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Steffi Patience, author and mental health & suicide prevention advocate

In this week’s episode, Stephanie Lenehan is talking to Steffi Patience who was a Winner in the 2018 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards for Victoria.

29yr old female. Born in Stawell Victoria. Winner of the 2015 City of Ballarat Youth Award (18-25 division) & the 2018 VYAA Regional & Rural Health Award (sponsored by the Royal Flying Doctor Service). Author of the Young Adult Fiction books “The Unexpected” (published in 2016) & “Sahara the Forgotten Desert Princess” (published earlier this year). Mental Health Volunteer in multiple fields, primarily suicide prevention. Was homeless for a few years, even during volunteer work & winning the Ballarat Youth Award.



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[00:00:24] Steph Lenehan

So, I’m Steph and you’re a fellow. Steph. Hello.  How you doing today?

[00:00:32] Steph Patience

Yeah, I’m good. I’m good. Yeah,

[00:00:34] Steph Lenehan

yeah. Okay. Have you done a lot of these podcast interviews and stuff before

[00:00:38] Steph Patience

I’ve done One?

[00:00:40] Steph Lenehan

Oh, okay, wonderful. So we’re both pretty fresh to the whole experience. Yeah, yeah,  wonderful. So I think we just start by going through your brief history. I know  that you came onto our scene in twenty eighteen when you won the young achiever  regional and rural health award for the world doctors in twenty eighteen. So how  did you find yourself being nominated in that category?

[00:01:05] Steph Patience

I actually have no idea like to this day I have no idea who nominated me  now. Okay.  Which kind of sucks. I wish I could Thank them.

[00:01:16] Steph Lenehan

I’m sure like you that you’ve thanked them enough with your hard work and your contributions and everything else  that you’ve achieved it’s. It’s amazing, but it’s not your only award. You’ve got quite the accolade going.

[00:01:28] Steph Patience

Yeah, I also won the two thousand and fifteen city of ballarat youth award. So  yeah, and  I don’t know who nominated for that one.

[00:01:40] Steph Lenehan

Oh my goodness. So you’ve just got some guardian angels out there.

[00:01:48] Steph Lenehan

How did it feel when you were not only nominated but actually to take the, the prizes for that,  those awards

[00:01:55] Steph Patience

with the ballarat one. I was so close to actually walking out of the  cinema, which is where the ceremony was being held. Because my category had, you know,  gone and been done and I had just moved into someone’s caravan. So I’d been like,  you know, setting up right before like going to the ceremony. So I was like,  Oh I didn’t win so you know as much as I want to respect the other nominees in their categories,  I might as well head back and continue unpacking.  And so my butt had left my seat  and I started to walk away and then I hear my  name and I’m like, excuse me, what?  And I turned around and it’s like I won their major eighteen to twenty five  category and I was like what?  And like I said, it’s so loud that the people on stage could hear and they’re like,  yeah, it’s you, you can come on stage now and I’m like, Oh my God,

[00:02:45] Steph Lenehan

you have a speech prepared like expecting to hear that,

[00:02:48] Steph Patience

,  blah, blah, blah. And I went in totally blind, so thankfully at that ceremony they were like,  you know, just say a quick Thank you and I’m like okay,

[00:02:58] Steph Lenehan

so you just moved into a caravan, is that right? I left

[00:03:04] Steph Patience

that I was still technically homeless at that stage. Yeah. So it was,  I sort of graduated from homeless like sort of just bouncing from place to place to  catch surfing. So in that situation I, I hadn’t,  I didn’t know the guy like I met him once for coffee,  just so I could gauge sort of my safety levels. But I was still volunteering at  that stage. And so it was my volunteer coordinator.  I was like, hey, I know a guy,  he’s got a caravan. And so yeah, it was  still sort of scary going to, you know,  someone’s front yard and not knowing who they are and like living there and everything. But it was, you know,  a roof over my head. And so I remember feeling very self-conscious at the ceremony  because I obviously didn’t look very nice like I had like  a handful of close to my name.  And my hair was  a mess. And I was just making the most of it though. Yeah,

[00:04:02] Steph Lenehan

yeah, I was going to say if, if that’s your sort of living situation,  the last thing you’re thinking about is attending a fancy awards night. It must have been  a really So parallel universe feeling.

