Look For The Good…

From time to time we like to hand over the keys to the kingdom to the big man, the top dog, the brains and beauty behind this here blog. The man that had an idea, an idea to ensure that all topics are covered, no matter how much they make us cringe. He didn’t want A Mind of Its Own to be just another travel blog or a blog that focused on the same topic week in week out. In fact the idea as outlined and detailed in previous posts was to spark interest and get people talking. No topic is safe or off limits and we’ll always try to give you an unbiased view, with both sides of the story portrayed so you can make your own decisions about things. When we do hand over the keys to the big man however you can be sure that he’ll give you a piece of this mind, body and soul about a topic that is close to his heart. So without further ado we’ll hand over the mic and crack into this week’s A Mind of It’s Own.

Have you ever looked into the mirror and told yourself this will get better, this too shall pass, you are not your depression and anxiety. These feelings do not define who you are! If, like me, you have experienced anxiety and depression on a daily basis, you will know that the empty husk of a human that is staring back at you often feels like a stranger. For many this is a constant battle faced day in, day out. I’d love to sit here and type out a blog about sunshine and rainbows but the fact of the matter is that we all have good days and bad days. The truth is that some people just have better days than most. It doesn’t mean their lives are better than yours or mine, they just may have never had to cope with the internal battle with themselves, the thoughts, feelings and often the numbness that comes along with battling mental health issues.

I cried this morning (The morning this was written, probably two weeks or so before you get to read this), for the first time in ages I shed a tear about what I thought at the time was nothing. I got angry at myself for crying, for allowing myself this moment of weakness after being strong for so long. I stood in front of the mirror preparing for another day on this beautiful earth, just like I do most days. Routine has become key to keep me from spiralling into that dark pit of negativity that crops up from time to time. There was no reason for the tears other than I was feeling overwhelmed. It was an overload of thoughts and feelings that caused me to shed a tear or two. Or perhaps it was the song playing in the background and the memories of a former friend and happier times. Perhaps it was a combination of it all but for now it’ll remain unexplored until I next see my psychologist.

Yes my psychologist. Why do I see a psychologist well that’s plain and simple, I needed help and still need help. I am a person who feels deeply but isn’t great at managing my feelings when I’m overloaded by them. I’d like to think I am empathetic to everyone but perhaps I am not. Perhaps I feel more than most people but one thing I know I do is take on everyone else’s problems. I often ponder why it is that I take on others pain, problems and play Bob the builder trying to fix things. Although unlike Bob the builder I often can’t fix things in other people’s lives and realise later on that they needed to do it themselves. Despite the fact I like knowing my friends and family are ok and everything is going smoothly. The truth is, it’s more likely that I take on the problems of others so that I don’t have to fix the things in my life that aren’t going well or are getting me down.

From here my thoughts flick to other people once again. Having been cooped up and having to work from home I’ve begun to wonder what effects COVID has had on others who like me suffer from anxiety and depression. Or perhaps not even those who battle mental health issues daily but rather those less fortunate than me who have sadly been affected by the changes brought about by COVID, those who have lost their jobs and in some cases their sense of being. It’s no secret that mental health in Australia and around the world is a major concern during uncertain times. That little bit I said about routine above, well I am not alone in needing routine to keep me grounded and level. A lot of people who suffer from anxiety and depression function so much better when they have a constant routine. We struggle when things throw our routine out of whack, and COVID has done just that. It has limited our interaction with others, taken away jobs, our day to day routines and morphed it into something often unrecognisable.

The indescribable feelings, thoughts and pressure heaped on those who have lost jobs, lost the ability to provide for their families and in some cases lost who they are altogether has led to an increase in suicides across the country. It’s a sad point to get to when you feel that you have no other options other than to take your own life. It’s an escape from it all and people will have their own opinions on suicide and those who have attempted to take their life or who have taken their life. I can honestly say I’ve never been suicidal. Frankly I’m too much of a pussy to take my own life but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had thoughts. Irrational thoughts about what it would be like to drive my car off a cliff or crash into another car. Would the airbags deploy? Would I survive, would the car flip? A visual play by play running through my head beginning, middle and end. But I always come back to the same point and that is the pain it would bring my family. The rock in my life, the one constant I’ll always have. The people who have always been there for me, no matter what. I just couldn’t ever put them through that.

But for some people the pain is way too much, they need to escape, to stop the hurt, to stop the voice inside their head. They feel alone and often like they have no other choice. Despite having friends and family who care about them they may feel that no one will care and feel that it will stop the pain. To most of us it’s incomprehensible to take your own life as we can rationalise the pain it would cause others. To those who have attempted to or have taken their own lives well the truth is we don’t know how they are feeling or what they are thinking. Perhaps they’ve seen things no one should ever have to see in their life. Maybe they’ve experienced great trauma whether it be pain in the way of physical and they want it to stop or emotional pain like that suffered by those who are bullied. The sad and confronting truth is that people commit suicide as they feel they are left with no other options than to end it all. Once it’s done, they won’t have to suffer anymore. These are just examples and each and every one of the beautiful souls who felt they had no other option had their own reasons and their own story.

As I began writing this blog I started looking into the statistics and wanted to dive a little deeper into the psyche of those who feel they have no other option than to take their own life. It was at this point I began getting a little frustrated. I saw an instagram post only days before I started writing this about the number of suicides in Australia since the beginning of COVID, the issue I had was that I couldn’t find any data backing up the statistics listed in the post I saw. Firstly, the statistics differ from website to website and a lot of them including the Australian Dept of Health website haven’t been updated since January 2014 and are still utilising data from 2010-2011. It goes to show that mental health and the tracking of the statistics surrounding it, including suicide, isn’t a priority of this government or previous ones. COVID has seen a spike in Suicides with the number sitting at around 1000 according to the statistics I could get which is 78 more people a day since March 1 than the numbers of people who have died from COVID. Again, the validity of these figures differs due to the way they are reported and not having one governing body that takes care of them or records them.

Although come to think of it we do have a government department that is tasked with keeping statistics and records on everything else, so I am pretty sure the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) could be tasked with keeping up to date statistics on all mental health related issues. The last two reports they conducted into Suicide where in 2010 and a report in trends from 1993 to 2003. It has recently been shown that we are still years away from real time suicide data. Professor Pat McGorry one of the nation’s prominent mental health advocates, said it was difficult to try to reduce the death rate, because suicide statistics come with a lag time of up to two years. He said this in a piece written in May this year by ABC Australia journalist Stephanie Dalzell, he also warned that we could see a spike in deaths by suicide due to economic and social impacts directly resulting from the corona virus pandemic.

While the Australian government has begun throwing money at what has been a highly dysfunctional mental health system that for years has required reforms and changes it comes off the back of the coronavirus pandemic which has led to many people including myself asking why it takes a pandemic for our government to finally look at changing the way mental health is viewed, assessed, funded and discussed. There is still a stigma surrounding mental health with many of our older generation still under the guise that it’s weak to speak. So without accurate data how can one believe the statistical models that are thrown to the public year after year? This was something that was on my mind as I dove deeper and deeper into my research. All the project figures show an increase, a jump, a rise and or a spike as the economy takes a hit and unemployment rises. There are now over 2.9 Million people who have received or are currently receiving Job Keeper payments from the Government. What is this going to mean for suicide rates and increases in mental health issues?

The sad truth is things are only going to get worse before they get better with our economy and social impacts of coronavirus. As Melbourne enters lock down for the second time for another 6 weeks with tighter restrictions and curfews, we can only begin to wonder how this will affect people. With some of Australia experiencing a second wave it’s only a matter of time before the entire country is impacted as this highly contagious virus jumps person to person. As the government throws money at the problems they can see immediately and support the short term, it isn’t addressing the long term problems or the big ticket items outlined in the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan. This plan details 10 priorities, three enablers, seven principles and 75 actions. The only action to come out of this response plan so far is getting the states and territories to agree. There has been no implementation timetable or scale of investment agreed and zero urgency to make the key structural decisions or finance the key priorities.

Trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who has lost their job and has a family to support is hard. Whilst I have empathy, until you actually go through something like this yourself you will never be able to truly know what it’s like to, as they say, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. That hasn’t stopped me from wondering what tips a person from struggling but surviving to seeing no alternative than to take their own life. How they give up the battle after having fought for so long. What they went through to get them to that point and who was around them to help them out.. When I began writing this it was after what I’d deem as a bad morning for me, but this was just 1 morning, I can’t imagine what people go through who have to fight constantly and might not have access to support and help that I do.

In the research conducted into this topic I read several stories written by families, friends and even those who have committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide. In each of the stories I read there is a constant battle against depression, anxiety and other mental health issues and the will to live. In each case there was a strong correlation between self-harm and suicide. They were all normal people like you and me. They talked of a detachment from life, lack of feelings and often loneliness from the outside world and yet it was also a protection from things and people that could do them harm. They are exhausted from years of battling with themselves and through desperation seek out other relief whether it be alcohol, drugs, self-mutilation or something else it’s all together in an attempt to feel something or nothing at all. At some point though it all got too much and they just wanted to end the pain and suffering.

While the stories tell us of the pain, my analytical self wants and needs to understand what’s happening in the brain. What part of the brain is or isn’t firing, what’s happening with the receptors, is there an imbalance of chemicals? All these questions filter through my mind as fingers clack across the keyboard searching for the science behind why people take their own lives. Are there any commonalities happening in the brains of those who have suicidal thoughts? Sadly research is lacking into the science behind suicide but I did manage to find a study conducted by Canadian researchers that hinted to an abnormal distribution of receptors specifically for the chemical known as GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). What’s GABA you ask? It’s the chemical messenger widely distributed throughout the brain. It’s main purpose is to bind to receptors and reduce the activity of those neurons.

The research conducted at the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario by Michael Poulter and his colleagues found that one of the thousands of types of receptors for GABA was underrepresented in the frontopolar cortex of those with major depressive disorder who had committed suicide. The frontopolar cortex is involved in higher-order thinking, such as decision making. Whilst scientists don’t currently know how this abnormality leads to the type of major depression that makes someone suicidal, they do have theories around it due to the location in the brain. The premise is that any disruptions to that particular system within the brain would be predicted to have an important outcome.

The report went on to say that the GABA receptor problem was not the result of abnormal or mutated genes. The change rather was Epigenetic meaning some environmental influence affected how often the relevant genes were expressed, made into proteins. They also discovered that the brains of suicide victims often had receptors for GABA which had a molecule attached that would keep that gene hidden from cells’ protein-building machinery—in this case, preventing the cells from manufacturing GABA-A receptors. As I continued to read through the report the science started to make more and more sense but like most things it can change in the flick of a switch or a simple study. The more researchers look into the neurobiology behind suicide the more that will come to light.

There is still plenty of research to be done into suicide and its prevention as scientist try to identify potential biomarkers that may be early indicators, predictions of mental health issues or predisposition to mental health issues down the track. Year on year, the funding into research seems to climb but we still aren’t getting real time analytics or year by year figures. The data may be there, we (the public) just aren’t seeing it or being exposed to it. Could the figures really be that bad? We know suicide rates in the male population is four times higher than women, yet attempts is three times higher in women. Around the world each year on average 800,000 people commit suicide. A further breakdown of the available data would allow us to identify social impacts and pressures, especially those in minorities or disadvantaged groups.

As I read story after story of those who lived and found the courage to tell their tale in an attempt to help others, I began finding myself frustrated with the politics of it all. The government year on year is investing in mental health but it has become a multimillion dollar industry to the lobbyists and politicians. Whilst they continue to fund projects and make reforms on the surface are they actually listening to those who have been there before? Implementing and supporting on the ground projects? The internal politics and competing interests amongst academics, clinicians and researchers is almost just as bad as the politicians making the promises and seemingly throwing money at the problems. The big questions on everyone’s mind is ‘Are the suicide prevention programs actually working?’ Are the studies asking the right questions and when will we start to see data recorded in a way that it is able to be analysed and used to build real models and predictions?

As I close yet another A Mind of Its Own blog I am reminded that a simple conversation can save a life. So don’t be afraid to ask people, whether it be family, friends, coworkers or a complete stranger if they are ok? A simple conversation goes a lot further than you may think. Until the next instalment of Australia’s most underrated blog that’s actually factual unlike our funny friends over at Betoota who make us all laugh with their quirky, punchy yet often true headlines. I’ll leave you with some links below in case you or someone you know needs a little help or just needs to talk to someone. There is help out there and a lot of the not for profits go above and beyond to support the community. Remember it’s ok not to be ok but it certainly isn’t weak to speak. Peace Out and take care of yourselves.

The Big Bopper…

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

https://www.openminds.org.au/

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

https://www.ruok.org.au/

Tunnel Vision…

Week whatever it is, they are all starting to blur into one, we’ve been stuck in the same place day after day with the same people and are starting to lose our minds as a collective. If this is what it is like to be buried in a fallout shelter while the world around you decays and dies, then we hope we go in the first few moments of whatever apocalyptic event forces us to finally look at how much we fucked up the planet and couldn’t play nicely with each other. That being said this week’s A Mind of Its Own belongs in post-apocalyptic earth along with the people that contribute to it and the pain it brings to so many people around the world. No, we aren’t talking about COVID-19 for a change, we are talking about the lack of trying, lack of compassion, lack of caring, lack of compromise and a lack of respect for anyone other than yourself. Read on as we delve into a topic we’ve wanted to cover for quite some time now.

