My Story: Living With Anxiety

This is probably the most personal piece I’ll ever write. Things are going to get deep. Before I begin, I need you all to know that what I’m about to share with you is not easy to talk about. It’s not easy to share. It’s hard to write this. But I want to share this with you because I want to be more open & honest, & I feel that there needs to be an increased awareness of sorts around mental health. So here goes.

For most of my life, I’ve lived relatively happily. I have had minimal stress, & I live out each day fairly smoothly & without issue. I have found happiness in many things; friends, family, music, writing, my dog, acting, & some fantastic people. But sometimes happiness doesn’t stick around. Sometimes it disappears, & you aren’t sure when it’s going to come back, if it’s going to come back. Let me give a bit of background first.

I have always been a shy person. For as long as I can remember, that has been one of my resounding qualities. It’s been a part of me my whole life. I have never really found it easy to approach people & talk to them. I get nervous, I try to find a way out, & I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s something I sometimes wish I didn’t have. Being shy makes things so much more difficult than they need to be. Many a time I have found myself wishing I was more brave, more courageous, more confident. But I lack that. I lack confidence. I lack courage. And that makes my life a lot harder. I find myself in situations where I struggle to get by. Which takes us to the anxiety.

I didn’t really experience much anxiety until 2012. Yes, that’s right, the year the then impending apocalypse was upon us. But never mind that. In early 2012, a few weeks before I began high school, I was out at a friend’s party, & whilst there, I began feeling off. I just didn’t feel right. I felt slightly sick, & I found it difficult to eat. I barely ate anything at the party, & I think the only thing I ate that night was a salad when I got home. That was likely the first time anxiety struck me. After that night, I didn’t experience that again for a number of weeks. I started Year 7, & everything was going relatively well. I was able to make new friends. I was a tad nervous about starting high school, but it was nothing major. However, a few weeks in, I began feeling sick again. I’m not entirely certain of what brought it on, but anxiety was upon me. There were many days when I woke up & did not feel like going to school. There were days when I threw up. I missed many days of school in those weeks because of the effects that anxiety had on me. I almost didn’t make it to the Year 7 camp. I remember that morning I was in pretty bad shape before I left to go to school. That camp was likely three of the worst days of my life. Whilst I was alright at camp, I still felt some anxiety, & it didn’t help that we all got food poisoning on the second night. I couldn’t wait to get back home. When I arrived back home that Friday, I remember breaking down. I was not in a good way at all. It almost got to the point where I had to go talk to a professional. But we didn’t get there. I remember I did end up having a conversation with my Year Adviser at school, & I think after that I woke up to myself, & I was able to kick the anxiety & take back control of my life & my body. I’m not sure how I did it really, but I think by the end of the term, I was ok again. I was living again. And I thought I had seen the last of my anxiety. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Throughout the years after that, I lived relatively well & peacefully. There were a few occasions where I did feel nervous, & a few times when I was feeling a bit anxious about things, such as times when I was going to go out with friends, or to parties, etc.. But they weren’t too bad. Apart from those minor attacks, I was perfectly fine. But I think what I was doing was suppressing things. I was suppressing emotions, feelings & a lot of other things, so that I could maintain a strong mentality. I think I knew I had to protect my mental health, & be strong. And so that is just what I did, for around seven years. I kept building up barriers around my mind, my mentality, all of it. And I kept suppressing things. I was able to maintain the suppression. I just needed to keep a strong mind. And above all of it, I thought I was going to be fine. I thought I could never be broken. I just didn’t realise that I would be.

Last year I decided to take a gap year. I needed a break from the education system. I needed to figure myself out, I needed time to write. I thought I would write at least one novel. I thought I would be able to write many a monologue & short story & play. I thought it would be a productive year. But then I began to lose sight. I put my novels on the backburner. I stopped writing for my blog. I stopped writing in general. And, looking at it realistically, my gap year ended up being a failure. In addition to that, I became conflicted. I had been telling people I was going to become a novelist, & people had told me that the market was volatile, that people don’t really read books anymore. And I took those comments to heart, & convinced myself I would never be a successful author. And I gave up on my dream. I tried to change my degree from creative writing to journalism. That failed.

What you need to know about me before I continue is that I care a lot about what other people think & say of me. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses. With every big decision I make, I take into consideration what other people, in particular my family & friends, will think of me. I don’t want them to see me as a failure. I don’t want to disappoint them. I don’t want to let them down.

