Monday, October 31, 2011

Reflection


Today is the final day of the 31 Days of Mental Health and Mental Health Month.
It's been a tough journey but I'm glad I've stuck with it. I've learned a lot and know I still have a lot to learn. I'd like to thank everyone who has read, commented, tweeted, retweeted, facebooked, and emailed me about these posts. This definitely won't be my last post on Mental Health issues. Maybe it will be for a little bit though as I'm mentally exhausted from such posts.

Now some fun! It's time to draw the four winners of the Busby Pure Tissue Oil bottles from this post
My little helper (lufflump) drew four names out of a hat. We like orange in this house. He can't read so was a perfect helper! 

The winners are;
There were two Amy's (best name EVER) which I labelled Amy and Amy 2. The winner is the first Amy that commented, Amy from My Life As A Cake.

I also have a little giveaway on my blog which ends tomorrow. All you have to do is like my FB page and comment on this photo. Go forth and maybe win an adorable notebook!

Happy Monday

October is Mental Health Month and Mondays aren't usually the brightest days so some thought for our minds may help kick start the week and make it seem a bit more bearable. Plus a happy start to the day would make at least make me feel better about the day ahead.
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
Norman Vincent Peale
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

That’s Pinterest…ing General Mental Health Edition


This is my fifth and last Pinterest challenge in October and for the 31 Days of Mental Health. This week's theme is general mental health quotes and things to remember. Thank you for joining me on this journey and you can expect pretty maternity pins next week.
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I'm joining up with Tina and a bunch of other Pinterest addicted bloggers. Check them out here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Kinda Heart My Body


Today is I Heart My Body 2011 day.
As my title says, I kinda heart my body. I've never really loved it although I was happiest with it when I was breastfeeding, I was finally in proportion and felt good about myself. I do love that it produces and carries babies so well, who wouldn't love that? Ok maybe a hooker who kept falling pregnant, that'd be annoying. Anyway, my body is currently carrying it's second baby and so far it's doing a damn good job again.
L - Isn't this the right way to do it?
R - Boring right?
Yes I have bumps, lumps, stretch marks, cellulite, flabby bits and ugly veins but most of that I could change if I put the work in. I'm just lazy and I like 'naughty' food too much. In fact my favourite breakfast would have to include coffee through a Tim Tam straw. Delicious!
The mister took these while I was yelling at lufflump
My biggest dislike of my body is the shape of my thighs. I put all of my weight on the lower half of my body. So while the top half is slim and trim, the bottom half is the opposite (thanks mum). If I was in proportion and a lovely hourglass shape I'd be happy. That means not changing my thighs though because shaving bone scares the shit out of me. Ouch. No instead I'd like big boobs constantly. Size C-D please and not just the skin.

At the end of the day though my body tells my story; lazy, chocolate obsessed mother who nurtured her babies. I have dark stretch marks on my boobs which tell the story of having no boobs to OMG BOOBS to deflated balloon boobs to BOOBS! I have scars, self inflicted and accidental that tell stories of pain, good times and misadventures. I have skin that tans beautifully if I care to venture into that devilish sun. I have working limbs that allow me to chase after and pick up my son, allow me to hug and hold the ones I love.
My belly, boobs and booty
My body has been kind to me now I need to be kind to my body.

Healthy Diet for Good Mental Health


It's well known that a healthy diet can help keep your mental health healthy. On the other hand, a poor diet can impact on your mental health and lead to lower moods. 

Sometimes when in low moods it's easy to forget to look after yourself and treat yourself well especially with foods. It's too easy to be lazy and have junk food. The key is to try to make healthy foods easier to access than junk foods.
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Some great resources and articles on healthy eating and mental health are;

Friday, October 28, 2011

Change Our Minds

Last night I saw the best mental health awareness ad I've ever seen on mainstream TV, channel nine in fact. Here it is;



I'm very proud that it is an initiative from the Queensland Government. I've pledged my support to share information about this initiative as I feel it's an extremely important message. 
Directly from the Change Our Minds website about what this initiative means;



