Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A Mental Health Blog Post That Rocked Me To the Core


The other day I read a mental health blog post that rocked me to the core. 

Here I was, minding my own business, you know, procrastinating on facebook when a link appeared in my news feed. It caught my attention so I decided that it looked like it was worth my time in reading it - even if I just glazed over it, I thought it still sounded good (you know, as we live in the 21st century and we prioritise things worth our precious time!)

The words before me really opened my eyes, challenged my thoughts and evoked a real burning desire to share what this person had written with others.

The title of the post was "Depression is NOT a mental illness".
At first I was like what is this person on about, of course it is a mental health illness - oh boy, let me get my boxing gloves out in self defence as I begrudging read the words on the page becoming more and more furious over a non believer of mental health.... but I was wrong, oh so wrong.

It was these paragraphs that I reread at least 10 times over, as what the author was trying to say made total sense and was a completely different perspective to what I have ever thought or read about.

This is what she said;

"The media, bless 'em, do their best to paint any form of mental illness in a positive light. Explaining that depression, anxiety, addiction and anything related to those three are now legitimate diseases that deserve the same respect and attention as anything physical.

Well thanks but the last I heard, the brain was a part of the body, and a damn important one at that.
As long as we treat an illness of the brain as something different from the rest of the body then it will never receive the same amount of attention." 

To read the whole article click HERE.
To be honest, it was at this point I cried. I cried because I knew that if governments, health workers, and people like you and I started referring to depression, anxiety and other horrible illnesses as physical ailments, then perhaps they would start to receive the same respect, funding, understanding, caring and attention that they deserve.
1 in 5 people are affected by these illnesses.
1 in 5 people are longing for a normal life where they can spring out of bed, concentrate at work, genuinely feel the warmth and fuzzy feelings of happiness, experience the reviving feeling after a full nights sleep, be able to breathe and not just the automatic type of breathing but the breathing that fills your lungs and makes your whole body tingle, bringing about a sense of calmness.
1 in 5 people just long to be able to openly talk about how they are feeling and to be understood, appreciated, and given the support, guidance and help that they deserve.
It still disgusts me that last year was the first year that the government wrote a formal paper on mental health, reporting the statistics, creating preventative strategies and finally recognising the seriousness of the epidemic that is facing not only Australia, but the world.

A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

It still shocks me to the core when I read articles about the government sweeping suicide statistics and depression and anxiety statistics under the carpet - to what avail I must ask? Are they ashamed? Is it too big of a problem to deal with in before the next election? Will it cost too much money to invest their time and finances in to come to a solution? 

This article shocked the pants off of me - in this day in age, with all of Australia's history with the Stolen Generation, the escalating suicide statistics, and mental health organisations, we are still hiding information and misrepresenting different populations?

It disgusts me that there are still non-believers and non-recognisers of mental health issues in communities.

It hurts me when I read comments from people saying that they have reached out for support and have been met with comments like "cheer up buttercup" and have lost jobs, family and friends because of their current circumstance.

To check out the comments click here
This really hit home when a poem that I wrote was picked up and posted on the R U OK Day's facebook page. I was honored, excited and immensely happy that my poem had been shared to a wider audience and it quickly attracted comments, likes and shares (in fact, it had 2.5 thousand likes, 1,379 shares and a whole stack of comments). As I started reading what people had to share, I was both shocked and inspired. I just couldn't believe that so many people who were suffering, tried to speak out, were met with disdain, horrible comments and rejection, and decided that it was "easier to suffer in silence".

This broke my heart.

Am I really naive to believe that people are becoming more open and understanding to people suffering from depression, anxiety and illnesses like?

Would people be more open to learning about depression and anxiety, and be more comforting towards friends and family and helping people receive the care that they need and deserve if these illnesses were referred to as physical ones?

Why is it when people think of mental health and anything to do with the "mind" that the mind and thinking can be manipulated, changed and controlled, and thus someone who is suffering should be able to "snap out of it" or "change their way of thinking" or just "get over it?"

