Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's all downhill from here...

It's half-way through the week, which means it's all downhill from here. It also means it's time to watch a crafty raccoon stealing cat food.


I hope you're having a successful week and nobody steals your cat food.

See you around the pond, frog-lovers.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Depression is a lying little bastard - Part 2

Today I give you the second part of Gaynor Alder's series on how she beat depression.
This post can also be seen at MWSG.
Go here for Part 1 of the series.
Depression in all its mind fuckery and trickery may have cloaked me with its darkness, exhausted me with its relentlessness, and picked away at my identity rendering me unrecognisable to myself, but underneath it all, I knew everything it was telling me was bullshit.
Yes, you depression. You’re full of shit. And I’m calling you on it.

Whilst at times it may have looked like I succumbed to you, as I spent another day pinned down to my bed by your force, trying to climb my way out from under the criticism, judgement, and torment you were serving up for breakfast, compounding on the grief my heart was trying to reconcile from all the other precious time you had already stolen from me, there was something you could never take from me.
My hope.
When you felt impenetratable and undefeatable, hope is what nursed from me from one minute to the next, one hour to the next, one day to the next. Hope that tomorrow would be better. Hope that one day it would all be over. Hope that you would eventually become a distant memory.
And with that hope, was a desperate determination to not fall prey to your lies. Your accusations. Your demeaning assassinations of my character. Because depression, you don’t get to define who I am. No depression, you’re not forever. 

And, I’m here to say you can be triumphed over.
And I emerged from you stronger. Wiser. Better. And my spirit is unstoppable. You’ve become something I look back on. Something I draw strength from just knowing I lived through you. Something I have stepped on top of to propel me further towards all those things my heart longed for when you were holding my dreams hostage.
With it I carry a deeper gratitude for life. I see the beauty in simplicity. Find great joy in small moments. An appreciation for waking up and just feeling okay. And I thank you for that. Reminding me of what’s really important and teaching me to pay homage to the beauty of the present moment. A love for romancing the everyday.
Overcoming you was never going to be a battle of force against force, or a change in my thought patterns, nor a matter of being strong enough. You’re not a battle of wits, because you’re a scheister who plays dirty. You’re an illness, not a mindset. You’re a flaw in chemistry, not in character.
What depression needs is gentleness. Care. Love. Kindness. Patience. Support. Understanding. Not only from ourselves, but also from others. Because we can’t do it on our own. And to find a safe passage through your 3 ring circus, requires a crack team of friends, outside help and medical professionals.
We need to call in reinforcements to help us find the courage and strength to hold on, to endure you for yet another day, and to remind us there’s a future beyond you, and it’s burning bright.
In the next installment of this series, Gaynor Alder talks about finding the right crack team, and why it took her so long to turn to medication for help.

Has depression given you a deeper understanding of life?

Gaynor Alder is a Melbourne based writer with a penchant for vintage glamour and all things Parisian. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Modern Woman's Survival Guide magazine and editor-at-large Teenage Girl’s Survival Guide, gallivants around the world as a Travel Writer testing the thread count of sheets and the fluffiness of hotel pillows and freelances in public relations.  

She started writing The Modern Woman’s Survival Guide, after the umpteenth person told her, you know you should really write a book. Her fingers struggled daily to keep up with the thoughts that desperately wanted to become words on pages, to take centre stage in a book that she knew was going to become the new voice of womankind. Her calling, her destiny, her whatever you want to call it, Gaynor writes because she can’t not write.

You can catch her being awesome here:
Facebook -
Twitter - @themodernwoman

Friday, July 19, 2013

How much salmon can a bear bear?

Happy Friday, frog-lovers.

A little light stress-relief for you.

Feeling anxious?

Go watch a group of bears catch salmon in real-time. (I'd embed the video but it won't let me).

And if that hasn't relaxed you into a coma yet, try this video of a young guy raising a baby hummingbird:

Is that something in your eye?

You're welcome.

See you around the pond, frog-lovers.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A room full of nature nerds goes wild

Last Friday I achieved a life goal I never thought possible.

I sat in the same room as one of my childhood idols. If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I was extremely excited to be attending Sir David Attenborough - A Life On Earth.

I couldn't quite believe it.

I was going to see the man who was responsible for my fascination with nature and in particular, animals. He's been a major formative influence in my life.

I'd spent the afternoon working myself into a slowly building crescendo of tizz. 

I dressed up. I put on makeup. I decided to drive into the city. I fretted about what time to leave.

I left ridiculously early.

I went to the wrong car park.*

Once I finally got to the right car park I gulped down a sophisticated pre-show dinner.

I am all class.
Blogger discovers that an iPhone camera makes an excellent mirror,
allowing her to touch up pointless makeup in the crappy Crown food court.
Then I realised that I had no idea how to get to the Conference and Exhibition Centre on foot.**

So naturally I walked in the wrong direction, my panic and stress reaching breath-stealing proportions.

