Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Down with the (mental) sickness

despair

When my computer crashed in 2012, I ended up in a dark place.

Here in Australia and I’m sure New Zealand, it’s hard to escape the talk about depression since media personality Charlotte Dawson committed suicide on February 22.

Charlotte was well-known for her battles with depression and had tried to kill herself after a bout with Twitter trolls in 2012. I remember some of that media coverage but I wasn’t involved or a follower of the madness.

But now that’s she’s dead, there is a big drive to shove “awareness” in everyone’s faces, like nobody ever heard of depression or suicide before.

I don’t want to be disrespectful but what pisses me off is there is only national grief and consciousness when a celebrity dies from their own doing.

And her death came less than a week after Channel 7 aired the last chapter of the made for TV movie, INXS Never Tear Us Apart.

Of course, we all know the ending of that saga.

With these 2 celebrity suicides all over the airwaves, we are reminded and encouraged to care about depressed people and better yet, be kind to ALL.

And this attention won’t last. But there will be more suicides. There have probably been 18 other suicides since Charlotte’s considering the statistics of 6 per day.

I’ve  written before about how I’ve thought of suicide myself. Several times. And when I get in a dark place, I continue to think about it. I think most of us have, even though so many would never admit to it.

I’ve been in a very low place for weeks now and I’m struggling with the physical manifestation of that: fatigue, cravings and body pains. Emotionally, I am numb.

And I know it’s easy for me to sit here and say that I’d never actually kill myself but I do know what it feels like to be that desperate to get rid of the pain.

But there’s no ridding the pain. Your pain is only passed on to the next person: your parents, your partner, child, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc.

This I know. This I have experienced and have yet to fully understand or accept the suicide death of a close friend in 2007. Yes, nearly 7 years on, I’m still shattered.

I can’t imagine when the life taker is your mother, father, sister, partner or child like it was for some people I know.

I don’t like to talk about my own depression or suicidal thoughts because of the stigma attached to it. I don’t want people thinking that every time I’m in a bad mood or hiding away that I’m depressed because chances are that has nothing to do with it. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me or worse yet, avoiding me because they think I want them to FIX everything. That just makes everything worse. Ignoring something or someone does not make it/them go away!

So what’s the solution?

Certainly not more pharmaceuticals.

I don’t know. More awareness? More talking? More sensitivity? More caring? More love for yourself and others.

Please remember that depression can affect anyone and everyone. You don’t need to have a labeled “illness” to experience it from time to time. Sometimes it just takes one small kick to send you down a deep hole. Just remember to climb out.

If you are depressed or thinking of suicide, please reach out to someone. I know it’s incredibly tough to do but do it. If you can’t talk to family or a mate, call a help line.

Australia Lifeline 13 11 14

New Zealand Lifeline 0800 543 354

Canada Suicide Prevention  1 800 784 2433

UK Samaritans 08457 90 90 90

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conquering fear: step 1

turtle

Yesterday, I did something I had never done before. It was something I dread, ALWAYS.

I drove on the highway  in Western Australia – long distance. 392 km to be exact.

ROADtrain

Road trains – a reality of highway driving in WA.

I have an intense fear of driving and it’s something that holds me back from doing things and going places.

I never learned to drive as a teenager. I didn’t get my licence until I was well past 30. This is inherited I reckon.

My father has never had a driver’s licence.

My eldest sister was well into her 40s before she learned to drive. Other sisters were older too before obtaining a license. I’m not alone in my fretful mentalness when it comes to being behind the wheel of a car.

It’s not all driving though. I can drive around town or  to neighbouring towns with no issues. But ask me to drive to a city or for a 100km plus jaunt along the highway and I start to panic.

Until I do it.

I was perfectly fine when I set out yesterday morning. The sun was shining. I had petrol in the car. The GPS was set. The CD player was filled with 80s classics.

I think I can thank Prince for getting me to Geraldton and back.

We belted out all of his top tunes together. It was fun.

I actually enjoyed the trip.

Any anxiety I had beforehand was gone once I started driving. And really, I didn’t think much about it. I just knew it had to be done so I did it.

Simple as that.

Although I did this and I am really happy with myself, I know my fear of driving is not beat.

Ask me to drive to Perth and I will flat out refuse.

perth traffic

My idea of Hell is to be a driver of one of these cars.

Driving in a city is a GIANT leap that I am not ready to take. Baby steps. Baby steps.

My next mission will be to Joondalup, just on the outskirts of Perth.

Dreading something because of fear?

Just DO IT. It’s really the only way to get over it. 

When was the last time you did something really scary? 

 

 

 


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Discipline Master or Control Freak?

