Chapter Previews

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 7: “Listen & Have Compassion"

INTRODUCTION

Stressed? Stress is necessary for normal function of the body. A signal of stress at a cellular level triggers a chain reaction for the body to find its homeostatic balance again. The body has an incredible ability to bring itself back to balance. So much so we don’t think about it, it happens every day.

We only begin to notice when we start to feel uncomfortable. If we are uncomfortable, or stressed, for too long, we often become dis-eased. That’s how we can progress from stress to depression, which is an illness or dis-ease.

The aim of this book is to Overcome Stress Naturally before the downward cycle of depression begins.
What are the signs of stress? We each have our own level of tolerance. What is “stressful” for one is not “stressful” for another, on a physical, emotional and mental level.

The key is to get to the heart of the matter for you. This book is the ABC of Overcoming Stress Naturally.
Firstly Accept the situation and Acknowledge you are “stressed”. Now Breath, stop still for a moment and take a Deep Breath. Oxygen is vital at a cellular level and it also helps us to relax and calm down. Then Change your Attitude, Change your Response, Change your Thoughts, Change Something!

Stress is a signal that it’s time to change something. It is your task is to restore balance on all levels.
Take control of your mental and emotional wellbeing. Step by Step it can be done, naturally.
The human body is an incredible creation and we can heal ourselves naturally when we know how.
It is my intention that the information and resources in this book help you to understand the choices you have and where you can go for help to find your personal unique journey to inner balance and peace, naturally.
Live your life that is true to you with love in your heart for yourself and for all those around you.

“Without Inner Peace, How can we Make Real Peace.” The Dalai Lama.

Chapter 7:   “Listen & Have Compassion”
Brian Egan. Aussie Helpers for Outback Farmers

“Be Kind Whenever Possible.
It is always possible.”
 
Dalai Lama

HIGHLIGHTS FROM CH. 7

Brian can you give us your background and your journey down the road of depression?
Well Trace, I think mine was an unusual sort of case, because it wasn’t just stress or depression. I was actually suffering from post-traumatic stress, from war-related problems.
It was a combination of that, and losing our farm, which brought on a severe depression, and my whole life just seemed to be taken over by a thing I called the beast. This thing did just take over my thinking. That was quite an incredible sort of thing because I’d find myself having a panic, just sitting there crying. And I didn’t know what was going on, or couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t make decisions, I couldn’t.
I got to the stage where, you know, I couldn’t even speak; I couldn’t talk to people. By that, I mean I couldn’t form words in my mind to get them out of my head; I think the doctors called it catatonic.

Combined with that I lost the ability to write. I can only write about one sentence at a time, and then my writing just goes berserk, as if some sort of entity has taken over my thinking and just squiggles away, so I use computers most of the time these days.

It was a horrible journey, and it lasted for about three years. I thank Veteran’s Affairs for looking after me during that time, because otherwise, you know, I wouldn’t be here today.

So as much as you were aware what was going on, there wasn’t a way you could take control of the situation?
No, I started off with a G.P. like everybody else does. And, you know, you get your handout of Zoloft, or whatever it is, and they say it’ll fix you up in six weeks, and off you go…and you still don’t know what’s wrong with you. You’ve got this thing controlling your mind, and you’re taking these things, these anti-depressants. God knows what the difference is from anti-depressants and other psychotic sort of drugs, there must have been over twenty of them and all I got was severe side effects, shaking, sweating and hallucinations and stuff like that, which made life pretty well unbearable.

I really think that those sorts of things were probably the trigger to me trying to commit suicide twice. By then I’d just given up complete hope, and I couldn’t see any future at all. I just called myself a gibbering idiot. That’s what I was.

That’s a long time, three years, Brian.
I was in hospital for over a year even The Head of Psychiatry at Greenslopes Hospital, said something when they did Australian Story I was in. He said that they’d just given up on me; they didn’t have much hope for me at all. But somehow, I’ve sort come out of it.

I think there was a lot of help from another psychologist—who was actually a priest in another life. He’d fallen in love, and got married, and had kids, and so had become a psychologist.

He said to me one day: “Brian, your mind is that strong, I don’t think drugs are ever going to fix your problem. I recommend that you go out and find somebody worse off than you are, and help them.”

I just laughed at him. I said, “I’ve just walked off my farm. I’ve got absolutely nothing.” I was fifty-five, or fifty-six, so I said, “I haven’t got two bob to rub together. I haven’t even got a house. I’ve got nothing.”  And he said, “Well, you’ll find someone.”

I was thinking of his previous life in the church, I think that he believed in miracles. He tragically got killed not long after that in an accident. But two years later I started up Aussie Helpers. I said “His miracle did come true.”

Would you say that was a turning point for you?
That was a turning point for me, yeah. He sort of really pushed me into doing something. When I left Greenslopes Hospital, they gave me a letter to take around to different charity organizations that said, ‘Can you give this man some volunteer work because he’s just out of hospital etc, and he needs to face life in the community’ because I wouldn’t talk to anyone.

I started off just mowing lawns for people in this little country community. I used to do it for nothing, just to do something and because it was physical. These people would then talk to me, and I’d obviously answer them back, so I was communicating. That started it.

Then I went and volunteered for the Salvation Army. I did that for a year or so, but I just felt that they were a little bit judgmental and a little bit narrow-minded with people. I went home one day to Nerida (my wife) and said, “Bugger this; I’m going to start my own charity.” I still wasn’t real flash then, but I just had this drive to get out and do something.

I suppose there’s been a bit of luck involved. But there’s also been a passion to help other people too.

