A Few Things I Want You To Know..

Friends, I have thought long and hard over many months about writing this post. My aim with this blog has and will always be to give an honest account of all…well almost all aspects of my life, both the good and the bad.

So here goes nothing….

 

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Three million people in Austraila are living with anxiety or depression according to BeyondBlue…..and I am one of them. After spending 6.5 years studying a BA in Psychology, I never in my wildest imaginings thought that I would become one of the three million.

I had always been an anxious person. From the earliest time I can remember, I had always been terrified of high places. It was only during the first year of my studies (around 2009) where I learnt that my fear had a name. I suffered from a “Specific Phobia” known as Acrophobia–the all-encompassing fear of high places. It was also during this time that I learnt that my phobia was also a form of anxiety disorder.

So what exactly is anxiety? Well from personal experience, I can tell you that it’s a whole lot more than just feeling stressed. I mean, stress is certainly a part of it, but there is far more to it than just that. According to BeyondBlue, on average one in four people (one in three women and one in five men) will experience some form of anxiety and in a twelve month period, close to two million Australians will suffer it at some point during their lifetimes.

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Another form of anxiety disorder that I also suffer from is known as Panic Disorder. This disorder is most often characterised by sudden, intense fear which manifests as panic attacks.  Panic attacks may include; heart palpitations, feelings of dizziness and/or faintness, breathlessness or hyperventilation (over-breathing), chest pains, sweating, shaking or nausea. These symptoms often come out of the blue and while these symptoms are the body’s normal responses to danger, they are often out of proportion to the danger actually being faced and often seem to take on a life of their own.

Panic Attack Video from Wikipedia  

This video gives a pretty good overview of what a panic attack is and treatment options for those, like me, who suffer from them.

While I myself am not ashamed of the fact that I have these mental health issues, many sufferers still are. The stigma surrounding mental health issues I feel is one of the biggest issues facing health professionals today and one that must be overcome before too many people die. It is my hope through writing this blog about my struggles with these issues, I can help people see that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that there is always help available.

 

 

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RUOK Day 2017

Today, the 14th September 2017 is RUOK Day, a day that I have always supported which has become a day of much greater significance due to my own mental health issues.

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Ever since dad’s passing in March, I have been battling with”The Big Three” mental health issues—-PTSD, depression and an exacerbation of an anxiety disorder my doctor thinks I may have had since childhood.  I always considered myself to be an upbeat, positive, always look on the bright side of life kinda person so the formal diagnosis, while not totally surprising given the circumstances, still threw me for a loop.

I made the decision very early on that I would seek help and that I would also be totally honest with people about my issues. I figured that there was no shame in admitting that I needed help and if people had a problem with that, too stinking bad!! What surprised me most of all was that when people asked me how I was doing, they weren’t doing to be polite or to make conversation….they truly cared and were concerned for my well-being. This totally blew me away as my natural reaction is not to want to be a burden to people as there is always someone worse off than me. I found that by taking the time to talk about it to people who I knew were concerned about me and how I was doing, really helped get things clear in my head and to know that no matter how I was or am feeling at any given moment, people do truly care and I’m not alone.

RUOK Day is the day where we reconnect with people we may have lost touch with in order to check in on them. But I believe that we should be doing that every day. Check in with your neighbours. Have a cuppa with your friends. Spend time doing something you love with someone you love. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day rush that we forget that no person can go through life alone.

For more information on RUOK Day, please visit

RUOK Day

 

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Don’t Overthink It: To Live Better and Feel Happy, Have More Fun — Must Be This Tall To Ride

Do you ever find yourself in situations where you’re supposed to be having fun and feeling good, but you’re not and you don’t? Not only is what you’re doing NOT fun, but there’s the bonus element of suckage resulting from your unmet expectations and ensuing disappointment. There are countless reasons why something we expected to […]

via Don’t Overthink It: To Live Better and Feel Happy, Have More Fun — Must Be This Tall To Ride

Apologies for the delay in posting friends. I have been flat out over the last few days but finally, have the chance to sit down and put fingers to keyboard.

As many of you know, my beloved father passed away on the 26th March and many of you are also aware that I had almost three and a half weeks with him while he was on life support in the Tamworth Base Hospital ICU. What you may not be aware of is the cohort of lung diseases that put him there and the campaign to make people more aware of it this winter.

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Most people knew Dad was a heavy smoker and had been for as long as I can remember. Of course this leads to medical issues such as COPD which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (AKA: COPD). This is an umbrella term for chronic diseases of the lungs and upper respiratory tract such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema (among others) which are non-reversible once diagnosed and the ongoing damage caused by these diseases is also non reversible.

As you can imagine, once the lungs are adversely affected, breathing becomes difficult and infections of the lungs and upper respiratory tract become more common with patients often being hospitalised and placed on oxygen therapy. On Sunday the 13th March, dad was medevaced from Inverell by helicopter to Tamworth and placed under sedation and on life support to give his tired, over-worked lungs a break.

What the doctors found while Dad was on life support was that he had less than 10% lung capacity due to the emphysema which came about due to his decades of smoking. Now I’m not going to preach about the evils of smoking and how bad it is for you…that’s not what this blog is for. But I am going to tell you about the #havethechat campaign that the Lung Foundation (a cause I have supported for many years) is currently undertaking It’s a little hard to explain so I’ll direct you to the Foundation website whose link can be found below.

http://lungfoundation.com.au/have-the-chat/

Great News If You Love Flight…Or Even If You Don’t!!

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Great news for all lovers of flight. Questacon, Australia’s Science and Technology Centre in Canberra in conjunction with the Boeing Company and NASA has announced today that Above and Beyond has been extended until the 8th October 2017.

Mum and I had the privilege of viewing this breath-taking exhibit during our trip to Canberra and while we have no interest in flight whatsoever (unlike my younger brother Simon), we absolutely loved it!! The advances that have and will be made in the field of aerospace design and engineering are mind blowing and simply have to be seen to be believed.

Fly like a bird. Design your own supersonic jet to race against your friends and use your afterburners to create a sonic boom! Maybe even design the world’s first hypersonic jet or jump on a space elevator and head beyond the stars. At Above and Beyond, you can do all this and more! Even if you hate flying (like me!) or have no interest in anything to do with it, head to Questacon to see this exhibit….I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Here is an overview video of the exhibit to whet your appetite. Overview Video 

Or maybe you want a closer look. Exhibit Video

Piqued your interest??  Head to Above and Beyond and be prepared to be amazed!!