With Friends like you, Who needs Friends…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, there’s toys in every store if you head to the toy section all year round not just at christmas and if we go to the butcher we can guaranteed unless you are going to play with your Christmas Ham they aren’t going to have toys so the song is doing a little false advertising but that’s ok. Like Easter though as soon as one major event is over it’s time to roll out the next. In this case most shopping centres have been rolling out their christmas decorations since October. Christmas tunes are blasting our years as of November and come the start of December there is no escaping the fact that Christmas is well and truly upon us, followed very closely by new years and then before you know it Australia (Invasion) Day. After Australia/invasion Day you can finally relax and enjoy some down time until easter but you will start to see easter eggs as of the 27th of January.

We’ve lit the candles on another cake and started the macarena in order to celebrate in style. The padlock has come off the drinks fridge and someone has said it’s time to party like it’s nineteen ninety nine. Does that mean we should all hide and worry about the Y2K bug or channel our inner Prince throw on our best purple velvet suit and rock out? Who knows but for the team here it’s GO time and time to celebrate all the good things that came with the year. Time to let the hair down and time to throw the rule book out the window along with all our cares in the world. So tip your head back, throw back a drink or two and settle in with us to celebrate. By the way the title has nothing to do with the Blog as per usual and we are still waiting for someone to tell us what they all have in common…

So with the year creeping rapidly towards a close and A Mind of Its Own reaching yet another major milestone with this post. We thought why not look back on the best of the blog through 2018. With the half century now posted on the scoreboard we are waving our bat and saluting the crowd unlike the Australian cricket team who are still suffering from the ball tampering incident earlier in the year and are coping it from the Indian’s currently tourning. As we salute the stadium and our fans (that’s you guys) from being such good sports and being so patient with us throughout the year. We thank you for providing us with some great feedback, your continued support and your viewership on a weekly basis. Without you guys this blog wouldn’t work and we certainly wouldn’t have managed to write about some of the more stranger topics that we have covered over the year like Trump’s Space Force which we are still super excited about if it ever grows legs. It’ll be the best thing he’s done since the apprentice.

We also wouldn’t have entered contests like shit blog weekly and dunny readers anonymous or the Australian Blog awards. Saving that last one for our 2019 debut into the blogosphere. Truth be told we’ve loved every minute and every edition on of A Mind of Its Own in 2019. We’ve grown the family and added two office dogs who do very little to contribute other than tearing up the cease and desist letters we fail to receive on a weekly basis as our mail clerks seem to spend more time chewing them, than reading them. In some ways we are lucky that we are a totally digital platform otherwise I can guarantee a lot of these blogs wouldn’t have made it to print with those to furballs.

In what was a big year we managed to make a mockery of the Commonwealth Games, attack the plastic fantastics on the Gold Coast on more than one occasion, Harass Trump on several occasions, find the infamous owl statue in Canberra that looks more like a penis, no we are not joking about that just google owl+penis statue+Canberra and laugh continually at the bosses run of misfortune when it came to travelling for the job that keeps the doors open to this fine establishment. The writing was superfluous, we handed over the reigns on more than one occasion and even let the office pooches have there say or two. We put ourselves at the edge of our comfort zones and pushed our bodies to the limit to give you what we call life in a nutshell. There were diets and fads, gym sessions and drinking, fashion and travel. There wasn’t a topic too big or too small that couldn’t take on A Mind of Its Own…

From bumper stickers to ball tampering we covered it all and gave it that special twist that you’ve come to love and respect from the team. There have been heartfelt moments, tears, more than a few tantrums and on the odd occasion a little blood in our endeavour to bring a voice to the topics our fans want covered. A lot pain goes into finding things that people don’t want to talk about. We are raw, open and honest with our thoughts, feelings and often criticism as we poke fun and holes in things throughout each blog. Inspiration has been found through various different mediums whether it be an event, a situation or a person, something has inspired us to write the 49 blogs that have come before this one and the however many that will certainly follow. The team are not done yet unravelling the mysteries of the world around us. With a new year there will certainly be a whole heap of new topics coping our no holds bar approach.

