In a world of frantic busyness and increased anxiety, Rob Mason’s book Shame Off You deserves to be on everyone’s bookshelf. As well as telling Rob’s personal story of anxiety and shame, it’s a practical book that will hand every reader the keys to begin a journey towards better mental health.

 

 

Rob Mason – Shame Off You: https://www.robmason.co

Rob Mason Shame Off You Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobMason.co

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robmason61/

 

 

(Transcript is a guide only and may not be 100% correct.)

Emily Olsen:

Wherever there are shadows, there are people ready to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. This is Bleeding Daylight with your host Rodney Olsen.

 

Rodney Olsen:

In a world of frantic busyness and increased anxiety, Rob Mason’s book Shame Off You deserves to be on everyone’s bookshelf. As well as telling Rob’s personal story of anxiety and shame, it’s a practical book that will hand every reader the keys to begin a journey towards better mental health.

 

Details of the book and how to contact Rob are in the show notes of this episode at bleedingdaylight.net

Today we’ll take an honest and open look into Rob’s inner life and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Please feel free to share episodes of Bleeding Daylight and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

Rob Mason suffered with the shame associated with chronic anxiety and panic attacks for over 10 years but he says that what he once thought would ruin his life, has in fact, enhanced it. As a church pastor and sports chaplain for nearly 30 years, he's had the privilege of walking alongside thousands of people, struggling with their emotional wellbeing. His book Shame Off You is a practical handbook for anyone facing the shame associated with mental health and anxiety issues. Rob, thank you for being part of Bleeding Daylight.

Rob Mason:

Oh, thank you, Rodney. And so good to hear your voice.

Rodney Olsen:

Your book starts with you identifying some of the root causes of shame and anxiety in your life. So where did it begin for you?

Rodney Olsen:

Oh, I could probably go back to about the age of four or five having minor surgery under general anaesthetic and yeah, it was a traumatic experience. It was the days where you just got dropped off. Your parents weren't with you and I got dropped off. I went to a bed and then I was asked, where do you want your injection, your arm or your bottom? And I just screamed and freaked out. So what happened, the nurse had to get a doctor to pin me down while they gave me an injection in the bottom and I think that was my first experience of fear, but probably even at a young age, feeling humiliated or I made a fool of myself and then where was mom and dad? And so that was also that sense of abandonment. And that was probably the beginning where I realized that there was a shyness and probably always a sense of feeling timid and fearful. It was probably at a very early age I realized, oh, the world is not a safe place and that's probably where it all began. Almost like a narrative. I began, you know, the story I told myself about myself of, Hey, you, you know, the world is scary and you're on your own.

Rodney Olsen:

And there are several other instances throughout the book that you cite that cause more anxiety. But I'm wondering for some people they're experiencing things that they don't understand. They're experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, and yet they can't bring it back to anything in particular. Does our healing of anxiety have to be tied back to remembering what it was that caused it?

Rodney Olsen:

Not necessarily. I think the value of counselling is you take the time to try and track back. When did you start experiencing, you know, the feelings of depression, anxiety, overwhelm? But I think if you can't find, go right back to your childhood and discover it, I think it's still trying to discover what were those from your perspective, what were those trigger points? And even if they are only recent, there's still that sense of, okay, well I'm human. I can relate to thousands and thousands of other people I'm not alone. And then it's going on. Well, what do I do with it? So once you've got a basic of what anxiety depression is, then there's a sense of, okay, well I've got a sickness. I haven't made it up. It's not simply genetic. It's real, but overall it's manageable. And it's just having the, the courage of, Hey, I'm going to go on a journey. I don't want to, I don't want this to dictate my life any longer, knowing that it won't be an overnight success. It will be depending on the person and the issues, you know, could be months for myself. It was years. Cause I think it was so, so much part of my narrative from such a young age,

Rodney Olsen:

There was that instance way back that you've just told us about as a young boy and having to go to hospital and the shame that's associated with that, and I think you play that forward into where you were later and I guess you carry that for the whole of your life until it started demonstrating in other ways. Tell us when you first realized that this was going to cause you real problems.

