Doctors healthcare medicare Uncategorized

How mindfulness can help during Lockdown

In this article, provided by Smiling Mind, we look at how mindfulness can help during lockdown

We are living through an unprecedented and uncertain time, requiring each of us to navigate our way, as best we can, through a rapidly evolving global health crisis.

With things changing so quickly, such uncertainty and unpredictability can take a toll on our mental and physical health.

Managing our emotions and supporting each other can be challenging at the best of times. This is why, more than ever, we all need to be doing our best to regularly pause, take a breath and be proactive in looking after ourselves and others.

” Moment by moment we can make our way through”– Sharon Salzberg

We know that this isn’t always easy, and we want to support you. In this article, you will find different practical things you can do to take care of your own wellbeing, as well as support the children in your life, your colleagues, loved ones and friends.

This resource takes an evidence-based approach to offering you practical tools and techniques to help manage uncertainty, reduce anxiety and stay connected and grounded.

Mindfulness provides us with a means of cultivating greater and more objective awareness of our own emotional landscape, the emotions of others, and of external circumstance.

In doing so, it gives us more choice in how we respond to challenges we may face and the ability to more consciously choose where we place our attention.

Wherever you are in the world we sincerely hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. In the words of one of our favourite meditation teachers: “Moment by moment we can find our way though” – Sharon Salzberg.

Fear, anxiety & denial

Acknowledging that feeling fearful and anxious at a time such as this is not only normal but appropriate. Given the nature of the threat we are facing, fear and anxiety are adaptive responses as they alert us to the fact that we need to be taking appropriate action to keep ourselves and others as safe and healthy as possible.

It’s also important to recognise that fear and anxiety can quickly escalate and reach a tipping point beyond which they are no longer helpful and can affect us in negative ways. When the acute stress response, otherwise knowns as the ‘fight or flight’ response, kicks in we’re not as able to think clearly or make good decisions; we become more reactive and less responsive; and our thinking can quickly spiral, becoming increasingly negative and difficult to unhook from.

Warning signs

Mindfulness helps us get better at recognising and understanding our own personal signals that tell us we’re close to our tipping point. We can think of mindfulness as being like our own personal ‘fear and anxiety thermometer’ helping us get to know our own warning signs and recognise them as they’re kicking in.

Examples include:

  • irritability
  • losing patience
  • a sense of urgency
  • difficulty sleeping
  • inability to focus
  • catastrophic thinking
  • ruminating
  • eating or drinking more than usual.

In addition to knowing and recognising our warning signals, mindfulness gives us the opportunity to respond by taking steps to settle and soothe our nervous system, which in turn enables us to think more clearly, make better decisions and respond as opposed to react.

Beware denial

It can also be tempting to turn away from and deny the seriousness of what’s happening. Denial may be particularly appealing given the significant impact that this outbreak will have on so many people financially, emotionally or physically. While temporary distractions can be useful for giving our minds a break, on the whole denial is not a helpful approach. It can leave us vulnerable and exhausted as it may lead to not taking appropriate precautions and it’s difficult to sustain in the face of reality.

Mindfulness can help us see things more clearly, which in turn helps us strike a balance between staying informed and making sensible choices without becoming overwhelmed.

Healthy brain breaks

Giving your brain a break when you’re nearing your tipping point can be a helpful way of deactivating the acute stress (‘fight or flight’) response. Even short moments of reprieve are beneficial as they help reset enabling us to find the middle ground between overwhelm and denial. It’s in this place that we’re able to make better choices and are best placed to support ourselves and those around us.

We recommend trying out the following as often as you need to:


Any kind of physical movement is a great way of releasing the build-up of excess energy that accompanies the acute stress (‘fight or flight’) response – take yourself for a walk or run outside; do some stretching, yoga or some other form of mindful movement; or crank some uplifting music and dance around the house for a few minutes.


When you slow your breathing rate down the uncomfortable physical sensations of fear and anxiety start to subside. Try the following:

  • Stop what you’re doing, take three long, slow deep breaths.
  • Impose a rhythm on your breathing so that your out-breath becomes longer than your in-breath.
  • Try a 4-2-6 rhythm – e.g. breathe for 4 counts, hold your breath for 2 counts, and breathe out for 6 counts.
  • If that doesn’t feel comfortable, try imposing a 3-1-4 rhythm. The main thing is that your out-breath is slightly longer than your in-breath.


