Wednesday 18th May 2022

Women Of Courage Series.#51. Anna. 65/2020.

Women Of Courage Series.#51. Anna. 65/2020.

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.

I’ve been following Anna on twitter for quite some time. She is an author of a number of books, see below, and is aged in her late 30s. I have learned a lot about Anna’s resilience and her vulnerabilities via her tweets because she tells things as they are. For her. Yet, she always has something kind to say about many. When I asked Anna to be part of the series, COVID19 was in its early stages of infiltration in Australia. Now, at the time of publication, Anna’s hometown of Melbourne, Victoria is doing this hard lock down for several weeks. Anna tweets about that and more and she is admired and cared for by many. 

Thank you Anna, let’s catch up with your responses now. 




What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

As someone who lives with significant mental health issues, I find it hard to understand myself in the context of this word ‘courageous’. I have had to find fulfilment in the small things, and be satisfied with minute progress day to day, and I suppose that manifests as a kind of courage – a will to carry on and to always find new reserves.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

This has always been the way.

I do think the challenge of chronic illness has given me skills to better deal with acute crises; when a situation calls for it, I can draw on the decades I’ve spent understanding myself, my feelings, my actions, and hopefully present more courageously!


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

Go to therapy, if you can!

It helps with so many facets of being a human.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes, as above – years of trying to undo what my brain believes has taught me to push back on fears.

I’m still wildly anxious, but I’m much better at rationalizing it now.


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

It’s within you, I suppose.

There’s a good chance you’re stronger than you think.


The responses may be brief here but there is a lot of wisdom and experience evident in Anna’s reflections on the questions. Thank you again, for sharing your views based on experience and truth. I always appreciate catching up with you on twitter. 


Anna Spargo-Ryan
Copywriter, essayist, novelist

The Gulf & The Paper House
“Extraordinary” – The Saturday Paper
“Anna Spargo-Ryan is a writer to watch.” – The Monthly




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.

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

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 – All rights reserved.



  1. Hi Anna and Denyse, I agree that therapy is very good, especially when our coping mechanisms are stretched to the limit. Mental health services are very busy during this stressful time. Regards, Christina

  2. Hi Denyse – thanks for sharing Anna’s background and story with us. Courage comes in so many different shapes and sizes – and dealing with chronic illness certainly takes a lot of fortitude and willingness to persevere. #MLSTL

    • Thanks so much Leanne. I have learned a lot about chronic mental illness from following Anna and knowing all she does and is, to both help herself as she seeks help too. A kinder person I am yet to know. She is a gifted writer!


  3. There’s a good chance you’re stronger than you think … a great line. #MLSTL

  4. Thanks Enda, we can all take comfort from that line!

  5. Hi Denyse thank you for introducing us to Anna. I would think dealing with mental health issues is very challenging and takes courage.

    • I agree, Jennifer.

      It not only takes courage but the constancy of this condition is very wearing.

      Fortunately, Anna is very self-aware and proactive in her health.


  6. Thanks Denyse and thank you Anna for sharing. I agree that most of us ARE stronger than we think. xo

  7. Thanks Denyse for sharing some of Anna’s story and her thoughts with us. I like Anna’s words ‘it’s within you, I suppose’, and that’s so true except we don’t always know it until we need that strength and courage. Another wonderful woman of courage! #mlstl

    • Thank you so much Debbie. Interestingly Anna has a lot on her plate right now, zoom meetings and presenting at virtual writers’ festival that I said ‘come back here if and when you get a chance’.

      She is someone who has done what she can for herself but is never afraid to admit when she needs help/timeout.


  8. Hi Denyse, First, I want to mention how I appreciate all of your positive Instagram posts!

    Thank you for introducing Anna to us. My heart goes out to all affected by the lock down. Chronic mental illness is often more difficult to manage than many physical illnesses. Anna does have a tremendous amount of courage sharing her thoughts and stories and asking for help when needed. #MLSTL

    • Thank so much Erica, I am glad you are enjoying my Instagram posts.

      I totally agree about mental illness (invisible) being so hard for others to understand. Anna has been very courageous indeed.

      To all who are managing to keep themselves going, even with the added stress of COVID I send my regards.

      I too hope you are doing well.


  9. Lovely to meet you Anna. I love your final comment “There’s a good chance you’re stronger than you think”. Thanks so much for sharing your story