With everything in the palm of our hands these days we have multiple excuses and reasons to brush off people or things we are supposed to do, we’ve become incessantly selfish in our actions and how we treat others. As a society we are lazy and have little concern for others and that often shows through when we are put in situations that are tough. The saying you “think you really know someone”, comes to mind as we wander deeper into a world we now know quite well. There are often two sides to it and two stories and whilst one side will find pain and anguish, without being on the other side we can only have a guess at their thoughts and feelings.

They say “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. It’s so, so true ladies and gentlemen, our generation is a bunch of quitters. When things get hard we tend to just give up. Now that might sound harsh and a little insulting to those who have faced adversity or hard times and have actually battled through it, but for the majority of people it’s easier to just quit and run. To give up rather than fight and battle their way through the pain, hurt and torment. Picture a hill that you are making your way up, steep as all hell, you are halfway up and things start to go wrong. Your legs burn with each step and your mind screams at you to stop, could things get any worse? Maybe you have a blow out in the shoe department or your feet are blistered, bleeding and rubbed raw or maybe your muscles are starting to fatigue and cramping is beginning to set in. You have two options from here…

The first option is to kick yourself in the arse and slog the rest of the way up that mountain, mind over matter baby, if you set your mind to it you’ll get there; or you go with option two, the easier option and just quit, after all it’ is as easy as that… We are finding that more and more a lot of people when faced with a decision to work hard, whether it be physical or mental, or to quit they are choosing the latter and throwing the towel to the canvas and walking away. Yeah, they might have lasted a round or two but they just couldn’t find the drive to see it out to the 10th. We can guarantee that nine times out of ten their decision won’t affect them and they’ll go on with life as though nothing has happened, no ripples in their pond. But when that tenth time comes around it haunts you until your end of days. People will often tell you that they never want to live with regrets, “Live life to the fullest, no regrets” and it is actually quite easy to walk away from things, to go and seek instant gratification somewhere else rather than putting in the hard work with what you currently have. Putting in a few extra days here or there or working a little harder at something that just isn’t going right at this current moment.

While many people will say that marriage is an antiquated past time that binds two people together for eternity or at least the rest of their lives on this green earth. What we’ll say is that you don’t have to marry someone to prove your love for them. You should marry them because you want to be married and spend the rest of your life with that person. You should also know whether or not that is what you actually want before you go wasting time and money on a wedding. Far too many people get caught up in the romance of a wedding, whether it be the idea of standing in front of your friends and family to profess your love for one another or the celebration that comes with it, perhaps there are other things like children or finances that keep you caught up in the idea of a wedding and spending the rest of your life with someone.

So when you fast forward 6 to 12 months down the track and things get a little hard and you hit a couple of bumps in the road, you are faced with yet another choice. A choice that will not only have an impact on that person you made those promises to, those promises you made in front of your friends and family, it will also have an impact on you.. The choice is to fight or flee, to stay or to go, but the choice will be yours and yours alone. Why are so many people going through or having gone through this? Why as humans do we walk away and not fight for what we have in our lives? Why do we seek instant gratification when we have people in our lives who love and care about us?. It comes down to the fact that we are the only species who is greedy, self centred and egotistical. We are able to only think solely of ourselves and not about how our actions and decisions will affect those around us.

Gone are the days of sticking it out, “till death do us part and for better or worse” are just some lines that are uttered on the day of your wedding. Words are just that, words and actions will forever speak louder than words. Past generations worked through it, granted a lot of couples actually hated each other but there was something romantic about sticking to the promises and commitment made to each other on that day. They stayed for the children, sometimes for their faith but most of it was for integrity and knowing they made a commitment to that particular person for a reason. It was the holding on to those reasons and working on that commitment for generations that saw your grandparents stick it out. They knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, they knew that it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine and that they would be there to support each other through the darkest of days and that they needed to make love work. Making love work is just that, its work, it needs to be given the same commitment, time and priority as the job that pays the bills.

Speaking with those that have gone before us it became obviously clear that there are patches in every relationship whether you are married or not. The first one seems to come at the end of year one. In marriage this is apparently the toughest year you will face. The next patch seems to be around the 5 year mark and then there are no doubt others to follow, however these are the two that everyone we spoke to outlined as having the potential to make or break your relationship. Throwing children into the mix is also another hurdle that has the ability to snap it all in half, we men need to remember that priorities shift in the first year of having a child. That’s a mother’s time to bond and ensure your child has what it needs to survive and flourish. It doesn’t mean they love you less or care for you less, it is just a shift in priorities until said child is able to fend for themselves, this is particularly evident in the first 12 months. Our advice is to get a friend and by friend we mean a dog or one of those other pets that people seem to have, what are they called? Cats?

What all that also means is that you need to put in a little more effort than you might be used to when things change. It’s all about being able to adapt and relationships and marriage are all about compromise and adapting when things become a little hard or unsteady. They say chivalry is dead and maybe it is, maybe technology has ruined our ability to romance, to be a perfectly imperfect gentleman or maybe as we previously said we have just become lazy now that we literally have everything at our fingertips. Instant gratification is only one like or virtual thumbs up away. Choice and the ability to choose from a variety of people is stopping so many from settling down. What’s next? The effect and can I do better is always at the front of the mind for so many on dating apps and often in relationships. It is the fear of missing out, looked at from the wrong perspective, rather than concentrating on what’s right in front of them they focus on the unknown. As many an athlete has said, “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off the goal”.

We have goals for our fitness, careers and life in general but a lot of us forget to set goals and continue setting goals in our relationships. We become complacent and think that just because everything is currently going well, that we don’t need to put in any work. We don’t need to let our significant other know that they are loved. We don’t need to continue to try each and every day. There are literally thousands of examples where complacency has ruined opportunities to succeed. To love and be loved and to continue to build on the foundations you made when you set out on the journey together, to strive to support your partner and be on their team and ensure they are on yours. Complacency sabotages this. It’s not until it’s gone that you realise what you had. You can try to replace that feeling with one night stands and little flings but at the end of the day when you are laying in your cold bed, alone and wondering where it all went wrong, you’ll be able to trace it back to that one relationship you took for granted, that one boy or girl who you thought would always be there for you no matter what.

That time you should have done everything in your power to make it work. That time you should have stayed and listened rather than getting defensive and walking away. Or the time you went looking for someone to place blame on when all you needed to do was look in the mirror. The ability to fight for what we have is in each and everyone one of us. Love is a choice, even when it’s hard. It’s a choice some people make daily, for others it’s easier to walk away and make excuses or blame their partner for the demise of their relationship or marriage. It’s a very narcissistic trait to place blame with others when the decision is yours and yours alone, to walk away and give up, and those questions you have they can all be answered if you take a look inside yourself. It all comes down to choices and whether we are able to fight, compromise, communicate and adapt to those we wish to spend our lives with. After All it’s a Privilege, yes privilege with a capital P, to go through life with a partner.

Upon returning to the Nation’s Capital late last year we came across a lot of friends who were going through rough patches or at the end of those rough patches. Seeing the forest through the trees was a little hard for them when sitting in the bottom of a well filled with hopes and despair. Their worlds were being shattered, their hopes and dreams crushed and in some cases their families being torn apart. It ripped open healing wounds knowing what they were going through and what they were going to face but we ourselves had a choice to make. We could help them navigate through the pain, anger, regret and remorse or we could walk away and leave them to sort through it all on their own. What it came down to, was the fact that we had the experience and could help them through a time that wouldn’t be easy and it has also helped us in our journey.

Whether it’s not having to deal with pain, accepting responsibility or having to have that hard conversation it seems that in today’s society it is easier to engage our flight side rather than the fight side. Walking away rather than working through the bumps in the road seems to be the common practice. Not every marriage and relationship is going to work out. It’s that plain and simple but every now and then there is the one that comes along that’s worth the fight, the pain and persistence. So once again you are left with the choice to step up and take on the challenge of being present, continually working on and improving your relationship each and every day, or closing the door and walking off into the unknown.

At the end of the day you need to find respect for yourself and for those you invite to share your life with. Whether that is a short period of your life or long term, respect is something that will help you through tough times. If things aren’t going well communication is always key, we may not like what we are hearing at the time but over time a respect will grow for the courage it takes to speak your truth. The key to all of this is to not throw in the towel at the first signs of trouble. At least attempt to work through the issues and problems before you decide to walk away. Life isn’t always going to be easy ladies and gentlemen, there will be ups and downs but if you have someone beside you supporting you through it, it makes it a hell of a lot easier.

To quote the toughest, baddest and best fighting force on the planet “For all those who’ve been down range, to us and those like us, damn few” not everyone will go through the heartache, pain, trauma and mental bruising that comes from someone walking away on you. You’ll go through a period in which you’ll blame yourself, question yourself and no doubt wish you were someone else but remember there is nothing wrong with you, you wanted to fight it out, to sacrifice, to adapt and overcome. There is nothing you could have said or done to ensure that person stayed or fought for you. Some relationships will work, some won’t but they all take effort from both parties. Don’t walk away if you know you might one day regret it.

This piece is for the friends and family who stuck it out and tried to make it work no matter what. They have commitment, dedication and most of all respect for those they’ve shared their lives with. Some of them were able to make it work, others were not but they all tried to make it work, they didn’t walk at the first sign of trouble. To them we take our hat off, to those who just walk away we hope you find what you are looking for and don’t continue to repeat the pattern of walking away when things get tough. For now, we’ll wish you all a fond farewell until the next one, which will be a little more regular now that we have everything in hand. Thanks for your patience, family, friends and fans. Hasta la vista amigos…

It’s the End of the World as we Know It…

You know we like to keep our fans happy, so at the request of our good friend the Legal Beagle or as he’s better known to his friends Captain Google. This week’s blog is an homage to his request for our guidance through what is proving to be a turbulent time in our lives and in the lives of many of those around us. The uncertainty of not knowing is always a “Head Fuck” for lack of better words and the fact most of Australia is still scrambling for rolls of toilet paper is enough to get anyone in a flap, let alone the people that may actually need it the most. As the country begins to go into lock down, the uncertainty for so many becomes more and more overwhelming and with this we all need a little extra guidance. Many of us will experience hardship throughout this time with the effects of the virus reaching far into our economy and ripping the guts out of many of our industries.

The sad truth is that people are going to die, people are going to lose their jobs, friends and family will be affected. Those are the unavoidable facts of this matter. We are in a time of uncertainty, something that has never been experienced by any of us. There have been depressions, famines and even pandemics in the past but few of us were around to experience any of them. Unless of course you are nearing your centenary, then you may have experienced some of them. As the saying goes “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. You can thank the former president of the United States affectionately known as FDR, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for that little gem but given our current situation, it is oh so very fitting. We fear what we do not know or understand and given this is a novel virus, meaning that we have not seen it before, it’s no wonder most people are in a state of fear.

Whilst taking your time to read through, keep in mind that there are those within our communities that will need a lot more help than most of us. We aren’t just talking about those who are most at risk of contracting the virus, we are talking about those who need a little extra community minded help from time to time. Yes we are talking about the elderly and disabled. These are the people who all you able bodied, panic stricken peanuts are stopping from being able to get the essentials they need to survive. As you panic buy enough toilet paper and supplies to last for the next 8 years. The 400 rolls of toilet paper , the 80 bottles of hand sanitizers, the 100 boxes of panadol and the months and months worth of food you’re stockpiling in every available space in your house and your brand new freezer, consider those within our communities who aren’t able to afford that luxury. Even the supermarkets have started to come to the table and offer concession card holders their own shopping hours.

Unfortunately just like the recent outbreak of COVID-19, panic is also contagious. You only need to head to your local shopping centre to see how contagious panic currently is. That panic is translating into obscene buying habits. This is where we come in, the team at A Mind of Its Own have decided to help you all out. We want to ensure that there is enough supplies to go around and that we flatten the curve of panic buying. It’s a tough ask for a little blog, but what we lack in size we certainly make up for in our ability to write a good piece, in which we hope to spread a message that gets through some of your thick skulls. It’s a little self serving but very community minded, we would all like to stop having to use sandpaper to wipe our butts and stop having to pour the good vodka over our hands in place of sanitiser, all because people have gone against what the governing bodies are advising and bought more than 14 days of supplies. We wrote the other day about the virus (Wasn’t Expecting That…) and in this follow up piece we’ll give you some recommendations for surviving the virus. Something of a ‘A Mind of Its Own preppers guide to surviving in isolation’.

To start with you need to know where to get local information regarding the virus, know how to stay up to date with the latest developments, and you need to know the signs and the symptoms. For those of you that have decided to bury your head in the sand and try and last this out without understanding or knowing what it is, we’ve listed them for you. For everyone else as you might have read or heard, if you are living in the real world that is, people don’t start to see symptoms until 2-14 days after exposure. The virus is transferred through droplets, so coughing, sneezing will transfer the virus if you have it or anyone around you has it and they do anything that allows transfer of droplets. The warning signs are there if you pay attention, so if you start to see any of the following symptoms you should immediately seek medical help and get yourself tested. So ladies and gents if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or sore throat and you have been overseas in the past 14 days, in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of corona, please go see a doctor, the hospital or get yourself tested at one of your local testing centres. If you don’t have any of those symptoms please don’t waste the valuable time or resources of our medical professionals, the healthcare system is already short staffed and you thinking, you have something you probably don’t isn’t going to help.

