My life

Lurching from one disaster to another...just a suburban princess trying to get by!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


These days there is a lot of talk about mental illness in our community.  Ads on TV and the print media, endless online mentions, stories in the news and support from famous faces.

Beyond Blue and Mental Health week have recently received a lot of air-time of late.

Today I attended my weekly meditation class and we were discussing the stress response on the human body, more specifically how GP's deal with it.

Everyday people go to their GP and tell them they are stressed, can't sleep, aren't eating...whatever.  Quite often the doctor will just diagnose depression/anxiety and send the patient away with a prescription for a magic pill.  They take the medication for a bit, hopefully the stress resolves itself and they are "cured".

The statistics and costs of mental health issues on our community are both is the ignorance.

One woman piped up in the discussion and said, and I shit you not, "I don't believe in anti-depressants."  This broad and ridiculous comment stunned me.  It's a bit like saying "I don't believe in anti-biotics"!  Of course they aren't right for every situation, but when there is medication available to ease a person's suffering, and it sometimes doesn't get much worse than mental illness, why wouldn't you take it?

I myself am on medication, have been for quite a while, more than likely will be for the rest of my life. I don't just rely on medication though, I am learning as much as I can about my illness, reading everything I can get my hands on. I see a psychiatrist, a psychologist, I attend group therapy and am learning meditation, all to help me manage my condition.

And I think that's the key.  All too often medication is prescribed in isolation or to placate someone, when in reality, stress management, education and in some cases therapy combined with appropriate medication make all the difference.

Jo xxx

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Scent of WTF?

I was browsing Pintarest as I often do (it's very addictive isn't it?)

There is simply not enough time, money or quite frankly enough space in any one home for every idea, every craft item to make,or every dish to be cooked.

One thing I did find that you can be assured will not be finding it's way into my home is this candle. 


I can't even begin to imagine how they captured the aroma and have absolutely no idea why they would bother...I suspect a prank!

I guess it would go with the baby powder scented ones.

I personally would love to capture the smell of rain on a hot summers day in a candle.

What would you pick?
Love Jo xxx

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


My son is 18 years old.  He is well dressed, clean shaven and has short hair. 

At work he is often treated badly by customers, when he is only helping them.

He works nights, usually finishing between 11-12pm and walks the hour it takes to get home as there is no public transport then.

At least once a week he is pulled up by the police.  Sometimes questioned as to what he is up to at that hour (they think he is younger than he is despite the fact that he is 6'2"), sometimes he is searched, sometimes his details are taken.

He is without fail polite and co-operative, as he should be.

More often than not the police are aggressive in their manner and words.

I understand that being a police officer is often a hard and thankless job, but surely there should be a certain level of people skills required for the job.

When did it become OK for people to neglect basic manners, common courtesy and respect when dealing with those younger than us.

It would make everyone's life just a little bit brighter if we were all a little kinder to one another.

Don't you agree?

Love Jo xxx

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Side effects

Warning: This post contains details regarding mental health and suicide.
If you are unable to cope with these concepts or would rather not proceed then please don't read on.

The information supplied is from my personal experience and should not replace professional medical advice.
It's a sad fact that the medications used to treat mental illness, as well as most other illnesses I guess but I can't speak from personal experience about those, are riddled with horrible side effects.

Now some people handle medication beautifully, but my observation is that mental illness of any kind generally involves lots of tweaking and experimentation to get to a dosage that is acceptable.

Since I crashed and burned earlier this year I have gone through most of the medications available for Bipolar Disorder.  It turns out that I am particularly sensitive to medication and some of the side-effects are worse than the illness.

I have variously experienced over the last few months nausea, diarrhoea/constipation (TMI I know), dizziness, sleeplessness, grogginess, mania/crushing depression/suicidal tendencies/mixed episodes (a bit of each), rashes, blurred vision, sensitive eyes, sensitive skin, high blood pressure and changes to my liver function tests necessitating a 4 month wait to see a gastroenterologist. 

I have also had fevers, cold like symptoms and my hair is falling out by the handful.  Most worryingly is the crippling joint pain,  all my joints burn and swell, some days it is all I can do to get out of bed.  I feel absolutely exhausted all the time, bone tired.  And then there is the weight gain...I won't even go there!

I should have shares in my local chemist, seemingly every time I see my Psychiatrist there is a new medication, or a new dosage required.  They know me by name.

The blood tests seem endless, tests to see if the medication is at the right level, tests to see what damage it's doing, tests to see why I have been so ill...they think it was my old medication but the symptoms have not subsided after it was changed.

I live in hope that things settle down.  In the meantime I will persevere, continue with medication, doctor visits, therapy, meditation and mindfulness.

It is an exhausting and expensive process, I can only imagine what it is like for people who have lived with this illness for years...