12438132-zen-master-meditating

My latest restriction was planned as 14 days with no sugar. To me, no sugar means NO SUGAR, including all sweeteners and fruit. I lasted 2 days then I had to have low-sugar fruits and honey. For those 2 days, I felt incredibly hungry and I didn’t sleep well. Since adding the fruit and honey, I’ve been fine.

In spite of this failure of mine,  a friend called me a Discipline Master. I thought this term was so much friendlier than Control Freak.

Now that I have had all my test results back and there is nothing physically wrong with me, I wonder, ‘Well, what the hell is wrong with me?’

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I do not have food allergies.

I do not have a bacterial infection.

I do not have a major hormone imbalance.

I do not have bowel polyps.

I do not have cancer.

I have read several times over the past few months about how restrictive diets are becoming a health trend but if there is no medical reason for the food restriction, you could be adding to your issues by eliminating certain food groups. I am so very guilty of this one.

Every time I restrict, I do it in the name of my health. And I do feel better, eventually. But now, I am beginning to think that all my restrictions are more about power over food, not about my good health.

So, I’m loosening up a little. I had pasta the other night and today I had one piece of chocolate.

All my restrictions started in 2005 when I was in search of relief for my chronic sinus problems (nasal polyps). I knew I had polyps but controlling them was difficult. My former boss had much success with Ayurveda, what Indians call the science of life, so I decided to give it a go.

Each week, I would drive myself from Te Anau to Queenstown (New Zealand) to see the practitioner. She would massage me to work out the toxins. I took many herbs in tablet form. I restricted my diet on her recommendation. I was Vata so I had to stick to a Vata reducing diet. I lost 4kgs (8lbs)  rapidly but I was not overweight at all. She said it was toxins. I was now underweight and extremely thin (which I loved). Within a month, I felt great. It didn’t do much for my polyps, if anything but I felt and looked like a million bucks.

I stuck to this new regime for about 5 months before I caved. Two months after starting the Ayurveda sessions, I moved to Fiji which would be great for an Ayurveda diet. Did you know that half the population of Fiji are of East Indian descent?

I was very unhappy there. I was living and working with my new husband and it was not going well. I started to eat bread. Not all the time but I did have some. I also had the odd cocktail,  those were the days when I rarely drank but alcohol was definitely not part of my Ayurvedic regime.

Not long after that, I got pregnant and once that was confirmed, I allowed myself to eat whatever my body wanted, including meat (I had been a vegetarian).

Eat-No-Meat

The first time I became  vegetarian, I was 12 years old. My family had moved from the city to the country and my stepdad started to kill dinner. I was certainly influenced by an older sister who refused to eat anything “off the farm”. I remained I veggo until the age of 16 when I was a runaway and McDonald’s hamburgers were the cheapest things to eat, but that’s another story.

My issues with food are long and varied. I was a very skinny kid and remember being scrutinised for not eating enough. I was so shy, I didn’t like to eat in front of people, not even my family. I’m sure that is another story as well.

When I was 18, I got a job at Dairy Queen and became the Queen herself. I ate so much ice cream and chicken burgers, I gained 20 pounds (9kgs) in a matter of a coupe months. I had never gained weight before and eventually it got me down. It was gone by the time I was 23 thanks to stress and a prescription of Fluoxetine.

The next 7 years were food obsession free. I ate whatever I wanted, I drank like a fish (some of the years),  I didn’t have a weight problem and besides my sinus and respiratory problems I  was healthy.

When I lived in Sydney in 2001, I fell back in to the obsessive food wars with the added title of exercise freak attached, just for fun. The crazy thing about that is when I look at the photos from that time, I was puffy and not thin or healthy looking at all. I used to binge eat because I couldn’t cope with the restrictions I put on myself. When I think of that time now I think, that was crazy.

But is what I’m doing now any more sane and stable?

Mr M has “suggested” more than once that I have disordered thinking when it comes to food. When it all comes down to the hardcore facts, the truth is this.

I don’t want to be fat. I don’t believe obesity is a disease. I believe it’s the result of gluttony and disrespect to your body. This is not a scientific fact, just my opinion.

I don’t need to go to see a “doctor” to look at my history and see the signs that I have body issues. I certainly don’t need to go on some BIG PHARMA lab concoction that will keep me down and dumb.

So what is it I do need to do? I saw this on Facebook today and I think it sums it up nicely.

Live it up


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Things I miss about Facebook

anti facebook logo 04

 

It’s been 15 days since I spent any time on Facebook. Now, I know some of you have recently seen a few posts but that does not mean I was ON Facebook. Yes, I use it to sign in to Good Reads and if I recommend an article, I have to sign in so I realise it appears as if I was ON, but really I wasn’t. I haven’t been. Ok, maybe for a split second when I had to then open the page to log off but that’s all I have done. I really doubt I have missed anything major.

