Meet Meagan Dux.
This is her story…
I am ready to tell my story, although it’s difficult to decide where to start. I had a pretty normal childhood in the sense of my family, and my home life, but at school I encountered a whole different life. I was bullied. One girl, let’s call her A, decided she didn’t like me and I was a target, and that’s exactly what I was for the majority of my primary school life. This girl made my life a living hell and I was too scared to do anything about it, so I let her bully me. I often wonder what I’d be like if A hadn’t bullied me. Would I be depressed? Would I have completely changed for the better, instead of the worse? One person changed my life forever, one single person had the power to break me so badly that I no longer wanted to live, and to this day, years later, I’m still fighting the battle of my life.
Unfortunately, the bullying continued into high school, although it stopped in Year 11 and 12, mainly because I changed schools, but by then it was too late. The bullying had taken its toll and me and my life. My life spiralled out of control. I stacked on weight, I was very unhappy, and I was nasty to my family because I was frustrated with how I was feeling, and how I was treated. When I was 14, I tried to take my own life. Fortunately, my brother walked into my room and saw what I was doing. I had worked very hard to keep my problems hidden, but from my attempt my family then realised how bad things were.
I used to be angry about that – but now I see it was a blessing in disguise. I was in and out of therapy for a number of years, and after my dog’s death in 2012, my depression skyrocketed and I tried to take my life again. I went back into therapy and by 2016 my depression had gone from mild to severe.
While my depression was getting worse I was at uni where I was working towards my teaching degree. After my depression got worse I deferred and spent some time figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. Teaching wasn’t something I was passionate about and I felt like I wasting my time, so I re-evaluated my goals. I’ve always wanted to act, so I decided to apply for a Theatre and Drama degree at Murdoch University. I was accepted and I began my degree in 2014.
While juggling my depression and my degree, I managed to begin working on my first novel. By the time I finished my degree I had become a new person. While my depression unfortunately didn’t get any better I was on the path to a better life for myself. I had also written three books, so that’s something I’m very proud of.
I’m still battling my depression – it recently become worse and I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder – but I’m working with my family and my doctor and therapist to recover. I’m also working on my novels, which has had the most positive impact on my life. It truly has made me happy and it has given me something to fight for. I’m so passionate about writing, and that has given me something to life for. Without my novels I truly believe I wouldn’t be here right now. I’m thankful every single day that I found something that helps me get through my darkest days.
People often think I’m quiet/shy or a major bitch when they first meet me. I’m incredibly anxious around new people, and I’m terrified of what people would think of me (although this is something I’m currently working on). I am ridiculously shy too, but this often gets misinterpreted for me being stuck up or being a bitch. I’ve had quite a few people tell me when they first met me that’s what they thought, but obviously once they got to know me they saw that it was just my way of protecting myself. I often don’t realise how standoffish I am when I met someone new, but now I try to be much more confident and friendly. Once people know me I’m the complete opposite, I open myself up to them and I’m bubbly, funny (at least I think I am!) and friendly. I’m also fiercely loyal and I try to be there for my friends 24/7.
I guess people don’t realise how much I’m going through since I don’t like to talk about it and up until now I did a good job at hiding it from the world. I think people see me and they judge me on my size, but they don’t see why that has happened, and I think people don’t realise that I’m more than the weight I carry around with me every single day.
I’ve had quite a few battles throughout my 25 years of living. Obviously the bullying and my battle with my mental health have been the biggest. I’m still fighting through them, but with time I’m positive I’ll be able to overcome them and come out a better, happier Meagan.
I had a severe ankle injury for 6 years. I finally saw a surgeon and I was booked in to have an ankle reconstruction in June of 2016. I had major surgery and from that experience I faced some of my toughest battles. Not being able to take care of myself or get out of bed for two weeks took a toll on me and my mental state, but it also taught me how to be strong and push through things I thought would destroy me.
My wins include things like graduating from university (which I never thought I’d do!), acting in shows, stage managing shows, getting through my ankle reconstruction, writing three novels and publishing one, having my novel stocked in stores and having people love my novel so much that they felt compelled to contact me to tell me.
Having my novels published is a dream come true, and it’s something I plan on working towards. I want to continue writing and letting the world read the stories I’m bringing to life.
I guess still being alive is a pretty big win, too. I’ve faced days where I’ve just wanted to give up for good, so to still be breathing is a pretty big win for me.
Like anyone I’ve had dreams that have passed me by, but I try not to go into them or overthink them, it can lead to me thinking I’m a failure and then it’s a downward spiral into another depressive episode, so for now, I just focus on the positive aspects.
Growing up my mum always told my brothers and I that we could do anything and be anyone we wanted to be, regardless of what the world told us we should do. She always encouraged us to chase our dreams no matter what, so from that I believed I could be an actor, regardless of my size. I believed in myself and I believed I could leave Perth to see what else was out there for me – acting wise. I had a plan to leave Perth and work towards becoming a full-time actor, and I was very close to moving away, but I had to make a decision, and I did just that. Acting obviously isn’t my number one passion and love, I mean I still love acting, but writing is my life now and it’s my ultimate dream.
My dream now is to continue writing and getting my novels out into the world. I have some very exciting projects in the works at the moment, so I have a lot to look forward to. I’d also love to get into public speaking and become a mental health advocate. I’d love to help inspire people and change the way in which mental health is viewed.
Despite the moments when my mind tells me I can’t do anything deep down I’ve always believed that I can do anything I set my mind to. I didn’t think my life would ever turn out how it currently is, but I also believe that everything happens for a reason, and this is exactly how my life was meant to be and I’m slowly coming to accept that.