ABOUT CHANGE

It’s a fact that nearly half (45%) of Australians will experience a mental illness at some stage of their life.  
People living with mental illness are one of the most marginalised groups in society. For many the disadvantage and exclusion they experience is more disabling than the mental illness itself.
Our behaviour and attitudes have multiple and far reaching impacts on the quality of life and the rights of people living with mental illness. It can lead to people feeling isolated, losing friendships and being shunned or excluded.
People with mental illness can be denied housing or accommodation due to their illness and it commonly affects employment and vocational opportunities.
Feelings of isolation and alienation have been cited as one of the most significant factors in loss of hope and relapse by those who live with mental illness.
Importantly, it can prevent people from seeking help and support because they fear the reactions of people they are seeking support from. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed of their mental illness.
How can we Change Our Minds about mental illness?
The way we behave around our friends, family and colleagues living with mental illness can have a big impact on their lives and their recovery.
So it’s important that we show people living with mental illness the same respect and acceptance as everyone else.
To make a real difference, we need to become aware of the issues and disadvantages people face. We also need to acknowledge the fact that people with mental illness are entitled to the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

You can pledge your support over here


Will you stand up for change?

Sesame - Week Twenty-One

Last weekend we went away and I spent most of the time in bed. Partly because I couldn't handle some of the people that were there but mostly because I felt like shit. I think the main problem is my crappy blood pressure which at last appointment was a wonderful 80/40. Also sesame decided to totally switch positions which was a real bitch. 

Sesame is one active little kicker, puncher, head butter, whatever. She's not waking me up in the middle of the night yet but I know it's going to happen soon. Lufflump has felt her kick, as has the mister and my mum. Pretty much anyone can though as it's quite noticeable and full on. I predict I'll be able to do the Malteaser kick in later months.

I don't remember needing to pee so often last time. Although I remember feeling the whole pelvis stretching and I don't think I have that happening this time. At least not yet. I've heard about braxton hicks  happening early on but haven't had any yet. Are you supposed to start the Raspberry Leaf Tablets later on each pregnancy?

I'm still craving KFC and lately chocolate although it tastes different when I eat it. Not good different either. So disappointing. I'm LOVING Chai more and more though. It's so delicious. Other than that nothing has changed or happened. 

Belly shots!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Australian Mental Health Changes


Today I have a wonderful guest poster. It's a little deeper than my usual stuff, but I believe it's important to spread the word about the current government changes in relation to mental health.

I'd like to introduce one of the main mental health advocates I follow on Twitter, John Alchin. He published this on his blog a few days ago and has kindly let me republish this to spread the word. Check out his blog, it's worth a read.
Just 2 hours after publishing this post it was picked up and republished on the United for Change Network blog (minus the links). They hosted a global Twitter chat on privatisation of public services using the #U4Change hashtag commencing at 6am Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time on Wednesday, October 26. This would be a timely opportunity for Australians interested in or concerned about the introduction of  "managed competition" through Medicare Select to become more aware of the global push to privatise public services.
Support Moratorium on Better Access Cuts
The Hon. Frank Walker, QC, President of the Schizophrenia Fellowship NSW made some prescient comments about the changes that are taking place in how state and federal mental health programs are being funded in the report he gave at the annual Symposium held by SFNSW in May 2011 and printed in the June 2011 edition of FOCUS. The final paragraphs are what drew most of my attention:
The Schizophrenia Fellowship, committed to its belief in the development of the community health sector, has taken up Government offers to tender for contracts for services for rehabilitation of consumers, education programs, carers support programs, respite care and housing and employment services. Such contracts not only help us fulfill our mission statement but give us valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the mental health system which facilitate our advocacy and policy development functions. 
One of the insights we have been given is that cash flows of multi millions of dollars and large workforces present a real risk of your organization getting enmeshed in the unremitting growth culture pervading neo-capitalism and losing sight of the raison d’├¬tre of our charitable objective which is to improve the lives of consumers and carers. 
I am proud to be blessed with a Board who is prepared to grow its services but not at the expense of its role as a fearless advocate. I say that because over dependence on government contracts puts organizations at risk of being gagged by grantors whose policies or performance have been criticized by the simple expedient of threatening to withdraw funding.
Another danger is that over commercialization of its business in search of profits could put at risk an organizations tax exempt status. My point is that we should ensure we continue to operate more like Mother Teresa than Gordon Gecko. Some charities are now involved in highly profitable commercial operations that have absolutely nothing to do with the succor, education or medical treatment of the poor. Australian Courts and Treasuries are increasingly making noises to the effect that NGOs may be stepping outside the boundaries of the legal meaning of a charity. 
To my mind the not- for-profit community health sectors greatest asset is its close links to local communities and consumer friendly reputation. Governments are heavily pressing us to merge and grow into huge corporations. Our large mental health institutions failed because their size led to them becoming impersonal dangerous places for patients beset by the bureaucratic bungling and ruthless cost cutting. The same disease currently bedevils our Hospital system. Very big is beautiful to bureaucrats but it is often devoid of the care and compassion that is a vital component for the recovery of people with a serious mental illness. 
My message is that we should not be seduced by multi million dollar profits into losing sight of our charitable objectives and thereby forgetting about the real needs of our constituency. 
Frank Walker President
Reading this again in the light of the generally unexpected budget night announcement to divert funds from the Better Access scheme primarily to the programs of Orygen Youth Health; the ad-hominem attacks against opponents of these funding changes by the Orygen-associated Professors, Dr. Ian Hickie and Dr. Patrick McGorry; the pushing ahead of these 'reforms' by the Minister, Mark Butler MP, despite the many hundreds of submissions to the Senate Inquiry against them; and the rollout of e-health (and e-mentalhealth initiatives) tied in with the introduction of managed competition into the Australian health system under Medicare Select (yes folks, don't miss the often non-disclosed links between eHeadspace/Headspace/, McGorry, Hickie, the NHHRC, Christine Bennett, Bupa Australia (formerly MBF, HCF, Manchester Unity, HBA, Community Mutual, etc.) & Colonial Foundation (fmr. Colonial Mutual insurance society Trust), I'd like to give the Hon. Frank Walker an Order of Australia for his service to Australian mental health.