So what did we cover over the year? We started out with Music and discussing everyone’s theme songs before moving onto Arsegate The Commonwealth Games greatest shame, the bunnings sandpaper bonanza, a look at Australia’s most favourite and endeared bird that should replace the emu on the coat of arms. We touched on questionable tattoos, athletes decisions, man’s need to fuck things up. There wasn’t a topic that didn’t make it to the drawing board in the office before some bright spark in legal told us it was a big no, no to write about that or unethical, in fact the works politically correct were used on more than one occasion forcing us to stop, look and listen like we were crossing a mental road. We continue to advocate that it is ok to talk about mental health issues particularly if you are a man and we even reviewed a video game or two.

We’ve renewed our free subscription to Google in order to search for any information we don’t have on hardfile or can’t get off the streets or our trusty informants who continually drop knowledge bombs like red spots specials at your local supermarket. We are also entering into the PodCast arena with a sweet little doozy that will be called ‘Blankety, Blank, Blank powered by A Mind of Its Own’ Your favourite blog gets a real voice unfortunately both James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman were way too expensive and also unavailable so you’ll be stuck with the not so dulcet tones of the boss as he nasals his way through a different topic each week with hopefully some special guests and hosts otherwise it may not be a long living podcast that you will all grow tired of fairly quickly.

From year to year we’ve set goals, this year was all about discovering our style and setting up a fan base. In the new year we’ll set some big goals and like Buddy Franklin wheel around to our left and let fly from fifty through the middle. Why will we achieve our goals? That’s simple because of the people that read this blog week in week out. It’s you guys that make this blog, it’s you guys that we’ll continue to write for and continue to work hard at bringing you the topics that really matter both home and abroad. So with our 50th blog we thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read our weekly post. Our fans are our biggest source of inspiration.

Without further adieu happy 50th blog post to us, at the beginning of the year had someone asked us if we’d write almost a post a week we probably would have said NO, but it’s become a religious thing for us by which we feel extremely bad if we haven’t posted for the week. We have some amazing fans who continually leave us comments on the website or for those that know the writers and personally comment to them about one of the posts or a specific line. Again we thank all of the fans from the casual readers to the die hard never miss a post fans.

To the next milestone we are thinking we’ll do it in quarters but who knows we might just let you all know once we’ve cracked the ton and can wave the bat around for the second time proudly knowing we’ve achieved another major milestone. But like they say you have to celebrate the wins no matter how big so we’ll celebrate when we can. In the office we’ve cracked open a nice bottle of scotch shared a dram or two and stumbled out to celebrate with friends and family. Or in some cases on our own or with the office hounds.

Until next week and another new post we bid you farewell and hope you’ve cracked a can or two in our honor. If you don’t read next week blogs we wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate this time of year. It’s a time for family and friends. And as a side note we don’t condone drinking, we do condone celebrating, enjoying yourselves, having fun and by all means being safe! As long as it’s in moderation! Adios Amigos!

Leave the War with Me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Devil on my shoulder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifeline Australia

13 11 14

http://www.lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue

1300 224 636

http://www.beyondblue.org.au

Are you still having fun…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limelight…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assemble the Empire…

In an effort to keep the momentum going, A Mind of Its Own is looking into the future, not in a Marty McFly back to the future kind of way. Mainly our future and where we are going as a movement, as a blog and more importantly as the think tank we feel we’ve become. Our intention is not to preach, educate or push our opinions but to let your mind wander in amazement at the world we live in as you (The reader) switch on the old noggin and think about the topics before you. We look to inspire and provoke the creative side of your brain in an effort to create conversation and wonderment.

No less than two years ago you would not be reading any of this. All writing from this particular writer was personal and off-limits even to those closest to him. Confidence in himself and the ability to write something interesting let alone thought-provoking were at an all time low, in fact truthfully they were non-existent. Besides those points the mindset to put writing out there for others to read and share. Wind the clock forward two years and you have numerous blogs and a book on the way. What changed you ask? A lot changed, but the biggest change of all was acceptance of who he was and where he was headed.

