Devil on my shoulder…

We promised you a second piece last week, we promised that double dose of a mind of its own. We owe you an apology, often we don’t see what goes on behind closed doors and last week for the team it was a massive reminder of that. The generally funny and often quirky blog that you all love to read is going to get a little serious for our second installment this week and touch on a subject that has affected 100s of 1000s of people around the globe. Normally this is where we’d insert a joke or two and take a track down the rabbit hole with Alice but not this time. This time we are seriously going to be be serious.

Since its inception A Mind of Its Own has been very vocal about mental health awareness and ensuring Australians in particular are getting the help and support they need. We’ve discussed how it is ok to speak out, how young men and women have battled with there demons. How we are slowly evolving and becoming more and more open with our thoughts, feelings, emotions and that there is potentially a further place that our conscious minds go to when our body’s kick the bucket and give up. That we potentially come back over and over again to awaken those that need help seeing their is a higher being if you will.

No matter what your beliefs we can all agree that women’s and men’s mental health awareness needs a little more support and a little more work particularly around suicide prevention. Its a topic people tend to shy away from, a topic that saddens people and a topic that well to be honest is one that most people would prefer to lock away in the taboo chest never to be spoken of again. No one knows the pain and anguish people must go through to feel that suicide is their only option left to stop the pain, stop the hurting, stop the thoughts, stop the burden they often feel they are.

It seems we all have a devil on our shoulder as per the title but for some its often worse than we’ll ever know. Whether your devil is drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, addiction of any form or mental illness there are options for you, there is help for you. We know there are those that will read this and say we have no idea what people are going through and you would be right, we don’t. No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors but believe that with the right help and support there is a solution for everyone out there and being advocates of mental health awareness and suicide prevention we can only try and help those who need it before its too late.

By starting the conversation we hope that men, women and children around the globe start to have a conversation and seek the help, support and stability they need. We need more options for those who feel the only option they have left is to take their own lives. By doing so we often wonder whether they have considered the legacy of pain they will leave behind. The long lasting effects on family and friends who will question for years to come whether they did enough for the fallen. Why hadn’t they reached out, why hadn’t they just ask if they were ok and needed to talk?

Across the country there are programs, charities, support groups and even medical institutes to help shoot the devil on your shoulder. It’s never an easy road to walk when seeking help but the moment you do, the weight of the world can often feel like its been lifted from you. The hardest part though is often admitting to yourself that you need some help and can’t do it all on your own. Once you’ve jumped that hurdle there will be plenty more to come but the closer you get to that often elusive finish line that keeps moving as life shifts and throws more hurdles in your way. The more it moves the more you have to dig deep and get out of your comfort zone but that is something that will become easier the more you accept needing some help and the more you open up about your demons.

As individuals we can do our part and ensure we are asking people if they are ok, a simple conversation can save a life or even make someone’s day. Even if it’s not the topic they really want to talk about, people often just like having someone there to listen and make conversation with them. Over time those conversation will become more and more in depth as you build trust between you. But just being there for friends and family is the first step in helping them help themselves. You can offer advice or suggestions but most of the time the best help you can be is to just be there and listen.

That devil on your shoulder whether it be your thoughts, your addiction or some other problem or issue can be shot. We know several people both friends and family who are forever trying to shot the devil on their shoulder. Over time it becomes easier and easier but it has taken them a lot of hard work and fair amount of pain to get where they are. But as they say you’ve got to take the good with the bad right? And it’s the things are that are always tough and hard that are worth doing. There will be those the uneducated we like to call them that will never understand the struggles and pain that those fighting a mental illness go through day in, day out out. It’s a constant battle that will often get the better of you but we learn to adapt and overcome the more we chose to fight it.

The option to fight may not always be the easiest choice or the one that family and friends decide to go with and it’s those moments where the black dog wins swallowing the ones we love and care about that bring pain and from time to time a legacy with it. Whilst we can never tell someone what to do or make them do anything they don’t want to we can provide them with options and do the small things to help them out as much as possible. Be there and provide that support but don’t make them feel like a burden. Seek professional help and support them through their journey.