Connect to what is happening in this moment right now more consciously engaging your senses. Try the following:

  •  Splash cold water on your face
  • Take a hot (or cold) shower
  • Cuddle your pet
  • Smell and/or diffuse a relaxing essential oil (i.e. lavender, geranium, ylang ylang)
  • Take a moment to enjoy a cup of tea – really pay attention to the aroma and taste
  • Do one of the following short guided grounding exercises from the ‘Stress Management’ program in the Smiling Mind App.

“Staying connected to others is more important than ever”


When we’re fearful and anxious it can be hard to sleep. Given the importance of sleep for our mental and physical wellbeing, including immunity, establishing good habits around sleep is particularly important at the moment.

Consider creating a pre-sleep routine by turning off news and screens at least an hour before going to bed. If you wake during the night and find you can’t sleep, rather than sit lay there and worry, try a meditation from the ‘Sleep’ program in the Smiling Mind App.


While social connection may be tricky during this time when many people are physical distancing, staying connected to others is more important than ever as we are wired to connect and seek comfort and care from others. We are fortunate to have so much technology at our fingertips enabling us to stay connected to family, friends and colleagues.

Try using video conferencing technology so that you can see each other, as we communicate best when we can see each other’s body language and facial expressions. Do your best to listen and interact as mindfully as you can with others – really pay attention to the people you’re interacting with.


Contributing to the wellbeing of others helps shift our attention from ourselves onto what we can do for them. This helps us connect with others; gain a sense of agency, even if only in a small way; plus helping others also positively impacts our own wellbeing.

Consider how you might help others at this difficult time. For example, you could support a local business you value that is likely struggling at the moment or check up on an elderly friend or relative.

Create healthy habits

Mindfulness can help us create healthy habits to keep us and others as safe and healthy as possible. For example, washing your hands mindfully and taking care not to touch your face.

This article was originally published by Smiling Mind.

For general information about looking after yourself during the coronavirus outbreak, visit Beyond Blue’s dedicated page here.

Doctors healthcare medicare Uncategorized

Social Prescribing the new prescription

A new report from the RACGP and the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF). has found that the use of social prescribing is likely to counter rising chronic health problems.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said. ‘At the frontline of healthcare, GPs are best placed to employ social prescribing to help improve their patients’ health and wellbeing,’

The United Kingdom has used this apprach successfully as have other countries including promising trials in Canada and Singapore. It can help shift the balance to focusing on prevention and early intervention for patients.

We urgently need to consider our approach to healthcare in Australia, with huge challenges in rising chronic illness, mental health issues, isolation and loneliness plus the associated costs

‘Social prescribing offers an innovative solution.’

Social prescribing involves the referral of patients to non-medical activities, ranging from health and fitness programs to movie clubs and meditation.

This report follows a roundtable co-hosted by the RACGP and CHF in partnership with the National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership Centre for Health System Sustainability, and a consultation process. It recommends that social prescribing be incorporated into routine healthcare in Australia.

In a survey commissioned for the initiative, 70% of GPs said they believe referring patients to community activities, groups or services helps to improve health outcomes, but most do not have links with such services.

Some GPs are already employ social prescribing, but more resourcing and recognition is needed to implement it in a sustainable way said Dr Nespolon.

‘Social prescribing offers a huge opportunity to improve patient health and wellbeing and cut the costs of chronic disease, but it won’t happen unless everyone can access it,’ he said.

Leanne Wells, CHF Chief Executive Officer, describes social prescribing as a ‘vital development for patients’.

‘[It] can help to address the social determinants of health, such as low education and income, which can affect people’s health and wellbeing,’ she said.

‘It has become particularly important given rising rates of chronic illness, mental health issues, social isolation and loneliness, many of which cannot be treated effectively with a medical approach alone.

‘We need to find more effective ways to keep people out of hospital in order for our health system to remain stable.’

