HUMAN: Peta Bobbine
Updated: Jan 30
Some of our biggest battles are the ones that occur within us, some are the ones that happen to us and around us. Peta, well, she's been through a LOT - both internally and externally. Starting with a rocky childhood, internalised trauma, and concurrent, dangerous coping mechanisms. She experienced abuse at the hands of a partner and others, but she pushed through, seeking help and making positive changes to get back on track. Until, tragedy hit. Through her pain, Peta created something powerful and constructive. Her story is nothing short of inspirational.
*Trigger Warning* (Mentioned above including suicide, drug/alcohol use/addiction, sexual/physical violence, eating disorders. If you feel triggered or overwhelmed at any point while reading please stop and call Lifeline on 13 11 14).
Occupation: I work full time with children - they remind me on my bad days how to smile and that there is hope left in the world.
WHO ARE YOU “BEHIND THE SCENES” & OUTSIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA?
I love feeling strong, training at gym or doing the 1000 stairs. Anyone who follows me knows I try to keep it as real as I can on my social media but, if you don’t, then I am a very honest, empathetic person. I feel things deeply and when people hurt, I hurt too.
WHAT IS YOUR STORY?
My story begins being a little girl trying to be loved by the one man who was meant to love me, but he never did. My father. Being an aggressive alcoholic didn’t help my childhood either. Growing up I tried to find the love I didn’t receive in others.
I began to develop abandonment issues and I had a lot of problems with authority. See, when you are terrified as a child and learn staying quiet will keep you safe, when you grow up, you either become a shell of a human or you explode as you regain your power. I exploded.
This lead to problems with school, which lead to addiction issues, with lead to being with people and places that weren’t safe, which lead to me not being safe, which lead to being hurt. As many people have experienced, having someone force themselves on to you takes away all of your power, self-worth and some of your soul.
I was well and truely used to my feelings, my rights and my power being taken away by the age of 16, when my boss at the time who was 4 times my age, decided to as well. My trust for people was no longer there and my self-love had turned into self-destruction. I didn’t want to be here anymore. So I numbed myself with everything I could get my hands on.
I hadn’t worked through my childhood or trauma in my teens, so it lead to a relationship that nearly destroyed me.
I don’t regret the ways I tried to survive. I did what I had to, to get through those years. I ended up trying to get healthy and focused on exercise for a release. I thought life was back on track and I’d be ok, but I hadn’t worked through my childhood or trauma in my teens, so it lead to a relationship that nearly destroyed me.
I never thought I would fall into a domestic violent relationship but it just shows if you don’t work on your self worth and trauma these things can happen to anyone. This not only harmed me in many other ways but it caused psychological problems. "Never fall for a narcissist" - that’s all I’d like to say on that part of my life. I had the strength to leave but there wasn’t much left of me at that stage. I disassociated and withdrew from the world for a few years.
It was around then I got sober, and I am still nearly 4 years sober. After a while I realised I needed a lot of help to heal. I couldn’t continue to live with so much hidden inside. I had seen psychologists since the age of 3 and hated them all. I had thrown chairs at some, some had broken me, some had cried for me.
But I was finally ready. I was ready not to be in pain anymore.
I found an amazing psychologist. I went to a psychiatrist and they diagnosed me with many things to do with mental health, which to me the label isn’t the important thing, the important thing is knowing finally what is going on and how to manage it. I began the medication I was told to take. I went to support groups, AA a few times, NA for a few months and out of it all I took each piece I needed for me to heal. I found the love of my life and I remember thinking I had finally made it.
I got the call. It was my brother's best friend... He was dead.
After a few months of dating, I got the call. It was my brother's best friend. He told me that that my brother had shot himself in the head in front of two people. He was dead.
I have never felt pain like that ever before. I remember for months at night being on my knees, covering my face screaming into my hands for crying just so no one would hear me. I was in so much pain and I needed somewhere to put it.
One night I began to wonder how many other men felt like my brother. It was then I went to my mum and asked her to help me. First I began our social media “Men’s group” on Facebook and @_buildabrotherhood to share things on mental health and share men’s stories to encourage others to open up. Then we began our free men’s support groups as Leah is a family therapist and drug and alcohol counsellor, we thought "why not?"
We began at a lake, our first group session had 2 men and slowly we created Build A Brotherhood. A place where we try to end men suffering in silence and remind the world men matter too.
In doing this, I have reconnected with men and seen a side to them I never knew existed, which has helped me heal my own trauma.
People then wanted to be apart of our movement and asked us to make merchandise, so I did. On our website www.buildabrotherhood.com we have our merchandise to raise awareness for men’s mental health and our support groups we run twice a month.
