Alive among the trees

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I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of thinking and enjoying what they call living. I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the trees. – Jack Kerouac

the clouds

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Myth: Mental health problems are very rare

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In my mind, there’s nothing our generation should be more ashamed of than people with severe mental illness being punished for a disease they can’t do anything about. ” Fran Quigley

When I was in hospital last week (that’s a story for another day…) I started chatting to a young girl (17) in the bed next to me. She told me that the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with her and what to do about it. All they know is that she has toxic kidneys and now she’s on a liquid diet. Then I asked her how she’s coping emotionally – and she almost ashamedly told me that she’s on anti-depressants because things are just too tough. I immediately exclaimed: Welcome to the club! So am I”. I could immediately sense that she felt so relieved that she wasn’t being judged or considered a freak.

And this got me thinking: Don’t you sometimes wish that mental illness could be diagnosed with a blood test, or be visible on an X-ray? It would eliminate all those “snap out of it” or “it is all in your head” comments. No wonder so many people suffer in silence! Then those of us who live with chronic conditions such as clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD or Bipolar would be treated in the same way as someone living with diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma.

This article says that depression is now the second most common cause of disability worldwide after back pain, according to a review of research. The disease must be treated as a global public health priority, experts report in the journal PLOS Medicine. The study compared clinical depression with more than 200 other diseases and injuries as a cause of disability.

And you know what’s the most scary thing? Globally only a small proportion of patients are diagnosed or have access to treatment, the World Health Organization says. I think mental illness is fast becoming one of the biggest public health concerns worldwide. Not nearly enough is being done to help people in desperate need.

Elyn Saks, an expert in mental health law, said that “No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time with mental illness.”

True words. Mental health is really one of the most misunderstood health conditions.

 

My favourite age is now

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Today is my birthday and this year it is a really special one. This year I’m celebrating the gift of life I have – another 365 days of opportunity to love, laugh, learn, enjoy life, dream and be happy. I read something that says “do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” So today I’m celebrating with a grateful heart.

“I love getting older. My understanding deepens. I can see what connects. I can weave stories of experience and apply them. I can integrate the lessons. Things simply become more and more fascinating. Beauty reveals itself in thousands of forms.” – Victoria Erickson.

 

 

Doodle art to understand depression

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I found this really awesome page on twitter called Doodle Chronicles. The doodles document the author’s journey towards understanding her severe clinical depression and anxiety. I think they are just amazing. Spread the word and show your support by following @DoodleChronicle if you are on Twitter. I can relate to each one and find them so helpful! 

 

 

 

 

 

Make glorious mistakes. Yes to mistakes!

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I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes, make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect. Whatever is is: art, love, work, family or life.

Whatever it is that you’re scared of doing, do it. – Neil Gaiman

Reading this made we wonder why we are so scared to make mistakes. They are actually really amazing things.

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Cheers to mistakes!  :-)

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Cheers to mistakes! 🙂

I know that I’m really scared of mistakes. But you know what – I have to remind myself that it is about my need for perfectionism. It is something I easily fall into but it is actually wrong and totally harmful to me.

Perfectionism is a form of self-abuse and it just fuels my anxiety. I’m taking on a lot of new things this year – and I know I’m going to make mistakes.

But I’m not going to fall into the trap of self-abuse through perfectionism. So YES to mistakes and new ventures!