My loves include my three beautiful dogs, AFL, relaxing, reading and the beach! I also have a ridiculous obsession with winter – I just love the cold! My greatest passion is writing. That’s what gets me out of bed every single day, even when I don’t want to. Having a story to write gives me so much hope for my future, and it gives me the most indescribable feeling, it’s like happiness and excitement along with every other positive mood wrapped into one!
One of my fears is never feeling good enough, and never living out my dreams.
According to my family what makes me, me is my unique sense of humour (according to my mum), my warm and caring nature (I care a lot about people, even if they’ve hurt me), I’m a caring sister (wise words from my older brother :P) and I’m very loving and accepting.
According to me, what makes me, me is: I try to be a good friend and family member, and I try my hardest to help out anyone who needs it. My sense of humour, my love for the most random things (like lemurs and the cold) and my passion for writing.
My friends say I’m a good listener and I offer good advice, I’m there for them, I’m down to earth, I’m honest, I work hard, I push to obtain the things I want, I’m loyal, and I leave a positive impression on them.
Writing comes very easy to me, I don’t ever have to overthink ideas, it’s a very natural process for me, but I’ve still had to work hard and fight to make it a dream come true. It was absolutely worth it, and that’s why I continue to fight to bring my stories to life. I’ve had to fight through my darkest days, too, but again, it’s been worth it.
To me, happiness is being able to wake up every day with a smile on my face. Being surrounded by positive, loving and loyal people and having my dogs in my life all bring happiness to me. And again, writing brings me so much happiness.
Success to me means achieving my goals and dreams, especially when it comes to my novels. I want to give readers what novels have given me. A place to escape the chaos of this world, a place to get lost in another world, and a place that offers comfort, and expression of emotions. If I give my readers the happiness that reading and writing gives me, then I’ll be happy, and as long as my readers love my work and enjoy the stories I tell, then I’m successful, regardless of how many books I sell.
Love to me means having people who support you, love you and support you not only on your good days, but on your bad days too. I also believe love means accepting a person for who they are.
I’ve been to Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur and Bali. My adventures have taught me so much about the world outside of Perth, they’ve been amazing experiences, but it’s also taught me how lucky and thankful I am to live in a place like Perth. I’d really love to visit Canada and Alaska, and I’d love to go to Europe and travel around to the different places there. I’d say my top three places I want to visit are Canada, Alaska and Ireland.
Family to me is home. It doesn’t matter where my family is, the minute I’m with them, I’m home, and that offers the greatest sense of comfort ever. Family is everything to me, it’s where my life started and it’s where my life will end. It’s taught me love, hope and happiness and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing family and they mean more to me than I’ll ever be able to express.
Do I believe in a ‘greater good’? A force greater than myself? Absolutely! This is something I’ve always believed in, and I don’t think that will ever change. Everything happens for a reason, and I truly believe there is force that is greater than myself, and I respect the hell out of that.
For me, the way I connect with people is through sense of humour. I love to laugh, and I’m instantly drawn to people who can make me laugh. I also connect with people based of similarities and how approachable and friendly they are. I’ve always been like that and I don’t think that’s changed much over time.
I think being loving, friendly and honest is the greatest way to connect to someone else. If they can’t offer you the right kind of support/friendship, it’s more than likely not going to be a solid foundation of support and that’s what we all need to get through life.
My mum has been the biggest influence in my life. She has been there through the good days and the terrible days. She’s always supported me and done everything in her power to help me out. She’s more than a mum to me, she’s my best friend. She never once made me feel bad for my mental health and she’s done nothing less than get me through the hell I’ve been through – even when I’ve told her to leave me alone. She has loved me unconditionally and I’m so lucky I was blessed with her as my mum.
My dad has been incredible too. He’s supporting me unconditionally and he has worked tirelessly to help me achieve my dream and I’m very thankful for everything he has done for me. My family as a whole have been incredible too, and they’ve all influenced my life. My grandparents are always there for me, and my brothers help support me through rough times.
One of my best friends, Jon, has been a huge influence on my life, especially recently. I found it very difficult to open up to my friends, especially when I’m struggling. Thankfully Jon offered me a place to be honest, and over time I’ve come to trust him with every aspect of my life, right down to the things I never thought I’d tell anyone outside of my family. The word best friend gets thrown around a lot, but I’m really lucky to have a best friend like Jon. He supports me and he helps me get through my difficult days, and that’s not an easy thing to do, so I’m very thankful for him and his friendship.
I’m also very lucky to have Dani, BJ and Claire, who are like sisters to me. They, like Jon, have helped me through the moments where I wanted to give up. They often compliment me and offer me solutions to my problems, which I really appreciate. It takes understanding, loving people to stick by your side when you have a severe mental health problem, so I never take them for granted.
My hopes for the world is that we can all live in peace. It’s cliché as hell, but I just want everyone to be happy and peaceful, and I want everyone to know the happiness that comes from chasing a dream. As far as humanity, I really just want to live in a world that is peaceful. We as humans need to support and encourage each other, not tear each other down.
I wish people knew how hard I’ve had to fight to not only stay alive, but I wish people knew how much I’ve given to work towards my recovery, and my dream of being an author. I want my legacy to be remembered as someone who was strong and fought for a better life. I want my life to prove that no matter how depressed you are, you can turn things around and fight for a brighter future – even when it seems impossible. I want to be remembered as an author who put her heart and soul into each and every novel and gave readers the same happiness and comfort that reading and writing has given me. I want to be remembered as someone who helped people understand that they are enough, and they are good enough, even if their mind tells them otherwise.