Leave the War with Me…

There is something to be said for finding your happy place particularly in times of need. Go to your happy place… It sounds like something out of an Adam Sandler film perhaps it was Happy Gilmore as he attempted to putt for the millionth time in order to get enough money to get his grandmother’s house back from the debt collectors but whatever it was he found a place in which he could be happy and himself. So what’s your happy place? Given it’s Christmas and it’s often a hard time of year for so many who are battling their own demons, we thought it appropriate we look at anxiety and depression and how to cope with them throughout the silly season.

Once again we’ve handed the reins over to the the creator of this here fine piece of media to discuss Anxiety and Depression through the holiday period. Knowing it’s a time of year when things start to become a little tiring, a little stressful and somewhat difficult to cope. We handed over the writing of this weeks blog to the Grumpy old man of the office after all it was the least we could do considering we didn’t get him a christmas gift. He has all sorts of coping mechanism for dealing with his anxiety and depression but his best and favourite outlet or his ‘Happy Place’ if you will is sitting right in front of a keyboard listening to the click, clack of keys as he taps out some writing from the original mind of its own. So without further adieu we hand over the keys to the kingdom to the man, the myth, the legend? (Insert questioning face emoji)…

It’s good to the see the team still have a sense of humour after I’ve banished them all to the naughty corner and told them coal is on the cards this christmas unless they get their acts together. It’s been a long year here at A Mind of Its Own, a long but enjoyable year. We’ve covered so many topics and continue to advocate that its ok to talk and more importantly it is more than ok not to be ok. The challenge comes in knowing it’s not weak to ask for help but takes more strength than most people realise. It’s at this time of year that I genuinely become drained both physically and emotionally. As people, we often don’t realise how much we give to others throughout the year. We support both friends and family in some cases so we don’t have to deal with what is going on in our own backyards and in other cases because it’s just what we’ve always done. We’ve always been that shoulder to lean on, that bag to punch, that friend that is always there when we need them.

We do it all without little regard for ourselves and our own physical and emotional wellbeing. Like most things though in life, we can only take so much before it all comes crashing down like a proverbial house of cards. For me it manifests itself in various ways but one in particular is sheer tiredness. I find myself sleeping more and more and feeling somewhat lethargic throughout the day. I struggle to keep my emotions in check and find myself leaning more and more on my coping mechanisms. The big one for me being my writing and spending my time my happy place. There is something cathartic about putting all my thoughts and feelings down on paper whether it be with a pen or taping them out in the virtual world. To me nothing beats that sound of the click, clack of keys as my thoughts appear on the screen before me.

Overtime I have learnt not to fear what I write and more importantly to share it. Whether that be with close friends and family or strangers through this blog. Having to get past the vulnerability and being scared of what and how people will perceive my writing has helped me to not only share my story but helped in my day to day struggles as I battle my own mind, thoughts and insecurities, as i get them out for the world to see. It took me a long time to be ok with letting people know I suffer from mental health issues, but now that I have I realise i am not alone and there are so many people around the world battling day to day like me. Spreading the message that its ok to talk and it’s ok not to be ok is something that didn’t come easy at first but now it’s second nature and hopefully by putting myself out there I am encouraging other who a struggling to speak up and seek some help or confide in a loved one or friend.

Having multiple projects on the go at once allows me to pick and choose depending on my mood, emotions and feelings which one I work on. It also allows me to plan for the future in terms of my writing. When things get really dire I find myself exercising a lot more and even meditating to keep myself balanced. Whilst the brain is a beautiful thing I find that mine can often be destructive and troublesome given the time to wander and analyse life way too much. The constant question of self and those around me becomes tiring and at some point once that fuse it lit and begins to burn out I know there will be an explosion. How it all comes to a head is anyone’s guess. It can be any emotion from anger to sadness or a mixture of them all that leaves me feeling ashamed.

Ashamed that whilst I have gotten better over the years, I still can’t master my emotions. Being reflective I know that I only have myself to blame. I’m the one that takes on too much, who tries to be there for everyone. Who carries the world upon my shoulders as though it is my duty to ensure everyone is ok. Without looking after the one person I rely on the most. ME. It’s a flaw that I own, that I know I can work on overtime. During this holiday period I urge everyone to make sure they take some time out to look after themselves. Self Care is so important and is often overlooked. I can honestly put my hand up and say that my own well being is always the least of my concerns. Finding excuses is not hard, there is always some doing it tougher than I am or going through something that requires immediate attention. Like I said finding an excuse to not have to deal with myself is always easy. Its doing the hard things we often shy away from.

It’s usually this time of year that things will bubble to the surface, those questions that have been haunting me all year, the self loathing, the feelings of being stuck in a dead-end job and the unreasonable insecurities that tend to rear their ugly heads as I have way too much time on my hands to think and over analyse. In years gone by I have busied myself with as much as possible, cramming my days full of things to do as a way of distracting myself from the thoughts brewing inside my head. Hence why for me in particular the holiday season is a good time for me to do a lot of self care and to get as many of my thoughts and feels down as possible. It’s a time in which I can utilise all the tools and techniques I have learnt over the years while I reset.

Whilst it is important particularly over the holidays to ask if people are ok and to be there for friends and family it is so important that you stop, take some time out for yourself and ask yourself if you are ok?. Do the things you need to recharge. Go get a massage, read a book, go to the beach, write, see a movie, go for walk, be active. Whatever it is that helps you find your happy place, a place where you can be you and have no worries. As Bobby McFerrin sang ‘Don’t worry be happy’. Some people will read this and say you are just bandaging over the problems and you are not getting to the root cause of the issues that are making you anxious or depressed, i am inclined to agree with them but I will also caution that, that is an ongoing journey and not something that is going to be fixed overnight like a pantene advertisement.

So this Christmas give yourself the gift of Self Care, you can still be there for everyone but it is important that you do look after yourself and not just those around you. Do the little things that make you happy and stick to your routines. If you gym every morning make sure you do that, if you meditate than do that, if like me you write, than write till your little heart’s content, whatever it is that makes you feel good do it. There is nothing selfish about looking after number one. After all how are you expected to look after everyone else if you can’t look after yourself. The little coping mechanisms you use to get through the days will be so important this holiday period as you will often find yourself with more time on your hands as businesses shut down for Christmas and New Year and without work as distraction for some of us that gives our minds plenty of time to wander.