Rob Mason:

Yeah. That's a good way of putting it. So in the book I talk about a few, I call them defining moments of dysfunction and a lot of it had to do with my relationship with my father who also had mental health issues. And he was a pastor like myself. And so I think I, without knowing, I probably absorbed some of his shame that he had to get out of ministry early and he was unemployed for such a long time because of depression. And so I think I took that on to myself, but yeah, I'd say decades and decades, I lived with shame. I had issues like insomnia and chronic shyness, but it was in 2007 that everything hit the fan. And I was with my wife, a pastor friend, and a couple from the church who were recently appointed as associate pastor. So we're in a local place, we're in a restaurant in Wembley for those who are in Perth, you know, Wembley.

Rob Mason:

And we looked at the menu and in, it felt like a millisecond, everything changed. My breathing changed. My heart was pounding. It was almost like I was going into shock and I didn't know what was going on. There was a combination of, am I having a heart attack, but I don't. It was almost like I've just got to get out. And so in front of my wife and these people who are very close to me, I just ran out of the restaurant and went into my car, crying uncontrollably, not even concerned, what sort of scene I created because by nature I'm, I, I'm probably a fairly private person. I don't want to make a scene, but I just had to run and escape the restaurant. It was almost like, even though it sounds crazy now there was a threat, but I didn't know what it was.

Rob Mason:

And so I had to get out and I'm in my car and this pastor praying came in, said, what is going on? And the fearful thing is, you don't know what's going on. It's like, my body is in overdrive. I feel there's this there's this threat. Now I know now it was my first full blown panic attack. My body was just absolutely saturated with adrenaline cortisol. So it's these hormones that are often released during times of either activity like sport, you know, thrill seeking or when you, your brain centres, there's the threats. And for, for some reason in this public place, I've felt threatened. But I think it was just years and years and years of living with shame and feeling like I'm not good enough, which is really the essence of shame. It's that tormenting and menacing feeling of inferiority. And I think then in 2007, it's like almost for the first time, it manifested itself in a physiological way where it impacted my breathing.

Rodney Olsen:

It was uncontrollable. And you know, I had my first full blown panic attack in a public place, which makes it a little bit more complex because some people have their first panic attack in their sleep or at home. And it's still terrifying because you don't know what's going on, but when it's in a public place, what happens you, then you're almost panic, panic. You, you fear going into a similar situation. So it happened in a restaurant a shopping centre or, you know, just walking down the street, well, then you naturally want to protect yourself. You don't want to be in that situation again. So that's where you need help. And I needed help. I couldn't deal with this on my own.

Rodney Olsen:

On the surface things were very different. You were quite successful as a pastor. Maybe you can paint us a picture of what life on the outside for you at that stage,

Rob Mason:

Ah, very discerning. And it's often the way isn't it. I always had that analogy of a dark. You know, you see it gliding on the water. It looks so effortless and almost majestic can get underneath the little legs paddling like crazy. And yet for our world, we had a, a church that was growing. It was innovative. We had you know, a few hundred people. We had multiple staff. We also had a indoor play centre for parents and children. And that was a very innovative thing, been going for a few years. And we had every week hundreds and hundreds of people coming into our place centre, we were doing a lot of things in the community, feeding the poor and the need needing. So from the outside, yes, we're, you know, we've got a few hundred people, multiple staff, a, a million dollar, not for profit business.

Rob Mason:

People are going overseas for short term mission trips. And yeah, you know, we had an amazing facility credibility. And to be honest, when I, my wife and I started the church, I never in my wildest dream would have ever thought we would be where we were. It was like, this is just a wild ride. And I, to a point that I was enjoying the journey, but the more it grew, the more complex it became. And to be honest, the more, yeah, my confidence was challenged. I began to, as the church was growing, becoming more complex and financially multiple staff, staffing issues, pastoral issues legal issues. I then started again that sense of overwhelm and spinning plates. And I think, you know, for, for people on the outside yet, they each way growing innovative dynamic. But my private world was, I'd say slowly imploding.