For future information please see RACGP


Disability & Australias Housing Crisis

As some of you know I have been working my arse off, these past few years to regroup after years of chronic health and 7 years of misdiagnosis and NO MEDICATION. 3 years ago i was unable to toilet or shower myself without aid and help from family and friends, it was my lowest point and circumstances prompted me to seek additional medical advice. 3 years later i am correctly diagnosed, on substantial medication and as of next month will have met the criteria for specialist but $$$ medication. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TAX DOLLARS, they have and will keep me out of a permanent wheel chair. Sadly 7 years of misdiagnosis means substantial and irreversible damage has been done to my body, but i have returned to study and am eagerly working with my specialists to return to work on a low capacity.Much of my eagerness is based around the 12 years i cared for my chronically and terminally ill mother. I saw first hand the effects of poverty and long term chronic health. Trust me when i say the only thing worse than living in poverty is dying in it. So i eagerly hope towards changing my future, but sadly I feel this is the cost of growing up in what i perceive as Australia most financially underprivileged generation.Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been trying to educate myself and create a functional ten year budget that includes home ownership and this is the math I’ve come to.Starting mid-2019, assuming I work 2 days per week at $35ph and still get some Centrelink I should expect to earn $1500pf in income.The average Villa/Unit in Queenslands Burpengary/Caboolture/Deception bay areas is $235,000 its more or less the same in Regional Victorias Traralgon – greater region and even the Southern suburbs of Adelaide. Brisbane’s property market is holding steading and according to is expected to increase in price by up to 5%PA over the next 10 years, so I can expect the medium unit price to be $300,100 in 6 years’ time.I will need at least a 20% deposit to not pay lenders mortgage insurance, more if they penalize me for a part pension income, which sadly is possible. A higher deposit potentially also helps negotiate a lower interest rate, although that too is highly likely to be impacted by perceived ‘socio-ecconomic’ statusWith an income of $1500 PF I can expect to save $500pf towards a mortgage a $100pf saving will go towards every day expenses. $450 paid in subsidized rent! Thus it will take me 4.62 years to save a $60,100 deposit. Keeping in mind I have 1 year of study ahead of me as of today’s date to return to work and I will need a few months to move and settle in etc.. I can expect it to realistically take 6 years to save a mortgage deposit.The current average low interest rate is 4.2%, but that interest rate maybe as high at 8% in 6 years. I will need to pay $8k in establishment fees, not including stamp duty; $16k with stamp duty included.QLD & SA currently have a $20k First home owners grant and free stamp duty for FHO but that may not be around in 6 years.Minus the $60,000 mortgage deposit, I can expect a$240,000 Home Loan@ 8% Interest rate$10 Monthly mortgage fee25 YearsRepayments will be $859 PFKeeping in mind incomes have stalled but CPI has not and this is likely to continue for many years to come, my maximum affordable repayments will be $900,00pfThus I do not see myself affording a home in the foreseeable future and considering stagnated wage growth and decreasing housing affordability, I suspect a recession will be Australia’s 20 year future.On average you will live through two recessions and one depression in your life time, and given the current state of Australia economy, i fail to see how a single person from my generation can afford to buy a home without one. Sadder still for the folks caught out in one, who this is equally unfair to.I’m discouraged because i fail to see what anyone let alone our government is doing about this, they can guarantee AAA rated banks and they offer a first home owners grant but heaven forbid they do something about the greater underprivileged who can not afford housing without help. How is it, no one has thought to offer a Lenders mortgage insurance guarantee or exemption for under privileged households who can show proven savings histories and good credit ratings. Or what about subsidized mortgage interest rates, either would be good option for folks like me, who comfortably handle a budget and just need a LEG UP and not a hand out. At the current rate folks everywhere like me who could handle a mortgage will be permanently priced out of the market with no hope of recovery. Let me tell you when it comes to chronic health and housing needs THERE IS NO DIGNITY IN RENTING! and it seems cruel to force folks like me further into the shadows while the middle class thrive. God help the folks who have zero hope of returning to any work capacity.


Psoriatic Arthritis

Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in and around the joints.Psoriatic arthritis can develop at any time, but it most commonly appears between the ages of 30 and 50. Genes, the immune system, and environmental factors are all believed to play a role in the onset of the disease.Psoriatic arthritis can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain in and around the joints, cause nail changes and overall fatigue.Studies show that delaying treatment for psoriatic arthritis as little as six months can result in permanent joint damage. Early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of psoriatic arthritis are critical to relieve pain and inflammation and help prevent joint damage.Psoriatic arthritis can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or it can develop quickly and be severe.Here are common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis:

  • Generalized fatigue
  • Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons
  • Swollen fingers and toes that look like sausages
  • Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling, and tenderness in one or more joints
  • A reduced range of motion
  • Morning stiffness and tiredness
  • Nail changes—for example, the nail separates from the nail bed and/or becomes pitted and mimics fungus infections
  • Redness and pain of the eye, such as conjunctivitis

Psoriatic arthritis usually affects the distal joints (those closest to the nail) in fingers or toes.You may also experience symptoms in your lower back, wrists, knees or ankle. In 85 percent of patients, psoriasis occurs before the joint disease. If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, it is important to tell your dermatologist if you have any aches and pains.People with the psoriatic disease also are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, depression and other health conditions.