One thing I often overlook is leaning on friends and family myself, whether it’s a pride thing and having to admit i need some help and can’t do it all on my own or whether its purely because I prefer to listen. I know this Christmas I will have to lean on those around me at some point. I will need my friends and family even if it’s just for an hour, a day or a week. I am only human and at some point I will fall into an emotional heap. There have been times in the past where my wife has found me on the shower floor in absolute tears because everything has become to much or my hands will make fists and hit a tree only for to realise that was stupid as it swells and requires ice. But without my friends and family to lean on it would be a battle that was constantly draining. The hardest thing again is realising its ok to vulnerable in front of them. You don’t have to be tough all the time and letting down that guard will often save you a lot pain and suffering on your own.

The holiday period is a time to catch up with friends and family but don’t feel obligated to do so. I am forever reminding myself that just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean I have to. There is nothing worse than dragging yourself along to something when the last thing you feel like doing is being around people and having to make small talk. You don’t have to make up excuses, don’t even need to explain why, what you do need to do is what’s best for you. If that means not attending something because you need time to yourself than take. All too often we feel we have to do things because it’s the right thing to do, the socially responsible thing to do. At the end of the day I say what’s best for you is the socially responsible thing to do, holidays are a time for doing what you want, with who you want. It’s nice to be invited places but that doesn’t mean you always have to say yes! It’s ok to say NO thank you.

If you take one thing from this blog today it is to look after yourself over this holiday period. Easier said than done, I know. I know better than most but I also know that without self care and those around me to lean on instead of everyone leaning on me I’d be a shell of emotions come the new year and questioning whether 2019 was just going to be a year of the same circles going round and round once again. Self Care does not mean you have to ignore everyone it just means looking after yourself and doing what you want and need to be the best version of you. You can still be there for friends and family you just need to put yourself first for a change. Look after you and you’ll be able to spare some emotional capacity for those who need and want your help.

For me everyday is R U Ok? Day, I will forever ask it and I will always be there to lend an ear or a shoulder for those in need. I also know that I need to look after myself in order to do that. Finding my happy place wasn’t easy but now that i know what it is i’ll always have an outlet or coping mechanism to help me through the bad days because there will be bad days. These days the good far outweigh the bad but it has taken a lot of work both mentally and physically to get to this point and the educating is far from over. There is still so much work to be done before I can truly say I am OK.

So from the main mind here at A Mind of Its Own, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remember it’s ok not to be ok and it’s certainly ok talk. You do you as they say and look after number one this festive season. That self care is of utmost importance during the silly season. Friends and family will be there for you, as you are for them. Lean on them if you need to, there is no shame in asking for some help. From the team and I until the next episode which by the way is another milestone edition! As the title say leave the war with me and I’ll continue to fight it… Peace out hombres…

When the Night Falls Quiet…

With the Christmas season in full swing we decided to head out to the coal mine and dig up some presents for all you naughty boys and girls! Welcome to the silly season! The time of the year where you let your hair down, enjoy a drink or two and from time to time make an absolute arse of yourself at the company Christmas party only to regret your actions the next day as your hangover kicks in, your re-flux system goes into overdrive and you start your full day of hugging the porcelain throne feeling sorry for yourself as you rid yourself of the previous evenings poison.

The seasoned veterans here at A Mind of Its Own have taken it upon themselves to put together a public service announcement outlining what not to do over the silly season no matter how good an idea it seems at the time. Call it our civic duty to our adoring fans or call it a much-needed look at the realities of christmas parties around the world. Whatever you do this silly season follow this advice and do not do what the clowns in these examples have previously done. It did not end well for any of the sampling of people we have used as examples.

Office Christmas parties, a time of year where you can celebrate and blow off some much-needed steam with your colleagues after what is often a hectic run up to the Christmas period. That does not excuse any of the following behaviour and nine times out of ten will land you in hot water with human resources or worse case in front of the boss receiving your marching orders effective immediately without that much need reference and let’s be honest christmas and the new year is not the time you want to be looking for a new job. Last thing you want to be doing is explaining to your wife, partner, housemates and or parents how and why you got fired. Merry Christmas to you here’s a Centrelink form happy dole bludging.

First things first, there is acceptable behavior, questionable behaviour and then there is the just don’t do at Christmas Parties. Whether the party be for your work or with family or friends. If you have to ask yourself if its ok then like the Christians ask themselves ‘What would Jesus Do?(WWJD)’ ask yourself ‘What would sober me do? (WWSMD)’. We’ve all seen the effect Alcohol can have on people. When we finally get to see some of our colleagues on the sauce whilst it might be absolutely hilarious at the time watching them make a fool of themselves just remember that could be you or once upon a time was you till you wised up and worked out work not to shit where you eat.

So this festive season take our advice and the advice of those that have gone before us. Please don’t do any of the following no matter how good it seems at the time! Remember WWSMD!

1.Drunkzilla…FREE Drinks! You beauty! Now before you go off blazing into the sun and making sure you get your fill of freebies remember to pace yourself. Generally the Christmas party goes for a couple of hours and then if you are cool enough you head out to a nightspot with those still up for a party. With a long night ahead it is important to ensure you are there at the end of it with your mates. Don’t be the bar fly that downs drink after drink in an effort to recoup all those hours of overtime you never got paid for or the salary increase you are well and truly overdue. Only to be stumbling into a taxi two hours after the party began. Enter Dave, Dave is a hard-working enthusiastic guy who does a lot of things for people around the office whether he has time or not without pushing back. When he can Dave likes to let his hair down and throw back a schooner or two with his colleagues. Come Christmas time Dave is often feeling a little unappreciated and disgruntled. Reluctantly he attends the Christmas party lured by the free beer on offer. Within the first hour Dave has had downed six beers and is well on his way to drunk-town population Dave. By the end of the Christmas party Dave has no idea who he is, where he is or what he is doing, his legs don’t work and drinks keep finding the floor… Don’t be a Dave!

