Tag: writing

Can you feel it? Yes, I can!

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. In that time I’ve done a little bit of work on my PhD creative piece. I started fresh, at a different point in the story than I’d previously intended too, and while the words at the moment are coming at a snail’s pace I’m feeling better about the foundation that I’m laying.

The chapter that I have been working on involves the protagonist running. As I was writing, or trying to write, I was struggling with some of the descriptive work. Questions of “how do I describe that sound” and “how does that feel in the body” arose. It occurred to me that I’ve been doing much too much thinking and not enough doing.

Recently I’d been very focused on doing work as opposed to actually doing. In thinking about my novel and my writing (or lack of writing), I’ve been neglecting two crucial writing tools, observation and experience.

Have you seen A Place for Me (also titled Stuck in Love)? It’s a film I really like. It’s about love and writing and stars Greg Kinnear… these are all things that greatly interest me (oh Greg, swoon!). I bring it up because there is an excellent line in the film:

sum of their experiences

The novel I’m writing draws heavily from my own experiences. I had been so preoccupied with how to use some of my past experiences in the work that I’d been forgetting the importance of continued observation and experience. To put it more bluntly, I’d stop paying attention.

Being present is becoming more challenging in our hyper connected word. Mindfulness based techniques and approaches to therapy are rising in popularity as the antidote to our obsession/reliance on new communication technologies which see us ever contactable but rarely available. I don’t wish to cry foul over smart phones and social media, quite the opposite, I’m very interested in embracing new technologies and see them as having great potential to assist us in numerous ways. However, we must learn to use these technologies as opposed to being used or sucked into the connected but unavailable vortex.

With this in mind, I’ve been striving to experience and observe the world around me over the past couple of weeks. When I order coffee rather than look at my phone I’ve been taking a moment to people watch: how many sugars do other people put in their coffee? How are other people dressing? Where do they stand as they wait for their coffee, in front of the lids and spoons, further away, right in front of the bench so others have to squeeze past? This might sound dull or even a bit creepy to some readers but it is these details that all writers need in their tool belts – awareness of how others be, do and exist!

In addition to my increased observations I’ve also been getting out of the office and away from my PhD to have some fun. I have been to dinner with friends, taken a road trip to visit family, gone to dance performances and also gone to see some live music. Each has been a rich and varied experience which has indulged a variety of senses and more importantly, reminded me that I’m more than a PhD student and life is bigger than my thesis alone.

The most recent of my adventures, was going to a gig with a friend. It was his first small gig (having only gone to large music festivals or big stadium style shows) and was at one of my favorite venues. Going to see live music is one of my favorite things to do, so much so that I often go by myself. Any hint of loneliness or awkwardness felt going solo to a gig is usually outweighed by the delight of the music and sheer thrill of a good live show.

There were three acts, each being an Australian hip hop artist and I was very aware when I bought the tickets that the majority of the crowd would be younger than me. My friend had told me he would probably just chill by the bar and let me do my own thing. Off course, as I suspected, like me he was digging the vibe and hung out with me near the stage and speakers. The first act hit the stage with thumping energy and my friend and I responded by dancing, cheering and whooping. Around us, others stood, still.

I’m increasingly noticing, that the older I get, the more I care about enjoying the moment and the less I care about what other people think of me while I’m doing so. For the younger crowed at this gig, the opposite appeared to be true. They slowly warmed up but as the night wore on and the temperature climbed, I noticed more and more that those around me were experiencing the evening in a different way.

The younger faces in the crowd captured the moments via their smart phones. Experience has taught me that photos or footage taken at gigs is 1) rarely viewed at a later date, 2) generally shit-house. I understand the desire to take a snap to show a friend or to add to a social media site for posterity but I don’t share the desire to continually do so again and again at a gig. Perhaps there are simply more young music journalists at gigs than I’m aware of? Rather than sweat and dance and experience the music via the body, the younger set were more inclined to capture the moment in a non tangible representation.

