There’s Nothing Wrong With Contentment

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The Truth About The Mask Of Mental Illness

So it turns out I haven’t quite finished writing about masks. Today, however, instead of talking about clinical masks, I want to talk about a different type of mask — that is, the mask that society forces people with mental illness to wear.

It might surprise you to know that it is still rare to find a work environment in which you can admit openly that you suffer from depression or a neurological disorder

The main ones, though, are his crippling anxiety and OCD

Few would be aware of the rituals that chain him to his home, his fear of change, or the mental effort it takes to keep himself on track

I’m his mum and selfishly, I suppose, I wanted him there with us, not only to push back his anxiety, but to help me complete the faux image of the perfect family unit I aspire to

When our son is on form, he lights up a room; but when he is overwhelmed, it’s like waiting for the White Walkers to break through the wall

I know better than to think I can prepare for every eventuality. The unpredictability is, perhaps, the hardest part about mental illness. The three steps forward, and the inevitable four steps back

When family and friends ask us how Kurt is doing, we put on masks too

A person with mental illness may look exactly like you and I most of the time, until the mask slips

They can’t “snap out of it” to make the rest of us feel better

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Wear A Mask, Because No One Deserves To Die Alone

The fact is, bowel and colon cancer are on the increase, so I decided it was worth a prod up my ass to make sure everything was okay

For a hypochondriac and over-thinker, that waiting period can be a moment of reckoning

What I wasn’t prepared for was the life-flashing-before-me moment just before I went in

More importantly, I didn’t want to die like this, alone, in a stark white room, with my bum hanging out

Lying on a hospital bed surrounded by strangers and beeping monitors is scary, and certainly not the way I would choose to leave this earth

All they’re asking for in return is that we show some social responsibility

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‘What Do Men Have To Do To Stop Women Accusing Them Of Rape?’

Sadly, one thing this pandemic has highlighted is that the sexual abuse and murder of women hasn’t gone away

As anyone who celebrates Christmas with family, a close emotional connection can blur the lines around the rules of battle, and discussions have a tendency to get more personal.

Let me reiterate: I am a feminist, but I do not hate men, nor do I believe that all men are rapists or, indeed, would ever hurt a woman

Parenting never stops, and I have a responsibility for the way my son thinks about and treats women

Thirty women have already been murdered in Australia this year (Destroy The Joint)

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Wedding Anniversaries: Does Your Partner Still Buy You Flowers?

Mine doesn’t.

I am a feminist, hence I shouldn’t expect special treatment in the romance department…apparently

Or periods and menopause? Is that fairer?

We’ve reached the professional stage of taking each other for granted in our marriage

I think he said something about us not needing material things to prove our love, and I fell for it

Why is it the longer most couples stay together, the less effort they make?

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5 Wardrobe Essentials Every Middle-Aged Women Should Have

And needless to say, she looked back at me blankly

I’m talking fashion, ladies!

And let’s be honest, it’s only a matter of time before I get back on the carb bandwagon

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Middle-Aged Women: We Need To Talk About The Necessary Evil Of Exercise

What are “lifestyle improvements”? I hear you ask — not really

And exercising!

  1. Be over as quickly as possible (relatively speaking), primarily because (as I mention a few times in this post) I hate it with a passion,
  2. Couldn’t take too much time out of my day, due to other hobbies such as drinking and eating lots, and
  3. Had to involve getting my heart-rate up to counter-balance aforementioned cray-cray family history.

I’m lying, of course. I didn’t finish it quickly or with any great finesse — because even after months of training, I still HATED exercise with a passion — but I did finish

Tbh, exercise that involves pain is not what I’d thought I’d be doing in my fifties and obviously not something I would normally choose to do in the little spare time I have, because…

But while I would much prefer to go on a brisk walk with my girlfriends — with the added incentive of a wine milky coffee at the end of it — I know that’s not enough

And trust me, it’s a slippery slope once you lose your fitness — one day you can’t get out of a chair, the next you struggle to walk up hills, and before you know it you can’t wipe your own arse

