Category Archives: Up

Living with a mental illness while it is not affecting your life overly much (N.B,: not referring to the manic phase of a bipolar disorder)

A fascinating read from a member of the DDD community

Have I mentioned before how much I love the Doing Defies Depression community on Facebook? They are a wonderful bunch of people.

Last Monday, I was feeling quite anxious before leaving the house, and a strange little thought popped into my head which made me smile and made it easier to get out the door. I posted about it, and didn’t visit Facebook again for a while. A few hours later, the post had been liked and commented upon by many people, all with lovely things to say – talk about a beautiful experience!

That was an affirming event, but today I had been going to mention an article which a DDD community member posted to the Facebook page. You can read the article for yourself here. It addresses the causes of addiction, challenging the century-old chemical model of addition, that it’s the substance itself which hooks people. Johann Hari looks at animal studies, human behaviour and decriminalisation success stories to build a case for an alternate model of addiction.

I guess it reminded me that treating depression successfully requires more than medication. Hey, I knew that – I’ve known it for years! – but it never hurts to be reminded just how important it is to take care of our whole selves, physically, emotionally, and socially.

That’s enough of my opinions for now; back to my favourite addiction – TV drama!

Enjoy your Sunday.

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Eating almonds

I’ve been working with a nutritionist for a few months now to try and bring my weight down in a healthy way. One of the biggest issues was that I felt hungry all the time – and I’m sure you can imagine the level of conflict that created inside my head!

“I want to eat.”

“You don’t need to eat, you just feel the urge to eat.”

“Well, yes; but still, I want to eat.”

“You don’t need to eat, and you shouldn’t be over-eating, so stop feeling that way!”

“I can’t help the way I feel! I WANT TO EAT!”

“You’re a bad person!!!”

… well, you know what “depression goggles” can do to a gal.

Anyway, within three weeks of working with Rob, I’d lost the constant urge to eat – except when under extreme stress, but that’s another story.

Another great joy was discovering how much I love almonds: just plain, raw almonds, which are on my eating plan every day (10-15 of them at 5pm).

I got to wondering why I loved eating almonds so much. It’s got to the stage that I almost crave them, so I wondered whether perhaps they were meeting a nutritional need other foods weren’t providing: it was time to go researching!

According to Medical News Today, almonds are packed with vitamins, fibre, minerals and protein – in fact, that little handful I consume at 5pm contains one-eighth of my daily protein requirements. They lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Yay!

The Guardian adds that almonds are one of the richest sources of vitamin E, which protects against Alzheimer’s and UV light damage – always something to be mindful of in Australia.

Theatlantic.com indicates some environmental concerns associated with almonds grown in California, but as I only consume Australian almonds, I think I can continue to enjoy them with a clear heart (yes, that poor pun was intended, dear reader).

Unfortunately, being nuts (or, technically, seeds) they’re also somewhat calorie-dense, so I can’t munch away to my heart’s delight; however, I do look forward to my daily handful.

Do you love almonds, too? Or is there another wonderful food you enjoy?

 

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Laughter Yoga Session

Doing Defies Depression hosted a free laughter yoga session in Mount Waverley, Victoria, on 31 January 2015.

Our instructor, Natalie, volunteered her time, which was greatly appreciated. Another friend, Lucy, helped me out with logistics on the day. (You can see us in the picture: from left to right – me, Catie; Natalie; Lucy.)

The event was really well attended, both in numbers and in the range of people represented. We had everyone from teenagers to an elderly woman participating using her walking frame! People from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds were represented, too.

Another thing I loved was the way people hung around afterwards to talk to us, and to each other. The beautiful Anzac biscuits Lucy cooked for us might have had something to do with that 🙂

These one-off events are a way for Doing Defies Depression to reach a broader audience, and are “newsworthy” – this workshop made the front page of the local paper. We have further events planned: a talk on “Food, Mood and Depression” on 15 April (tickets available here if you’re in the Melbourne region), and events in Perth, Adelaide and Forster (NSW) later this year. These events help publicize our bread-and-butter work, which are short courses on living well with depression.

