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Keep the Change

Posted on October 14, 2015 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (27)

Do you ever feel like something’s coming? And after it happens, your life will never be the same? It’s my last year at Uni, and I’m getting to the point where all the “adult” figures in my life (am I an adult yet?) are asking about my graduation plans, and I’m about ready to give up and do another four years.

 

 

(From Google; https://38.media.tumblr.com/550c13c0708015bcc3acbb2826e31744/tumblr_inline_mj2s2a9lni1qz4rgp.gif" target="_blank">source)

 

Here are some reasons why change is scary, but why it might not be so bad after all.

 

1. Change is new

When we have to deal with new circumstances, we’re often put out of our comfort zones. Humans LOVE comfort zones! It’s where anxiety is lowest, we don’t have to put in much effort, and our brains can coast on autopilot because we know what we’re doing. But once you leave it, you’ll start to grow your skills and take a more active part in shaping your life. By breaking the routines you have in place right now, you’ll have the chance to do all of the exciting things that you never would’ve imagined. By leaving behind familiar people and places, you create space for the better things that are waiting just beyond that comfort zone.

 

2. Change is constant

Let’s face it, change is happening. It’s natural, it’s normal, and it’s a part of life. It takes a lot of energy to resist change, but none to embrace it. By accepting that things are going to change, you’ll free up so much mental energy! You’ll be more relaxed, more flexible, and ready to take on the challenges that life presents.

 

3. Change means loss

Any time we lose something, there’s a grieving process. Grief consists of denial, rage, depression, bargaining, and acceptance (not necessarily in that order). It’s hard to lose something that we’ve become attached to, and part of personal growth is being willing to go through that full process and to let go of the attachment.

 

4. Change is opportunity

So you’ve changed. So what? If you’re not who you used to be, you can literally be anything. Once you let go of the past, the future is open to everything you’ve always wanted to be. If you can dream it, you can do it. While the unknown can be scary, it’s important to keep moving forward to see what the world has in store! Instead of looking at the closed door, turn to the ones that have opened.

 

 

It was really hard to make this list without repeating the same thing over and over! A lot of the resources I found said the same thing a few times, so I tried to make each of these items distinct. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments, and check out these other resources about changing it up.

 

http://www.allankarl.com/everything-must-change%E2%80%A620-reasons-why-change-is-good/

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-powerful-benefits-of-change-why-embrace-it/

http://thoughtcatalog.com/cehudspeth/2013/01/20-ways-to-get-out-of-your-comfort-zone/

 

Keep your heads up, loves! xx

Six Strategies for Self-Care

Posted on September 4, 2015 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Whether it’s a day that’s been particularly stressful, a series of events that suddenly pile up, or a chronic illness that just seems like too much today, it’s important to have options to make life more manageable. As you might tell from the name, self-care is a method of taking care of yourself! It’s not an elaborate plan, just a list of options that you can do to make yourself feel better. For those days when you’re sore, tired, achey, or just plain feel like you can’t even, here’s some little things that you can do.

 

 

1. Have a hot drink

Tea isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and the caffeine in coffee can make some people feel even more stressed out, but any kind of hot drink can be soothing. Plus it’s a good way to hydrate! Not enough water can lead to headaches, lack of concentration, and a working memory that isn’t fully functional – which means anything else you’re doing becomes infinitely more difficult. Some of my favourite hot drinks are honey citron drink, hot chocolate, or heated apple cider. Also check out Wikipedia’s  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hot_beverages.

 

2. Go for a walk

This is a classic way to get your consciousness thinking about other things. If you’re stuck on a problem, walking forces you to physically distance yourself from it and gives you space to think. If your neighborhood isn’t ideal for walking, you can pace your flat, or go to a park nearby.

 

3. Take a (short) nap

The incubation theory says that sleeping on a problem can help your mind relax its constraints and think about the problem in a new way. Whether you actually dream up a solution or not, a 20-30 minute nap can recharge your brain, clear out toxins, and leave you feeling ready to tackle the problem again from a new angle. A word of warning if you choose this approach, do remember to set an alarm – self-care should be something that prepares you to do other things, and if you sleep away the afternoon you could wake up feeling even more stressed!

 

4. Write it out

Keeping a diary isn’t something that works for everyone, but jotting down your feelings or thoughts on a piece of paper can be a way to clarify what exactly you’re feeling. Free associate with the things that are bothering you – why are they bothering you? What about this situation is overwhelming? Is there something that you do can to solve or manage this with the right steps? If not, what are some things in the present that you can do to make it less harmful to your mental health? Check out our last post on harm reduction for some ideas.

 

5. Get in touch with a friend

I talk to my friends through so many ways that it’s easier to say “communicate” than anything else! Whether it’s a snap on snapchat, a Facebook message, or a good old-fashioned phone call, it can be great to get in touch with someone who knows you really well.