For those of us feeling like we’ve exhausted all options remember this, you hold the key, the power and the ability to fight it, you just might not know it yet or how to, but given time and the right support and help you will discover all the tools and techniques to fight that devil in your own time and your own way. We just need to accept that it’s ok to need and to ask for help from time to time. There is no shame in admitting you have a problem that you need help with. It’s more empowering than you may think admitting you are struggling and can’t do it all on your own.

From the team at A Mind of Its Own, we thank you for taking the time to read this blog. To all those that have lost someone before their time to suicide, illness whatever it might be our thoughts are with you. There are no words that can make the loss any easier we can just say that those loved ones are never forgotten and will always be remembered, we can honour them by changing tune and making sure people know that it’s ok to talk and by asking those around us if they are ok or just starting a conversation. Until the next post our friends if you or a loved one need some support, guidance and or help below are the details for a couple places to make a start if you are feeling as though you can’t go to a friend or family…

Lifeline Australia

13 11 14

http://www.lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue

1300 224 636

http://www.beyondblue.org.au

Two Feet on the ground…

As Dolly Parton once sung we are all “working nine to five” or at least five thirty, six ish depending on what time the boss leaves the office. Here at the world’s silliest blog we work whatever time we like, heck half the staff are passed out at their desks fast asleep most of the day. Like a good Mexican restaurant we let them siesta for as long as they like. As long as they walk into the editor’s office with great ideas every week they can come in at ten past nine and leave and quarter past nine for all we care. Ideas are what keep this fine publication ticking along week after week and the sponsors happy. If we had any… Hint to potential investors if you want your free t-shirt you are going to need to actually spend money.

With the chief out of the office on some quest to show he’s still young by putting his body through the wringer and seeing if he can still compete at the top-level of amateur sport. Which is what lead us to write this week piece. With all our competitors writing about self-care at present it was only reasonable that we jumped in the paddock and marched along to the feed trough with the rest of societies sheep. So self-care what is it you ask? So did we, we asked a lot. There were some disturbingly bad answers on google as to what selfcare is so before your minds wander into the proverbial gutter we’ll put it out there.

Noooo self-care is not playing with yourself for pleasure. It is exactly what it sounds like. Self care is taking care of oneself. In a general sense, self-care refers to activities undertaken with the intention of enhancing energy, restoring health and reducing stress. There are many ways to do this and self-care is something that can be personalised for every individual. Well that’s what our good friends at google tell us anyway once we did a quick search.

Whether that be caring for your mental health, physical health or purely pampering yourself in order to feel a little better. That’s what we are talking about when we talk about self-care here at A Mind of Its Own. Not enough people take the time to look after their health in general. They go through the motions and complain they are time poor or just too busy to find time to do the things that would make them feel so much better each day if they consistently did them.

The big dog (Our Editor and Chief) is a classic example of inconsistency when it comes to looking after himself and doing what is right for his mind, body and soul. We asked him what his routine looks like when he feels he is his best compared to the days where we all run for the hills knowing what he is like when he hasn’t had enough sleep or isn’t taking care himself like he should. As a man who suffers anxiety and depression he knows he is best when he has a routine, sticks to it and he makes time to cover something from the mind, body and soul.

Speaking first hand around the office he is the first one to point out that ten minutes each morning meditating is a great way to start the day followed by forty plus minutes of exercise, a good breakfast of eggs and toast and you are ready to rock n roll. Your mind is clear, your body feels healthy and most importantly your soul is happy. As wise as he is, he is also the first person to point out to you that what works for one may not work for the other. We are individual beings and whilst we may share body types, blood types, skin colour and various other things we are all very different and therefore our bodies react differently to exercise, meditation, massage, treatments etc. Therefore you cannot prescribe one regime for everyone.

The best coaches in the world work out how to motivate their athletes, they deep dive into what makes them tick and from their better understand that what motivates one may not motivate another. While there are generalities that can be passed from one individual to the next it is all about that single being and what works best for them. While teams sports are all about the team goals in order to reach those goals and objectives you need to get the most out of the individuals as they a brought together as a team.