The other sharp difference in experience was presentation. This gig was stinking hot! The humidity was high and both crowd and performers were dripping in sweat. As a live music fan living in Queensland, Australia, I am very used to this. I still put thought into my outfit and dress in a way they I enjoy and hope is pleasing to others… i.e. yes, I like to look nice. Yet ultimately I’m well aware that things will get messy. Comfort and practicality are the key concerns. I feel comfortable when I dress nicely but also practically, in a way that will allow me to make the most out of the evening… dance, drink, get among it etc. I told my friend there would be girls in high heels. He was skeptical. Through-out the evening, I pointed them out to him… “heels, heels, heels”. Fair enough if those individuals were comfortable but if you’ve ever been on a cramped dance floor next to someone wearing heels you will understand that their pain often becomes your pain… “ouch, you’re standing on my foot!”. Bless their little midriff’s and carefully applied faces – yes, it is hot and yes, your makeup is running off your face… who cares. These poor little petals were more concerned with their presentation than their participation. Thus, another vortex to avoid.

Over the last few weeks, as I’ve been trying to be more present, another shift in my awareness has come into play. I’d wanted to visit my therapist but had to wake two weeks to get an appointment. Despite feeling better by the time the appointment rolled around I still went. Before starting the session I fill out a computer survey, a psychology test that gives my therapist an indication of where I’m at mentally before I enter the room. When he started the session he informed me that my score was the lowest it’s ever been and we talked about why now, despite my thinking that I was feeling better, that the numbers were saying something else. The conclusion reached was that presently I am actually experiencing my emotions. In the past I’ve employed numerous techniques to avoid negative emotions. While avoiding these emotions may at times allow me to function short-term, the feelings are still there, accumulating and collecting interest. Therefore my efforts to experience and observe are also coming into play in regards to me emotions. Rather than be numb to my emotions, I’ve been experiencing every rotten, yucky bit of them.

Experiencing emotions is important, even if they are unpleasant. Life isn’t a non-tangible representation, its ripe with texture and variables and consequently the creation of art reflects this. It is through art that we explore life’s’ inconsistencies and seek to create meaning and understanding of both ourselves and others which in turn furthers our ability to participate and evolve.

Can you feel it?

 

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Goals are a nice way to feel guilty

As mentioned in my last post, I’ve set myself a weekly word count goal in order to bang out a first draft of my PhD novel and exegesis. Ah what a sweet idea that was! Monday morning I went off to my office on campus, sat down at my desk and tapped away at the keys. One key in particular was used heavily… the backspace key. I made a little not in my phone as to my feelings regarding writing that day:

blank page, where to start, feedback

Tuesday’s little note was not much better:

don’t want to get out of bed and write, too confused about how to write, self doubt, feel vulnerable in the story

By Friday things hadn’t improved. My frustration made it’s way to Twitter:

Trying to write but the words aren’t coming :-/

At least I’d used a capital letter for that one.

My goal of 3,000 words minimum for the week fell well short when I only produced a mere 1,200, some of which were drawn from previous material. The week wasn’t a total bust, I did send an abstract off to a conference happening later this year in Sweden (fingers crossed I get accepted) and I also caught up on Ice T’s Final Level Podcast (I really like Ice T), so at least I was able to tick two boxes on my to do list.

What I think has thrown me this week is I’ve let other voices into my head. Last week I attended an academic writing retreat put on by my University. It was only a two day retreat (overnight) which means it’s a fairly tiring. During the retreat I work-shopped an exert of my fiction with some of my fellow creative writing PhD peers. We had done this the previous year as well. There was nothing wrong with my friends advice, they raised some great points and they are all talented and skilled writers. The problem with work-shopping the fiction is simply that it’s not ready.

For the last year I’ve been writing fragments. I hadn’t nailed down a plot, I was just trying to develop the character. She’s not ready yet, I don’t know her well enough and I’m not 100% clear on her story… I’m possibly only 60%… if that. Thus far I’ve written approximately 16,000 of the 70,000 words for the novel. This 16,000 is unedited and very, very drafty. I’ve been writing to find the voice, to meet the support characters and to try to get inside my protagonists head! Therefore work-shopping some of this under-cooked work has been the equivalent of a romantic interest meeting your friends too early – I’m now looking at him (the novel) in a different way.

It is not just my friends feedback that’s now swimming around in my head but also one of my supervisors, a collection of other PhD students and academic staff and a non-academic friend who is worried that my writing is getting me down. This is my first attempt at novel writing and at least in my mind, there’s a fair bit riding on it. For my the PhD novel is not only about proving your abilities to an examiner, your peers and your discipline it also about proving those abilities to yourself. One of the roughest parts of the PhD is attempting to keep your own expectations in check. The PhD is three to four years of a lot of self-doubt and self-imposed pressure hopefully resulting in a wondrous glow of self-satisfaction at the end (don’t crush my dreams).