Earlier this year, things occurred in my life. And they broke me. The last couple of months have been the hardest of my life. I’ve experienced things that I never want to experience again, & that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. My anxiety returned. And it came back worse than before. Whilst I haven’t been physically sick, I have felt really off many days. I’ve broken down many times. It’s even affecting me now just writing this. I’ve even found it difficult just to leave the house. It’s a challenge for me to even just get to work now. To be brutally honest, I really don’t like the way I’m living. I don’t like the person I’ve become, the person my anxiety turns me into. It’s hard to admit that. It’s genuinely one of the toughest things to live with. For me, I feel like I’ve lost control, & I’m fighting to get it back. I have times when I just feel so out of it, so off, almost sick. My mental health hasn’t been great. It’s been dreadful really. Thankfully, I was able to talk about things with a few of my family & friends. They know who they are. But it got to the point where I knew I needed to get help. And so I went to see a counsellor. He gave me some advice & tips/strategies, & I left feeling like things could get better now. But they didn’t. I had some really rough days. And so I went back. I talked with him again. And I will be maintaining regular contact with him.

Many of you wouldn’t have known it from looking at me or speaking with me that I wasn’t doing well. That’s because whenever I’m out in the open, I hide it. I try to suppress it for short period of time. Or if it is affecting me, I try to control it somewhat so that it doesn’t show. And I’ve been doing this for over two months now. But I think that’s making things worse in some sense. It hasn’t helped. So I made the decision to stop. Because to be honest, I’m sick of hiding now. I have to be honest, I was somewhat apprehensive to put this all out there, to put it out in the open. And whilst I know that many who read this will be very caring & all, I’d rather not discuss it openly just yet. It’s a lot for me to even share my story here. However, I need to do things on my own terms. I need to have control over my life & my journey. I need to forge my own path, & whilst currently I am not doing as much as I’d like to be doing, I will get there in time.

At the moment I’m taking things day by day, one step at a time. As you might already know, I’ve withdrawn from my University course at UTS, & I am enrolling in a Bachelor of Communications course offered by Griffith University through Open Universities Australia. The course will be completed over three years online. And I have also recently re-entered Special Religious Education (SRE) work as a helper in Catholic Scripture through my church, helping with a Year 5 class at my former primary school. I will be looking to get out more, to maybe participate in some volunteer work, get some work experience at either a radio station or publishing company or even both, & eventually get a second job. But it’s going to take time for me to get there. I’m still working to get things under control within my own mind & body, & in all honesty, I cannot really contemplate doing a lot of these things until I get it under control. It is a battle, & it’s not easy, but I’m not going to give up, I’m not going to stop fighting.

Anxiety affects so many people. It often goes unnoticed by others. It’s only noticed by the individual of whom it affects. They feel it, they experience it. It can manifest in a variety of ways, & can have different levels of intensity. And it can be hard to cope with. It can be even more difficult to talk about. Sometimes we think we can fight it alone, that we can deal with it on our own. We think we’re strong enough, we think we can handle it. And sometimes we can. But sometimes we can’t. We don’t have the strength to go it alone. We aren’t as strong as we thought we were. We didn’t realise it was ever going to be so hard. We come to a point where we can no longer suffer in silence. And that’s ok. That doesn’t make us any weaker. In fact, it takes a certain strength to admit that we can’t do it alone, that we need someone to help us along the way. So in some sense, we are still strong, just in a different way.

Whilst anxiety can take its toll, both mentally & physically, it can also be something that helps us to understand ourselves better. It can shine a light on our true selves, it can help us to see who we truly are. And after being at an all time low, you can come to appreciate the smallest things that create joy & happiness. It could be as simple as seeing someone’s face light up with joy when they see your loyal pet dog. For me, having an adorable pup has made my life better, and has brought me the slightest shred of happiness in my darkest times. Ellie has truly been my best friend through all of this, & I honestly don’t know how I would have been without her. She is truly a blessing.