Tell us a bit about your charity -  Aussie Helpers.
Aussie Helpers was a success that was born out of adversity. It was just a dream, a vision. Going back to that psychologist saying to go out and help somebody worse off than you. I thought, jeez, there’s plenty of farmers that could do with a hand up, I can tell you. And that’s how it started.
We never had any money. The whole organization started off with twenty dollars. We took food out of our own kitchen to make into a raffle, and the twenty dollars was used to buy raffle books. We started doing raffles in the pub. And that’s how it kicked off.

Last financial year we received over a million dollars in donations from all over the place.

It starts with one little step.
It does. And we’ve got six vehicles on the road, and now and a couple of buildings; we don’t have any debt. Because it’s been so successful I think a lot of business and ordinary people get behind it because they can see that we’re just practical people, and we are actually doing what we say we do.

What do you actually do when you go out into the bush?

(Read more in the book ...)

The secret is just to sit down and listen to people.

You don’t have to be a highly educated person with fifteen degrees after your name to be able to counsel someone, because ninety-nine percent of it’s just listening.

Have a lot of compassion, or a bit of compassion for people.

Give people a hug that’s what they need.

We are not out to save the world, I can tell you that, Tracey. But if we can help a few people it’s what it’s all about.

When you feel panicked or stressed these days what do you do?
I don’t get stressed about anything anymore. I don’t even worry anymore. I don’t know why it’s happened. People say you must get burned out, or how do you debrief yourself after talking to so many people? I just don’t ever need to do it.

    • I don’t keep things in, for one thing.
    • I just let it slide through, and off to see the next one.
    • I don’t dwell on things.

The one thing I think about most of all is “What more can we do to help these people?” That’s about all.

 I certainly don’t dwell on things.

What inspires you when you get up each day?
Read more in the book...

What was the point that you said “I’m not going to accept this. I want to do something?”

My situation is a bit strange because my family walked away, except my wife and my mother. I think they might have thought it was contagious or something, because mental illness does scare people.

People are frightened of it. People that I’ve known for years and years and years and years and years on the farm, they just avoid me. Because they’d think, “That guy’s nuts now.”

I was fighting for my life, you know. It’s very hurtful when people walk on the other side of the street so they don’t have to confront you. That’s, I suppose, one of the hardest things, when people misjudge you.

How can people learn more about Aussie Helpers?
We get a lot of visits on our website. It’s currently being updated with all the floods and fires. That’s why we’re so busy at the moment. It’s incredible. I’ve just come back from around the Echuca area. I’ve got a list of people to go and see, to talk to. The people who won’t go and see a doctor, but they’ll talk to me. To me that means respect to me. I’m an ordinary person, just a person.

A person who is understanding.
They can relate to me because I know a bit about the land and what they are doing and I know what their problems are. I think a lot of these people are frightened to go and see a doctor that they’re going to laugh at them. Honestly, there are still a lot of doctors that don’t understand depression. I’m not kidding.

People in the bush, they trust me now, and trust other people at Aussie Helpers, because most of us have been down that road, or down some deep well, and swum back up at the top again. We can relate to them. Everything we do is confidential; we’re not going to talk about them or anything.

How is it best to contact Aussie Helpers?
If they need help with talking to someone, you ring 1-300-665-232.
Somebody will talk to you straight away.
We’ll just listen to your stories, and if you need somebody to go out and see you, we do. I’ve driven ten-twelve hours to go out and see people. But we do see them.

The website is http://www.aussiehelpers.org.au

Or you can email: admin@aussiehelpers.org.au

 At this stage Aussie helpers are in six states, Qld, NSW, Vic, South Australia Tasmania and also Western Australia.

We can also supply a DVD of Brian Egan on Australian Story and the audio of Murray Hardin's "Rain from Nowhere"

What can people do to help Aussie Helpers if they want to?
To help Aussie Helpers, we don’t get government funding or anything; money is what keeps us rolling along. We use a lot of it because the distances and places we go to.

This thing we’re doing down the border and into Victoria. This is going to cost a bit, sixty-seventy thousand dollars or something. We’ll be carting stock fodder down from Queensland. We’ve been lucky. Because of the people we’ve helped in Southern Queensland over the years, when we asked them to help the people down there with the drought and the fire, they’ve given us over a quarter of a million dollars worth of stock feed.

That’s just the way the wheel turns. That’s the bush I suppose.
You help people, and when they need help, and when you need help, they help you.
 
Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you want to add to help people overcome day-to-day challenges in their life, or to find a purpose and direction?
Read more in the book...

10% of profits from this book are donated to Aussie Helpers.

 

 

MINDFUL ACTIVITY TODAY – SOLUTION QUESTIONS

  1. Ask What more can I do to help .....?
  2. Ask How can I help? What skills or knowledge do you have?
  3. What are you passionate about? Desire alone is strong enough to move mountains.When your heart is driven for the best outcome for all involved, start taking the 1st step and you may be amazed at what you can achieve.
  4. Take the first step, one step at a time, and follow your passion. Trust yourself.

SIMPLE KINDNESS & COMPASSION
MEDITATION DAILY

Sit comfortably, spine straight, feet and legs uncrossed.
Close your eyes, take a DEEP BREATH IN & as you exhale LET GO and RELAX.
Take another DEEP BREATH IN, focus on your heart.
As you exhale LET GO even further, LET GO of any self judgement, self criticism, self hatred.
Take another DEEP BREATH IN, focus on your heart. BREATHE OUT focus on your heart.
Say the following or similar to yourself:
I care about those in need of assistance.
I send love to my fellow brothers and sisters, 4-legged, 2-legged, winged and all creatures on the land.
I send love and compassion with all my heart to those in need.

Simply be with that uniting connection via Meditation.
Feel the connection with our fellow human beings.
We are not here alone. We are not separate. We can feel their plight.
Our thoughts and heart are with you.

Slowly open your eyes and be thankful for all you do have.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself too.

 

 


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