All is not lost. I had a bad writing week. It happens. On Friday I also came across a blog post by MM Fink on Women Writer’s, Women[‘s] Books (which has lot’s of great posts). Dear me on a bad writing day, is a great pep talk. I’ve since printed it out and posted it on the notice board above my desk. Two key points really hit home with me:

You cannot please everyone

Yes! What a valid reminder. Why I have high hopes for my work ultimately the purpose of writing this story (I say story because the novel its self has the purpose of being a PhD novel, the story contained within that novel could have been anything… the story I’ve chosen to tell is deeply personal) is primarily for my own benefit. I’m writing about personal experiences and difficult emotions and they are mine! The story may be fictionalized but I’m the one in control, I’m the once choosing what to conceal, what to reveal and what to feel! Readability can be addressed in the second draft. Right now what I need and what I want to focus on is getting that messy, gross, chunk of work that is the first draft, done.

The story would not have picked you if you couldn’t write it

Not one morsel of feedback has been to abandon my story, it’s been how I approach the story and how I tell the story. None of my peers and neither of my supervisors have urged me away from writing this story. Therefore, why am I letting their voices keep me from writing? While it may feel like it’s external voices jamming up my writing, ultimately it’s my own. I’m hesitant not because I don’t want to tell the story and hey, yeah, I might not know exactly how the story will unfold. What’s getting in the way is that nasty old menace that is self-doubt.

Boo! That self-doubt character is annoying, but it’s probably going to be hanging around in the background, lurking, waiting, loitering. Therefore the plan for next week is to ignore the word count and to not write for anyone else. Sounds simple enough. I’ll let you know how I go.

Now researching: Creative Writing: Theory beyond practice.

‘And yet we know as practicing writers & academics that writing is an art form which takes enormous courage & guts: that it is a sweaty, smell business; that love, passions and the sacred are paramount; that the profound dancing with the ordinary is commonplace. We know writing is in the path of madness.’ Brady & Krauth, Towards Creative Writing Theory. P 15-16

A thought on my PhD experience

Through my research I feel as though I have wiped away the fog from a mirror and am seeing the truth in who I am for the first time. Each day the image grows clearer & I feel a greater tug of war between feeling relief & terror, connection & loneliness. If I can filter the right words through this experience I will create a truly potent elixir.

Influx clarity – huh exactly what?!

Originally published  28th July 2012 on http://belindawrites.tumblr.com/ 

Republished here with minor corrections and a brief update.

 

It has been ten days since I last wrote in my diary. Yes, I’m a thirty year old woman with a diary. No, it doesn’t have a lock. Technically I have ten diaries and counting. For the last two and a half years I’ve been journalling regularly. Usually I write daily but as I mentioned before I haven’t been making a lot of entries lately. This is an interesting observation as I’ve had plenty to write about.

REASONS THIS IS INTERESTING:

WRITING IS THINKING – WRITING HELPS GIVE YOUR THOUGHTS CLARITY.

Life has been rather pleasant lately and this leads me to ask – do I need my diary more when my mind is hazy? A recent academic workshop raised the point that writing is thinking but not just thinking but thinking clearly. This is a key point I’m hoping to make in my PhD thesis, that writing is therapeutic and helps us make sense of and organize our thoughts. The point can then be raised – do I need to be troubled to write?

I personally have often reflected on my own experiences with depression and creativity. Stephan Fry has done a great documentary piece on this however I can’t tell you the name of the work, Google it and get back to me (if I don’t bother myself…. note, I did see Stephan Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive). Many writers or creative types often ask themselves this question – do I need to be fucked up to maintain my artistic output?

To put it simply, no or maybe, I hope not. The documentary I mentioned did also examine the notion of medication and mental illness and whether treating the symptoms also takes away the creativity that comes in troubled times. I will talk more about medication and mental illness later after I move on slightly from this topic.

I may not be writing in my diary but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing, or that I have nothing to write about. For example I’m musing here. There has been plenty of great stuff for me to write about. I have a lot of great people in my life at present and have been having a lot of laughs and good times. This may answer why I’m not journalling  I have a world outside my head to find clarity in. There are friends and people close to me and I’m communicating and sharing my thoughts more openly within these circles. Because my thinking is clearer I’m more willing to go public with it bypassing the private setting of my personal diary. There are individuals I can trust to discuss my thoughts with and my thinking feels less dangerous and therefore I’m willing to allow others to handle it with care. There is more to be said on dangerous thinking later.

