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Australian National Headache and Migraine Awareness Week

This week, is an important week for me, it is not one that I have known about in the past but the 15-21 September is National Headache and Migraine Awareness Week in Australia. The week has been run by Headache Australia which is a branch off the Brain Foundation. There are various types and causes of headaches, cluster, tension, migraine, hormone headaches and ones that are triggered by situations, smells, foods or the environment.

I have suffered from Daily Persistant Headaches for as long as I can remember, mum thinks that they started way back when I was in primary school, and I am 22 now. I didn’t really notice my headaches that much until I left school and had the long breaks once I started uni. I think it is the concept that my mind was consistently occupied with the 8:30 – 3:15 routine of school that I didn’t really notice them as much. Now that I am on my own majority of time, besides the few hours at uni at work I can really notice them.

You might be thinking but Nat its just a headache? It can’t be that bad? Well, I want you to remember the last time you had a headache, remember that dull, tight, achy feeling or that sharp, stabbing pain that you feel in the back of your head, you take panadol for it and the pain subsides. Now imagine if that pain was always there, sometimes on a varying pain scale, no amount of drugs or alternative therapies assist in the treatment of them.

That is what I am dealing with, it is a matter of waking up with the pain, attempting to perform daily tasks with the pain, then something aggravates it and makes it a whole lot worse and then I go to bed with the pain. It affects many aspects of my life. It affects my concentration levels whilst I am at uni and my ability to function and do simple daily activities like go to the shops for an extended period of time, concentrate on an assignment, even daily chores can really be affected or spend a night out with friends. Having headaches affects your whole being, it affects your spirituality, it affects your self-esteem and self-belief that you are able to undertake a task, it affects the relationships with people. It can affect how you behave in daily situations because instead of being able to function normally its strikes you down at any time or is always there and when becomes unbearable then your whole demeanor changes.

There is a great lack of knowledge and misunderstanding around headaches and the causes as well as treatments, especially in the development of the new daily persistent headache. Headaches are invisible to the outside world, only those who know you or those that you tell know that you suffer from headache. Hopefully this week will raise awareness for those that do suffer from headaches to give them options as well as those that do not have an understanding of how headaches can affect the daily functioning of someone if it is something that they suffer with over an extended period of time.

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What I would love to do and achieve…

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One day I am hoping that I will be able to make some of these things happen… maybe… somehow… eventually 

– I want to swim with the dolphins 

– I want to go to Central Australia 

– I want to go to France and Italy 

– I want to go horse riding 

– I want to go up in a hot air balloon 

– I want to get my own house

– I want to say that I’ve honestly made it 

– I want to continue to be happy with the decisions that I make 

– I would like to go to a music festival just to say that I have been to one and to see what all the hype is about 

– To finally finish the long stitch that I started

– To go on a trapeze 

– Go to vegas 

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The 40 Hour Junk Food Challenge

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So over the past 3 weeks I have over-consumed on chocolate and junk food and just been eating complete and utter crap… I have no idea why though – it isn’t like I over-indulge on junk food often I am normally quite good and semi healthy with what I do eat. The weekend just gone it has been worse than normal as my sister had her sweet 16th part and there is still lots of junk – lollies, snakes, chips and soft drink left over, so its hard to restrain myself from not eating junk. SO I have given myself a little challenge of the 40 hour junk food challenge…. 40 hours probably doesn’t seem like a long time but I’m aiming that if I can restrain myself for 40 hours then hopefully it will continue and I wont be consistently bingeing on junk food!! Starting at 4:30pm 12 August 2013! 

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This crazy thing called Life…

No one is naturally good at anything, it takes dedication, motivation, lots of time and generally years of practice. Nothing you do the first time will necessarily work out or even be slightly near perfect. Those that succeed are those that pick themselves up when they have been knocked to the ground over and over again.

What is remarkable though is the willpower of these people and what drives them to succeed or take that extra step to pick one foot up allowing them to stand and get them that tiniest bit closer to achieving their goal. Whether it is to make a new friend or make someone smile, learn a different skill, start a new job; there is always something behind that, some drive that will allow them to succeed. For some people it may be as simple as getting a smile or a text back, having that sense of achievement and pride when you complete something or understand a concept. It may not just be a qualification that be achieved, you may have achieved having a good day if previous ones have been average, seeing a smile on someone’s face, achieving a fitness goal or finishing a painting, a story or poem. You can achieve pretty much anything and I guess you don’t need a piece of paper to prove this.

