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, 31 March 2015

Taking Charge Of Your Life; My Dream, How it Can Help You, What I've Learnt and How I'm Becoming Mentally Fit

How much are you in charge of your life?

Are you a yes person?

Do you make time for yourself?

Do you constantly feel unbalanced?

Are you mentally well, mentally ill or mentally fit?

What things make you happy?

What makes you tick?

What's important to you?

What's your focus in life?

What do you need to be happy?

What do you want, do you really, really want?

These are all really important questions to ask yourself, and something that I have been exploring by learning about Dr William Glasser's Choice Theory and participating in a course that was dedicated to his work called Take Charge of Your Life.

By asking myself these questions I have been able to grow from being mentally unwell to mentally fit!

I've been so excited to learn about his work, and to be running a road show sharing his information in my local community.

Soooo I thought I'd share a tiny little snapshot of what I've learnt from the course with you!

The course is run over 6 one hour sessions.

The first session is called "Shifting Your Mental Model" which is all about how, often in society,  we blame the external world for any unhappiness that we might feel in our lives ie our mundane or high pressure jobs, run ins with friends, tension in families or family breakdowns, the stress of money, events that have happened throughout our life and really anything that happens outside of us. 

This session teaches us that if we are constantly blaming the external world for our unhappiness then we are robbing ourselves of the chance to make change, because no matter how hard we try, we can't make anyone do or think anything that they don't want to.

 Instead, we learn that we can only control our own thoughts and behavior.

E.g.  I can't make my husband do the dishes all I can do is choose to explain to him why they are important to me and to control how I ask and encourage him and how I react if he says no!

One thing I've been practicing is if I'm feeling anxious or stressed, saying "I'm choosing to feel anxious or stressed" and pretty quickly I realize that I don't want to feel that way so instead I say "I'm choosing to feel calm" and low and behold it works!


The second session is all about our 5 basic needs as humans and our quality world (or the things we want!)

Glasser believes that everyone has all 5 needs but that one is usually stronger then the others. 

The 5 basic needs are;

Love and belonging; relationships with people, feeling connected and apart of a group, sharing quality time with those closest to you, having a good relationship with yourself. 

Survival; the need for sleep, looking after your health, preparing healthy meals, exercising regularly, routine, structure and safety.

Power; the ability to make change, challenge yourself, achieve goals, voice opinions, be respected, be heard, and to empower others.

Freedom; the need to have choices, being flexible, doing things on a whim, traveling, exploring new places, time to oneself, not bound by others, independence.

Fun; the need to learn new things,  be engaged in activities, laughter, doing things you want to do.

He believes that we have pictures and images in our quality world's (minds) that meet these basic needs and are the things that we want,  love, cherish, believe in etc. Ie for me it's a renovated house,  to be mentally fit, to have a clean sink, ugg boots, travel, my marriage etc.

One thing that really clicked for me in this session is that when we're trying to please others hardly any of our needs are being met except perhaps love and belonging.

Ie we have less power as we feel obliged to say yes even when our inner voice is saying no (so feeling powerless) and we may not feel as respected because we're often taken for granted.

We have less fun because we're often doing what other people want us to do and not what we really want to be doing.

We have less freedom because our schedules are usually full and we feel like we have no other choice but to say yes.

Our survival goes down because we're always so busy and might be putting others needs before our own ie sleep, time to prepare healthy meals and to ourselves first.

And maybe even less love and belonging, especially for ourselves! We might be spending more time with the people we care less about to please and less with the people we care most about!

So the hot tip here....to choose to put yourself first and to find out what it is that you really want that needs your needs (is needs satisfying!)


The third session is all about relationships. My light bulb moment was that Glasser must think that relationships are really important if he dedicates one of six sessions for it!

 And he does - he believes that relationships are at the heart of all mental health problems and are the number one cause for unhappiness.

It doesn't only have to be the relationship with others that is suffering in your life,  it could be the relationship with yourself.

I was like OMG when I learnt this because when I was sick I kept saying "but I have a supportive workplace, great partner and friends and family" but the relationship that I lacked was with myself.

So many times I would affirm to myself that I was 

"A stress head"


"A failure because I'd changed my mind on my career path when everyone else seemed to know what they wanted"

"Weak for not saying no"

And much much worse I'm sure!