The next part of preparing for COVID-19 is to ensure the safety of those at high risk, yes those at risk we told you to keep at the forefront of your mind earlier, the elderly and those with underlying diseases or health issues, particularly those with breathing related issues or autoimmune diseases. These are the people most at risk, whether they are young or old they need to be able to be at home and to be practicing social distancing. Guidelines in Australia stipulate that you should have at least a metre and half between you and anyone else in a four square metre radius, that you should also stay home when possible and avoid as much contact between you and others. Stay home for everyone else’s sake, the best way to fight this is to curb the spread of the virus. Listen to the advice of the medical professionals, they went through years of schooling and training to give you the advice and recommendation that they have.

Both the CDC (the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) and the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommend 14 days’ worth of supplies. Both these organisations have the best Epidemiologists in the world working for them to help set these guidelines. So why on god’s green earth are people stocking up on toilet paper? We aren’t talking a couple of weeks’ worth, we are talking months and in some cases years’ worth of toilet paper and other supplies. No one needs that much toilet paper in one hit unless you suffer from chronic diarrhoea and if that’s the case you should be stocking up on Gastrostop and may as well wear adult diapers, oh and seek some medical advice. So 14 days of supplies people, 14 days, that’s all you need, 14 days on top of your usual shopping. If you are a family of four you might go through a max of 3 rolls a week, so a 24 pack of TP will get you through your 14 days where you may or may not be able to leave your house. You also need to ensure that you consider over the counter medications and prescription meds you may need an additional supply of. The best thing to do is create a plan. List out what you need and how much you are going to need to last an additional fourteen days. That’s 14 days on top of your regular shopping people…

That doesn’t mean you need months and months’ worth of meat, frozen meals, pasta, sauces and other hygienic products ladies and gentleman. A walk around your local Coles, Woolies or Aldi will show you just how silly some of us have become in the recent weeks with all of this Coronavirus panic buying. Even pet food has made its way into the trolleys of terrified customers who feel they need stock up in case the shops all magically close down and stocks dry up. It’s not the first time we’ve experienced panic buying and hoarding, back in 2009 during the H1N1 Influenza outbreak we saw countries hoarding vaccines and people panic buying. There is a psychology behind it all, people do it as a sort of ‘retail therapy’ in an attempt to take back some control in a world where they feel out of control, but that doesn’t excuse it.

The hoarding of toilet paper is a lot safer than what our American friends across the ditch are doing, they’re stocking up on guns and ammo. We do not need to do that, thankfully there are laws restricting such actions in Australia, there is not a Zombie apocalypse coming ladies and gentleman… Oh and whilst we are handing out advice we don’t recommend you watch the Walking Dead whilst you’re at home in isolation or any shows or movies about pandemics or viruses for that matter. , It is not good for your mind. Whilst we punch on in the supermarkets over rolls of toilet paper the Americans are rioting and looting in fear, with all of these guns they’ve been stockpiling of late, this makes the situation in some towns scarier than others. So in some ways we are a lot better off, as we are only having to beat the toilet paper and sanitizer hoarders to the supermarkets before they get there and pile their trolleys to the roof but these actions are not the community minded actions we need. Thank the heavens the supermarkets have put in place item restrictions..

Once you’ve managed to store away your 14 days’ worth of additional items, you are going to want to establish a plan to communicate with loved ones and the outside world because you need to be participating in social distancing. Thankfully with the internet, smartphones and the ability to communicate face to face through video chat, we are able to do that and more. You’ll need to adapt to the cancellation of social events because let’s face it in times like these, as much as we are social creatures, we need to be isolating ourselves as much as possible from others. Now that doesn’t mean we can’t still communicate whether it be over the phone, text message, video chat, email or the good old fashioned hand written letter. If you’re looking for ideas there are a plethora of them floating around the internet. For families with small children you need to prepare what you are going to do about childcare needs should they shut down as well as schooling now that most states are advising keeping kids at home if you’re able?

That our friends, leads us to the next conundrum that people are facing, the singles are all looking for their apocalypse buddy and madly swiping right on every Tom, Dick and Harriett. Those in relationships are wondering how they’ll get to spend quality time with their partner and most of all be intimate with them or how to avoid being intimate with them. Remember no glove, no love and try not to sweat on each other, we aren’t scientists but we are pretty sure that it could be transferred through dripping sweat on each other or we made it up to ensure the hospitals aren’t packed to the brim with Corona babies in 9 months’ time. Married couples are wondering how they’ll avoid each other and those with children are wondering how they are going to cope with them being around twenty four seven, three sixty five when childcare and schools shutdown and how they can ensure they don’t end up with another one. Many parents are questioning their ability to teach their own children the basics, just a friendly reminder we no longer have the three R’s. We actually call them what they are these days, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

There are plenty of articles online surrounding the best things to binge watch and do to keep you occupied throughout this period. Everything from home gym setups to how to date in an apocalypse, oh wait the second one is our next blog for all those wondering how social distancing and dating is going to work. There are plenty of things to do and you can even take up a hobby, if you haven’t already, build a model, do some wood work, paint something, draw or write something or those things your wife or partner have been asking you to do around the house for months now and you keep making up excuses for… Well you could potentially do those.

So to reiterate the best thing you can do is have a plan, plan out what you need, when you’ll need it, who you’ll need to contact and if we’ve learnt anything from all the survival books we’ve read, always have a go bag ready in case you need to leave. Keep 1.5 meters between you and everyone else at all times and for everyone’s sake stay at home. If you need to go outside do it in the safety of your own backyard. If you need to leave your house, get what you need and get back home as soon as you can. 14 days’ worth of supplies people in case you have to go into total isolation that is all you need additionally. The supermarkets are still open and you can still get what you need, so long as people are sensible about what they take. Keep in mind those more vulnerable members of our community whilst you’re out and about activating your Coronavirus isolation plan. We don’t need to hoard things ladies and gentleman, particularly not the dunny roll.

A little like the title of this blog which we stole from an REM song, at present it might seem like the end of the world as you know it but no one is certainly feeling fine. Things are changing and they are going to change, it’s time to accept that, we are going to have a lot of ups and downs but we need to come together and do the right thing for each other over the next couple of months. Check in with your friends and family, check in with your neighbours and your work colleagues. We’ll get through this and there’ll be plenty of stories both good and bad that will come out of it. We’ll keep you all updated over the weeks as we continue to go through the pandemic. Lastly but not least we’d like to both thank and welcome our newest member of the team. We aren’t sure she is open to being officially named so for now we’ll call her Little Miss Competitive. Not only is she good at correcting the team’s poor spelling and grammar but she’s good at adding on and subtracting the parts that don’t make any sense. So to LMC welcome to the team! Until the next blog you keep yourselves and your family safe, do the right thing and stay at home. Hasta Manana amigos.

I Slept With Somone In Fallout Boy…

Firstly no one has slept with anyone from Fallout Boy here at A Mind of Its Own that we are aware of, yeah we might joke around that we identify as a helicopter or glow stick from time to time but the writers here are very much heterosexual and more often than not a lads, lad. Sorry if that bursts anyone’s bubble but as they say the truth shall set you free. After what’s been a big couple of weeks at our other jobs, you know, the one that pays for us to be able to continue this side project with passion and gusto we’ve finally managed to spend some time behind the keyboard pumping out some blogs that actually interest us. Safe to say politics bores the absolute crap out of us!. Give us controversy and madness, we are all for it and apparently so are our readers who seem to have similar minds like ours that spend a fair bit of time in the gutter.

A Mind of Its Own has always been an outlet, a way in which we can be open and honest about things that we often struggle with in day to day life. It’s given a voice to mental health issues particularly anxiety and depression, it’s also allowed the writers to be reflective and often take lessons out of what has been written or what they themselves are writing. We are truthful in what we write and will always give both sides of the coin as we toss it in the air and throw caution to the wind. Over time though we have learnt that people often don’t really want the truth when it comes down to it. As the famous line voiced by Jack Nicholson from A Few Good Men goes “You can’t handle the truth”. Human’s often struggle to hear what is often true or to often speak the truth for that matter and why? Well there are various reasons in which you will soon learn as you read on.

Be honest with yourself for a minute, we’ve all done it at some point throughout our lives, heck some people even make careers out of it (Politicians, conman etc). Lying is something that we do as human beings, we are the only species capable of deceiving each other with what is often something so simple and so small and more importantly, not needed at all. But we’ve all done it, whether you’ve lied to your boss to get time off work or your parents about going to a party or most importantly yourself about why you lie, everyone has lied it’s part of what makes us human. Honesty may be the best policy, but scheming and dishonesty are part of what makes us human. Throughout history there are 100’s if not 1000’s of examples of people who have lied about who they are, what they do, what happened, how it happened, why it happened etc.

So for some home truths to start with, we decided to write this week’s A Mind of Its Own on Lying, as well to be honest it all just fell into place with things that were going on around us. The boss-man had been lying to himself about why he was feeling the way he did, he’d been lying to everyone that would ask him if he was OK, but most of all he’d mislead and he’d not been honest with someone that he cares about. That’s the thing about lying, dishonesty and keeping things to yourself, we all do it for various reasons, whether it be to present a false image in order to hide our inadequacies or to protect the feelings of others or in some cases just as a poor excuse when confronted with something we were supposed to do.

Not all lies are harmful, In fact sometimes lying is the best approach for protecting privacy, ourselves and others from malice. Some deception such as boasting and lies in the name of tact and politeness can be classified as less than serious. But bald-faced lies (whether they involve leaving out the truth or putting in something false), are harmful, as the corrode trust and intimacy, which lets be honest once again, in a lot of peoples eyes this is the glue of society that keeps us all together.

Lying, as it turns out, is something that most people are very adept at. Most people lie with ease, some in big ways and some small. We lie to strangers, we lie to coworkers, friends and to our loved ones and family. Our capacity for dishonesty is as fundamental as our need to trust others. Ironic that this then makes us terrible at detecting lies. Being deceitful is woven into our very fabric, so much so that it would be truthful to say that to lie is human. One of the strangest, yet truthful sentences you will read on A Mind of Its Own. The commonality of lying was first documented over two decades ago by Bella DePaulo a social psychologist at the University of California in a study in which they asked 147 adults to jot down for a week every instance they tried to mislead someone. This research showed that on average subjects lied one to two times a day without even realising it.

It’s been speculated that lying as a behavior arose not long after the emergence of language. The ability to manipulate others without having to use physical force would have likely conferred an advantage in the competition for resources, a mate and could be akin to the evolution of deceptive strategies in the animal kingdom such as camouflage. Sissela Bok an ethicist at Harvard University was quoted saying “It’s much easier to lie in order to get somebody’s money or wealth than hit them over the head or rob a bank”. Here’s where it all gets interesting and as you all know we love a topic when there is a heap of research involved. As lying became more and more recognised as a deeply ingrained human trait, social science researchers began working to illuminate the nature and roots of the behavior.

How and when do we learn to lie? What are the psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of dishonesty? Where do most people draw the line? The research is beginning to suggest that we’re prone to believing some lies even when they are unambiguously contradicted by clear evidence. This suggests that our proclivity for deceiving others and our vulnerability to being deceived are especially consequential in the age of social media. Our ability as a society to separate truth from lies is under unprecedented threat. Just like learning to walk and talk, lying is something of a developmental milestone. Parents may find it troubling that little Tommy or Tessa has begun to lie. It is more they see it as a loss of innocence in their child. However the emergence of this behavior in toddlers is a reassuring sign that their cognitive growth is on track according to Psychologist Kang Lee of the University of Toronto who has conducted several studies on the psychology of lying in children.

Sadly for all those parents out there the research also suggests that we only get better at lying with age. In fact the Studies Doctor Lee and his colleagues conducted with children around lying suggested that the older the child the better the deception or lie became. Why, you ask? Well remember that little thing called empathy? The increase in the sophistication of the lie comes with the development of a child’s ability to put him or herself in someone else’s shoes. Known as Theory of Mind, this is the facility we acquire for understanding the beliefs, intentions and knowledge of others. A fundamental of lying is the brain’s executive function, the required abilities required for planning, attention and self control.

In studies conducted by Dan Ariely at Duke University, they paid subjects a dollar amount for each math question they got right, the participants were told to shred their sheets before reporting their answers. Little did they know their answer sheets didn’t actually get shredded. What fascinated Ariely the most was not that people lie but rather why they didn’t lie a lot more. Even when the value was increased for each right answer most people didn’t increase their level of cheating. Something stops us from lying all the way, the reason Ariely believes is that we want to see ourselves as honest, because to some degree we have internalised honesty as a value taught to us by society. Which is why unless you are a sociopath most of us place limits on how much we are willing to lie. Ariely and others in the field have shown that this is determined by social norms arrived at through unspoken consensus, a little like taking home a few pencils from the office supply cabinet it OK as long as the bosses don’t find out but your colleagues are ok.

There appears to be no agreement among psychologists and psychiatrists about the relationship between mental health and lying. However there are certain disorders that exhibit specific lying behaviors. Individuals diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder tend to tell manipulative lies, while narcissists may tell falsehoods to boost their image. The Sociopathic disorders tend to have the strongest link and as pointed out exhibit specific lying behaviors. Unless you are a pathological liar, which could be an underlying indicator of a mental health issue as there is motivation behind the lie in the first place, however more research needs to be conducted.

