James Roberts and the Broncos Released a False Story About His Child’s Birth And There Was A Public Divide… And That’s Actually A Good Thing

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On Sunday morning James Roberts became a proud new parent. He and his wife had their first baby. An absolutely joyous occasion. But instead of simply releasing a statement saying – Mum and bub doing great – which would have been met with thousands of congratulations, Roberts and the Broncos decided to release a story about a desperate wife in labour being abandoned for the greater good, that is – the team. A story that Roberts’ wife has now denied.

“This is James Roberts wife and I’m currently watching your morning episode and segment on the mixed grill! I would like you to all know that it upsets me to see people talking about my husband in such a negative way. I told James to play that evening because i knew that our baby boy wouldn’t arrive until after the game as I was not in ‘early labour’ at that point in time. James is such a loving, caring and nurturing father who was by my side the whole way through the birth of our very first son and never left my side! While James was at the game, doing what he loves and does best, I was surrounded by my extended family from Sydney and mother in law while James was at the stadium. It was not until early hours of Sunday morning that I gave birth and James played football on the Friday night, which is nearly 48hours after playing. James delivered our son with the assistance of the awesome team of midwives at the Gold Coast hospital! James is an extremely supportive, loyal, loving and kind hearted man who would never be so selfish or selfless to leave me by myself to give birth!”

This was not the events that Roberts had detailed. Roberts had said that he left his wife in labour, that his coach hadn’t said he wanted him to play but he sensed he did, that he went and played and his coach had to avoid messages from his wife asking for Roberts to return. The Broncos called this act selfless. That’s the story that they chose to release. Nobody sculked around hospital hallways trying to get a scoop. Nobody bugged any phones. This was the story that Roberts and the Broncos willingly chose to put out.

Roberts received a roasting for this story. And I have to say, I actually think it shows progress that he did. This story was released because they assumed that footy culture would love that take. That a man put his wife’s desperate cries aside for the team. That mates came first. And I dare say a decade ago, this kind of thing would have been applauded. Forget the little woman, footy and your mates are more important. But today people didn’t just go along with the story. Sure there were people saying, good on him, heaps of people have to work, it’s his job. But his story specifically said he didn’t have to play but chose too despite his wife begging him to stay. So many people were unimpressed. They rightly said ignoring your wife during labour, for a football match that you didn’t have to play in, was not “selfless” and that it was in fact selfish.

Well done society we have progressed to the point that lots of people agree that women matter, that family matters, that you should have a stronger bond with your wife and child than your mates. Women matter. Yes! Fist pump.

I have to admit that I wish this feeling was so prevalent that either EVERYBODY condemned the story that Roberts and the Broncos put out OR that they never even considered putting it out in the first person. I wish that they didn’t assume that footy culture meant mates and footy first, women and kids don’t matter. But it’s still progress. I wish they’d just annouced the birth rather than this ridiculous story and then basked in all the congratulations. It’s a new baby. It’s exciting for them.

So let’s pop the cork and celebrate this little step. A few more people think women matter. Hooray.

And Broncos, in future, “Baby is here, Mum and Bub are doing great.” Leave it at that. Everyone will just say congratulations.

Happy Mothers Day, Here’s Your Damn Book Now Leave Me Alone

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Few occasions say buy a book like Mothers Day. Ladies love reading, amirightoramiright? So I’m here to help you chose a book that she’ll actually like rather than one she’ll pretend to like but secretly wonder why the hell you bought her something about pirates and heaving bossoms.

My number 1 recommendation is Kerri Sackville’s Little Book of Anxiety. Don’t pretend like you don’t know why I’d recommend this book, us mothers are anxious, nagging, beasties, and this is a humorous look at anxiety that the anxious mumma in your life will enjoy.

My 2nd recommendation is Primary School Confidential by Mrs Woog. A truly hilarious look at all things Primary School. It’ll make your mum laugh and cringe at all those memories.

My 3rd recommendation is Lisa Fleetwood’s Destination Dachshund. It’s a beautiful family travel memoir about three generations traveling the world together. You could get this one for mum or grandma… it might even inspire them to take you to Europe for a family vacation. Free trip! Woot!

