Tuesday, 10 April 2012

And now a post full of random things...

...Not all Josh related I promise :-)

One of my recent additions to favourite Josh Groban lyrics. Easily my favourite line from his song "You are loved (Don't give up)"
(Found - I'm pretty sure I saw it on fuckyeahjoshgroban, but hunting through their blog is not finding where)

Books! The best weapons in the world!
(found here)

Because it makes me laugh...
(found here)

And finally: This
(Okay, perhaps I am obsessed... :-D )

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Because just what you need when you're trying to get through depression is an email like that...

I have been upset for the past 6hrs or so since I read the email that has prompted this post. Here is my response. I have tried very hard to respond like a mature adult because the last thing you want to do when complaining about someone treating you like a child is respond like one. I don't know if I succeeded - probably not as well as I would have liked - but it sure is better than what I would have wrote if I'd replied earlier.

To ___,

I'm sure it wasn't your intention, but your email comes across as that I am not welcome to come and stay with you. Also I feel like you are treating me like a child. I am certain that you would have expressed your house rules differently if you had been writing to an adult friend who was coming to stay with you.

Possibly you are lumping me in with ____. I hate it when people do that. I am not him.

I do not feel like coming to stay with you or even coming up for Easter lunch any more. I will think about it tomorrow and may change my mind but at this point I am not coming. I would rather be lonely by myself here and struggle with my depression on my own, than impose or be treated like a child.




Would a mature adult have just "let it go"? I know the person who wrote to me probably didn't mean to upset me. I know that they've been super busy recently and probably typed it out without thinking about how they were coming across. On the other hand I have no doubt that if they had been writing to a friend who was coming to stay with them they would have expressed things differently (regardless of how busy they were).

I'm reminded of a chapter from one of my favourite books. Since quoting the chapter would take up too much space, I have just included a couple of the most pertinent paragraphs here (emphasis mine):
"[...] there are things you can do when you react with pain and hurt to what another is being, saying, or doing. The first is to admit honestly to yourself and to another exactly how you are feeling. This many of you are afraid to do, because you think it will make you “look bad.” Somewhere, deep inside of you, you realize that it probably is ridiculous for you to “feel that way.” It probably is small of you. You are “bigger than that.” But you can’t help it. You still feel that way.

There is only one thing you can do. You must honor your feelings.

[....] Yes, the things that others think, say, or do will sometimes hurt you — until they do not anymore. What will get you from here to there most quickly is total honesty — being willing to assert, acknowledge, and declare exactly how you feel about a thing. Say your truth — kindly, but fully and completely. Live your truth, gently, but totally and consistently. Change your truth easily and quickly when your experience brings you new clarity.

No one in right mind, least of all God, would tell you, when you are hurt in a relationship, to “stand aside from it, cause it to mean nothing.” If you are now hurting, it is too late to cause it to mean nothing. Your task now is to decide what it does mean — and to demonstrate that. For in so doing, you choose and become Who You Seek to Be."
- Conversations with God Book 1

Friday, 30 March 2012

So what have I actually been doing with myself...?

Recently a number of people have been asking me what I am actually doing with my time down here at my mum's place. Generally I talk about the Photoshop course I'm doing one night a week and then deflect the question.

This post is partially for those people, but mainly because I think it's important to talk about this topic. If sharing my experience helps even just one person in the future (even if that person is my future self looking back through my blog) then it will have been worth couple of hours I've just spent trying to work out how to write about it.

Depression is a difficult subject to talk about, but reading this article I stumbled across the other week made me want to recommend the article to everyone I know. Because if I'd known more about depression earlier - or if someone in my life had known enough to point me towards help when I'd struggled with (undiagnosed) depression at other times in my life - who knows how different my life would have been...

Emma Jane in the article linked above puts it this way:
"I feel terribly self-conscious sharing such a harrowing and intimate story in public. (Most people in my life have no idea.)

But Andrew Robb's book Black Dog Daze and next Saturday's World Suicide Prevention Day have reminded me of something important: that while talking about mental illness may be excruciating, not talking can be fatal.

In fact, I reckon those of us who can emotionally finance disclosure may have a moral imperative to do so because so many others suffer in such deadly silence and stigma."
I absolutely agree.

It's not that I'm not happy to talk about this with people in person, but it is awkward to tell people. Especially if it's a group situation. It's difficult enough in one-on-one conversations to bring up the fact that "actually I spent most of my time last month either a) playing computer games to forget about how depressed I am or b) being depressed, sometimes so much so, that I was unsure whether I would make it to 28th birthday"

And then there's the fact that there's still a lot of misunderstanding around depression. If I haven't talked to someone about it before, I don't know how they're going to react. Perhaps they've had experience with depression (personal experience or someone they're close to), or perhaps they'll turn out to be one of those people who "doesn't believe in depression". Having to deal with someone's misunderstandings around depression can be really difficult.
"Misunderstanding about depression can give a depressed person even more of a focus for self hate," she says. "When people I know tell me to cheer up or to just snap out of it, I start to blame myself for the way I feel, and it has taken me many years to trust myself enough to know that it is not my fault and that I deserve happiness."
- The Stigmas of Depression by Dave Ward

So this is a hard post to write and publish in such a public forum, but it's made somewhat easier by the fact that the situation I outlined earlier is no longer true. Yes, 3-4 months ago I quite likely would have answered that way. Today things are better. Not perfect by a long way, but better.