Over the last two decades researchers have studied the brain in order to see if there was anything unique about the brains of individuals who lie more than others. Using three different controls groups broken down into repeated liars, those who met the criteria for antisocial personality disorder but not frequent liars and those who were neither antisocial or had a lying habit. The research showed that the liars had at least 20 percent more neural fibers by volume in their prefrontal cortices thus suggesting that habitual liars have greater connectivity within their brains.That then poses the question as to whether this predisposes them to lying because they can think up lies more readily or is it the result of repeated lying?

Another joint study conducted by Psychologists Nobuhito Abe of Kyoto University and Joshua Greene of Harvard University scanned the brains of subjects using functional magnetic resonance imaging machines (fMRI) found that those acting dishonestly showed greater activation in the nucleus accumbens (a structure in the basal fore-brain) that plays a key role in reward processing. As it turns out the more excited your reward system gets the more likely you are to cheat. Or in other words, greed may increase one’s predisposition to lying. Tali Sharot a neuroscientist at the University of London found that the amygdala’s response to lies got weaker with each lie, even as the lies got bigger.

Tim Levine, a psychologist from the University of Alabama outlines in his ‘truth default theory’ that much of the knowledge we use to navigate the world comes from what others have told us. We implicitly trust others in when it comes to human communication and without that trust we would be paralysed as individuals and cease to have social relationships. He even went on to explain there is little harm caused when we occasionally get duped. We are hardwired to be trusting which makes us intrinsically gullible we’ll use Frank Abagnale Jr, a security consultant whose cons as a young man went on to inspire the 2002 movie Catch me if You Can. He explains that scams work because people believe what they want to believe and aren’t searching for a lie.

It’s called the Liar’s Advantage according to Robert Feldman, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts. “People are not expecting lies, people are not reaching for lies and a lot of the time, people want to hear what they are hearing. According to Feildman we put up little resistance to the deceptions that please us and comfort us whether it be false praise or the promise of impossibly high investment returns. Researchers have also shown that we are especially prone to accepting lies that affirm our worldviews. Alternative facts have thrived on the internet and social media because of this vulnerability in humans. Debunking false truths or fake news does not demolish their power because we assess the evidence presented to us through a framework of preexisting beliefs and prejudices.

A recent study out of the University of Western Australia by doctoral candidate in cognitive psychology, Briony Swire-Thompson documents the ineffectiveness of evidence-based information in refuting incorrect beliefs. Studying our closest friend across the seas (The Americans) they gave them two statements to choose from. The statements both false saw that people chose with bias, for example one of the statements was about Trump in which Trump supporters immediately believed it. When presented with the evidence that it was incorrect they readjusted their view but only for a short period of time. Within a week they were back to believing the original statement. Other studies have shown that evidence undermining lies may in fact strengthen belief if them. So you run the risk of watching them grow and become hulks in front of you if you try to counteract their inaccuracies.

When it comes to lying it looks like the deck is stacked against us people, yeah we can attempt to justify them by telling ourselves it was just a ‘white lie’ or a little ‘fib’ to ease our guilt or cross our fingers behind our backs as if it somehow suspends the rules and we can judge ourselves on the right side of communicative fair play, but at the end of the day we lie because of behavioral conditioning as well as cognitive evolutionary biology. Lying can bail us out of awkward situations, spare the feelings of others. Preserve or strengthen alliances, Enhance social standing, keep us out of trouble and even save our lives. Lying is unfortunately tied into our self esteem, it’s all down to the shifting sands of the self and trying to look good both to ourselves and others.

Men lie no more than women, but they tend to lie to make themselves look better, while it is said that women are more likely to lie to make the other person feel better. Extroverts lie more than introverts according to research. Lying tends to be short term focused, when we decide to deceive someone whether to save our self image or self worth we aren’t thinking long term but if the person finds out it can have long term consequences. We need to become more aware of the extent in which we tend to lie and focus on the fact that honesty yields more genuine relationships and trust.

So if we look at what we now know about lying, we are faced with yet another seemingly adult decision in our lives, to admit we are liars or to just continue through life justifying that everyone lies and evolutionary? The problem with lying and science has now backed this up is that, the more you do it, the easier it gets and the more likely you are to do it again. “We are our own judges about our own honesty” It is both behavioral and evolutionary, we do do it for various reasons both good and bad, everyone has lied at least once if not more in their lives and we as humans have become very adept at it. To lie or not to lie that is the question but like all things in life it’s a decision that only you can make in that moment but remember the truth always finds a way to the surface.

So until the next blog all we can do is apologise to those we may have wronged, lied to and deceived throughout our lives from our hearts to yours we are sincerely sorry. Weird apologising to people at the end of blog about lying but as we said we like to reflect on our writing at the end and take something from it. From this blog we took a lot that we didn’t expect to. We don’t condone lying but we now understand a little better why people do it and from the looks of things most people don’t lie to be malicious, in fact most lies told are to protect others. The truth however shall set you free as they say and so with that in mind we say honesty is the best policy and be true to yourself, love yourself. Until next time take it easy…

Broke and Hungry…

Everyone can write, well almost everyone, there are those that unfortunately are left behind by society and struggle to string a sentence together through no fault of their own initially. However as they grow older they do have a choice to do something about it. It is never too late to learn, to teach, to guide, to share but it is a choice as to whether or not you want to better yourself. This blog is often a way for us to better ourselves as we research topics to ensure we are providing you with not just an opinion piece but something factual and inspiring. Over time our style of writing has evolved to the point we’ve even noticed it as we read through some of the past pieces that have graced your screens. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the fundamentals and the purpose of A Mind of Its Own…

This week’s blog idea came to us via the south coast, as many of you know much of Australia has been devastated by bushfires in recent months and yet the spirit and sense of community is so strong and apparent in these areas it would melt the coldest of hearts. Despite the destruction and devastation people are getting on with life and it hasn’t dampened their imaginations or want to learn or share with others. So to our good friend known as the Hammer thank you for your ongoing support and inspirational ideas for this weeks blog. As much as we enjoyed the conversation about starting a bush dildo racing league we feel the thought and controversy behind the suggestions offered up will have the pundits running to the local Bunnings or hippy shop.

Again this is another topic that we’ve had to research as our knowledge was limited despite the fact that we use it on a daily basis. With all things that we (Human’s) don’t understand there is an inherent fear, a fear of the unknown, just look at vaccinations and the reaction from those that don’t understand or want to understand the science behind them. As humans we tend to react before we understand all the facts or have done any research into things. So we thought before everyone overreacts we’d do some research and read a few papers on the effects of this week’s topic on your health. But in order to do that we first need to give you an understanding of what it is that we are writing about and thanks to the Hammer how this all came about. So let’s crack in and get started, welcome to another week down the rabbit hole Alice…

What is 5G and why does it scare people so much? Wireless networks have been around for decades now and if you believe the Americans they developed the technology for WiFi or wireless and yet there is strong evidence that it was a “Failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle” by our very own Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or the CSIRO as they are better known that uncovered the keys to developing WiFi and subsequent wireless mobile networks. 5G literally stands for fifth generation, 5G surprisingly like its name is the fifth iteration of the global digital cellular wireless networks. Since the introduction of 1G and GSM there have been great advancements in technology, speed and ability of the cellular networks.

5G networks are digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into small geographical areas called cells. Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the telephone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver (transmitter and receiver) in the cell, over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a pool of frequencies that are reused in other cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless back haul connection. As in other cell networks, a mobile device crossing from one cell to another is automatically “handed off” seamlessly to the new cell.

OK so we now know that 5G is the thing that will allow our phones to communicate, send messages, watch YouTube, stream videos, video chat and all the rest. The major benefits of 5G though are the speeds at which we can connect and if all the reports coming out are correct the network will be faster than your home internet connection. By faster we mean a hell of a lot faster reportedly at almost up to 10 to 20 Gbps fast. That’s up from the 10 Mbps the current 4G network roles out. Goodbye NBN and hello 5G and a larger data plan. We may just see a lot of Aussies doing this and “hot spotting” from their mobile devices. It would make sense wouldn’t it given that our internet is slower than some third world countries. Yeah the NBN was a great outdated Idea by the time it was rolled out, oh wait there are still parts of the country waiting for the NBN to be switched on.

From a technology standpoint having fast, speedy, reliable networks to connect your mobile devices to is amazing. However there are pundits out there that believe the health effects from 5G are much more significant compared to the generations of cellular digital networks that came before it. Firstly we aren’t saying they are wrong, there is still a lot of research to be done on the effects of high energy radiation on the human body. Yes we hear you and yes we just used the word radiation. Before we all get our undies in a twist let’s look at the actual science behind and not just focus on the articles being pumped out by reputable news sites such as Facebook and alternative health websites. The latter are the same sites that tell us vaccination is killing children and bad for us, so they are rating quite low on the list of things to read here at A Mind of Its Own.

Whilst sighting studies and research from reputable places such as the world health organisation (WHO) those studies do say that there is still a lot of research to be done to prove the effects 5G has on the body. Some of the articles go on to explain the following effects without having the science or research behind them to actually back it up. They are more opinion pieces, that have gathered stories or taken from other articles without fully understanding what they are putting out into the ether that is the internet. The new 5G network generates radio frequency radiation that can damage DNA and lead to cancer, cause oxidative damage that can cause premature aging, disrupt cell metabolism and potentially lead to other diseases throughout the generation of stress proteins.

These claims are quite scary on their own and until the science is there to back them up quite unsubstantiated. They create panic and fear among communities rather than generating conversation and understanding. Again like all things in life we fear the unknown, the unexplainable and most importantly what we don’t understand. At a Mind of Its Own we aim to give you both sides of the proverbial coin and educate rather than cause panic and misunderstanding among the masses. So let’s take a deeper look into the science behind 5G networks and what the potential health risks are compared to earlier generations of digital cellular networks.

Like 5G its concerns are only the latest iteration of headlines and unclaimed, unfounded sentiment on the world wide web by people who often don’t have degrees let alone doctorates. The main concern is electromagnetic radiation that includes everything from WiFi to smart meters. At the root of all concerns about cell phone networks is radio frequency radiation (RFR). RFR is anything emitted in the electromagnetic spectrum, from microwaves to x-rays to radio waves to the light produced from your monitor or light the sun. RFR clearly isn’t as inherently dangerous as some of the sites and blogs make it out to be, so the problem becomes discovering under what circumstances they could potentially become dangerous.

Science and the guys that do it Scientists say that the most important criterion about whether any particular RFR is dangerous is whether it falls into the category of ionizing or non-ionizing radiation. We aren’t in the sciences so we’ll need to go to Wikipedia to find out what non-ionizing and ionizing. Simply put, any radiation that’s non-ionizing is too weak to break chemical bonds. That includes ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and everything with a lower frequency, like radio waves. Everyday technologies like power lines, FM radio, and Wi-Fi also fall into this range. (Microwaves are the lone exception: non-ionizing but able to damage tissue, they’re precisely and intentionally tuned to resonate with water molecules.) Frequencies above UV, like x-rays and gamma rays, are ionizing.

Dr. Steve Novella (Sounds like a made up name, we assure you it is not), an assistant professor of neurology at Yale and the editor of Science-Based Medicine website, understands that people generally get concerned about radiation. “Using the term radiation is misleading because people think of nuclear weapons, they think of ionizing radiation that absolutely can cause damage. It can kill cells. It can cause DNA mutations.” But since non-ionizing radiation doesn’t cause DNA damage or tissue damage, Novella says that most of the concern about cell phone RFR is misplaced. “There’s no known mechanism for most forms of non-ionizing radiation to even have a biological effect,” he said in a recent report. Or, in the less refined but more visceral words of author C. Stuart Hardwick, “radiation isn’t magic death cooties.”

Of course as is always the case, just because there’s no known mechanism for non-ionizing radiation to have a biological effect, that doesn’t’ mean it’s safe or that no effect exists. But in order to find out those effects, researchers will need to continue conducting studies into the effects. One recent study was released by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an agency run by the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States. This widely quoted study about cell phone radio frequency radiation, found that high exposure to 3G RFR led to some cases of cancerous heart tumors, brain tumors, and tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The study was a good objective lesson in how hard it is to do scientific research of this type. The science points out, the number of tumors detected were so small that they statistically could have occurred by chance (which may be more likely since they were only detected in male subjects). Moreover, the level and duration of the RFR exposure were well in excess of what any actual human would ever be exposed to, and in fact, the irradiated test rats lived longer than the unexposed control rats.

“Experienced researchers look at a study like that and say that doesn’t really tell us anything.” Ongoing studies aside, 5G is coming, and as mentioned, there are concerns about this new technology. A common complaint about 5G is that, due to the lower power of 5G transmitters, there will be more of them. The Environmental Health Trust contends that “5G will require the buildout of literally hundreds of thousands of new wireless antennas in neighborhoods, cities, and towns. A cellular small cell or another transmitter will be placed every two to ten homes according to estimates.” Says Dr. Novella, What they’re really saying is dose is going to be higher?. Theoretically, this is a reasonable question to ask. But skeptics caution you shouldn’t confuse asking the question with merely asserting that there’s a risk. As Novella points out, “We’re still talking about power and a frequency less than light. You go out in the sun, and you’re bathed in electromagnetic radiation that’s far greater than these 5G cell towers.”