A retreat I did recently said we have 50000 thoughts a day so if all of these thoughts were negative then no wonder I felt so bad!

Glasser believes that to improve our relationships,  particularly the one with ourselves, that we should use connecting habits ( listening,  supporting, encouraging, negotiating, respecting, trusting, accepting) rather then disconnecting habits (blaming, criticizing, complaining, nagging, rewarding to control (or bribery), threatening and punishing).

The tip here is; before you say or do something ask yourself "will this bring us closer together or drive us further apart?"

The sad thing is that often we use the disconnecting habits with those closest to us, like our partners and family, but these are actually driving us apart.

Imagine if we all choose to use the connecting habits more? Wouldn't the world be a much nicer place!

I've already noticed a huge different in my marriage now that I have chosen to be more mindful of the language I use (although I'm not perfect I still snap and nag but I always feel horrible after! )


The fourth session is about perception and how we take information in from the "real world" (what we've got) and compare that with the our quality world in our minds (or what we want). 

Often when what we want and what we have are two different things then we feel unbalanced or tipped.

Ie when I was sick the image in my quality world or mind was to be myself; fun, life loving and happy but in my real world I was depressed so I felt tipped and tried what I thought was best at the time,  to get back in balance (which often lead to a lot of anger, frustration and disappointment!)

The tip here is to remember that everyone has different pictures in their quality world of what they want and everyone takes in information from the world differently to us. This doesn't mean that theirs is wrong or bad, it might just mean that they have different wants and needs and we can choose to use connecting or disconnecting habits to support these.


The fifth session is all about our behavior and what we try to do to get back in balance when what we've got and what we want don't match.

It's similar to CBT (Collaborative Behavior Therapy) that I learnt from my psychologist in that we can only control what we think and do and this will in effect change how we feel and our physiology (ie our heart rate and breathing).

Ie I can ask you to think about a red truck and you will.

I can ask you to wave your arm and you will.

But when I ask you to lower your cholesterol on the spot you can't change your physiology and when I ask you to get angry on the spot you probably can't without first thinking of something that makes you angry therefore you can't change how you feel without first changing your thoughts.

The thing I learnt here is that if we focus all of our attention on how we feel ie depressed, anxious, nervous or sad, then we'll be stuck because we can't change this.

Once we learn that we can only change our thoughts or what we do, only then we can change how we feel.

No wonder that I felt bogged when I was sick because I could only focus on how horrible I felt and I really didn't focus on what I could do (go for walks etc) or think (trying to distract or change my thoughts) which in effect would've helped my depression...okay so I tried but was so bogged by the illness that I needed some extra help with medication and specialists!

Via Glasser uses the car analogy to describe our "total behaviour". The driver uses the front wheels to go in the direction that they want. Two front wheels are thinking and acting. These wheels are the only things that we can control, and move us in certain directions. If we focus on our physiology and feelings, then we'll be left spinning on our back wheels!

In the sixth session we make a plan to take charge of our lives by thinking about what we really want and how we can choose to think and do things to make this happen!

I mean, how many of us out there know what it is that we really want or what we choose to focus on?

Sometimes it's a matter of seeing whether our quality world pictures are realistic ie winning the lottery, bringing back a loved one who has passed away, etc and just simply taking the think about what it is that we do want.

As one participate said that once she'd decided to put herself and her family first everything else slotted in around that!

She came to realize that, the relationship with herself and her family were the most important pictures in her quality world so she choose to put them first!

I've done a lot of reading of Glasser's work and have been fortunate enough now to see the course 4 times as I work as an assistant to the facilitator and the more I learn the more it clicks for me.
My second favourite quote! Via

Via My all time favourite quote!
And my third favourite quote via
If you're interested in learning more I recommend checking out the William Glasser Institute, reading some of his books and if you're interested, registering your interest in the free course that were offering!

Anyone and everyone can learn to take charge of their lives, not only those who identify themselves as mentally unwell, but also those who want to learn ways to keep mentally fit, those who want to work through some unhappiness in their lives and those who want to make a change!

I choose to take charge of my life everyday because we only get one shot at it and I want to be the healthiest and happiest version of myself!

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Guest Blogger; Are you Autism Aware? Our Journey with Autism.