If you are suffering a mental illness or considering suicide,
please talk to someone, your GP, call Lifeline on 13 11 44
or go to your local hospital emergency department.

If you are in physical danger please call 000 (Australia only).

Love Jo xxx

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Stove love

Today is a first world problem, selfish whingy post.  Sorry.

I used to have a stove I loved.  Yes, I loved it.

It was 900mm wide, stainless steel with 6 gas burners.

It was a thing of beauty.  I'm pretty sure it  sold our last house by itself.

No I have a 600mm glass induction cooktop.

I hate it. 

It takes forever for things to heat up, is impossible to simmer anything and only lets you use two medium sized pots/pans at a time.

Today I told my husband that when we move next I would be prepared to live  anywhere as long as I have a great stove again.

Of course I meant I want to live in a NICE house with a great stove...

What type of stove-top do you prefer to cook on?

Love Jo xxx

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Picture the scene.

A local coffee shop for lunch.

I regularly eat there, they do a mean veggie quiche, but not every time I go there.

I walk up to the counter and ask if the quiche is vegetarian. You know, whether there is meat in it or not..

Blank look.

She turned to the other lady and asked.

Another blank look.

I suggested they have a look at it and see.

Blank look at each other.

I suggested they lift a slice and see.

With much confusion eventually the piece of quiche was lifted and inspected.  The consensus was that it was vegetarian and would "meet" my needs.

I could see suspicious pink particles in the quiche.

I asked if they were sure.  They said yes. 

I was then stunned to be told that yes, there was bacon in the quiche but it would still meet my vegetarian needs.

I suggested that bacon was, in fact, meat.

Another blank stare...

...I just had a drink.

Love Jo xxx

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A sad state of affairs

Today I caught up with a group of acquaintances.  A new lady joined the group recently, no one knows much about her but we accepted her as one of the crowd.

Over lunch we were discussing our grocery shopping habits, where to go, where NOT to go and how much we tend to spend.

She is on a single disability pension.  Can’t work, at all.

Living on a farm, she rents a shed to live in, works hard for nothing to supplement the rent.  It’s all she can afford.

She has some dogs, chickens & other birds, loves them.

As the conversation went on she mentioned that her grocery shop is $100 a fortnight, we all exclaimed how lucky she was, assuming that she supplemented her diet with produce from the farm.

She doesn’t.

After the animals have been fed and cared for she often goes without an adequate meal…all day, nearly every day. 

Literally has toast for breakfast and dinner.

She wasn’t looking for sympathy, or a hand-out, probably wouldn’t accept it anyway.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here, I am just devastated that such a lovely lady is having such a hard time.

It isn’t something I give much thought to with my own day to day struggles, and now I am ashamed.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Natural gas...

So, on Wednesday I start a six-week Yoga & Meditation course.

Okay, okay…you can stop laughing now.  I am definitely built for comfort not contortions but this course is largely based on stress management and is therefore more slow and gentle on the body.
How it should look...
The problem is…and there is no way to be delicate about it, when you are rolling around the floor or stretching out a certain amount of gas wishes to, nay demands to be released.

It’s not like aerobics when the music blasts and you might get away with the odd toot.  The music is low and gentle, and your neighbours are potentially less than a metre from you. 
There is no-where to hide.

Last week I went along to an introductory class and managed to keep my dignity intact, others didn’t.  I managed to contain my giggles even as my eyes watered.

What is it about accidental farting that is funny, even to adults?
This week’s class is longer and more involved, and I am planning on avoiding gas promoting foods from now until then…wish me luck!

Love Jo xxx

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Customer service, what's that?

I was running late, stressed, lots still to do.  You know, a normal afternoon.

I dropped my son at work and made the fateful decision to not park at the major shopping centre, brave the crowds (I'm not good in a crowd at the moment), and use a major national supermarket.

I drove to a nearby "international" supermarket, proud of it's cost saving probably know who I mean if you live in the Eastern states of Oz.

The car park was full of people standing around yapping and smoking, not a great start.

After I negotiated my way through the crowd and actually made it into the store I was assaulted by the smell of slightly off veggies (a recurring theme I have found, yes, I have shopped here once or twice before) and higgledy piggely stacks of unknown brands masquerading as known and loved ones.

I dashed around and found some items roughly matching my list and made it to the checkouts.

There was NOT ONE SINGLE operator in sight. No-one.  A tumbleweed went by.  Someone popped up pretending to stack a shelf, studiously avoiding everyone's eyes. 

A woman with several barely controlled children was piling up more groceries than I have ever seen in a trolley onto the counter.  I stood there with my 5 items, correct change and eco bag in hand.  She was also avoiding eye contact.

Eventually the shelf stacker reluctantly started serving the woman, mostly to get rid of the kids I think.  Another operator eventually turned up and took the person from the BACK of the considerable queue to another checkout.