Finally! Found the right place. Queued and bought his autobiography - DEVASTATED that I hadn't queued early enough to get a signed copy.
Not a signed copy because LATE
There was a real buzz in the Plenary, where an intriguing mixture of the very old, very young and hipsters in silly hats waited with a shared sense of excitement - we were about to see someone very, very special. 

I tried to control my nerves. I wanted to be totally "present" to soak it all in.

Why was I nervous? It was ridiculous. I wasn't going to meet him. He was about to come on stage in front of hundreds of people and he was probably less nervous than I was.

This blog post about meeting Attenborough by Lucy Cooke was probably playing on my mind. Attenborough is my Jesus too.

The lights finally dimmed. 

The man himself came on stage and a room full of nature nerds went wild with applause, whistles and there may even have been a small squee from this aging nature fangirl.

A terrible photo but a fantastic night.
I've written a review of the night here at the Shake. Please go have a gander, and if you get a chance, go see the man in person. You won't be disappointed.

* MCEC, the parking instructions on your website sucks.
** Crown, your signage sucks and your pedestrian precinct smells of excrement and vomit.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mental nausea and a mixed metaphor about swans and snorkels

Actual author appearance may vary
© Murat Erhan Okcu |
Speaking to groups of people must seem a pretty self-flaggelatory* way to earn a crust, for someone who battles anxiety and other types of mental nausea**. 

I really love it. I just flick a switch in my brain and become a facilitator. I recognise how fortunate I am to be able to flick a mental switch in order to function on a professional level.

I remember an old boss being totally surprised - shocked - when I told him I'd been diagnosed with depression.

"But you're always so smiling and happy!"

I wanted to yell at him that I was just pretending. I HAD to pretend, or I'd just not function at all.

When things get bad, I operate on the swan theory***.

I'm a swan a lot in the evenings. Evening is when most people are active on social media. I love Twitter for the conversations I have, the interesting stuff I watch and read.

It's hard, though, to be social on demand. My Seasonal Affective Disroder (SAD) brings anxiety and fibromyaglia flares to accompany the dying of the light every frigging night in winter.

There I am being social, LOLing and retweeting and generally being frivolous and silly while on the inside, I'm slowly losing my mind.

I start to feel that horrible, pervasive scratching of anxiety under my skin, a gradually tightening fist inside my chest. Time to get my swan on (no, not in a bizarre and frankly ill-advised Bjork dead-swan-tutu way WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!).

Last night was particularly bad. As evening arrived and my serotonin levels dipped I was tweeting how bad I felt, while LOLing and replying cheerily to other tweets. It occurred to me today how weird that would seem.

It's not that I'm not real while I'm relating normally on the outside and being screamingly mental on the inside. That IS the real me. The me that isn't screamingly mental, I mean. The me that's the swan, gliding on top of the water, gently mental, rather than the utterly batshit self-destructively crazy part of me that's paddling like mad (literally) under the water.

I think I need to be that swan. The screamingly mental me really needs the gently mental me to keep up those normal interactions, like a weird mental snorkel, keeping just above the crashing waves of mental vomit****. Now and then a few waves splosh over and I choke and cough but the snorkel always clears again with some sleep and a few cuddles.

So next time you see someone being witty and frivolous, while saying they're depressed or anxious, don't say "Wow you always seem so HAPPY! I had NO IDEA you were mental".

Just know that they're trying their best to be a swan.

Oh and for fuck's sake, don't put your finger over the end of their snorkel or someone might DIE.



My lovely friend Dayle Walker from Simply Aware sent me this link, to Tina Turner singing a peace mantra. I recommend it for any of you aspiring swans out there. My domain manager broke my blog so I've listened to it eight times already today. So far.

Keep paddling like fuck.

* I don't care if that's not a word, it should be.
** Thank you Ben Pobjie for coining that phrase. Perfection.
*** The swan theory is about gliding along the top of the water perfectly calm, while under the water you're paddling like fuck. I would like to state that this is absolutely the only way in which I resemble a swan. 
**** Now try to un-imagine that, now you've read it. You're welcome.

Do you have anxiety?
Are you able to be a swan?

Monday, July 8, 2013

A man is not a financial plan. Having no plan is ALSO not a financial plan.

Are you a woman?

Do you want to live in poverty when you're older?


Then please read this. I'm over at The Modern Woman's Survival Guide telling you to get your shit together. 

Please read it and encourage other women to also. 

See you in the soup, frog-lovers.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sexy zombies and sleepy animals

Yes I've been tarting around elsewhere again this week. 

Please do go read what Vlad thinks about all those annoying zombie fans over here at The Shake.

And now something to put a smile on your face on a Thursday morning...

See you in the soup, frog-lovers.