2. The Hula Hypothesis… So some genius in marketing or HR decides you should have a themed Christmas party, because nothing says merry Christmas like watching your colleagues get dressed up in some theme that makes them feel good for a day. You’re thinking to yourself great a Christmas party with people I barely tolerate in some god awful theme! Can I just poke myself in the eyes now? Some of the classic themes are the ugly sweater as long as it doesn’t have reindeer mating its appropriate, Mexican as long as you don’t go full Mexican it’s appropriate, Australian and the often popular Hawaiian theme. Ladies and Gentleman when we say be theme appropriate ask yourself if your outfit is something you really want you colleagues to remember you in for years to come and would you wear it if you weren’t at work?. Enter Trent.. Trent is well-respected around the office but is known for having an opinion, voicing said opinion and pushing the boundaries where and when he can. Trent’s company like many others decided to have a Hawaiian themed Christmas party. Trent being Trent decided that if the women could get away with Grass skirts, leggings, boob toobs/crop tops and coconut bras then Trent could get away with a grass skirt and a G-String. Ok it’s sticking with the theme, points there for Trent, however, while Trent thinks he has a good body and in the eyes of some people he might. The issue here is that Trent was not really wearing any clothes and it wasn’t appropriate for the office christmas party. There were a few complaints to HR… Don’t be a Trent!

3. Bruce Banner and Gamma Rays… It is a well known fact that alcohol which is a drug by the way people, lowers a person’s inhibitions. Often we will see a side of someone we’ve never seen before. Once they’ve had a couple of the amber ales or brown burners. As a depressant it can make people a little more sensitive than usual and in some cases that sensitivity can lead to the Hulk making an appearance where he does not belong. No one likes an Angry drunk. Hulk or She Hulk drunk should stay at home or around friends who know how to handle him or her. Whatever you do stay away from the Rum! Nothing good ever came from it unless you were conceived after a big night on the Rumbos down the local tavern, but you might want to tell your folks they are being a little too open with you if you know that. Enter Bruce… Bruce is usually the happy-go-lucky guy around the office. After a few drinks though Bruce can become quite sensitive and take things to heart, he’s also not a fan of condescending people around the office who think they are better than everyone. At the Christmas party Bruce didn’t take to kindly to the way the CTO was speaking to him and those around him. Within seconds Bruce transformed into the Hulk and rather than using his fists to rearrange the CTO’s face Bruce threw water in his face which caused the CTO to fire up and almost lead to a fight. Bruce is now banned from attending the Christmas party this year. Don’t be a Bruce…

3. The Closet Creep… We’ve all seen it when we’ve been out at a pub or club, there is always that one sleazy predator that’s sniffing around the ladies looking seedy as all hell. When that guy comes to the christmas party however and starts hitting on Marcia from Accounting who’s just gone through a divorce or Sarah from Marketing who’s had a recent string of bad luck with the men. That’s when he should be asking WWSMD? Enter Matt from IT, normally a shy, introverted character who barely says boo to anyone in the office except for “Have you check to see if it’s plugged in and turn it on and off, Did that work?”. Midway through the first of many lip looseners Matt spots Wendy from the corner of his eye. He’s had his eye on Wendy for some time now but hasn’t had the guts to ask her out on a date. Always the nice guy, Matt would normally just say hello and scurry off back to his desk before she could get out a response. But not tonight! With some Dutch courage now coursing through his veins, he’s feeling invincible and like he can talk to anyone. He’s come out of his Shy closet and morphed into that touchy feely creeper that women look at shake their heads in disgust. After Wendy rebukes his advances he moves on to Claudette in Sales and so on the circle goes until Matt gets too drunk to stay out and is put in a cab and sent home. Come Monday morning he’s in HRs office feeling more than a little ashamed and looking down the barrel of the Sexual Harassment policy for inappropriately touching someones bum. Don’t be a Matt…

4. Opinionation Station…While you might have been waiting all year to get a chance to talk to the CEO, the christmas party is not the place to discuss those little tidbits with the head of the company no matter how many drinks they’ve had and how much courage you have to finally voice your opinion. Enter Sarah… Sarah is an up and comer with the company, she’s a head down, bum up make it happen kind of girl, her boss loves her and she inline for a promotion. She’s found the champagne and as the bubbles go to her head she spies the CEO milling with the rest of the executive leadership team. I a wolf separating a week calf from the herd she’s sliced her way in between all the bigwigs. Normally not one to voice her opinion unless it’s behind closed doors with trusted colleagues Sarah has decided now is her time to speak. Launching into a diatribe about her vision for where the company should be going and urging the CEO to grow a pair and take a risk every now and then. Rather than worrying about his own bonus as he does every year. People try to pull her away but she is not done yet spewing the truth from her mouth like diarrhea. Everything that anyone has wasn’t to say to the CEO has found a voice. Literally every bad thing someone has said is voiced in the form of Sarah, she’s tanking her career in what she feels is only benefiting her advancement. She’s talking to the head honcho and telling them what they need to hear. No Sarah the reason things are said behind closed doors are because the CEO doesn’t want to hear them and if they do the person voicing them tends not to be around for long after doing so. Don’t be a Sarah…

The team had literally a handful if not more examples of that person not to be at your Christmas party this year! After much deliberation and chuckling around what should and shouldn’t go in this weeks post we chose the above five examples of people who not to be this year. What we can say is have fun but as always ask yourself WWSMD in this situation. If sober you is just as much of pest as drunk you than as the saying goes… You do, you! Just remember when the night falls quiet there is going to be a lot of noise the next day around your behaviour. Keeping in mind, with every action there is a reaction. From the team at A Mind of Its Own, have fun and most of all be safe this silly season. Always have a plan B or designated driver. Until next time keep it real…

Staring at the Stars…

Why on earth would you even attempt to do that? A question that reverberated around the non-existent walls of A Mind of Its Owns writers pen. The team was doing a little research for this weeks post when we came across an article written for National Geographic regarding the death of an American. We know Americans die everyday, so what was so special about this one that it peaked our interest? Well it wasn’t the American so much but what he was doing and where he was doing it that lead to his untimely demise that caught our attention and lead to further investigation (Googling) by the team.

