Leave the War with Me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When the Night Falls Quiet…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motorcycle Driveby…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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