A number of studies have found that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have an increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. A recent study showed that no single treatment significantly raises the risk of cancer, suggesting that the disease itself raises your risk. People with psoriatic disease should incorporate regular cancer screenings into their routine care.

Cardiovascular Disease

Research continues to link psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, especially in people with severe psoriasis. People with severe psoriasis are 58 percent more likely to have a major cardiac event and 43 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to one study. Some researchers report that the leading cause of death for people with severe psoriatic arthritis is cardiovascular disease. The good news is treating your disease can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, one study suggests. Talk to your doctor about your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Crohn’s Disease

There is a connection between psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. In a recent study of women with psoriasis, 10 percent developed a form of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. Those who had psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis were at even greater risk of developing Crohn’s. People with psoriatic disease and Crohn’s share similar genetic mutations. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping and bloody stools.


Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can cause considerable emotional distress for people, including low self-esteem, and an increased chance of mood disorders, such as depression. People with psoriatic arthritis are at greater risk of developing depression than those with psoriasis alone, according to some research. Studies show that treating your psoriasis can alleviate symptoms of depression.


People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a 2012 study. People with severe psoriasis, in particular, are 30 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes. A recent study showed that a drug called glucagon-like peptide-1 used to treat type 2 diabetes may help psoriasis, too. If you have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, such as increased thirst, hunger, blurred vision or fatigue, tell your doctor.

Metabolic Syndrome

There is a significant association between psoriatic disease and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that include heart disease, abdominal obesity, and high blood pressure. A national sample of more than 6,500 people found that 40 percent of those with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome, compared with just 23 percent of the general population. More women with psoriasis had metabolic syndrome than men. People with severe psoriatic arthritis are at even higher risk, with 44 percent diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in a recent study.


Researchers have known for some time that people with the psoriatic disease are more likely to be obese than the normal population. Recent studies continue to examine the relationship between the two. One study showed that children with psoriasis were at much greater risk of being obese, while another showed being overweight at 18 increased the risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. Research also shows that losing weight can improve psoriatic disease symptoms and help make treatments more effective.


A small study of people with psoriatic disease showed that 60 percent of patients had osteopenia, an early form of the bone disease, osteoporosis, and 18 percent had progressed to osteoporosis. The risk of developing the bone disease increases the longer a person has the psoriatic disease, according to the study. While osteoporosis is generally considered to affect women more than men, in this case, men were more affected than women. Consider asking your doctor for a bone density screen.


Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis raise your risk of developing uveitis, an inflammatory disease of the eye. About 7 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis will develop uveitis, according to recent studies. Systemic treatment for the psoriatic disease can help with some of the symptoms, but uveitis usually requires specific treatment. Rheumatologists, who treat psoriatic arthritis, also treat uveitis.

Liver Disease

People with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may be at greater risk for developing a liver condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to recently published studies.