As you get older and some of you wiser perhaps, you tend to know what works for you and what doesn’t, yes you may have to try a thousand different ways and things, but eventually you will get there and work out what is best for your mind, body and soul. It does become more and more important the older you get to ensure you are looking after yourself. The lessons you learn about yourself will help you through all facets of life including love for all our fans still searching for the one. It’ll happen and you’ll know when they are the right one just don’t forget to put a ring on it when you do meet him or her.

So from the team at the world’s funniest, friendliest and most sympathetic blog, take some time out each day to look after number one. I can guarantee your number two, three, four and perhaps five will appreciate it. You’ll find not only will you feel fresher, fitter and friskier well we don’t know about the last one but you’ll feel better as you go about your normal routine looking after everyone else as a lot of people tend to do. Starting your journey could be as simple as taking yourself for a walk followed by writing down your thoughts and feelings. So until next week… Au revoir!

Are you still having fun…

With Thursday the 13th of September being R U Ok? Day, we asked our editor and chief if he’d sit in his seat and discuss anxiety and depression with our readers along with telling us how much talking and writing about it has helped him over the past couple of years. As they say a single conversation could make someone’s day, their week or their year. It’s ok to talk and more men and women need to be educated that is ok. SO over to you chief fire away and don’t bore the readers too much please…

Well with that introduction I’d better ensure to make this an easy, breezy read for the folks at home. If you had of asked me to write about this a year or two ago the answers would have varied from Aww hell no to a few expletives followed by a staunch no. The fact that I am now able to sit here and talk about it is a testament that if you can find that one person and start opening up, the more you do it the more you become comfortable doing. In saying that I still struggle to speak with people about my anxiety and depression that I don’t really know or that I am not comfortable with. Even writing this now has a me a little anxious as to what people may or may not think.

Like thousands of men and women across Australia and around the globe I suffer from anxiety and depression. I have my good days and yes I certainly have my bad days, my wife will be happy to attest to that. The good news is they are coming few and far between, I won’t lie and say it was easy to get to this point but I will say that it took a lot of hard work and honesty. Firstly being honest with myself and secondly being honest with those that I care about and love. Being honest and admitting to myself that there was something wrong and I needed help was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life.

No one likes asking for help especially when they often can’t put their finger on exactly what the problem is or why they are feeling that way. So when people used to ask me what was wrong or why i was being quiet I would often just say nothing and try to disappear into the background. I tried changing the topic and more often than not I would ask questions and listen so I didn’t have to deal with my own thoughts and feelings. We all have days when we are feeling a little blue so I put a lot of what I was thinking and feeling down to that. At the time I was living in Brisbane, a long way away from my family and close. Yeah I had some good mates around me but none that I was comfortable talking to at the time.

It wasn’t until I started to display physical symptoms that I knew I had to do something, I had to see someone. I remember one day sitting on the floor of the bathroom feeling nauseous, there was a tightness across my chest and I was actually physically sick and I couldn’t control my thoughts. It was something I had never experienced before but it was something that would happen to me more and more over the following months until I saw someone. Now I would love to say that I plucked up the courage and went of my own volitions however I didn’t. I was given an ultimatum but it was the one that I needed and deep down I knew it was for my own good.

With my decision made I then struggled for some time as to who do I go and see, do I get medical help, do I go straight to the psychologist or psychiatrist, do I talk to friends, family. What do I do? It was daunting, I searched online, I read articles but at the end of the day it was a conversation with my father in law that changed it all. You see we don’t often get to see what goes on behind closed doors. We don’t ask questions that are personal and as men we just choose not to talk about our feelings. Its ingrained and beat into us from birth, strong men don’t talk about their feelings.

This one conversation though set me on the right path, through opening up I learnt that I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only person to go through this and there is nothing wrong with asking for help and knowing that it is ok to talk. Now my journey to seek the help i need may be different to a lot of people. I had a Skype call with one of the nation’s top professors of Psychiatry who then pointed me in the right direction and made recommendations. From there I saw my physician and on that back of that we setup a mental health plan that suited me.

