Eliminate Violence Against Women #WhiteRibbonDay

Domestic Violence Stats
Image Source: Daily Life

Take an oath today and swear to stand up against violence against women. Every year on this day, we in Australia hold White Ribbon Day as a way to stop violence against women. It is also the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. As you can see in the statistics presented above, here in Australia, 1 woman is killed almost every week by her current or former partner in Australia.

Violence against women is not always visible. It doesn’t always have to be physical. Psychological abuse is not uncommon and just as dangerous if not more. Through psychological abuse, a woman’s confidence is shot bit by bit. She is called names and told she will never find anyone else who loves her so much. Every aspect of her life begins to get controlled by the perpetrator. She loses friends, contacts, financial independence and sometimes even the ability to make decisions about her clothes and activities. And thus, it becomes harder for her to leave.

Time and again women are blamed for violence against them. They are blamed for ‘provoking’ their partner. Or they are blamed for not leaving them soon enough. The fact is, it is hard to leave a violent situation. It is even harder when children are involved. Most women will attempt to leave but do not always succeed immediately.

The only way to stop violence against women is to educate men. Change starts at the grass roots level. And men need to stand up to those men who are perpetrators of violence. Men need to educate their mates to not put down their girlfriends, wives, or other women around them. Men need to stand up for women when they see them being abused. Men need to teach other men.

I know there are good men out there. There are several.

Hopefully, with the help of these men and a number of women, we can become a society that eventually puts an end to this violence.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Mangoes

origin_3636496204

With the warmer weather down here, in addition to the beach, there is one thing I look forward every year: Mangoes. I absolutely love mangoes. It takes me back to my childhood days when my maternal grandfather spoilt me by buying me mangoes every summer and cutting them up into perfect little cubes. Not a holiday went by without mangoes. He would dutifully go and buy some from the market and make sure they were fresh and juicy. Ever since then, mangoes have been one of my favourite fruits.

In the last few years, I have also taken to making mango lassi at home. Best. Thing. Ever. I reckon my mango lassi is far better than the ones you get at restaurants here. Yes, I’m bragging. No, I’m not lying. The difference is I don’t put ice or water in mine. In the past week, I’ve been fortunate that my local fruit and veg store has started having mangoes on special. Resulting in us having a few glasses of mango lassi for dessert.

Mangoes remind me of summer. Of times less stressful. Of laid back days and the freedom of childhood.

And of course, they taste bloody good!

Do you have any fruit or dish that takes you back in time?

Do share!

***Linking with Alicia for Open Slather***

photo credit: Kirti Poddar via photopin cc

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

There is some scary stuff out there

medium_6756753669

I recently was directed to a blog post that scared the crap out of me. Sarah Wilson apparently believes that self-hatred is the real cause of autoimmune disease. In her post, she does not use any scientific evidence to back up her claim, which let’s face it, is unlikely to have any randomised controlled trials anyway. She refers to a TED talk by someone who in her own words is a “healer to the stars”. I don’t know about you but that is not someone you can use as a credible scientist in my opinion. What was even scarier were some of the comments on her post that were almost bordering on reverence for Sarah.

Now I don’t know Sarah Wilson.  I do know she is the person behind I Quit Sugar — where she apparently also recommends not eating fruit or dried fruit. Once again, I’m not sure how much scientific research went into her program but there are people out there who swear by her. Me, I like my fruit. And I’ll eat a couple of serves a day.

I’m pretty sure Sarah Wilson is a nice person but bloggers like her worry me. They make claims on their blogs based on their spiritual and new-age beliefs and proclaim it like the gospel truth. Unfortunately, they also have a huge following who then take on those claims. The fact of the matter is that Sarah Wilson and these bloggers are NOT scientists or doctors or psychologists or mental health professionals or nutritionists themselves. Unless they are trained in any of these areas {and by that, I mean have a degree}, they are not in a position to make any of these claims. Because the fact of the matter is that all human beings are different. Just because Sarah apparently dealt with her anxiety using ‘self-love’ {whatever that may be!}, it’s not going to work for every other person with an anxiety disorder. Rather, evidence-based interventions like CBT, ACT or even medication are likely to help majority of the population suffering from anxiety. Why? Because research proves it. As for autoimmune or genetic disorders, trust me, self-love ain’t going to ‘cure’ it. Carly and Nat both had some great posts on that.

So to all the readers out there, I beg you, do not take things like this as gospel. And as for the bloggers, you have a huge responsibility here. You cannot make claims about things without backing it up. And if you do, you need to put a disclaimer stating it is your opinion. I am a trained psychologist and while I blog a lot about mental health, not once would I offer advice. I am clear to state what are my experiences and clear to state what therapies are evidence-based. And there is no way I would ‘counsel’ people via my blog because this is not my work here. It is unethical.