It’s easy to find claims online that the greater frequency of 5G alone constitutes a risk. RadiationHealthRisks.com observes that “1G, 2G, 3G and 4G use between 1 to 5 gigahertz frequency. 5G uses between 24 to 90 gigahertz frequency,” and then asserts that “Within the RF Radiation portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the higher the frequency, the more dangerous it is to living organisms.” But asserting that the higher frequency is more dangerous is just that—an assertion, and there’s little real science to stand behind it. 5G remains non-ionizing in nature. The FCC—responsible for licensing the spectrum for public use in the United States weighed in as well. Neil Derek Grace, a communications officer at the FCC was quoted saying the following, “For 5G equipment, the signals from commercial wireless transmitters are typically far below the RF exposure limits at any location that is accessible to the public.” The FCC defers to the FDA for actual health risk assessments, which takes a direct, but low-key approach to addressing the risks: “The weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems.”

In 2011, the World Health Organization classified RF Radiation as a Group 2B agent, which defined it as possibly carcinogenic to humans. In saying that you have to look at all the other things they classify as a possible carcinogen. They have been put in the same class as things like caffeine. It’s like saying everything causes cancer. Part of the problem with the WHO declaration is that it’s focused on hazard, not risk, a subtle distinction often lost on us non-scientists, not unlike the rigorous distinction between “precision” and “accuracy.” (Precision refers to how tightly clustered your data is; accuracy refers to how close that data is to the real value. You might have a dozen mis-calibrated thermometers that all tell you the wrong temperature with a very high degree of precision.) When the WHO classifies coffee or nickel or pickles as a possible carcinogen, it’s asserting hazard without regard for real-world risk. Dr Novella went on to explain, “A loaded pistol is a hazard because theoretically, it can cause damage. But if you lock it in a safe, the risk is negligible.”

Scientists will continue to test new network technology as it evolves, to make sure the technology we use every day remains safe. As the NTP study showed, research into radiation risks is difficult and often inconclusive, meaning it can take a long time to make real progress with quantifiable data. For now, everything we know about 5G networks tells us that there’s no reason to be alarmed. After all, there are many technologies we use every day with a substantially higher measurable risk. With 5G the hazard is low but not zero and the actual risk appears to be zero.

As we’ve pointed out there are risks but they are low, very low risk and there is still not enough evidence, support or research to point to a definitive yes or no. So for now ladies and gents we recommend that you not read anything on Facebook or any sites suggested through the book. If you do be sure to at least do your own research before you make up your mind on whether or radio frequency radiation is good or bad. On that note we’ll leave you to it for yet another week while we go and research next weeks blog so we can get to work on the writing for you fine people. Adios amigos until next week have a frothie or two for us. A Mind of it’s own team out (insert Mic drop).

Heels Over Head…

In an attempt to get some normalcy back into this here blog we are attempting to do the double and if we are lucky potentially the triple this week, we know our adoring fans have missed having something to read each week and our mental health has missed having the writing escape each week that allows us to research each and every topic we write about. That includes bin chickens and bush turkeys folks, two of Australia’s best birds and almost becoming more iconic than the galah or the cockatoo. Unlike most of the blogs we write though, this week’s doesn’t have a lot of science and or research behind it but has more gone with a gut feel, views and those old arseholes, opinions. So without further adieu we’ll crack on into another addition of A Mind of Its Own.

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about online dating and the ins and outs, the pitfalls and the disappointment it can often bring or how it just makes a lot of people feel rather shallow and self conscious. Just like a lot of social media these days. In a follow up to that piece we decided to look at something that has always baffled us, something that just seems to be the norm, something that society has yet to really challenge and those that have, would no doubt have been labelled or even worse put down and ridiculed for their views and opinions. But it does tie in with not only dating but most facets of life, particularly where things have been spelled out for centuries. Maybe not so much in black and white but in that shale grey colour that interior designers tend to love so much these days.

No matter where you look there are rules that govern our lives, some of them are written and passed through parliament becoming a law or legislation, others are more suggestions or have become the social normal throughout the centuries, they aren’t written down but more passed on as things that just are and should be done. It’s these so called social normalities or “unwritten rules” that we want to take a look at and try to get an understanding of the how, what, where and why behind them. How did they become something that everyone did, what happened for that to even become an unwritten rule? Where did it happen? And why did it happen? That’s a lot happening in one sentence. We’ll focus on dating as that’s where most of these unwritten rules seem to exist but we’ll throw in some other examples as we go that just pop up in everyday life.

This all came about as we discussed dating with people after the posting of “I’ll Be Your Man”. Through sharing their personal experiences and leaning on the Boss man here for his unedited thoughts on the world of online dating we were able to get an understanding that there are perceived certain rules in which men and women need to abide by in the dating world. We say rules but some people will say guidelines, either way they are there and they often govern how people interact with each other in the dating world. An example of this is the first date and how long you should wait before you contact someone after. Is it 24 or 48 hours and why should you have to wait to wait at all, to tell someone you had a good time with them and would like to see them again? Because someone made it a social normality that a lot of people have followed throughout the years?

Correct that’s exactly why, someone with an opinion and soapbox to spruke it from suggested that it could be perceived as needy or too keen if you interact too soon after meeting someone in which you may want to pursue something more than just a friendship with. Overtime it just became dating advice and slowly an unwritten rule that you gave it time before contacting them and making a second date. If you didn’t contact them it was understood you weren’t at all interested and that has now taken on the term ‘ghosting’. So we know ghosting isn’t a new thing that men and women do, someone just put a label on it and gave the millennials something to grasp on tightly to while they rock themselves to sleep in the corner because Ted or Tamara just disappeared without an explanation. Our Human need for closure and want to understand everything that comes into play there.

Forgetting all the rules for a minute and standing on the edge of the philosophical lake with the rule book in hand ready to fling it to the depths of the water. What if you did meet someone who you wanted to break all the rules for?. What if that person ticked a lot of your boxes? You know the rules we are talking about, the unwritten ones, ladies and gents, we don’t condone the breaking of statutory rules that govern society to keep us safe unless they are archaic and need to be torn down like a derelict building poisoning the skyline. There is a freedom discussed and whispered in circles that men and women talk about. Freedom that allows us to make decisions and not be governed by unwritten rules. That allows you as an individual to throw the social normalities into the lake and never have to worry about them ever again.

The rules that say you shouldn’t talk about certain topics when you getting to know someone, the rules that say if your marriage falls apart you shouldn’t date until you are divorced, the rule that says sex before marriage is a sin. The rules that say you should follow those rules and not jump in feet first. But ladies and gentleman you wouldn’t go and buy a cow from the market without trying the milk before taking it home would you? It’s the exact same with sex and a lot of things in life. That’s probably not one of the best analogies we’ve ever used but you get the point. Life is full of unwritten rules in which we’ve allowed ourselves to be governed by because they have become the societal norm over centuries. If evolution has taught us anything it’s that we should be breaking the mold and bucking the trend is good for us. It took a world war for women to be allowed to vote and work in traditionally male dominated roles. Yes it’s still going on today but we are evolving (ever so slowly).

In a world full of rules there is something liberating about not following them, something internally inspiring about following your heart, head and gut. Some might even say there is something enlightening about going your own way and doing your own thing when it comes to breaking the social normalities. If we aren’t challenging things what are we doing? Are we just becoming more sheep in the proverbial flock ready to follow around a Shepard? Surely not, as intelligent beings we have the ability to choose, to make decisions and to stick to our convictions and values. As the kids say you do you. We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t follow all the unwritten rules as some of them are just part of being a decent human, what we are saying is that you have the ability to pick and choose. When it comes to dating as people that like to wear our hearts on our sleeves all we can say is follow your heart.

There is the age old story of the Hare and the Tortoise to take into account though, you know the saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ but there are also the internal factors and feelings that you can’t often be explained and or ignored. Yeah take things slow but the one thing that will always be a saving grace is communicating. And lessons learnt tell us that communicating everything as well as setting expectations early is paramount. Even if it is ugly, bad or makes you feel a little ashamed and less of a person. Don’t show up just because you feel that it’s expected, the path to authenticity is paved with good intentions that often find us in pitfalls doing what we feel we should rather than being truly authentic with people we care about. That’s not just dating that’s through all facets of life.

So what are some of those other unwritten rules that we should follow? We’ll there are the little subtle ones like keeping left on an escalator or chewing with your mouth closed, because no one really wants to hear or see you chewing. Or not being on your phone whilst being served at a checkout and making people wait in the line behind you to finish your call or always letting people out of a door before you enter, particularly lifts, buses and trains. There are some weird ones that are more for personal comfort more than anything else like leave one urinal in between you and the next person where possible. There are also the consideration rules like giving up your seat on the bus or train to the elderly or a pregnant woman. Or replacing the toilet paper if you are at the end of the roll. It’s courteous and just a decent thing to do, it’s all part of taking that empathetic path.

Maybe that’s just the answer, maybe the whole solution to unwritten rules, that are societal norms is to just be empathetic in your approach to life, put yourself in the other people’s shoes and think about how it would make you feel before acting. Flick the rule book out the window and just approach life with an empathetic attitude. When dating if you want to call someone after the first date place some empathy in your thought process and sometimes you just need to take a blind leap of faith and know that no matter what the outcome you are going to be OK. Everything we do in life has a lesson there for us. A teaching in which we learn a little about ourselves and the world around us and if you aren’t learning or are opposed to learning you might need to check yourself on the way out the door. And do everyone a favour don’t let it hit you in the arse on the way out.

Some would argue that more and more we are breaking those unwritten rules as society becomes more self involved and selfish on an individual level. In some regards this is true and we’ve argued before that the youth of today lack respect. But in all fairness it’s not just the youth we all get caught up in our own little worlds and with social media and everything in the palm of our hands it’s easy to overlook little things and other people. In the eyes of this here blog it is just that, a lack of respect for those who have been there before them, to wear in the path through the jungle that can often be this world. Lack of respect does not necessarily mean challenging the rules or even breaking them, it’s a naivety in which our youth have that they are entitled to everything. Technology is partly to blame and society can take the rest of the fall as we’ve allowed them too much freedom and with freedom comes choice. Too many choices results in a lack of commitment hence the vicious cycle that is often online dating.

What have we learnt? Other than hindsight is a beautiful thing that we can learn from? Well, as always, communication is key, be open, be honest and most of all be authentic. If that’s not you as a person then don’t try and be someone you are not. Life is too short to wear a mask to the majority and show the real you only to those in your inner circle. In terms of the rules to quote Josh Brolin’s character Matt Gravers in Sicario “Fuck it All”, rules are there to guide us but some of them need to be challenged and often broken or rewritten. We are big proponents of following your mind, body and soul. Yeah we might sound a little hippy saying that but intuition is something we should all take a little more notice of and follow. If it fucks you, learn from it but most of the time it’ll steer you on the right path and put you where you need to be, doing what you need to be doing at that point in time.

Just because the rule isn’t written down doesn’t mean it’s not a rule, there are many of them and to reiterate what we previously said some of them are just polite and some of them just help to make us decent human beings. Some of them are old fashioned and need to be torn down like the Berlin wall, some need to be challenged like America, would a despotic dictator and some of them we can just keep as they make sense. Like all things in life everything is interpretive and can be taken and interpreted differently by everyone. Maybe take that empathetic approach as we suggested or just continue to accept them as the social normal. Whatever you decide all we can urge is that you follow what you want, there are enough sheep in the world already without adding more to the flock.

Until next week we’ll leave you with some wisdom and words for the wise. If you find yourself in a situation that socially dictates you follow some archaic rule whispered centuries ago think about it before you follow it. If it doesn’t sit with your values then don’t follow it, plain and simple. Unless it’s an actual law then follow it, unless you feel you look good in an orange jumpsuit. Then go for it we say, but don’t start complaining when your new cellmate Trent starts spooning you without consent. From the team we wish you all a happy corporate card day or valentines day for those that like to celebrate it. We like to celebrate love every day here at a mind of its own, not just on days we are told to by large corporations looking to fill their pockets. So until the next one all the best cobbers…

Nocturnal Creatures…

We wondered how and if we were going to be able to top a preppers guide to the Apocalypse in which we graced your screens with a couple of weeks ago and the boffins in the idea factory have managed to do just that. They’ve come up with an idea for a blog that will have you sitting up and paying attention for months to come. Well at least till the event starts then your rapt attention may start to wane. As we enter into the second month of the year it’s we’ve seen plenty of changes to the environment and the landscapes around us. We’ve seen people go and people come from the world but we’ve continued writing and will continue to pump out the blogs one by one until we fall over in decades to come. But let’s be real with technology we could be posting things from the grave, now that’s a scary thought and we’ve shared plenty of them with you. Heck we talked about the apocalypse last post and a week later people were getting a virus from Mexico’s favourite beer.

So as we do every week the great people here at A Mind Of Its Own have put together yet another great time waster for you to read on the train home or whilst on the toilet at work killing some time out of your super busy day. Wherever you read us from doesn’t matter as long as it’s not whilst driving or operating heavy machinery and more importantly that you enjoy reading it. But you must because you keep coming back each week to see what zany ideas the boffins have come up with in the basement for us to write about. That being said we’ll crack on and get into this week’s piece, as always feel free to leave a comment in the comments section. Yes even if it’s mean, we love criticism but don’t be surprised if we call into question your IQ.