How many times have you seen a kid playing up and thought; wow he/she is naughty? If that was my kid? Don't the parents have any control over that child? I know I have.
How many times have you stopped to think; maybe that child has Autism? I know I hadn't...until I read Peta's story - then I was like, me oh my, I've been so ignorant!
I must admit, ashamedly, that Autism is an illness that I don't really understand because I've never known anyone close who has suffered from it - and sometimes, I worry about kids being overprescribed drugs and labels by society, doctors, teachers, parents etc, when maybe the child is just very active, and somewhat different to other children.
I mean - what is normal? Who defines normal?
But then I read stories like this one, from a mother,who knows her child probably better then anyone else, and who knows, deep down, that her gut feeling is telling her that something is different and special about her child and I realise that labels and medication aren't necessarily a bad thing, and that many times they are absoloutely necessary so that the person can receive the support, understanding, respect and treatment that they deserve (not to mention to help with the sanity of those who are supporting them!)
I'm so grateful that Peta reached out to me to share her story because that's what my blog is alllll about; sharing real life experiences with those taboo unspoken conversations, so that we can shed some light and help people to understand the truth behind the misunderstandings.

At the end of the day we have a choice about whether we open our minds to Autism, or whether we remain ignorant.

I'm so glad that Peta has helped with my perception of the illness, and has opened up my mind, and heart, to see just a glimpse of what it must be like for the child, and their families.
So my question to you is; are you Autism Aware?
Take it away Peta. 
With April being Autism Awareness month and April 2nd being Autism Awareness Day I thought it was a good time to share our story so far about living with Autism.

What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to his/her environment and their interaction with other people.
The main areas these people find difficult are communication, social interaction, restricted or repetitive behaviors and interests as well as behavioural issues.
In Australia 1 in 100 people have Autism, with four times as many boys effected than girls.
Meet Jay - isn't he adorable?

   Jay is 6 years old and is diagnosed with high functioning Autism and ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) . When Jay was born in August 2008 he was a little premature but a healthy newborn. He would feed every hour, his sleep was very limited and he never really showed much emotion.
What a little spunk with his hair all spiked up! Jay and his sister Ilka.
As Jay got older he didn't hit the milestones at the same time his sister Ilka had. I began to worry when his words didn't come and when they did they were hard to understand, his crawling and walking were later than most, his behaviour also became very unsettled and he was easily frustrated. He would also only eat very limited foods.
  People told me not to worry as boys were slower than girls , so I brushed it off and kept battling on.

Jay started kindy in 2012 . I was very apprehensive as he was struggling with toileting still, still wasn't talking clearly, his behaviour was spiraling out of control, he lacked social skills to interact with others and his diet had become extremely limited.
After attending a few sessions with him I became very alerted that something really was different about Jay.
I did some research and everything was pointing to Autism...but what was Autism?
 Surely I would have known before now if my child had this?
After talking with a few people I knew who had kids with Autism I noticed Jay had all of the traits...now what to do about it?

My first step was to see the occupational therapist who attended the kindy. She then referred me on to CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Services). Both agreed that Jay was showing traits of Autism. We were then referred by Jay's local doctor to a pediatrician. The ball was now in motion and I finally felt we were getting some where.
I researched day and night and was certain this is what Jay had. Appointment after appointment and being stuffed around for over a year and half we hit luck when a new pediatrician fitted us in for a appointment...and gave us the diagnosis in January 2014!
I remember crying and crying...not in sadness but in happiness that finally we had a answer! It's a hard pill to swallow ,but I had been certain since day dot  that Jay was different and to have this confirmed meant Jay could now receive the help and services he needed to.

I have been told over the years that he was just a naughty, spoilt brat, fussy, rude, arrogant, deaf, won't look at people when they talk....but no! Jay wasn't these things , he was Autistic.
 It explains it all!
These comments and judgements by other people used to upset me.
I will never forget one shopping trip we were happily shopping and Jay was starting to get aggravated. Next minute Jay was in full behavioural meltdown (these include lots of loud yelling , screaming , hitting and biting) with everyone now staring at us and passers by making comments, there was no way I could calm him in this environment. So I pulled him out of the trolley, left my half loaded trolley mid isle and went to walk out to the car where I could calm him easier. A passer by made the comment that "aren't you going to put that back?"
My priority was my child and his safety and well-being.