Another point to be made on this which can also help with the GUILT of not writing – experiences must be had, felt and low and behold EXPERIENCED first. While I haven’t been journalling daily that doesn’t mean I won’t, it may mean that I write differently. Rather than writing entries that are anticipating or fretting my entries have become reflective and take more of a summary form. As opposed to writing daily I’m writing longer entries at greater intervals. The primary audience for my diary is of course I and the purpose may not be to revisit and re-read but to respond, reflect and reproduce thought.

Another interesting point on this topic is the majority of my journalling for the last two and a half years has been in relation to certain experiences and people who were in my life during that time. I am at a stage when those individuals are no longer part of my world. I have found that each individual notebook seams to run out of pages at pivotal moments – there has been interesting cliff-hangers or moments of brief resolution as I finish a notebook and move to the next. I skipped a few pages before starting the entries for July in my current notebook as I felt like my life and the nature of the entries had a new focus. Perhaps this is another reason for why I have been engaging in the practice differently – this is a new chapter? I have a slight desire to abandon this notepad and start fresh as I feel like I am in a fresh start point in my life at the moment. Of course life does not come in clear cut chapters (as much was sometimes we’d like the distance of a page between moments) but our statements on our life can. This then raises the thought of is this the appeal of the ever scrolling narrative of social media life stories? However this might be inaccurate as there are starts and stops and the desire to organize this information and to manage it somehow. Once again then since my life is relatively good at the moment my desire for crisp chapters and management is lower than at other times and I am living more in flux.

BLURS AND IN FLUX

Please proceed with the caution that I am not a medical professional, expert or in any way qualified to talk with any authority except my personal experience on these next topics.

Continuing on from my previous written post on depression/mental illness:

I am on anti-depressant medication. This time around (I have been on meds two previous times) I am taking Lexapro. The GP that prescribed it to me mentioned that 1) it’s a newer drug 2) excellent in his opinion and 3) I should take it for life and never ever go off meds. The initial adjustment to meds this time was rough! Was this the side effects of the drug or just that I was not at all well at the time of starting them (hence why I was prescribed the medication in the first place)?

I’ve now been taking Lexapro for three months and have begun thinking – should I stop? NO, NO, NO! I’ve made this mistake before. After feeling so low, depressed and shitty when you reach a point of feeling good you think “I feel fucking ace, I’m all better, I don’t need this any-more!” DANGER, DANGER, DANGER!!!

As I mentioned in my last post depression is not something I will be cured of. I need to constantly manage and maintain my mental health. What’s that, not experiencing any symptoms lately? YOU’RE ALL BETTER – NOT! The first time I was on anti-depressants (Lovan I think) I did exactly this, felt better, stopped the meds without medical advice, didn’t wean off them, just cold turkey (therapy was also stopped – tsk, tsk, bad idea). I’m fairly certain I was self medicating at that stage with booze and weed (hey kids – I don’t care what you think, weed is not rad, weed is not consequence free and although glamorized it can fuck up your head, lungs, finances and life just fine so don’t go there, and if you are damn well stop it’s just as dangerous as other drugs – end rant) not to mention I was letting others think for me and not those qualified (like my doctors/psychiatrist) to do so. In retrospect, bad idea! I’d love to say lessons learnt but like many people I am of the variety of having to repeat mistakes several times before I really begin to see the light.

Second experience with going off meds (Luvox I think) – this time around I weaned off under the instruction and guidance of my then psychiatrist. Thank goodness I did because it was not pleasant and I did notice the withdrawal. It was not a bad decision and there is a strange sense of achievement when you go off meds. This is where we need to change the way we think about depression/mental health (once again remembering I have not real authority to take on this subject except from my own personal experiences). Think of depression less as a cold and more as a condition. YOU NEED TO STAY ON TOP OF THIS!!! Are you Asthmatic? Don’t take your preventer, no puffer – NOT GOOD! Are you Diabetic? Don’t take your insulin, aren’t regulating your blood sugar – NOT GOOD! Depression cannot be cured by bed-rest and herbal tea (although healthy sleep and relaxation is important there is more to be done). STOP ON TOP OF IT!

There are two main reasons the thought of stopping meds has crossed my mind this week. Firstly, wine. I like wine, I like wine a lot. I’m not a big drinker and I don’t have an addictive personality (well not that I’m aware of or not to the extent of it being a factor in my mental health story). Wine is yummy though and I would love to have a lovely red with dinner or while reading etc (so many good times to enjoy a nice glass of wine). However one of the big BOLD points made on the information provided with my packets of Lexapro pills is – LEXAPRO AND ALCOHOL ARE A DANGEROUS MIX, AND CAUSE SOME SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS TO OCCUR.