My next hurdle along the way was having to take medication, it got me down and made me even more anxious that I needed to take a tablet each day to ensure my highs and lows were kept in balance. It honestly made me feel miserable but what it did do was allow my brain to slow down and process things a lot better. The more I researched what I was taking the more comfortable I became. I would talk about it in my session with my psychologist and together we began forming a plan to put in place the strategies and techniques to allow me to cope with my anxiety and depression if I ever came off the medication.

Over time my dosage has been adjusted, slowly becoming less and less as I become more and more comfortable with my own thoughts and feelings. How I manage and process them has gone from one of confusion and often being overwhelmed to now being ok with them and letting the thoughts and feelings come and go as they please. I’ve also learnt that talking about my anxiety and depression or writing about it has helped me a great deal. Being ok and realising that it is not a weakness but a strength, a strength that shines through in the day-to-day battle with my mind and thoughts.

The uneducated will make comments like what have you got to be sad about or are you suicidal. A lot them won’t even attempt to understand and will shy away from people with mental health issues. The truth is that mental health issues affect everyone differently, yes it does overwhelm some people to the point they want to the pain to stop that’s the sad truth but they are often the people who need our help the most. They are the people who just having a conversation with them could make their day. It could save their life, the problem is a lot of people still feel the shame and stigma that comes with mental health.

Conversations have helped me over the past couple of years, just having them has opened up my eyes to the world and to the fact I am not alone in my struggle. It has helped me understand my mind, understand my anxiety, understand my depression and most importantly understand that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to talk, its ok to ask for help. It’s ok to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. Take a leaf from the young females of the world they put themselves out there on social media on a daily basis with there blogging and fashion posts but they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable often for a good cause.

I’ve been humbled this week by several people reaching out to me and sharing their stories and asking for help. Whether they were inspired by me finding my voice and asking for help or not is irrelevant the fact they were able to speak up and say there were struggling made me both proud and humbled at the same time. They were taking the steps to find their feet once again and work on themselves. Most importantly they were learning to love themselves once more. The biggest part of any healing process is accepting that you are going to be ok and who you are.

So it is to all those who are struggling in the world, you are not alone, there is a good chance the person sitting next to you right now is going through the same thing or has already been through. Do yourself a favour and ask people are you ok? What you give you shall receive tenfold as the old saying goes. Pay it forward, look after yourself and take care of those around you. It’s ok to talk, its ok not to be ok, and most importantly it is ok to ask for help. From myself and the team here at A Mind of Its Own, R U Ok? Start the conversation even if it isn’t for you.

Limelight…

What a week it has been, we’ve been jetting about this amazing land of ours for our job that actually pays the bills. Adelaide and Canberra have felt the presence of the Mind of Its Own team this week in our travels. We’ve tasted the wines of South Australia and got to hang out in the halls of parliament with some of the MP’s. OK it wasn’t the halls but the flight from Canberra to Sydney on our way back to god’s country. Ah that would be Northern New South Wales. OK, OK enough fibs we caught a glimpse of them from cattle class where we barely had any room to move and our knees were up around our ears. Oh and not to mention our beers were overpriced for the portion size.

We did however get to spend sometime at the War Memorial checking out there new exhibit ‘From the Shadows’ focusing on Australia’s special forces past and present. We can safely say it was a very humbling experience walking the halls of the memorial dedicated to the men and women who have fought to protect our country. Ok so maybe not so much protecting our shores, there was a brief period where Japan was knocking on our doorstep during world war two but for the most part we have always gone to war on behalf of the crown or to support our American brothers across the sea.

So after our visit to the nation’s capital and the city of churches with exhausted minds and tired bodies we returned to our place of peace to enjoy some time away from the office. Hence why your weekly edition is so late. Apologies to our supporters, we may be late but we have finally got here for you. So this week we wanted to look at Anxiety and sport particularly with finals just around the corner across multiple sporting codes. From our elite athletes to our amateur sports men and woman, being a part of a finals campaign is something that whilst exciting can often become very overwhelming.