In doing this, I have reconnected with men and seen a side to them I never knew existed, which has helped me heal my own trauma. It’s been an amazing experience and I am so humbled every support group to witness men being so vulnerable and sharing their true self.
Life can change so quickly, but only if you allow it and are here for it to. So hold on, as things can pass.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE?
My biggest struggle over my life would have to be untreated mental health. It was only until I saw a psychiatrist and was told exactly what I had, I could then work on what I needed. Starting the medication took away so many problems I had grown up with especially when it came to my eating disorders.
The stigma around medication and having people tell me it was a "bandaid" was something I had to learn to get past, but now having the life I live, I can’t believe I went so long without this one tablet I take daily that changed my entire life.
WHAT MOMENT WAS THE TURNING POINT FOR YOU?
I decided to take control when the benders where no longer fun and I found myself not even smiling anymore. It still took many years before I completely turned my life around. It was when I hit a pole driving extremely intoxicated and I blacked out hurting someone I cared about, that I then got sober and I am now nearly 4 years sober.
HOW DID YOU TURN THINGS AROUND?
I got every avenue of help I could. Not saying I liked them all, but I took parts from each thing and used them in my everyday life. I also really listened to what my body needed. As I suffer from PTSD, sometimes I can not be around people, places or even sounds like the TV. Instead of pushing myself to do things I now just do things when I can do them and am not afraid to cancel on anything as I put myself and my body first.
HOW DID YOU ALTER YOUR MINDSET?
I think over time I realised that I was in a victim mindset. "Poor me, why me, why does it always happen to me?" So I was negative and angry at the world.
My mum is a brilliant therapist and has taught me so much over the years. One of the things she has taught me is that no one can make you feel or do anything, you have complete control over that. So, I now think that whenever something gets me down or angry, that I won’t allow it to have that power over me.
I now think that whenever something gets me down or angry, that I won't allow it to have that power over me.
HOW ARE YOU NOW?
I have my days where I can’t get out of bed. I have suffered from a lot of pain my whole life and last year I got answers which I was told I have fibromyalgia and recently endometriosis. These things can wipe you out but make me so thankful for my good days. So, on the good days, I take full advantage but on my bad days I try to sleep and remind myself it will pass.
I have an amazing partner that I am thankful for everyday. With people around me that are irreplaceable.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE GOING THROUGH A SIMILAR SITUATION?
See the specialists and pay the money. They’re expensive but having the answers is worth it. Knowing what’s going on can change everything. Do not give up just because one psychologist is a wanker or one medication doesn't agree, keep trying. Sometimes it takes more than one to connect with or to work but when you find the right one, it can save your life.
You can follow Peta on instagram here: www.instagram.com/peta.xoxo
You can follow Build A Brotherhood here: www.instagram.com/_buildabrotherhood
You can find out more about Build A Brotherhood here: www.buildabrotherhood.com
HOW I CONNECTED WITH PETA:
We connected on instagram (I had been involved with an activewear company called Vault Active - Peta is good friends with the owner of the brand). Peta told me to check out the Build A Brotherhood page, and this really hit a nerve for me. I spoke to Peta about some of the things I was experiencing with people I love and she offered me her time and guidance through it.
I can honestly say that Peta is one of those kind-hearted people who has made it their mission to help. Through helping others we heal, through sharing our stories we accept and we grow. Peta is doing incredible things for the Men's Mental Health space, a space that needs so much more awareness and acceptance. If you know of any guys who may need a supportive, understanding community - you know where you can send them now.
Once again, I am so grateful for social media and the power it has to connect us with incredible people. Peta, your mindset, your drive, your empathy and everything you do inspires me so much.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this interview!
The HUMAN Series
I started this series because, in a world where we all put on happy faces online and in-person, it is very easy to feel alone and isolated when we are struggling. Purely because it looks like no one else is.
I want to show you that every person has a story. Every single person on this earth has struggles and has STRUGGLED in the past. Even the happiest people have had to overcome physical/mindset hardships to get where they are in the present.
I want to hear their stories, and I want to share their stories.
I studied psychology because I wanted to help people. When I was going through a difficult time during my teenage years, I just wanted someone to say “hey, I went through that, it was really hard but I’m still here. Life gets better, it did for me and it will for you.”
So, I want to bring to light the experiences of others, their struggles, how they got through it and their advice for anyone in the same (or similar) situation. As they say hindsight is 2020, when we work together and support one another, things can be more manageable.
If you think of someone who has a story that needs to be shared - please DM me on instagram (instagram.com/jessnugent1).
Love & strength,