My 4th recommendation is a bit of a change of pace from the first three. Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident. An Isolated Incident is a haunting thriller that explores everyday violence. It has real depth and covers some unsettling themes. This is something that your mum can sit down with and really engage with. A novel that will stay with her and really make her think. Perfect for the mum who loves to explore social issues.

Coming in at number 5 is The War Bride by Pamela Hart. A beautiful tale set in 1920s Australia. It is the story of
Margaret Dalton who comes to Australia from England and has to create a new life and form new friendships. There’s a touch of romance for the mums out there who like a bit of a love story.

Number 6 is Lisa Heidke’s Callahan Split. Love, sibling rivalry and tennis. What’s not to like. Get it for the mum who loves tennis or has a sister.

Number 7 is The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. It’s Beauty and the Beast meets WWII. It’s evocative, it’s romantic, it’s beautiful. Your mother will love it.

At number 8 I have Fiona McArthur’s Aussie Midwives. A heartwarming look at those wonderful people who work around the birthing process. Your mum is sure to be touched by this gift, after all, she probably gave birth to you.

9 is Incredible Bakes That Just Happen to be Refined Sugar Free by Caroline Griffiths. The name says it all. Delicious recipes that everyone can enjoy. If your mum loves to cook then this is the gift for her… and you because she can make you delicious treats from it. Bonus.

And coming in at lucky number 10 is Rhonda RobertsGladiatrix. Perfect for the mum that loves Speculative Fiction. Despite Spec Fic having a rep for being a “boy’s” genre the majority of the readers are actually females. And we love to read about kick ass female leads. So grab your mum a copy and she’ll give you a big thanks. This is Science Fiction with an Australian character heading things up.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get that mother of yours the perfect book.

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Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Gastro and Antidepressants, Not a Winning Combination

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Recently I had a bad bout of gastro. I don’t just tell you this because I have a shameless love of sharing my bowel movements with people, I mean I do, but that’s not the reason I’m mentioning it this time. This bout of gastro meant that I couldn’t take my antidepressants. I simply couldn’t keep them down, not to mention the husband is not exactly a quality nurse. He found it quite odd that I’d need to be checked in on more than twice a day so dispensing medications was quite beyond him. So I went from Tuesday to Friday without any antidepressants. That’s four days without antidepressants. What could go wrong in four days? Surely that’s not that long. Wrong. The result of being off antidepressants were swift and brutal. On the Saturday I was well enough to get out of bed and keep some food and water down. I was feeling very odd, I’ve been in a down phase for over six months now but this was different, I took my antidepressant at about 8am for the first time in four days but it wasn’t soon enough to stop the effects that the withdrawal had on me.

 

At 9am I went back to bed. I still wasn’t very well from four days of exploding from both ends and not being able to eat. I proceeded to have vivid nightmares of memories that I prefer to keep buried. There are some people that are of a theory that you must confront and deal with every single memory and feeling but quite frankly there are some that I’m perfectly happy with keeping buried deep down under the concrete fog of suppression. They can stay buried as far as I’m concerned because there are some things in this life that I will never be strong enough to deal with and they get to stay in that box. Unfortunately they came running out of that box and dancing around in my head. I woke up. They continued to run around unfettered. Jumping about, opening other boxes. I desperately tried to close them. I began to shake, I began to cry, and I began to think I was losing my mind. I felt that my kids would be better off without a crazy mother and that I should kill myself rather than have them endure my endless psychological burden on them. I tried to contact my husband, he was busy. I tried calling the medical centre my GP works at, they were fully booked and nobody could see me. I then contacted my two best girlfriends, Helen and Lisa, they were probably busy, they’ve both got kids and commitments, Lisa was even in the process of publishing her book, but they pretended they didn’t. They sent me the number for a home doctor visit and asked if there was someone they could call for me, was there someone they could get to come see me. They immediately wanted to look after me and make sure I was cared for. At this point, 11am I sent the following message to my psychologist:

Hi _____. I’m really sorry to bother you on the weekend but I’m slightly concerned that I might be having a bit of a psychological episode. I can’t stop having nightmares even when I’m awake. I think it is because I’m so depleted from gastro, which thankfully stopped and I hadn’t been able to keep my medication down since Tuesday and because the pain in my leg is quite bad at the moment but I’m really struggling and just don’t quite know what I should do. I’d normally just duck in to see my GP but she doesn’t work on weekends and nobody else can see me and I was just unsure what I should do so was wondering if you had any advice. Sorry, Robin

She sent me a message saying that she would call me back in 15 minutes.