Frank, you're right. There's a lot of bullshit going on under the guise of reform.

Let's get the private insurance corporations, the pharmaceutical companies and their compromised lobbyists out of OUR health policy decisions and instead work by all means to place the power back in the hands of consumers/patients/clients.

Let's investigate and support those not-for-profit community-guided mental health organisations whose charitable objectives encourage the care, compassion, and 'consumer' & carer participation in service provision that could truly make a positive difference. And finally, let's keep our GPs and psychologists from becoming solely employees of public-private partnerships if the current UK NHS 'reforms' are anything for us to go by.
  
Further reading: 
Mental Health Expert Working Group (MHEWG) documents obtained under Freedom of Information request to DoHA. 
List of Submissions received by the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services. Transcripts of the hearings undertaken by the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Commonwealth Funding and Administration of Mental Health Services. 
Cutting Therapy Short - The Alliance for Better Access. 
Op-ed: Dear Mr. Hickie - Linda Wemyss, The Drum Opinion, September 23, 2011. 
Psychosis project divides experts - Jill Stark, The Age, October 23, 2011. 
Cuts to hurt mentally ill, say doctors - Jill Stark, The Age, October 23, 2011. 
Op-ed: The problem with health advocates is when they don't - Clem Bastow, National Times, August 25, 2011. 
Mental health GP quits panel over Medicare rebate cuts - Sue Dunlevy, The Australian, July 14, 2011. 
Medicare Select won't work, claims economist - Adam Cresswell, The Australian, November 07, 2009. 
Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of Medicare - John Menadue, Australian Policy Online, November 09, 2009. 
Medicare Select – Entrenching Inequality in Health Care? (Article and Paper) - Centre for Policy Development 

Blog posts: 
What's the fuss? I / What's the fuss? II  / Back on that path /Corner on the Market- Some of a series of blogposts raising concerns from retired psychoanalyst & psychiatrist Dr. Mickey Nardo about Professor McGorry's form of early intervention in prodromal youth at risk of a first psychotic episode. 
Once upon a time... - Talking Fairleigh. 
Sebastian Rosenberg - Linda Mad Hatter. 

Related reading: 
Bupa to rebrand insurers under widening umbrella - Eric Johnston, Sydney Morning Herald, October 22, 2011. 
Op-ed: Serco: immigration's outsourced elephant in the room - Peter Chambers, The Drum Opinion, May 10, 2011. 
Opinion: Privatising the Public Good and the Profitability of Public Interest – Dominic Harrison, posted on United 4 Change Network blog.

Artist Polly

This week's Polyvore challenge is 'artist'. 