So in answer to the question - the majority of my time is spent on recovering from depression.

Which involves:
  • Weekly sessions with my excellent psychologist. (Who I thoroughly recommend if you're around here and need one)

  • Making exercise a non-negotiable part of my day. Every day. (ie. "Even if I do nothing else today, I will still make myself spend 30min at a brisk walk on mum's treadmill). I've never liked exercise by the way, just to put that in perspective.

  • Doing things I enjoy and/or that give me a sense of having achieved something (cooking, photoshop course, piano, blogging, catching up with people)

  • Trying to slowly get through the HUGE backlog of things I really should have done but haven't. (And am probably being penalized in some way or other for not doing - whether it's late fees on financial things, or friendships declining due to not getting back to people)

  • Doing things that allow me to forget the depression temporarily (escapism - mainly computer games)

  • I also put a fair bit of effort into trying to avoid cane sugar, and trying to avoid getting run down. Neither of which are as easy to avoid as they may seem, but I do my best because both of these things seem to make me fall into moderate/severe depression much more easily

Progress is measured mostly by how much strength and energy I have to do things, and partially by keeping track of my overall mood (ie my average mood over the space of a week or so). Spending more time doing things I like each week and less time in escapism, is progress. Spending more time doing things that really ought to have been done already and less time lying around feeling depressed is progress.

I was on anti-depressants for a couple of months. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not keen on drugs of any kind even prescription drugs. (That was the understated way of putting it, by the way...) The point at which I gave in was when I realised that the main reason I had for not killing myself was that it was just before Christmas and it'd be - slightly - more considerate to my family to wait until January. Due to the drugs, taking up exercising daily, and finally finding a psychologist who was right for me in this town, January wasn't as bad and it's been slowly (ever so slowly) upwards since then.

However I'm glad to now be off the drugs for a number of reasons I won't go into here. My deal (with myself and my doctor) was that I could go off the anti-depressants provided I continued to stick to daily exercise. That is my anti-depressant now. It is my top priority.

I don't know why I happen to be one of those people who is prone to depression. While I have a fairly good idea of what triggered this episode - which I believe started in June last year - and what made it much more difficult to recover from, I don't know why I tend towards depression rather than (for example) drowning my sorrows in alcohol, or throwing myself into work, or - heaven forbid - actually dealing with things easily and getting on with my life.

I do know, however, that depression is something I have struggled with at other times in my life. It just wasn't diagnosed as depression. I certainly struggled with undiagnosed depression throughout most of my teenager years and I can think of at least 2 times between then and now when I was probably depressed for some months but unaware that's what it was.

To quote Emma Jane's article again:

"These days, I view depression as being like diabetes, asthma or any other chronic illness requiring ongoing management.

Having an unquiet mind is my particular health burden and I've just had to get my head around the prospect of being on and off medication and in and out of therapy forever.

Sure, it can be expensive, inconvenient and embarrassing. But [...] the worst-case consequences of letting things slide are just too, too grave."

I personally am refusing to accept the prospect of being on and off medication for the rest of my life. But the other part of that sentence, the part about the prospect of being in and out of therapy forever... is something I've been thinking about recently.


Acknowledgements due to Take it from me, the black dog's bite need not be fatal by Emma Jane. Which really is an excellent article, please go over there and read it.

If you have never experienced depression yourself, I encourage you to learn more about it. Doing so might just save one of your friends' or family members' lives in the future, or it could simply make their struggle with depression easier for them. Here's a good place to start. And here's another article to continue with.

In Australia you can get a medicare rebate for the majority of a psychologist's fee, provided you have a referral from a GP. You're allowed 10 sessions a year under medicare. It's not hard to get a referral to a psychologist from a GP, or at least it wasn't for me. Sometimes finding a psychologist that you click with is difficult. Don't be afraid to try another psychologist if the first one you try doesn't seem right. I had sessions two other psychologists before I found the right person. Persevere until you find one that suits you. It's worth it.