Clearly if you’re being treated for depression or are prone to depression or mental health issues than alcohol is not going to be a good friend for you to have, more of a frienemy, you may have fun together sometimes but mostly you get each other offside.

There is a lovely list of potential side effects but basically alcohol and Lexapro will bring out the worst in each other. That may mean that say I decide to have that glass of red at dinner it may be like I’ve had two and considering my limit on a good day with all the right factors including not being on meds would be maybe three, four glasses tops I don’t fancy the idea of double for nothing. So yeah, might get drunk quicker, sounds good to some but I’m not a fan of being drunk, and generally I’m not a happy drunk so it’s a state of being I tend to avoid anyway. Most likely I’d feel very sick, yep, that doesn’t appeal, let’s not do that.

The real worry is that if I decide to risk it and drink on meds things could go very fucking bad. I don’t enjoy being depressed, I don’t enjoy the moments of desire to destroy myself and I don’t enjoy the times when ending it all seems like the only idea. Hence why alcohol and meds is like a reverse scratchy, that glass of wine may only be seven dollar and it might seem like a small price to pay but there is a lot to lose if everything lines up just right.

Hence I must not drink and if I decide to test the waters I need to do so very cautiously and under the right circumstances but there is not guaranteed result, results may vary, not just person to person but time to time – depression is living in flux.

HANDY DANDY DICTIONARY PHONE APP MOMENT

In Flux: in constant change; ever-changing

Additional point – hey drunk guy at uni-bar debating me and questioning why I’m not drinking, just accept the fact that I’m not and don’t give me shit or try to convince me that because you have anxiety and are drinking that I should drink to aid in relieving your anxiety or that alcohol will make everything better. Are you going to talk me down off the ledge if shit hits the fan? Probably not cause you’ll be bloody drunk and not much help and hence I’m sorry if I appear prickly to you, you don’t know me and I don’t have to explain myself to you over a fucking liquid!

Also, I’d much rather not drink and be open about the fact that I have depression and that’s the reason than drink to be social and end up making a fool of myself by acting like the middle age married woman who where being very depressingly overtly gross in their horniness last night at the pub I was at last night or by worse than embarrassing myself hurting myself or someone else (glassing, one punch can kill – bad times). I’m more than happy to play the ham while sober and be able to enjoy the laughs and smiles on my friend’s faces.

THE OTHER REASON I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT GOING OFF MEDS…

I’m not the best driver. I’d like to think I’m a cautious driver, I don’t intentionally set out to break road rules and I don’t have the need for speed. I am not always the most focused driver and unfortunately meds don’t help. In my time of driving I have had a few accidents, never injured myself or others but have scratched, smashed, scraped and written off my vehicles and worse, others.

If I recall correctly I have been on antidepressant medication each time I’ve had an accident where I was somewhat at fault. This may be a cop-out excuse but I think it’s more an observation and it is noted in the information of possible side effects with many anti-depressants that they can impair your ability to drive and operated heavy machinery. LAME. This week my car managed to “kiss” the pole next to my car space twice. DEVASTATED! I’ve been parking next to this damn pole for almost a year with no problems but low and behold on meds I manage to hit it twice in a week. SHAKES FIST AT POLE!

OK, my this has been a long post and no, I’m not going to edit it any more than spell check although I urged a class to carefully proof read and edit what they put on-line this week because errors make you look unprofessional. Please take my blog posts are personal expressions and no reflection of my employers or academic prowess. Consider my blog the cheeseburger to my academic steak. I will now seek to tie these three topics together.

Thinking clearly is the theme here. Writing can be used therapeutically and like managing your depression this means a multitude of techniques and approaches. Of course thinking clearly and focus in one area can distract from clarity in others and then you end of scratching your car and entering dangerous territory of temptation. We are in flux and need to be aware of our fluidity. Go with the flow but remember to keep your head above water.

If in doubt drink tea and listen to Ice T – church!

UPDATE:

I have now been off medication for just over a month and am very pleased with the decision. I weaned off the medication under professional guidance and continue to attend regular counselling session

One of those days… yes a real blog post

Originally published  15th July 2012 on http://belindawrites.tumblr.com/ 

Republished here with minor corrections.