Whilst athletes at the professional level will have access to sports psychologists, your everyday joe playing in their local competition during finals time does not. Often when it comes to big games, whether it be semi finals or a grand final it can be overwhelming for people who have never experienced the pressure that come with a finals campaign. Even those who have played finals year in year out can still experience pre-finals jitters. Speaking from experience we know that it can be an anxious time as you wait for your game to start.

More often than not athletes will play the game over and over in their heads before they’ve even stepped on the field or court. The anxiety that builds up before a game can see even the best of athletes run their race before it starts. Within sport there are two main types of anxiety in Sport, trait anxiety and state anxiety.

Trait anxiety is more general and enduring, suggesting a predisposition to anxiety in all areas of life, not just in sport where as state anxiety is transient and specific only to the particular situation an athlete finds themselves in.

They display themselves differently in each individual. From the athlete that spews before each match to the basketballer on the free throw line whose mind is his greatest obstacle. In training they make every single shot, never miss, but during the game they struggle to overcome the anxiety that builds every time their feet touch that line.

So to our amateur athletes across the country experiencing any of the following symptoms just remember that it is a natural to feel these things and the best way to overcome it all is to discuss it with coaches and teammates. Some of the symptoms you may feel could include the following…

  • Cognitive symptoms relate to thought processes, including fear, indecision, poor concentration, loss of confidence and defeatist self-talk.
  • Somatic (physical) symptoms include muscular tension, clammy hands and feet, increased heart rate, sweating and butterflies in the stomach.
  • Behavioral symptoms relate to patterns of behavior, including inhibited posture, fingernail biting, avoidance of eye contact and uncharacteristic displays of introverted or extroverted behavior.

Here at a Mind of Its Own, we’d like to say, good luck to all those participating in the big dance throughout September. And for those that aren’t there is some quality viewing as all! The football codes are entering finals time, netball oh wait that’s done the Sunshine Coast Lighting took that title, there’s some golf tournaments, some over paid tennis players running a court, table tennis tournaments from south-east asia and home-grown lawn bowls finals and all your other favourite sport can be found across the channels you pay for with your fox sports package.

Remember why you started to play the game and remember to be nice to those that officiate it. But most of all have fun out there whether you play at the elite level or amateur so you can taste those sweet victory beers without the scrutiny of the media or your sponsors. It’s all about the enjoyment and we all make mistakes. So until the next time we grace your screen, peace out and enjoy September…

New York State of Mind…

Ever just wake up and wonder what it’s all for? Why life has pointed you on this path? Why your best mates all seem to be doing so much better at life than you do? Well the good news… This isn’t an advertisement for a way to improve what you deem as your shitty life. Chances are as you look at things through your goggles preparing for the super storm that is not going to come and rain on your parade, life may be better than you think.

In this week’s piece we revisit depression and anxiety to discuss how it can take on A Mind of Its Own. Don’t question it, we really did just manage to slip our blog sites title in once again. We aren’t beyond a shameless plug of the little safe haven we’ve created in which all these wonderful blogs can be found for you to read over and over till your heart’s content, your minds numb and your fast asleep in your favourite chair.

So where’s your mental health at? Have you asked yourself lately or has someone asked you? Have you spoken to someone when you’re feeling a little off colour? Have you been to see your doctor? Chances are if you’re male you’ll have answered NO to a lot of these but you’ll have never have asked yourself why your first response was no and was always going to be no. History has played a massive part in why that answer was always going to be a NO. Today’s youth aside the generations gone by have been raised to be tough. Men are told not to cry, not to talk about their feelings.

It’s interesting that the #Metoo campaign gave women who were struggling a platform in which to voice their deepest, darkest moments, fears and concerns about what the male dominated world has done to them and yet as males we still sit back puffing on cigars, sipping whiskey, bottling up our problems while we watch the world go by. Ok that may have been a gross generalisation of how males operate in society but I know from personal experience it’s not too far from the truth.