It’s a big year for athletes around the world, another year, the final year, in the Olympic cycle (every 4 years for those that didn’t pay attention in primary school) where they get the opportunity to take home a gold, silver or bronze and if they don’t take home one of those they’ve always got the memories of representing their nation on the world stage. As always you know we’ll be there to give you the in’s and outs, the news and just like the Commonwealth Games a review of sports and who to watch out for in Tokyo. There was something that caught our eye even before the first athletes had marched into the stadium for the opening ceremony which we believe will be on Saturday the 25th of July for those wondering at home when the games were (24th of July to the 9th of August). It was something that gave us a good chuckle but also got us thinking once again about practicality. Before we knew it our minds had made their way to the proverbial gutter.

Having spent time around athletes particularly those who have participated at the elite level and in a couple of cases walked away with a gold medal or two, it was interesting to get an insight into the shenanigans that come along after the pressures of competing on the big stage are over. What happens when you put athletes of the opposite sex in a little village and pile on years of pressure to compete on the world stage in one event. Well lets just say when it’s all said and done they like to let their hair down a little, some more than others. In some cases a lot, that four year cycle of non-stop training, living, eating and breathing their sport needs to be vented, after all as much we might idolise them and put them on a pedestal from time to time they are only human.

So whilst flicking through the Socials, as most people have become accustomed to on a daily basis, the other day we came across a piece on Tokyo 2020 more specifically it was focused on how environmental the games were going to be in particular the recyclable beds being installed in the athlete village. It did get us thinking about some of the stories and statistics we had read over the years about other Olympics, you know the one that happens after the actual Olympics. While everyone will be going for gold the spirit behind this year’s games is Green with the environment being front of mind for the organisers. Speaking of those going for gold, they will be sorely disappointed to find out that should they win their event they’ll be wearing a recycled phone around their necks. Fingers crossed for the latest smartphone medal winners. We did say the games were going Green. Further to the recycled phones as medals, the athletes beds are made out of cardboard, yeah that’s right the bases of the beds our elite athletes are sleeping on are made out of recycled cardboard.

We couldn’t be happier that the games are going Green, the more environmentally friendly we are in all aspects of life, the better in the eyes of this here blog. Cardboard bed frames however come into question as we are putting the sporting hopes and dreams of a nation, to rest on them each night they spend in the athlete village. Rest assured ladies and gentlemen the good folks at Airweave, the company that are producing the 18,000 beds of the athletes village have tested and then tested them again. Furthermore they can hold up to 200kg and have been certified sex proof. So unless athletes are planning an orgy of sorts the beds will comfortably hold 2 to 3 people or maybe up to 4 gymnasts they seem to not weigh a lot. Either way athletes can still go for gold between the sheets. But there are no prizes for coming first.

Come the end of the games the beds will be turned into paper products and the mattress yes even the mattresses are going to be recycled into plastic products. The fact that they come in three separate pieces so the athletes can adjust how firm or un-firm they want their sleep. It might not be such a bad thing after the unspeakable things some of the beds throughout Olympic games history have had to endure. So perhaps being Eco friendly is also a good way to destroy any long lasting memories for some of the athletes who don’t want a reminder of their post event celebrations with Ivan the weightlifter or Anna the Scottish boxer.

When the events are done and the athletes can finally relax, the question on everyone’s mind now that we’ve established you can have have sex on a cardboard bed and the homeless community will tell you that you most definitely can have sex on a piece of cardboard. That question is how many athletes end up having to go to the doctor when they get home because they’ve picked something up from someone in the village. And if it wasn’t the question on your mind it should have been! The Olympic games are renowned for the sex romps that go on after the events. If you look at the statistics of condoms handed out at RIO there were 450,000 that’s a whooping average of 42 per athlete. We don’t know about you but that’s a lot sex in a short period of time. Either that or they are using them to start the next world water war. Then again that wouldn’t be very green of our athletes would it wasting all that water and condoms. It seems like each Olympics the stakes are raised in the opportunity to catch a sexually transmitted infection, either that or athletes have control issues once the events are done.

If you look at the trend year on year the amount of condoms handed out at the games has gone up and up. Just last year at the Pyongyang Winter Olympics the usage of Tinder went up 350% during the games resulting in 110,000 condoms being handed out, which still isn’t the highest amount in the history of the Olympics but ranks up there in terms of Winter Olympics to date. We know the Japanese don’t do things half arsed and when it comes to protecting yourself in the bedroom they’ve come up with a few high tech options that include traditional Japanese artwork because every man likes to look at a condom before sticking it on the old fella and admiring the artwork now emblazoning his penis. The number of condoms to be handed out is still to be decided but the likelihood is they’ll lean towards a similar number as the London Olympics. Around 150,000 for those that like to play with facts and figures.

What are these high tech options you’re asking? They aren’t actually that high tech in fact they were pretty boring, perhaps pleasurable, but rather boring compared to where our minds went. Thoughts of talking, robot condoms that give you tips on how to spice it up or release heat or cooling or at least something cool filled our minds. Nope this is as high tech as they get, the ultra-thin 0.01mm condom. In addition to its barely there construction, these Japanese condoms are made of polyurethane, a material suitable for people allergic to latex that is standard in the construction of many condoms. OK so they are good for people allergic to latex but being thin doesn’t make them hi-tec it just makes it feel more like skin on skin. The one thing we do know is there will be plenty of athletes to ask post Tokyo 2020.

We’ll save our review of the games for later in the year but there are 33 different sports both individual and team based across 339 events (50 Disciplines) from roughly 206 countries. Is it just us or is that a lot of male and females congregating in the one area for a couple of weeks while emotions, hormones and everything else is running high? Yeah it’s no wonder they want a release after all the years of blood, sweat and tears to be in a position to represent their country on the world stage. After all they are human like the rest of us, despite the fact place them up on that pedestal. So yeah things could and probably will get a little freaky after the games for some athletes at least they will have 40 something condoms and yes they are handing out female condoms as well to protect themselves with. Some of them will even have pretty Japanese art on them according to the games organisers.

In summary Tokyo sounds like fun if you’re into sleeping on cardboard bed frames your mattress is also able to be recycled, your medal if you win one isn’t actually a medal but rather a phone that’s been recycled and you want to risk getting the Coronavirus. Well there will no doubt be a few athletes suffering from beer inflicted ailments after they finish competing but the risk of contracting the Coronavirus is slim to none unless they decide to take a quick trip to Wuhan in China and kiss a few people. So it’s safe to say that the athletes will be well protected in Tokyo just potentially a little uncomfortable as they become nocturnal creatures between the sheets.

For now we’ll leave you thinking about the beds, the dingers and pending pinnacle of sport that will grace our screens in the middle of the year. We’ll be rooting for the green and gold just not in the same way some of the athletes will be in the village. There’ll be plenty of updates and no doubt some reviews of the stars to watch. Until then there’ll be a couple of blogs about this and that as we done. Enjoy your week amigos!

Bigger Than My Brain…

As we stared out the 3rd floor window of the nondescript office building in which we conduct our day to day job we couldn’t help but think of a post apocalyptic world. As smoke from what will go down in history as one of Australia’s biggest crisis blankets the skies and the news reels continue to show devastation, loss and tragedy across the nation. Our minds wondered to what would happen and where would we go if the world was to descend into chaos. After all there are plenty of maniacs in power who would love nothing more than to leave there stamp on history that have come close to kicking off the world’s next and what would likely be the final world war. Or the fact that we have pretty much poisoned the planet beyond repair in some places.

Perhaps it was waking up at 9am on a Sunday morning thinking it was earlier than it actually was due to the sun being blotted out by the thick smoke or perhaps it was not seeing blue sky for weeks on end that got us to start thinking about our mortality and what we’d do if there was an event that forced us to literally pack up and run. Then we began to think about what we would need and what we would take with us in such an event was to happen. Unlike all the crazy Yanks, Australians aren’t so big on prepping, we are sure there are the crazy, rich likely cashed up bogans who have no doubt built a fallout shelter or have a bug out plan in place but in general should an apocalyptic event unfold itself, most Australians would not have a clue about what they would do.

There are plenty of apocalyptic events that could have people heading for the hills cause lets face it, if there ever is to be an apocalypse the last place you want to be is in a major population center. Particularly if World War Three is to breakout, major population centers would be targeted right after major military installations. Sadly we have researched all this but on the flip side the best place to move to would be New Zealand. Well that’s our thoughts and we think as we unpack this week’s A Mind of Its Own everyone might start to agree with us for a change. So without any further segways and side notes lets get on with this weeks blog and put together a plan for surviving the apocalypse.

Firstly we need to understand what if anything could these apocalyptic events be and what would they consist of, who would they initially effect and what would the ramifications be if any? In order to answer those questions we’ve asked our chief investigator Google to do a little research and begin combing through articles and research papers. We like to keep everything we write about as close to the truth as possible after all why let the truth get in the way of a good story. But in all seriousness if the science is available to back up our blog we’ll always take it. So to start with we’ll look at the very unlikely but potential threat of a Zombie apocalypse.

We were hoping to find some good news that a Zombie apocalypse was something that could never happen but thanks to science we are now armed with the possibility that it could become very, very true. Reading one particular article it unpacked the 5 most likely causes behind a zombie apocalypse and to be Frank for a minute (We had to ask him if it was ok) they scared the absolute crap out of us. Like change your jocks scary. The first of the freaky 5 to cause a Zombie Apocalypse is Brain Parasites according to Google they turn victims into mindless, zombie like slaves. One in particular Toxoplasmosa Gondii is terrifying and to make matters worse half the human population of the earth is already infected with it. The likelihood of it turning us all into zombies though would a little human intervention and a perhaps a megalomaniac with a highly evolved version of the parasite that had been weaponised.

Then you have neurotoxins whilst not rating highly on the likelihood scale there have been cases documented in Haiti where the word Zombie comes from of Alkaloid toxins being used to control people and make mind numbed zombie like workers who harvested sugarcane. We then turn to a rage virus type scenario something like a super mad cow disease where people turn into mindless killing machine and don’t forget that we are only one brain chemical (Serotonin) away from that happening. We already have a human version of mad cow disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and again it would only take some mad scientists to play around with it in a lab to make it a weapon. Moving on to Neurogenesis or basic stem cell research, yeah we spoke about animal/human hybrids a couple of blogs ago but what about regrowing dead brain tissue? You wanted the undead well science is finally delivering, it is now possible to re-grow the brains of comatose head trauma patients until they wake up and can walk around again, throw in the new ability to keep dead bodies in a suspended state of animation and we are starting to sound like a science fiction novel but its all true. Whilst the cortex may die the stem remains so you will be able to function but not actually have any thoughts, feelings or emotions.

Finally we have nanobots yes nanobots, tiny little microscopic, self-replicating robots that can invisibly build or destroy anything. Studies have shown with a decade we’ll have nanobots that can setup and replace neural pathways in your brain. That’s right ladies and gents little mini self replicating robots will be able to rewire your thoughts. So the likelihood of the robot uprising now takes form in the shape of a zombie apocalypse. Think about it, the nanobots are programmed to self replicate but once the host dies so do they. So to preserve themselves they’d need a new host, therefore the last act of the nanobot zombie would be to bite a healthy victim so they can steam in and set up camp. And just like that it’s eat, sleep, bite, repeat and the robot zombie uprising is a real thing.

So what are the other possible apocalyptic events that could have us scurrying like rats leaving a sinking ship? The most likely yet unlikely event is a robot uprising, according to Artificial Intelligence researchers the likelihood of us having a robot overlord is quite slim but if it did happen our robot overseers could combat some of the other threats. The most likely apocalyptic event in which we’d need to bunker down somewhere and then scavenge till the end of days would be a global pandemic or nuclear war and with Trump in power and happy to divert attention away from his pending impeachment trial the later is the most likely to happen as he rattles sabers and assassinated people from the skies above. If it’s not Trump shooting missiles at foreign dignitaries to spark off a war it’ll be climate change deniers that are our undoing as we kill the earth.

If you are wondering if it’ll be something from space that does us in, the chances of an asteroid taking us out is one in 10,000. We are more likely to be wiped out by volcanoes and they are the most underrated threat on the matrix we’ve developed. The sleeping giants that could erupt around the world and blackout the sun while blanketing the earth in ash. There is also the possibility of aliens invading in which we would recommend you hide down the deepest darkest hole you can find and don’t come out for at least a decade. Perhaps Hollywood had been quite prophetic in some of their alien invasion movies over the past century. There is always over population and or of the next big freeze, heck there have even been suggestions that we could be attacked by something below us lurking in the depths of the oceans or below the earth’s surface. There are several other possibilities but these were just the ones that actually made sense or had a likelihood of possibly ever happening.

Chances are that if the world was coming to an end any semblance of order would quickly dissolve into chaos. People would riot and looters would roam the streets. From there things would begin to look a little like the Tom Clancy video game franchise The Division. Whilst we’d like to think people might actually behave in a manner which is respectful and considerate that just doesn’t seem likely and if history is any indication of human behavior in times of chaos we definitely become a bunch of words that mum only allows us to use in the paddock. In times of chaos we change our morals values to benefit ourselves over others so it’s no wonder that people loot stores and gangs lord themselves over others in times of crisis. The end of the world would be one such crisis.

The more research we did, the more we realised that unless you’ve gone to a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) course which are generally reserved for military personnel with a role designation that could see them behind enemy lines, or have studied prepping and began to put in place the resources and tools required to survive most of us are very much under prepared for any of the likely apocalyptic scenarios that we could be faced with over the next couple of decades. Even the basics evade most people, how many people are trained in self defense or hand to hand combat, not to be confused with hand to gland combat which would only take a quick google search for most people to become experts in that one. Getting back on topic how or would you be able to defend yourself if you were required to? There are several books that outline the basics of survival and having read several of them when researching for our pet project we can highly recommend the following if you are interested in staying safe and surviving.