In a high speed, low drag world where literally everything can be connected it’s hard to imagine life without modern technology. There are those that are preparing for a Cyberdyne like fall of the world where the robots take over and we need to send the former governor of California back in time to protect or kill the future leader of the resistance depending on which movie you refer to. For those reading that are unfamiliar with the reference go and find a copy of the terminator movies and you’ll know what we are no about it here. Now back to the tracks we were chugging down so stead fast before that little detour.

A world without technology, no phone, no gps, no email, no social media! Heaven right! Well we know some of you are thinking it! We certainly are! There is no way the boss could harass us to prepare anything for a deadline if we can’t be found or contacted. But a place like this in modern society? Does it exist? Well to answer that question in one word… Yes but how you ask? Well in actually fact there are a couple of remaining remote tribes and by remote they are in places that a lot of people have failed to venture or have tried and failed. These tribes have populated these locations for 100’s of years if not more. They are so used to their surroundings they know every inch of the earth they walk. They also know when someone doesn’t belong, as the main protagonist of this blog soon found out.

Untouched for over 55,000 years North Sentinel island is where this little doozy of a story, albeith true takes place. Enter out protagonist Mr John Chau an American missionary who set out to introduce Christianity to the earth’s most stone age tribe. Its at this point we’ll point out that At A Mind of Its Own holds no religious beliefs nor do we condone the killing or persecution of any religious beliefs either. We are stating facts and the views portrayed in this blog are ours and ours only. We do not wish or mean any offence that people may read into throughout this blog.

So Mr Chau set out to help push our stone age friends towards the faith and words of the lord jesus our saviour in the eyes of so many around the world. Hiring some local fishing talent from the nearby Andaman & Nicobar Islands they dropped him into the shallows of North Sentinel Island, watched him wade ashore before he was cut down in his prime by a shower of arrows. Yes ladies and gentle arrows and not those fired by today’s latest and greatest composite bows hunters use. We a talking about made from wood and bird feathers fired from a branch of a tree that has been turned into a bow. Wearing little more than a loincloth Mr Chau’s would be murderers stalked there way from the island jungle onto the beach and arrowed him down in cold blood.

A lot of you at this point are thinking that it is quite a barbaric act cutting someone down in their prime for wanting to spread the word of christ, however it is no different to someone gunning down a would be robber breaking into your house. May just seem a little more barbaric due the ancient weaponry involved. It is after all trespassing on someone’s land. This certain someone just happened to be a tribe who have remained untouched by the modern world for centuries. Largely undocumented mainly due to their aggression and disdain for outsiders. Over the years many have tried to document the tribe and bring them into the modern world through dropping toys and random gifts on the shores. Sadly Mr Chau isn’t the only person who has bought the farm trying to make contact with this tribe.

So who are the Sentinelese and where did they originate from? Thought to be over 30,000 years old the tribe that occupies North Sentinel Island has remained largely untouched. Know for there aggression to the outside world it is not a surprise that Mr Chau’s death is yet another in a string of deaths of outsiders venturing to the island in attempts to make contact with this remote tribe. While Mr Chau’s death is a tragedy it does raise a lot of questions as to how and why he thought he would be so different from those that have gone before him? The Islands inhabitants are notorious for firing on fisherman who venture too close and have been known to have killed explorers and adventurers in the past.

The biggest question it raises is why do we continually feel we need to change what is different. This tribe has survived for thousands of years without western medicine, believes, society and influences. Over the years we have tried to change that and it’s only through the tribes continued aggression towards the outside world that they have managed to fight off the advancements of the western world. There is nothing to prove we would be doing them a favour by introducing technology, religion and so forth. In fact we are more likely to bring disease and death with us, things this remote tribe have managed to avoid over the years due to the remoteness of the island and once again their hostility to the outside world.

We take our hat off to the tribe for not being more curious and wondering what else is out there, the elders if they operate in that sort of system have done a great job in continuing the traditions handed down through the generations and ensuring the ways of the island continue as they have since the tribe arrived there. Whenever that was, where ever it was from. Thought to have originated somewhere in Africa after all it does sit as part of the cradle of civilisation, the tribe which no doubt has seafaring knowledge, we are taking a guess here but just looking at a map would tell you they didn’t just fall from the sky and land in the middle of the indian ocean on a remote island.

In the mind’s eye or the eyes of A Mind of its Own we feel they should be left to go about things the way they have always done. It is not a right that we change how people live. They have survived this long without us and will continue to survive without us. So let’s not influence something that has flourished for generations because it is our incessant need to improve or change that which we don’t understand. Whilst Mr Chau’s vision of spreading christianity was a noble cause he believed in, religion is said to be responsible for a lot of wars in fact the war on terror has become a religious war based on a few bad eggs who have extremist views of a book written centuries ago.

Who’s to say what is write or wrong, nations were founded on invaders coming in and taking over lands but look how that’s worked out for all of us. It is in our opinion that being humans we are often curious. Great discoveries have been founded by inquisition and many of our great minds wanting to understand the who, what, where and why of it all. That still doesn’t give us a right to change things for others. Sure if asked for helped then yes it would be ok but when outward aggression is shown, march yourself back down the beach and swim for that boat you got off and leave the natives alone. While some readers may agree, others won’t and that is ok. Opinions are opinions and everyone is entitled to them as long as you don’t try and push them on others. Open debate and discussion are fine but as soon as you start to push something on people its a step too far in our eyes.

Staring at the stars we think you’ve got our view on the subject. We feel it’s not ok to change and influence the Sentinelese but as we just said that’s our opinion. We don’t condone murder but perhaps a little more research and thought from Mr Chau may see him alive today. The Indian government have been urged not to try and retrieve his body which we kind of agree with. The likelihood of others getting injured or killed is exteremly high. The Sentinelese being gunned down an unable to repel modern military is also high. Whatever there secrets are theres and theirs alone. We need to respect that and leave them to continue as they are. Unspoilt and untouched by modern society.

