I Am No-one

Sandy Point

Sandy Point

We just had the most fabulous long weekend away with some good friends. Except we only see them once or twice a year…when we go away for said fabulous weekends. It consists of the surf beach, lack of structure, fresh air, great company, food, tennis watching, barely any signal to check Twitter and Facebook and five noisy, loving, amazing boys who have completely different personalities.

Sandy Point

Sandy Point

Did I mention the beach? It gets me every time, particularly the surf beach. I rarely swim in it but I could watch it for HOURS, lost in a maze of thoughts that are way too jumbled to articulate.

My mind is never clear. Ever. But spending time away from the electronic world is always refreshing. With these friends you can hang together or you can nick off and have a lie down. Their shack is very plain and there are no airs, graces or pretences. There is nothing new: the bowls and plates are chipped, the towels are old, nothing really matches yet it is bloody brilliant and so relaxing and I love it so hard. I can relate to chipped bowls and plates and nothing matching. Kind of reminds me of my own brain.

Then I return home and of course it’s all still the same, nothing’s changed…yet I know it’s up to me to make change and all that palaver. Boring huh? I wish it’d kind of happen without effort! So because I can’t be arsed writing misery guts blogs any further, this’ll be my last one for a while or forever. I read some brilliant blogs but every time I do, I feel worse. Stupid really. Twitter also has a way of making me feel a bit blah. I love that people are fighting the good fight but I also hate it. I’m one of those flighty people who wishes everyone would just get along, be less judgemental and embrace the chipped plates and bowls.

My 2 little blokes on the left and the big bloke on the right

My 2 little blokes on the left and the big bloke on the right

So, it’s time for me to put some effort into proper connections with real live people who can be bothered spending time with me because that’s what I love the most. Writing blog posts takes up too much of my time because I’m not a natural and while it’s nice to get it out of my head onto ‘paper’, it’s just not feeling quite right and I should be, you know, spending time with my own family!

It’s the last day of the school holidays. I baked a tea cake and have just had afternoon tea with the boys. Fuck I love them and I’m going to miss their company when they go back to school tomorrow. Yes, I said that.

Thank you dear readers, all 10 of you. Ciao.



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Self care and breaking the stigma of mental illness

Beautiful flowers at the Byron retreat.

Beautiful flowers at the Byron retreat.

Just before Christmas I caught up for brekky with a couple of fellow Byron retreat participants, Teresa and Narelle, where the topic of conversation turned to depression and the way it can be indiscriminate; that it can hit anyone – even those you least expect.

Teresa is that person. She is extroverted, bubbly, great fun, hilarious and was the life of the retreat – along with the most fabulous Ally. Yet a few years ago, due to certain circumstances, Teresa suffered quite debilitating depression for three years. Today, you’d never know it and indeed people have said to her that she’s the last person they’d expect to have depression. With that she responds “well it’s an illness like every other illness – would you say that to someone who has the flu?” Exactly. Teresa says “A weird part of me takes great delight in telling people I had it, just to see their reaction. My biggest, constant  fear is that every time ‘something’ happens – coz life always throws curve balls – that I will slip back in to the black hole.”

We also talked about self-care at the brekky. One of the things that has saved my sanity for many years is self-care. Walking with a friend, running, time to myself, watching trash television(!), reading, photography and catching up with the people who lift my spirits. The half marathon I trained for in 2011 was also critical in my self-care. Note to self: must start running again!

Teresa has also developed a self-care strategy which she says keeps her on the straight and narrow.  She goes to a group gym session which is like a group therapy session – they talk the whole way through and have lots of laughs. Walking – “the minute I move I feel better”, socialising – even if she wants to be alone…but also giving herself permission not to go if she feels a bit flat.

This self-care combined with counselling (Teresa goes once every 2 to 3 months, even when she’s feeling good), natural therapy and Chinese medicine has helped her avoid falling into depression again.

It might sound cliché but we need to talk about this stuff to rid ourselves of the stigma surrounding mental illness. We really do. It’s funny but when I’m standing in the school yard waiting for my kids, I sometimes look around and see people chatting and laughing and wonder if I’m the only one who struggles a bit some days. I know I’m not the only one, yet I don’t believe it’s talked about enough.

There’s a brilliant article in this month’s MiNDFOOD magazine on functional mental illness – people who appear to lead rich and fulfilling lives but given their need for support is less severe, it can often be forgotten. Seeking support is crucial and self-care cannot be underestimated. And it needs to be done without the guilt, particularly if you’re a mother. I’m pretty sure the dads who nick off for a game of golf every Saturday don’t feel guilt.