 

6. Take a stretch break

There are so many easy stretches to relieve tension, which also can reduce stress! Because physical symptoms can be misinterpreted by the brain and attributed to the wrong causes, tension in your body can make you feel more stressed than you actually are. Get up! Lean down and reach for the floor, then lean back and reach your arms behind your head. If you can, sit down and stretch out anything that feels tight or sore. Give yourself time! Don’t rush it, take 10-15 minutes to really get into it and feel the results.

 

The most important part of your self-care is that it’s tailored to YOU! I’m more of an introvert, which means that even though I love being around people, I recharge by being alone (meditating, reading a book, going to the park). For extroverts, recharging can come from being around and engaging with others (talking, dancing, cuddling with a trusted person or a pet). It’s all about what’s right for you and your head.

 

Also, try to come up with self-care that you can do the moment you need it. While getting a massage is a great way to relax and de-stress, it’s hard to get yourself out to a massage place when your head is spinning! Try and think of 5 easy things that you can do wherever, whenever.

What do you think of our list? What’s on yours? Let us know in the comments!

 

[Inspired by everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/self-care-101/]

 

Robot Hugs on Harm Reduction

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

This Robot Hugs cartoon does an excellent job of explaining what harm reduction is, and how a person can use harm reduction techniques when they are trying to limit harmful behaviour. Harm reducation emphasises that we don't have to perfect straight away when we are trying to stop or limit harmful behaviours, that these things take time and it's important to put safety procedures in place while we are still learning to reduce the dangerous behaviour.



The comic below is from Robot Hugs at http://www.robot-hugs.com/harm-reduction/




Emotions and facial expressions may not be related

Posted on August 4, 2013 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow, an educational and fascinating article about the research of Professor Lisa Barrett, who believes that there may not be a universal facial expression for emotions such as disgust, anger or surprise.


Why is this such a big deal? Well, if you've ever been a client of mine, I'm sure you'll remember me asking you to communicate using "basic" emotions (anger, sadness, fear, happiness and in love). For a long time, psychological research has stated that all human beings display certain facial expressions to communicate these feelings, regardless of cultural background. 


Professor Barrett believes that the best we can do is make a guess at whether someone is happy, sad or frightened. But apart from that, we're pretty much in the dark.


I can tell you from personal experience, I side very much with Professor Barrett on this one. While you can guess at the way the someone else may be feeling, assuming how they are feeling (or worse, telling them how they are feeling) has the potential to be extremely invalidating. 


It can also serve as a useful reminder that your partner (or friends, or housemates) may need regular "weather reports" on your feelings - because they might not be able to see your internal world. 

BDSM Correlated With Psychological Wellbeing

Posted on June 15, 2013 at 1:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has shown a correlation between BDSM and robust mental health.


 

The study compared individuals who participate in BDSM with a group of controls and looked at personality traits such as extraversion, neuroticism, attachment style and general wellbeing. It found that while individuals who engage in BDSM tend to be less agreeable, more open to new experiences, less neurotic, and report a greater overall level of psychological wellbeing.

 


Past studies have tended to focus on whether or not people who practice BDSM have higher rates of depression or other mental health issues (spolier - they don’t). What is unique about this study is that it is one of the first to look at the BDSM community from a perspective of health and personality differences, rather than simply searching for signs of psychopathology.

 


Of course, while it definitely is a step in the right direction, the study also raises more questions than it answers. Does this mean that practicing BDSM raises your psychological well being, or is understanding and being in touch with your sexuality the key? Are people who are open to new experiences simply more likely to have tried a whole range of different sexual activities, and discovered that they enjoy BDSM? Are there any unique positive personality traits that might also be present in groups of people who identify as sexually “vanilla”, or asexual?


Hopefully there will be more research to come as the psychological community increases it’s understanding of the role of sexuality as a fundamental part of mental health and wellbeing.


Want to know more?


You can find a summary of the study here, or find out how to stay safe sane and consensual here.

 

On the Couch with a Muslim Therapist

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A fantastic upcoming event with psychologist Sekneh Beckett


http://www.mardigras.org.au/events/queer-thinking/

 

Psychologist Sekneh Beckett will speak at Queer Thinking, Seymour Centre on 16 February Saturday, 12 pm.

On the Couch with a Muslim Therapist

Sekneh’s personal and professional odysseys will be weaved in this talk. She unveil’s the narratives of Muslim and non Muslim youth who are negotiating the relationships between religiosity and sexualities. This talk will offer an alternative option to the “coming-out” discourse and explores alternative ways in which some young LGBTQ youth define the politics of their existence and identifications. These youthful voices will be echoed through this presentation – broadcasting stories of sustenance, agency and freedom, despite the broader socio-political/ religious contexts that might constrain them. A panel discussion will follow this event. 