  1. The impact on your mental health: Everyone has those days when they get so engrossed with work that they put off going outside and end the day in a slump at their desk. That used to happen to me all of the time until I realised how much that change of scene centred me. Whether it’s the beauty of nature, the increase in my heart-rate, or the free therapy from friends, I can guarantee that I feel more inspired and creative when I return. It’s like when you reset your computer. I am far more productive after exercise.
  2. The boost to your mood and confidence: I’m not going to promise that you’ll lose weight from exercise as I believe that what you put in your mouth is the biggest determiner of that, but I do think that a healthy diet with consistent exercise can help. Added to which, for middle-aged women, improving muscle tone and being a healthy weight will most likely increase your confidence. A dramatic boost of dopamine works wonders for mood — that’s why the crazy exercise junkies get addicted.
  3. The broadening of your community: Whether it’s a yoga class or a walk with friends, group exercise encourages connection — another vital component of longevity. It is believed that one of the reasons men die younger is because they lose their social connections as soon as they retire.
  4. The increase in your sense of empowerment: That whole idea about how you enjoy things so much more when you’ve worked hard for them (that our parents used to try and drill into us to make us do chores) is actually true. I feel so much more empowered about everything once I start to achieve personal goals. And I’m not afraid to reward myself generously for them.

I can guarantee you’ll enjoy that evening wine so much more when you feel like you’ve earned it

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Middle-Aged Women: We Need To Put Ourselves First Now

I’m running, without actually getting anywhere

I’m simply not ready to slip quietly into the middle-aged woman box

So what’s really stopping me from getting out there and kicking ass? Am I just a serial whinger or is it truly harder for women our age to kick our goals?

Men have no idea how exhausting it is to have to pretend you’re human when you feel like an axe-murderer on the inside

So, there it is…

But perhaps my biggest problem is self-perception

The truth is that successful people have to be a little bit selfish

I know it may sound crazy to do a complete re-evaluation of your life in your fifties, but how lucky are those of us who still have choices that are denied to so many?

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The Sad Price George Floyd Has Paid To Expose Police Corruption

We can’t change history, but we can try and compensate for it.

Fear and entitlement feed corruption in the police force.

Police brutality affects many groups of people — from people of colour to the LGBTQIA community, and the mentally ill.

It is clear that the powers of the police are too great and there is not enough accountability for what they do with them.

Could any of the ideas below help reduce the number of black deaths?

  1. Could removing some of the pressure off police officers — and in particular financial targets that increase the danger of prioritising economics over life — make a difference?
  2. What if we vetted applicants more closely? Without wishing to stereotype, there does seem to be a “type” that enters the police force. Or perhaps it is the nature of the job that causes “compassion fatigue” — a numbing detachment that is common to many first responders (which I wrote about here).
  3. Or if there was more training vis a vis the risks of poor impulse control and the “pack mentality” in high emotion situations?
  4. How about we reduce the number of armed police officers? We know that having a gun increases the risk of its use, and we also know that the British have one of the most successful police departments in the world — and the majority of their officers don’t carry guns.
  5. And finally, if we worked out a way to encourage more female police officers to join, could we make it mandatory for a woman to attend every crime scene in order to reduce the threat of physical violence?

It’s easy to criticise the police, I know…

Sadly, many of these cases point to a sense of entitlement in the police force that increases the risk of violence.

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The 25 Best Feel-Good Movies For Lazy Weekends

Are you genuinely still social-distancing?

Check out the movie trailer here:

A bit about the movie…

Who hasn’t loved Renee Zellweger since she dished up blue soup in Bridget Jones?

Did You Know That Ugly-Crying Actually Enhances Your Mood?

Anything that gives us pause for thought and time to reflect on our priorities is a good thing, right?

And remember, the MAIN reason I’m giving you permission to take an afternoon off is because single and family movie passes make a direct donation to this year’s RED SHIELD APPEAL.

Enjoy!

  1. The Green Mile — Starring Sandra Bullock, the queen of feel-good movies.

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The 5 Surprising Things I Haven’t Missed In Isolation

Below are 5 surprising things I haven’t missed in isolation:

1. People

2. Shopping

3. My Anxiety

4. “The Treadmill”

5. The Weight Of Expectation

Of course, these thoughts may just be symptomatic of middle age

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11 Painful Truths About Living With Men

To be honest, I thought I’d done my time in share houses until COVID-19 attacked our shores, but it turns out that the most confronting change brought about by this virus is not my fear of catching it but my forced cohabitation with two men.

Yeah, right!

I mean, it’s not like your average tenant would walk around the house naked or steal your booze and expect to get away with it, is it?

