Welcome to the site Average AF (AAF)
My name is Jody Lowe and I’m a mental health battler. I have been fighting with myself for around 10 years and for the first 8 of that, I was caught in the “Why me” category. Especially as I live a blessed life of good health with four beautiful daughters, a loving wife and mother. Over the last few years, I have changed my perception of fixing my mental health…. Sorry, can we stop for a second? I strongly dislike the # term “Mental Health” as I believe it still ties itself to the old stigmas of being “mental” or only existing and therefore fixable in your head. From here on I will call our journey the Working On Wellness factor or W.O.W factor for short. As I believe there are 5 main elements to Wellness, not just fixing the mind, but a little on that later
Ok back to my story…. I realised in the past two years that poor levels of Wellness actually played a huge part in everyone’s lives due to its unique ability to affect them all in a different way. Poor levels of Wellness can surface in people as: Headaches, unable to go to work from sickness, abusive nature, aggressive to others, retreat from socialising, no energy for physical health, poor hygiene, obesity, poor diet, substance abuse to calm the mind or relieve the symptoms and worst of all, Self-Harm!
Once I got that through my stubborn head that it wasn’t just me, but in fact almost everyone suffered the effects in one way or another, I realized that most people just didn’t know the overarching condition of poor Wellness was affecting them. So, they treat the symptoms and move on, and around the cycle goes.
Originally, I wanted to start a fun sport orientated App that got people outside with their family and friends and had fun doing what Aussies do best, competing with each other for shits and giggles. However, I realised if that was my only focus then I too would be fixing one part of the problem and soon the attraction of a new distraction would fade still leaving people hungry for the next quick fix answer. So I started to look for ways for people to meet and talk to other people about the whole W.O.W factor journey we were on, instead of just the one problem at a time, which can often feel over whelming with so many little niggles in your life on a day to day basis.
The 5 W.O.W factor categories I focused on were Physical, Intellectual, Financial, Spiritual and Emotional because I know that my own Average AF history has taught me that if we only strive to achieve greatness in one or two of these categories the others will likely fail miserably and cause our life to still be AAF with a lot of focus thrown to the fails instead of the wins.
I also grew up in small towns in Central Queensland that have ridden the highs and lows of coal price dependency over the last 40 years. Mining, rosters and camps have often had a massive negative impact on local township schools, businesses and facilities over the years. It is staggering to see the number of empty shops and houses around a lot of these once vibrant community towns let alone the sky rocketing numbers of suicides rates in the transient mining work force.
This site hopefully encourages people to use local sporting clubs, facilities and support the businesses that will help them with the Work On Wellness factor. In return give people the tools to build on what we know as the Average AF platform where we encourage people to embrace and be happy with all things Average before looking to better it. For me the word best is a deceptive one, it implies that best is the top and that’s where you stop. I believe better, is the strength to focus on. A gym junkie doesn’t press their “Best” and never comes back, would they? No. They would set that as their new bar and comes back the next week to “Better” it. A golfer doesn’t have their first and “Best” sub-par round, sell the clubs and live out their days talking of the score they never tried to “Better”. This is why the AAF app is important to me and the vision. It promotes people to never give up chasing the “Better” which is inherently what is happening to us as we get older and our bodies start to break down, we stop chasing. We judge our “Best” based on a different time in our life cycle, we pound ourselves over “losing” that ability.
I guess the only thing I haven’t touched on is the “why” and if you happen to be one of the couple of hundreds of people I went to school with, and you got through this far without shutting off the computer in anger, I’ll explain. I am a bully. The worst kind in fact, the funny kind. A physical bully is someone that no one likes but usually no one else will challenge as well, giving the victim some hope that not everybody shares the bullies view. The funny kind is often supported with loud laughter even though the very people laughing do not like the funny bully any more than the physical one. The laughter allows them to continue the practise for much longer than it should.
Am I regretful of this? Yes. Do I wish myself or my family understood what made me become this? Yes. Am I ashamed of it? No. Because after 40 years of life and in my 7th year of struggling with my Wellness I discovered that even through a step family, I was basically at least a third-generation bully because the home circumstances that led me to be one had been passed down from adult to child at least 3 times. Why? I believe it was a family trait that a state of misunderstood depression and anxiety that used alcohol to mask its affects and hurtful words to attack before being attacked as a defence mechanism was the real cause. Thankfully the line of Bullies will stop with me. I will not pass on the trait, I will understand what causes my pain, my anger, my defence mechanism. I will make sure the conversation is had with my children and grandchildren long before it is an issue to repair.
In my 40th year on the planet, I’ve learnt that my birth father not only was known and was alive, but that he actually was never in my life due to his own family history of depression and alcohol abuse. Something that my mother had also now told me had been prevalent in her side of the family for at least the generations she knew. JESUS CHRIST! Why wasn’t this spoken about? How did I not know this long before I nearly worried myself crazy? Simple. Those topics were not for table talk decades ago, so we bottled them up and pushed our way forward. Gritting our teeth, too proud to ask for help, too Aussie to show weakness.
So here is me and mine, airing the family laundry as a show of good faith to all that read this far. We must find the root of the problems. We must fix it holistically. We must talk the talk and walk the walk if we are to turn the tide on Wellness. We must not do it alone. As a popular Chinese proverb said “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Enjoy the site, start your journey, hope this helps.