 

In four hours I had gone from feeling a vague sense of impending doom to feeling like I was losing my mind and wanting to kill myself. Such a short amount of time and I was ready to end it. That’s how intense sudden withdrawal from antidepressants can be. There was no lead up into this overwhelming despair it just hit full force within a matter of hours. I had started taking a new antidepressant a little over a month ago and had found it quite effective for me, it was like all that had been undone and I’d slid even further backwards. When my psychologist called she explained to me that I probably wasn’t losing my mind that I was probably suffering withdrawal symptoms. That the feelings that I was having were from the chemical imbalance rather than some sort of break in my mind. This was very comforting to me. She spoke to me for quite some time to make sure that I was okay, and told me to go to the emergency department if I needed too, and to not simply suffer through the symptoms if they were unbearable. That sudden withdrawal from medication was awful but it would be over in a few days but there were things that doctors could do for me in the interim, such as prescribe a drug like Xanax to keep me more settled whilst my regular medication kicked back in. Just knowing that I wasn’t crazy, that there was a reason that my brain seemed to be melting out of my ear provided me with great relief. It gave me a lens to view my thoughts through that let me know that it would pass, and that they would go away. The symptoms were still to server for me to cope with on my own so I took 25mg of Seroquel over the next few days whilst the worst side effects were present.

 

A week later and I’m back to normal and I actually feel really proud of myself. I know that probably sounds weird, proud of myself having a complete meltdown, but I am. 2 years ago when I went into Saint John of God Psychiatric Hospital I was having similar feelings. I went to my husband for support, he’s not good with the feelings, he was too busy. I continued to flounder and could not cope and felt like there was nothing I could do. This time round, in a matter of hours I had repeated the same process, reached out to my husband, he was too busy but I am hopeful that one day he will have made enough progress that he reaches back, on being rebuffed I tried my GP, on being unsuccessful I still didn’t give up and contacted my two wonderful friends Lisa and Helen and then my psychologist. In the last two years I have made three fantastic decisions that have made me a stronger and better person. I chose Lisa and I chose Helen to be my friends, without them my life would be so much less productive, and I picked the best psychologist that I have ever seen. Someone who understands me and how to treat me. Someone who is willing to take time out of their weekend to treat me. I am so proud of myself for making these healthy choices in my life. I am so proud that instead of spiraling out of control for months that I got onto it in a number of hours.

 

So I guess I write this blog entry to both warn people on antidepressants that if you get gastro or any other illness where you can’t keep your medication down then please go see your GP or a hospital immediately, because you’ll have effect beyond the illness and they are savage, but also, just because you fall it doesn’t mean you can’t get up. And just because you fall doesn’t mean you need to be ashamed. You can be damn proud of yourself for how quickly you got yourself back up.

Enter The Rani: Part 2 #DoctorWhoFanFic

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DOCTORLIES

Description: As just a baby the Rani and her parents are returned to Gallifrey from Earth in disgrace for becoming too entrenched in Human customs. The Rani’s parents are stripped of their regenerations as punishment and thus begins a life long quest on behalf of the Rani to find out how to restore regenerations without the approval of the High Council of the Time Lords. Along her studies the Rani meets such colourful characters as the Doctor and the Master and sets in motion lifelong friendships and feuds.

 

Find Part 1 HERE

 

Enter The Rani (Part 2)

On my first day at the Prydonian Academy I sat under a silver leafed candonwood tree on the orange grass of the grounds utterly alone. We had finished our inductions and had been cleared for a break before beginning our studies in earnest. I pulled at the stiff scarlet robes swamping my tiny frame and scratched absent mindedly at my neck which was itching due to the hot, stiff collar. The robes were utterly unsuitable for the weather, but that probably only made the Council love them more. Anything ghastly and unnecessary seemed to delight them. It meant that they could be held apart. That they were so above everyone else that they could ignore comfort and temperature. And from us, the young Time Lords at the Prydonian Academy, their successors would surely be chosen. We were the best and brightest that Gallifrey had to offer. Tradition dictated that leaders were to be chosen from our school, and there was nothing that the Council loved more than tradition… Except, perhaps, saving face.