For more info about Sekneh Beckett, check out the following links -


http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2012/03/12/3449476.htm

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/stonewalled-20120413-1wyec.html

The Myth of Trans Regrets

Posted on February 2, 2013 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi all

It's been a while since I last updated the blog. I just wanted to take this opportunity to show you all this fantastic infographic from Transstudent Tumblr -

The Myth of Trans Regrets 

Some very valuabe information for anyone thinking of transitioning.



Why everyone should have a therapist

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

One of our twitter followers passed on this fantastic article -

Why everyone should have a therapist

Good on you guys, keep them coming :)

Mental Illness - an insider's view

Posted on July 8, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello all

Just a quick one today - this fantastic talk on TED from Elyn Saks, the Associate Dean and a Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry at the University of Southern California. 

Elyn is diagnosed with schizophernia and experiences periods of psychosis. Here she talks about her experience of living with a mental illness.

A tale of mental illness from the inside

I hope you find it as informative as I did. 


Navigating the Mental Health System - Part III

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Visiting Hospital

Hello again! This is part three of the Navigating the Mental Health System series - Visiting Hospital.

Going to hospital for a mental health condition can be an anxiety provoking prospect. Admission to hospital for mental health reasons is not something that is commonly talked about, and many people find it an extremely confronting process.

However, going to hospital can also be a life changing experience. Many people identify going to hospital as the turning point in their illness. It can be a place where mental health issues can be thoroughly explored and correctly diagnosed, where skills are taught to mange your illness, and a safe place to recuperate until you are able to manage on your own.

This article is about how and when people typically decide to go hospital, and what your rights and responsibilities are once you get there.


When should I consider going to hospital?

An admission to hospital is something that you should consider if –

You are having thoughts of suicide, harming yourself, or harming others

You are experiencing periods of being out of touch with reality, or feel out of control

You are seeing or hearing things that other people say they cannot see or hear

You are having difficulty maintaining basic daily routines such as showering, brushing your teeth, cooking yourself meals or getting yourself to work.


How do I arrange a visit to hospital?

If you are in serious trouble, considering imminent suicide or self harm, you should contact 000. They will transport you to your nearest hospital for assessment.*

If you are able to wait, but know that the situation is worsening, you will need to speak to your GP, who will can contact your local community mental health team and recommend an assessment.

If you live in the inner west or westernsuburbs of Sydney, this will normally be the Mental Health Access Line (1800 011 511) which is available 24hrs.

The best person to speak to at your local hospital for further information about admission is usually the Intake Worker or Intake Officer of the mental health unit of your local hospital.


Can I be admitted to hospital against my wishes?

Mental health professionals are bound by somethingcalled the “duty of least restrictive care”. This means that if there is another method of appropriate treatment available to you (such as remaining at home, treatment within the community, or treatment by a private psychologist) the are required by law to explore this option with you first.

Under certain circumstances you can be admitted to hospital against your wishes. The legal document that outlines when this can occur is the NSW Mental Health Act (2007). You can only be admitted to hospital involuntarily if you have been assessed by two medical professional to be “mentally ill” or “mentally disordered”. At least one of these medical professionals must be a psychiatrist.

The criteria for these classifications is very strict, and usually you cannot be admitted against your wishes unless there is a serious concern for your safety, or unless a mental health professional believes that you are so unwell that you cannot provide consent.


What are my rights as a hospital patient?

Unless you are an involuntary patient, you have the right to leave the hospital at any time.

Unless you are an involuntary patient, youhave the right to refuse treatment. If you are an involuntary patient, you still need to be informed of the kind of treatment you are receiving, and any potential risks associated with it.

You have a right to maintain contact withyour family and friends, including making phone calls, receiving mail, and seeing visitors.

You have a right to privacy. This includesthe right to spend time alone and in private with your partner/s.

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and the right to safety.


What are my responsibilities as a hospital patient?

As a hospital patient, you have a responsibility to remain courteous and respectful towards staff and other patients.

You have a responsibility to abide by any occupational health and safety requirements the hospital might have.

You have a responsibility to refrain from using any intoxicating substances while you are on hospital grounds. This is for the health and safety of the staff and other patients.

Due to the dangers of passive smoking, you have a responsibility to refrain from smoking during your stay in hospital. Hospital staff will usually provide you with nicotine replacement, and assistance to quit smoking, if this is an issue for you.


Want to find out more?

For more information on your rights as a hospital patient, and a more thorough explanation of the mental health act, you can visit the website of the Mental Health Co-ordinating Council.

If you believe that your rights have been breached in any way during your stay in hospital, you can contact the Mental Health Advocacy Service on 02 9745 4277.


*Medicare does not cover the cost of ambulances, but there are some instances in which you will not be charged for using the ambulance service.