Thanks to Teresa for letting me use her as an example for this blog post, it was a very generous offer and I look forward to the next brekky!

Do you talk about your mental illness? Do you have a self-care strategy?

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Noise and stuff

This is Anth at about 1.30am on New Year's Eve. The reflection of the fire with the full moon in the background. Creepy.

This is Anth at about 1.30am on New Year’s Eve. The reflection of the fire with the full moon in the background. Creepy.

Now, if you’ve read this blog more than once you may have picked up my sensitivity to all things noise. Imagine, if you can, an iPhone switched to silent sitting on a bench. Then think about the noise it makes when it rings (vibrates) but a gazillion times louder. From 5.30am til about 10pm on our latest camping trip to Lake Glenmaggie all I could hear was this sound: Errrrh….errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh …. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh…. errrrh….


The sound was coming from the vans/cabins across from us. Early on in our stay I asked them if they could hear the sound and they said (wait for it) “it’s the cows down the paddock”. Oh really? No.

Nat (who I was camping with, along with her 3 kids) thought it may have been a bird and Garry (Anth’s brother) thought it was a pump for a toilet. When I asked the guys across from us again later in the week, they said it was coming from a pump from waaaay over the other side of the caravan park. Oh really? Fuck off.

Unfortunately the mystery hasn’t been solved. And unfortunately for everyone else in the Garry and Julie Hall family, they started to hear it too 🙂  Even some random guy I stopped while standing still listening for where the sound was coming from said it had been bothering him!

Then there was the seriously loud bogan music blaring from a camp site around 140 metres away through a bunch of trees and bushes. Seriously loud. New Year’s Eve loud. Except it wasn’t NYE. You know, I just don’t think having music playing so loud that you can’t hear yourself on Twitter at 10.15pm at night is appropriate. Go bush camp if you want to do that. I grabbed the torch, told the boys I was going to the toilet and tramped through the bushes and just before I got there the music stopped and I could hear something about turning the music down. And I said as nice as I could “yeah, I’ve got a couple of kids trying to get to sleep”. And in reply a delightful gentleman said “fucking whinging c***s”. Why yes sir, you may be right but you are an inconsiderate feral moron so we’re even.

Then there’s sole parenting a couple of crazy lads. Anth had to return home to work for a few days and let’s just say the boys were, ahem, highly spirited. I know, hard to believe huh. Given my sensitivity to all things noise and annoying creatures, I may have been a little het up on the odd occasion. Thing is, as Nat says, Mitch has no off button. He is on AIMG_8409LL THE TIME. At one stage I dragged him out of the air conditioned car while we were waiting for fish n chips because he just would not stop. He sat on a chair outside the fish n chip shop in Heyfield doing the royal wave to absolutely nobody. I mean, who does that? When it all boils down to it, I wouldn’t want him any other way. Mostly. In the end though, I just left it up to everyone else to tell him off. It probably looks like I’m neglecting my parental duties but it wears me out so I withdraw at times. If you see me doing it, I’m just trying to recharge.

So, we’re back at home. My feet are completely shot – filthy, cracked, sore. We have 2,567,876 loads of washing to do and another 3 and a bit weeks of school holidays remaining. But the kids had fun kneeboarding and holding on for dear life on the tubes at the lovely Lake Glenmaggie so it’s all worth it. Thanks Nat, Garry, Julie and all your kids for your company and saving my sanity. Love youse.







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Hi everyone,

Guess what? I got nothin’…

Anyone got anything? Anyone???

Love Lisa

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Why I blog

IMG_7735At first I thought I blogged because I needed to be rid of the mass of swirling thoughts inside my head. That’s still the case, though if only you knew the half of what was going on in there! Of course I know I’m not on my own there; imagine the chaos that would ensue if people really exposed their deep dark thoughts!

But a couple of days ago I came to the realisation that I blog because I’m an introvert living in an extroverted world. I’ve always known this. It can be tiring, intimidating and loud. There are times when I’m in certain situations that I can never get a word in. My voice is naturally quiet, I’m not a commanding presence so I’m completely stuffed if I’m in a crowd. So I feel that I’m not really heard; that I can’t get what I want to say across to people.

Sometimes it’s funny – i.e. when I’m surrounded by Anth’s family it is impossible to get a word in without being interrupted or hearing another two loud voices talking in another conversation close by (c’mon Halls you know it’s true!! But I love you all so much.)

Other times, it can be just downright rude or of course there’s the one I don’t want to think about – that people find me utterly bloody boring!! Heh.

