Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward

Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward

Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward Audio Version

by Ponderings Radio

Loneliness The Lone Journey Forward

Words by Montanna Macdonald

The term loneliness is quite often thrown around in daily thought; we have all been there. 

Sometimes you find yourself in a moment of reflection, maybe between your busy schedule or no schedule at all, wishing you had a background ambience, someone to talk to. You may find yourself using a quick fix by turning on the T.V, writing in your journal, playing a podcast or phoning a friend. 

These are all coping strategies we use when we feel alone, but it’s important to point out the difference between feeling alone and loneliness.

Many people enjoy their own company, and moments of solitude can be an important part of our routine. But a disconnection from others and a lack of positive social interaction can have disastrous consequences. 

Loneliness is a normal occurrence that can happen for anyone, but it is more than just turning on some background noise, and you’ll be fine. Loneliness is a mental and physical state that new research shows can lead to concerning health risks. 

Psychology and Neuroscience Professor at Brigham Young University, Julianne Holt-Lunstad believes we are facing a “loneliness epidemic”

Holt-Lunstad academic journal “Advancing social connection as a public health priority in the United States”, provides research indicating that isolation and feeling alone links to an increased risk of premature mortality and a range of disease morbidities. 

Mental illness, as a result of isolation, such as depression, is not a surprising factor of loneliness. Still, the fact that being alone can result in mortality risk is a significant concern.

Individuals relationships and social interactions should be a crucial indicator of determining one’s state of health and wellbeing. Yet loneliness is often looked over, and not spoken about. 

Holt-Lunstads research journal states that the health care system has been “slow to recognise human social relationships as either a health determinant or health risk marker in a manner that is comparable to that of other public health priorities”. 

According to Lifeline, there are common causes of feeling lonely and isolated, such as losing a loved one, lack of close family ties, fear of rejection and lack of purpose or meaning in life. Furthermore, loneliness can result in sleeping problems, lack of energy, diet problems, mental and physical health risks and increased vulnerability to substance use. 

Loneliness spans across all ages of life, but more commonly found in young adults aged 15-25, and elderly aged 75 and above. 

In 2015, a Vic Health survey found that one in eight young people ages 16-25 reported a very high intensity of loneliness. 

Manager of Mental Wellbeing at VicHealth Irene Verins, states “the most effective way to reduce loneliness is to make people feel connected to their community”. 

You must have a support system in place, a tribe of people, to help you combat loneliness. 

If someone you know comes to you in person or online and shows signs of feeling alone, don’t overlook this comment. Make sure you ask if they are OK, and make yourself available for support if you are comfortable to do so, or suggest they connect with family, friends or their doctor. 

And, if you are the one feeling alone, do NOT shy away from reaching out. Sometimes even the most successful, busy and happy people are the most alone. You never know, the person you may reach out to may be feeling the same way as you. 

There are a range of free tools and online programs Vic Health recommend for those who wish to help someone who shows signs of loneliness. 

If there is any way a part I can play in helping tackle loneliness, here is a list of great podcasts to help cope with moments of solitude.

Oprah’s Masterclass: The Podcast 

The Hamish and Andy Show 

Shameless Podcast 

No Filter with Mia Freedman 

Crappy to Happy 

Home Truths 

Mentally Yours 

Table Manners with Jesse Ware 

Hope you have a wonderful day, and hey, after you read this, start up a conversation with someone nearby, send a text, phone a friend you have been meaning to talk to. 

 

The Concept of Karma

The Concept of Karma

The Concept of Karma

Words by Montanna Macdonald

What goes around comes around, but does it really?

Where does this ideology come from and have we misused it in our Western perception? 

From a young age, many of us are brought up with the concept that we must treat people the way you would like to be treated. This has Christian foundations, based on “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, a biblical concept spoken by Jesus in Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12. There is a Chinese proverb that suggests how you treat the elderly is the way you will be treated when you are old. Even when someone does something untoward and mean to you, often the most common answer is “they will have it coming for them, Karma will bite them back”. 