Enough said from the team here, if you are interested in hearing more about the Sentinelese head on over to our good friends at google and use your noggins. There is little known about them but what is know is interesting and looking at all those who have tried to understand more about them is also quite a little adventure if you’re looking for something to kill time with rather than playing candy crush. Till next time, why don’t you be you and we’ll be us and everyone can be happy. From the team here at the world’s premium blogspot, welcome to the last month of the year! Thank heavens we need a holiday from real!

Motorcycle Driveby…

Are there such things as curses? Can they relate to just one area of your life? How do you get rid of them? We are about to take you on a deep dive into the world of curses and how to rid yourself of the voodoo that plagues your life. With A Mind of Its Own the head honcho is once again travelling with the job that keeps the lights on here where, we were left to laugh at his unfortunate string of bad luck when it comes to flying across this sun kissed land. In the space of the last month he has been travelling 3 out of 4 weeks and each of those weeks has met with its own challenges when it comes to the wonderful world of corporate travel. Whilst some of this stories have entertained you in previous post it did make us ask the question of when it comes to travel is the man cursed?

What even is curse and how would one become cursed? Does it start with someone placing it on you in some weird lights off, candles on with a hood over your head while chanting something indecipherable into a mirror or does it start from you doing something bad and you just become cursed as a punishment for your misdeed? Or is it something that’s passed down from generation to generation until it’s broken by completing some heroic quest in which you have to go through heralding trials testing your every fibre of your being? Whatever the answer is we’ve decided that there are those that are just naturally lucky and those who are somewhat unlucky bordering on cursed or just downright cursed altogether.

Back in the day, way before Charlie was in the trees and this would have been chiselled out on a stone tablet or written in squid ink on parchment people were cursed by the local witch doctor, sorcerer or dark magic/black magic mage. In times of battle they would often curse whole armies who would perish in strange weird events that were unexplainable yet now could be put down to biological warfare. But how do you explain events that continue to happen to people that everyone would put down to bad luck? Is it the universe trying to tell you something or is just bad luck and should be taken as things happen. Is it a test of one’s patience? There are a lot of questions that as we attempt to answer them just continue to raise more and more questions.

Like a gambler at a blackjack table blaming his turn in luck on the changing of dealers or an athlete wearing the same piece of clothing or a soldier carrying a talisman to ward off evil spirits we donned our protective wear and headed to the streets to ask your day to day average joe there thoughts on curses and how to get and how to get rid of them. Safe to say there was some strange yet entertaining answers that allowed us to build and develop out a hypothesis all of our own while allowing the wonderful people of the Nation’s capital and then the plastic fantastics on the Gold Coast.

Much to the amusement of the team we collated responses and began our scientific approach to answering the questions raised earlier. In order to do this we smashed a few mirrors, walked under ladders, opened umbrellas inside and there was a thing with a black cat (No animals were harmed in the making of this blog!) anything that was supposedly going to bring us the curse of bad luck for all eternity we tried. So if all of a sudden half the team disappear can someone in the writing community please continue the blog in our honor?

As the days ticked by we documented anything out of the ordinary that happened that may have seemed like bad luck this included giving away our pay to the a long lost uncle we’d never heard of and the Nigerian prince that contacted us via email needing help desperately to flee persecution. After a long week of trying to nail down whether anyone in the team had managed to be obtain, catch and or get a curse through any means possible it was decided that while this was all become increasingly time wasting activity that if we had picked up a curse it may not manifest itself in the ways we were thinking.

Changing tacks we thought we could ask someone if we were cursed. Siri said she had no idea what we were talking about, Google gave us a list of psychics in our area and Alexa just wanted to recommend we upgrade our kindle and home entertainment systems. With Google throwing out the best online we decided that maybe we should ask one of Australia’s many, many psychics who were more than happy to take our money and stare into their crystal ball only to give us vague answers to our questions. We’d almost get the same response from a magic 8 ball brought from the local toy shop.

Another dead end, another rabbit hole, so we tried tarot cards. Apparently the dogs are having Puppies and there is going to be some big changes in the future. The first one is highly unlikely without balls unless the vet did a bad job on both the boys and one of them is secretly a little girl puppy. The second one we could of told you without having to shuffle a deck of oversized picture cards. With a decision made it was off to the local witch doctor as one final roll of the dice to find out if we were truly cursed and if we were how we could rid ourselves.

Piling into the Tarago family van and cruising down the M1 towards Australia’s A listers holiday spot of choice we turned off way before Byron Bay inland towards Australia’s home of the best brownies and cookies, no not those brownies or cookies we made our way towards Mullumbimby where Rita a retired veterinarian from the Ukraine resides. Rita who asked not to be identified by her real name for personal reasons she later shared after a few too many vodkas. A master of the dark arts she took a sample of our saliva, some hair and a drop of blood before going into a dark back room and clanging around for a very long time before returning with a tree root and telling us to naw on it and demanding payment for wasting her time.

As it turns out we aren’t cursed and the boss certainly does have bad luck that can be attributed to one thing and one thing only. Climate change ok there are two things resource management and management of personal at Australia’s airlines. So two things, climate change and Trump will tell you it doesn’t exist and Airlines. They are the sole reasons he’s had a bad run of late. Dust storms, storms, high winds and the use of technology have all had a part to play in ensuring he is delayed, stuck or being put on other modes of of transportation like John Candy in Planes, trains and automobiles.

Ok so we didn’t dive as deep as some people may have liked but if we did that you’d be bored after the first paragraph and wanting to go and read another blog about travel, fashion, fitness or parenting and we just can’t have that! We need our loyal fans and supporters to continue reading what is no doubt twisted take on topics your typical teenager wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole unless it has something marketable in it they can spruik to their adoring fans. None of that here we don’t have any sponsors to bore you with.

