Speaker spotlight: Cat

Cat P cropped (003)

Please be aware that Speaker Spotlight stories often share experiences related to anxiety, depression and/or suicide. If needed, we encourage you to reach out to your available supports such as family, friends or support services like Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 

Townsville-based Speaker Cat has been part of the Speakers Program for the past three years.

Back in 2018, Cat spoke at a Roses in the Ocean Cooperate Breakfast in Townsville, an opportunity that was offered to Cat after she became known for writing publicly about her mental health. At the breakfast, there was a representative from Beyond Blue who encouraged her to become a part of our Speakers Program… and the rest is history!

Like many others, Cat’s mental health journey has been long, twisty and often painful. Cat reflects that her anxiety was most likely present as a child, but she only became more aware of her mental health issues as a teenager when she was diagnosed with depression.

In her early 20s, Cat attempted to take her own life, spending the next five or so years in and out of mental health facilities, trialling different medication and therapies. Eventually, Cat found some strategies that work for her – a mixture of medication, a psychologist, exercise, community connection, diet and rest. Every day, Cat is still discovering more about herself, who she is as a person and what works and what doesn’t.

Most mornings, Cat starts the day with a workout or run, followed by a coffee. These actives set her up for the day and allow her to focus on herself for an hour. This time also gives her the opportunity to chat up with friends over a coffee, which truly feeds her soul. Cat has an amazingly supportive fiancé, and they are getting married in October, so she is currently spending her weekends absorbing wedding inspo! She is looking forward to continuing to create a life together and to grow and learn more about herself as the years go by.

Cat strongly believes that a mental health diagnosis does not define a person. She has three mottos to live life by, and she hopes that when sharing her story that the audience takes these important messages away:

  1. Your diagnosis does not define you
  2. 100% looks different every day
  3. There is gold in the messy part

“My 100% looks different every day – some days is exercising, working and eating, others it’s walking to the bathroom, brushing my teeth and getting back into bed.”

Cat’s favourite part is being a volunteer speaker is meeting new people. She believes that everyone has a story and she loves hearing and learning from other people’s experiences.

When asked about what advice she would give to other Speakers, she shared: “It can be uncomfortable public speaking but the feeling of fulfilment you receive after giving your speech is worth it. Breathe through the uneasy feelings and remember: your story is powerful and your voice may be helping to heal someone’s wounds.”