AustraliaTaking Control Of Your Psoriatic Arthritis Booklet


Freecall: 1800 111 101


Why the relationship you have with your doctor is so important

Recently i wrote a blog on Why we still need better health care and discussed a trip I made to the hospital in severe stomach pain with nausea and sweating. The local junior Doctor after reading my medical history decided that it was probably just anxiety, he didn’t ask me any questions or run any tests. But when I fought back he reminded me that he was the Doctor and I was not, so I reminded him, that I already have a Psychiatrist and this is not anxiety, but if he would like to call my Psychiatrist at 2am to debate my mental health with him, I could provide him with the number. It was at this point in the conversation that the junior doctor looked like he wanted to throw up and stormed off, within half an hour I was getting tests done and would you believe it, it wasn’t anxiety it was appengitis, a cousin and equally debilitating relative of appendicitis.Sadly this wasn’t the first time or the last, that I would have to strongly suggest a hospital doctor debate their diagnosis with one of my treating specialists.  And that brings to me a very important point close to my heart. The relationship I have with my Doctors and why I consider them some of the most important relationships I will ever have in my life.  If you have read my blog post 15 Life Lessons From Living With Chronic Illness you will have seen a ted talk by Dr Lissa Rankin asking the question,  Is there scientific proof we can heal ourselves?  In the video Dr Rankin discusses the power of belief and how belief held strongly enough, can produce such large amounts of oxytocin and other healing chemicals from the brain that is has been known to cause ‘spontaneous remission’ of illnesses including cancer. She uses the example of religious belief but also the faith one patient had in their doctor she states in trials, patients who have been given a placebo by their doctor and then told it will cure them have been known to go into full remission as a result of the faith they have in their doctors ability to cure them. She also discusses how the power of positive thinking has been known to greatly assist in the healing process. Oncologists actively encourage cancer patients to try and remain positive and happy, because it greatly increases their chance of survival.Now I’m not about to die of cancer and I’m not advocating drinking the kool-aid in the hope of a better life, but it does stress to me the importance of the faith and the trust I have in my treating phyicians. Now of course I am not about to put my faith blindly in anyone, just ask my psychiatrist and he will tell you – well probably not because of confidentiality and all that but if he could I know he would confidently tell you, Becky hates deceit and as such I put people through their paces before I trust them and that includes him. Now granted my Psychiatrist is fucking awesome and not just because his name is Katz and we all know how much I love my cats but because he genuinely knows his shit! For 2 years despite my then Rheumatologist sticking by the fibromyalgia diagnosis, my Psych kindly supported me while encouraging me to push back on my Rhuematolgist, My Psych knew me and he knew the pain and mobility issues were not in my head and were not simply psycho-somatic or stress-induced neuralgia and he repeatedly said “i think you have psoriatic arthritis” Finally my Rheumatologist snapped at me and said ” i think i know better than your psych and if he can’t fix your pain then i think you need to find a better one” It was that disrespect by my then Rheumatologist towards a Dr he knew nothing about that finally pushed me over the edge and without knowing where to find an alternative Rhem, i asked Dr Katz if he knew anybody. Dr Miller was a professor in Rheumatology and not just any Professor either she is one of the best in Australia. She did diagnose me with Psoriatic Arthritis, she put me on meds and sure enough, i am slowly recovering. Her comment about Dr Katz “he’s one of the best Doctors i have ever known, he might be a Psychiatrist but he could teach some Rheumatologists a thing or two” sadly she retired soon after but once again Dr Katz came to the rescue and referred me to his mothers Rheumatologist and Dr Franklyn is just as wonderful and skilled as Dr Miller ever was. Similarly, when my then Cardiologist diagnosed my tachycardia as a result of meds, Dr Katz knew better, he knew that my meds do not cause my kind of tachycardia and so once again he is referring me to a peer of his. When i was having menstrual issues and my local gyno suggested that ‘women change their minds all the time about wanting kids and contraception’ Dr Katz again referred me to one of his amazing peers who fixed my issues without any disrespect, or surgery. Whilst also respecting my decision to have surgery if symptoms continued. He understood my desire not to have children at my late age (35) or with my health concerns as does Dr Katz, never has he said to me as a psychiatrist “oh Becky I think you need to reevaluate that, or I think you’re overreacting, women needs kids” and don’t get me wrong, Dr Katz is no shrinking violet, he will put a patient in their place if they need it, he is direct and outspoken when necessary but in my case, he has only ever been respectful and understanding. Because of Dr Katz, I not only have a second chance at a reasonable life, and good mental health but i have an entire medical team of highly trained doctors fighting for me so I can have a better life and you better believe they would all go to bat for me if another doctor tried to undermine me or my quality of life. But It was Dr Katz who taught me to never accept anything less than the absolute best from my Doctors and if your Doctor isn’t good enough, find one who is, because as the L’Oreal ad says “you’re worth it”And while I might not ever be in a life or death situation where my faith in Dr Katz or any of my other specialists could save my life, I am in situations every day where my confidence in all my doctors is tested but it’s because of my proven faith in them that I power through life’s challenges confident that despite the pain and discomfort I will succeed because I know my Doctors do have my back and that kind of confident positive thinking is powerful.