The first part was admitting the need for help and admitting to himself that he needed to allow his brain to just let the thoughts flow. The minute that acceptance was granted was the moment the thoughts became clear and the mind was finally not just a jumble of thoughts but a myriad of possibilities. The creative portion of the brain was finally allowed to operate freely without any restrictions or fears to where those thoughts might lead once they were put on paper of listed in a word document or google document before being divulged to the public by way of blog post.

It didn’t happen in one instantaneous moment like a flash of lightning striking the earth, it took a long hard journey with many ups and downs. Before the rebuilding of the mind, body and soul could commence. It was something that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of family and friends. There were changes that needed to be made to the mindset and acceptance that a busy mind isn’t a curse. Out of chaos often comes beauty from rebirth, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. In this case it was a creative ability that was willing to throw caution to the wind and put fear of judgement aside. To allow you to read thoughts, feelings, fears, opinions and options open to the world.

What came from that is the blog you are now hopefully subscribed to including this one you are reading and several extracts from a book that will be released later in the year. Does that make us a little scared? Yeah more than a little… Even for the most extroverted person in the world it is still often hard to put yourself out there for all to see and judge. I guess that’s one of the things wrong with Human beings we are often quick to judge. At some point we all need to learn ourselves before we judge someone else. But who are we to instruct on how you should treat others heck, if the government won’t apologise properly for the stolen generation why shouldn’t we or you for that matter pass judgement?

We’ve worked out that A Mind of Its Own is not for everyone, it’s often a little quirky and like the name it does often deviate off on a tangent, taking a mind of its own. We head down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland with each and every topic pouring our heart and soul into every piece whilst giving it a touch of A Mind of It’s Own magic to make it even the darkest topics seem a little lighter as they flow from your screen to little part of mind that gets you thinking and questioning everything you already knew about life.

So what are we going to do with A Mind of Its Own and where to from here? Well if we are honest we’d like to get the public involved a little more. We’d like to get requests for topics from our loyal and supportive fans. There are plans to throw a podcast into the mix and we’ll be showcasing a lot more of this writers coming debut novel. One thing we can promise you is that we’ll continue to write with our no holds bar, comedic style about topics that may fly under the radar or more specifically your radar.

We’ll expand our reach utilising social media platforms and hopefully word of mouth from you our readers in order to grow our user base. Before heading to Washington and challenging Trump for the presidency. We figure we’ll challenging him to an old-fashioned duel on the white house lawn. Back to reality we just hope to continue to bring you some good writing that can make you laugh and forget about your worries while you focus on the house of cards that is the world. One strong wind and it’s all coming down around us.

In an attempt to answer the question of where A Mind of Its Own is going. Well we could have done that in one word. Nowhere. Well nowhere in terms of it’s not going to disappear. If anything it will grow and we’ll spread across platforms, mediums and where ever else we can make our presence felt. Who knows we might even get some t-shirts made for you to purchase should you want to support your favourite new blog on the net and keep a roof over our heads. Ok now we are getting ahead of ourselves but as they say… Dream big or go home.

So as we assemble our empire and prepare to take over the world one blog at a time. You’ve been fortunate enough to read this weeks installment of Doc Brown’s favourite blog from the future. We’ve joined forces to with Marty McFly to ensure you’re aren’t chicken and continue reading. Until next week thanks once again and we hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into the thoughts on where we’d like to take this here blog and any other outlets of media we decide to pursue in getting our public service announcements to the greater public. Until the next episode jump in the DeLorean and take a trip down memory lane or into the future.

New York State of Mind…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Set Phasers to Stun…

Born in the driver’s seat of a Toyota Prius stuck in the usual Monday to Friday chaos that is the M1 motorway on my way up to the plastic beach scene that is the Gold Coast, this week’s instalment of A Mind of its Own was born out of pure hilarity thanks to the young man driving in front of me who clearly thought he was hot stuff in his fluro workwear and cheap petrol station sunnies.

