Tag Archives: mental illness

Learning to love my body

*Trigger warning* Please note that the following post discusses weight and disordered eating. Please make sure you are in a safe place before reading.

Food and I have had a disordered relationship for a long time. I have used food to punish and to soothe. I have used it to attempt to fill a void and restricted it when I believed I deserved it. I have struggled to see food as just food, instead demonising it and using shame to beat myself with. My weight has yo-yoed many times over the years. read more

8 Ways to make exercise fun for kids + giveaway

**I was sent one mobile phone in order to complete this review. All opinions are my own**

When I am having a bad day, you can almost guarantee it is because I haven’t exercised in some shape or form. I’m incredibly unfit and I don’t enjoy exercising, but I do know that when I do it, I feel so much better for it. I’m a big fan of the incidental exercise, much to the chagrin of Mr 8. He got the lazy gene from his Mama.

This year we have been walking to and from school everyday. When we started, Mr 8 complained so much that one would think I was making him complete a marathon each day, not the 1.5km we walked to school. It’s August now and we’ve only just reached the point where he has accepted that we are walking this term.

I knew that I wouldn’t be the only one in this position so I decided to share my tips for a way to get to whinge free exercise!

  • Make it part of your routine. When we first started there was lots and lots of complaining. As hard as it was, I tuned it out. I told him that we were doing this now, and that was the end of it. Any complaints were met with a repeat of that phrase.
  • Distraction: Just like when tantrums plague the world of life with a toddler, distraction works well with a school aged kid who doesn’t want to do something. I used a mix of questions about his day and pointing out things along our route. We would even go through the alphabet and try to find things that started with each letter. The end of the alphabet got tricky!
  • Be honest about the need for a healthy lifestyle. I talked with Mr 8 about how being active makes us feel good and that being fit helps us to play with our friends at school.
  • Wearable technology: Last month I bought Mr 8 a Vivofit Junior after he showed interest in my fitbit. It’s been great for getting him interested in seeing how active he is during the day and wanting to beat his Mum’s step count for the day! It also has the added feature of a chore list with rewards. We’ve used this to help get into a routine before school and for bedtime. He knows what he needs to do and that he gets a coin for completing it.
  • Good old fashioned bribery. When we first started walking, I told Mr 8 that if he walked for a whole week without complaining then he’d get a treat from the shop on the way home from school.
  • Acknowledge their feelings. We all do things that we don’t want to do. We all have to get on with it. However it also helps when someone acknowledges that it’s a crappy thing to have to do.
  • Plan a walk/ride to somewhere they want to go. Exercise isn’t just school runs around here. We also walk to the park, which Mr 8 loves. He rides his scooter while I walk and then he gets to play at the park too. It’s a win-win.
  • Find a fun walking app. Last year I found a walking app that involved a zombie apocalypse. Mr 8 loved it. However I wasn’t so keen on him carrying my phone while we walked. He had an old phone of mine, but the battery doesn’t last very long. So when I was asked if I wanted to review a new smartphone, I knew the perfect use for it. In steps the new Alcatel Pixi Vibe.  The Alcatel Pixi Vibe is small enough to fit in his small hands and still powerful enough to host the games that he loves. Even though the phone itself only has 5gb of storage, it can be expanded with the use of a SD Card. The phone runs on the Android system and is very similar to the Samsung range of phones. This made it super easy for me to use and the features simple to find.
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    Suicide has no rules

    suicide has no rules

    Whenever a story about suicide or attempted suicide hits the media there is a mix of reactions.  There are the people who don’t care, they see the suicidal as an inconvenience. There are those who have been there and understand the despair behind suicide.  Then there are those in between.  They don’t really mean to be offensive, but they are misinformed and they can’t possibly keep their comments to themselves.

    The comment sections seem to be filled with these in between people. They have possibly read an article about suicide and now believe that those signs are gospel when it comes to a person expressing suicidal thoughts. People who make the news due to their suicide attempts are subjected to the scrutiny of these armchair psychiatrists. I’ve responded to these comments in the past and have been met with disbelief and uproar.  ‘I’m only try to help’, is the outcry. Yet they don’t realise or refuse to acknowledge how unhelpful their commentary is.

    The most common comment I have noticed is ‘if they were really suicidal they wouldn’t have told anyone’. Contrary to the beliefs these people hold, there is no ‘right’ way to be suicidal or to attempt suicide.  Someone reaching out after they have taken action against their lives are no less suicidal because there was something that made them change their minds. A person who admits to making an attempt on their life isn’t any less suicidal.

    Another common catch phrase used is that the person is ‘just’ crying for help. Well, yes they are. It’s a dangerous way of asking for help, but that is what they are doing. A friend once said to me that she found it ludicrous that self harm and suicide attempts were written off as nothing more than attention seeking. The term always said in a derisive tone, with undertones of ‘time waster’. It was her belief that if someone used such a dysfunctional way of drawing attention to themselves, then maybe we need to spend some time giving them attention and teaching them positive ways to express themselves.

    I often feel uncomfortable when talking about my own suicide attempts because I sought help so soon afterwards. I don’t feel that my experiences are valid because maybe I wasn’t really suicidal at all. I buy into the stigma I fight so hard to help others see past. As usual I am far harsher on myself than on others.