What happens if we started referring the problem to the brain and not the mind? What happens if people started to learn more about the chemical Seronotin in the brain that controls moods, thoughts, feelings and actions, and when the brain stops producing this chemical then people start to fall ill - will it change people's responses?

Just like you can't change the white blood cells in your veins when you have cancer, you can't change the levels of serotonin in your body when you are ill, without medication and treatment.

Depression, anxiety and illnesses alike are serious - they are real - they claim lives every day.

They are formed in the brain, controlled by the imbalance in the chemical Serotonin, and they deserve the respect, love, support, medical attention, government funding and policy making, support by employers and employees and friends and family members to get the person back on track - and to know that they are loved, and not thought of or viewed any differently to someone suffering from cancer, or heart disease, or any other physical illness.

I love that blog post that rocked my core - opened my eyes and has completely changed even my open mind and views of depression, anxiety and illnesses alike.

I had a physical illness - I suffered from depression.

I'd hope that if I ever suffer again, that I am treated the same as someone with a physical illness by all those who cross my path.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think people's views would change if these illnesses are seen as physical ailments?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Male Flatulence

Now I'm not going to pretend that females blow out little rose scented love puffs from their backsides; yes, we do fluff too, but boy oh boy, no matter whether we eat the same food or not, boys seem to fart all of the time, in the most inappropriate places, and sometimes you end up dry reaching!

Not to mention the beloved dutch ovens. No matter how old guys seem to get, they never seem to understand that a female, under no circumstances, finds it cute, amusing or mildly entertaining when you decide to let one rip and then pull the covers over her face in hope of suffocating her in your poo particles.

Nor will she ever find it funny when you let one go at the dinner table, just as her taste buds are salivering as she almost reaches her lips with her meal on her fork and then you decide to pop one out and end up making her eyes water instead!

No matter what you said, you can hold it in, and no it's not always better out then in.

There a times and places for popping off.

Let them go, let them out and go on and shake them out when you are at work amongst the lads in the shed, or hold them in and pretend to bomb battle ships on the toilet, but please don't bring them into the bedroom or around the dinner table...

Which brings me to the next point...the dreaded confined spaces.

Especially the dreaded confined spaces when the male is driving and has control over the power window lock - or all of a sudden, driving along, minding your own business and your partner windes down your window and let's one rip so that all of the heavily loaded poo particle ordours get sucked like a vacuum past your nose and out your window.

One day we secretly hope that you push a little too hard and shart...but then, at the same time, it'd be us that end up washing out the jocks!!!

So whether you call it farting, popping off, blowing love puffs, fluffing, popping, blowing, tooting, letting rip or any other name, letting go of wind is one thing that you should keep to yourself.

As ladies we're constantly told that nothing smells better then your own home brew, so why don't you go find a quiet space and take it all in...alone, by yourself, hey presto!!!

Have you ever been dutch ovened?

Do you think it's appropriate to let one go at the dinner table?

Is it okay to fart around your partner?

Okay okay, so I'm no princess or angel, and I also pop every now and again, but usually I can pick the time and place (just don't ask my best friends about my hens night!) haha

Very tongue in cheek of course, and I guess it's the "joys" of being "comfortable" with someone!

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx


Sunday, 24 November 2013

All things depression MEDICATION REDUCTION

I'm so proud of myself. There I said it, and if it makes me vein, lame, boastful, gloat full, up myself, blowing my own trumpet or whatever other negative  connotations that society seems to place upon people who opening share their successes no matter how big or small with others then so be it.

I am proud because just over 2 weeks ago I made the  agonizing decision to start reducing my depression medication and I am fine!!!

I haven't collapsed into a heap, or lost my mind, or started slipping back into that terrifying downward spiral into a lonely and dark pit, no I am fine, strong and bless my cotton socks happy.

If only I could express to my readers my immense joy, relief and happiness in writing that last paragraph because there were times when I could never ever imagine myself making the decision to start reducing my medication let alone be doing okay with it.