Although some people may know where they are going when they finish high school and have great aspirations of going to uni to get their first bachelor, or working their way up to get their dream job. They all would have started somewhere. It may have been a job that one of their parents does that interests them or maybe does the opposite makes them not want to pursue that career or “be like them” so to speak, it could be a hobby that they want to make a career out of, subjects that they enjoy at school or even just one of those primary school career aspirations of “I want to be a nurse” or “I want to go into space”. It could also be family/parent aspirations that they want their child to be the stereotypical doctor or nurse, or some other stupid high paying job.

However, one of the greatest mistakes that parents as well as teachers have made is how to appreciate what we have, the small things that matter the most. They are too busy barking orders or feeding us mindless information and how important good grades are and that ideally you have to go to university to be happy and successful, instead of telling you how to be happy. They don’t teach you what to do when school is over, when that safety guard of teachers, friends and routine gets taken away from you, they don’t teach you how to be resilient, to cope when you get knocked down or go to plan. They don’t teach you that some of the most important things in life don’t need to be materialistic. I’ve been taught how these ‘materialistic’ things shape who we are and how we are so strongly influenced by them and that they “shape” us, instead of telling us to put that silly iphone or ipod away and enjoy what you have around you, that money does not generally mean everything will be perfect. They don’t tell you how to enjoy the little things in life that I guess majority of us take for granted.

What I am talking about are the things like our friends or our family, simple things like having food or shelter and not struggling in those aspects. They don’t teach us some of the most valuable things that we have. The things that aren’t materialistic. Some of the most important things are felt, you can sometimes see them, touch them, talk to them, your friends and family. Nothing else in this world is going to love you, care about you, listen to you, help you or support you. Materialistic things like your telephone wont support you, give you a hug when you are in tears, tell you everything will be ok and that you just need to be strong, a phone does not do that, neither does a computer or your car. If you think about it though, what is one of the main reasons the telephone is used? To communicate and to keep in touch with those loved ones, to tell them that you love them, that you are thinking about them, that you still care. So why are not taught that we can’t take them for granted? Why are we not taught that if we don’t have school or work that these are the most important and valuable asset to us? I mean that heartache that so many people experience when a loved one is taken away from us is immense. Who knows when your friends’ circumstances are going to change or something tragic is going to happen and for you to wake up that morning only to be told that they aren’t going to be coming back or that they don’t care about you as much as you did them. I think that we realise to some extent how much we care about our friends and family but in a way I don’t think that we understand what it would be like for one of them to get taken away from us.

Way too much time is wasted drilling into kids heads about how work and study should rule your life and that is the key to happiness, it really isn’t. it is something that needs to be taught and explored. The concept of being happy should be explored, how the most important key to happiness is in front of our noses. Doing simple things like watching a movie, catching up with friends, going for a walk in the park or watching the sunset from a rooftop. The simple things in life will generally make you the happiest.  alone doesn’t necessarily make you happy, yes you may enjoy your job, what you do and it gives you a sense of pride but it also takes you away from your family (and don’t give me the whole but we need it to get by so we have to work bullshit) it also puts unnecessary pressure and stress on people, it can make you tired, stressed or grumpy. It sometimes makes us question if we are even doing the right thing. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work or that work is bad, because it is something that every single one of needs to do unless you are one of those lucky ladies that finds this rich husband and stays at home being a good little housewife.

In saying all of that what does make you happy? I have laid down what I think should make a person happy but what do others say? What is the ideal key to happiness? Does this even exist?

I found one website where they refer to happiness as being like a master key, it is unique for every individual, what drives one person and makes them happy may be completely different to someone else. This master key is made up of different elements. It says that element one is your work life, it says that to be completely happy with your life you have to have a job that interests you or one that you love and are very passionate about. If you are happy about this aspect then it would spread over to other aspects of your life and possibly your friends and family. They also mention that you should not choose a job based on how much it pays or the class of it but more so for the pure enjoyment of it. The second aspect that they talk about is contentment; this means that you are fully happy and content with every single one of your choices from who your friends are, even your earnings and to not compare your position to anybody else. This is fully unique and it is something that you should be proud of. The third and final element that will make up your master key is to count your blessings, this sounds very god like I know but it isn’t its purely about being content about what you already have and not be sad or unhappy because you do not have something. (http://www.happiness.com.au/key-to-happiness.html)