All through this I barely held it together, practising my shiny new mindfulness exercises and swearing to myself I would NEVER shop here again.

People may hate the supermarket duopoly we have in this country but you can count on cleanliness, a choice of products and at least a few staff on duty.

Have you had a similar experience or do you prefer to shop in these establishments?

Ok, ranty pants moment is over, I'm off to Yoga now.

Love Jo xxx

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mental Health Week 2012

1 in 5 Australians are affected by a mental health condition in some way. 
I am.  What about you?

Understanding that mental health issues are a part of everyday life for many of us is necessary to remove the stigma that sufferer’s face.
Mental Health Week kicks off today and is all about raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing in the wider community.
This years Queensland theme for Mental Health Week is “Working Toward Wellbeing”.

Exploring the impact that work, paid or unpaid, can have on an individual’s wellbeing and recovery is central to this year’s activities.

So pop along to their website and see what it’s all about!
Love Jo xxx

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Most Haunted

In my time I have been known to watch possibly more than my fair share of crap on TV.

At our last place we had pay TV, a virtual treasure trove of crap to suit your every need.

My guilty pleasure was the shows featuring psychics or ghost hunters.

You know, you’ve all watched them at some stage.  An odd mix of dodgy characters blundering around “spooky” locations in the dark, scared shitless by the wind and each other, never actually catching anything on film despite the number of badly operated hand held cameras being used except shots up the nostrils of various cast members.

My favourite are the “psychics” who are the most frightened by the unexpected noises and supposed ghosties.  Surely they should see it coming?  And in one infamous show the psychic who would be “possessed” at every.single.location he went to and the only thing that could bring him around was a cuddle and a drink of water.  Oh the hilarity.

There have been a number of parodies produced over the years but the one following is top of the list of my favourites.  It is a bit long but is spot on. Enjoy!
Love Jo xxx

Friday, 5 October 2012


So we have now lived in our “new” place for 6 months. Everything is going smoothly; I love the modern touches, the ensuite, WIR and cupboard under the stairs (pantry).  I am also keen on the fact that almost no maintenance is required and it is easy to clean (lucky, as I have been in hospital for almost half the time we’ve lived here!).

We are in a “nice” part of town, close to the city centre, parks and museums…ideal.
Yesterday my husband happened to be speaking to someone who it turns out lived here before us…total fluke.  It turns out that they moved out after the place was burgled…worse than that, someone broke in and cleaned out the downstairs while they slept upstairs, stole their car and used it to transport not only their belongings but also those of the three neighbouring places.


So now I am even more paranoid about key-locking windows & deadlocks…as if I wasn’t paranoid enough!  I would get the security company to re-activate the alarm but the cats would set off the movement sensors.

So my question to you is have you ever been burgled or are you hyper-vigilant about home security?
Love Jo xxx

Thursday, 4 October 2012


The silly season is almost upon us according to supermarkets and department stores.  Their sense of desperation is palpable, with shelves groaning under seasonal foods, confectionery and decorations galore. 

With this early bombardment a girl's thoughts turn to the gifts yet to be purchased. 

Now I love Christmas as much as anyone, have already toured around the shops looking at the early displays and am planning a trip to Christmas Complete at the Sunshine Coast.

Our family tend to only buy gifts for the kids and send a much appreciated hamper of booze to their grandparents, but if we were to buy presents for all and sundry I would look for the easy options of booze or chockies.

This year as I have more time on my hands I thought I would look at some of the options available for the more difficult people in our lives, you know, the ones we HAVE to buy for but couldn't give a shit about.

In no particular order are my top 5 picks of craptastic gifts with helpful web addresses:

Sudoku toilet paper...enough to give you the shits!
Gentleman's ball scratcher, for the busy executive

Cat's bum towel holder...coz you can never have enough cat tatt

Boxed set of Knight Rider DVD's...would sure leave me speechless!

Danielle Steel Perfume, in fact insert any celebrity perfume...Just because you like their music or movies do you really want to smell like them?

...and because I love you all, here is a bonus shared by a dear friend. I am a little worried that this may turn up in my stocking this year!

Complete with a tin of spray-on hair...strange

Have you given, or received,  a craptastic gift of the standard of the fine ones listed here?

Love Jo xxx

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Hello my lovelies!

Sorry, a fake cheesy grin is all I can manage!

I am still here, battling along.  Things seem to be looking up after a few medication changes. 
 I guess time will tell!
My medical professionals suggest that I go back to activities that I enjoyed pre-illness, even if I don't feel like it.  Kind a "fake it 'til you make it" attitude. 
They tell me the enjoyment I used to get out of writing will come back to me eventually and in the meantime I can draw satisfaction from achieving this small activity every day.

So I'm back...see you tomorrow!

Love Jo xxx