I must admit it hasn't been all smooth sailing, in fact for the first ten days I felt all of the symptoms that I would associate with pregnancy; the need to eat first thing in the morning to stop the nausea and to continue to keep my belly full throughout the day, head spins, dizziness, headachey and of course a  heightened awareness of my breathing, thinking and  behavior; I was literally on the prowl for any rapid changes.

But thankfully to my surprise and because of my persistence and ability to rationalize my symptoms, within ten days these horrible feelings subsided.

On this day I messaged those closest to me to share my joy and gratefulness; my confidence started to grow in my ability to cope with the reduction of my medication which wasallowing my body to reproduce the chemical that aided in my sickness in the first place; serotonin.

By no means am I going to become cocky or ever fully believe that I am free from the grips of depression but I can smile knowing that I am managing with life and it's many challenges at the same time as removing my security blanket over the past three years.

One thing that I have been abit naughty on is booking an  appointment to discuss my progress with my doctor, it has been on my very long to do list, but today might just be the day that it reaches top priority.

Where to from here?

Book an appointment with my doctor.

Continue taking 50 mg one day and 100 mg the next.

Stay in regular contact with my doctor.

Continue to monitor my moods, behavior and thoughts.

How did you go reducing your medication?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Monday, 11 November 2013

I Am...

Have you ever stopped and thought about what you are?

What on earth am I talking about? How dare I refer to you as a thing? 

Well, not what you are, but who you are. Who do you represent? What makes your blood flow and boil? What are your values? What personas and personalities do you encompass? Which relationships are the most important in your life?

What varying roles combine to make you the person that you are?

Well the other day while I was driving my 60km route to work, and while I was enjoying my alone time spending just a few precious moments reflecting on life, I started thinking about how I would describe myself to someone.

So here goes;

I am a super proud wife; while I'm only in my sixth week of marriage I am enjoying the challenges and daily celebrations of the little things that both my husband and myself are enduring and achieving both on small and big levels. I am often the person who sees the best and worst in my husband, and can therefore be his counsellor, therapist, chef, cleaner, lover, counsellor, conspirer, partner in crime, best friend, play mate and at times, his brick wall, who helps to build the life we both want and deserve.

I am a daughter; we made the decision to move back to our small country town where we grew up, and luckily, my mum and dad only live 2 streets away. While we share the same postcode, sometimes our lives can still be miles apart with work, sport and socialising coming between quality family time, but I try to be a daughter that would make my parents proud.

I am a sister; my sister and I haven't always been close, but we've definitely always had each others backs. I am learning that my sister needs as much love, respect and quality time as my friends, and I am enjoying living closer to her and hanging out more.

I am an aunty; and a super proud one at that! I have so much love for my niece that when I think about her I get a rush of love through my body and I just want to squeeze her and eat her cute little cheeks up!!!

I am a blog writer; I have always loved the power of words, and now I have found an avenue that I can express myself in, honestly, truthfully and wholely, exposing my true thoughts and feelings, and hopefully along the way, helping others in the process.

I am a travel agent; making peoples dreams come true! I truly love this role, as it's special being able to help people tick things off of their bucket lists, opening people's eyes to the experiences on offer around the world, and sending people away on unforgettable journeys.

I am a good friend; I love my friends whole heartidly and truly value their love, support and guidance in life. I can rant to my friends, let my hair down around them, take my bras off, chuck my tracky dacks on or get dolled up and go out for a night on the town, and feel totally content and happy. While our decision to move home has meant creating a great physical divide between some of my very best friends, I am grateful for true friendships, Skype, Facebook and phones to keep us in the loop with each others lives.

I am a counsellor; well, not a certified counsellor, but let's face it, we all have a little bit of a counsellor in ourselves. I'd like to think that I am someone who isn't judgemental, and who appreciates honesty above all other values, so when people open up to me, I leave my judgements behind, and try to listen to what they are truly saying.

I am a mental health advocate; again, I'm not officially an ambassador with Beyond Blue or anything, but my passion in life, my motivation and my drive is to break down the stigmas around mental health, so we can talk about it, seek help, and basically not even blink an eye at it like we do a common cold.