Whether it be the suffering of a mental health issue or problems at home with a loved one, money troubles, problems at work etc, unless it’s discussing how your favourite sports team performed on the weekend, it’s not something you generally talk about with mates at the pub on the weekend or your office mates around the water cooler on a Monday morning. So what makes it easier for women to communicate in general? Wives across the world would stop nagging to be talked to if there husbands just opened up and talked about their feelings from time to time instead of drinking their worries and pains away down the pub with Tommo and Roachy while staring at the Dapto dogs on the bigscreen.

It has been said that women are more mature in general than men, I’m starting to believe in terms of emotional intelligence this is very true. Perhaps emotionally it’s easier for blokes to just throw up a wall and pretend nothing is wrong. One of the toughest men i will ever meet on this earth and was fortunate enough to be related to told me on his deathbed, the one thing he wished he could of done better was talk things out a little more with family and friends before it got to this point as he had a lot to say.

The more we sit back and let things evolve before intervening the more they spiral out of control and again for what our pride at saying we were tough in our darkest moments and battled through it? Sometimes you it’s more manly to stand up and say enough is enough and know that it’s ok to ask for help. Don’t let your demons, troubles and worries take on a mind of their own. Sometimes we just don’t know where to start but once you start and that weight like the world is on your shoulders, lifts and there is an instant relief.

What is the point of days like R U OK? Or having foundations like Beyond Blue who focus on mental health and that generally of men. Movember over the years have raised money for men’s health each year often focusing on mental health as an issue in which we, yes we being men have neglected all too often over the years and why? Well that’s simple all because a lot of us were brought up idolising tough men and being told that men don’t talk about their thoughts and or feelings. Particularly if you are going through a tough time.

Yes the fear and stigma are still there that people will think you are weird, but remember as a generality, people don’t understand what they don’t know or a willing to understand and learn about. It’s ok to talk and furthermore to seek advice and medical help from professionals. There is no reason to hide anymore, anxiety, depression and even just having a bad day are as common as a cold and something that we can talk about. No we should talk about. Whether that be with a family member, friend, stranger or a professional it’s only going to help you.

From this writer to men and women across the globe don’t let your pride or fear of being judged get in the way of having a conversation that could help you out and change you life for the better. As suffer of anxiety and depression there was a fear I would be judged by my friends and family, yet finally when I found my voice they were nothing but supportive and continue to be supportive.

As an advocate of men’s health, I can only say to you it’s OK, it’s OK to talk, it’s ok to speak out and find your voice. It’s OK to lean on your friends and family in times of need or doubt. We all need someone we can talk and that one conversation could go a long way to putting you on the path to recovery. Women and Men alike around the world could be in the same boat as you and you’d never know.

Ladies and gentlemen it is Ok to speak up and seek some help or just talk about what’s going on in your life. Who knows your loved ones might really appreciate you reaching out to them. Your friends certainly will that’s for sure. To my friends and family I appreciate that you were there for me and encouraged me to seek some help and continue to be there for me in my down days.

To you the readers, this medium helps me more than I let on. The ability to write and put my thoughts and feelings down allows me to manage and maintain my battle with anxiety and depression. So I thank you for the encouragement to continue to write each week and for taking the time out of your busy lives to read each post. To the fanatics (You know who you are) thanks for being faithful to blog and my writing, you make writing this each week all the more worthwhile.

Until next week, take it easy and remember there is always some we can talk to about whatever is going on in our lives.

What ever happened to the DJ?

Disclaimer – Like all my blogs the title has nothing to do with the content…

Not all writing is easy or comes naturally, I for one can safely say that I often struggle to put my thoughts down and articulate what I am thinking. This week at A Mind of its Own we went to the public for ideas of what our next installment should be. There were some great ideas put forward and the intellects over at Punisher23 Gaming didn’t disappoint with some politically charged suggestions that would require a great deal of investigatory work along with an unbiased opinion in order to give a voice to both sides. Unfortunately I had neither the time nor the unbiased opinion on some of their topics.

Some of the other suggestions were quite comical, while others were just downright crude, lude and too rude for a family friendly blog such as this. What we settled on at A Mind of Its Own was a topic that will take a lot of people outside their comfort zones in terms of what they believe. What is reality and what sits in the land of make believe. When I started A Mind of its own I did say that it literally could and would take on a mind of its own.

