Tuesday 28th June 2022

Women of Courage Series. #50. Anon. 63/2020.

Women of Courage Series. #50. Anon. 63/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.


Anon, who is 60, and I first met via social media and then, totally uplanned, in person. Just a quick catch up but it was good. When I asked Anon sometime later if she wished to share her story as a Woman of Courage she replied “yes”. That said, this story may not be ‘as in the five questions’ but it is ONE woman’s story and done her way! Thank you Anon.

As with others who have shared their stories anonymously, there will be no replies from this Woman of Courage, but I know she will be reading with appreciation.

The Story Commences Here: 
At age 23 & pregnant with my 3rd child, I left my then, very self-destructive husband, taking the children to a refuge where we spent a month before receiving emergency public housing in Sydney’s Far Western Suburbs, having left a waterfront home in a Sydney beach suburb.
Unbeknownst to me, my husband had developed an extreme gambling problem & had stopped paying the mortgage amongst other things & our home was sold from under us. I had nothing.
What Happened Next: 
  • It changed me in many ways. Prior to this happening, I probably thought I was somewhat entitled to a particular lifestyle but what could have been a very negative situation, proved to be a huge turning point in my life.
  •  I learned just how strong, capable & self-sufficient I was. I was friendly with the neighbours but didn’t typically socialise with them, as we mostly had different values.
  • When my youngest child was 2yrs old, I attended the family law court to obtain a divorce & the following day commenced my first day in the very first intake of college based (now university) Nursing education.
  • I excelled in this environment, especially  on practical placements/6wk blocks within various hospitals around Sydney’s West.
  • At the end of year 2, the college asked me to consider returning there as a lecturer once I had attained my degree.
More To The Story:
  • Through-out these years my ex-husband, had maintained a close relationship with our children & me, whilst working on getting himself together.
  • As I was to learn 20yrs later, he had quite a few demons from his childhood, none of which were of his making but which are things we now know a lot more about. That was over 30yrs ago now.
  • We managed to get back together, many people we met in later years have no idea we’re actually divorced.


  • Unfortunately I never finished my 3rd year of nursing, I had a major seizure, which was never explained but I think I was simply trying to do too much.


  • I did however, go on to a very exciting career, in which I travelled the world for many years.
  • My ex-husband & I seem to have a somewhat envied relationship which makes me think to myself… if you only knew.
  • I do say to people, we’ve had our fair share of bad times, we were just lucky to get ourselves back on track but I doubt they’d ever imagine just how bad things once were.
And Continuing The Story:
  • There have been many bumps on the road in my journey, the worst of which concerned my children.
  • These things  really rocked me, not to mention them.
  • Things that I thought might initially break me but in reality they only made me tougher, stronger and more resilient


There is nothing that frightens me these days.


In Conclusion: 
The other thing that I think is really important to remember, is that regardless of who you are, no ones life is perfect.
It’s easy to get you get sucked into social media, (pre COVID_19) thinking everyone else has these amazing lives and perfect children & grandchildren (okay the grandkids are pretty perfect) and that they’ve found something you haven’t.
Trust me, they have their flaws and are still finding their way like the rest of us.
I recall my mother coming to me a few months after the upheaval I’d gone  through at 23 and saying that standing back to watch while I dealt with everything, rather than jumping in to ‘save’ me, was the hardest thing she’d ever done.
There was a part of me back then that did wonder why she hadn’t come to my rescue at the time but thank God she didn’t because it was the making of me.
As women, it can be easy to underestimate just how courageous we can be but when the time comes to put it to the test, we can be proud of the  courageous stuff we’re made of. As women we should always be each other’s champions.
There’s actually a song that has been my mantra since I first discovered it 20yrs ago, Strength, Courage & Wisdom by Indie Arie.

Thank you Anon. I do hope that sharing has helped you as readers will see what happened over time.


The following information may be helpful to you or another. These are Australian-based.

Your Family G.P. can be a helpful person to listen and make referrals.

Gambling help NSW. Here.

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636

Phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for 24 hour assessment, referral, advice, and hospital and community health centre contact details

Qualified Psychologists can be found by visiting https://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist/

Australian Counselling Association is on 1300 784 333 to find a counsellor

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.



  1. What an incredible story – your courage and resilience shines through. It goes to show that there’s more to the story than what you see on social media. I can imagine how hard it must have been for your mother to resist the urge to save you. Thanks for sharing. #MLSTL

    • This story sure was filled with surprises and the brave actions of a young mother cannot be underestimated.

      Thank you Jo,


      • This is an amazing story of strength and resilience. I felt so sad at the beginning but to read of how your life turned out made me smile. Your mother sounds like a wise woman beyond measure. Thankyou for sharing your courageous story

  2. There’s a level of fire and independence I admire in people I know with similar story.

  3. A very brave woman and an interesting journey full of lessons, forgiveness and adapting to what life threw at her. I totally agree that the highlight reel we see on social media can lead us to think that others have much more perfect lives than our own. I’m sure some do, but I’m pretty happy with how mine has turned out despite the ups and downs – we don’t grow in character if we have an easy ride through life (or so my husband tells me!)

    • It certainly is a great reminder too that not everything is rosy nor perfect. You can have the so-called better lifestyle etc but if whatever is underlying as a threat or challenge is as it was for Anon, then life is not being led in an honest way.

      Anon’s sharing was not only a brave move but one in which I think she too sees the value in those life situations which turned her life upside down, and around…and then to where she is now.

      Your husband’s words ring true for me and many Leanne. I have grown more from adversity that anything else. Look at yourself too from your recent work situation!

      Thanks for your understanding and great comment for Anon, who will see this.


  4. This is a great story. It does indeed remind us that everyone has a story that we know nothing about. I applaud this mother, who knew that she would better serve her daughter by not stepping in to save her. As a result, she raised a stronger daughter who could take things into her own hands and make something of her life.

    • Yes, Michele, that is so true.

      You are right about her mother but it would have been very hard to stand back. Most of us would want to save…but Anon recognises that too would not have helped them from what she has written.

      Thank you,


  5. Hi Denyse another inspiring story and I can’t imagine the resilience and courage required to leave a relationship with such young children. Bravo. Social media needs to always be kept in perspective doesn’t it? We see all the positive side of people’s lives and don’t give a thought as to what below the surface is really like. Thanks for sharing another courageous woman’s story with us at #MLSTL. This is proving to be a very successful series. xx

    • Thank you so much Sue for those heartfelt and kind words.

      The series has been such a great way for others to share where they felt safe and could consider, perhaps for the first time, that sharing the story of being courageous helps themselves AND others who get to read them.

      Sadly but inevitably, all things do a have an ending and for this reason, the series will conclude in September 2020.


  6. What an amazing story of strength, courage and resilience. Thank you for sharing it anon! I agree with the comments about social media. I know too well that what is presented is not the whole story. I can completely understand how what happened to you (as awful as it was) was the making of you and good on you! xo

    • Thank you so much Min. I know Anon will be taking all of these kind and understanding words and feeding her soul! She is an amazing person and I am fortunate to have met her.


  7. I’d not heard that song – nice. I have discovered life is more complicated than we were led to believe. I’ve also found that when you extend a lack of judgement, people start calling you for help. I’ve noticed that I get a lot of calls and texts from people when their world goes a little askew. So I sort of think everyone goes thru something at one point or another. It’s our job to pass on the ‘being there’ for them, as someone ‘was there’ for us…

    • Yes to the ‘no judgement’ inviting people to share. I have really started getting far better at this than I ever was. Listening without wanting to jump in and respond is another aspect that is going well for me.

      Interesting use of words at the end…time to stand back for people.Keeping an eye on them but not ‘front and centre.’

      Thank you Lydia.


  8. Thank you for sharing your courageous story. As you pointed out, every person has a story…a struggle, and hopefully a triumph…that we know nothing about. Women of courage are all around us. Thank you, Denyse, for bringing some of them to our attention with this series.

    • Yes indeed, these women of courage are all around us and we have been privileged to read many stories (yours included) that have demonstrated this.

      Thank you kindly Christie.


  9. Such an amazing story, I didn’t know which way it was going to go so was quite surprised. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I particularly liked the comment about your mother’s words and how in hindsight you were happy she didn’t step in to ‘save you’. Thanks Denyse for sharing another woman of courage.

    • Yes, I agree, it was like that for me too.

      What a story it is and I do know Anon will be popping by to read the comments too.

      If only “we” all might remember the way in which Anon’s Mum chose to act. I admit, I am getting better at this!

      Thank Debbie.


  10. Thanks for sharing your story Anon. The fact you and your husband returned to each other (and always maintained pleasant parenting) is nice. A bit of a plot twist actually! But a lovely plot twist. Just goes to show, you never truly know somebody else’s story I guess.
    Thanks for trusting us with your story.

  11. This was an inspiring one, Anon! Life’s twists and turns are more fascinating that any book.
    To me – you are strength, hope and courage. I wish the best for you and your family.

    Denyse – I stopped by from Sanch’s blog and loved reading this post. I will hang around a bit. You have a lovely blog.

    • Oh how lovely of you to come and visit. Thank you so much. I hope you come back and if you wish, you link up a blog post of yours on a Monday. Your words are very kind.