I am an organiser; while I have just finished planning our wedding day, I am looking at taking on another role in my local community with key players in mental health to fundraise, support, educate and assist the local community in mental health awareness.

I am a coach; well I was a coach last netball season to a group of 11 gorgeous girls who rocked my socks and made me laugh every single training and game day. Being able to share your skills and experience with people younger then you is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.

I am a netball player; not some professional famous sports star, but I love netball - it is the one sport that gets me motivated for exercise. Some times I'm not sure if it's the game or the socialising that keeps me coming back year after year, because I sure love the teas and ciders back at the clubrooms, but whatever it is, the sense of community and fun is amazing.

I guess there's so many other 'hats that I wear' in my life, and of course, these are constantly changing as the calendar years flip over.

It's just interesting to take a step back to see what you are, what you do, and where you choose to invest your time, energy and love.

I am a happy, healthy, fun loving, organise freak, who is married, works full time in a job I find both fulfilling and challenging, I invest time in my relationships, and in ventures close to my heart like mental health awareness and empowering the youth and society with new skills and knewledge.

Perhaps that's me in a nutshell.

What are you?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxxx

Thursday, 7 November 2013

I'm Ready, Now What?! The Decision to Reduce my Depression Medication

For a long time I have debated whether I will ever be ready to come off of my depression medication.

It has been 3 years since I was severely depressed, but sometimes, it feels like only yesterday.

You see, my medication is my security blanket; when I take it every day, around the same time, I know that I am going to be okay.

It has helped me to rebuild the chemical serotonin in my brain, so that I can manage my emotions and learn how to control my thoughts.

It has given me my life back.

A little while ago I started to do some research by trawling the common mental health websites such as Beyond Blue, the Black Dog Institute and Lifeline about how to deal with the thoughts, emotions and decisions post depression.

I was searching for answers on when it's okay to start reducing your medication, how you go about it, what were the side effects, who you should go to for help, if there were any long term effects from the medication, could you take it for the rest of your life and you could have children whilst still taking it, and I was shocked that there wasn't a lot of information out there.

I wanted to read people's stories and find out the truth.

I kept being referred to my doctor or coming across dead ends.

I was torn. A huge part of me didn't want to be on medication for the rest of my life, and was worried that I wouldn't be able to have children while taking it, but at the same time, a huge part of me still shuddered at the thought of my depression ever returning.

It's really hard to describe the emotions to anyone who hasn't been in my position.

Many would think, based on their experiences with medication like the pill, panadol and antibiotics, that once your headache has gone or your cold has passed, that you don't need them anymore.

I guess many people are used to using medication as a cure, and not so much as a preventative (except of course, the pill).

I wondered how I was going to describe the feelings to someone who hasn't been there, to help them understand how someone they care about must be feeling who is worried about weaning themselves off of their tablets.

And I thought I could use the analogy of a cancer patient. If there was a small round tablet, that you could swallow every morning, that would prevent your cancer from ever coming back, would you take it? Even if you knew that the cancer tablet could have slight side effects, and could make you feel dizzy if you ever missed one or ran out of your script, would you knowingly take it so that you'd never have to go through the emotional and physical pain of chemotherapy, radiation, hair loss and the anxiety around losing your life and being out of control of your health?

One small pill could prevent all of that unnecessary worry, and could help you to live a happy and healthy life.

Would you question taking it?

Well that's where I'm at with my depression medication. The memories of my illness are still so painful, in fact, I can feel my heart start to race, and my eyes start to well, thinking about ever feeling that way again.

I don't think I could deal with it if I did. I think I would beat myself up for not seeing the signs, and not acting on them early enough. 

I couldn't put my friends and family through it again.

I just couldn't.

And one tablet, plus my increased awareness about the illness, my ability to say no, commitment to prioritising my health and the love and support from those around me, is what is keeping depression from returning in my life at this point in time.

So the prospect of losing my health again, to such a debilitating illness, scares the pants off of me.

And yet, I feel ready.

I feel ready to slowly start to decrease my medication.

I am currently taking 100mg of Pristiq a day.