People are either lucky or unlucky and people around the world have superstitions whether they are curses or something else often there are things that just need to go into the unexplained basket and left there till someone finally solves the problem takes out the laundry and puts it on spin cycle before regurgitating to the public in a model they are comfortable with. So from the team we wish you all a happy week and an even better weekend. Until next time chase those rainbows you might find your pot of gold at the end or at least a cranky little Irishman…

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

All Excess…

Firstly before you go down this rabbit hole we’ll give you one of those disclaimers that the physicians should have given you if they already haven’t. Reader discretion is advised this blog contains arguments for and against a topic that will no doubt cause fights in households around the nation between couples. With that said it’s on to this weeks blog…

After a week in hiatus we are back baby, bigger than ever, the team took some time out to unwind, sit back relax and let the good times belly flop in the shallow end of the piss filled kiddie pool. But now we are once again feeling refreshed and ready to tackle some of the more taboo topics of the year. We decided to listen into the heated debates raging around the water coolers of the nation and take a crack at once and for all settling them with some clear and concise answers from Wikipedia.

Just kidding we’ll try our best to get some solid, factual answers and if all else fails we’ll post a link or two from google allowing you to make up your own damn minds. So with that being said the team decided they’d launch right in this week and tackle one of the most heated debates to the face the nation, no the world and possibly the entire universe. Folding versus scrunching, which one is better for your bum and the economy? Well actually they decided that could be a topic for another day and this week we’d tackle whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate that is the question!

It’s a question that many parents ask themselves each year, whether you are expecting your first or it’s time to give little Sarah or Johnny another sibling. Do you take the plunge into the unknown and get your kid the jab? What’s in the jab? And how have vaccines changed in the last 20 years? Well the team will do their utmost best to give you the answers from both sides of the story. The facts can speak for themselves and as always you, the public can decide whether or not vaccination is good or whether it is the evil brainchild of the big pharmaceuticals that conspiracy theorists make it out to be. We will try to be unbiased in our approach however we can’t make any promises.

Ok so like any good debate it needs to start with a single question and we can only guess the question that is asked the majority of the time would be whether to vaccinate or not? So where to start, well the first place to start is with yourself. Were you vaccinated? Did you turn out ok? Aside from the little things you do that annoy your husband or wife, those are traits and we don’t believe they’ve created a vaccine against them as of yet. Although Netflix is a strong candidate. So what are the benefits if any of being vaccinated?

According to the Australian Governments Department of Health website the single greatest benefit of vaccines is that it works with the body’s immune system to become stronger allowing you to fight bacteria and viruses quicker. Ok so that seems like a no brainer, why wouldn’t you want to get vaccinated after hearing that? Some of the other benefits of immunisation are that you protect and pass on a natural immunity to newborns and make it easier to control diseases in the community. Those are the main benefits so why are the anti-vaxxers so against creating immunity against diseases that the human body has struggled to fight for centuries.

Vaccination has eradicated smallpox and is well on the way to wiping the polio virus off the map throughout the world. Other diseases such as measles are also on the eradication map with vaccinations now preventing over 60% of deaths from the disease. Vaccines have brought a total of seven diseases under some degree of control. Smallpox (Eradicated), Diphtheria, Tetanus, Yellow Fever, Whooping Cough, Polio and Measles. These facts and figures came from the UNICEF website after a quick google search on ‘what diseases have been eradicated through vaccination’. You wanted facts and we’ve given you a small dose of what’s to come. Pun intended!

Vaccination has been heralded as one of mankind’s greatest inventions. The ability to help the body develop an immunity and stave off infections has become invaluable. Through vaccination the world has managed to protect people of all ages against diseases that would have previously decimated the population. With all the good that vaccines do, why are there so many people now turning against vaccinations in general. The anti-vaccine movement and it’s followers known as anti-vaxxers are heavily opposed to vaccinations and believe to have linked vaccines to increases in autism around the world as well as SIDs, paralysation, decreased brain function and worst case scenario death. According to medical journals this has now been debunked along with a lot of other theories that have been put forward.

We promised we’d give you both sides of the coin, so to the other side of the coin we go, to look at things from the anti-vaxxer point of view. All parents whether they are for or against vaccination only want the best of their children. So it is understandable when you begin to hear and read the anti-vaxxers side of the story as to why they are not in favour of vaccination. There are hundreds of stories of children who have had either passed away or had adverse reactions after being vaccinated.

So what are the concerns or arguments that the anti-vaccination movement brings to the table? The arguments against vaccination have changed very little over time. Many of the arguments focus on a growing distrust in medical science advancing the notion that vaccines are unavoidably dangerous because a nebulous of toxins are being introduced into the body via vaccination. Through our research we did find that small amounts of aluminium is present in vaccinations acting as an Adjuvant (Adjuvants help strengthen the immune system’s response to the antigens in vaccines. In some cases this means fewer needles are needed for a child to be fully protected against a disease.) however the amount per vaccination is less than a baby would receive through breastfeeding in a period of 6 months.

There is also the argument that children are purposely ‘Poisoned’ through vaccines because it benefits the bottom line of Big Pharmaceuticals and the physicians they work with. Other arguments stem from the claim that vaccines overwhelm the immune system and that natural immunity is better than immunity introduced by vaccines. The list goes on for arguments against vaccination. Several papers have been written linking vaccination to autism and as previously stated worst case death.

So to vaccinate or not to vaccinate that is the question, but it is a question that should only be answered by you and your significant other. Before making your decision you should ask as many questions as you can, research as much as you can so you are as informed as possible to make your decision. We are living in a world where we have information available to us at the push of a button. Vaccination is one of the most researched medicines around the globe, more and more studies are done each year on the ongoing effects and the effects of current vaccinations.

From the team at A Mind of Its Own, whatever your decision we salute you and support you but remember it’s your choice and your choice alone. Until next week we hope we’ve cracked the lid on another topic that causes waves.

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.

