Introducing the wonderful Jo Fincham. Jo’s book ‘Out of the Blue’ is an inspirational account of her personal journey through depression, bulimia, self harm, obsessive compulsive behaviours and suicidal tendancies. It also tells us a little about behind the scenes of Reality TV – she and her husband, Rob, met during the filming of A Farmer Wants a Wife.
Today, Jo has a successful photography business, she is a published author and has a thriving family.
I wanted to share her journey, not only as an Guest Author, but as one of my ‘Rainbows: Inspirational Women‘, because she is indeed just that.
I’m sitting here in my office, trying to think of a good opening line to this blog posting. A little ironic isn’t it, seeing as I have just written a book made up of thousands of words! But here I am, trying to think of what to write. It’s amazing to see what the Universe throws at you. If somebody had a crystal ball and had a deep look into it and could foresee my future, there is no way I would believe them if my life, as it is now, is what they saw. Me, a ‘party girl’ from Melbourne married to a farmer and raising a little girl on the farm and having a book published? I don’t think so!
My decision to write a memoir of my life was an accident. When I met Rob on The Farmer Wants a Wife, little did viewers know I had battled bulimia and depression for 18 years of my life. When I first moved to the farm to live, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. Before my photography business was up and running, I must admit, I didn’t know what to do with all my spare time. I had resigned from my job as a newspaper photographer in Melbourne and had packed up my life in the city to be here with Rob on our farm. I had always been completely open and honest about what I had been through with Rob, so when he mentioned that it would be a good healing process to write an account of my life, I thought, why not?
I remember the day I started the story so well. It was cold outside and the wind was howling. I came into the office and started tapping the keyboard. Out poured word after word of memories and pretty soon, my life story was being played out in front of me on my computer screen. Writing about my life was the most amazing experience, as it made me realise how truly remarkable the human brain is. How can it store all this information and how wonderful is the human memory? There were some days I would sit down to write and nothing would come to mind. Those days, I would get up and walk away. Then, the next day, I would type madly for up to five hours at a time, (breaking for a cup of tea and biscuit!) I remembered so many things about my earliest days and of first loves and first heartbreaks.
Then, as the story unfolded, it took me back to a time of great sadness. Being in an abusive relationship and writing about it brought back so many painful memories. Rob, my husband, could tell when I was writing about sad events, as I would be quiet and a little down. But I couldn’t believe how much it made me think of how lucky I am to have moved past all my sadness. My story is a journey. People who have read my book say that it is as though I am talking to them. And that’s exactly how I wanted it to be.
When I told a friend of mine about my project, she asked if she could read it. “Of course” I told her. When she phoned me a couple of days later and said she couldn’t put it down, I was so happy. But when she suggested I get it published, my immediate reaction was, no. It is an open and honest account of my life and all its’ complexities and I didn’t think I could let people read about my periods of bulimia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self harm and suicidal tendencies. But when she made the point that it may help a lot of people, I thought, why not? I do a lot of work for Beyond Blue and I have a passion for working in local schools to help young adults with self esteem issues.
So when I thought my book could help people, I didn’t hesitate. What came was an offer from Allen and Unwin and after many long hours, emails, phone calls and editing, my book is now available Australia-wide as well as New Zealand. When I first started writing my story, I made a pact with myself that it would be warts and all. And why shouldn’t it be? I’m not ashamed of what I have been through. I can only hope that readers see it as inspiration. It is a journey, and it is a story of finding happiness and fulfilment. Today, I run a successful photography business as well as doing volunteer work in the area of mental illness and eating disorders. My book is one of my proudest achievements, behind marrying Rob and having our beautiful daughter, Darcy, of course!
The most rewarding part of writing this book is receiving emails from people all around Australia who have read my book and who are also suffering. Some opening up their hearts to tell me their stories of mental illness and revealing to me that I am the only person they have told. It makes my heart warm. How wonderful is that? That they can share their stories to a complete stranger? That is so brave. And reaching out and asking for help is brave. It is more brave than trying to carry the burden on your own and adding to problems. I want people to know, there is no shame in admitting you have a problem and there is no shame in asking for help. If you would like to order a personally signed book, please head to my website www.jofincham.com
Fleur, a huge thank you for giving me the opportunity to write on your blog. It is a huge compliment and an honour. And thank you to all for reading! xx
as a sufferer of depression I can totally acknowledge what Jo has gone through. Although we all experience depression in different forms our journey is always the same………very hard! Thankfully, like Jo I too have a wonderful hubby of 17 years and two beautiful teens.