Another website that I came across was talking about Zen and the art of happiness. This person refers once again to three aspects of happiness; they take into account happiness on a spiritual, emotional and physical level. When someone is spiritually happy they are referred to being content, having a peace of mind and they are often worry-free. When they referred to someone as being emotionally happy they are excited and things are going to plan, and physical happiness, well this speaks for itself when you are happy with the way that you look or being comfortable with yourself. Even though these are three separate layers they often intertwine and affect one another, this is where the Zen meditation or zazen comes in. During this meditation it is said that an individual will experience the ultimate acceptance and harmony of all three layers. They also say that even though someone may not be fully content with one or more of these layers they will find happiness everywhere. It can be found in our homes, our workplace, people we meet and talk to, pretty much everywhere and anywhere. What I found most interesting about reading this article is that they say that true happiness comes from within and if this happiness is built up and strong it can withstand a whole lot of trouble. They also agree with my thoughts saying that materialistic things only give a temporary happiness and that the best things in life are free. Another comment that they made that I found relevant and that I really liked was that you share your happiness by being satisfied with what you have. (http://www.positivethinkingnow.com/category/happiness/)

You are probably wondering why im ranting and raving about this, well I guess I keep on going around and round in circles with it, like the topic of happiness, what actually makes you happy an why I am feeling the way I am. In a way I am a worrier. I worry about big things and little pointless things, or I fail to understand and accept that people around me have things they need to do and that I have to be positive and supportive of that instead of just living in a massive ‘me’ bubble.

I never used to think everything was just about me, I was always very concerned about everyone else and making sure they were alright, I guess in a way I forgot to make sure I was. I went through a stage well to be honest I think I am still in it, where I felt that nobody cared about me about my situation, or what I was going through, I mean at that point I was struggling with what was my version of the end of the world. I had gotten really sick after getting my tonsils out and had a very prolonged recovery that made me very fatigued and like I did not want to do anything. I had my tonsils out then two weeks later went back to having 8am-5pm days at uni and working all weekend, so my only time to rest would have been that two weeks before uni, unfortunately that made me come to my decision to withdraw from my uni course. Well I guess it just gave me a reason TO withdraw from it, I absolutely hated it, I hated the study, the lectures, the tutorials, I genuinely didn’t like it, so I found being sick was my outlet to getting out of there. Before I decided to leave my uni course, move on to bigger and better things so to speak I quit my part time job. I was there for four years and I guess I had gotten really over it, so I quit.

I don’t regret either of those decisions I guess what I do regret is that I’ve had to wait until the last week of November to get back into doing something, so it was say a good 2/3 months of doing nothing. It did my head in so much, everyone around me was making steps thinking about their future and at that stage all I was being told to do was rest, I didn’t want to rest I wanted to be moving forwards like everyone else. For me working and school or studying meant the world to me, I got so caught up in doing that, I became very angry and defensive to those around me, I kept on putting myself down saying that I’m hopeless and that I couldn’t do anything, so I guess I developed a very negative attitude on everything. I wanted to somehow get myself out of this rut but I couldn’t, I had happy days but I wasn’t happy overall and it definitely showed and affected so many people around me.

It was only recently that someone very very close to me said “I’m sick of it, I’m sick of you writing yourself off as useless” I guess that night made me start writing about this and I just haven’t stopped, it’s made me question what I am even doing and how I was treating everyone around me, so when I wasn’t so upset, in tears or worked up about it I got into our conversations and I read over them, this is when I realised that what I was doing was so unfair and very stupid. I was treating everyone around me unfairly and I finally woke up to myself and said that it had to stop. I had to stop venting to everyone around me, I had to stop thinking that it was the end of the world, accept the fact that I couldn’t control what had actually gone on this year. I wasn’t to know that I wouldn’t like uni, I mean it is a massive step from school and I was so hesitant going into my course to begin with, I wasn’t to know that I wasn’t going to recover from the surgery as well as I should have and that I would have had this three months off. The things that I was worrying about I couldn’t control, I guess I’ve finally realised that. I wasn’t focusing on those people around me that did make me happy, feel special and amazing instead  I was focusing on how I wasn’t in school, how everything was so different to school, how I wasn’t working or studying or anything like that, it made me so negative, I hated pretty much everything and was nowhere near happy. I can’t say that right now things are even close to being perfect or being as I hope, but hopefully someday soon they will be.