Through all the hard times, I’ve also had my faith to guide me. There have been times in the last couple of months that I have questioned my faith. I’m not afraid to admit that, although it isn’t something I find easy to admit to. There were times when it seemed I was just losing everything, like I was just taking blow after blow. There were times when I felt like the universe was against me. There were times when I just started asking God one question over and over; ‘Why?’ I kept asking for guidance, for help, for the strength to get through this. And I felt like I wasn’t being heard. However, I’ve now come to see that God has provided me with help, with support. I’ve come to see that He had been listening. I still often wonder why certain things have occurred in my life. I guess I’m yet to discover the answer to that question. But I am glad I have my faith in my life. And I guess there are times when we are in a dark place, or when we endure something, & it makes us question a lot of things. I still ask myself questions, I still think about things often. But I’m happy to have my faith to help me along in my life.

I know that ultimately, my life is not going to be an easy one. And I know that I’ve still got things to sort out. I’ve still got to get things under control. However, in order to do that, I realise that I need to be more open. This is a step in that direction. And hopefully it will help me to get this out & get things back under control. I haven’t felt so strong mentally lately. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been there. But I’m hoping I can get back there soon. I know it will take time, & it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back to that point. But I want to get back there. This time however, it’s going to be different. This time I’m not going to hide. This time I’m going to be more true to myself. I guess in some sense I’ve been living a bit of a lie. But I’m going to change that. I’m no longer going to hide behind a façade. I’m going to be my true self. And I’m going to take back control of my own mind & body. Anxiety may take the reins throughout my life, but I’m not going to let it stay that way. I’m going to take them back. And I’m going to live my life.

I want to finish by saying this. I know anxiety is never easy to deal with. My experience over the last couple of months in particular has really challenged me, & it’s really stripped me down to my core. If anyone is ever going through something & they need someone to talk to, I’m always more than happy to be that person. I’m always happy to chat. I know it can be difficult to get through on your own. And I know from personal experience that it can be a challenge in itself to talk to someone about it. But it can make a world of difference if you get it off your chest, if you talk to someone about it. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide how they deal with it, but sometimes talking to someone can make things that little bit easier. While it can feel like anxiety is beating us at times, like it is winning, like it’s taking over us, it’s important to fight back, to regain some degree of control. And while sometimes it seems like it will be impossible to feel good again, to feel happy again, it will come. I hope that by sharing my own experience, my own journey, others that might be going through similar times in their own lives will be able to feel like it’s worth fighting, & those that might be suffering in silence may feel that they can talk to someone about what they’re going through. It’s never an easy journey, but sometimes it can make us who we are, & it can help us to become even stronger than we were before.

Take care everyone, & look after yourselves.

J

Words

Words can be so powerful. They can change the course of our lives. They can make us or break us. What we say can have an immense impact on not only ourselves, but on other people. The thing about words is that once you say them, once they leave your mouth, they can never be taken back. You cannot change what you have said, no matter how much you might want to. That is why it is so important, so crucial, that we choose our words so carefully. Because the words that we choose could change someone’s life completely.

All throughout our lives we speak. We use words every single day. We likely use hundreds if not thousands of words each day. For writers like myself, words are so important. They are essential to our work. Words are quite literally my life. And sure, the words we use in our day to day lives may not be so crucial. It is at certain moments in our lives however that words gain importance. It is at these times that it is essential that we choose the right words, or what we think may be the right words. In reality, there likely may not be ‘right’ words. Rather, we must choose words that will ultimately work best, that will express what we wish to express. And we must ensure that these words are not damaging. We must ensure that these words do not cause harm. But all in all, how would we know if they did exactly that?

These days, words aren’t just spoken. They can be written, sent via text messaging. The issue with text messaging, the issue in fact with any form of communication other than spoken word, is that our words can be easily misconstrued. We may intend for our words to mean something in particular, but they are interpreted by their intended recipient as something else. So how do you know if your words have been interpreted in the way you intended them to be? How do you know they haven’t caused harm? In all reality, you don’t. You don’t really know. You could warrant a guess. You could follow up with another message to make sure they weren’t. But you would never truly know. Not unless you spoke in person. Your words could have done damage, or they could have brought someone great joy. But you’d never truly know unless you spoke to that person face to face, or at least voice to voice. Until that occurs, you will never really know if you made someone truly happy with your words, or if your words caused them a world of pain.

The thing about words is that they don’t always come to you when you need them. As a writer, I can attest to this. Usually, it is at the moments in our lives when we most need to find the right words that they do not come. You could be a brilliant writer, and have such a way with words, and then when that time comes, you cannot find the words you need. You might hope that they will spring into your mind, but they just won’t come. This is what can ultimately bring about chaos. A writer may not be able to find the words they need, however, they will proceed with other words. And then it doesn’t work. The words they have chosen are not the ones they needed, rather they lose them the battle. Again, this is why word choice is so important, so vital.