Rodney Olsen:

You mentioned that issue of credibility. You had credibility in the community and I imagine that that fed into your anxiety because there was this fear. If anyone found out this could all come crashing down in a moment.

Rob Mason:

Totally, and it's always hard in church life to define success or what is a healthy church, because in many ways it's a very subjective thing. And it depends who you talk to. And I don't think in a bigger is necessarily better. I think it was Rick Warren that said, you know, better is better, whether you're a small church, medium sized or large, but once we became a larger church and well known in the community, I guess on the, you know, the flesh part of my being a pastor, you know, I'm human, you know, there's ego, but then there's a sense of there's more, more to lose and, you know, disappointing people. And the last thing I wanted to do was to let people down to let my guard down, but especially in the context of being with a couple, we just appointed as associate pastors in front of my wife and in front of this pastor, there was just this overwhelming sense of humiliation.

Rob Mason:

It was almost like I'm busted. This is the real Rob Mason coming to the surface. All of my insecurities, my emotional damage. It was almost like, okay, I'm exposed like Adam and Eve. And probably for a long time, I tried to cover all of that insecurity. And I think a lot of leaders, pastors can relate to this. You know, you just try and be busy and you try and do things that bless people. But at the same time, you're also trying to protect yourself. I don't want people to really know who I am and by, you know, that dark night of the soul, it's actually more than a dark night it's it's decades, even though it was ugly and messy and confusing, it was a redemptive thing. It was almost like, well, for decades, I've been wearing this pain and all this confusion and turmoil, it was like, God graciously said, Rob, it's time.

Rob Mason:

It's time not to stop being a pastor. In fact, it's time to go deeper as a pastor and to really look at your soul and to have someone skilful to walk alongside you, including my church board. I shared with my board what had happened and probably a few weeks later, I shared with the church because in a way, if we're community, well, I can't give this persona that Hey, on this amazing dynamic leader and it's all going well, we're going from strength to strength. It's like, Hey guys, I'm on one level. Our church will be business as usual, but for my personal world, it's not business as usual. I'm going to do a pretty long journey of getting counselling and relearning how to, to think and deal with how to change my physiology. That, that sense of panic through a whole lot of different exercises.

Rob Mason:

And yeah, you know, probably like a lot of people, you hope it's one or two sessions, but it ended up being probably about a 12, 18 month journey of counselling doing a whole lot of exercises, such as breathing and meditation, and really taking a closer look or almost taking the infantry of my thinking and beginning to catch my thoughts and realizing that, wow, I didn't realize that for decades. My thinking has been negative, toxic, catastrophic, and words do damage. Maybe not immediately, but if you've got this self-talk, that is so toxic, at some point, it's going to affect your body to the point your body's going to cry and say, Hey, I can't keep doing this. I can't keep absorbing this toxic message of living on high alert and so that's, that's the beauty of when it came to the surface, it was time to do an inner work, a deep work.

Rob Mason:

And I can now look back on it and it's, it was a saving grace. You know, it was a time where God intervened and it was an act of mercy. It wasn't punishment. And even though it felt like exposure, it was a positive thing, not a negative thing. It's like, okay, it's out in the open now I've got nothing more to hide because shame is hiding. Well, if you take the hiding away, you tell people what's going on in your, in a world. Well, in a sense, the shame goes, it's like, okay, I'm ready to do this. And the, the ironic thing when I shared with the church, the feedback was I became a lot more relatable in some ways, a lot more approachable. And those struggling with mental health on the side said, Oh, you, you may not be aware, but I also struggled with depression, panic attacks.