Not quite sure why I feel the need to be heard really and I’m coming to the point where it actually doesn’t matter how many people read my ramblings. Yesterday I was given a card to thank me for being strong enough to share my feelings on here because it gave them the strength to talk about theirs. Well geez, that’s the nicest thing someone’s said to me forever.

Then I see this tweet from Mr Problogger himself today (an introvert himself who has 178,000+ people following him on Twitter and from what I can tell, the most humble of guys): Does Your Blog feel small? If you have just one reader & your blog changes their life your blog is big enough. I haven’t changed lives but words can be powerful “on paper” where I don’t feel my spoken word is heard.

Thanks for ‘listening’. xx


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8 Tips to Better Enjoy the Festive Season


My first guest post is from coach (and friend!), Shannah Kennedy of Shannah Kennedy Coaching. Shannah shares her tips on how to enjoy the festive season without burning out…

I hear all the time that people are stressed at the moment, burnt out, tired, emotional, over it all, when it is supposed to be a time of celebration and joy. I am determined to make it great and here are some of my tips that I apply each year at this time, so I can enjoy the festive season.

  1. I use my diary to seriously write everything down
  2. I keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate anything
  3. I say no to roughly 30% of people who say we must catch up before Christmas – as there is January you know!
  4. I book in some nice catch ups in January now, so I don’t feel like I am being a Grinch
  5. I book a massage for the week before Christmas
  6. I book a date night with my husband in December to just sit and have a peaceful dinner with him
  7. I commit to being organised every night for the next day – anything to limit feeling out of control
  8. My biggest tip is to just be in the moment, no matter how busy we are. Breathe. Breathe, Breathe.

This year, for the whole year, I have committed fully to number 8. I have had a massive year, a great year, lots of challenges and rewards, however I have really committed to living mindfully and this has changed my life. I smell things, (you know that crazy soap you bought that cost you maybe way too much), I actually take a moment to make the lather and smell it, rather than blindly just use it. I taste my cup of tea, I breathe giant breaths that make me feel in control.  I committed to doing the basics, but doing them well. Eating well (80% of the time), sleeping properly and drinking a lot of water. Not thinking about it but actually doing it. If we do the basics, and do them well and consistently, life is great.
So for the festive season:

  • Maybe don’t be the last to leave a function
  • Maybe don’t taste test everything, but just a few things as then you won’t feel shocking when you get home from over-eating
  • When you go to the toilet – take a 2 minute holiday – just sit there – why rush? And take a few deep breaths and get yourself in control
  • Slow your speech down a little, and you will feel in control

Merry, breathe, Xmas.

Shannah rsss-book-covereleased a book this year Simplify, Structure, Succeed. You can buy the book here. It would make a great Christmas pressie.

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Lazy, hazy, crazy dayz of summer

Yeah, whatevs

Yeah, whatevs

Everywhere I go I hear “oh I can’t wait for the school holidays, no more making lunches/homework/drop offs/pick ups/after school activities/lunches…

And I say “oh yes I know, I can’t wait either”.

Confession time: Yes I can so wait.

If you’re a previous reader of this blog, you already know I’m crapping on when I say I can’t wait til school holidays. Technically, school holidays mean all the above are correct. In reality, it’s this: Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, can I have something to eat/he hit me/I hate my brother/can I have something to eat/I’m bored/can we go to someone’s house/can I have something to eat/can we get a pool/our house is so boring/can we go to *anything that requires money*/can you take us to the park to play cricket/can I have something to eat/I wish you were like other mums…

I wish I was like other mums too boys. But I’m not. So while I’m a massive fan of lack of structure, not making lunches and sleep ins, I’m not a massive fan of the fighting, noise and your company 24/7 for 6 weeks straight! Yeah I know…bad mother blah blah blah, why’d you have children blah blah blah…but I did tell you I’m not like the other mums. I get, errr, tense, when you’re at my side for very long stretches. It’s the freedom and need for harmony thing. I wish it’d fuck right off, but it just won’t. And unlike girls, boys just do not sit and craft away the hours. Frankly, I’d prefer to sit for five days watching Test cricket than do craft. Why can’t you do that boys? Cricket is fabulous. Oh don’t worry, you’ll get it one day. Sigh.

So this is a call out to all my lovely friends and, well, people I don’t know too, anyone really. If you are heading to the park, if you are trekking to the beach, if you are lucky enough to have a pool, if you want them for a sleepover, GIVE ME A CALL. My mental health depends on you. And I’ll bring cake. And I will reciprocate if you need a few hours to yourself. Easy. Though just quietly, if you’re going to GESAC, I’m not going with you.