The words we speak can be inspirational. They can encourage others, change their minds, shape their ideas, their values. Words carry so much power. Our words can help others. They can lift others up. They can make them laugh, make them smile. However, what can be good can also be the opposite. Our words might be able to bring happiness and joy to people’s lives. But they can also have the adverse effect. They can cause people to become sad. They can put people down. They can bring pain to people’s lives. They can break people down. It’s astounding just how much power a few words can have. It might take just one short sentence. It could be less than ten words strung together that can change a person’s life.

Many people do not realise just how much of an impact their words have on the lives of others. Many just say something, and they don’t even think about the possible repercussions of what they say. Many people write things, but they do not consider the effects the words they have written could have on other people. Whenever I write, particularly pieces like this, I write in the hope that the people who read it will find some inspiration in the words written here. I write in the hope that those who read it might learn something, that they might consider something they previously hadn’t. I know my articles aren’t really getting much exposure, but I write them anyway. Because if I can inspire someone, if I can bring about a good change in someone’s life, if my words help them, then I can continue on knowing that this is helping people.

If people knew the impact of their words, some may not utter them initially. Words are more powerful than you think, than you know. They can make a world of difference in other people’s lives, and in your own life. Once words have been uttered, they cannot be unspoken. They cannot be taken back. You cannot change what you have said. At times you may think about what you’re going to say before you actually say it. And then there are times when words may come from the heart. These words can be some of the most powerful. When you speak from the heart, you are showing your true self. It is at these times that you can be at your most vulnerable. And so these are the times when words can have the greatest impact on you. It is at these times that words are most powerful. And it is at these times when both your own words and those of another person can make you or break you.

Words carry with them the utmost power. They can be more complex than you’ll ever know. Words we utter may seem simple at the time, but they may indeed carry with them more weight than we realise. And whilst it may be difficult to determine whether or not your words have had an impact on someone else, on another person’s life, it is important to remember that your words can have such an impact. You never know just how powerful your words are.

Life, Love & Hope

Here’s another analytical piece on the human condition. These sorts of pieces can get deep, but for some reason I really love writing them. There’s some science involved in this one too. There’s more to come. Hope you find it interesting and inspirational.

Love. It’s something everyone wants. But we don’t all get the love that we want. Love and life go hand in hand. Fate comes into it all too I guess. Although fate depends on what your perspectives are on how our lives are written. It depends on whether or not you believe that there is a higher power, a God who has planned out each and every one of our lives. Sometimes something like that is hard to believe, even for the most religious of us. There are some that believe everything happens for a reason, but many of us can find that difficult to believe. Love, Life, Fate, Faith, and Hope can all be brought together, with each one linked to the other.

We all have a life that we live. We all do different things in our lives. We all have our own experiences, ideas, perspectives, passions, feelings, thoughts, etc. Each one of us has a mind and a heart. Each one of us has our own hopes and dreams. We each hope for something in our lives. The mind and the body are inextricably linked. In essence, the mind controls the body. If you start thinking about something, and it makes you nervous, or even anxious, your body will likely respond and you’ll experience some different feelings. You may start to feel sick, your heart could start racing, you might even start shaking. All of this reaction is controlled by the mind. If you think about something that makes you happy, you might light up with a smile. Adversely, if you think about something that creates sadness, you might start to become emotional, and you could start to tear up and feel down. Certain chemicals do play a part in all this, namely hormones. Dopamine, oxytocin and cortisol are three such hormones that elicit certain emotions within the body. The mind has immense power over the body.

Love is ultimately the most powerful thing known to the universe. Love is something we all hope for. It’s something that can be so amazing, so beautiful. It can make you so happy. It can bring out the best in you. Some say love is like a drug. In some ways this is true. But it is much more than that. It’s something else. When someone is in love, dopamine and oxytocin are released, however not at standard levels. They are at much more elevated levels, which results in that person feeling something they’ve never felt before, immense happiness, elation, joy, all of it. The emotions they feel are much stronger than usual. And they can strengthen more over time. So in the event of love being ripped apart, someone experiencing these emotions can become torn up. This is more commonly referred to as heartbreak.