Arthritis Australia Doctors healthcare medicare

Why we still need better health care in Australia

So for the record, I have psoriatic arthritis, Kyphoscoliosis, Asthma, something else I can’t spell let alone pronounce that basically means the bottom of both my lungs are permanently collapsed. There bent backward to be exact and as such the blood supply couldn’t reach them and they’ve died. I also live with C-PTSD and related PTS heart murmur that is managed monthly by an amazing psychiatrist that I would be lost without and a cardiologist as needed.But for 7 years I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and so for 7 years I was without appropriate medication or support, which brings me to, todays rant. I Live in a Lucky country and comparatively speaking, I live with A LOT of privilege, like universal health care and disability pensions. Because I was born in Australia, I have enjoyed access to almost freehealthcaree my whole life and because I live here and qualify for a pension, I receive little less than a minimum wage here in Australia from My government so that I may live a reasonable quality of life. So let me be the first to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!!!! But despite all this privilege, I worry that it isn’t enough, that we as humans need to do more for each other, not financially but emotionally.For 7 years I was misdiagnosed not because there was a lack of evidence pointing to another cause but because of a refusal by public funded doctors to see past their own bias. For 7 years I was repeatedly shamed as a hypochondriac, despite medical evidence saying otherwise.  3 times I presented to emergency and was immediately sent for a psychiatric consult, all 3 times, there was something physically and seriously wrong with me. The first time It happened I was in Brisbane and was having a severe allergic reaction to over the counter medications interacting with my tramadol. The senior ambulance officer made the judgement call, that they would only take me to the hospital if I was willing to admit myself for a mental health evaluation. His reasoning, his mother has fibromyalgia and he knew the histrionics we played with and thus refused me any kind of medical care. Eventually, the psychiatrist did interview me and forced the hospital to treat me medically. After 32 hours in Emergency, vomiting uncontrollably, sobbing from abdominal cramps, a high temperature and shaking, the ER doc figured out, It was the over counter medication causing the issue. Not a Fibro induced histrionic episode. The next time it happened I was in Adelaide, and as it turned out, I had appendicitis but it took a forced psych evaluation and the treating psychiatrist to demand I be treated as a medical patient before the hospital ran any tests, again the Doctors on call in the ER that night, deemed my vomiting, sweating, shaking and pain to be nothing more than psychosomatic fibro related pain. The Last time it happened it was in Victoria, I was again suffering from a severe allergic reaction to medication and again they refused to treat me, they didn’t demand a psych eval this time though, they simply sent me home with an antihistamine and the advice I talk to my Psychiatrist about pain management. 24 hours later I was Back in the ER with my face closed up and my throat near closed, I had gone into a slow but potentially lethal anaphylactic shock, all of this combined with my treating Rheumatologists dismissal of my symptoms and bloodwork that forced me to go private. He repeatedly mocked and laughed at the concerned letters from my podiatrist, physiotherapist and myself that something more than fibromyalgia was going on. He told me my blood inflammation levels were so high because I was fat, he told me if I couldn’t handle the pain, then my psychiatrist wasn’t doing his job properly, and he lied blaming fibromyalgia on my rapid foot growth, and severe swelling in my neck, hands, and knees. Thankfully it was his complete disrespect of my treating psychiatrist that pushed me to my limit, I have an amazing relationship with my psychiatrist, so my rheumatologist, laughing at him, without bothering to learn who he is (my psych is literally one of the top treating psychs in VIC and an authority on psychiatry) was the end point for me. I went back to my Psychiatrist and asked him if he could refer me elsewhere, I figured birds of a feather flock together, so I knew it was a good chance that my psychiatrist’s peers would be at the top of their field too and I was right! But that costs $$$, it would cost and is still costing me a small fortune between 300 and 500 per medical visit to see my new Doctors and i would pay even more money to ensure my own going medical needs are met. Yes it means I have to drive 3 hours each way to see these specialists, but unlike my local government funded doctors, this Rheumatologist, takes my medical needs and test results seriously. Because of her, and the subsequent medication I am now on for psoriatic arthritis, my blood inflammation markers are under 50 for the first time in 7 years, I am exercising 4 times as much, I can toilet myself without medical aids, I can walk faster, I can bend again and I’m no longer sobbing in mind blowing pain every day. Because of her, I am trying to go back to school, just today I enrolled at Tafe to study online and because of this new found hope, I am actually planning a life that doesn’t revolve around disability or living on a pension. Because of her, I will one day pay taxes again, the very taxes that fund the inadequate public health system that shunned me.Why so many doctors from so many regions across Australia believe Fibromyalgia is a psychiatric condition despite being managed by Rheumatology, I will never know, I only know the public treating Rheumatologist I saw repeatedly used my exhaustion and nerve pain as a justification for his belief that all of my sufferings was psychosomatic and in my head. Why he and so many others felt compelled to give me an additional diagnosis of fibromyalgia when the existing diagnosis of C-PTSD already covers the reason for neuropathic pain and why they believe it’s ok to ignore blood tests, CT scans, xrays and reports from allied treating professional all pointing to something else in lieu of a convenient psychiatric justification.  And perhaps in that lays the answer, are our public treating doctors so overworked that they are constantly on the lookout for ways to handball patients, and it’s convenient to label someone a hypochondriac, because it means you don’t have to deal with them, at least until the treating psychiatrist demands you do that is.I don’t have any answers, sadly all I have is questions and sadness, I lost 7 years of my life, being treated like an attention seeking drama queen, all because Doctors here in Australia don’t want to deal with the diagnosis they don’t understand. Today I am rebuilding my life, but I have also lost a lot and sadly learnt that in Australia even the medical system thinks it’s ok to treat psych patients like second class citizens, time and time again I tried to help myself and repeatedly I was made to feel like I didn’t know my place. The medical doctors I saw treated me like I was worthless and didn’t matter, but it was my psychiatrist who stood by me and repeatedly told me “this pain is not in your head” it was my psychiatrist who kept me sane when the medical doctors made me feel like a hypochondriac. But that should never have had to happen in the first place, It shouldn’t be my Psychs job to ensure I get good medical care because the medical ‘system’ doesn’t believe in treating psych patients with dignity.  And this brings me to my next blog, why the relationship you have with your doctor is so important