It has been quite easy but there are a few things I miss: my closed writing and photography groups.

This has been especially hard in the past 2 days when I have had a surge of inspiration and energy to return to writing. Don’t ask me about the photography – that’s another issue that needs attention. One thing at a time. But my fellow writers how I miss thee.

When you are investigating topics, analysing publications and searching for contacts, it is so nice and oh so helpful  to have the wealth of experience from other writers available. But I said I won’t be on FB for the month of June so I have to find other ways to source my information. I mean, there were writers before FB!! Sometimes it’s just nice to have a bitch session or chat with like-minded people who are going through similar experiences.

As a work from home mother and wife, I don’t see many people. I have little contact with the outside world and having the flu for the past 3 days has not helped that. So, Facebook often helps me overcome feeling of isolation or that I am a social leper. All that is good (the help it offers, not being a social leper), I just have a hard time finding balance in my life.

Balance is so over-rated anyway.

What are your feelings about Facebook? Is it a help or hinderance? 

 


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I want to stay here forever

relax garden

 

Well hello there. It’s been awhile.

I was a little surprised when I realised my last post was on May 15th.

I’ve been on a slow, very slow climb to recovery. Not physically, that’s yet to come but mentally I feel I’m on other side of blah…the good side.

I’ve been stress free for at least a week, maybe more. I have slipped into an existence of being. I do things but not in a hectic, control-freak way. I just do what needs to be done or feels like the right time to be doing it at the time. I don’t over analyse things as much. I’m certainly not freaking out about rejections from an editor or whether I can afford this that or the other. I’m buying a Kindle on Tuesday.

I’ve wanted one since my BFF Gillian lent me hers to read, Fifty Shades Darker last June.  For some reason, I never got one. I’ve bought several paper books since then though; enough to have bought a Kindle and a few ebooks. Well, I’ve decided I want one so I’m getting one when I go to the city next week.

Next week, I’m going to the city to my “procedure”. This is how one acquaintance put it the other day so now it’s the term to describe the colonoscopy and gastroenterology I am having on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to it. I  have been eating nonstop wheat and gluten since I saw the specialist on May 9th. I’m getting used to having tummy rumbles and ruptures. I may miss them when I give up gluten again after Monday (I can’t eat any solids the day before the “procedure”).

Having the “procedure” may stress some people because of “going under the knife” but I’m not worried. I’m loving my daily life at the moment. As I said, I’m not stressing. I do wonder if this is a good thing or not; sometimes I’m afraid this slow speed won’t gather enough momentum to take me far in my creative career but I don’t dwell on that. It’s passing thoughts.

What’s helped me so much is reading. I have finished Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love and now I’m nearly finished Pat Mesiti’s A $1 Million Reason to Change your Mind. It’s a book about prosperity and how you need to change your mindset to be prosperous. It’s so good and so helpful. Of course, I have known for many years that mindset plays a major part in how prosperous your life will be and for me, it’s been easy to forget that notion as well. I need reminders a lot, especially when I let my mind revert back to negative thinking and depression.

To overcome this inbred affliction, I am now (once again) focussing on what I want in my life and tossing to the side what I don’t want. I have made a vision board (something I have done many times before) and I am doing what needs to be done in the moment. I feel relaxed, calm and at ease in what I do.

I’m in a good great place and I want to stay here forever.

What are you doing to take care of your mental health? 

 

 

 

 


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I forgot all about this little blog and some other important things

forget

 

The past 3 weeks (since my last blog post) have gone so fast, I just can’t believe it. Nor can I believe that I have not written a post since April 9th.

Last time,  I spoke about having too much on my plate. So much, in fact that I forgot about my blog. That’s not entirely true (I didn’t forget but I surely neglected), but if you read that post called How much is too much, you will see I didn’t even include it on my list of TO DO. Shame on me.

I actually let the largeness of that list and the commitments attached to it consume me. And not in a good way.

I let things crumble around me slowly but surely.

This past week, things (my madness) got to the breaking point. There were days I could have snapped in two; I was so rigid and uptight. I was so focussed on WHEN I was going to pull this writing and photography career off that I lost control of the only thing that matters: The HERE & NOW.

I was engrossed in making a schedule of my time; one so rigid that I could not keep up with it. Not even for one day. It was unrealistic and by no surprise, I shut down: mentally and nearly physically. I couldn’t keep up with my own personal demands on my body, mind, emotions and soul. Everything started to slow down. I did work. I had lots of writing assignments for the newspaper plus Master T home on school holidays to keep me UP and active but my other  stuff stopped. Mild depression settled in and set up camp.