In the event of heartbreak, an individual can become inundated with pain. What occurs within the body is a change in hormones. The elevated levels of dopamine and oxytocin drop quickly and are replaced with cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol elicits the body’s fight or flight response, and because of the elevated levels of cortisol in the event of heartbreak, someone who was once so happy, even someone who has such a strong resolve, physically and mentally, can become weakened. The elevated levels of cortisol can result in a number of changes in the body. You could start to feel sick, become anxious, emotional, even depressed. You might even start to lose your appetite. In basic terms, you become broken. And even when you’re broken, you could still feel that love. It’s still there, and you can’t let it go, because it’s so real. Your mind is still controlling your body, however, your mind may be fractured, and thereby your body isn’t in as great a shape as it used to be. In essence, heartbreak can change a person. It’s something everyone hopes to avoid, but some can’t. You wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Although, there are always two sides to every story.

Everyone has hopes and dreams. Some have faith to go along with this. They may be religious and pray to God for certain things in their lives. They might pray for these things for months, even years. And then, when the time finally comes, they get what they were hoping not to get. It is at moments such as these when faith is tested. Some may have such a strong faith that they trust in God no matter what. Even if they got the opposite of what they were hoping for, they still trust God. Others may not be able to do this as well. They might begin to question things. They might question their faith. They may begin to wonder whether God is there, listening to their prayers. Some people who believe in God will say that God has plans for all of us, that our lives are planned out by Him. When something doesn’t go the way we were hoping, these people might say that God is taking us in another direction. Some may accept that. Others may not want to go in that direction. When things don’t go the way we were hoping in our lives, it can be difficult to get through. It can become a time of questioning.

Some however may fight for their hopes and dreams. Even when things don’t go the way they were hoping, even if they prayed for it. They’ll still fight for it. Because they are not prepared to give up. They know it will be hard, and they might experience pain and suffering along the way, but they know that ultimately it will be worth it. They are willing to go through anything in their fight, because they know that they likely won’t be able to live knowing they didn’t fight for it. Times like these, when things go against you, can bring out a person’s true self, their raw being.

Some believe in fate. They believe that certain things are predetermined in people’s lives, and that no matter what you do, you can’t change it. Personally, I don’t believe this is true. I believe that everyone can change the course of their lives. If you fight for something, you could change the outcome. If you hold onto a feeling, and fight for it, things might change. If you have even a glimmer of hope, and you fight for it, it could spark and ignite into a fire of hope. Some things are worth fighting for.

Some people say that hope is a dangerous thing to have. They likely say this because sometimes hope could result in further pain and suffering. I personally disagree with this idea. Hope can be a good thing. Having hope can be all the difference in a person’s life. It can be the one thing that keeps them going. So while it may seem dangerous, while it may be dangerous, hope is essential. It gives us a bit of light in times of sheer darkness.

Ultimately all these things come together in a human being. Within our lives, we hope to find love. We may have faith and may believe that our lives are planned out by God, or we might believe they are scripted through fate. Or we may believe that we have control over our own lives. After all, everyone has free will. And free will cannot be controlled by anyone else. It is unique to the individual. It’s what gives us some control over our own lives.

Life and love are likely the most important parts of our humanity. Love makes our lives so much better. Everyone lives in the hope of finding love. Because having someone special in our lives can change us, it can make someone a better person. It can bring out the best in someone. Another person can do that. Another amazing human being. And sometimes you have to fight for that love. Because at the best of times it doesn’t come easily. You have to be prepared to fight for it. And sure it can be hard. It can tear you apart. It can almost destroy you. But that little glimmer of hope you have, that’s what can make the difference. That is ultimately what pushes you, what inspires you to keep on fighting. Because you know the love you feel can change your life. You never want to lose it. Because you know that if you lose it, you’ll lose so much more. And you don’t know how you’ll keep going if you do. Life, Love and Hope. The three most important parts of our humanity. Never lose them.

Faith

This is something I wrote a couple years ago back when I was in my final year of school. It’s part of a collective of pieces I’ve been writing on humanity and everything it entails. I was planning on compiling them into an analytical text under the title of The Wonders Of Humanity. I’m not sure that will go ahead as planned, but I want to get them out there. This piece hasn’t been edited since 2017, but I just felt like sharing it. If you like it, leave a comment and I’ll share some more of these pieces. J

Faith is such a strong word. It has multiple meanings, depending on how it is perceived by the individual that is viewing it. Faith is something that can be weak or strong. It may be the difference between happiness & utter depression. Faith may not even be existent in the eyes of some. It is all this & much more that makes faith such a wondrous concept within humanity. 