    There is no right way to be suicidal. There is no rules for attempting suicide. Someone seeking help doesn’t reduce the validity of those suicidal actions. You can’t ignore someone’s cry for help because you don’t think they are suicidal enough.

    At the end of the day, strangers commenting on the validity of a person’s attempt on their life achieves nothing. I wish that suicide attempts were not used as news fodder, click bait headlines that lure the dregs of society to the comment section. I wish that people would think before they type something hurtful about a person who is already in an incredibly vulnerable position. I wish that they could keep their thoughts and their unspoken rules about suicide to themselves.

    Linking up with Kylie for IBOT!

    ADHD is not just bad behaviour

    I swear if I read one more meme about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) being a made up condition, I will scream. If I see one more post about kids with ADHD just needing a ‘kick up the arse’, I will explode. 

    ADHD is not just a child being naughty.  It is a documented disability.  It is not a new condition. In fact it was first added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980.  At the risk of alarming anyone, that is nearly 40 years ago.

    In April last year, Mr 7 was diagnosed with ADHD – Inattentive Type.  In his own words, his brain goes too fast to make sense of the things he needs to do.  These issues really became apparent when he started year 1 at school.  His teacher knew he could do the work, but Mr 7 just wasn’t completing it. He was getting frustrated that he couldn’t do the things that he too knew that he could do.

    Mr 7 has had sleep issues since just before he was 2. He wasn’t bad because he couldn’t sleep. Him not sleeping wasn’t because he was being deliberately disruptive. He just couldn’t wind down mentally after his day. While neurotypical kids would be exhausted after a big day of activities, he was wired and unable to calm his thoughts.

    When Mr 7 was diagnosed with ADHD, the pediatrician suggested medication to help with his concentration issues. For me it was a no brainer. I knew for myself, how much the right medication can help when you are struggling mentally. I also knew there was a stigma around medicating for ADHD.

    Some people have the belief that medicating ADHD is unnecessarily drugging kids with something that is borderline legal narcotics. They believe that ADHD is just a behavourial issue, not a neurological one. They believe the horror stories of kids turned into zombies and refuse to listen to the success stories.

    I went into trying medication with an open mind. I knew that there was the possibility that it wouldn’t work for us, that the side effects could outweigh any benefits. I was prepared to take him off them if they were doing him more harm than good. However I would approach any medication in the same way. It wouldn’t matter if it was for a physical illness or a mental one.

    ADHD often manifests itself as naughty behaviour in children because they are frustrated. Imagine if you couldn’t pin down any of your thoughts, no matter how hard you tried. Now imagine that this happens all of the time. Imagine that even though you wanted to do well in class, you wanted to listen, you wanted to do the best but those swirling thoughts were all you had.

    Now imagine someone told you that a simple white pill could mean that you could take hold of some of those thoughts. Wouldn’t you want to give it a try? Wouldn’t you want to give it a try for your child?

    Medication isn’t the only answer for treating ADHD, and it doesn’t work for everyone. However I would hate to think that I had stopped my son from reaching his potential because of the stigma around a white pill. Seeing how proud of himself he is, because he is achieving things he didn’t think he could is worth it. Seeing him being able to learn about the things he wants to, makes it worth it.

    Are you slightly freaking out that 1980 is almost 40 years ago?

    Do you know someone with ADHD, do they medicate?

    6 Tips for reducing anxiety + Giveaway

    *I received one weekend family pass to Oz Comic-Con for myself and one weekend family pass for the purpose of a giveaway.  All opinions expressed are my own.*

    Anxiety is something that I have been dealing with in increasing intensity after the last few years.  It has stopped me from doing things that I love.  It has stopped me from doing things with people that I love.  Worst of all, the guilt of not doing those things has been worse than the anxiety too.

    I have been adding to my therapy toolbox with my psychologist. Being mentally healthy is hard work, but with practice some of these skills come without me having to think about it.  I want to share those tips with you.

  • Have an exit strategy.  One of the most overwhelming things for me is feeling like I have to commit to x amount of hours.  I work myself up about not being able to last that long.  I find that allowing myself an exit strategy if I need it helps to alleviate that overwhelm.  More times than not, I end up staying longer than I planned too.
  • Best. Worst. Most likely.  This is a skill that my psychologist has passed along to me.  What is the best outcome from the situation?  What is the worst outcome? What is the most likely outcome.  Also, if the worst does happen, what is the impact in the grand scheme of things? Will I be safe? Will those I love be safe?  This strategy also helps to brainstorm ideas for what I will do, if the worst outcome does eventuate.
  • Practice mindfulness.  Focus on the smaller things around you.  Find something you can smell, something you can hear, something you can see and something you can touch.  If you find it easier, don’t be afraid to use headphones while out too.  I feel more overwhelmed when using headphones, so that one doesn’t work for me, but I know others have found it helpful.
  • Make a plan. If possible, sit down with the event map prior to the event and work out where the things that you want to see are.  Work out where the amenities are situated and also where any food trucks/shops are.
  • Wear something you’re comfortable and feel good in.  This one might seem like a no brainer, but I know that when I wear clothes that I don’t feel 100% comfy in, that heightens my feelings of being judged.  In an ideal world, I wouldn’t feel judged, but right now I live in an anxious world.
  • Take a comfort item.  You need to do what makes you feel comfortable in a situation that often literally feels life or death.  If having a stuffed animal, or a baby blanket helps that, then I say go for it.
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