The Blah Blah Blog

The musings of a black sheep

Yes! A bruise!

"Yes! A bruise" said a guy proudly showing his friends his accomplishment, a blue stain. I was passing the National Institute for Circus Arts when I overheard his lunch time conversation with friends. A bruise isn't often celebrated with his sort of gusto, he was a...

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Mum 1932- 2013

My mum passed away this month. It's now that odd post-funeral time when all is very quiet compared to the time that led to this. My grieving, which is complicated and untidy at the best of times, is a little quieter too. This is the time when I have to remind myself,...

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Suicide at Harvard

Harvard University describes itself as..."the oldest institution of higher education in the United States". Prestigious though it is there is a problem at Harvard... I find it noteworthy that there is something being done about it. Talking not hushing. A three part...

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Final Gifts

I thought: all this is only preparation For learning, at last, how to die. A Mistake — Czeslaw Milosz I am at my Mum's bedside. My friend Katy recommended a book that contains advice about dying processes. It is a valuable resource for anyone who is sitting with and...

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Christmas – a guest blog entry by my Mum*

I am lucky, as the first born in my family, I am the one with most recorded about her, lots of baby photos. Not only photos but my Mum kept a journal as well. She made entries about me in an exercise book over the first year of my life, the entries stopped as my...

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A Christmas with cracks in it

Christmas again, I am not a big fan of yuletide celebrations, many people dread this time of year. I am trying to approach my own family Christmas plans with grace. I won't quite manage to conjure amazing grace but I am aiming for some sort of good enough grace. This...

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Stigma and flowers

I started reading about stigma and mental health, I'd like to know more of the experience, attitudes and their effect. A couple of minutes of searching and I found a research paper I can't forget. The title gives a hint to the findings - Bromley JS, Cunningham SJ....

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Vale Jacintha Saldanha

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha is believed to have died by suicide. Nurse Saldanha's death is receiving a lot of media attention because of events prior to her death. I feel a need weigh in and cover this sad loss from a Wonderersheart point of view. Suicide is complicated...

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Winning tips for carers

The winning entries from the Black Dog Institute's 2012 writing competition about tips for carers. There are valuable tips for carers about self care and support. It might sound like a silly question but perhaps it is one we should ask more often - who cares for the...

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Caring and carers

Earlier this year I entered a writing competition. The brief was to write an inspiring story about Walking the Tightrope - Caring for Someone with Depression or Bipolar Disorder. I didn't write the expected tale of a selfless carer. My entry was not a traditionally...

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Is suicide preventable?

Is suicide is preventable? I don't know, it is a question that does not have a simple answer. The question seems to ask for an unequivocal answer but I think the question is a dubious one, unanswerable. Is suicide is preventable? No. Maybe. Sometimes. When the...

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Vale Tony Scott

The film director Tony Scott died by suicide yesterdday. Mr Scott was 68 and he was perhaps best known as the director of Top Gun, one of the highest grossing movies of 1986. I am extending my sympathy to his family and friends. A sad...

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The ignominy of depression

In The New York Times last weekend Daphne Merkin asked if depression is inherited. It is a question without a definitive answer, a question that highlights our wanting to better understand a terrifying affliction and, oddly, to apportion blame. Who, or what, is...

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A funeral service

Today I am writing a funeral service for my Dad. I didn't want someone with rings on their fingers or bells on their toes to stand before our small gathering of family and friends and talk about the life and loss of someone they didn't know. Come what may I am going...

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Dad 1927 – 2012

My dear Dad died yesterday. My sister and I were beside him at his hospital bed. We held his hands, each of us gripping one of his, we talked to him and remembered things he had done, things we loved and were proud of. I told him that I loved him and, as we sat with...

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It is all in her head

It is not funny how readily someone and their thoughts can be dismissed, or given less credibility because it is all in their head. That throw away statement is used by way of explanation as to why someone is wrong or not to be trusted. I overhead a couple talking on...

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Puzzling about suicide

I have read and written a lot about suicide and explored aspects of fatal melancholy in this forum. Suicide defies rational, or ready, explanation. I am left with more questions than answers. Suicide remains somewhat incomprehensible to those unable to occupy a mind...

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Health AND Mental Health

I did a small piece of work recently with some local agencies who were preparing to provide services to an unprecedented number of asylum seekers, people being released from detention into the community on temporary and bridging visas. The not-for-profit groups got...

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Don’t quote me…

I get quotation overdose, I love a good quote but I also get sick of what becomes a deluge of words intended to inspire. Too many quotes are posted printed and repeated. Quotations narrow our focus to a particular thought or premise, maybe it is my fuzzy focus that...

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What Marian tried

I want to revisit the blog of Marian Keyes, the author. I thought Marian was fabulous when she wrote in 2010 about her crippling depression, and I wrote about her and what she wrote. Her blog tells her story with an openness not often encountered when people talk of...

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Hello?

Depression is isolating and lonely, unreachable... Listening can be more important than speaking. When someone starts talking a listener is a gift to the speaker. My friend Charlotte recently described one of her darkest nights, a night on which she could hardly be,...

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Waiting for a train

I like to think it takes a bit to spoil a Monday, and sometimes it only takes a billboard. There is a poster visible from the Richmond train station, it turns to reveal one side and then the other. "Alcohol does not cause violence" it broadcasts as it spins. An...

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A thought for Easter

Easter is a time of Christian religious observance and celebration in a world less traditionally observant, a world in which the rituals of religion hold less meaning than in past times. A thought for Easter time: “Taking in traumatic information and transmuting it...

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Negotiating Anxiety

I am revisiting anxiety because, while normal, it can become intolerable. While it may not be possible to describe any particular threat feeling of anxiousness can override our coping mechanisms with a sense of impending danger. Neither our good outcomes or our safety...

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Coming Off Meds

Coming off psychiatric medication, or what we tend to call meds is something I don't know much about. I have a friend who has just been through quite a process finding meds that work for her in her situation. She is settling down now with something that is working for...

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