Rob Mason:

And to know that our pastor is struggling well, it's okay. You've almost taken that sense of shame away from me cause you've gone public about it and so once you go public about our brokenness and shame is all about hiding and that sense of inferiority almost disarms shame, oftentimes in Christian circles, there's this belief that we should be living in victory, that if we are following Christ, that everything should be okay. So did you find that there were some people that brought that thinking to the table and said, well, you obviously are not walking close enough with God. And that's the answer. Yeah, there's a little bit, thankfully, not a lot, but there was a few well, meaning people who said Robert, it says in the Bible, you know, don't be anxious. So, you know, there you go. Just don't and probably a little bit, not necessarily from friends, but from certain circles you know, blogs or books that I read that are very much that victorious living, which look I believe in victorious living, but that doesn't necessarily mean from strength to strength.

Rob Mason:

Sometimes that includes working through our humanity, our brokenness, you know, those sort of thoughts of, Oh, well you need to pray longer or pray hard, or have you done a seven day fast or maybe you should do this. And there was a little bit of that, which is coming from people that are well meaning. But to be honest, there are probably times early in ministry. I didn't understand mental health either. And so I probably, you know, did the prayer and Hey, you read these verses every day, claim this. And I think for a lot of us, it then adds to the shame or at least it makes shame and mental health a little bit more complicated in the Christian world that, yeah, there's this sense of, I should be stronger as a pastor. I should be stronger. And I think the more that people, and it's not just pastors, but the more that people come out in the open, I think we've done that quite well in our nation.

Rob Mason:

There's a lot more people, media entertainment, politics, sports, and it just ordinary people like myself have come out in the open and it does help. It's like, Oh, and, and often that responsible, Oh, I never thought they would get us as if there's some profile of the typical person who has anxiety or depression, but there is no typical profile. It could be any person, any personality. I think for those of us like myself, who probably are more of the introverted shy have been you know, some, my upbringing issues, maybe I'm a little bit more vulnerable, but some of the most what we would call the most dynamic strongest leaders we've ever seen the most successful people we've ever seen when they come out the open it. So it almost gives permission for all of us to go, Hey, it's okay. You know that saying it's okay not to be okay.

Rob Mason:

I think we've gone through an era where was all about success and looking impressive. And maybe in the early days of social media, it was all about, well, it was probably a little bit plastic. It was all about giving this impression of we were going from one breakthrough to the next. And the reality is, and I've heard a number of different people, different leaders share how it's not necessarily that there can be breakthrough success followed by brokenness, followed by the dark Knight or the soul follow by another breakthrough. And it's just that there is no formula. There is no typical pattern. It's messy. And I think it's time as Christians, we accept messy spirituality. It's not, you know, all of the spiritual disciplines, prayer, fasting, meditation, church attendance, giving money to the church, the poor. And then therefore it's almost like, well, we'll live the good life.

Rob Mason:

It's it's messy. Life is messy. It's actually in the journey and the turmoil and the good days and the bad days. And sometimes just showing up and maybe getting counselling and maybe doing different meditation exercises. And, you know, for myself, we've all heard that spiritual disciplines. There was still a time I was struggling with sleep and physiology. And so medication also played a part. It wasn't the answer. You still had to do the hard work, but the medication actually probably just took the edge off and enabled me to be in a better place to receive counselling and to do some of that confronting inner work,

Rodney Olsen:

I was going to touch on those various areas. There is, of course, as you mentioned, during the anxiety attacks, your, your body is rushed with chemicals. And so there's definitely something happening physiologically, but you're also harking back to some of those earlier experiences that are causing that. And then there's the spiritual side. And what I do like about the book is that you're looking at them all because we've all experienced those books that as we've discussed, just say pray more or be more spiritual it's okay. There are those people who would say it's all about the chemicals. So just take medication there's some that would just say, it's all about the counselling of what you experienced at, at an earlier date. And so you've actually brought them all together in the book

Rob Mason:

And it probably was intentional in the sense of that's been my experience. So I wasn't so much strategic or, Oh, here's, here's a different sled. It has been my experience. And you know, it's very hard when people say, what were the two key areas? Obviously I've got to include, you know, the personal side of prayer and meditation, but then there was community in my family. You've got to do it with your family. If you're close friends, but then exercise plays a part and the counselling, it may not be for everyone. But I realized that this was so, Oh, it was almost at a point of derailing me. I knew it was beyond more than just a chat with a pastor friend or someone said, look, I'll pray for you. I realized I needed professional help. I needed insight into, you know, what are the triggers, but what is the way forward?