Whilst there are a range of definitions as to what faith is, there are two that we can focus on here. In terms of a more general definition, faith can be defined as having complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Some may therefore link faith to the idea of trust. Trusting someone is quite similar to having faith in that person. An individual may reveal private information, potentially something such as that of a secret, to a person whom they feel they can rely on & trust to keep this between the two of them. It may be a close friend, or a family member. Whoever it is, the individual is demonstrating that they have faith in this person to keep this information shared between them private. If there happens to be a confidentiality issue, alike to that of this trusted individual sharing the private information they have received with a range of other people, then the trust that those two shared will be broken, & the faith that was shown will be destroyed. The faith that has dissipated may create a rift between the two people, & the friendship they once had could potentially fall apart. This is evidence of the power of faith, & how, when it is abused, it can become all consuming & destructive.

Faith can also be defined as a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. This definition depicts faith from a more religious point of view. In this sense, faith is based upon what is heard or read, what is believed by a person in terms of their religious beliefs. For example, an individual may be of Catholic or Christian faith, & may hear or read the word of God, which they ultimately believe to be the truth. Belief is a strong form of faith, it is an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof. From a Christian/Catholic point of view, individuals have a strong belief that God created the universe & everything in it, & that all we see around us was created by Him. They also believe that God created humankind in His own image, & so it is believe by Catholics the world over, that all this is true. They have faith that God exists, that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for our sins, & that there will be a second coming at some point in the future, when He will come again, & the world as we know it may cease to exist. This faith may be seen as blind, but it ultimately takes hold of those individuals who believe, & helps them to live a full, happy life, trusting in God, & having faith in others. Obviously, this isn’t the only religion out there, & there are many other religious points of view, many other faiths that I personally have a great respect for. And despite what anyone believes in, no matter what faith they choose to follow, I personally see everyone as complete equals. After all, everyone is human, no matter what they choose to believe. 

Some say faith can move mountains, others say faith is blind, hence, ‘blind faith’. These two sayings, whilst most potently are complete opposites to each other, both leave a lasting impression on whoever reads them. Faith is still represented as strong in both of them. Faith being able to move mountains demonstrates just how strong, how life-changing faith can be. On the other hand, if faith is blind, then we must follow it into the darkness, because no matter what happens within the darkness of that tunnel, no matter how long or how short it is, there is always a light at its end waiting for us to arrive. And the only way anyone can get through that tunnel, the only way anyone can possibly reach that heavenly light, is to have faith.

SRE Targeted In NSW

In recent times, it has become apparent that groups on the Left have an agenda. They have an end goal to their madness. Political correctness, issues surrounding gender, race, climate change, border security, etc. all just play a small part in an even bigger game. There is however an end goal to all this. The endgame of the Left is to destroy Western civilisation. The West is the enemy of the Left. Its values, ideologies, views, and the like all generally deter those of the Left. In fact, it’s not really Left vs Right anymore. It’s now globalists vs nationalists. But that’s for another article. What is predictable however is that those who oppose the West will do whatever they can to damage and destroy its pillars in order to bring the entire structure crashing down. One of those key pillars is the Church, the religion of Catholicism/Christianity.

The latest attack on Christianity comes at the hands of a group known as the NSW Teachers Federation. It comes as no surprise that the Federation is the ‘registered trade union which covers NSW public school teachers’. It’s essentially just another union, and as is common knowledge, the vast majority of unions are generally in opposition to the West. They generally fall to the Left of the political spectrum. Moreover the individuals within the unions, generally those who are in positions of power, are of the Left. Looking at the ethics of the NSW Teachers Federation, it is clear that this is a group that would likely be easily offended. For example, ethics code 9 states that ‘No member should, in the hearing of other members or of students, criticise the work of other members.’ So criticism is generally frowned upon. Ethics code 7 states ‘Members should zealously guard civil liberties and support colleagues in defending those rights.’ It would be interesting to see what exactly they define as ‘civil liberties’. Does this include Free Speech? And in Ethics code 12, it is stated that ‘Members shall not engage in any form of racist behaviour, comments and dissemination of racist material.’ What would this group define as racist? Would material that denigrates males, particularly of white ethnicity, for having privilege as a resultant of their gender and/or ethnicity, be classified as ‘racist’? Or is the material only racist if it denigrates people of colour? If you would like to see the rest of this ‘Ethics’ code, you can find it at the following link: https://www.nswtf.org.au/about/ethics.html