I stopped exercising. I stopped writing my novel. I stopped studying. I certainly stopped trying to be an attentive mother. Thank goodness he’s a 7-year-old with an iPod, a TV, lots of LEGO and books.

I was stressed about money, my procrastination, my loss of drive and a very big financial decision hung over my head as did an impending month-long overseas holiday.

I wanted everything to stop.

Except The Voice. I wanted The Voice to be on 24 hours a day. I needed that kind of motivation and inspiration near me. But that’s another post.

I was terrified and I hated myself for digging an enormous hole. A hole I would have to climb out of, eventually.

I made the big decision (new camera gear is on the way), the trip was postponed, I shut the computer off on Saturday and most of Sunday (today) and I let myself be free to do as much or as little as I wanted to at the moment. I know I need to stop forcing myself to do things because I think THAT IS the only way to get things done. It doesn’t work for me. I need a new system. I let go of everything for a few days and it worked.

I’m out of the hole, or at the very  least,  I’m close to the top. My nails are a mess!!

There’s something within me that I don’t quite understand but it’s some kind of mechanism in my soul that refuses to let me fall completely.

There’s been many times in my life where I could have gone down dark and dreary paths, and sometimes I did choose that but only for a short time. Whether it was drugs, alcohol, people, food, jobs, a mental state or a real live wrong turn,  I always seem to know when I need to change direction and head towards the light.

I am destined to succeed, I just forget sometimes.

I have a quote by Jack Welch sitting in front of me that says:

Change before you have to

It’s the kind of reminding that I need. Constantly.

If it’s broken, FIX IT. My way of thinking and my self-worth was broken but it’s on the mend now.

destiny

©Jennifer Morton Photos

My next post will surely be about The Voice!

 

 

 

 

 


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Setting priorities as a way of self-care

According to my wee Oxford English dictionary, here is the definition of priority.

Priority n. Thing considered more important than others; right to do something before other people.

I have a problem with knowing what my priorities are. As a wife and mother, it’s easy to lose myself in that role. And being a housewife, mother and paid writer it is easy to  get overwhelmed by the commitments involved in each one. They clash, bump and overlap each other in a trying and confusing way.

I think there is often a very fine line between what I want to do as an individual  and what I  feel I am committed to do as one-third of a family unit.

Last week, I didn’t write any blog posts. I had a slow freefall to despair and by the time Friday hit I couldn’t wait to just forget about writing, deadlines, pitches and computers!

I took the entire weekend OFF. I didn’t even turn on the computer. Instead, I went to the beach with Master T and we got heaps of vitamin D. We even jumped off the jetty into the cold, clear, salty Indian Ocean. Not usually my cup of tea, but it was great to get out of my uncomfortable comfort zone.

 

My local beach…yes I live in paradise

 I’m considering making the beach #1 on my list of priorities. I got totally sunburned and even that was great. I finished a book that I’ve been slowly reading for months and I made sure Mr M got lunch delivered to him at work. These things would not have happened if my ass was glued to a chair in front of my Mac.

Master T at play

And spending time with my 6-year-old son was much-needed. I must admit, I feel bad for working and being on the computer most of the day. It’s school holidays here in Western Australia so he is home with me 24/7. His dad works outside the home so that’s not an option. Right now, he’s playing quietly in his room while watching Toy Story 3. Bless him.

Back to priorities…of course #1 would be the health and welfare of my child but I feel like that statement is like a Miss Universe candidate saying the only things she wants is world peace.

Is it not a cliché? I mean, of course I want my child to be safe, be confident, be happy, be fed, be joyful, be loved…but does that mean my wants, needs and desires must come to a stop until he is an adult?

When he was a baby I certainly did put my life on hold and cared for him like there was nothing else. Now, he’s almost 7 and able to read, write, ride a bike, play Lego, dress himself, wash himself and think for himself. If I could only get him to make his own meals…..

Aside from the obvious that is above, I have made a list based on what I feel is most important to ME on a daily basis. This may change daily or even hourly…lol.

 

#1.  Meditate and cultivate calm within myself

#2.  Exercise at least 15 minutes (not including walking or bike riding that I do most days)

#3.  Write Write Write (sell sell sell…lol)

#4.  Make dinner for my family. Eat together..always

#5.  Rest…if I do not get to rest during the day, go to bed early

#6.  Read, whether it be a few pages of a magazine or a novel

 

Basically, this is the routine of my day, not that it always happens that way. If all of these things happen, then I’m happy.  Just writing that list makes me feel calm and grateful for my life. Imagine the stress reduction in society if we all just had personal priorities and lived by them. It’s not easy to figure out what your own priorities are but jotting down some ideal ones may help you see more clearly.
Do you have your priorities in order?