“Have You Tried Being Happy?”

By Adya Choudhary

“At the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.– Michelle Obama

I came across this quote the other day as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. It’s an interesting idea, to liken a mental illness to a physical one. Depression and anxiety seem far removed from a broken arm or leg –  but, at their core, are they really that different? Continue reading

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

By Alexander Bell

“It’s like there’s a cloud that comes over you, and it just won’t leave.”

That’s the assessment my girlfriend once gave me of the periods where I’ve struggled with my mental health. From my perspective that analogy could not be more apt.

Times where I struggle with negative thoughts and emotions are like cloudy days. Of course, much like the overcast sky, these days don’t always look the same. On some days, there’s a smattering of light clouds: short periods of sadness or worry that quickly transform into blissful sunshine. Other days find only the occasional ray of short-lived sunshine poking through a heavily-veiled sky. Sometimes a morning shower can give way to a clear sky of blue, while on other occasions the bright sun of the morning can hide a lurking dreary afternoon. Very occasionally, the day is a storm: a thick band of dark, unrelenting grey that stretches as far as the eye can see. Sometimes, a storm will mark an aberration from an otherwise sunny week. Other times, I spend weeks wondering if the sky will ever be clear again.

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A penny for your lifestyle change?

By Emily Feng-Gu

Everyone knows that if you’re in an OSCE station the first-line management for a chronic disease is lifestyle modification.

Lifestyle choices contribute to many of the chronic diseases that are topping the list of Australia’s causes of mortality, including cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and some types of cancer.1

Behavioural change is difficult, and a lot of how we approach the challenge of motivating patients is rooted in patient education. We lay out the benefits and risks, we set SMART goals, and we hope that information is enough to spur patients into action. That is, we assume people are perfectly rational – but maybe we shouldn’t.

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Sunshine on a rainy day: On sunlight and wellbeing

By Erin Stewart

In this author’s humble opinion, autumn and winter are the best seasons of the year! It’s cosy, scarfs become mainstream, the ski fields start to open and hot chocolates become essential. A whole range of brilliant things! However, as summer disappears, the days become shorter, the sun is covered more and more by cloud and inevitably, the sunshine becomes less frequent.

Sunshine is such an important element of our wellbeing and happiness. So how can we enjoy the coming cooler months but also make sure we keep up with the essential Vitamin D our body needs as well as that sunshine to brighten our mood?

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On running (away from your responsibilities)

By Calypso Magyar & Maisie Hands

For many, the stress of medical school and need to study can get in the way of partaking in physical activity. You tell yourself that you got way more than 10,000 steps in while walking around the hospital so you don’t need to do anything more on top of that, or that you can’t afford to take an hour off from all that anatomy you need to learn. Unfortunately that physical activity is often coloured by the stress of the day and doesn’t give you any space to unwind.

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Sharing the Burden

By Grace Scolyer & Alannah Murray

How to Speak

When I first noticed that my brain wasn’t working the way it used to, it wasn’t tragically melancholic like I expected. Addressing, admitting, and conveying my depressed thoughts was embarrassing, confusing, strange, and disorientating. More than anything though, it was just plain awkward explaining what was going on — but I knew it was time to let someone else share the burden, because I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t.

Since then, I’ve had plenty of strange, vulnerable, and poorly-segued conversations with my friends, family, and doctors, trying to explain the messy parts of my brain. Here’s what I have learnt.

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I Promise Myself: The Mental Health Contract

By Grace Scolyer

It’s been 16 months since I sat, tachycardic and sweating in a superclinic GP’s office, asking for a K-10 test and mental health treatment plan. 16 months since I was met with a suppressed laugh, obligatory printout, and subsequent arrangement of an urgent follow-up with another GP with more mental health experience. My exterior did not seem to fit up with my K-10 score; the difference between by 2pm brain and my 2am brain something quite concerning. High functioning, clinically depressed.

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