So where to start, well that’s a damn good question, I guess we need to start with the truth and how this writer went from ignorant and disbelieving because he didn’t understand nor did he want to understand to finally getting a insight into something I thought was total and utter bullshit to put it bluntly. Yoga, meditation, himalayan salts… To me it was all hippy crap. If i wanted any of that business I would be living in Nimbin smoking weed and having a great old time.

It’s no great secret I suffer anxiety and depression like so many others in the world. I battled with it for a long time before finally accepting it and seeking some help. It took me even longer to own it and talk about it with friends and family. Let’s face it despite social media and all the charities and organisations focussed on mental health and wellbeing we and I am referring to men here are still somewhat living in the past where it’s not ok to talk about your feelings or ask for some help. It is still perceived that doing so is weak and makes you less of a man.

Once I finally owned it and was able to speak up about it, I was also able to open myself up to trying new things. Yes I needed a little shove in the right direction from time to time and there is still a part of me that looks at things and questions the sanity in even trying them but the more I discover and learn the more I am open to trying new things when it comes to improving my mental health.

You could say that’s what lead me down the path of starting A Mind of its Own and writing this particular piece. Through trying new things I found that meditation allows me to process my thoughts, calming my mind allowing me to not have a torrent of thoughts bouncing around in my head like a pinball machine. It also lead me to explore consciousness and the effects mental health has on our conscious mind and our subconscious. Safe to say like Alice I went down the rabbit hole on this one. My discovery was some super cool scientist, who have a theory of everything and some explanations to questions I have been asking for years.

Everyday people are diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. These are just to name a few of the so called mental illnesses that have been diagnosed, documented and neglected in my opinion by western medicine over the years. By neglected I mean explained away as though there is something wrong with the person and the only way to treat it is through a lobotomy or drugs that make you so docile people question whether you are actually alive or part of the zombie apocalypse.

In the past we would throw anyone showing signs of mental illness into an asylum and allow the doctors to conduct atrocious experiments on them in what they would call “research” and development of ways to treat mental illness. It’s funny you say the words mental and illness together and watch the reactions on peoples faces around you. Like people with mental illnesses have a death sentence or some highly contagious disease.

Funny how a little ignorance and a lot of misunderstanding can go a long way to helping people form an opinion of those who suffer from Anxiety, Depression and various other mental illnesses. Funny thing this they are just like you and I, they have good days and bad days. Chances are there bad days a lot worse than yours though. People who suffer a mental illness have absolutely nothing wrong with them. In fact I’ll go as far to say that they feel more than your average Joe. They are in touch with the emotions where most people are not and are very intuitive.

As I said like Alice I went down the rabbit hole on this one, you can partly thank my wife and the other part is inquisitive nature. As a kid I would pull things apart to see how they worked. Mind you I could never get them back together and when I did it’s safe to say they weren’t in working order. Much to my mother’s frustration. I can’t pull apart my brain to see how it’s wired and I am not even close to being a neurosurgeon. That left me with one option, question everything, research the hell out of it and write it all down.

Now before this goes any further I am going to ask you to hear me out and reserve all judgement till the very end. Thanks to my father in law I came across a physicist named Tom Campbell. Now Tom just happened to write a book that peaked my interest well it was actually a three book series. The series being My Big T.O.E or My Big Theory of Everything. It was these books that started my exploration and want to understand more and more.

I mean the guy used to design missiles for a defence contractor and through meditation ended up writing a book about the physical and non-physical world and working with some of the world top minds to study consciousness why wouldn’t I continue to read on and try to understand his thoughts and theories on where this took take us.

So diving in like an olympic swimmer I started my exploration albeit rudimentary into the world of meditation, astral travel, higher levels of consciousness and looking after my overall mental health. I was like a machine i would exercise every morning, meditate and then head off to work where I would be productive for long hours at a time before coming home and reading more and more into the wonders of the conscious state before discussing with my wife. She was somewhat overjoyed at the fact that she’d started this whole thing and that I was actually interested in learning more about it rather than being an obnoxious arse who laughed every time she spoke about a topic that I thought was hocus pocus nonsense

How does this all relate to Mental Health issues I can hear you asking you yourself?, while others are asking why they’ve bothered to read this far into it, but are now thinking well I’ve come this far I may as well see what the crackpot has to say. Your interest is somewhat peaked though you have to admit. Where’s this all going?