So much can be said about the youth of today, so much so that I won’t even get started but this morning I saw a bumper sticker that pretty much pulled all of my thoughts about the youth of today, to front of mind and made me want to fashion a knife out of the McDonald’s straw on the floor to stab myself in the eyes so I didn’t have to read the downright stupidity plastered all over the P platers car stopped in front of me at the lights.

Clearly trying to make up for his lack of ability to lure in a suitable mate, the primate sitting in his Ute, window down, it was raining mind you, mullet flowing gloriously down the back of his neck and a tattoo sleeve that no artist would be proud to say was there work. Had more stickers plastered over the tailgate of his 1998 Holden Commodore than a children’s sticker book. Safe to say if you had a kid you wouldn’t not want them to understand the vulgarity of half the things stuck to the chipping paint job of the young tradesman’s vehicle.

So despite his distinguished appearance and classy manners as he turned spitting all over the car next to him, this charmer was clearly a hit with the ladies. Some of the best and no doubt classiest pick up lines in this kids vocabulary had to of come from his choice of cheap bumper stickers. With classics like ‘No Fat chicks, my ride will drag” to “Fat chicks, shoot em don’t root em” I started to wonder what this classy member of our societies parents were like and whether he had an ounce of ability to say something to woman that wasn’t sexiest, chauvinistic or bigoted.

Here at A Mind of its Own we try not to judge people on their appearance or choice of bumper stickers however the kid wasn’t doing himself any favours. From vulgar statements through to stickers of women in compromising positions with no clothes on and the creme de la creme of stickers plastered on his back window ‘No Root, No ride’ I’d be questioning any parents judgement letting their daughter step into this pillar of societies vehicle. I mean if he had one of those stick families sure I might think twice but there wasn’t even stick figures trying to procreate. If the MeToo campaign wanted a poster child of what young men should not be like this kids car wasn’t doing him any favours.

Watching him release the clutch, put his foot to the floor and grind through his gears while he sped off, I started to think about bumper stickers and what possesses people to plaster them on their precious vehicles. Thankfully not everyone’s choice’s are vulgar or disturbing but I still question whether they are a waste of money. Stick families, baby on board, my other car, these stickers aren’t handed out or found as freebies in magazines so what possesses people to fork out their hard-earned cash to ensure the people behind them receive a benign message they may, or may not remember five minutes down the road.

That being said the man or woman who came up with the idea to place a sticker on the back of a motor vehicle and saw the opportunity to milk the masses for a couple of bucks here or there was an absolute genius! Writing that I do feel that perhaps we also aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed if we aren’t seeing its a waste of money. I’d love to say it’s just the P platers but I know many an adult who has bought a sticker to draw attention to their automobile over the years.

Yes we know you just got a BMW it has its own badges to tell me what it is you don’t need to go and get the performance works sticker on the back so it looks like you’ve gone for the upgrade. Oh you have a baby on board? Why are you doing 120 in an 80 zone than love? Stickers, stickers, stickers and more contradictions than the King James Version of the bible. My favourite is the advertisement that a child goes to a private school I NEVER would have guessed by the type of vehicle you are driving and you never see those on a Ute they are usually emblazoned on the back of BMW, Audi, Volvo, Land Rovers or other high-end motor vehicles.

The choices are outstanding and every petrol station from here to Timbuktu stocks them. The Yanks love them, the Europeans all have them and us Aussies well if we are from the country you can bet we’ll at least have an R.M Williams sticker somewhere on the car as well as one advertising their local pub and no doubt something degrading towards women or people who are attracted to the other sex. Either way it’s all very redneck once our country folk get involved. The options when it comes to picking what to adorn your vehicle with are endless.

So bumper stickers, big waste of time and money? We’ll leave it for the public to decide one thing we have worked out though if you are trying to make a good impression make sure your bumper stickers and stick family aren’t involved in lude, rude or crude behaviour, there is a time and place for that and plastered all over your car isn’t going to help you. Like a chapter of how to win friends and influence people we’ll give you this advice for free. Life is like a box of chocolates and no one like the Turkish delights no matter how much they tell you they do.

Over and out till next week’s insightful chapter of A Mind of its own…