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Helping those who need it most


I’ve been pissing and moaning a bit lately how money is a little tight. Just a little tight but not the end of the world tight. It ebbs and flows for us, depending on my workload, the time of year (not necessarily Christmas) and Anth’s bonuses. In terms of the last one, his promised quite hefty bonus was unpromised which meant we nearly cancelled our most recently holiday. I’m glad we didn’t though.

Lately I’ve been reading about funding cuts to people who really need it. Firstly it was the Federal Parliament bill to place 100,000 single parent families onto the Newstart allowance.  This removes an estimated $60 to $100 a fortnight from already struggling families. Please dispense with judgements about single parent families. As per a ‘normal’ family, there is a wide range of what a single parent family looks like.

Then there’s a mum from our school, Becky, who is a teacher working with refugee families in a primary school in Melbourne’s south-east. A few weeks ago, the State Government cut her funding and two weeks ago she was told the school wouldn’t be able to find the money in their own budget to fund her position next year. I wonder what will happen to these most vulnerable of children without someone with the empathy and compassion of Bec to guide them.

A letter in The Age today mentions the loss of funding for the School Focused Youth Service. This is a Uniting Care service supporting marginalised and disadvantaged children, young people and families. According to the Education Minister, Martin Dixon,  a new, “targeted, whole of government” strategy to support young people is being developed, but agencies have expressed fear that in the current cost-cutting environment any new scheme will rob schools of the support they need to help troubled children.

‘Whole of government’. Uggghhh. Whatever that means. I just don’t understand why money is taken away from those who need it most when we know that there are squillionaires out there who have enough money to fund accountants to work out how to dodge tax payments and nothing is done about it. Well, perhaps there is and I’m reading the wrong stuff. Perhaps these stories aren’t as sexy as taking that damn cash from those slack-arsed single parents who are lucky to receive anything at all…(there are people who think like this, just read the comments when these stories pop up).

We need to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We just do. Otherwise it’s a perpetual cycle – unless it can be broken.

So, given we’re heading towards Christmas, here’s 5 suggestions to help those less fortunate have a merry Christmas:

  • Woolworths have boxes in each store you can donate goods – I bought an extra shampoo and conditioner with my shopping the other day and whacked them in there. Too easy.
  • The Salvation Army has a ‘how to help’ section here
  • The Smith Family have Joyspreader Gifts here
  • Wesley Mission have Food For Families here
  • KMart’s Wishing Tree

A few months back I purchased a Giving Bowl from Foundation 18. Here’s my blog post about it from waaayy back in March here. We’ve been a bit slack throwing our spare change into it but as of today it holds $36.05 and I’m donating it to the Salvation Army. Believe me, I’m no saint given the shit I whinge about but next time I moan about white, middle class stuff (like cancelling our holiday!) I will quietly slap my own face.

Do you have any other suggestions to help make someone’s Christmas a little merrier?


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My 6 Steps to Recovery from PND

Following on from my last post about my experience with PND, I thought I’d write about what worked for me in my recovery – short and long term.

  1. Talking. I belonged to a mother’s group – not a particularly close one but a nice one all the same – and I remember sitting at a cafe in Sandringham and talking about how I felt and the other mums saying that sometimes they felt the same way. It sounds simple, but I cannot tell you what a relief this was. We go around thinking everyone is doing okay and they probably are, but to share my thoughts and feelings and have others feel the same was important. I remember always thinking “why didn’t anyone tell me it’d be like this?” And this is a time before blogs and twitter. There were online forums but I wasn’t a massive fan. Just on this though, society still has this thing where we have babies and we’re meant to live in a fog of nappies and smiley hugs – not always the case.
  1. Time. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone but after about nine months of barely sleeping, I actually said to myself “righto Beavo, you’ve gotta let go, you have to get over this” and I sort of did. If I’d heard it from someone else, I would have punched them.
  1. Exploring my values. I’d never even thought about values. Ever. But I’d recovered enough to start really enjoying life but something was still not quite right. At a values coaching session with my friend Jen (which was rather intense), it emerged that my top value, my most important value, was freedom. When you have absolutely no support for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week it can feel like it’s never going to end. I still get quite* tense during school holidays.
  1. Drugs. See previous post.
  1. Research. Exploring the reasons for perinatal depression and anxiety. As well as the values session, this was the real eye-opener for me. I suspect first time parents aren’t really prepared to explore the possibility of experiencing depression or anxiety or understanding that your family of origin has a huge impact on how you parent and how you cope as a parent. Everything seemed very focused on the pregnancy and birth – I gave very little** thought about the emotional impact of having a baby and a lot of thought about whether I had enough wraps, grow suits and newborn nappies. I kept thinking “gee I wish I’d known all this stuff when Mitch was born” because having an understanding of WHY I felt the way I did would have alleviated somewhat the ever-present feeling of confusion and the sense that I was, well, hopeless. I know, I was completely naive.
  1. Time. Again. Slowly but surely the boys got older, I got wiser and I created strategies that allowed me to have my freedom, to work and to start to feel human again. Obviously life is not the same. I still have my challenges if my freedom is impinged upon. The upcoming six weeks of school holidays fills me with a little dread, yet I know other parents are thrilled because it means a break from the monotony of the school run. Sure, I love the flexibility and lack of routine but six friggen weeks of it…breathe…