And how come men get so brave in a group?

  1. No-one ever sweeps the bloody floor apart from me! — Allow me to put that indignant comment in some context. I AM THE ONLY ONE BLOODY WORKING at the moment, and yet it appears that men can quite happily trample over last night’s dinner preparations, stray dog biscuits, and poop stains (that the old man walked in from the garden) on the floor, without getting grossed out.
  2. The toilet brush is invisible — I gave up trying to explain to the old man what the toilet brush was for a long time ago, but I truly believed that I had educated my son about what it was for. Silly me.
  3. The distinct bromance/brotherhood/pack mentality that has emerged — That whole “what happens on tour code” has been reinstated since the Prodigal Son returned. It seems that men become uncharacteristically brave when there is more than one of them. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but over the past few weeks there have been signs of a possible male coup when it comes to power. Suddenly, I am the butt of all jokes, our TV viewing has been limited to violent, comic-book, sports or science-fiction movies, and my gourmet cooking (once prized by the old man) has been ridiculed while his pathetic attempts to successfully plate up a baked potato have been bigged up.
  4. The new location of the dishwasher is apparently in the Bermuda Triangle — Apparently, the distance between the kitchen sink and dish washer is insurmountable.
  5. Our new method of communication is farting. While not so vocal when it comes to smalltalk (or discussions about whose responsibility it is to sweep the floor), the men in my house are fluent in the language of farting. Where does that amount of gas come from, and why are they so damned proud of it?
  6. Nudity is a perfectly acceptable dress code ANYWHERE in the house. No, I don’t want your dick in my face when I’m drinking my morning coffee. PUT SOME BLOODY CLOTHES ON!
  7. The length of time men can spend in the bathroom. And why their optimum pooping window is always just before I need to use it?
  8. The old “replacing the toilet roll” conundrum — And what exactly are they using when there isn’t any toilet roll in the bathroom?
  9. The cold — I hadn’t realized before that we were living on Everest. Exactly how many fingers and toes am I expected to lose before I’m allowed to turn off the air con?
  10. All men do think about is food — When are they NOT thinking about their next meal, snack, second or third breakfast? The only three words I can guarantee from my two boys in 24 hours which are “What’s for dinner?”
  11. That privacy is subjective — Kurt informed me in no uncertain terms that I was to knock on his door before entering his room — in case he was doing something no mum should ever see. However, when I requested the same courtesy, I was laughed at. That’s why I make no apologies for the number of times he has found my tits in his face — although his assuredness that I’m past it continues to irk.

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C-Words like COVID-19 are never good, but most clouds have a silver lining

Historically, c-words have had a bad rap. For example, the c-word “c*nt” is described as a vulgarism for female genitalia on Wikipedia, and the euphemism for “cancer” used to be the archetypal c-word. That is until recently, when a far more sinister c-word entered our vocabulary.

Modern women don’t see women’s genitalia as threatening, ugly or something to be ashamed of

Cancer was another c-word that was only ever mentioned in hushed tones

Even today, medical researchers implore doctors not to use the word cancer (unless absolutely necessary) due to its power to induce panic.

And now this new c-word has reached our shores

I think some good can come from this virus

Maybe some of the changes it causes will be positive?

On a personal note, this period has reminded me of how lucky I am that I married my best friend

And so, while c-words are never good, it is handy to remember that most clouds have a silver lining

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“Clear intentions” may help you focus in lockdown, but treading water is also fine

  1. Daily exercise — Typically a walk or a short run.
  2. Pitching — Sending ideas for articles to editors
  3. Eating — Enjoying at least one special meal a day, or even trying out a new recipe
  4. Writing — Articles, my blog posts, and manuscripts
  5. Reading — As much as I can
  6. And clearing out my inbox daily
  1. Online learning — Completing a content marketing course and commencing an advanced web design course with TAFE — did you know that they are running some free, online short courses during lockdown? Check them out here.
  2. And I’m also teaching myself how to crochet — a skill I had hoped I’d have nailed by now and could share with the kids back at school, but I’m not certain that will happen this school year!

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Blogger, writer, mental health campaigner, who dreams of being a published author and making the world a happier place.

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Louisa Simmonds

Louisa Simmonds

Blogger, writer, mental health campaigner, who dreams of being a published author and making the world a happier place.