What goes up, must come down- this idiom originated in the 1800s and came from the physical properties of gravity. If you throw a ball in the air, it will come back down. 

But where does Karma originate from? 

According to Brittanica, Karma, originating from the Sanskrit word Karmas “act”, comes from Indian religion and philosophy. Karma is referred to as the “universal causal laws by which good or bad actions determine the future modes of an individuals existence.” 

Samsara, translation to “flowing around”, is an Indian Philosophy adopted in Buddhism referring to metempsychosis, which in short means the migration of one’s soul after death to another, and being freed from one’s past deeds. Karma, in this sense, is the ethical process of this re-birth, whereby your current actions will determine future activities and situations of re-birth. 

In Indian philosophy, Karma motivates one to live a moral, ethical life and explains the existence of good and bad conceptually. 

The idea of Karma first appears in the oldest Hindu text the Rigveda (before c. 1500 BCE). With a limited meaning of ritual action, Karma continues to hold in the early ritual dominant scriptures, until its philosophical scope is extended in the later Upanishads (c. 800 BCE – 300 BCE).

According to Harvard University, when properly understood, however, Karma is both one’s acts and their consequences—in the world and for oneself. Acts do have effects, and the “law of karma” means that people truly never “get away with” anything. Every action leaves an imprint. The only way to free oneself of the entangling consequences of our actions is to act in the spirit of renunciation. Learning to act energetically, yet without personal or egotistical attachment to the fruits of action, is the challenge of the path to action.

Then when we cross into the science world, we discover an exciting convergence- take Newton’s third law, for example: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

To get more technical; with interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the forces on the second object. 

So, choose what you will, but either way, what you do impacts one way or another. Being mindful of our actions with perceptions in a healthy balance will keep us in good stead (we hope). There can be no doubt of the science of cause and effect. Hmmm. 

Do you believe in the concept of Karma?

Still Hope For Angel Babies

Still Hope For Angel Babies

Montanna Macdonald

Journalist

Montanna Macdonald

Still Hope For Angel Babies

Alison and Adam Wightwick sit side by side on their sofa, looking into the eyes of each other as they speak about their last moments with their son, Aaron. Adam spoke softly, “you’re on the maternity ward … there is a lot of happiness around, and babies crying, and our baby’s not crying.” 

 

Aaron Wightwick is one baby of six in Australia to be stillborn each day, the main cause of death under the age of one. According to the 2018 Senate Inquiry into stillbirth, Australia’s stillbirth rate is higher than the national road toll, and over 30 times more common than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Despite modern advancements in medical practise, Australia’s stillbirth rates have not changed in the last 20 years, receiving less recognition than other childhood deaths. The lack of conversation is a national crisis, affecting the mental health of bereaved parents, families and health practitioners. 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) defines stillbirth as “a foetal death occurring at 20 or more completed weeks of gestation or 400 grams or more birth weight”. For Ali and Adam Wightwick, 2019 marks the 12th anniversary of Aaron’s death at just 19 weeks and six days. “The hardest thing is all of the firsts,” Adam says. “He was due on our wedding anniversary. That date for quite a few years was not a happy day when it should’ve been a happy day.”

On June 12, 2007, Ali Wightwick went from back pain one day, to Aaron having no heartbeat the next. The Wightwick’s specialist only weeks earlier said the pregnancy was strong. “It was tough to hand him over. This is the end, and this is it, we aren’t going to see him again,” Ali says. 

 

“He was a little human,” Adam adds. “All the features were there; little hands, fingers and toes.” The couple will never forget picking up Aaron from his hospital bassinet and holding him one last time.

 

Following Aarons death, the Drysdale couple went through two more IVF miscarriages within three years, triggering anxiety, depression and feeling withdrawn from society. “I didn’t want to leave the house,” Ali says to her husband, to which he responds: “it was hard to lift your spirits when you didn’t want your spirits lifted. We did a lot of counselling.” 