I scowled out at the other children talking in groups. They all seemed so happy. They had it so easy. They gained access to this academy by virtue of their lineage. Me, I had to work for it. I had to excel in every aspect so that my entry couldn’t be denied no matter how great a disgrace my family was. I was miles ahead of those soft children yet they despised me. They thought me lesser. The irony burned me like a forge. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t there to make friends. I was there to gain access to the finest technology and instruction that Gallifrey had to offer. I had no interest in the rituals and traditions of the Council. I only wanted to save my mother. To give her life as she had me. I would play their games only to meet my own ends.

I was so intent on my glaring at the insipid children of the ruling class that I had failed to notice that a shaggy haired boy was sitting in the tree above me until he nearly came toppling down on top of me. He was a shocking sight. Legs flailing above his head, robe almost suffocating his head and all the while he squeaked,

“I’m alright, I’m alright.”

He awkwardly managed to get his head above his feet and his feet onto the ground and tried to sit nonchalantly next to me. I fixed the boy with a contemptuous glare. I wasn’t there to make friends.

“I’m Theta,” the clumsy boy said sticking out a lanky arm with long bony fingers that seemed to jut out oddly. Bits of candorwood twigs still clung to his disheveled robes and a few silver leaves protruded from his scruffy hair.

“I know who you are,” I responded coolly and stared straight ahead. I knew who all of these foolish Time Lords were. Although they treated me with contempt I made it my business to know who they were, who I had to beat, what their weaknesses were, and how I could use them to my advantage. But even had I not been so attentive I still would have known who this gawky boy was. Everybody knew who Theta was.

“You know me?” He stared at me with his deep brown eyes, like pools of curiosity. It was the closest thing I had ever seen to looking into the Untempered Schism.

“Everybody knows you,” I responded evenly. I began looking straight ahead again. I could see all I needed through my periphery vision. I didn’t need to give him the satisfaction of my attention. He had enough from the rest of the world. Our future commander.

“Ah,” he nodded and looked down at his neglected hand and then placed it awkwardly in his lap. “I guess they know of me in the same way everyone knows of you. “Ushas, the human.”

The insult to my birth right that he so casually delivered struck me like a blow. I turned on him in a fury and hissed,

“You’re the human. You’re the one from a tainted loom. I am of full Time Lord blood, born of a proud linage of Time Lords and Ladies. There is no contamination in my blood.”

I stood up and moved to stalk away but the weedy looking boy grabbed hold of my hand and held it with such intensity that I could not move away.

“I am sorry,” he finally said. “I didn’t mean it as an insult. More that the fame of your unusual birth experience proceeds you. You are unique here, an anomaly. As Am I. I thought that perhaps…” His voice trailed off.

“What?” I snapped looking down at him. Seeing at once how lonely and fragile this child was. That he too was an outcast.

“I thought we could be friends,” he stammered.

“I don’t need friends,” I said and shook his hand free of mine. I began walking away when his soft words halted me.

“I do.”

I turned and stared at him. This pathetic figure, covered in leaves, his Prydonian robes, that would have been worn for the first time today, already tattered, and wondered how is it that he could be prophesized to be the future leader of Gallifrey where as I was denied even being humoured with the thought of being on the Council at all. And his birth was just as scandalous as mine, yet he was destined for greatness and his family revered whilst mine was in ruins. I stared at him contemplating exactly how to respond. The best way to cut him down.

“Hey, human,” I heard a voice behind me sneer. I turned, ready to lash out at who had dared insult me. It was a chubby, older boy, with pink cheeks. He looked like the kind of child who sat about eating all day instead of attending to his studies. Even this disgusting behemoth thought to insult me.

“Cousin,” Theta’s voice rang out resigned, “If being human makes me less like you then I would be glad of it. Call me human all you like. I want to be nothing like you. You revolting Slitheen.”