As health professionals, most of us need to abide by ethics.

I wonder whether it’s time for wellness coaches, life coaches and maybe even bloggers to be bound by a code of ethics!

Do you think bloggers have a responsibility in how they provide information to their readers?

Do share! 

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

 

Working Weekends

I’m not sure if you know but I work some Saturdays. This is a second job in addition to my 5 days during the week. Yes, it’s a psychology job. Yes, I enjoy it. Yes, it’s flexible. Yes, it’s not every Saturday. And yet, I sometimes wish I had longer weekends.

I know I make it sound like I don’t have a choice and in a way, I suppose I don’t. I like my second job. And I need the money.

I really wish though I had two days to relax, to hike, to visit the beach and well, to complete chores like grocery shopping and cleaning the house. Every now and then when I do have the two days off, it’s incredible. Sure, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do {especially if I haven’t organised a camping trip!} In an ideal world, I’d wake up early on the weekend, go for a walk, buy a coffee and the paper, come back home and read, then shower and head out for the day. The house would miraculously clean itself, of course.

medium_417772946

I love my work. I love both my jobs. But sometimes, I wonder, is it really worth working weekends?

Should I perhaps cut down a day from my full time job and work Tuesdays to Saturdays instead? But then, with me not working every Saturday, that income isn’t guaranteed.

I guess for now, these are just questions floating in my head. Until I find definitive answers, and I guess, a definitive income, I am just going to have to continue to suck it up and deal with just one day off most of the year.

Do you get a short weekend like me?

How do you cope?

Do share!

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Jumped

medium_7230481502

For five days a week
He caught the same train
Just ten after three
Be it sunshine, wind or rain

Going home yesterday
He was lost in his thoughts
Left school early at two
Seemingly out of sorts

He didn’t wave to the grocer
Did not acknowledge the dog
Bypassed the smiling stranger
While reliving all he’d lost

He remembered the harsh words
The taunts by his peers each day
Not much changed when he got home
Here, his family made him pay

‘You good for nothing loser’
‘You fat bastard’ they said
‘Why do you do this to us?’
‘You’ll be better off dead’

The words became incessant
They wouldn’t escape his head
The closer he got to the station
The more he was filled with dread

As he waited for his train
He knew he was no good
Nothing he did was right,
And succeed, he never would

There was but just one thing left
One way to stop the taunts
He heard the rumbling of the train
As it sauntered onto the platform

A split second decision
He stepped in front of the yellow line
Ignoring the announcement, he jumped
Right onto the oncoming engine

The driver saw him tip off the edge
Tried slamming on the brakes
The screech and thud that ensued
Meant the kid hadn’t made a mistake

The shrieks were loud
There were several tears
The driver in shock
As were the passengers

The police came to the bloody scene
They found his backpack crushed
Under the train lay a mangled boy
Who ended his life in a rush

(c) Sanch – Living my Imperfect Life

photo credit: betta design via photopin cc

***Author’s note: As I was getting back home yesterday evening, there were major delays on the train line due a fatality at one of the stations where someone got hit by a train around 2:15 p.m. It broke my heart — for the person whose life ended prematurely, for the driver who will no doubt be traumatised and for the witnesses. I don’t know any of them. But I couldn’t help wondering about it all.***

***Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you require mental health support***

Until next time,

Book Review: Leaving Time

… by Jodi Picoult.

Image Source: Here
Image Source: Here

Thirteen year old Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother Alice, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances a decade ago. A scientist researching grief in elephants, Alice disappeared from the sanctuary one night after the death of one of the staff. Jenna who lives with her maternal grandmother, cannot understand why her mother would leave her and continues to search for her. Unfortunately, her father Thomas is in a psychiatric facility with no concept of reality. Jenna obtains the help of a disgraced psychic Serenity and the ex-cop who worked on the case at the time, Virgil to help find the whereabouts of her mother. While the bond between a mother and daughter is strong, sometimes, when you start to look for answers, you can get more than you bargained for.

In Picoult’s latest book, she explores memories and trauma not just among elephants but more so, among human beings. How does a child cope with being abandoned? How does a mother deal with grief? Is there more in this world than what science can explain?

Jodi Picoult uses her now familiar multi-narration style through the book. I enjoyed the characters of Jenna and Virgil immensely and also found Serenity likeable. I will admit that some of the things around the elephants were a tad boring for me and I skim-read them. Alice was a character that confused me. On the one hand she is meant to be likeable but on the other hand, there are some behaviours of hers that I personally do not agree with and therefore, could not find myself empathising with her. I like flawed characters but there are some flaws I cannot forgive. All in all though, it was an enjoyable read with a twist in the end I never saw coming.

My rating:

ratings-4-star-small

 

 

Until next time,

Cheers!!!