Safe by former 22 SAS Trooper Chris Ryan is a good read and then there is the Violent Nomad series ‘100 Deadly Skills’ by Former Navy Seal Clint Emerson, that outlines survival tips and techniques for all scenarios and environments. There is also the SAS Survival books written by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman also a former SAS Trooper. There are several other survival books that have good information but we’ve found the above books fonts of knowledge as well as having good example pictures and providing a B.L.U.F or Bottom Line Up Front, in other words there is a paragraph where the conclusions and recommendations are placed at the beginning of the text to facilitate rapid decision making rather than placing it at the end of the text.

So we now know what we can start to prepare, how we are going to survive them. In order to do that we need to prepare for all likely scenarios. A little like the scouts we’ll always be prepared or at least that’s what we think the scouts motto is. What would you put in your end of the world kit? Well we think we’d start with a vehicle or two and our vehicle of choice if money was no option to survive the end of the world would either be a suped up, all the mods & cons Toyota Prado armored up to protect us from either the infected zombies or the less fortunate trying to steal our prized wheels or a Land Rover Defender and yes it would have a machine gun turret. Desperate times call for desperate measures and if it’s the end of the world we want to be protected. Worst case we’d break into a defence base and steal a Bushmaster or a tank, we’d then find the armory and go nuts like a kid in the candy store taking all the toys we wanted and needed.

We’ve put together a list of things that are required for initial survival. First thing you’ll need is a bug out bag these suddenly chic survival satchels, also known as go bags, are typically lightweight military-grade backpacks stocked with provisions for at least 72 hours. Gray wolf Survival recommends a chain-saw blade stashed in an Altoids tin to harvest firewood. Feminine hygiene products are also recommended as something you should have in your Go Bag, even for men, to soak up blood from wounds. One of those things that you should have is currency. While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies make news, many people are quietly packing their bug-out bags with rolls of pre-1965 American dimes, quarters or half-dollars, which are 90 percent silver and available from coin dealers and precious-metals websites (silver is currently about 17 US dollars an ounce).

Imagine a true economic apocalypse, one that makes the German hyperinflation of the 1920s, with its wheelbarrows of near-worthless paper currency, look like a hiccup. To prepare for the worst worst-case scenario, some doomsday preppers prefer to stock up on daily staples like tampons, vegetable seeds and cigarettes (that timeless prison medium of exchange) to silver or gold as an alternative-currency. Liquor, particularly in easy-to-swap airline bottles would likely prove a hot commodity, since it not only deadens the pain of surviving in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but also provides useful off-label functions as a disinfectant or an ingredient in herbal remedy tinctures. In the event of apocalypse, bring condoms explained one prepper site. This may sound like a slogan from a sex safety campaign but condoms being featherweight, ultracompact and durable (nonlubricated, please) can be used as a makeshift canteen to store water, a fire starter or as elastic bands for an improvised slingshot to hunt small game.

Should law and order on the streets break down after, say, a massive hurricane or nuclear-reactor meltdown, that condom slingshot might come in handy. But where guns are illegal or highly regulated what are defenseless, law-abiding citizens to do? “100 Deadly Skills,” by Clint Emerson is filled with improvised alternative weapons, like a collapsible umbrella lined with wrenches, Sure, you could master jiu-jitsu but if it’s really on, hand-to-hand self-defense will only take you so far. To balance legality with lethality in a bug-out bag, you have to go simpler hammers, hatchets, heavy tools. That roll of old silver quarters might come in handy, too.

In the event of a breakdown of the food supply that leaves the shelves of Woolworths and Coles bare, you will still have to eat. Many survivalists are placing their hopes of sustenance in rabbit, a high-protein, low-fat meat that is also being embraced as “the new chicken” by sustainable food types. By livestock standards, rabbits are relatively clean and quiet. They can survive on table-scrap vegetables or even grass, and as a bonus, yield valuable fur for improvised winter clothing. And boy do they breed. A doe can produce up to 50 kits a year, yielding 250 pounds of meat, according to researchers.

To master archery and broadsword combat or how to manufacture fabric, bread, ceramic cookware and wood furniture by hand, or to perfect the preindustrial arts of iron craft and tanning of leathers should Armageddon arrive say, in the form of a limited nuclear exchange, global pandemic or cyber mega-attack these hobbies could mean your survival. In other words, chivalry may not be dead after all. You just don’t want to be running around in a suit of chain-mail Armour chances are you’ll be a little slow.

So what we’ve worked out is that, if the world is coming to an end anytime soon your average Joe is not going to be prepared enough to survive for any lengthy duration. In case of a nuclear holocaust the safest place is New Zealand due to it’s lack of major military targets and it’s Australia’s forgotten ugly (yet beautiful, scenery wise) cousin therefore people often overlook they are also an ally of the great Satan. Plus most of New Zealand has moved to the Gold Coast. Everyone needs a go bag with at least 72 hours worth of provisions and tools you’ll need to survive. Having a plan is always a good idea and various iterations of that plan, make it even better. If you can get some self defence training it’s always a good idea even if an apocalyptic event isn’t coming. Ensure you have something to trade or a form of currency and lastly a little faith that it never comes down to you having to survive.

As we wrap up the conclusion is that it’ll only take a couple of deranged scientists and a world leader with an inferiority complex to make the Zombie apocalypse happen. Volcanoes are the most likely apocalyptic event, we’ve researched this way too much and now we are thinking we need to start planning for the worst while we hope for the best. It gets you thinking though and well life is too short for regrets or to be pondering crap like this, live in the moment and make memories that’s what we plan on doing. And just because you identify as a helicopter does not mean you can fly in times of crisis. Until next week we wish well and hope that we haven’t scared the absolute crap out of you. Sometimes it’s good to know that there are freaky things and not all science fiction books and films are made up…

Heroes Of The Sidewalk…

What a year 2019 was, there was certainly some highlights and low lights and in our annual review we plan to cover them all. It’s what we do here at A Mind Of Its Own. As the decade came to a close, a new chapter was opened and the history books were finalised once again with the who, the what, the where and the why of the last 10 years. The team at A Mind of Its Own were there for a lot of it but as it’s our annual review we’ll focus on 2019 and the year that created a lot of change within our country and personally within our lives. It was a year that saw some sadness, some growth and some strange and unusual things, so without further adieu we’ll let the team take it away from here.

Like all good publications we’ll cover the things that made the headlines in 2019 across Australia, yeah we are going to stick to our homeland and spread some of the craziness that made us stop and think over the past year. There was a lot of questioning done throughout the year and not a lot of answers were forthcoming. So to kick us off we’ll look at events and commentary from each month of the year that had heads turning and people palming their own faces.

January

  • 3 January – One man is killed and another is injured following a double stabbing at the Asia-Pacific headquarters of the Church of Scientology in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood, and they still deny they are a cult?
  • 5 January – A far-right political rally held in Melbourne, marked by scuffles with police and counter-protesters, is attended by Independent Senator Fraser Anning, who admits to using tax-payer funded travel to attend the event. Afterwards he got the Australian version of the swastika tattooed on his back for the next rally so he fit in with the rest of the far right bogans.
  • 7 January – A mass fish die-off occurs on the Lower Darling River at Menindee Lakes. Up to 1 million fish, including endangered species, ultimately die in what is described as possibly the largest fish die-off in Australian history. Where’s Greta when we need her to give the government a serve about killing our rivers?
  • 24 January – Professor Tanya Monro is appointed Australia’s next Chief Defence Scientist, the first woman in the position. The female Sheldon Cooper with a personality she’s a smart cookie who has some inspired ideas.
  • 29 January – The South Australian Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission report is released. The commission, which commenced in 2018, was critical of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the Commonwealth Murray Darling Basin Authority. *Note to the government! Stop selling our water to overseas interests!

February

  • Four people are killed and over a thousand people remain evacuated from homes in Townsville as flooding peaks in the city, following a metre of rainfall in the first week of the month. Among the dead were two men on February 4, and two young boys on February 25, all from drowning. – No comment needed 😦
  • 4 February – The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry final report is tabled in Parliament. The report makes 76 recommendations. Well we all know banks are in the business of making money and that’s just what they did. Not just one of the banks but all of them.
  • 12 February – The Liberal-National Coalition government becomes the first Australian federal government to lose a vote on its own legislation in 78 years, after a defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hmm we’ve touched base on politics a few times throughout the year and well it’s just been disappointing.
  • 13 February – Nineteen homes are destroyed by bushfires in the New England and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales. Was this a sign of things to come later in the year? We certainly think so!
  • 26 February – Following the lifting of a suppression order, it is revealed that Cardinal George Pell had been convicted in December 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys in 1996. All we can say is about time! The church has been hiding it’s secrets and disgusting people for way too long!

March

  • 13 March – Cardinal George Pell is sentenced to six years in prison following his conviction over the sexual abuse of two choirboys. Yeah boy! But six years isn’t long enough he should be locked up and the key thrown away! Where do we stand on the death penalty?
  • 23 March –
    • The Liberal-National Coalition government led by Gladys Berejiklian wins the 2019 New South Wales state election and returns to office with a reduced majority. Didn’t stop her from wasting money on a new stadium that wasn’t needed.
    • Tropical Cyclone Trevor makes landfall in the Northern Territory. Who comes up with the names for Cyclones? And how do we get that job?

April

  • 11 April – Actor Geoffrey Rush is awarded $850,000 in damages after winning a defamation case against The Daily Telegraph. What’s the saying mum? Oh that’s right if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.

May

  • 18 May – 2019 Australian federal election: Scott Morrison’s Liberal/National Coalition Government is narrowly re-elected, defeating the Labor Party led by Bill Shorten. Scotty from marketing got his job and is now leading the Nation, opinion is divided whether he is doing a good job or not.
  • 30 May – Anthony Albanese is elected unopposed as leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition, replacing Bill Shorten. Richard Marles is elected deputy unopposed, succeeding Tanya Plibersek. Politics is boring enough through in Albanese and it just makes us want to stab our eyes out with teaspoons.

June

  • 4 June – At least four men are killed and a woman was injured after a 45-year-old gunman allegedly goes on a shooting spree in the city centre of Darwin, Northern Territory. When things like this happen it makes us sad but at the same time we are thankful our gun laws are as tough as they are.
  • 4–5 June – The Australian Federal Police raid the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst and the headquarters of the ABC over national security and special forces stories. Not sure what they found or whether Annika had anything that was of interest but the allegations levelled at some of our national heroes were quite interesting.
  • 24 June – Parts of the Darwin CBD are evacuated after the city is impacted by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake originating in Indonesia. Another precursor that the planet is furious with us for killing it.

July

  • 1 July – David Hurley is sworn in as the 27th Governor-General of Australia. Onya Davey boy!
  • 8–27 July – A biennial joint Australia-United States military exercise Talisman Saber 2019 is held. What an exercise it was, tanks, ships, planes and troops stormed the beaches of Australia in what can only be explained as a joint readiness exercise. Perhaps they knew Trump would attempt to start a war to stay in office.

August

  • 13 August – 2019 Sydney stabbing attack. Senseless violence on the streets once again.
  • 16 August – Pro-Hong Kong protesters clash with pro-China supporters in Melbourne, while police are forced to intervene during similar confrontations in Sydney and Adelaide, following the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests.
  • 21 August – The Victorian Court of Appeal dismisses George Pell’s appeal to overturn his conviction for child sex offences. Yeah they did, rot in jail George you scum.
  • 29 August – An attempt to deport Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingham (Priya) and Nadesalingam Murugappan (Nades) was thwarted by a last minute injunction, forcing the plane carrying the couple and their children out of Australia to land in Darwin.

September

  • 9 September – Homes and buildings, including the historic Binna Burra Lodge, are destroyed by a bushfire in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region.

October

  • 26 October – Climbing Uluru is banned by authority of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park board. About bloody time!
  • 31 October – The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety interim report is published and tabled in Parliament.

November

  • 8 November – Three people were killed and 150 homes are destroyed by a large number of bushfires burning across New South Wales and South East Queensland. Little did Scotty from marketing know that they would just get worse and the entire country would be on fire.
  • 11 November – A week-long State of Emergency is declared in New South Wales and the Australian Defence Force is put on alert amid mounting bushfire warnings.

December

  • 30-31 December – Eight people were killed, hundreds of homes are destroyed and the Royal Australian Navy is mobilised to assist evacuation efforts following bushfires on the New South Wales South Coast and in Victoria’s East Gippsland.

Sport

We saw the return of Smith and Warner to Australian Cricket, as well as the birth of the man affectionately known as “Loose Bus Change” Marnus Labuschagne which immediately instilled faith in all Aussies that we might actually win a test or two this summer. After dispatching Pakistan and now tearing through the Kiwis it looks like we are back on track to continue our domination of the test arena. Meanwhile Rugby suffered a setback when it lost test winger and religious faithful Israel Folau after a tweet went viral condemning most of us to hell. To make matters worse we struggled on the big stage and failed to make the semifinals at the World Cup hosted in Japan.