A little while ago I sought the advice of my doctor to see how I should go about reducing my medication. She gave me a plan; to take one 100gm tablet one day, and one 50mg tablet the next, until I felt comfortable to decrease it even further.

I have had the scripts for the 50ml medication in my handbag for 3 months now. Sometimes I open my bag, pull it out and think am I ready?

Up until this week, the answer was always no.

Then, I thought to myself, why focus on the negative side effects, there may be some positive ones too. I could feel more energetic. I could surprise myself and do really well and begin to regain confidence in my own ability to produce serotonin naturally.

So I filed the script and I made a decision to give it a go...slowly....taking each day as it comes.

So far I have been experiencing quite a bit of dizziness and have been feeling a little headachey, which, I've read, is normal.

I am going to book another doctors appointment to chat about my progress.

I hope and pray, that it all goes well, and if I start to notice dramatic decreases in my moods and emotions, then I can always take the 100mgs again.

For now, I just trying to remain positive and have been doing more research into the drug, and how it works, and what the common side effects are.

It has helped, and I feel much more calm and in control, although I am a little nervous.

So this is where I'm up with my post depression experience.

I won't pretend this is easy to write, and I even debated waiting to see how I went before I did, but I wanted to be honest with my readers.

I have told those closest to me that I have started to reduce my medication so that they can  be supportive, and can look out for any signs of my depression returning.

I'm super lucky to have such amazing people in my life.

Have you ever decided it was time to decrease your medication?

What side effects did you have?

How did you feel?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Don't Tell the Guests - Our Aisle Song

So I suck at music. Yup, that's right, I can't play it, my singing doesn't even sound good in my own head, I don't know the words to songs and I once thought that the words to Voodoo Child were "my boo boo shack"!

Selecting the music for our wedding was definitely going to be a challenge for me.

We didn't want the traditional songs, nor juicy smoochy gooey songs, but we didn't have a must include either!

That was until I went to the wait for it, Hanson concert. 

Yes, I found the song that I would walk down the aisle to marry my best friend at a Hanson concert.

Matt Wertz was the pre concert entertainment and totally rocked my socks.

I found myself singing along, jigging away and really inspired by his music!

Then he sang the song 'Feels so Right' and from that moment, I couldn't wait to get home and play it to Mick to see whether he liked it too.

Fortunately he did!

To make the song super special we asked one of our very best friends, Meg, to learn and sing it live, while playing her guitar. She slowed down the melody, and sang it so beautifully.

One of my most favourite memories of our wedding experience was the day before the wedding when we were setting up, Meg asked if she could sing me the song.

We grabbed her guitar, walked down the stairs, and found a cute little spot on the beach front. Meg whipped out her guitar and serenaded me!

The gorgeous Meg.
I cried.

She sounded so beautiful.

I wished that I had a recording of Meg's voice and version to put on here! Maybe it'll be playing in the background of our wedding video that we'll hopefully get soon!

The song choice was perfect!

Here's a glimpse of the words:

Are you ready to hear it
Got this feeling and it won't go away
I don't know how to hide it
So it's time that I finally say

Ooh... It feels so right
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life
Ooh... It feels so right
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life

I can't wait any longer
I don't know if you can receive
My love keeps growing stronger
If you say yes, I'll give you everything

Ooh... It feels so right
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life
Ooh... It feels so right
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life

Ooh... Feels so right
Ooh... Feels so right

Ooh... It feels so right
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life
Ooh... It feels so right
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life
Knowin' I could love you for the rest of my life

What song did you choose for your aisle song?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx


Life is made up of challenges, some big and some small.

Some you will face, others those closest to you will.

Some will tear the life you always knew apart, and some will bring you closer to others then ever before.

Some will challenge your beliefs and others will open your mind.

Challenges will test your strength and resilience.

Some you will place upon yourself, and some challenges will be placed upon you.

Some will be easy to deal with, and others will take time.

Challenges come in all sizes, shapes and forms.

Some challenges are human.

Some are physical.

Some are mental.

Some will rear their head when you least expect them, and some you will choose to battle head on.

Sometimes it's difficult to see why you are being challenged.