Rob Mason:

And I couldn't do that on my own. I was very fortunate in our church. One of our leaders is a mental health nurse and I've told her my symptoms. And she said, Oh, that was a panic attack of which I'd I'd heard of, but didn't, and didn't really understand what it was. So she told me briefly and she said, look, one of the best people in Perth, I'll contact her and you'll have an appointment in two days, which is normally you've got to wait months. And she said, Oh, by the way, this person isn't a Christian. And so I had to go, Oh, okay. So where are they coming from? And this person, their specialty or their premise is cognitive behavioural therapy. So in other words, their premise is when they look at an issue like a trauma or anxiety, they look at your thinking that they're thinking triggers your behaviour.

Rob Mason:

And then, you know, the therapy of trying to learn how to rethink and challenge your thinking and change your thinking enough to time it changes your behaviour, your physiology. And I realized, well, I want the very best available to help me navigate through this. And it was probably only two times where she asked me to do an exercise and I set up, Oh, actually I probably can't do that. It's a little bit of a conflict with my spiritual beliefs around a couple of minor times. But apart from that, at the end of the day, truth is truth. I might be a little controversial. Almost say it was all spiritual, even learning to sleep. Sleep is spiritual breathing, learning how to breathe, that spiritual going for walks along the beach, that's spiritual and even getting counselling, even though the person was not a Christian, it was spiritual because God is still giving me insight. Have you got time for a funny story while I was getting counselling?

Rodney Olsen:

Absolutely.

Rob Mason:

So here, we've got this person, who's probably got a bit of Eastern philosophy and she's, you know, doing some exercise and went, Whoa, stop. And she went, what I said, I've just had this revelation. She said, what? I said, I've just got this image of all these dominoes, the standing upright. And I believe God's saying those dominoes represent all of these false thoughts I've had about myself and my father. And that the big picture was I've never been fathered because of my father with his illness. Wasn't able to really father me well or in the way that I needed. And then I had this revelation. I told this lady said, in a moment, God gave me this revelation. Rob, you've always been fathered. And the moment I had that revelation all the dominoes started falling, and I said to her, I could hear them just go. So this revelation I said to her, Oh, it's a revelation. God's always love me. God has actually fathered me even when my earthly father couldn't. And it was just like, that was my payday. That was probably the biggest revelation. And it came from God in the midst of a counselling session with a lady who's probably got more of an Eastern philosophy. So she accepted it. She, I think she went, hi, I'm not going to argue with it. That's actually a really great revelation. You've always been fathered. So good on you.

Rodney Olsen:

Now, I'm interested in you speaking about your father because you've touched on the relationship there for some time. And in the book you outline the fact that you knew something was not quite right there but you didn't have the tools to know what it was, and so you inferred something very different.

Rob Mason:

Well, that's right. And I think particularly when you're very young you just, you know, obviously you probably think you've got the best parents in the world is safe and we're then when something happens, you know, whether there's a friction or there's an argument. And obviously the kids who go through, you know, seeing their parents divorce, it is a very traumatic thing. But with dad who was very passive, he wasn't around a lot. He wasn't affectionate, he wasn't nurturing. And so my conclusion as a kid, because there were, you know, I had traumatic experiences and debt in, see me afterwards, say, Hey, how you going? I'm sorry. You went through that. Let's talk because if his silence, I then interpreted as, Oh, he must be silent because he's really embarrassed about me. He's actually ashamed of me. He's I'm not living up to what a son should be.

Rob Mason:

So I just purely took it as it's not dad's issue. It's my issue. And I think it was Brene Brown talked about as parents. We have to be very careful when there's a trauma and we don't talk to about kids. You know, there's a silence because what happens when there's silence, you make up your own narrative, you'd join the dots. And there may be dots that were never meant to be joined. So for a long time, I just assumed dad didn't like my company didn't like me. And so I would try really hard to be a, you know, a good student or good at sport. But then when I didn't do well at school was sport. It it's just all this sense of, Oh, he's just embarrassed on I'm a disappointment. And it wasn't until probably my mother felt I was able to receive some background.

Rob Mason:

When she said, look, you were born during his last year of Bible college. I said, Oh, that probably wasn't too good. So I was born in October. He would have had his final exams in November. And I apparently wasn't a good baby. I had colleagues. So would have been difficult for dad. And then in his first year or two of ministry, he had a breakdown. And so as a little kid, you know, I didn't know what was going on, but obviously that was unemployed and unemployable on medication for depression. And so mum began to talk about, look, the reason why your father isn't around or is, gets very angry or he's just not emotionally available. It's because of he's got a sickness and then it was, Oh, okay. That it gave context. So it wasn't that I was a disappointment and it wasn't that. Yeah, I was a failure.

Rob Mason:

It was, wow. Dad had the sickness and that impacted his capacity to be a father for me, when you slow down and you go back and you feel the emotions and you might do an exercise where, you know, it was like three chairs, the counsellors in one arm in the other. And then she said, okay, just imagine your dad is here and your 10 years old. And you've had that traumatic experience in the hospital. And a couple of the other things, what would be the questions you would want to ask dad? What would you want to say to him? What would you want him to say to you? And in a very safe place with a skilled person, you, you go to a place you never thought possible where you actually remembered the emotions and you remember your thoughts. Oh, and yeah, it was very emotional.

Rob Mason:

I remember one session just crying uncontrollably yet. It was very therapeutic. And then I go home and Karen said, how's your, you know, session number seven or eight. And I just burst into tears because wow. I had to get messy. I had to get worse before it got better and I'll have to readdress all of those emotions and the story I told myself for all those decades. So yeah, throughout the book, there's definitely a narrative about myself, my father, and I won't give much away cause yeah, it's it finishes in quite a beautiful way. Near the end of the book,

Rodney Olsen:

You spoke about this narrative, that life goes from strength to strength and we've called that out for being false. But we could also give this narrative that your learnings and your recovery just went from strength to strength, but that's not always the case either. Is it?

Rob Mason:

No, I guess I always thought, and I think a lot of us think linear, you know, you're step one, step two. And then in a year you'll be in this place. And then in two years, all of that stuff is behind you. And my journey was all up and down and, and that's where again, I had to relook at my language. There were times that I had, I guess I called them a setback. And so, you know, I might've gone well for a few months, no panic attacks. It's all behind me. And then out of nowhere, another panic attack and in my faulty thinking, Oh, I'm back to where I was. It was Whoa. No, that's, that's not true. It's just a bit of a bump in the, that's all it is. I don't think for a lot of people, whether it's, you know, with a physical injury or an emotional injury, we're going to go through times where there's quick progress or someone on a, going on a diet.

Rob Mason:

You hear of people the first couple of weeks where the weight is dropping off. And then they, there's a bit of emotional eating, comfort eating and they put the pounds on again and then up and down it's I think for most of us that's life and we should probably have a more realistic expectation that there will be a few bumps along the way. But then when you share that with people again, that's relatable, you didn't just lose the weight and have kept it off perfectly. Or you didn't just deal with you know, a breakup with a girlfriend boyfriend, or you didn't just work through an emotional issue. And now it's all perfect. It's was still going to be messy. And I still have, I guess if I'm honest, I still feel vulnerable to mental health issues. But on my K with that, it doesn't mean I'm fearful.