I am NOT an artist but this is a pretty creative outfit and maybe an artist would wear it. What type of artist? Being an extremely unartistic person, I have no idea. I'd wear this though.

Artist Polly by tutuames
Wanna play along? It's fun, a little bit mean (limitless, free credit card anyone?), perfect procrastination and if you are anything like me you won't be able to stop at just one!

Check out other Polly Dollies at DanimezzaWhile you're there check out Danimezza's other posts. She is one happening woman!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Holiday Naps

In honour of October being Mental Health Month each week I will use Wordless Wednesdays to show how I helped nurture my mental health.
Want to play? Join in the fun - Faith Hope & a Whole Lotta Love and My Little Drummer Boys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mental Health on Social Media

As most of us use social media it may be useful knowing some of the mental health services that use Facebook and Twitter. I have these on mine and I find them useful and interesting. There are many more but these are the ones I use or have previously used. 

If I've missed your favourite please post it in the comments so we can check them out. Also please tell me if a link doesn't work - sometimes I really am a noob.

Mental Health on Facebook:
As you can probably tell from the numbers, I use social media, especially twitter, a lot for quick information. I've written a previous post with links to some amazing bloggers who write about mental health. Of course there are more out there and I think every single one is excellent for helping break down the mental health barriers and stigmas.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Monday

October is Mental Health Month and Mondays aren't usually the brightest days so some thought for our minds may help kick start the week and make it seem a bit more bearable. Plus a happy start to the day would make at least make me feel better about the day ahead.
"The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases."
Carl Jung
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

That’s Pinterest…ing Happiness Edition



This is my fourth Pinterest challenge in October and for the 31 Days of Mental Health. This week's theme is happiness. Sometimes happiness can feel so distant but it can be just around the corner.

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I'm joining up with Tina and a bunch of other Pinterest addicted bloggers. Check them out here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Strokes


I'm away in NSW for four days with lufflump, my mum and of course sesame. The mister is at home working all weekend. We are down to visit my grandparents for my grandma's birthday. The whole family are going and lufflump has a playmate in my cousin, who is younger than him by six months. We plan on eating fresh seafood, walking on the beach, hopefully swimming and op-shopping. We are also hoping to have my grandma home for the day on her birthday. She had a major stroke in January this year and now lives at a nursing home not far from her and my poppy's home.

When we saw her for the first time after her stroke she was in the ICU, couldn't talk, smile or move. Her blood pressure was a whopping 200, but that was low compared to the almost 400 it was when she was admitted. She moved from ICU to a normal ward where she improved and was able to smile, mumble and move one side of her body. After a few weeks there she was transferred to rehab with high hopes. Unfortunately she didn't progress as quickly as once hoped so she sadly moved to the nursing home. There is still hope she will move back home to my poppy with daily help from visiting nurses.
Family in January
My poppy is fit. He's a surfer, has been all his life and will always be. My grandma on the other hand prefers to read books and do puzzles. In fact she had five out of seven risk factors for a stroke, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Regardless of that it was still a shock when it happened, no one expected it least of all my grandparents.

The shock brought with it depression for both my grandparents. For the first time in their lives they were prescribed anti-depressants. Neither could function with the separation and abrupt change of life. They have wonderful support, a great community of friends always there at the drop of a hat which has helped tremendously. Sometimes though that isn't enough. The medication has helped motivate both of my grandparents to make the steps towards bringing grandma home. 
At Grandma and Poppy's
I was looking on beyondblue for resources on anxiety and pregnancy for myself when I came across a DVD for people affected by stroke. It's a free resource which they send out to you so I'll be taking one down for my grandparents to have. I hope it helps them understand that what they are feeling, every positive and negative emotion, is normal in this situation but there are steps that can be taken to emotionally recover. If nothing else, I know the thought will be appreciated.
Playing at the nursing home
Health issues are hard to deal with and we all have to remember to look holistically at our and other's health. If we are physically unhealthy it's likely we will also be mentally unhealthy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and everyone can play a role in reducing the stigma, simply by being aware of that. Let loved ones know that if they are struggling there's strength in asking for help. If you see that they are struggling cook them a nice mean they can freeze, sit down with a cuppa and ask them how they are. Listen to them. Be there for them. You can be the difference.

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