The Dog Days are Over…

Sorry just let me stop chewing on my bone for a second and let my paws dance across the keyboard once again in what will be the second post of my illustrious career with A Mind of Its Own. And what a career it’s been so far! I’ve been undercover on the Gold Coast in order for us to write ‘Our lawyer made us change the name of this song’ and given you an expose on my life as a Border Collie in ‘Every dog has its day’ and I am now following it up with the aptly titled The Dog Days are Over…

That’s right it’s me again the pup with the power to melt your minds. Call me Socks the wonder dog. Boy or Buddy which has been thrown around way to much lately making me start to question whether my name is Socks or Buddy. Where do I begin? It’s been a troubling couple of weeks in which my family keep reminding me that sleep doesn’t come easy and my dreams are somewhat troubled. The man of the house or human as I prefer to call him as I still have plans on taking the mantle from him, is questioning whether he should take me to see the psychiatrist or not. His google search history is interesting enough when he’s not googling “Can dogs get PTSD?”. So to once again give you an insight into my life the Googling started last weekend after an event on the local beach. It wasn’t the first time an incident had occurred along this pristine part of coastline but this one really shook me up.

Let me paint the picture for you! There I was minding my own business cruising down the beach as i do whenever the humans let me free from the leash they are so fond of keeping me on while we are out of the house. I was chomping away at the waves and chasing the stick that somehow kept flying through the air behind me. I said hi to a few of my people and stopped off for a couple of games of chase. All in all I was having a really nice morning with my humans on one of my favourite beaches. Being in a playful mood I thought I’d leave them a nice present to clean up knowing they had once again forgotten to bring along poo bags and would be forced to shamefully bury it or scoop it up with their coffee cups.

As i watched my humans stoop over in shame and begin to dig a hole in which to bury my doings deep within the earth, a wicked grin stretching across my face I notice a good looking Maltese heading my way further down the beach. She was a little older but still an attractive girl. Readying myself I got down on all fours and waited for her to come closer and closer to see if there was any interest in this young pup. Her owners seemed like a nice couple, they looked well travelled and like people who had made the most of their lives to date. No doubt they had a few grandchildren and possibly even great grandchildren. But that’s got nothing to do with the story whatsoever.

So there I am waiting to see if she’ll let me sniff her butt when out of nowhere I hear and feel the thump, thump, thump of sand behind me. Glancing over my shoulder I see a blur heading straight for me like a bullet from a gun. Like the bus company that transports people around Australia and with the same amount of force, a young greyhound slammed into me. Sorry for the swearing but if humans could understand the varying pitches of my bark what they would have got is “Oh fuck!”. I immediately went to into flight or fight mode. Little good it did me as I rolled on my back trying to play dead. Wanting to take flight I freaked out at this rather rough attempt to play and cried out for my humans to help me!

I’m all for rough housing and god knows my brother Banjo cops it from me when we catch up but this was next level. My eyes darted around for his humans, nowhere to be seen. As he flipped me around and continued his frenzied attempts to play, I scurried off to use my humans as a shield. In his moment of delight pinning me to the ground, my new unwanted friend saw my potential girlfriend approaching. All of a sudden the weight pinning me against the cool sand was gone. I was on my feet again, forcing air back into my lungs as quick as I could.

A bark of warning escaped my mouth as I watched it all unfold before me in slow motion. My tormentor had now become hers as he chased her closer and closer towards the waters edge. Looking on in fright I watched as she backed further and further into the water. Waves crashed down around her at times looking like they were swallowing her whole. Humans ran in from all directions. I saw my human crash through the waves thinking he was David Hasselhoff coming to the rescue of some big boob blonde on Baywatch.

Getting a hold of the Greyhound in what became a wrestle, he held on tight like a bull rider in a rodeo as the Greyhound continued his attempts to play with the petrified Maltese. A group of onlookers had now gathered at the shoreline as the poor old lady waded into the knee high water and pulled my frightened, soaked, friend to safety and hugged her in great relief that she was ok. Scared but ok. Ambling down the beach like he had all the time in the world came a little angry man who despite my human’s attempts to be nice and de-escalate the situation was quite rude and asked and I quote “Does no one on this beach have a fucking brain?” again sorry for the swearing but it was a direct quote and couldn’t be avoided.

Much to the shock of everyone now standing around the arrogant, angry, little man didn’t apologise to the elderly couple or anyone else who’s dogs had been terrorised by his playful Greyhound that should have been on a leash as he couldn’t be controlled through simple voice or whistle commands. Storming off back down the beach I let another little bark fly at his back, that I won’t translate for you as I shouldn’t know that language at my age. I ran over and licked my human to make sure he was ok. Still horrified by my first encounter with an over zealous potential friend I sat there accepting pats and giving my humans the occasional lick to let them know they were loved.

I still see the fear in her eyes as she ran attempted to get away from the Greyhound, my fear paralysing me and my dreams haunted by big dogs chasing me. I yelp out little barks in my sleep that are no longer cute and more concerning to my human who is obsessed with finding a solution to all problems on Google. I think they’ve brainwashed him that they can do anything almost like Elon Musk has convinced himself that he’s not an arrogant dreamer who thinks he’s better than everyone else.

So humans be warned! If you fall into either category below I suggest you stay off my beach! If you are an angry human that doesn’t understand why people are getting upset when your dog is over playful and rough with other dogs and thereby terrorising them or a runner who gets angry when we (Dogs) chase after you pretty please stay away from the part of the beach where we are allowed to roam free without a leash to do our own thing! You humans have a whole coastline where you can do your thing. We dogs are given a tiny bit of space on the beach where we can be off the leash to run and play with each other.

We don’t set out to cause harm or annoy you, we are simply just living up to being man or woman’s best friend. Wanting to be around you and play is what we do. We are your constant, most loyal companions so please look after us. So from me I’ll say thanks to all the responsible humans who look after us. Enjoy your week and be kind to the beach and your four legged friends. From the team at a mind of its own, go with peace and thanks for reading yet another installment of the best blog on the Northern Beaches!

20 Dollar Nose Bleed…

Well, well, well we meet again my old friends. It’s a new week and the chance for you to once again bask in the brilliant stylings of a Mind of Its Own. This week we threw out to our fans and just like the writers at this here blog none of their suggestions were remotely serious. Expect perhaps this writers wife who wanted a piece all about herself. Instead I’m proposing she lends us one of her blogs and we’ll post it on our amazing platform? Or she can come and write a silly piece for us.