The ginger boys face flushed redder than his hair and he dove on top of Theta, fists thrashing wildly. At this point it dawned on me that although Theta had been destined for greatness, his abnormal birthing journey made him just as much as an outcast as I was. And that a disenfranchised boy, destined for greatness, would be not only easy to manipulate but endlessly useful. So in that moment I made the worst and best decision of my life. To save the scrawny boy from his beating and to make him my ally.

In my training for joining the Academy I had undertaken much physical training. I could lift far heavier loads than my petite frame belied. I easily pick up the chubby ginger boy and tossed him unceremoniously down onto his rump. He groaned uncomfortably, rubbed at his back and shot a look of pure poison at me. I smiled back in return, as sweetly as a schlenk blossom.

“You’re just as big a freak as he is,” he roared at me. “Stupid humans. You shouldn’t even be allowed here. You’ll dilute our bloodlines. My dad says you’ll bring about our ruin, you will.”

“Well perhaps you better stay away than,” I murmured with irritating calm. “You never know what we barbarous humans might do. Why, we’re just as unstable as any dalek.”

“You’re mad,” the chubby boy yelled getting to his feet. “You pair belong together. They should put all of you freaks together then throw you into the Schism.”

“Enough, Cousin.” Theta had gotten to his feet. He spoke with such intensity that the whole Academy grounds stood still. All the children stopped to stare at him as his authority rang across the yard. I looked at him in awe. How could such a scruff suddenly become so commanding? I could see it now, why he was destined to lead. “Go about your business. I have no more time for you.”

Theta’s cousin fled, almost tripping in his haste to be away. I stared at the boy who had become a man in front of me and simply said,

“Friends?”

“I’d like that,” he responded with a warm smile and I could not help but smile back.

“Should we go to class now?” I asked.

“I think so,” Theta responded, “freaks like us can’t afford to be late.”

 

Also Up On Watpad

Another Baby Is Dead, Let’s Not Demonise People With Postnatal Depression

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Content warning: (Infanticide, PTSD, DV, Suicide)

The nation held its collective breath when Sofina Nikat, mother of 14-month-old Sanaya Shahib, said that her daughter had been stolen by a “black man” whilst they went for their morning walk. Nikat claimed the man smelled strongly of alcohol, wore no shoes, he was African, between 20-30 years old, and that he pushed her down and then unstrapped little Sanaya before running off with the toddler. The story seemed far fetched, Internet sleuths quickly pointed out how could she know the age or gender or ethnicity if she didn’t really see them, how did he unstrap the baby in time, and what the F does African look like? The continent of Africa contains many countries and ethnicities so simply “African” doesn’t cut it. This isn’t 1920s America where a vague story about a “black man” is enough to get everyone gathering their pitchforks. And of course the brother of Nikat speaking about himself more so than the toddler he should have been grieving made everyone even more suspicious. Their suspicions were correct, Nikat has confessed. The “black man” didn’t take her baby. She murdered her baby.

Cue the cries of, “she must have had PND.” People insisting that the mother be shown compassion because nobody in their right mind would do something so horrible, she must have had Postnatal Depression. Compassion is an admirable state but I’ll just give you a moment to think about the full statement and let that sink in. Nobody in their right mind would do something so horrible, she must have had Postnatal Depression

Recently another Australian toddler died at the hands of his mother. His name was Braxon and his mother was Jasmine Mossman-Riley. Mossman-Riley jumped off a cliff holding her son Braxon after leaving a suicide note on Facebook. It was tragic. Any death is tragic, more so a child, and even more so when that child has the terror and pain of witnessing someone that they love killing them. Mossman-Riley’s family have said that she suffered from PTSD as a result of Domestic Violence and have urged victims to speak out and get help before it is too late. Nobody wants something like this to happen again. A family member of mine, on hearing about this case, decided to take me aside and tell me that she had read about the mother in Sydney who had jumped off a cliff with her child and that the mother who jumped had PND and I also had PND and to call her before I did something like that… blinks… it was mortifying. Let’s not even get into the logistics of the situation. The idea that I could get myself, a four year old and two year old twins off a cliff at the same time when I struggle to merely get them in the car at the same time without losing a sock somewhere. A friend told me to shake it off, she’s just a an older lady concerned about the kids…. but why? Because there’s a subconscious bias that PND = potential baby killer. [My friend, for the record has suffered PND and knows the two aren’t one and the same and wasn’t saying they were.] And not in the same way that anybody could become a killer, people link the two closely. It’s a subconscious bias that needs to be challenged because it is utterly false.