A reminder to breathe…

There are many ways to recover from perinatal depression and/or anxiety. Counselling is definitely one of them. Money was extremely tight at the time so I wasn’t able to have ongoing counselling.

If you’re pregnant (or new to parenthood), you’re in Melbourne and would like to undertake some classes around emotional wellbeing during the transition to parenthood, check out this website – Well Mum Well Baby. The last workshop for the year is on 16 December – definitely well worth a look. I would have loved to have done something like this.

Would you care to share how you recovered from PND?

* very
** no

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It’s #bePNDaware week

This week is postnatal depression awareness week. I won’t bang on about stats, suffice to say there’s more women and men who suffer some sort of perinatal (post or antenatal) depression than you would think.

I know I did. It’s eleven years since Mitch was born and while I clearly remember being surprised at how long he was (he was 54cm) and remember this squishy, gooey baby being placed on my stomach, the next few months are a bit of a blur. I didn’t sleep a wink for about 3 or 4 days after he was born because I was so wired and then I didn’t sleep properly for nearly a year. Big deal you may say, what new mother does, but Mitch was a pretty good sleeper and while he’d sleep for 11 hours, I would – Every Single Night for about nine months – wake up during the night and be awake for around two hours. It was a killer. My neck, shoulders and back were in constant pain and the tiredness was numbing. I lost a lot of weight and I couldn’t think straight.

I got by okay but the ever present anxiety was crushing. I’d cry a bit but I never really thought about PND or anything like that. I never sought professional help and didn’t even know PANDA existed. While Anth was an enormous support, I had no family support (those of you who have mums to visit or who come and help you, please be grateful) and only one close friend around (the others were all working). The weekly visits with my old high school buddy Michelle to North Road Pavillion saved my sanity…just.

Slowly but surely the fog lifted and I seemingly recovered and “got on with things”. Then I got pregnant with Dan and the shit hit the fan, big time. I could not stop crying. I had an inability to look after Mitch and I was in all sorts. It was only after a desperate call to a friend who said that I just had to get to the doctor, that I went to my GP. It was a long consult and in the end the difficult decision to go on a low dose of anti-depressants was made. Of course I was extremely reluctant to do this but during the consult my GP rang the Monash Drug Info Line and I was told it was safe to do so. So I did.

I’m sure it’s difficult for some people to understand why I did this, but I was so desperate and no matter what I did to try and feel better, nothing worked. And it was having a very big impact on my mothering of Mitch. He was two at the time so he needed me to be very present and at times I wasn’t – I was barely keeping my head above water.

My memory is hazy about how long it took to feel better but it was probably two or three weeks. Thankfully I didn’t have any side effects and I kept taking the medication until Dan was around a year old. I was slowly weaned off them and have not taken anything since. I always tell people the happiest day of my life was when Dan was born because he was healthy, he was out and I knew I wasn’t having any more children! So the most amazing day of my life was when Mitch was born (seriously, child birth is a fucking miracle) and the best was when Dan was born.

It was really only when Dan was about one that I started researching into why some women cope better than others and it is truly fascinating. It’s too much to write in this blog post but there are very valid reasons why women and men suffer from perinatal depression or anxiety. I’m sharing my story in case it helps someone else.

If you’re a new parent and you’re reading this and you’re not feeling okay, please check out PANDA’s website. It is full of easy to read information on every topic you can think of. There are also some very awesome volunteer and paid counsellors who are on hand to talk to you from Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm AEDST. Call 1300 726 306. Please call. Even if you’re the mum, sister, friend or partner of someone you think needs some assistance, just call. Also, it’s a follow up service so PANDA calls you until you’re either linked in with support services or you feel you don’t need to be called any more.

These days I’m fine. I’ve done a lot of work, research and life changes to get where I am. It’s not perfect, but what is? I’m a volunteer for PANDA’s Homestart scheme where I get to visit a mum once a week. I’ve just finished up with one gorgeous mum who is doing so much better than a few months ago. There IS support out there, don’t be ashamed to seek it. #bePNDaware

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