Recently I had a very bad relapse with my depression and have had to increase medication plus go to see to a counsellor. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the love of my family I would have packed my bags a few weeks ago and left them to enjoy life. Whilst I hadn’t contemplated suicide this time as I knew it would impact deeply upon the family I had thought about just leaving and going off to live anonymously elsewhere.
Thankfully I have learnt along my journey that depression is no longer the stigma ridden problem it was even a few years ago so I make sure that my friends and family know what I have been through and continue to go through.
Thank you so much Tracey. It’s truly warms my heart to know my book is helping in a small way. Stay strong… Jo xx
Hi Fleur and Jo
THanks for sharing your story Jo. I’m definitely going to read this book.
Hi Jo, have just finished your book. Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly an inspirational lady in sharing it with others. Keep up the hard work, I know how long and hard the journey can be. Thanks Kiowa
Hi Kiowa and Rach,
Thank you so muchf ro your responses. I’m so glad everybody is enjoying my book. Thank goodness it has a happy ending! Sending lots of love,
What’s that old saying ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’, well I am guilty of just that. I too remember watching you on TV and thinking you appeared to ‘have it all’, gorgeous girl, fantastic bubbly personality, great life, great family and little did we all know the turmoil that was whirling around inside of you. I crossed paths with your book on Monday and was reading the last page by Wednesday and reading it was kind of like hearing someone describe parts of my feelings and thoughts at times but from the opposite end if that makes sense. I felt so proud of you at the end of your story and how you have handled yourself throughout these experiences and I feel it’s ok to admit to myself that all is not ok all of the time even if I still can’t admit this to anyone else. One step at a time…..Thank you Jo for sharing your life story so far and I wish you nothing but rainbows and sunshine for the rest of your life journey.
Thank you so much for your lovely words. There have been quite a few people who have said that! That while watching Farmer, they didn’t realize what I had been through (and going through at the time). but that’s the whole thing – you get so good at hiding it. It has been wonderful therapy writing my book and even nicer that I know it is helping people.
Stay strong. We can be complex individual us women, can’t we!?
Thank you for your words.
Hi Jo, just wanted to say that your daughter has the most wonderfully mesmerizing eyes. Thankyou for sharing your story and I hope your life is the “normal” not too sad rollercoaster it is meant to be from now on. Take care and love to your beautiful family xoxo
Thanks Fleur and Jo…
I missed this post – and have just found it whilst searching something else… thanks for showing the world that it is okay to talk about depression, and it is often the ‘happiest’ or ‘loudest’ person in the crowd is simply the one trying desperately to keep their head above water (or the black hole…)
Well done Jo… wish you all the best and will look forward to reading your book…
Hi Jo loved reading your book couldn’t put it down I believe it’s,a family like you r’s who make this country what it is too day. It’s amazing what true love can do I wish you and Rob and Darcy all the very best for your life together. Iam a grandmother and curious as why you don’t use your married name. This is nt by any means a critism just a question.
I truly loved reading your book.
I have suffered with the black dog for years and I nearly ended my life Easter Sunday 2014 . Jo twelve months down the track and my life has turned around I have peace and happiness in my life and have met the most amazing guy who loves me for me.
Thank you for writing your book
Hi jo, have just finished reading your wonderful book, lent to me by my daughter who works at LifeLine,it was wonderful how honest you were about your life, living in Mt Gambier myself it was lovely reading about our town, hope your life stays as wonderful as it sounds…..
Hi Joanna, I have your book many times and love it..my sons puppy decided to chew it to pieces after getting it from my bedside table.I went to get a replacement today from a book shop in Tasmania…only to be told that your book is out of print…Do you know of a book shop on the mainland which I could contact that sells your book?