[00:04:15] Steph Patience

Yeah, it was almost culture shock because it had been so long since I’d been in  a stable enough place to feel even remotely normal,  let alone fancy. So I felt very ugly duckling. But then by the end of the night,  like I felt very special because I won.

[00:04:33] Steph Lenehan

That’s amazing. And so did you find  that this was like the beginning of some really amazing stuff coming your way or

[00:04:42] Steph Patience

in the moment? Not so much like it felt very special, obviously, but I was like okay,  well this is my big highlight moment. That’s about it. Yeah. It was like  a really nice thing and it was exciting, but I didn’t say it as  a catalyst or anything. I was like,  I’m still struggling and I and I didn’t really see like that lining up any time in  the near future. But it was really nice to have one night where something really  good happened and I was like, well at least if things get tough,  I can look back on this one night for a while. But yeah,  I honestly didn’t think things were going to get much better from there. In that time environment.

[00:05:17] Steph Lenehan

Were you able to sort of capture the feelings that you went  through at those award nights and use them as a bit of momentum?  ? Because like from what I’ve gathered, you’ve just accomplished so much in, in, in the time since.

[00:05:31] Steph Patience

Oh, Thank you. I sort of used it as  a distraction. So it’s one of those things where even to this day when people say  that I’ve accomplished so much like it doesn’t register in my head because they  were just stepping stones of you know,  I got up in the morning and I’m just volunteering at this place or this place just  to honestly just keep my mind focused on anything but my life and myself. And so  yeah, it’s like things would happen as a result like awards or honorable mentions and things. And I just like,  Oh that’s really cool. But then I just, you know,  go on to the next thing and so I accumulated, I guess,  like the repertoire of recognition and even now it blows my mind when people read  it back to me. I’m like, wow I,  I did those things. It’s kind of crazy.

[00:06:24] Steph Lenehan

I just, I am so blown away by you weren’t in  a stable living environment and you were volunteering. So even though materialistically you didn’t have  a lot to give. And yet you still had so much to give and you helped out other  people. Is that what was driving you to volunteer?

[00:06:46] Steph Patience

I think it was very,  I like to refer to myself in those days as I was being selfishly selfless. Yeah,  it was really nice just well if I hadn’t volunteered I honestly at that stage I  wouldn’t have had any reason at all to keep on going or to wake up in the morning.  And so yeah, it was very much a coping mechanism of I need this,  I need to be doing something because I had dropped out of Uni and obviously I didn’t have  a job at that stage and living. But my centrelink was being cut off every couple of  days because I didn’t have an address to put on the forms and things. And  a lot of the time I wasn’t able to attend drug seeking appointments and things  because I didn’t know like what tan I would be in at the end of the day or anything  like that. And so it was right up and down. But yeah,  there were some days where I’d still just, you know,  check on my uniform because some of the volunteer gigs I did went as far as having  uniforms and my boss, I guess, coordinator whatever would be like, you know,  we’re doing this event on this day and I’d be like, Oh, you know, I don’t drive so you know,  I can’t get there and everything. And so they’d picked me up and let me stay with  them. None the wiser as to, you know, my situation. I feel like there’s  a few people that if they had known they would have helped me. I just didn’t even  stop to think to Yeah.

[00:08:12] Steph Lenehan

Ask wow.

[00:08:15] Steph Patience

So I like being on my own at that point

[00:08:18] Steph Lenehan

you, you’re in. I can’t going to read it. You were in the midst of both worlds,  you know? And, and I just, I wonder  like, what was your support network like like, what were your friends like around then?

[00:08:32] Steph Patience

Very limited. Like I had essentially cut off my family and my other friends.  All in all basically to hang on to this one friendship that I’d had for so long.  We’d been friends since I was five, and like we’d had our ups and downs unfortunately  a lot more downs and ups. But for some reason I was really latched onto this  friendship. And in my mind, I was like, well, she comes from  a successful sort of Family like they seem to have that stuff together. Where you  know my family, my life back then was  a little bit turbulent and everything. So I really latched on to this idea of I  can’t be anything like them, but then they gave me the opportunity to be  a part of that family unit. And so yeah,  I threw everything else away and put my everything into this situation.  And  unfortunately that situation is what led to, you know,  being homeless and everything but for the beginning. And I was sort of in it  together. And then yeah, it was very much. I guess being in such a dire situation,  I really opened my eyes to how toxic things have become. And we eventually parted ways and she of course,  had her family to go back to. And at that stage I had cut myself off from everything else,  I’d put my one hundred percent into this one relationship. And so I still had  the caravan and the volunteer connections. But as far as I was aware,  I was by myself and even when her and I had still been friends,  I’d felt like I was by myself for  a very long time. And so it became very difficult to reach out and ask for help for  myself. It was very easy for me to ask for help for other people and to advocate  for them. But I’d just gotten so accustomed to being by myself mentally and emotionally, at that point,  even when I was surrounded by people that I couldn’t acknowledge that anyone could  help me. So for a while I was stuck.

