What is Liptember, you ask? Liptember is a campaign raising funds and awareness for women’s mental health during the month of September. To support the fundraising campaign you could either buy lipsticks from various chemists around Australia, or donate to people who had joined up for the cause. My ‘donation page’ is/was: https://www.liptember.com.au/karen-carlisle (I think you can still donate, if you wish).
Funds raised during Liptember are donated to the Centre of Women’s Mental Health, Lifeline, Batyr, RUOK?, The Jean Hailes Foundation and The Pretty Foundation.
Thanks to my supporters, I raised $80 for Liptember this year.
During September, I wore a different Liptember lipstick each day, and shared a little about my constant struggles with anxiety and PTSD.
On a bad day, it can be hard to face the outside world. As an author, I attend events (like Supanova in just a few weeks). I love chatting to people, but large crowds, shopping centres – even parties – are sources of anxiety. I am immensely uncomfortable in public. Before I do talks, my hands sweat, I shake, my heart races. But this is the life I have chosen. (and there are no life and death consequences)…
So, this project wasn’t just for Liptember. It was for me too.
Each photo took me out of my comfort zone. Selfies are personal, revealing. You know those dreams where you are standing naked in front of the class? That is how I felt each day. But I kept going. Because I’m tired of feeling anxious all the time, of the fear, the pain and the dread. It was a self-inflicted desensitisation therapy.
This week has been particularly hard. It’s been hard to get out of bed over the past month. Then I struggle to write. I’ve tried to concentrate on visuals and physio visits to help reduce pain (anxiety seems to focus as muscle, back pain and migraine). October-November always looms as the month I feel forced to do annual paperwork for my old job. There’s this constant feeling of doom and gloom and the world’s going to end type stuff.
For over six years (more like ten, really), I’ve tried to show a strong, to hide most of my struggles from the world. Who needs to read about that crap, right? And now look where it’s got me. Ongoing insurance battles are just making it all worse. Sucking any enthusiasm I struggle to muster. Just when I glimpse a possible light at the end of the tunnel, they drag me back into the darkness.
Liptember wriggled me out of the shell. Mental health needs to be talked about. It can be uncomfortable. It can be scary. But we can’t hide it any more. Too many of us are suffering in silence.
All I can say is thank God for my hubby, my writing, my art, my family and friends….
Lots of chocolate.