Take a Chill Pill-bara

Written by Lydia Inglis – Stationhand, Yarrie Station.

The Pilbara.

The land of where:

  • Having one spare tyre is asking for two flats.
  • A trip to town is 5 hours of driving.
  • And if you dare to say how great all your bores are it’s guaranteed they’ll pack it in tomorrow.

It’s a land of contrast:

  • It’s wet then it’s dry.
  • Isolated but connected.
  • Spacious but no room for egos.
  • Relentless, yet rejuvenating.

My first night in the Pilbara was one of the last storms for the wet season. Everything was alive. You could see the grass growing and hear every insect hum. Everything and everyone was flourishing. I found myself in an oasis when I was expecting a desert. The colour, sound, smell and energy generated the most amazing aura. I felt cured. Not entirely sure what I was being curing of… but cured. It was rejuvenating.

First night, last storm. 

Have you ever woken up one morning and suddenly everything was a shade of grey?
You began to worry about what the day might bring?
Wondered if people still like you?
Became familiar with the thought that happiness is just a word, not a feeling?

Take a deep breath – whatever that means – and picture this:
There’s this sinking feeling in your gut
It warrants you to fear the very next moment and all of the other moments to follow
Your throat swells up tight
Your heart thumps in your head
Chest tight
Tingling arms
Trembling hands
Short of breath
Shorter breaths
Ringing ears
Blurry eyes
Tears streaming
Faint restrained cries
My own
All of this and I didn’t even receive a phone call that a loved one died.
This has happened to me, in unexpected places and uninvited times.
Panic. Anxiety. Debilitating thinking. ‘I’m fine’.

I’ve learnt so much since my first arrival to the Pilbara. I’ve come so far. I can hardly remember the anxious mess I was days before that last storm. I now believe it’s pointless (and inefficient) to stress about things I cannot control. Why would I pace around in circles, kick a tyre and jump up and down a few times when it’s 45 degrees out? It doesn’t make sense. So, I have Iearnt to: chill, think, act – in that order!

This land of contrast greeted me on my arrival the second time round. A desert greeted me. Not a blade of grass to be seen. Insects silenced by the dry, it looked like they were hibernating. The people and animals of this thirsty land didn’t have a great deal of choice where they could swim and drink. It was March, still hot, dry and tiring to look at. No rain. We knew that this was a possibility, so we had a plan… now it was time to withstand the relentless dry.

Rivers and creeks are the lifeline of this country, they mark the landscape like veins.

Everybody has a place and purpose in this world. I found mine here, for now, for this stage of my life.

I look back at my anxiety like a drought; it felt relentless, unforgiving and isolating. Coming through the other side was like flourishing after 300mm of rain, it was rejuvenating. Lessons learned are that times of drought are still to come, but now I have a drought plan.

They say that the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. I could easily cruise with my current state of happiness and pretend like anxiety and depression never affected me. But it did and it is part of my story. So here I am, sharing my story.

I was told once that if you think you’re too small to make a difference, then you haven’t shared your swag with a mozzie. I hope that by sharing my story that it will help at least one person on their journey.

It’s okay to not be okay.

The little things in life bring me so much joy now; billy tea and damper for smoko while drafting cattle with Tallawanna the blue heeler.

If you are experiencing distress or are suicidal, or know someone who is, help is available.

Please help spread this message to help others understand help is just a phone call or text away and they are not alone.