Australia healthcare Uncategorized

Immune Boosting Chicken Soup Recipe

My mum and i created this recipe back in 98, after i suffered a severe bout of bronchitis and pneumonia and my mum who has lupus, was struggling to survive the winter herself. Since making this soup i can honestly say 12 years later, neither of us, have ever gotten that sick again. We both keep a store of this in the freezing so if we feel anything coming on, were quick to nip it in the bud with out kills everything immune boosting soup.

  • 8 – 9 chicken lovely legs, skinless
  • 8 – 10 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 – 3 small red chillies (Remove the seeds if you don’t like it too hot as they’re the hottest part, or just use one chilli. But you must use small chillies because they loosen mucus.)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • Oil
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 2 finely chopped carrots
  • 1 – 2 handfuls corn
  • 1 cup macaroni pasta
  • 2 – 3 handfuls baby spinach

Heat the oil in a stock pot and brown the chicken, garlic, onion, chilli and ginger. Add the chicken stock, carrots and corn. Bring to the boil, and if needed add water. Simmer for 15 – 30 minutes. Take out the chicken, pull the meat off the bone, break meat into small pieces and put back in the pot. Add macaroni and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add baby spinach, taste, add salt and pepper if needed, then serve.

Australia domestic violence, family violence mysogyny sexual assault trauma Uncategorized