Those who follow my blog know I’m open about my struggles with PND. I even blogged whilst in a psychiatric hospital  (first entry is here), but I have never had an urge to hurt any of my children or kill them. I’m a living, breathing, human being, not some blown up stereotype made up by the media, an actual human being. And it was hurtful to be treated as such. As if any time somebody murdered their child, I would be thought of and that other mums, just struggling to get by, and doing their absolute best would be thought of as well. After how hard we try to be the best mums possible, in the end we’re just cut down to mindless killing machines because nothing else matters but that one label – PND. A label that shouldn’t even mean psychotic baby killer in the first place. It was insensitive and it hurt. It was also unfair. And the irony is, the mother had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Domestic Violence, not Postnatal Depression.

Conservative estimates state that approximately 1 in 7 mothers experience Postnatal Depression. That’s just over 14%. Other figures have the rates considerably higher, even up to 30%. That’s a lot of women. If you know 7 mothers, chances are, at least one of them has experienced Postnatal Depression. Many of them will never have told you and the vast majority of them you will have thought were excellent mothers with good relationships with their children. You’d think that because the vast majority of them are. Depression is not the same as being a pathological killer. It is not the same as not knowing wrong from right. It is not the same as being utterly unable to control your actions. It can be debilitating,  it can cause bonding issues, although much less frequently than the media and societal stereotypes would have you believe. It does cause high levels of anxiety around your ability to parent. Anxiety than can interrupt sleep even more so than a baby up all night with reflux, or even twins with reflux. I’ve had both, the singleton, and the twins with reflux. And I’ve also had Postnatal Depression. Never have I ever had a thought to hurt, maim, or murder, any one of my children. Suicide, oh yeah, I’ve contemplated that, murdering another human being, one utterly dependant on me, no I have not. And chances are, the women that you know with PND, regardless of if they have told you they have it or not, also aren’t ticking time bombs just waiting to go off and kill a child.

Beyond Postnatal Depression is Postnatal Psychosis. In this state mothers do lose contact with reality and experience impaired decision making capabilities. Unsupported women with this condition can cause serious damage before they receive help. Supported women in treatment often have successful recoveries and have meaningful relationships with their children. When I was in the Mothers and Babies Unit at a Psychiatric Hospital I met two women who had been diagnosed with this condition. Both were picked up almost immediately after birth. Most cases are picked up within 2 weeks of birth. The first had been in treatment for three months by the time I met her. I would not have realised that she had a serious condition because her treatment had been so successful. I had noted that she did try to avoid being alone with her baby and had thought it was because she was a young mum and was simply anxious. Her anxiety was a whole other level because she still didn’t quite trust herself. She loved her baby very much and did not have murderous intent. So why was she worried? Perhaps explaining what the second woman I met was like might help. The second woman that I met with Postnatal Psychosis had only just been admitted. She had little touch with reality and at times didn’t seem to realise that her baby was her own. Had she been left alone with her baby she could have left it on the side of the street thinking it waa a garbage bag or tossed it into the washing machine thinking the baby was laundry. A pretty terrifying prospect for a young mum to think she might harm her baby without realising. I hope both of those women are doing great now, I know they were in the best place to recover and to embark upon fantastic future because they deserved it. And I don’t think people reminding them every time a child is murdered that they too were once unstable would contribute to that. In fact they’d probably find it not only hurtful that nobody could see their progress but also triggering. Do you really want to trigger a psychotic episode due to your insensitivity? Id also like to note that neither of these women killed their babies. A diagnosis of Postnatal Psychosis does not a killer make. A whole series of negative circumstances surrounding a mental health issue generally contribute to a catastrophic result such as murder, not simply the diagnosis of PND or PNP. So be careful when using a label of mental illness to explain murder because there is far more too it than that and you’re unintentionally vilifying a group of vulnerable people who are far more likely to be the victim of a crime than have one committed against them.

So how about we start being more careful about what we assume about others because of one of the many “labels” that they “wear.” And don’t treat a bunch of anxious mums trying to do their best like unhinged murderers incapable of making a decision, just be nice.