Today was one of those days. When most people have one of those days it implies that they felt a little off, maybe it seemed like the world was working against them or they just wanted to start the day again. For myself and many other individuals who endure depression one of those days is experienced differently.

Note I used the term endure as opposed to suffer. There is reason behind this. According to the dictionary app on my trusty smart phone, the definition of suffer is “to feel pain or distress”. At times this is an accurate description of what you experience during a depressive period. Often though I feel nothing, and it is the numbness that really sucks.

At this point I must say that depression and mental illness is not a cookie cutter, one side fits all condition and I am not a medical or trained professional on this topic. I have been treated for depression/mental health problems on and off since I was seventeen years old so I am simply speaking from what I’ve learnt or experienced in my own life as result of this. If you have any specific concerns or questions I recommend you contact Beyond Blue, Lifeline or talk to your GP.

I choose to say endure depression as (lets consult that phone app again) endure is defined as “to carry on through, despite hardships, to bear with tolerance”. Because I am not new to these feelings I now endure depression. I have undergone various incarnations of therapy from talking to my GP’s, councillors, psychologists and also psychiatrists as well as being on anti-depressant medication three separate times. Depression for me at least is not something that will ever ‘go away’ or that I’ll be cured off. As my most recent therapist said, and I paraphrase “you will always be more emotionally sensitive than most people”.

So today was one of those days, it wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t a healthy day. Let me explain. A bad day on depression is one where I don’t feel at all in control of myself, my emotions or my actions. You can speculate how this may play out. Generally I become crippled with sadness and undertake very harmful behaviour towards myself, or am completely neglectful of my basic needs. One of those days or a non-healthy day for me is a day where I’m numb or slightly down and I have no motivation. Days like this entail sleeping a lot – either getting up in the afternoon or having a long nap at some point, eating junk food – often gorging and eating too much or barely eating at all, doing nothing – sitting on the couch watching anything but not really engaging with it, lying in bed thinking negative thoughts, difficulty doing basic tasks like getting dressed or brushing your teeth – this stuff seems arduous and pointless… OK I think you get the drift.

Days like this can easily spiral into a bad day (or of course with depression we’re not talking a day here or there, moods like this can last for several days. Two weeks is the golden number for seeking professional help if you haven’t already. I’m speaking in broad terms so please talk to the professionals for more detailed information). I’ve had three points of rock bottom – the first around seventeen years old, the second in my mid – late twenties and the third this year. Each rock bottom is different and unfortunately I’ll probably have future points of rock bottom. When I say rock bottom it’s the point where I realize I’m not coping and I need professional intervention, in particular medication.

There are two particularly frustrating points that come with my version of one of those days. One I know what I should do to avoid depressive moods: eat right, maintain a regular sleeping pattern, exercise, go about my daily routine, maintain social contact, blah, blah, blah… but of course actually doing this appears the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest in six inch stilettos while dragging a truck tire behind me. The second incredibly frustrating aspect is the guilt. Because I know what I should be doing to maintain my mental health, but because I can’t bring myself too I feel incredibly guilty that I’m not taking responsibility for myself and that guilt will then lead to self loathing which of course can complete the nasty depressive cycle of dragging me into a bad day.

For me at least I’ve found that much like keeping a record of your diet when you’re trying to lose weight or recording details of your workouts when trying to get fit recording your moods, symptoms, triggers and the counter measures you take is very helpful in enduring depression. There are now fantastic phone apps that allow you to do this. I use an app called Optimism (www.findingoptimism.com or see the iPhone app store) and would recommend it. This app sends push notifications reminding me to fill it out and also allows me to email the charts and records so I can then print them out or if needed show them to my health care professional.

I try not to dwell on the guilt of having one of those days. I’d rather have a few those days than even half a bad day and getting sucked into the guilt of my those days behaviour will only make a bad day more likely. This also leads me to explain my motivation for this blog post (a rare occurrence that I would like to be a much more common habit). Awareness and acceptance of depression and mental illness has grown greatly since I first experienced problems at the age of seventeen. I believe that it is important to dispel the taboos around this subject and to be more open about it, to write or express my experiences is my way of doing that. Secrets and silence are killers when it comes to mental illness!!!

Please, if you are concerned about yourself or someone else – help is available

Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au

Lifeline: 13 11 14

First step tell someone, at least admit to yourself if you’re not doing ok: its ok, to not be ok.

So until next time… let’s hope that tomorrow is a good day.