with those that care and get the education, tips and techniques that would help people live a fulfilling, enjoyable and healthy life . I was no longer Matt Runnalls, the 26 year old ratbag and mate, I was just Matt from Mindfull Aus. The ability to spend time with mates, get out of the house, laugh and socialise had all but dissapeared and everything that once brought me joy, had all become burdens and places where I felt the most numb, I was consumed by my life of advocacy.
I felt as if I had to keep up this facade, that I was somewhat invincible and strong for all those that have found wellness in Mindfull Aus, for all the amazing people who look to me for support, but what they really need to see is me leading by example, acknowledging the struggle, accepting the good the bad and the ugly of living with mind challenges but practicing the Art of Wellness, because it is exactly that, staying well is an Art form.
I was presented with a choice, evolve or remain. If I chose to remain unchanged, stuck in the same unhealthy space, the same bad routine, the same dark storm and situations, no one would benefit from Mindfull Aus and those that once supported me would be forced away. The lack of stability, negativity and numbness wasn't attractive or healthy for anyone to be around. Until you accept your position, love yourself enough to say "no more" , until you choose change and find something within to want to evolve, your mind will control you.
As Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington said prior to losing his fight with mental illness, "I find myself getting into these patterns of behavior and thought -- especially when I'm stuck up here [in my head], this skull between my ears, this is like a bad neighborhood, and I should not be in their alone.. this is that conscious awareness that like when you can step back and look at something you are elevating yourself consciously, you are enlightened at that point to a certain degree. So this is that moment of enlightenment for me, you know I could do something about this and by doing that I could move forward and get un stuck from this and for me I could be able to live on life's terms"
Lucky for me, that came in the way of stern, confronting conversations with the people that have continuously stood by me. My amazing parents, my brother, my directors of Mindfull Aus but also my incredible mentors and partnering advocates in Joe Williams, Ben Higgs, Sammy Webb & Pat Lawson. I didn't need pats on the back and empathy or to be pushed into clinical help and therapy, I needed to hear what I necessarily didn't want to hear. From that, I have chose to evolve, connecting back with the strength I know I have within, back to exploring the unknown parts of myself, prioritising and making strategic moves to step back and away from Mindfull Aus, getting out of the comfort zone and feeling alive again. I have everything I need and I always had, just as you all do. I just had to recognise that.
I had put unrealistic goals and targets on myself that caused alarming weight fluctuation, that made me look unwell, which brought on self doubt, anxiety and isolation as I didn't want to be seen. I truly believed that making this my full time work would remove the frequency of bad days and how stupid was I to think that. Without continual determination and honest efforts, I will find myself exhausted by the bad place in my head.
As of last week, I felt a massive shift in myself, a reflection of gratitude, recognising that I should be more patient, that I should focus more on what I can control and less about what the outsiders, haters and doubters think. I know my worth and value and I'm far better than the shit that gets said. My focus is back and with that will come the best version of Matt Runnalls.
I started this to change one person's life, I'm not farfetched in saying that its had a far greater impact than that and thats what I have to continue to ground myself with. Realising that Mindfull is exactly where it needs to be and having confidence in our work and that everything planned will eventuate and come to fruition, because we have an amazing team of passionate, like minded, caring, and motivated individuals.
Transformation isn't pretty and bright, its hard work, it can be dark and painful, but while you maintain your honesty of your self and practice facing your own individual demons it can also be one of the most uplifting experiences and thats where I'm at. Im more motivated and driven in just one week of self care and prioritising that I am now, more equipped to have a beneficial and empowering impact on individuals, but most importantly to get back to enjoying life again.
Living with bipolar means I don't know who will wake up tomorrow and make the decisions, it could be the energetic, cocky, loud, bubbly, fun and annoying manic Matt or it could be the quiet, reserved, low self esteem version and thats okay, because I accept that and those who matter to me do too.
There are only two days in the year that I can't do anything about, thats yesterday and tomorrow. Today is in my hands and I'm choosing to evolve, believe, thrive & strive. Im in this with all my heart, the best is yet to come.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, given me the time and effort and to the people I mentioned before, you epitomise what I believe mates should represent and I'm very grateful and lucky to be surrounded by that.
Stay mindful of those with a Mindfull !!