 

The Wightwicks share a memory box filled with trinkets and a teddy bear with Aaron’s urn inside to cuddle. It was these small things and support groups that brought them peace. Happily, the couple now have two healthy boys, Zane and Xavier, and believe seeking support changed their course. 

 

 “If we didn’t get any of that, our story could be totally different,” Adam says. 

“Reach out and take the support, even if you don’t think you need it because that’s what makes the difference.”

According to the University of Queensland’s Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth, the often hidden tragedy of bereavement affects over 2000 families each year, with the sorrow of empty arms causing a ripple effect with social and emotional impacts. Furthermore, up to 50% of Australia’s and New Zealand’s bereaved parents believe they are unable to communicate freely about their stillborn baby because of the discomfort in others.

 

Geelong’s Westfield My Local Hero Finalist, and Angel Gowns volunteer, Sarah Tuohey, crochets clothing and blankets for “angel babies” and premature babies. The Westfield program offers community recognition and grants for nominated locals efforts to support an organisation of their choice. Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies provides angel packs with gowns and other keepsakes for families with babies up to 18 months who have died. 

 

While cradling little white booties in the palm of her hand, Sarah softly says, “these beautiful little beanies and booties show that those little people are not forgotten, rather than just remembered as a miscarriage or something that went wrong.” 

 

Sarah’s premature son, Noah, survived her complicated pregnancy, after being diagnosed with a potentially deadly condition called Placenta Percreta, where the placenta can attach to the uterus and nearby organs. Sarah encountered mothers who lost their children and needed small clothing, prompting her to volunteer for Angel Gowns. For Sarah, giving families clothing signified these babies had a life, giving parents the chance to celebrate the short time they had. 

Sarah reflects on a conversation she once had with a bereaved mum. Dressing her baby in a gown was the only thing she could do, “putting the baby to rest in a beautiful way, knowing the baby was loved”. “She couldn’t save the child, but she could at least give the baby a farewell that they deserved.” 

 

Angel Gowns is just one of many organisations in Australia trying to provide bereaved parents with the support they need. Furthermore, with over 54 million 

 

Angel Gowns is just one of many organisations in Australia trying to provide bereaved parents with the support they need. Organisations like Red Nose, SANDS, Stillbirth Foundation and Still Aware are continually campaigning for education, awareness and action in stillbirth research and preventatives. 

 

These organisations, as well as over 269 submissions from around the nation, contributed to the Senate Enquiry Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education Report in December 2018. The report inquires the future of stillbirth with sixteen recommendations made by the committee. The Australian Government published their response in July 2019.

 

The Australian Government agreed to meet all sixteen recommendations made by the committee, including a total $52.4 million investment in research, education programs and mental health support. 

 

The Stillbirth CRE Safer Baby Bundle campaign rolls out this October in NSW, VIC and QLD, addressing the evidence gaps in maternity services on stillbirth prevention. The program aims to reduce stillbirth rates by 20 %, hoping to model the success rates of the ‘Saving Babies Lives Bundle’ in the UK. 

 

A prominent theme runs through these experiences, a need for communication, education and research to synchronise. Conversation is key to supporting families, not only in reducing stillbirth occurrence but also in the bereavement process.

 

The courage of Alison, Adam and Sarah to bravely push through the barriers of existing conversational taboo and allow us to share the space of these moments is something we hold dearly. Life brings so much to us, we are deeply grateful to ponder with them. 

 

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When The Period Painters Come in to Decorate

When The Period Painters Come in to Decorate

When The Period Painters Come in to Decorate

If a woman’s body was a home, its walls would be covered in a myriad of vibrancy and colour.

But for a lot of us too, roughly 26% of the world’s population, we have painters come in to decorate the walls in a lovely hue of magenta, scarlett, sangria, mahogany, crimson, garnet, current and cherry. Time for a bottle of wine, she says.