Why you?

Why do you deserve it?

But if we beat ourselves up with the why's, the how's and the I don't deserves, then we never see a challenge for what it really is; a way to build courage, determination, strength, commitment, love, bonds and most of all, to find out just how resilient we really are.


What challenges are you facing?

Do you know of any challenges your friends are facing?

We all have our challenges.

Look after yourself and those around you,


Sunday, 3 November 2013

From Engaged to Married; How It's Changed My Life

I must admit that I was once sceptical of how marriage would change your feelings towards someone. I guess I used to think that I already loved my partner whole heartedly, so how could a ring change that? Well that way of thinking totally changed once we became engaged and I realised that it was the commitment and promise to each other, that changed the way you felt, and that in itself is what took our relationship and feelings to an entire new level. Once I experienced the depth that promising to spend the rest of our lives together with the words 'will you marry me?' followed by a very emotionally filled 'yes', I knew that eventually getting married and formally acknowledging these promises in front of those closest to us, and not only to each other in private, would totally change the love that I felt for my fiance.

I am so glad that we enjoyed 22 months of engagement, because they truly were so special, and I would constantly look at the sparkler on my finger as a reminder to myself at how lucky I was to have met the man that I would spend the rest of my life with at such a young age.

And I was right, now, one month into our marriage, my love has changed again.

I must admit that in an odd way, I've become more morbid.

Yes, that's right, you read right; morbid.

I've began to feel this overwhelming need to protect my husband. I think it's because we've made this promise to spend the rest of our lives together and I want to make sure that we will grow old together.

For example, I usually get home from work later then my husband, but I had a week day off a couple of weeks ago. I knew that he usually finishes work around 5, so I had tea underway ready for 6. When I looked at the clock and it was 615 and I hadn't heard from him, I started to worry; was everything okay? Had he had an accident at work? Why hadn't he contacted me? I tried to call and he didn't answer. All of a sudden I went into panic mode and even debated calling his work mate. I thought, I'll just wait ten more minutes. Next thing he walks through the door, an hour and a half later then normal. As soon as I heard the car pull into the driveaway, I jumped out of my seat and went out to the car and gave him a huge hug. I was so relived to know he was okay. He on the other hand had no idea of my worry haha! It's odd, because usually I wouldn't have given two thoughts to the situation; my rational mins would've just known that he had to work late, but instead, my I just got married, he'd better be okay, he can't leave me mind totally jumped to conclusions.

So yes, I do feel a little more protective.

Another thing that has changed is the way that we deal with conflict. I remember the first time we started to niggle at each other because we were exhausted after the wedding and hadn't spent enough quality time together and all of a sudden, bang, a heated discussion arose. Instead of losing my shit at his irratational  behaviour I took a deep breath, thought there's no point fighting, we've just got to find a way around this, and calmly said it sucks that we haven't spent much time together, but we've just had our wedding and things will calm down soon and gave him a big cuddle. We brushed it off, went to sleep and woke up much more content and less frazzled the next morning, and totally avoided a situation that usually would've ended in tears.

So I guess, you realise that you're going to be together forever, so you are much slower at losing your fuse, and focused more on the solution rather then the cause.

Of course, there's much more that has changed then just our behaviour.

One of the most obvious changes would be my name. I haven't officially started the process to changing it legally, but I have changed it on Facebook, so every time my married name pops up I giggle. It's funny because many of my best friends said that they didn't even blink an eye when my name changed; it really was just meant to be.

I feel like we've started our own little identity now as a couple, and soon we'll have our own little family.

It's a pretty awesome feeling to be content.

I'm loving married life. We intend on spending quality time together before starting a family, with more travelling, some renovating on our house, and just enjoying this new chapter in our life on the cards for the near future.

I feel so grateful for my husband; he truly grounds me, looks out for my health and makes me super happy.

When I look at him I see my future, my happiness and a guy who truly knows and loves me 100%.

So marriage has definitely changed my life, and I'm super proud to become a wife, and to call Mick my husband; he's definitely the better half!!!

How has marriage changed your life?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx