GROWING PAINS: Jas Rawlinson says her childhood was both idyllic, due to its bushland setting, and difficult, due to her volatile, mentally unstable father.
GROWING PAINS: Jas Rawlinson says her childhood was both idyllic, due to its bushland setting, and difficult, due to her volatile, mentally unstable father. Contributed

MENTAL ILLNESS: Dad's death a terrible relief

AS A child, Jas Rawlinson's father would emotionally abuse her every day and tell her how worthless she was.

Due to his mental illness, he eventually took his own life and she remembers this being a relief because she knew she wouldn't be afraid anymore.

These days, Jas has evolved into a woman making positive changes for the masses and she recently put together a book called Reasons to Live showcasing other people who have overcome massive challenges in their lives.

Below is an excerpt of the conversation Jas had on the Coffee Chats with Matt Collins podcast.

Listen to the full interview here:

 

Matt Collins: Tell me about what growing up was like for you.

Jas Rawlinson: My childhood was a mixture of being quite idyllic but also being quite difficult. We lived in bushlands and I could ride my horse everywhere so I was pretty relaxed but whenever my dad was around it was tough because he suffered with his mental health and he was quite a violent and volatile person.

MC: It's like you had two different lives.

JR: Yeah, It used to always weigh on me that I had this secret about what my home life was like and I couldn't tell any of my friends.

MC: Why couldn't you tell your friends?

JR: I was just a kid. I didn't know what was going on for him, so I wouldn't have known what to say.

MC: Was your father ever violent towards you?

JR: He was never physically violent, he was just very emotionally volatile and I could never pick what he was going to be like. He was very emotionally and mentally cruel.

MC: What sorts of things would he say?

JR: Oh, he would say things like I wouldn't amount to anything. He'd say that I was useless or that I was worthless.

MC: That must've been so hard coming from your dad.

JR: Yeah, you're supposed to be able to look up to your dad and rely on them, instead of having someone that is always emotionally beating you down.

MC: When did you start to get a voice? Do you remember a time when you did start to speak up?

JR: I remember when I was 15 or 16 I started to talk back to my father instead of feeling like I was completely voiceless. So I used to try and stand up for my mum and my brother. It wasn't until my late 20s and even now that I have really started to share my story.

MC: Jas, it wasn't long after this time that your father took his own life. Tell me about that time in your life.

JR: I couldn't believe it but I had this immense sense of guilt because we weren't close. I only wish he had've gotten some help so he could've worked through his issues and been the person we needed in our family.

MC: Was there an element of relief when your father was gone?

JR: Yes there was. For the first time in so many years we were free. I didn't have to wake up feeling fearful every day. I didn't have to worry what mood he would be in. I didn't have to wonder if I could invite friends over.

MC: You have published a book, Reasons to Live, sharing other people's stories who have experienced life tragedies like you have. Why was it important to publish such a book?

JR: I had read some articles about how suicide in Australia was continuing to increase despite the fact we have so many government programs and lots of money being thrown at the problem. I thought about my childhood and how I had made it through and this book can help those relate when they think they aren't able to cope, especially teenagers in high school.

MC: I'm glad you mentioned the emotional roller-coaster that is high school. In the scheme of things, it's only one tiny chapter of your life.

JR: Exactly. I wasted so many years at school feeling like it was so important and it just wasn't.