Generally, we don’t like pesky painters. I don’t know about you, but my painters never come on time, always running late or knocking too early. Putting me in uncomfortable situations where I may have plans in white pants and wasn’t expecting those little shits to turn up. But they do, and I’ve learnt to live with them.

We may be used to the painters, but our society’s standards of TMI are not.

They love to look at our homes from the exterior, pretending like those painters spread glitter and fairy tales, and red riding hood never stepped foot in your forest…I mean, it’s ABSURD!

Apparently, no one likes the idea of red walls, red carpets, heck, if the paints heavy, well red bloody everything?

Today, I’m sick of pretending like our houses are always the same shade from the outside. It’s our house, our walls, our customised painters who sometimes like to wear pink on Wednesdays. It’s ours to own, and ours to protect and share.

So, no different to a Sunday bbq at your neighbour’s house, let’s talk about all those pesky painters at Janice’s and Barbara’s and their blobby bathroom paint finishes.

Here are some facts to ponder on:

  • Many girls do not have a complete and accurate understanding of menstruation as a normal biological process. – UNICEF
  • Many women and girls do not have access to materials to manage their menstruation, especially in times of emergency — natural disasters and conflicts. – UNICEF 
  • 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime. – Women’s Health Concern
  • 1 in 10 women suffer from Endometriosis – Endometriosis Australia
  • Only 13.8% of women call in sick during their periods, and over 80% of women who continue to go to school or work with their periods were less productive as a result. – British Medical Journal 
  • 20.1% of women who would not attend work or school because of their menstruation pain, told their employer/school a different reason for being absent. – British Medical Journal 

This research suggests that there is an underlying taboo for women when discussing periods, more than likely due to a historical “mythical” misunderstanding. According to the British Medical Journal, it primarily shows that women “reflect the need to change the view of menstrual symptoms and the way they are addressed to society”. 

The most distasteful fact is, this taboo about periods still exists today.

This month, the first Australian commercial by Asaleo Care (produce Libra) for their #bloodnormal campaign, showed RED period blood *not blue blood* in prime time television. This historical destigmatising of menstruation moment resulted in over 600 complaints sent to Ad Standards. Ad Standards dismissed the claims saying it did not breach any Code of Ethics.

Now, for starters, I’m not from Planet Oestrogen, I don’t have blue blood, and even Smurfs bleed red!

Secondly, the fact that complaints went as far as saying the commercial was “disgusting” and “offensive” makes my blood boil.

Here is the link to the video. 

We would love to hear your opinion.

If you haven’t heard of Bodyform, they are a maxi pad brand in the UK and are renown for their kick ass marketing strategies in female period empowerment.

When lots of us women share our annoyances about the painters, it’s often ignored, and not spoken about.

But there are reasons why we don’t like them, and we need to be more educated about it. 

For some of us our painters bear fists and decide that while they paint, they like to punch you in the ovaries when you’re not looking. Bastards. 

But the old saying, of “you’ll be right, it’s just that time of the month”, or “don’t be dramatic”, should be out the window if everyone could see you’re in fisticuffs with the painter.

It is utterly heartbreaking knowing that so many women are in pain, thinking that it’s normal and listen to ignorant colloquialisms of it just being life. 

Now, if the painters come to decorate this month, and you’re used to preparing for fista-cuffs, then take this information and advice from Better Health Victoria:

Period pain is called dysmenorrhoea, and it is crucial that if you suffer from this, see your GP. You need to make sure that you are thoroughly examined to check that reproductive disorders like endometriosis or Fibroids do not cause your period pain. 

And most importantly, before you go, stand up for yourself! And if you’re reading this and you’re a man, be open to the conversation.  

Don’t be afraid to talk about red walls, and report those painters if they are punching you in the ovaries!

#bloodnormal 

 

Now recently, a man posted to Bodyforms Facebook, whinging about their unrealistic marketing of “happy periods”. 

If you want to see something so epic that you have a Breakfast Club fist in the air moment, by all means, watch the video, a PR DREAM! Hope it makes you smile.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: 

This article provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, is not a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider. 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

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