Ok so let’s flip this all on its head… What if people with mental illnesses are the way they are because they are more in touch with their higher consciousness, higher being or whatever else you might like to call it. I’m talking about about our conscious self. Our connection to everything in our physical and non-physical world. There are those who believe we go on from one life to the next. That our conscious being transitions from one body to the next. Some people will call it religion although I have been told not to confuse spirituality or religion with our consciousness. You’ll note that throughout time in every major religion there has not been one female god. Has no one ever questioned that? Before we get side tracked let’s get back on track with our hypothetical about our conscious going from one body (vessel) to the next.

If this be the case, would it not be reasonable to then assume that people with Anxiety, Depression and other mental illnesses could just be more aware of this higher level of consciousness? Are they more connected with everything around them? It’s at this point that you (the reader) start thinking and questioning whether the guy that has written this is all there and whether he himself should be thrown in the looney bin. But just stop and think for a minute about all the times in your life where something has happened and you haven’t been able to explain.

I’ll be honest 5 years ago if someone had of said any of this to me and hinted that the reason I am so anxious all the time is because I am more in tune with the universe and feel everyone else’s pain and thoughts. Yeah I would of called Bullshit there and then. I still to this day question it but then I am reminded through little things that happen on a day to day basis, there are things that science can’t explain or in this case there are plenty of scientist that are working to explain it.

As an example, the other day I was sitting in my favourite chair and I was reminded of a dream I’d had a couple of months earlier. Now this dream was very vivid and I remember my mum and Gary (my step dad) being at my house. I remember what I was doing at the time and I remember the conversation we were having in my dream.

This is where it gets a little freaky… That dream became reality and we actually had that conversation the other day. Deja Vu! How do you explain it! What is it? Well if you talk to the crackpot scientist that are currently studying all this they’ll tell you that it’s a little thing called Astral travel or cross dimension travel. You haven’t gone forward in time to a future that is yet to exist, you are remembering an event from another dimension that is exactly the same as the one you are currently in.

Ok so reading this it does sound a little hokey pokey however if you allow yourself to think about it, this isn’t the first time consciousness has been introduced. Religion, Science Fiction and various other forms have touched on an ongoing consciousness or soul. Many a science fiction writer has written books or screenplays about transferring peoples conscious being from one body to another. Religions talk about coming back in the next life or being reborn.

So back to people who have mental health issues, what if they have already subconsciously tapped into a higher level of consciousness and what they are experiencing is not actually anxiety, depression of other mental health illness but an awakening of their being? What if they are able to bridge that gap between the physical and non-physical. What if they can understand the universe far better than most people on this earth. Some of the greatest minds on earth suffered mental illness throughout their lives.

To most philosophers the word consciousness connotes the relationship between the mind and the world. To writers of the the spiritual or religious realm it connotes the relationship between mind and god. Being that I am not religious and my thoughts on consciousness fall closer to the philosophers take I have to tend to agree that it is the relationship between the mind and everything around us.

There are two things that can be taken from this, are there actually higher levels of consciousness that allow us to understand and feel everything around us? And do those who suffer mental illness have an inside track to opening up those higher levels of consciousness?

I could continue writing and writing on this topic or anything really to do with mental health as I’ve taken it on my own shoulders to be a voice for those who can not or do not want to speak up but still feel empowered through others being able to stand up and say hey yeah I am a suffer! So what?

That being said if you get a chance to read it or prefer an audiobook Tom Campbell’s My Big T.O.E is available of Amazon and Audible. Or if you are a complete tight arse there is a PDF copy floating around somewhere that you can do google up yourself a copy.

Until next week enjoy the journey and hit us up on instagram!

The wonderful team at A Mind of its Own…