Have you tried laughter yoga, or a laughter club? What did you think?

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Back again!

I knew it was a long time since I’d posted a blog, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came to WordPress this morning and saw it was over three months! That is a long time. Looks like I have some catching up to do 🙂

What have I been up to? In a sentence: being a social entrepreneur, studying, doing some research and trying to lose weight. Oh, and most recently I’ve added job hunting to the list. (Now you see why I haven’t had time to blog lately!)

Social Enterprise – Doing Defies Depression (DDD)

People who’ve read this blog before (and goodness knows whether any of you will still be reading after a silence of over three months!) will remember I ran a successful crowdfunding campaign at the end of last year, and raised AU$10,000 to kickstart a social enterprise, which is now operational. Proceeds from the online gift store (doingdefiesdepression.com.au) subsidize services for people living with depression. We held a free laughter yoga session on 31 January. which was awesome, and the instructor said she thought it may well have been the largest laughter yoga session ever held in our state – not bad for a one-off event by a start-up! We’re currently running a short story writing competition (details at http://www.doingdefiesdepression.com.au, and yes, international writers are invited to submit), are hosting a talk on “Food, Mood and Exercise” on 15 April, are starting short courses on “Living Well With Depression” in April and have events planned for Perth, Adelaide and Forster later this year.

The workload associated with DDD has been quite high, especially when combined with the other things I’m doing, so the week before last I recruited an intern to give me a hand (and hopefully pick up some kickass skills as well). Claire – or Frosty, as her friends call her – is just amazing, and I’ll introduce you to her in another post. (BTW it’s Claire’s inspiration which has me blogging again. I don’t know whether to thank her for inspiring me, or not thank her for adding something to my To Do list! Ask me again in a week’s time.)

Studying

Just call me nerd girl. My default position in life is to be engaged in some sort of study, so when I began emerging from my deep depression last year, it made sense to dip back into the academic sphere. (Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…!) I’m completing an MBA through Torrens University. I’m learning a lot, but the best thing I’ve discovered is the opportunity to leverage assignments into opportunities to make contacts and gain experience in industry sectors I wouldn’t otherwise encounter. Which is why I’m doing some…

Research

… for a multinational based here in Melbourne. I can’t say much about it because of the NDA my study buddy Giselle and I signed, but it is terribly exciting to be doing cutting-edge research in a sector I’m passionate about, and to see that research affecting product development week by week as we progressively report results. However, along with the excitement comes a HUGE workload, so even though it’s been a great opportunity, I’ll be glad to submit the final report in a few weeks’ time!

Losing Weight

Again, people who’ve been reading this blog for a while may recall this has been a struggle for ages – since I put on all those kg’s while in and out of hospital in 2013. I started working with a nutritionist back in November, and we came up with an eating plan which means I am not always hungry. (Some medication I take is known for increasing appetite, so not being hungry all the time is a blessed relief.) However, I must admit that when I’m stressed, I don’t get my daily dose of exercise and I slip off the eating plan, which isn’t good. Weight loss is happening, but very slowly!

Job Hunting

You know what? I’m working bloody hard: doing good stuff with DDD, helping an Australian business with its product development, supervising an intern – why can’t someone just give me money for all the good that I do?! But no, apparently the universe doesn’t work like that, so I’m in need of a boring, traditional, money-coming-in job. So if you know anyone who’d like to pay me something for all the awesome stuff I can do, just holler!

Well, that’s what’s been going on in my world. I do hope you’ve all been keeping well, and I’ll be doing the rounds to catch up with people’s news over the next few days.

Bye for now!

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WE DID IT!

Yes, against all odds, we did it – reached our funding target of AU$10k. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who pledged, and everyone who supported me throughout the campaign: who stood beside me, spread the word, “liked” and “shared”, and were just simply bloody awesome!

I’m going to take a little rest for a few days, and then resume business as usual. Woo hoo!

thanks heart

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