During the long process of the diagnosis , my lack of understanding of what my child needed, and constantly dealing with unexplainable behaviours, I myself ended up in hospital.
I swore I was having a heart attack with pains in my chest, my heart was racing , shaking, I couldn't breath and my hands were turning blue!
No, I wasn't having a heart attack, I was having the first of many panic attacks.
Going to the shop became a massive job . Pulling up in front of the shop and literally not being able to get out the car. I learnt to regulate myself and I haven't had one for a little over 12 months (touch wood).
 I no longer care about others judgements or negative opinions because the only reason they make them is because they aren't Autism Aware!

Today Jay has a great team in place with his pediatrician, occupational therapist, speech pathologist and a massive support crew at school. Everyday Jay is improving.  
We still have days that are extremely challenging but we live by this little quote " everyday is a new day for us and we don't dwell on what happened yesterday."

So next time you see a child screaming in the shop maybe stop and think...Do you know this kids story? Can there be more to this situation then meets the eye?
  Please take five minutes and make your self Autism Aware . There is no cure for Autism but there is a cure for ignorance!
Thanks Peta
 To find out more about Autism visit http://www.autismawareness.com.au/
To find out more about panic attacks visit Beyond Blue.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

You've Asked - I'm Answering; FAQS About My Hypnotherapy Experience

As with anything new and slightly out of our comfort zones, we have questions; lots of questions!

These thoughts often increase when the topic of discussion is heavily debated, stigmatized and blown out of proportion by Hollywood films, the media and the things we absorb in our lives.

Like hypnotherapy; I think the TV has a lot to answer for!

Since experiencing hypnotherapy for myself and after sharing my experience, I have come across a few FAQs and concerns from people so I thought I'd attempt to answer them on my blog. Since I'm all for self help, learning ways to become mentally fit and exploring new options, I really wanted to help ease some of the anxieties around hypnotherapy so people can see how truly beneficial it is.

1. Did I cluck like a chicken? No, but she didn't ask me to. If she had of then I probably would of because let's face it, I'd do it very tongue in cheekly as a joke when I'm not hypnotized, and probably even more so if I'm influenced by alcohol. The thing is, the hypnotist can't make you do anything you wouldn't normally do in the waking state. If they could then just imagine the money they could make from the films they could create by getting you to act out certain role plays, R rated included, while you have no idea!

2. Did I remember everything?
Yes, I remember everything that I chose to say and everything the hypnotist asked me.

3.Was I scared of what I'd say or spilling my guts and saying things that I didn't want to?

Of course I was nervous when I first entered the room, but that's a normal reaction to trying something new and exploring the unknown...and then of course I was like OMG what am I going to say? But the honest truth is that I still had control over what I said.  I chose to be open because I wanted to find out the cause of my public speaking fear and I found it so freeing, empowering and weight lifting.

I can't stress enough that the hypnotist can't make you so or do anything you wouldn't usually say or do to someone; you still have a choice.

Like the other day at a retreat, Chantelle asked us to visualize kicking away our negative thoughts. Even though my leg was twitching, eager to literally kick the thoughts away, I knew that people were laying either side of me and I didn't want to hurt or scare them so I chose not to.

4. Did I actually go into hypnosis?
I must admit at the start that I was a little bit skeptical and was worried that I wouldn't be able to go into hypnosis but low and behold within 20 seconds I was under...and how did I know? Because Chantelle asked me to open my eyes and I couldn't!

5. Did I feel weird afterwards?
When I first came out of hypnosis I felt exhausted, but only because I'd faced some strong fears and relived some of the events in my life that were quite emotionally draining. It was kind of like that feeling you have after having a big cry; just physically spent. But it lasted all of 10 minutes. Soon after I felt revitalized and ready to take on the world!

6. How much does it cost?
It would obviously vary from hypnotist to hypnotist with some charging as much as $500 -$600 for a once off, one hit session. Chantelle at Indigo Phoenix Hypnotherapy charges $180 for an hour and a half consult. I know this sounds like a lot of me, because trust me, we're penny pinching too with renovations, bills and life, but after I had finished my session and delivered a successful talk and conquered my public speaking fear I wanted to give Chantelle a million dollars! As she says, you can't put a price on your health. To feel better, in control again, to slam anxieties and find out the cause of your pain and heartache and most importantly to open instead of close doors in your life, is priceless!