As for the other suggestions our view is simply this. We agree you shouldn’t have to pay for cheese on a kebab particularly after 1am. Fatboy Slim is the best DJ ever! Purple cucumbers or eggplant as its better known is the tastiest vegetable and public figures! Perhaps we’ll leave that to the Healing Well Co to cover. It seems like a topic they are quite passionate about it. But in public figures defence, they are figures and the are a part of the public. So I guess in some ways we are all public figures???.

So despite all the amazing suggestions we decided to go with something that crashed into us like a stereotypical Asian driver. For a country surrounded by the sea we don’t often take the time to look at beaches as anything more than a place for us to get bronzed bodies, hang ten and cool off especially in summer. Have you ever taken the time to stop and think about how you feel after you’ve taken a dip in the salty seas or are behind the wheel on your way home after a day at the beach?. So the question we thought we’d try to answer this week was whether the ocean actually has healing abilities or is it just a placebo effect?

From a scientific standpoint or medical opinion we’ve been told by (Google, Wikipedia and various other reliable sources) the internet that the ocean can we a double-edged sword when it comes to dunking yourself with open wounds. Whilst the sea is rich in mineral salts such as iodine and sodium therefore making it a natural antiseptic you do run the risk of picking up a bacterial infections. That being said we have discovered that there are similarities between seawater and human plasma the only difference being humans have one extra molecule of iron and seawater has an extra molecule of magnesium other than that it is a staggering 98% identical.

Besides being somewhat good at helping to heal wounds are there other qualities this readily abundant source of magic has? And why do we not listen to our ancestors and naturopaths who have been spruiking the oceans qualities for years like that guy in the cheap suit out the front of a Goldmark or Prouds at sale time? The Egyptians (ancient) not the modern-day guys and girls, the Greeks again ancient, the Romans all recommended the use of sea water in hot baths as a way of healing the mind, body and soul for centuries.

In fact according to several sources it was Hippocrates who first used the word Thalassotherapy (from the Greek word ‘thalassa’ meaning sea). What is that you ask? Thalassotherapy is a therapeutic use of the seawater, its climate, and marine products like algae, seaweed, and alluvial mud used in the healing of the body. So if it’s good enough for some of the great philosophers of the ancient world why do we not utilise its great gifts more often. Approximately 70% of the earth is covered by oceans/water around 60% of the human body is make up of water coincidence? We here at a mind of its own tend to think not.

We picked out 4 key areas in which being in the ocean or around the ocean can improve your overall well-being. With that being said once you read through this there is a bigger picture to look at and once again we urge you all to look after our oceans and its inhabitants. There is no point A Mind of Its Own telling you about all these great properties if all we continue to do is pollute it and damage it for the generations to come. As is often said around the office… Do the right thing! Be a man! Or woman!

The Oceans Effects on our Immune System…

Seawater or the ocean as we prefer to call it contains vital elements, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids and living microorganisms that can produce antibiotic and antibacterial effects to help promote a healthy immune system. Relating back to our earlier comment about plasma and seawater sharing similar properties, components of seawater, are easily absorbed and utilised by the human body while swimming. If you want to take up smoking we recommend sea mist as it is filled with negatively charged ions, or molecules that attach to your lungs which also boosts your immune system. According to several naturopathic doctors in addition to being good for your lungs swimming in the ocean opens pores in the skin allowing greater absorption of sea minerals and the expulsion of disease-causing toxins from the body.

Blood flow or Circulation for those more focused on the medial side…

Swimming in the ocean reportedly may help facilitate the circulation of blood in the human body, surprisingly we didn’t find anything about it helping out our four-legged friends. Now for those playing along at home your circulatory system which is made up of the heart, capillaries, arteries and veins in case you didn’t know. Carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart around your body, then returns blood to your heart again. The main purpose of thalassotherapy, or seawater therapy if you prefer to make it easy, is to increase blood circulation. Swimming or bathing in warm seawater has been proven to improve circulation by restoring essential minerals depleted by stress, a poor diet and environmental poisons.

Why pay for all those expensive body scrubs and cleansers when you can by Sea Salt at the supermarket …

Magnesium in seawater may help to hydrate and improve the appearance of your skin. According to a study in the February 2005 edition of the “International Journal of Dermatology,” bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution helps promote skin moisture. People with atopic dry skin, or dryness on the skin’s surface, submerged one forearm for 15 minutes in a bath solution containing 5 percent Dead Sea salt and the other forearm in regular tap water. Researchers discovered that the salt solution improved skin hydration and significantly reduced skin inflammation symptoms such as redness and roughness when compared to tap water. Observed skin benefits were attributed to the high magnesium content of the Dead Sea salt. So why not just go for a swim everyday if you can. If you can’t buy up the dead sea!. I’m not sure table salt will work the same but we did a little research and Epsom salts or Himalayan rock salts are the next best thing to Dead Sea salt.

The Mind and body overall…

As we previously stated the ocean has been used by many for generations to improve overall health and well-being. Swimming in the ocean activates the body’s healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as common aches and pains. Magnesium-rich seawater purportedly can also relax your muscles, reduce stress and help induce sleep. Magnesium is known depress nerves to relieve nervous irritability for an increased sense of calmness. So more on our mental state you ask? Oceans can bring a mental shift in the way we perceive our lives, teaching us about calmness, depth, intensity, harmony and open-mindedness.

Even walking on the bare foot on the sand is said to neutralise the impact of free radicals in our bodies as sand contains minerals required by humans on a daily basis. So perhaps those trips to the beach you keep putting of as you don’t want sand in the car or the kids are too much of a hassle to pack up in the car to get there should become a thing of the past. The ocean is amazing in more ways than one. The fact that this powerful beast has a soft sensitive side to it shows the symbiosis of nature.

Here at A Mind of Its Own we are sold that the Ocean is more than just a place for sports, tanning and source of food. The more time we spend on the shores and the seas surrounding this great land the more we are convinced that the ocean can heal anything alongside other methods and practices. So to answer the question of actual curing abilities or placebo effect? You be the judge, take the time and head to the beach. Until next time we’ll leave you with a little quote from our dear friend Plato. “The sea cures all ailments of man.” – Plato.