To the point however, the NSW Teachers Federation are now attempting to rid public schools of weekly Special Religious Education (SRE) lessons. Generally, these lessons take up approximately 30-40 minutes of class time each week. Looking at it another way, that’s 6-8 minutes a day. It’s really not taking away from the education of students. SRE is generally found in public primary schools. The vast majority of high schools in NSW do not have SRE nor any form of scripture within their school. For background, SRE teachers come in to public primary schools one day each week to teach children about their faith. SRE is completely optional. Students are not required to participate. Parents of the students are generally given the option as to whether they would like to enrol their children in SRE lessons, and if so which faith. That’s right, it’s not only Catholic scripture that is taught in public schools. I’ve personally been through the system and seen a multitude of religions being catered to by people of those different faiths. Catholicism is just one of many. Buddhism, Hinduism, other denominations of Christianity such as the Anglican denomination, and others are all available for students in the public system. And all SRE teachers are completely unpaid. They volunteer their own time to teach scripture, to guide children in their faith.

In the case that a student and/or their parents decide not to enrol in SRE lessons of any kind, there will generally be a non-scripture group for the student to join, in which they generally have free time. This is where the Federation comes in. They believe that SRE is taking away from valuable class time for students, hindering their education, particularly for those who are in non-scripture. First, let’s address that non-scripture point. Students in non-scripture could use that 30-40 minute period to further their education. They could use it to do some extra work, or even just to read a book. So it’s only going to impact their education if they choose to let it. And to the point of the students who participate in scripture having their education hindered. Students who are involved in SRE lessons generally benefit from these short lessons each week. They learn values and morals which will indeed benefit them throughout their lives. And they are able to gain a deeper understanding and connection with their faith, something that can prove invaluable. So are these lessons doing any damage? The answer is simple. No, they are not.

But see, the NSW Teachers Federation is hiding something. Well, in saying that, they aren’t really doing a great job of hiding it. This group, this union, have an agenda. They do not simply want to eradicate SRE in public schools across NSW because it eats into class time and affects the education of students. That’s all a facade. It’s a smoke screen for a more sinister agenda. See, the real reason that this group want to take out SRE is so that they can replace it with their own ideologies.

In writing this article, I did what any good journalist would do: research. I visited the website of the NSW Teachers Federation, and both what I found and didn’t find is quite intriguing. First, there is no reference at all to taking SRE out of NSW public schools. No mention of it anywhere on their website. However, what should peak your interest is that there are campaigns and events for Marriage Equality, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the MediVac Bill put forward by Independent MP Kerryn Phelps. So what does this tell you? It speaks volumes. It says all you need to know about this group. It’s obvious that the Federation is actively campaigning against Western Civilisation, be it against religion, the Church, border security, the family, etc. And it is clear that this group is in many ways tied to the Left.

In doing my research, I also reached out to the Federation for comment. I sent them an email asking about their opposition to SRE, and also what they define as ‘racist’. They did send a response, shown below:

‘Federation proudly celebrates diversity and welcomes all faiths and all religions. Federation believes that any education, religious or not, should be done in line with an approved curriculum and by a qualified teacher. This is not the case with SRE which the 2015/17 independent review of Special Religious Education and Special Education in Ethics in NSW government schools highlighted. Instead it is merely the responsibility of the approved provider not the Department of Education, to authorise the instructors and materials used in SRE and SEE.

Federation supports General religious education which is taught by qualified teaching staff at the school and is part of an approved curriculum endorsed by the Department of Education and the Board of studies. Federation will continue to research and consult with members in regards to any possible changes to SRE. An article on this matter has been written and will be published in the next Journal.’