Social and Female Misogyny in Australia

Female misogyny is a big concern of mine, and a huge social issue here in Australia. Women degrading other women, because their women. Women who think women are nothing, incapable or incompetent with out men. This attitude can not be seen more clearly than in the treatment of our first female priminister. Julia Gillard is being critisied and objectified because she is a un-married women with out children. Other women consider her unfit to run the country, but when asked why, thier examples are “she’s a red head, we all know red heads are unreasonable and hot tempered, she has a big arse, flat tits, bogan accent, she doesn’t understand what it means to be married and therefore can not relate, she doesn’t have kids and thus can’t relate, she lied about the carbon tax, she’s just another lying manipulative bitch”. Of course none of these statements are true, but that doesn’t stop men and women treating our first female priminister with less respect than any other priminister in history. They don’t call her by title, instead they call her “bitch, cunt,ranga, whore, barren hoe, slut, that women, she, jules, Julesy and “her” but society at large and the media, almost never call her “Priminister”Or “Gillard”. This level of disrespect has never and is not happening with our male politicians, they are all still accorded the respect of their title and position and lies by men are considered standard politics, but “Gillard” who did not lie, but rather was forced into a position of minority leadership and therefore had to compromise with the leader of the senate Bob Brown, thus going back on her promise not to institute a carbon tax. Is being held accountable for a tax that Bob brown created and that benefited all Australians. Bob brown has not been held accountable for the tax that Australia hates, but financially and environmentally benefited everyone. The primister on the other hand is still being bullied and hated for it, one prominent journalist even went so far as to say “Priminister Gillards, father died of shame”.Julia Gillard will eventually go down in History as one of Australia’s most successful Priministers, but that is not what this country cares about. Gillard has successfully passed more policies in her term than any other politician in history, she has also been the only politician to actually make the massive social reforms that she promised for example she has instituted the nation disability insurance scheme. Australians will pay an additional 3% levy in their tax, but disabled Australians everywhere will now have access to funds that will enable them to buy the things they need to return to work, thus paying taxes and not receiving a pension off the government. She has also implemented the Gonski program for schools, ensuring that no child in Australia regardless of socio-economic standards will go with out a education. Disabled and under privileged children everywhere will soon be receiving the same education standard as their wealthy and healthy peers. She has made massive changes to parenting payments, allowing both partners more time at home with their kids and don’t even get me started on our highly successful economy that is the envy of the world. In deed as the facts stand, Julia Gillard is the most philanthropic politician Australia has ever seen. But the media does not talk about her success just her big arse, flat tits and marriage status, the Australian media would have you believe that because Ms Gillard and her Partner Tim Mathieson  who is a hair dresser and are not married, they are both gay and living double lives. Yep in Australia, aesthetic appearances have become more important than policies. They harp on about a innocuous carbon tax, that she instituted a year ago with out any financial or social damage to our society, but because this tax was something Australians did not understand and therefore did not want, she is still be punished for it, the opposition actively uses it as a tool to prove “she” (they refuse to use her name, calling her only by gender) can not run the country, the use phrases like “she needs to make a honest woman of her self and repeal the carbon tax” such comments are a not so subtle way of reminding Australians that she isn’t married and of course all unmarried women are dishonest. They mock her repeatedly by getting their press pictures taken beside opposition supporters banners with the words “ditch the witch” and “ditch the cunt”. Recently while attending a state political dinner, the opposition gladly ate a main meal entitled “Julia Gillard, Kentucky friend Quail, small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box. The opposition leader apologized but refused to sack or reprimand MP Mal Brough for his actions in approving the menu at the dinner hosted by himself. Despite this blatant misogyny the media is still prophesying the end of Gillards leadership, they claim, that Abbot will win by a landslide in the September election. It is my hope, that like America, where the media prophesied a landslide victory by Romney, Australian media will also be wrong. Abbots approval rating is low, but his inept, POLICY FREE party has a slightly higher approval rating than Gillards Labor party. And i do mean policy free, Abbot  is so sure of his victory he has refused to release any policies pre election. It is my hope that at this election if people won’t vote for Gillard they will at least vote independent. It will most likely mean Gillard will once again be forced to work with a minority government, but she will still be a better leader than the Misogynist Abbot. I just hope the rest of Australia sees that too, but sadly to many men and women agree with the sentiment of one anonymous writer from the website who wrote “One can be guaranteed with feminist Julia Gillard in Power. The lies, hypocrisy and incompetence will be clearly demonstrated and promoted under the guise of how brilliant leftist females are at destroying a country.”The above example of social misogyny that is sweeping our country sickens me and it needs to be stopped, whether Gillard is our priminister or not and before the systemic misogyny becomes ingrained in our society and increased levels of domestic and intimate partner violence not only increase but are tollerated as normal.

This is expecially fearful for people with a disability and those living with a disability or chronic medical condition have a higher risk of experiencing violence than people without disability. They can also experience more barriers to access support services.

Family violence is a gendered crime. Evidence indicates that family violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men against women and children.  Male violence against women is often characterised by the misuse of power and control within a context of male privilege. Women are not inherently vulnerable or ‘at risk’, but are made so by policies, structures, and systems. As such, some women are at greater risk of experiencing family violence.

Compared to women without disability, women with disability:

  • Are at greater risk of severe forms of intimate partner violence
  • Experience violence at significantly higher rates, more frequently, for longer, in more ways, and by more perpetrators
  • Have considerably fewer pathways to safety
  • Are less likely to report experiences of violence

In addition, women are more likely to be seriously injured or killed when they are planning to leave the relationship, or in the months following separation. This is owing to the perpetrator’s sense of entitlement, ownership, and perceived loss of control of the victim.

For these reasons we work closely with domestic violence and sexaual assault support organisations to ensure not only that out practice reflects an accurate understanding of the risks involved but also how to best handle complex situations.