Rob Mason:

It doesn't mean that I'm waiting for another breakdown or anything like that. I just feel, I think I'm just a person that's always going to be vulnerable. I've just got to be vigilant on my guard and just, I've got certain daily routines and rhythms that just keep me in check. And from time to time, I might tell someone that, Oh yeah, not having a good day or, or I could feel my physiology change. It wasn't a panic attack, but I thought a bit of mild panic come upon me. And it's good. I've got tools in the toolbox now, you know, with breathing meditation or I know what to do. I don't panic about panic anymore. It's just, it's just part of who I am. And that's okay.

Rodney Olsen:

I imagine that there are people listening who say I have anxiety issues or I have shame issues, but they're not as big as what Rob is describing. Or on the other hand, people saying, you know what things were a whole lot worse that I went through. And yet I find that the book actually helps people at any space in that spectrum. You would have had feedback from people that have read the book from all over the place. What are some of the responses that you're getting from people?

Rob Mason:

Oh, that's it. And there has been a lot of response, which is great. And I also loved the diversity of people. It's not just one demographic. It's all sorts of people, including people that don't have a faith. I've had a few people that aren't Christians who read the book and they didn't feel it was preachy. It was just very transparent and it was still relatable and I'm hoping for them, but it, it showed a perhaps a different side of Christian spirituality that they probably haven't seen before. But yeah, I had people saying, yeah, the practical exercises, cause in the book, it's not just, you know, information and my narrative there's at the end of every chapter, there's a time to stop and almost do an inventory, ask some questions, times of meditation, how to do meditation. So people found that really helpful. I had one person that said, you got me in the introduction in the first paragraph.

Rob Mason:

I said, all that was wonderful. Just the first paragraph. It was just oh. I'm in, I can tell this is a book that's going to be relatable. And again, there are no formulas and that can be for someone with very mild mental health challenges or severe. And that's where it's a very subjective thing. I share my story, but it's very hard to say, well, that's say seven out of 10 and someone else's only gets three out of 10. It's, we're all different. Our circumstances are different. So I think for anyone that feels a little bit of overwhelm, they need to not ignore it or deny it, but think, Oh, what's going on and try not do it alone for those where it's severe and it's been chronic, meaning, you know, it's been for years and years again, that's where they relate to my story. It's not, you know, a one month, six months, you know, it's over a decade now and now I'm still saying to people I'm still vulnerable, but I'm, I'm functional.

Rob Mason:

I probably have a greater sense of awareness. And as I said before, there's, it's like, you're carrying this toolbox wherever you go. And I didn't have that in 2007. It was just, Whoa, this is the end of me. Whereas now when things happen and you know, have those days you're not doing so well, it's like, Oh, it's okay, I'll get through this because I've now got a history of resilience, which I probably didn't have before. So you do build a resilience. I think that's what it is to be human. And even to be Crossfield, it's just, yeah, you look at a lot of the people in the Bible and you read biographies, autobiographies, where people are transparent and we're all in the same boat. We've all got our, our dysfunction and that's okay. God is glorified. Yes. When we do well, but God has also glorified. He now suffering in our, in our brokenness.

Rodney Olsen:

You talk about the inferences that we often make. When we see a situation, we don't have all the information around that. We join dots that should never be joined as you say. I imagine that there's possibly people listening who have already inferred what a response would be if they came out and spoke about the things they're dealing with, that they've joined dots that shouldn't be joined and so they're fearful of actually taking action against this anxiety and this shame. What would you say to them?

Rob Mason:

Well, first of all, don't try and not feel those things. I think the fact that you're feeling those things, that's again, it's being human. So don't it's, it's why people saying, you know, don't feel that or don't think that it's like, look you are, if I was to say to your listeners right now, don't think of an elephant with a pink Tutu. They're going to think of it. That's just part of being human. You know, you have that thought. I think you just own it. You own your vulnerability. I think part of why we often need help is you need someone skilful to go back to some of those original, original self-talk, you know, from the age of, you know, very early on in school, you know, you drop the ball and sport and for some people, Hey, it's no big deal for others.