 

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somedays require us to be a lot stronger than others… sometimes life asks us to question what we are doing, with who and where we are heading in life… sometimes this is very confusing… sometimes it ends up with us feeling lost, upset, angry, frustrated or alone… some days we need to keep our head that tiniest bit higher and somehow gain the strength to push through it, tiny bits at a time, work through those crazy things that are going over and over in our heads… sometimes we slowly work through them one at a time but sometimes they just build up, everythings overwhelming and there doesnt seem to be a way out, a way up, or a slight idea of how to work through it all… one day supposedly it is meant to all work out, those crazy things in our head get worked out and life slowly goes on and sorts itself out.. but like i said in one of my previous posts you have to “just keep swimming”

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There has to be…

There has to be more to this.

More to existence.

More to life.

More to being.

More to friendship.

More to love.

More to happiness…

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Grateful in April – I can do it

Some of you are probably wondering what this is all about, but it is about acknowledging everything you are grateful for… yes you heard me what you are GRATEFUL and THANKFUL for. Things that you already have in your life that will make you feel good, warm and happy. This isn’t just done on one day, that’s not why it is called Grateful in April, it is 30 days of writing down 3 things at night or in the morning of what you are grateful for. Why 30 days? This is so that you are able to shift your thought patterns, your negative energy and mentality that you may have, but also that it takes 30 days to make something a habit – so ideally if you’re in the right mind set it will take 30 days to break one.

Majority of us spend way too much time focusing on the negatives, focusing on what we don’t have, using the good old “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” routine… Sadly I know this all too well. Since the end of year 12 and leaving uni it has definitely been a struggle, struggle to see the light, what is positive and I was forgetting what I have, what I have done and what I have achieved. I started getting very agitated, getting angry at the smallest of things, isolating myself from everyone and everything. I had no direction or anything just made me miserable and I spent most of my time moping around the house wondering if things would get better, be different and crap like that.

I didn’t know how to get out of this vicious cycle that I managed to get myself into so I booked myself into a confidence course that I attended at Holmesglen for two Wednesdays. The first day I think helped me immensely it put perspective onto everything I was feeling – especially my crazy fear of change. Change in myself, change in my environment and change in those around me was so very daunting for me and really did scare me half to death. The lecturer was able to put a name to what I was doing and I was creating “disaster movies” in my head, this disaster movie meant that I would create this fake environment that would exemplify everything that was happening in my own environment and I would look for the worst possible thing to happen. This version of my disaster movie was the most current thought that I was always experiencing and making me react the way that I did, instead of having the positives in the front of my head and being the most current thought it was being overrun.

I was able to overcome this by creating my own goodie bag, they are only lists, but they are so very powerful it was my bag of power thoughts. The thoughts that I had to write down was a list of 10 things that I had achieved, 10 things that I am grateful for and 10 self-esteem things that  I like. Another strategy that I have adopted is the use of affirmations, I have a list in my phone and I read them every morning and every night before bed. I also acknowledge the negative thoughts when they enter my head and I have learnt how to move on from them and not let my thoughts dwell on them and turn them into a big deal. They are just very small strategies but if you are able to implement them then they can make a huge difference.

That is why I feel that Grateful in April is so relevant to me and what I am experiencing right now and what I am going through. If I am able to stick with writing down three things that I appreciate, adding things to my list that forms my goodie bad and reading my affirmations I believe that I will come out stronger then ever before. I’m already making improvements and making changes and I feel so much better about myself and I hope to stay that way.

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I will never let you fall…

Seasons are changing and waves are crashing
And stars are falling all for us
Days grow longer and nights grow shorter
I can show you, I’ll be the one

I will never let you fall
I’ll stand up with you forever
I’ll be there for you through it all
Even if saving you sends me to Heaven

 

This song gets me every time…

 

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update on the facebook goal..

My update on achieving my no facebook goal… well the beginning of the week was definitely the easiest for me and I did not struggle at all and then Friday came and the silly Year 12’s got their results, for some reason I just had to be a sticky beak and have a look and see if there were any updates on it, I resisted for a little bit but not enough, this is when caved in a way. So I didn’t really achieve my goal of going a week without it, but if you don’t succeed you have to keep trying until you do. So that is exactly what I am going to do, keep trying until I can go that whole week without going on facebook. You may wonder why… well my main reason is that there is way more to life, and way more out there then being absorbed in the silly lives of people that don’t give a shit. Putting it simply… maybe im being too harsh but in a way I know that I’m not… I want to have the chance to focus on ‘life’ and the greatness that is out there. So round two of trying to stay of facebook commences. Hopefully this time I will be able to as I did make a significant amount of progress and had a period of where not going on facebook did not faze me in the least, so hopefully I will be able to achieve that again. I am very determined this time 🙂

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the prettiest light show….

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