Tag Archives: stigma

Still, we walk

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Most people take a selfy at the beach and they look hot and beautiful and dignified. I take a selfy at the beach and I look like this:

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I am not classy, nor dignified. At this point I was being whipped by sand, my hair was in afro mode and I had hit the halfway point on my walk and realised that I had a particularly full bladder.

But still, we walk.

I’m currently doing the Walk for Autism. I’m on day two of seven days of 10000 steps. I generally do around that many each day anyway, but this is for a purpose.

What’s funny is that I think this walk is for promoting Autism spectrum awareness. I think awareness is shit. You can be aware of speed limits and ignore them. You can be aware of it being hot and know that you’re going to be out in the sun, and still choose to not wear sunscreen or a hat. Awareness doesn’t do anything.

I think we maybe need to be walking towards something more like acceptance, or acknowledgement. Seeing the speed limit and accepting it and following it. Seeing the sun and accepting it and respecting it. Seeing people who operate differently to you, and accepting them.

But these words mean nothing if we don’t actually teach each other how to accept. Which won’t happen, unless we actually want it to. Which is kind of sad.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Biggest Loser. The new format has copped a fair bit of flack, mainly because there is a woman on it who is 78kg. As a result of the sliding audience numbers, it’s now being screened during the day instead of during prime time.

This has made me come to several conclusions.

1. We wanted our contestants to be less like the everyday population and more overweight. I’m not sure if this is about wanting to feel better about our own weight, or if it’s the appeal of gawking at people who have huge struggles with their health. Either way, every day Australians were not appealing enough to sustain a large enough audience to remain in prime time.

2. We don’t understand that whatever someone’s weight is, they still deserve the chance to work on creating a body that they are comfortable with. We should understand this. Gyms are full – full – of people who are at a healthy weight for their body shape. But they still go to the gym. Everyone has something that they’re not happy with. We need to stop being judgemental dickheads and start cheering on each other. You’re at the gym at 78kg? Bloody good on you. You’re at the gym at 160kg? Bloody good on you.

3. We wanted a spectacle and we didn’t get a spectacle. We wanted to watch extremely overweight people deciding to take part in food challenges and eating chocolate to get secret powers at eliminations and challenges. We wanted what we’ve watched for years on The Biggest Loser. The new format? I think it was better, and certainly more relevant. But, it’s not what people wanted. And if people don’t want to watch something then they’re not going to watch.

There are days when I am not sure what happened to the human race. And then there are moments when I see humans helping each other, and it’s nice.

I guess the point of this post is that awareness is shit. Acceptance is optional but preferred. People watch what they want to watch.

And at the end of the day?

Still, we walk.

 

 

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To share a meal

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I’ve just thrown dinner in the oven. For some reason when I did the groceries this week I was hit by an urge to recreate a meal that I used to have with a couple of friends when I was at uni. It was generally on a Wednesday night that we’d meet up and have dinner. This was when I was doing my Masters, and I was working at a school casually, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). It was a good job that I was petrified at, but managed to floss my way through because of the friends I had at the school.

We became good friends. I was at their weddings. One was at my mum’s funeral. We celebrated birthdays and hirings and firings and moving houses and adopting and accidents and near misses and life and grief and hope and disappointment and joy. And constantly through that time were these Wednesday night dinners. Usually fortnightly, unless we could do weekly.

The dinner that is in the oven? My memory tells me that it is great. But I am having a wondering, a moment of panic, thinking that it might have been what that time in my life represented that made it good. Because I loved those girls, loved hanging out with them and learning with them and growing with them.

And I can write this knowing that they won’t be reading it. They most likely have no idea this blog even exists. In fact, part of me wonders if they remember that even I exist, because I haven’t spoken to them in several years now.

Since I came out. Since who I am suddenly became completely unpalatable. Since I no longer fell in line with who they thought I was.

I’d really like to text them or ring them and let them know I’m cooking that meal. The one we giggled over. Shared thoughts over. Played games around. Talked about god and work and school and relationships.

I never thought it would end out this way. And there is gap in my life that they’ve left.

But the dinner still smells good.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Chicken & Asparagus Bake

Put 2 cups of cooked spiral noodles in a casserole dish. Throw some chunks of (raw) chicken breast on top, with some asparagus and some broccoli (or whatever veges are in the fridge). In a bowl, combine a tin of Cream of Asparagus soup, a cup of water, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp mixed herbs and some salt and pepper. Pour it over the chicken. Top with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Cook at 190 degrees for 45 minutes. 

This.

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I have a feeling it’s mental health month or something, because there is this sudden surge in social media about being supportive and asking if people are OK. I am well pleased about this, because mental illness is still something people get away with discriminating against, and it still wears robes of stigma and shame.

It’s great to ask, once a year, if people are OK.

When you have the hang of doing it once a year, go for twice. Then three times.

But hang on – what do you do if someone isn’t OK?

Friends, you don’t need to be Dr Expert. You don’t need to be anything. Just… human.

This. This image sums it up.

This is what you do.

ImageIf you need someone to hide in a nest with, let me know.

With much love, Miss N Corner xxx

Shout

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I think mental health is losing some of the stigma that it used to hang out with.

Or maybe that is just the world I reside in. I tend not to whisper about myself when I pop my daily happy pill anymore. I’m OK wit the fact that my brain needs a bit of a hand to get the chemical balances stable. I’m at ease with talking about most aspects of my mental health – I’m convinced that the more people who stand up and say “me too”, the less pain we create through assumed stigma.

I do tend to keep it to myself in everyday situations, though. I don’t want to be some door-knocker for depression, encouraging others to see the darkness and accept it into their lives.

There’s a difference between normal discussion and shame. I’m over the shame I felt about my depression and anxiety. I’m OK to talk about it. But I don’t think it is the new Amway or bondage porn novel.

The delightful Mrs Woog posted about her own dealings with the black dog today, and to be honest, that same creature has been humping at my legs lately.

My personal fifty shades of depression goes back to when I finished uni. Since then I’ve danced with self harm, turned to Christianity, realised I am gay and moved away from everything I know to get a fresh start. And what strikes me about this shit is that people often thank me for talking about it. Would it be the same with asthma or conjunctivitis? Why is it that mental health is still so untalked about? Why are we OK with admitting that our lungs might need steroids every now and then, but less OK with the need for mood stabilisers?

I hate that even now, I still need to be aware of my triggers and self care routines. I know, for example, that lack of sleep is bad for my mood. I know that there are times when I need – not want, but need – time out to get my head together. But the good thing about this is that I’ve had to come up with some strategies and techniques to manage these things.

I have a feeling it comes down to respect. The ability to respect yourself. And the ability of the well meaning people who love you to respect that you just might know what is best for yourself.

There are times when I am ashamed of my scars and my triggers. I deny them, hide them, ignore them. But really, there are only so many times you can tell people you have period pain, or that you fed the bears at the zoo, and the scars are a result of that.

I decided that if I had to deal with the shitty mental health I had, I would find a way to use it for good.

So, I did a mental health first aid course. Yes, they do exist. I became well versed in boundaries. And most importantly, I listened. To myself, and to people around me.

And I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve been able to support.

My hot tips for supporting someone with depression or anxiety? Listen. Trust them. Trust your instincts. Ask them questions. Ask who their support people are, and what techniques they use to manage the shit times. 

And if you are battling depression? It’s OK to get help. Remember that males and females experience depression very differently. Don’t assume.

Your gp is a great place to start.

It will get better.

posted from the befuddled mind of Kel…