From this response, it is clear that these people have no wishes for SRE to continue in NSW public schools. There are however a few interesting points to note. First, they mention ‘qualified teachers’, and mention how current SRE teachers are not authorised by the Department of Education. The issue with this point is that all SRE teachers and helpers are vetted. They all must clear a Working With Children Check, which is to be renewed regularly. They are also issued with identification. They are also put on file by the school/s at which they teach scripture. And in order to actually teach SRE, an individual must partake in a Level 1 Course as is set out by the Diocese. If you do not partake in this course, you cannot teach SRE. There are also Level 2 and Level 3 courses which are optional, however improve the qualifications of the teacher. So these teachers are highly qualified. And the quite obvious point: if the Department of Education didn’t trust these people, would they really be in schools with young children? Second, SRE teachers are highly qualified to teach scripture. Because that is all they are teaching. It’s not as if they are teaching English, Maths or Science. They are simply teaching their faith. And no one is more qualified to teach the faith than someone who lives it, someone who is of the faith. A regular teacher could be seen as underqualified to teach scripture as they may not be of the faith they are teaching, and will thereby hinder the learning of their students.

And to the other interesting point. In their response, Federation stated that ‘Federation proudly celebrates diversity and welcomes all faiths and all religions.’ So if they are going to be so welcoming of everyone, no matter what their faith, why would they attempt to take the opportunity away from students to learn more about their faith? Isn’t that a contradiction of their own beliefs? Now I understand that they want some sort of Board approved curriculum. However, from the history of education in NSW, it seems apparent that the Board would likely neglect such curriculum when it comes to matters such as religion. In fact, the current curriculum as taught by SRE teachers in NSW public schools is very much appropriate, and enables students to gain a deep well rounded understanding of their faith.

So that brings us to the big question: why change the system if it already works? It’s obvious that the NSW Teachers Federation wants to abolish or at least restrict religious teaching in NSW public schools. It would be interesting to see how many of the people involved in this campaign have actually been through the system, and how many are at all religious. It is known that many of those who are in positions of power at the Federation are in favour of ethics. They would happily see ethics taught in schools, including the Safe Schools program, which is commonly said to be a program that teaches children to be accepting of all people, and is referred to as a preventative measure to bullying of LGBTIQ+ people. However, Safe Schools practically teaches children that their gender is fluid, and that they can basically be whatever they want. If this program can be taught in schools, what’s the issue with SRE being taught as well? Is it simply a problem because of religion? Because many religions, in particular Christianity, does have a fundamental value to be welcoming to all people. If the Safe Schools program is ok, then surely SRE is perfectly fine. And interestingly enough, SRE also teaches ethical values, so it’s practically ethics with faith mixed in. However, the Federation don’t see it all this way. They want NSW public schools to be secular. It is important to note that campaigns such as this have worked before, in both Western Australia and Victoria. Anti-religious people, those that oppose the West, are attempting to turn Australia into a completely secular country. NSW is the latest in a string of attacks on religion and religious teaching. We cannot allow for religion to be eradicated in this country. NSW cannot allow itself to fall to secularists such as the NSW Teachers Federation like Western Australia and Victoria did. We must rally together and push back. It is important that we keep SRE alive. It’s a matter of protecting religious freedom, an essential basic human right.

I would also like to note that I did ask the Federation about point 12 of their ethics code, which regards racism and racist material. I asked them to define what they would see as ‘racist’, particularly ‘racist material’. They failed to answer the first time, so I asked once more. The question asked was the following:

‘Also, I notice you didn’t answer my question on point 12 of your ethics code. So I’ll ask it again. I note that in your ethics code under point 12, it is stated that ‘Members shall not engage in any form of racist behaviour, comments and dissemination of racist material.’ I would like to know what your organisation defines as ‘racist’, particularly that of ‘racist material’. Would this include material that denigrates those of white ethnicity, in particularly white males, for having alleged ‘privilege’ as a resultant of their ethnicity? Or does this only include material that denigrates people of colour?’

I received a response from Federation this afternoon, in which they stated ‘In regards to point 12 of our code of ethics, Federation does not condone racism of any type, to anyone. As a white male I do not share your views, and you seem to be insinuating that SRE is only for white males.’ It’s an odd response. It’s nice to see that they do not condone racism of any type to anyone, however, it seems that they do not believe that individuals off white ethnicity can be victims of racism. I’m not certain if this is the view of the entire organisation, or just that of the individual who sent me this response. However, the second part of the response is just absurd. Nowhere in my question did I insinuate that SRE is only for white males. In fact, it’s hard to come by a male SRE teacher these days. The majority of SRE teachers are women. And there are many different races represented by SRE teachers. In essence, this just shows how out of touch the NSW Teachers Federation is with the wider community. Stand up against them. Protect SRE and religious freedom in NSW.