7. It's too weird for me...
Everyone is different and everyone has a choice and I can respect that. Hypnotherapy worked for me, so I can say, based on my experience, that I'd recommend to anyone to give it a go.  I know when I was really sick that I would've tried anything to feel better, and I wished I had of known of hypnotherapy as an option at the time. I can only encourage people to give it a go; life begins when you step out of your comfort zone.

8. Do I have to be suffering from depression or anxiety to go?
No, not at all, people can go for many different reasons relative to habitual, behavioural and/or emotional changes such as giving up smoking, conquering their fear of flying, phobias over public speaking, just for a "top up" to feel good, to help with confidence issues, sleeping problems, seriously anything!

9. Can I use hypnotherapy to help with my depression and anxiety?
Absolutely YES! I truly believe that we're all looking for a way to help ourselves, and for other options to compliment snd maybe even avoid medication, and this is one such option. No harm can come from hypnotherapy! 

10. Can I go for no reason at all?
I asked Chantelle this question the other day and she said yes! Usually during hypnosis something might "pop up" that you may or may not wish to explore!

I truly must say that hypnotherapy is one of the most beautiful experiences that I have had.

If you could think of the time you've been most relaxed ie at farm beach with a cider in hand watching the sunset, with your toes buried in the sand surrounded by those closest to you while laughing, then I can almost guarantee that you'll feel 1000 times more relaxed then that!

Your brain is so powerful; this is just one way of accessing the memories, sights, sounds and feelings stored inside!

I'm definitely on the hypnotherapy bandwagon and can't recommend it enough...especially Chantelle Smith at Indigo Phoenix Hypnotherapy here in Port Lincoln.

Thank you to opening my mind up to ultimate self control!

Have you ever tried hypnotherapy?

What other questions do you have?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Where do you use your energy?

Image result for funny energy
Where do you use your energy?

We all have a limited amount of energy, but have you ever sat down and thought about where you are spending this precious resource?

Do you use your energy achieving your goals, focuses and purpose in life, or are you busy using your energy helping others to achieve theirs?

When was the last time you used your energy doing something that you really wanted to do – something for yourself, like  reading a book, going for a walk, writing in your diary, downloading your favourite music, having  a movie marathon or tinkering in the toolshed?

Is your calender scarily full? You know, like you’re afraid of looking too far ahead because just thinking about all of the events, meetings and things you’ve signed up to makes you feel anxious?

There just simply isn’t enough hours in the day – or are there?

Are we choosing to make our lives crazy busy in order to “fit everything in” at the expense of what? Our health? Our sanity?

Are we so used to running on an empty tank and stress that it just feels “normal” now?

How can we live a more balanced life so that we can reserve our energy for the things that are truly important to use, leaving our tank feeling  full?

Does conserving our energy have anything to do with creating a focus in our lives and knowing what we truly want?

If we knew what we wanted, and what we were aiming for, then it may make it easier to say “no” if something pops up that’s off of our course, so that we can direct our energy to where we will feel genuinely happy and satisfied.

If we choose to spend our lives trying to please others, make others happy and using our energy to achieve others goals and purposes, then we’re running the risk of living an unbalanced life where we never really achieve anything that we truly want to do.

Of course, it’s fine to help others, infact, society wouldn’t function if we lived in our individual silos worried about conserving our energy. The point is, that our energy isn’t finite; so we need to decide where it is we really want to use it.

Maybe it’s time to make a list of the important things in your life.

What do you want from life?

What do you choose to achieve in the next week/month/year?

How can you choose to live a balanced life, while juggling all of it’s demands and spreading your energy evenly?

Create a focus, and practice sticking to it; you deserve to put yourself first, and to use your precious resource to make yourself, and those you care about happy.


We all have a choice; and we can only control our own behaviour, feelings and thoughts. If we blame others for using our energy, leaving us running empty, then we're taking away the power from ourselves to make change.

We choose where we focus our energy; no one else does. They can influence where they think you should use it, but you ultimately have the choice.

I choose to focus on energy on keeping myself fit, creating a mentally fit EP, renovating our house, and spending quality time with those I care about.

Look after yourself and those around you,