[00:10:35] Steph Lenehan

Yeah, it sounds like this friendship sort of eroded your communities and isolated you  isolated you away from other opportunities as well.

[00:10:46] Steph Patience

Yeah. Like I think if we had been in a romantic relationship,  it definitely would have been like domestic abuse and that just mentally like how  they isolate you and like stuff from your loved ones and your connections and they  make it that they are your rock and you have nothing else. And so when I let go of  that rock, I found myself drowning.

[00:11:08] Steph Lenehan

Yeah, I think it’s really interesting. You know, you say if it was a romantic thing,  I think people don’t give enough credit to friendships like these. The  relationships around you are the ones that form you and like  a friendship breakup can be just as bad if not worse as a, as  a romantic breakup. And especially when it leaves you in that, in that circumstance as well.

[00:11:31] Steph Patience

Yeah, and especially because it had been so long like we had been friends since I was  five years old. And so you know, if it had been a romantic relationship, that’s a hell of  a long marriage to be in.

[00:11:46] Steph Lenehan

And so I just wanted to ask you have written a couple of books and the first one, the unexpected,  that one’s done very well. Is this kind of a not autobiographical,  but is it kind of a reflection of what you’ve been through

[00:12:01] Steph Patience

a little bit? Yeah, the unexpected was very loosely based on myself and  a couple of my friends and it revolves around one particular sort of situation that  one of my friends had found themselves in. And ex best friend who I just mentioned  makes that anonymous appearance in there as a different character. And yeah, it’s the closest things thus far to,  I guess my telling my story besides the podcasts and I’m also  a blabbermouth. So I do tell people like if they gave me the opportunity like I  would like use my life story for a cup of coffee. I’m like, I’m so sorry.

[00:12:45] Steph Lenehan

Yeah I’m, I’m a bit like that when you’re at the grocery store and you know,  the checkout person says has a daily, Oh, have I got a story for you?

[00:12:54] Steph Patience

I know you don’t actually care. Random person, difficult things to ask, but you are. So here it is.

[00:13:00] Steph Lenehan

I love it.  You’ve aimed at, at a young adult audience is that, was that a decision that you made,  that young people need to be sort of aware of the lessons and the story that goes  along in the unexpected or

[00:13:15] Steph Patience

definitely like, I understand that some of the themes in  a quite mature and so sometimes I do think maybe I should’ve spent  a little bit higher because it does touch on rape and almost like Stockholm  syndrome type of dependency. Which, you know,  in the moment I didn’t really like associate myself with. And it was unlike my  friend situation in the unexpected that that was based on. But now I can relate to  both sides of the story myself. But I think the main reason why I aimed at young  adults was because it’s another coping mechanism of mine. Growing up with the family situation and then you know,  like even being homeless and stuff was I latched on to what books and my preferred  genre was young adult fiction. And so I think I’ve just got that attachment to it now.

[00:14:06] Steph Lenehan

Right.  And so what was your process when it came to writing?  Did you find you just had a natural knack for it?  ? Obviously a love of books can make it easier to, to just have that vocabulary and, and way of writing.

[00:14:20] Steph Patience

Yeah. Like I was homeschooled after grade four. And so it was very hard to sort of, I guess,  expand my knowledge quite as much as I guess people that go to mainstream school do.  And I’d always had a bit of  a knack for writing regardless. And I was very much like we focused in on that. Okay,  well let’s expand that skill set. But also I like that writing’s an escape. So I used to, you know,  write stories when I was stressed at home or anything like that. And I was recently  diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.  So dissociation is something I’ve always done without knowing why. And yeah,  daydreaming and plotting stories was just always my way of doing that.

[00:15:10] Steph Lenehan

I can picture when the world around you is, is just so unsafe and so unstable. The,  the strength that you must have had to create another place. You’ve just gone  anywhere but here and only have you use it to cope, but you’ve actually created like  a wonderful piece of work that can go on to help other people like did you ever  have that intention that this could go further, especially when you sold your first book,

[00:15:41] Steph Patience

again, not in the moment like it was very much like, okay,  I’m creating this thing for myself. And I always wanted to become an author like that was my dream as  a kid. And so it was always the game plan  But when I was writing back then it was  never like, Oh this is something I’m going to get published. It was just, this is like,  I want to get off my chest or I want to escape injury depending on what I’m working  on at the time. And then yeah, when one side settles into at least  a slight sense of normalcy because things were still  a bit crazy. When I got the unexpected published like it wasn’t one hundred percent  stable yet, but things were definitely getting  a lot better. I’d gotten back in contact with my family and everything by that  point. And so I sort of say the publishing of the unexpected is almost  a celebration of reconnecting with my family and friends and getting things back on  track because it wasn’t long after that. That things started to fall in place since  I guess that was almost my catalyst moment.

[00:16:47] Steph Lenehan

Right? Yeah, and sorry,  just the way you said get it off my chest. Did that come from the sort of  loneliness that you were feeling at that time?  ? Like you just didn’t feel like you had anyone else around any thought to get it down was that way?

[00:17:04] Steph Patience

Yeah, exactly like writing in it. So I felt like I was talking to someone,  you know, like a diary, you know, it’s like, Oh, you know,  there’s this imaginary reader in my head that’s reading this book or whatever. And  then in the stories themselves, like I could make up as many friends as I wanted,  and my family could be whoever I wanted them to be. And I could be whoever I wanted  to be. Which was always very nice since I tend to interject myself until at least  one character in a book.  Because I’m a bit selfish like that and look how fun their life is. Oh,

[00:17:38] Steph Lenehan

it’s your book you got here. And do you have any other sort of creative  outlets or did you find writing was the most?

[00:17:49] Steph Patience

Yeah, I tend to throw my all into things. And so yeah, writing sort of takes up  a lot of my creativity to the point where I wish I could paint and I wish I could  draw, but I just can’t do it.

[00:18:02] Steph Lenehan

That’s that. I think writing is such  a great skill and you hear more about these people who are doing mindfulness and  creative journaling and stuff like that. And I think it is. It is right. It is  a way of just emotional dumping. You know, in a healthy

[00:18:17] Steph Patience

way on the page and it turns into something beautiful,  which is very nice. It’s very satisfying to say at the end when you’re finished  writing and you look on it and it’s like,  Oh wow.  Like even my messy thoughts can turn into something really beautiful. So

[00:18:31] Steph Lenehan

it’s such a great way of saying and now your,  you’ve already published your second book. What was the inspiration behind that one?

[00:18:38] Steph Patience

It was a story I write when I was actually really young. Oh, yeah,  and of course you know, it’s been through a million versions since, and I’ve really read it  a hundred times probably. But I remember even when things went one hundred percent  great between my mom and I like, she would sit down every time I asked her to,  to read the next chapter that I’d written in that story. And so I’m very attached  to that story because I feel like it was  a very nice bonding experience for my mother and I back then. And now our  relationship is like really solid and nice now. And so I feel like it was the  perfect time to publish it, because now you know, we can both cherish the story together like she has  a copy of it. And she’ll tell anyone that will listen like, Oh my daughter, did this look at this?  Sorry. Must be

[00:19:31] Steph Lenehan

just wearing a, this is my daughter T shirt.

[00:19:35] Steph Patience

She just has copies of my book in her handbag so she can throw them at people like confetti.

[00:19:40] Steph Lenehan

She’s holding up the, the queue in the grocery store, just like us

[00:19:45] Steph Patience

one hundred percent.

[00:19:46] Steph Lenehan

But it must be so nice to have this,  this community Growing, not only with this one that you’ve built from scratch,  you know, but now also this one that you’re continuing to expand.

[00:19:58] Steph Patience

Yeah, no, it’s very exciting. Whenever I find out that someone’s read my book or heard  my story in some way, like, I feel like I’ve made another friend even if I don’t know their name,  It’s just very exciting to think. I’ve gone through feeling so lonely.  J feeling attached to complete strangers. Even it’s  a very nice feeling.

[00:20:23] Steph Lenehan

Do you think that it’s really going towards people who need it  with someone like such as yourself a few years ago?  Do you think they’re sort of getting what you got out of it?

[00:20:34] Steph Patience

Oh, I definitely hope so. You know, I would love to think that the unexpected in particular,  helps people. I really hope that people who are struggling, especially when they’re a teenager,  you go through so many different emotions and relationships. So I like to think  that the unexpected helps people when they read it to you know,  feel related to when inspired that they can get out of  a sticky situation. And if they need to. And then Sahara,  my latest book because it’s complete fiction like it’s completely made up,  but I feel like it could definitely be an escape for people like reading books  where they can just lose themselves in this desert world that I created with this  really nice Princess that they can, you know, feel attached to when. Yeah.

[00:21:21] Steph Lenehan

I wasn’t expecting it to be fully fiction just based on the forgotten desert Princess, it’s a,  it sounded quite reflective of your situation.

[00:21:30] Steph Patience

Yeah, no, it’s completely just I pulled it out of thin air as  a little kids and her love interest in the book. I suppose it’s more grounded in  reflective of struggles that I guess I was feeling at the time. Like he comes from  a very toxic, abusive family,  his father drinks. And so I feel like if people were struggling with that sort of  thing, they could relate to him. And you know, he ends up getting a Princess,  you know, not just a girl, but he gets a Princess. So it’s probably  a nice guy to think that, you know, even if are stuck in a place,  you can get nice things in your where they have nice things.

[00:22:11] Steph Lenehan

Is that a message that you’ve carried like with yourself for all this

[00:22:15] Steph Patience

time? One hundred percent, like I have no idea who said it, but I remember seeing  a card about how you know, even beautiful flowers grow from that. And you know,  the seeds of fucking darkness at the start and you know,  I don’t see any way out and then they just push themselves out of the jet and  become something beautiful. And I definitely relate to that. Nowadays, I’m like,  you know, back then I felt like I belonged in the debt, you know,  I felt buried and I felt like, okay, that’s a place that I belong.  You know,  I feel dirty and gross and people shouldn’t look at me. And now it’s like,  I’m proud of the flower I became and I’m like, no, you know, pink?

[00:22:54] Steph Lenehan

No. That’s. That’s so incredible I, I think we’re about to go into our young achievers programs in the actually,  at the end of this month. How do you, how do you feel about seeing sort of these younger generation,  these kids going through all of that they’re going through, you know, and,  but they’re still able to Excel how, how do you feel about all that? Oh,

[00:23:19] Steph Patience

I absolutely love it. Like of course I don’t love the fact that people are going through  things, you know, in an ideal world,  nothing bad would ever happen. Although that would be awfully boring. I feel. But I absolutely,  it’s so exciting to see like these strong young people would just flourish anyway,  regardless and even just turn the world around them slightly better. I absolutely  love it.  Like whenever the award season comes around, I’m always like, you know, looking at the roster of like,  Oh look at the nominees and look at all the incredible things that have done. Like  some of them just blow my mind. And my mind, I’m just like, wow,  like how can you change such a thing? And it’s just, it’s incredible and inspiring.

[00:24:07] Steph Lenehan

You’re one of them in my

[00:24:10] Steph Patience

mind, like I, you know,  to think that I’ve been on the same stage that all of those people are going to be  on when they accept their awards and things is just very unthinkable. Almost like  that. I’m very proud to have stood on that and I guess it sort of opens my eyes of  Oh, you know, I did. All right. Not all

[00:24:34] Steph Lenehan

right. I’d say I feel I feel proud on behalf of just our  team being able to to know you and to watch your progress over the last couple of  years. It’s been, it’s been a wonderful journey just to watch,  let alone actually experience. You said you did a lot of volunteering, do you still volunteer much?

[00:24:51] Steph Patience

But not as much as I would like because the main reason is just the town I live in  now is a lot smaller. Right now. I spent  a lot of my journey in ballarat and then in Melbourne where now I’m back where it  all began and still and so there’s a lot less opportunities to officially help out. Like, you know,  I still donate to a lot of charities like at the supermarket and I do share the dignity where they  collect period products and hygiene products for struggling women. I do that every  year at Christmas. I like build up hampers to ship out to them. And we’ve got an  animal charity like born and bred in store called deductibles, which is  a great charity that helps stray animals and rescue animals from the pound and  everything.  So I like to help them out whenever I can, but now also, you know,  I feel like a grown up now because I have  a job that I have to attend and As much time as I would  like to devote to charity. But I still definitely try whenever I can, and if I had my licence,  I would probably still be working for some of the charities in ballarat. I did  actually stay with survivors of suicide, which is  a ballarat group for I think the first year after moving back like I’d make my way up there by  a public transport and stay at my neighbor’s house let crash on her couch while I  was there, just so I could still help because not only was it a good cause,  but I think at that stage it was  a scary new chapter for me and I was latching on to the familiarity of you know,  this is what got me this far. And I guess  I was scared to let go of that tether in  case I backslide. So it took a while for me  to get to the point where I was like,  okay, I have to close that chapter of my life. And so I said goodbye to  a lot of the charities that helped me out in order to move forward and have an  opportunity to start new, fresh, exciting things,  and help out new charities that might pop up here and there. So yeah,

[00:27:05] Steph Lenehan

I think that’s really sensible. I think  a lot of people try to just block out or cut ends with, you know,  their past or whatever is going wrong for them,  but to be able to look back and be so thankful that you went through that to get to  where you are. It’s, it’s a really great place to, to be and a great perspective to have. Absolutely.

[00:27:26] Steph Patience

Yeah, I think I often surprise people because they’re like, Oh,  if you could go back in time like, you know,  we bet you would have cut that friendship sooner or, you know,  we bet you wouldn’t have dropped out of college and I one hundred percent would  have done everything exactly the same because yes, it was tough sometimes and yes,  I couldn’t see a way out a lot of the time  But that’s my story. You know, I,  the universe wanted that to be my story. And so now I feel like, you know,  what better editor than the universe The way I have to tell it then,  so be it. And at the end of the day,  it was a tragedy sometimes, and it was tough,  but I like to think it was a beautiful story and it will hopefully have a happy ending.

[00:28:09] Steph Lenehan

Absolutely, I am a firm believer in everything. Literally always works out because it just does, you know, as

[00:28:17] Steph Patience

opposed to that,

[00:28:19] Steph Lenehan

you know, it might not be the way you thought, but look at everything else, you know,  that’s just accepting and going along with the ride is part of it, isn’t it?  If there was something else that I wanted to ask, so you said you’ve got  a full time job now and it looks like you are in a stable environment now.

[00:28:39] Steph Patience

Yeah. When I first moved back into town,  it was still very much I was sleeping in my youngest sister’s bed.  The whole  thing slept on the floor. I feel like I should have been on the floor,  but that was an argument I lost when I was staying on my nan’s pullout sofa bed for  a while. And then eventually my dad’s friends had  a spare room. And so he organised for me to live there and it was, you know,  originally supposed to just be a temporary thing until I got my feet on the ground. But yeah,  I’ve got my feet on the ground and wanted to stay regardless. And so I get along  really well with my housemates and it’s nice to have somewhere. I don’t have to  question all the time of, you know, am I going to get kicked out,  or is my situation going to fall apart if the relationship falls apart?  ? Because I feel like for a long time,  my entire being sort of relied on the relationships that I had. It’s like if we have a fight,  then I could literally just be thrown out on the street and have to start from  scratch. And so it’s nice to be able to have that trust in people where it’s like, okay,  like I can feel comfortable and safe enough in another person. And in a situation that, you know,  I can go someplace home

[00:29:59] Steph Lenehan

is I imagine that was something that you’ve really had to  work on and had to re learn those that ability to trust other people.

[00:30:08] Steph Patience

It was a big adjustment for sure. Especially because like with my family in the  past I pulled away like and I sort of like,  tossed that those relationships away. And then in other relationships I was the one  to be tossed away. And so it was very hard to Yeah. Get to that point where it’s  like no, that’s not how relationships work. And yeah, you can actually yeah,  find stability because that was something I’d never known before. And then when I  did have it, I didn’t trust it. And so it wasn’t until like,  I’ve been here five or six years now. And yeah,  the first three years I was still like walking on eggshells,  even though they kept on telling me like it’s fine. You know,  like make yourself at home and I was like, what is that?  It’s been so long since I’ve had a home. How does one act in a home?  And so baby steps, but I think I got that.

[00:31:07] Steph Lenehan

Yeah, that’s, it’s incredible to restore yourself and you know, accept that. You’re welcome, you know, you’re allowed to,  to be there. I just want to know if you could go back to like  a particularly dark time or like unpleasant time. Is there a gift that you would give yourself?

[00:31:29] Steph Patience

Oh, honestly, just a big hug. I feel like I definitely would have needed a big hug. Yeah. Because yeah,  I just to know that there was someone there. Like even if it was just for forty  five seconds in a hug. And even if I didn’t know who this person was, you know,  like if I just had had someone just to be like, hey, you know,  you don’t have to do it by yourself. Like it would have meant the world to me even  if they were like, hey, I’m not here now,  but someone will be down the road. It would have been something to aim for.  Ah,  and it would have been a comforting thought to have

[00:32:08] Steph Lenehan

there was a bit of different, a bit of  a time difference between when you first won the the ballarat youth award and then  to winning the young achiever health award. Was there anyone who came with you to to the awards?

[00:32:25] Steph Patience

Yeah, it was actually my mum who paid me the ceremony when I won the achiever award,  which was very exciting was very nice and we made a whole trip of it like we booked  a nice place to stay and we had lovely dinner and got all dressed up together,  and it was one of the first trips where had just been the two of us and sorry, it meant  a lot to me to have her there by my side  and to see her crying in the crowd and to  realise, Oh my gosh, she’s proud of me that’s really cool. So yeah, that was  a very special moment that we got to get together. Which gave me

[00:33:08] Steph Lenehan

goose bumps. So for this second award, were you able to really appreciate that?  ? Yes you were meant to be there. Yes, you were ready to receive that award?

[00:33:21] Steph Patience

Yes and no,  like I feel like I was better than the first time. I feel like I was better at  being like, okay, you know what,  this is something I have done rather than almost feeling like this is just like,  you know, something that happened by accident or as  a side effect of the things I did. Like I  felt like at that stage I had earned it,  but I still felt very out of place looking around at all the other people there.  Like, I guess I had a bit of imposter syndrome was like,  I don’t feel like I should be here. And then  to, I guess have people be like no,  you definitely do belong here because like this is your award now and you’re up  there having to make this speech. It was Yeah,  it was in that moment when I was having to address the entire group of people that  had all done amazing things themselves that made me realize, Oh, you know,  like I have done some stuff. I’ve achieved some stuff and I want to continue doing  that. And not just as a distraction, but as something with purpose. You know,  it’s no longer.  I feel me being self selflessness. I just,  I want to help people for the sake of helping people rather than just trying to  forget my life. Because now I don’t want to forget my life. I feel like my life is pretty okay.

[00:34:44] Steph Lenehan

That’s. That’s so wonderful to hear. And I just,  I feel like you wouldn’t be the only one in your position who goes to these awards  nights and just feels like  a fish out of water. Do you have any advice or tips for someone if they did find  themselves in that position?

[00:35:01] Steph Patience

I think just, yeah, push the thoughts aside. You know, just acknowledge the fact that you’re there for  a reason. Even if you don’t understand the reason you’re there and to just enjoy it,  you know, instead of worrying and thinking that you’re not good enough to be there,  just enjoy the fact that you’re there. But I really wish I could go to every awards  ceremony and just be in the corner and spot all those people that look like I feel  out of place and be like you did this like,  this is our little table. We all belong here. And let’s just support one another. I  really wish I could do that.

[00:35:37] Steph Lenehan

Well, we’ll carry you in spirit, for sure.

[00:35:40] Steph Patience

I’m always there in spirit.  I’ve got my POM POMS ready. I’m proud.

[00:35:45] Steph Lenehan

Well, likewise, we’re so excited. I can’t wait to get my hands on Sahara and the forgotten desert  Princess. Is it available in all stores now or?

[00:35:56] Steph Patience

Yeah, it’s available in most stores across Australia, but it’s primarily available on Amazon. Yep. Because they were,  I published that run through the Cape eighty eight program along with Amazon. And  through them it’s available all over the world, which is so incredibly exciting,  but also scary, but very exciting, more exciting,  I guess. To think that, you know,  there’s someone in England and someone in France that might be reading my story at  any given moment. But both my stories are also available on e-book form. If people  don’t want to buy a physical form,  they can buy it on e-book and I’m hoping that in the future there will be  audiobooks as well so that people can listen to them while they’re driving or whatever it is they’re doing. Yeah,

[00:36:52] Steph Lenehan

that’s great. And have you got any others in the, in the works at the moment that you’re working on?

[00:36:58] Steph Patience

I’ve started and scrapped a lot love story. Woman. I even had a bit of  a crisis where I was like, Oh my gosh,  what if all of my creativity has been used up from those two books because I was so  much younger when I wrote both of them. And so I’m like, I’m a grown up now,  but if it’s just all gone, but I’ve recently been very inspired to,  I guess write my story. But it sounds really strange, but in the perspective of my cat,  because my cat was born the first night I was in that caravan,  she was born in the yard right next to it. And then we were both homeless together  for a really long time. And on days where I felt like I was going to give up,  I was like, I can’t give up because there’s this little fluffy individual that is dependent on  me. And so she helped me get through  a lot. And I would really like the world to know how special she is through  potentially my next book. And it will be very nice to get off story because it  ended up being both of our stories at the end because that poor thing was homeless alongside me for  a very long time. I would buy her food with the small amount of money I had rather  than myself. And in turn like she was emotionally supporting me and helping me get  through a lot of stuff like,

[00:38:25] Steph Lenehan

Oh my gosh,  I’m going to have to talk to the team and see if we can get  a special pet award because, Oh my God, that is so sweet.

[00:38:32] Steph Patience

And she would definitely deserve to win that one  For the animals out there, but she’d give them a run for their money. Oh

[00:38:40] Steph Lenehan

gosh. Yeah.  Yeah, no, she’s got my vote. Well,  that was all the questions I had. I’m so excited to get my hands on  a copy of your book and the unexpected. I really want to give that one right as  well. And I’m looking forward to your new book about your cat. I’ll hold you to it.  Did you have anything else that you wanted to tell our listeners

[00:39:02] Steph Patience

about so many things, but I can’t even pick them apart that I didn’t bore anyone. And I hope  that even just one person can find something in that mess of a story and a mess of  a journey to help them in some way. That’s all I could ever ask for.

[00:39:22] Steph Lenehan

I think it helped, far more than just one person Steffy.

[00:39:27] Steph Patience

I definitely hope so.

[00:39:29] Steph Lenehan


[00:39:31] Steph Patience

Thank you so much because I no worries. Thanks so much for having me on. Like a girl, an imposter syndrome.  I’m like, Oh know,  it’s crazy to think that people will be willing to listen to me for you know, more than  a couple of minutes or an hour I was I was rapt and I legitimately did. I got goosebumps.

[00:39:43] Steph Lenehan

I just, I think it’s so incredible,  like I’ve only just sort of come in. So this is my first time running the programs.  And so I haven’t been on the other side of it yet,  where I get to actually talk with people who are really happy to have one. And this  is all they’ve accomplished. So it’s been really, really nice.

[00:40:04] Steph Patience

Yeah, I can imagine it’s going to be incredible. All the things that you going to hear and yes,  it is like jealous and sorries. And yeah,

[00:40:16] Steph Lenehan

talk about imposter syndrome. I’m here just listening to your story. Like yeah, I work in an office, But no,  it’s wonderful. I’m really glad to be  a part of something that can really help people and it sounds like you’re helping  people in your own way. And I think it’s just, it’s just wonderful and you know,  to just embrace that, your stories, your story,  and it’s got you here today and thanking every version of you that got you to you  today is a wonderful thing.

[00:40:49] Steph Patience

Yeah. And I definitely went through a lot, a lot of there’s  a lot of versions of stuff out there that serve their purpose and had that moment. But there’s  a fear that I’m very glad that I got rid of it as well. But they all work together  to build the person I am now. So I’m very  grateful for that at the end of the day.

[00:41:08] Steph Lenehan

Yeah, no, it’s really wonderful. And I’m so glad that you’re in a, in  a stable environment now, and you’re feeling safe and secure. And that’s, that’s wonderful,  and I hope you continue to be creative and to inspire other Australians.

[00:41:23] Steph Patience

Well, I don’t,  I didn’t even realize I was doing that in the first place. So I don’t think I can  stop. I think it’s just the way I am now.

[00:41:29] Steph Lenehan

It’s just your superpower, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah.

[00:41:33] Steph Patience

Very happy to have very proud of that.

[00:41:37] Steph Lenehan

Thank you so much for talking with me today. Thanks for joining us today on inspirational australian’s podcast. We hope  you enjoyed listening  and have been  inspired by ordinary Australians.  Achieving extraordinary things,