SIBLINGS Kim and Hayley Lawrance only recognised the impact their parents’ divorce had on them years after it happened.
Hayley has joined her brother on the Ride for Youth that raises money for Youth Focus for the first time and, together, they shared their story at Mandurah Catholic College on day four of the 700km cycle from Albany to Perth.
Kim, who is riding for the third time, told the Year 9 students that his parents divorced when he was 16 and it took him by surprise because he always thought they had a close relationship.
“Mum took the divorce to heart and the emotional and physical toll was considerable,” he said.
“We saw the anger and bitterness come out.
Kim said while his dad, who died last year, appeared to be coping by moving on with another partner and keeping busy, he later revealed he had suffered chronic depression most of his life.
Hayley, a Perth lawyer, was in her early 20s and working in the US when she realised something wasn’t quite right.
“It was almost like I was separating,” she said.
“The worst part was it was like I was living a fraud because I was presenting as if everything was ok.
“I stopped eating, lost weight and it got to the point where I needed to get help, and I did.”
The mother of one said while she considered her mental health to be really good at the moment, she was always aware when it started sliding and would touch base with her psychologist who had become part of her network.
Kim, a father of two teenage daughters, said he often still suffered the affects of feeling lonely and abandoned but offered six tips to his young audience.
- Own it – No one can change or improve you but you. It takes courage to ask for help.
- No dickheads – You can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends so choose people you can trust and talk to about your issues.
- Wise men and women – In my life I’ve always had mentors, people who are unbiased and non-judgemental.
- Be like a Jedi master – Work on your mental health.
- Let’s get physical – Sport and exercise helps the body and the mind.
- Show some passion – Find something that you love doing that makes the challenges in your life easier to face.