Your GP can also give you a medical certificate to take to Centrelink, which allows you to receive Centrelink unemployment benefits without having to meet the fortnightly job search requirements. It's not a great deal of money but it's sufficient for me to live off considering I'm not paying rent. It allows me to pay the gap between the cost of the psychology sessions and the amount medicare refunds you, and it's what will allow me to continue seeing the psychologist on a fortnightly basis when my medicare subsidized sessions run out in a couple of weeks time. Full price is expensive. And if anyone sees it as having a holiday at Centrelink's expense... Well, I would happily swap these payments for not having to live with this depression any day. Yes it is nice to not have to work at the moment. But the other side of the coin - the part of it that made me eligible for these payments - is seriously not worth it. Not even if Centrelink was paying 5 times as much as they do.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Saturday, 24 March 2012

I caved...

...about 20mins after I wrote that post

iPhone -> iTunes -> buy "You are loved (Don't give up)"

Now I can listen to it anytime :-D

Dear Josh, I want to marry you and have your babies...

Okay, maybe not quite... But..

Words cannot express how much I love Josh Groban. I've been known to listen to one cd by him every time I drove my car for months on end without changing it. Sometimes I've listened to one song for days on end because it just fits. One of the bigger regrets I have - I didn't discover how much I loved him until after his last Australian tour (2007)... Seriously, if I could go back to 2007 and only do one thing? I'd be there. Okay so it helps that not much else comes to mind about 2007 right at this moment, but still... I'm sure that even if I did come up with some other possibilities, either seeing Josh live would win or it'd be really a tough choice.

I've been re-watching the Awake: Live dvd recently. It's my current "treadmill entertainment". The only downside? I end up completely out of breath after only 15 min because I'm singing along at the top of my lungs (not such a good idea on a brisk walk, but I just can't help it). And my favorite part - the behind the scenes extras where Josh tells you about what it's like being on the road, performing, and hanging with his band... OMG *love* Not just for his self depreciating humour or letting people see into his life, but also because I'm amazed that he is still humble even after selling out 15 000 seat arenas on a regular basis. Also I want to work with people as awesome as your band, Josh. Can you send me them?

Quoting the lyrics to his songs just doesn't do them justice - you have to hear him sing them! - but I'm going to do it anyway. My favorite song of all time will probably always be Awake, but I've quoted that before so instead here are excerpts from two songs that I didn't remember how awesome they are until recently.

"And it's no one's fault
There's no black and white
Only you and me
On this endless night
And as the hours run away
With another life
Oh, darling can't you see
It's now or never
It's now or never..."

- Now or Never, Josh Groban

"Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I...I will lift it for you

Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I...I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved"

- You are loved (Don't give up), Josh Groban

Sigh, now I want to listen to them, but I only have them on the Awake DVD...

Monday, 19 March 2012

On marriage equality...

Tonight I sent in a submission on the Australian senate inquiry into marriage equality.

You can support marriage equality in Australia by sending a submission here:

I strongly encourage you to complete this form if, like me, you believe that same-sex couples should have the same right to get married as heterosexual couples. Closing date is April 2nd.

The default message is as follows:


Dear Committee Secretary,

As an Australian who believes same-sex couples should be able to marry, I strongly support the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010.

The Bill is an important step towards providing legal equality for same-sex partners and removing discrimination against them.

The Bill will strengthen relationships, families and marriage, and will make Australia a fairer and more inclusive nation.

I support provisions of the Bill which will allow a celebrant who is a minister of religion to refuse to marry same-sex partners.

I oppose civil unions as a substitute for full equality in marriage for same-sex partners.

I added some of my own comments in the further information box:

Repeated polling shows that the majority of Australian's support marriage equality. Please update our laws to reflect the majority view, rather than that of the vocal minority who speak out loudly in the hope that they can drown out the rest of us.

I may not be paying for controversial (and offensive) ads in the paper like Bob Katter, but my view is no less valid for the fact that I speak it quietly but firmly.

Come on Australia, it's time to step and show the world that this is a place where people of all sexual preferences can live without stigma or discrimination.

Thank you,

Jess Carrier

27 year old heterosexual female who believes her gay and lesbian friends should have the same rights she has.

I give you permission to use my comments if you want to/can't think of your own... So go on support marriage equality in Australia.

A summary of polls done on support for marriage equality can be found here.

Rough day

Rough day. I don't understand why people think it's acceptable to pike at the last minute. Not the genuine "car broke down" / "too sick to leave the house" / etc which of course is understandable, but instead piking at the last minute simply because they chose something else over spending time with me, despite the fact that I had specifically chosen Sunday instead of Saturday because they wanted me to have it on Sunday. [insert non-complimentary comments about people here]. You knew this was happening, you knew that I'd deliberately scheduled it to fit in with you, and yet you still made choices today that meant you had to text me less than one hour beforehand and say you couldn't make it.

Well f--- you! I don't really care if other people think this is acceptable or not. It really shits me when people do this. Pretty much guarantees I'll be reconsidering your place in my life, and whether I should be bothering to maintain the friendship/relationship/whatever is was we had. Frankly I'm probably better off anyway hanging around with people who, like me, don't consider this acceptable behaviour.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Quotes to live by

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" - Dr Suess