Our tennis brats continued to make headlines for doing just that being brats. Some of our Olympic swimmers failed drug tests, Richmond won the AFL Grand Final and all barbers opened up for Dusty cuts. In League the the boys from the Eastern Suburbs took the win over the Raiders in the who cares cup. Some horse won the Melbourne Cup after thousands of people got shitfaced and missed the race while some of our bleeding hearts protested the races altogether. Some of the lesser known sports dominated with the Green and Gold fairing well on the world stage. Our Men’s hockey team took out the inaugural FIH Pro League over Belgium while our women went down in an extra time shootout to the Dutch to take silver. As Ricky Bobby said “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.

The netballers lost the world cup to the mother country in a tight fought contest over in the UK, Motorsport well as you are aware it’s not a sport unless it involves a ball so we’ll just say some blokes drove cars or bikes around a track for hours on end. Our soccer players did what they do best diving around the ground in agony after breaking a nail. The athletics department did what they always do and ran, jumped and threw things trying to beat the juiced up Americans and really quick Jamaicans. Our equestrians jumped and trotted around on horses setting the arenas alight with their displays of pure horsemanship. Australia’s water sports people had a good year ensuring they stayed afloat for another year. The golfers holed out and well we must of done alright in every other sport we competed in we are Australians after all.

Other News

Worldly Swedish 17 year old Greta Thunberg rises to fame after telling the world we are killing it and not having seen anywhere outside of Sweden. Whilst her point is very valid and we appreciate her voice in the world there are people actually doing things to make a difference to climate change who are completely ignored. But that’s a story for another day. The reefs are dying around the world so we’re right with Greta on her message of climate change. President Oomph Loom-pa finally got impeached and 2020 will hopefully see him found guilty and thrown in jail, that’s if someone doesn’t claim the $80 million dollar bounty on his head thrown out by Iran recently. The US had even more mass shootings than any previous year recorded. Trump made the news for just being Trump, the UK finally entered Brexit and Boris Johnson got a new taupe. China caused a ruckus in the South China sea once again, Japan made human/animal hybrids. The Russians meddled in everyone’s affairs, the Stans continued fighting among themselves, Africa was once again pillaged for it’s natural resources and Europe well their economy faulted and terrorism ran rife once again.

In a nutshell 2019 was a year that a lot of are happy to see the back of, there was a lot of heartbreak, some good times and plenty of wow and what the fork moments. It was a year in which we learnt, researched and wrote some of our best pieces. The discovery of our own style of writing mixed in with a humorous approach locked in a formula that works for us and allows us to tackle the tough topics that people often find taboo. Strangely enough a lot of them are sexual in nature or relate to things that we’ve been brainwashed not to talk about for generation to generation. And so for the team at A Mind of Its Own we are looking forward to what the next 10 years bring and the evolution of ourselves as writers and a brand.

So until next week where we’ve decided to tackle an age old question that has plagued many a man and women for at least the last decade. Wish you all a fond farewell, again we’d like to send a massive shout out to the women and men on the front lines fighting to keep us all safe from the fires. You guys are truly the Heroes of the Sidewalks! Without our volunteers and the Rural Fire Service things could be a lot worse than they already are and things are pretty bad. To everyone who has donated or given up their time to help those in need we take out hats off to you. Again if you feel you need to help in some way we’ve provided links below for you to donate to one of the wonderful charities helping out those most affected… Thank you to each and everyone of you!

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/12/31/how-you-can-help-bushfire-victims

https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/bushfire-crisis-how-can-i-donate-and-help/11839842

Four Feet in the Forest…

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the office not a creature was stirring, not even old Al, The cheques were mailed by reception with care, In hopes that a few of us wouldn’t return in the new year, The dogs were nestled and chewing a bone, while visions of chickens danced in their domes. And Maxo on Spotify and I in my hat, we just settled down for a couple weeks nap, when out in the car park there arose such a clatter, we sprang from our desks to see what was the matter.

Away to the window like kids on the bus, tore open the blinds and threw up the latch, the smoke from the fires, stung at the eyes. When what to our wonder should appear but a bloody fat guy, it was the same bloody dick that had nicked the car and told us not to bother, he didn’t have insurance not even AMMI to call. We knew in that moment it was the same prick who bloody ruined christmas when we were just six. More rabid than foxes we were in a rage and he whistled, and shouted and called us filthy names.

“Now, Dickhead! Now, Dropkick! Now Prick and Wanker! On, Cockhead, On CuiN The NT! On, Douchebag! On, Bastard! It’s not a bloody Porsche! Or even a Nissan! Now go away, Go away Go the F#ck away all! As far as I’m concerned it’s a stupid car and when I meet and obstacle we crash through and fly. So up to the houseos and pissheads of course with a sleigh full of sex toys and the fat prick of course. And then in a twinkle he jumped on our roof, dancing and flashing his little man Proof. Poor little Mitsi our car of 2 years down on the bonnet he came with a bound.

Dressed like a pauper, fur head to foot, his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and chicken poop. A bundle of bottles clunked on his back, he looked like a dealer who smoked too much crack. His eyes all bloodshot, his dimples all scarred! His cheeks were all hollow his nose was all marred! His cranky little mouth was turned into a scowl and the beard on his chin all crusty with spew. The half smoked ciggy held tight in his teeth and the smoke it encircled him like seagulls at the beach. A broad sunken face and little beer belly, his breath wrecked of whiskey when he started yelling. And we laughed despite ourselves when he started to share.

A creepy wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave us anxiety and a lot of dread, he spoke a few words but nothing made sense and he filled all the spaces and called us all jerks before tapping his nose and picking a winner, he gave us a nod and sat to eat his dinner. He munched on some beans, cold fresh from the can and washed it old down with a warm bottle of Hahn. And then just like nothing he marched on his way with a little whistle but we heard him exclaim , ere he walked out of sight.

Happy Christmas to all, make sure you have boozy night! Merry Christmas from all our drunk bogan friends across the land. A Christmas classic just copped some of the A Mind of Its Own Brand…

Welcome to the A Mind of Its Own, Christmas survival Spectacular!!! Now normally we aren’t that big on Christmas it’s generally a time of year when we like to crawl into our hobbit hole for a couple of weeks to take some time off and recharge the batteries but there is something in the air this year, well something aside from smoke that’s choking the east coast. Ladies and Gentleman, having kids around at Christmas is great and this year there are plenty of them to share in the excitement with. Children make Christmas and stop us from over indulging on the eggnog or Christmas sherry as well as helping us to run off mum’s Christmas ham. We literally had to stop writing for several minutes in order to stop making everything rhyme but now that we are back we’ll get into the festive spirit and give you the ultimate, go to guide for surviving the Christmas and New Year period in Australia this 2019.

In reality what we are giving you is nothing but common sense. In saying that a lot of us need to be told what’s good for us or what we should be doing from time to time. So as our Christmas present to you all we decided to put together the following tips to help you through the festive period and ensure you all there with us in the new year reading our little blog. We’d make you read it anyway whether you liked it or not. Plus what other blog do you get to learn about racing vibrators, bumper stickers, bin chickens, masturbation, the Dunbar number and self help books. We are only weeks away from doing our annual year in review and this year has been a big one for the team at A Mind of Its Own. So getting back on track…

First things first, before we get started, Air Conditioning is a must across this wide brown land you’ll need that cool breeze to keep you refreshed over the period otherwise you’ll start looking like, a dried up squashed toad on the side of the road in Queensland. Secondly a source of water to lounge around in is always a good thing to have available. Whether it be the dam, neighbors pool or the dogs clam shell. If you have to borrow the dogs shell pool it can be quite uncomfortable especially when man’s best friend tries to get in with you and your tinnies to cool down a little. Thirdly drink only cans, they float better than bottles and stay cooler longer. They are also easier to recycle than bottles. We think, some research may need to be conducted into whether that is or isn’t the actual case.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of surviving Christmas and new years. As many of you will know and have experienced, the festive season can often be a little difficult to navigate for those who suffer anxiety and depression. There are expectations both internally and externally that need to be navigated throughout the period but hopefully with our little survivor pack below those of us that often struggle a little, will be able to manage and cope a bit better. Remember there is nothing wrong in putting your hand up and saying you aren’t OK and this time of year is often a little harder on people for a lot of reasons.

  1. You can choose your Friends, but you can’t choose your Family…

We all know Christmas is a time for family and catching up with friends but there are times when it can all become a little too much. The best way to navigate this is to be open and honest, while you set expectations with everyone and often yourself. Whilst that is often easier said than done there are little ways you can you can manage those thoughts and feelings as they come creeping up on you. Set the expectation early that you may need to disappear or take some time out for yourself whether it be 5,10,15, 20 or more minutes. Take yourself out of the environment and get some fresh air into the lungs. It might be hard to open up to friends and family, but they will appreciate it if you do and it could avoid a lot of the “what’s wrong?” questions. Christmas can often be a time of conflict between families as priorities and preferences can often upset people when they feel like you aren’t giving them the time they need. Unfortunately this is always going to happen but just remember to put you and your family first. Those that are upset will get over it, eventually. Communication is key as always.

  1. Money, Money, Monneeeyyyy…

Finances this time of year can often be a little strained but here’s a red hot tip and again it flows on from point 1. Just be open and honest, you don’t need to go out for drinks or dinner to catch up with people. There are plenty of things you can do without breaking your bank. You can go for a walk, buy a bottle of wine and hangout instead of going to the pub, have a coffee. The choices are literally limitless and can be minimal or cost effective. As for presents well there is always a secret Santa, where you buy one present of a certain value for someone in the family. Whilst it is a time of giving if you can’t afford to give, don’t! Stay within your limits. Again just be open and honest and in most cases people will actually respect you for it, as they may be thinking the exact same thing. Make sure you budget and stick to your budget, try to forecast a surplus, that little savings nest egg will come in handy later in the month or potentially in the new year.

  1. I’m an Exerciser…

With this time of year being one of the busiest and everyone rushing to get things done and closed out before they go on leave, we often stretch ourselves a little thin. Burning the candle at both ends while often involving a lot of fun and seeing friends and family it can become detrimental to your health. Both mentally and physically. If you have a regular routine make the time to stick to it, as close to it as possible. We know it’s often hard when you have family and friends around at this time of year however you need to make time for yourself. The time for you to do the things you enjoy is always good for your mental health and for those around you over the busy period. Things like yoga, gym, meditation and the like are always good and you need to keep doing them if they are a regular occurrence in your life. Worst case get out for a walk or run but if you are generally an active person make sure you stay active. Just because things become a little busier doesn’t mean you should cut out the things that make you happy and keep you sane.

  1. Social Media Bleedia…

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media could have a direct impact on how good you feel this festive season, yes we know we live in a connected world but let’s be honest, generally people only post the good times in there lives. There are studies that point to the fact that looking at other peoples lives via “The Socials” we often get the feeling of missing out and in some cases start to question our own lives. Yes FOMO is a real thing ladies and gentlemen. The holidays, the gender reveals, the babies, family times, the body image and catch ups with good friends. It can and often does have an impact on people’s mental health looking at all of the images and posts of people who seem to be happy and have no issues in their lives. They do but as humans we can now hide behind the mask of social media. From time to time we can often get paid to have our every movement and soft core porn grace the screens and devices of people around the world. It’s yet another thing in our lives that allows us to not have to deal with our own issues.

  1. The Thirst…

Whilst we all love a couple of tinnies or glasses of vino over the festive period we are advocates of everything in moderation. No matter what your choice of poison, drink responsibly. That includes mum’s glazed ham that smells so delicious out in the kitchen. Or the kilo of prawns sitting in the fridge waiting for you to peel. Eat with your belly not with your eyes, over indulgence throughout the festive period whether it be food or alcohol can often lead to heightening of our mental health issues and just poor health in general. Everything in moderation as they say and just because it’s there in front of you doesn’t mean you have to have it. As you all know, alcohol is a depressant and when you are already feeling a little under the weather due to the time of year, adding fuel to the fire isn’t always the best idea, particularly when you have to deal with everything. So whilst we aren’t saying don’t have a good time we are saying maybe have a couple less this year and see if it helps improve things.

  1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…

They say to focus on the positives but when your brain is playing tricks on you and spinning at a million miles an hour trying to process and question everything it’s often hard to do. You hear of people talking about gratitude and ensuring you know what you are grateful for in your life. It’s especially important during the festive period to try and focus on the good in your life. The people you want to spend time with, the people you want to waste your time on. As you know time is precious and we should be spending it on the people we want to waste our time and energy on along with doing the things that make us happy. Again if there is something you want to do, make sure you do it, or communicate that you want to do it. Throughout the period the more you talk the more you will achieve and the more you will be at peace within yourself.

So the moral of our survival edition is basically this or the Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) during this festive period, communication will solve a lot of your issues and as selfish as it sounds you need to look after you first and foremost. That’s the crux of it ladies and gentlemen. By doing this you could actually be helping those around you and you’ll find you’ll enjoy the period a lot more. You’ll be less anxious, less stressed and will be able to combat those mental health issues that tend to flare for a lot of people this time of year. Whilst we all have to compromise from time to time the more we talk about it the easier things are on everyone. Lastly a reminder that it’s OK to ask for help or to say that you are not OK. It’s generally at this time of year that people need help or are struggling a little and that conversation and asking them if they are OK can go a long, long way.

And so we leave you for another week and this time we can wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! This isn’t the last you’ll hear from us for the year, we still have a year in review to write for you and there is always a Christmas party story or something political that could no doubt rear its head within the next couple of weeks. After all we are waiting got Trumpasaurus Rex to be impeached. But for now it’s a good night or day depending where you are and as we said a Merry Christmas to you all! Felice Navidad…