Rob Mason:

You actually spoke a message to yourself. And then you, you probably try to avoid those situations again. So you thought, Oh, I let the team down on the fire. I'm useless. I'm uncoordinated. And so this is where we have to go on the journey of first of all, catching our thoughts, even if it's just for a week, every time you have a thought, write it down every time you think of something, when you're young, you know, what was that thought? What was the statement you're saying about yourself? I'm not as good as my brother or I I'm no good on useless. So you catch the thoughts and then this is where the work comes. You, you challenge them. In other words, are they true? Are they biblical? Where's the evidence that you're useless. Where's the evidence that nothing good ever happens to you. Whereas, so you actually start demanding evidence to see is this statement that I say about myself to myself.

Rob Mason:

Is it true? Or is it just some faulty perspective through whatever issues in life? And so you challenge it, you get really brutal about those statements and then you change them. And it's very hard to all of a sudden stop saying, Oh, I'm no good, nothing good ever happens to me, but you learn to replace it with truth. And that's where some of those statements in the Bible about who we are in Christ. So I can say, Oh, I'm useless, I'm hopeless. And you know, you compare yourself to other people, but Whoa, what about truth? The truth is I'm a new creation. The truth is, you know, I'm filled with the spirit of God. The truth is. And so you, you then have a new self-talk and it's what we call the renewing of your mind. We now have evidence over the last 20 years in neuroscience so that we can actually create new neuro pathways in our brain.

Rob Mason:

So you're actually changing these pathways. It takes several months for you to create these pathways, but you're, you're getting rid of the old messages. You're replacing them with new messages and you consistently do that. And it does take several months. And we're always default to the negative stuff when we're under pressure stress. But that sense of today's a new day. I'm going to think you thoughts and the new thoughts are truth. The truth sets me free, that the truth releases really good hormones, chemicals into my body. That sense of wholeness and wellbeing. I think we're living in a world where there's so much information, especially with social media, we're just inundated with information and probably comparing ourselves to people. And it's so easy to just allow these negative thoughts, infiltrate, and this sense of I don't measure up. I'm not as good as it's social media. It's often a little bit plastic. It's a little bit exaggerated. What, why do I need that? Why do I, why am I comparing myself? And then you realize it's such a futile thing to do because when we compare, we're either going to feel really proud that we're doing better, or we're going to feel humiliated and feel inferior that I don't measure up. So either way, it's not a good place.

Rodney Olsen:

Rob, it's been great talking about some of the things that you've experienced, but also the way that you're continuing to overcome them. And I'm going to put a link in the show notes to today's episode, where people can find your book, but for those listening, where's the best place to find the book and to contact you if they want to be in touch?

Rob Mason:

Yeah, probably the easiest way is my website. And so that's just Rob mason.co. It's a pretty good investment of my journey, which I do believe is relatable. It's a very practical book and it's certainly a book you can give to someone who doesn't have faith in God at all. It's not preachy, but there's certainly a lot of really good biblical content, but in a way that's very relatable.

Rodney Olsen:

Absolutely. It is a good read. And even if you're wanting to understand what someone else is going through, if there are people that you know, who are suffering through shame through anxiety, through depression, and you want a better handle on what they might be facing to help you to be a better aid to them, then this is the book to grab. It's called Shame Off You by Rob Mason, who's our guest on Bleeding Daylight today. Rob, thank you so much for spending time with us today.

Rob Mason:

Oh my privilege, Rodney. Thank you to you for the invitation and for all of your listeners and I love what you're doing with this podcast and I'm sure it's going to impact a lot of people for a long time.

 

Emily Olsen:

Thank you for listening to Bleeding Daylight. Please help us to shine more light into the darkness by sharing this episode with others. For further details and more episodes, please visit BleedingDaylight.net

Share | Download