An open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia

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An open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia

Such an important read by Mike Cullen. Please read every word.

Writing in Shadows

Dear Prime Minister,

I wasn’t sure how to address your government’s latest announcement yesterday. The age old belief that announcing unpopular moves late on Friday no longer has the same power it did in the years before social media. Social media now means an unpopular announcement now trends on Twitter within minutes of the announcement and, if it’s on a Friday, that announcement has the weekend to fester and build momentum.

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Let #MKR’s Dee-saster Inspire A Relationship Health Check

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I like many Australians watched My Kitchen Rules last night. I like many Australians was left feeling sickened by the emotional abuse being depicted on the screen. For those who missed the episode,  Dee continually berated, blamed, and belittled her husband Tim. It was quite triggering and upsetting to watch given that Channel 7 had given no content warning and MKR had actually tweeted “Enjoy” about the episode. Domestic Violence is an important issue. Documentaries such as Hitting Home are important and educational viewing but they are not titillating and enjoyable. Nor are they marketed that way. Chanel 7 and MKR’s irresponsibility with their advertising and lack of content warning aside, we can still use this blatant depiction* of spousal psychological abuse to help educate and improve our own relationships. Let this episode inspire us all to give our relationships a health check-up.

Throughout the episode Dee screams at Tim. Every mistake is his fault.  Even mistakes that haven’t happened are his fault. She interrupts him part way through processes to yell at him before he’s even made a mistake. Tim is clearly so stressed that he can’t even think. And then after screaming at Tim, Dee manipulates him with tears and cries to garner sympathy. It’s extreme. Immediate help and intervention is needed. But can you honestly say you’ve never yelled. Think of the last four weeks. Have you become so frustrated with your partner or kids that you have yelled at them? Sure, they were being annoying, sure they weren’t listening, sure there were plenty of other explanations, but have you yelled?

If it was because they had headphones on and a wave of lava was about to hit them you’re probably fine.

If it was at your partner because you felt they wouldn’t listen any other way does that seem healthy to you. Isn’t that a dynamic you need to discuss? You’re leaking rage because you’re feeling stonewalled. Don’t you want help to no longer feel powerless? Don’t you want your sense of self to be strong enough to withstand any perceived slight? Don’t you want a relationship where your needs are heard without you feeling like you have to lose control?  Don’t you want mutual respect. Don’t you want to control yourself even when things don’t go your own way? Life won’t always go your way, it can’t. So it’s time to discuss this relationship dynamic with your partner. Think about getting personal therapy for your own issues and some couples counselling for the negative dynamic you are in. Relationships Australia can help. Your GP can help. Go get a Mental Health Check with your GP and get referred to a therapist. Not only does your partner not deserve to be screamed at, and if you have kids they don’t deserve to overhear it, but you also don’t deserve to feel angry and powerless all the time. You can change. No matter what your reasons, no matter what your past is, you can improve, and there is help for you. Seize it.

If it was at your children stop and think, is this the lesson I want to teach them? That might makes right. That screaming and terror is a valid resolution to a behavioural issue. Perhaps you think it is, but perhaps you feel like there is no other option and the yelling actually makes you feel stressed and awful too. There are programs such as Circle of Security and psychologists that can help you come up with alternate solutions if you don’t want screaming and violence to be your methods of discipline. There is help, sometimes it’s hard to see that things can be better in moments of high stress but they truly can be.  You can be the parent that you want to be. Speak to your GP. They can help with so much more than a sick certificate. They are there to support you. Seeking help is not a weakness it is a sign of strength and a sign of making good choices.

Parenting is tough. Relationships are tough. Just being yourself is tough. There is help out there for you to be the best possible you. Please take it. Please seize it. Don’t live with self anger and guilt any longer. Don’t leak that rage onto others. Break the cycle. You just need to take the first step and seek help.

You don’t need to be an out of control spousal beater to want to change. Anyone can want to be better.

Useful Contacts:
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Lifeline 131 114
I would also recommend checking out the resources on The Black Dog Institute website.

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*I’m aware editing can make things look better or worse. Let’s still use this as a learning opportunity.