Mental illness is a taboo topic until it takes a life

 

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As the world connects on a global scale digital natives have been able to share their opinions and experiences allowing for a better understanding of previously unmentioned issues. A prevalent advancement is the detachment of a certain stigma against mental illnesses. However it seems that it is only discussed on a major scale when someone has resorted to taking their own life.

The discussion has been reignited due to the tragic death of Robin Williams who allegedly took his own life after fighting an ongoing battle with depression.

Robin Williams is unfortunately a great example of why mental illness has a stigma attached to it. But not the stigma so fervently discussed. In a 2011 interview with the Project in Australia, Williams discussed the worlds expectations of him.

“People expect me to kind of be on all the time. A lady walked up to me at an airport one time and I forget where it was and she said ‘be zany’,” he said.

This shows what kind of guilt is attached with mental illness. Not only was he suffering an inner anguish, and constantly attempting to understand his impalpable emotions, but he also had millions of people, including both fans and critics, expecting him to be happy and funny all of the time due to his established career. This creates an added emotion of guilt due to not being able to feel funny, happy, and on all of the time.

While everyone believes that the stigma attached to mental illnesses is the perceived notion of being a cop out or people just being “insensitive”, now that it is highly recognised that it is a serious condition many believe the stigma has been removed. However with this acknowledgement another kind of stigma has been attached, which involves many believing if they lead a comfortable lifestyle, have a great family, and beautiful friends they must be happy. If they are funny, or iconic, or a celebrity, they must be happy. If they are attractive, skinny and have a great personality, they must be happy.

Wrong.

Mental illness can affect anyone from any walk of life and despite a pleasing exterior view their interior may not be so gratifying. Anyone could be suffering an inner battle, so to remove this stigma understanding what meets the eye may be a lie is key.

I am unsure what kind of emotions Williams was battling but I am sure that I myself suffered from a battle with mental illness. For six to seven years I suffered with an eating disorder which consumed my life. Although I had an amazing family, a large group of friends, and was given unlimited opportunities, I was still ultimately overtaken by this mental illness and I could not help how I felt despite the logic being written out for me. Feelings and logic are two different things which many do need to recognise.

 

Robin Williams’ 2011 Interview on the Project, Australia


My experience with overcoming an eating disorder

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: (Coco) Nuts about oil pulling


When you hear the name ‘oil pulling’ it is hard not to envision it as a new method for Bunnings’ do-it-yourselfers but in reality it is actually an ancient dental technique that has quickly become a new obsession for health junkies. Although all of the cool kids with their jars filled with green smoothies and Instagram photos featuring acai bowls are yet to catch on I have noticed that a lot of health addicts praise this method.

So what in the world is oil pulling?  While it sounds odd, it is actually quite simple and only requires a tablespoon of any vegetable oil, I prefer coconut, to be swished around the mouth for 20 minutes.

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This technique is derived from ancient Ayurvedic medicine with the idea toxins in your mouth are poisonous. Sounds like an old wives tale right? Well after doing countless hours of research and reading hundreds of testimonials I was convinced to try it out. Despite there being no real scientific evidence to back it up, there is copious amounts of reviews from people all over the world who swear by this method.

During the 20 minutes of swishing the oil is pushed, pulled and drawn through your teeth and around gums resulting in bacteria and other debris that regular brushing and flossing can’t catch being pulled into the oil. Enzymes are activated and toxins are removed and caught in the oil. As the process continues, the oil gets thinner and white. If the oil is still yellow, or clear, it has not been ‘pulled’ long enough. Swallowing will defeat the purpose, as will using the wrong type of oil. 

I started to oil pull just under a week ago and despite noticing a slight placebo effect I think there have been some minor results. I tried it firstly at night time, however it is recommended to be done in the morning on an empty stomach as this will refute any chance of something coming up if your gag reflex cannot handle the texture of oil as many testimonials indicate. Although I had no problem with the oil I still decided to move to the morning to get the best results. I chose coconut oil because I absolutely love the smell and the thought of any other oil in my mouth somewhat disturbed me. I believe it has to be unrefined and organic as any additives will defeat the purpose. After twenty minutes of slow swishing, no need to be vigorous, I spit it out into the bin. This is essential unless you want to clog your drains as the coconut oil can solidify once it has entered your drainpipes and block them.

And that’s it.

I do wash my mouth out with warm water, and some advise using salt water to kill any remaining bacteria.

I have noticed my teeth feel smoother and clean all day long and I haven’t woken up with any morning breath, both in which are suggested results. I do think my teeth look whiter, but honestly it could all be in my head since it hasn’t even been a week yet. I want to do this for an entire month and record my results to see if this dental technique is fact or fad. Also it does not replace brushing your teeth, it just adds to it!

Here is a list of problems oil pulling can allegedly heal:

  • Allergies

  • Arthritis

  • Asthma

  • Blood sugar levels

  • Breath freshing

  • Bronchitis

  • Cancer

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Chronic skin problems

  • Congestion

  • Detoxification

  • Diabetes

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Headaches

  • Hemorrhoids

  • High blood pressure

  • Joint flexibility

  • Lack of energy

  • Lack of memory

  • Migraines

  • Mental fog

  • Oral health

  • Bleeding gums

  • Tooth decay

  • Gum disease

  • Pain

  • PMS, cramping

  • Radiation removal

  • Sinusitis

  • Snoring

  • Stretch marks

  • Tooth decay

  • Warts

While the list is extremely long, and some of the supposed results seem a bit too good to be true, I do believe it does help your teeth and gums live in a healthier environment.

To read more reviews on oil pulling click here and here

To read a dental professional’s take on oil pulling click here

“I want my Indian Headdress back!”

Following Splendour in the Grass over the weekend a favourite radio presenter of mine, Zan Rowe, posted a picture of a Splendour-goer wearing a long headdress accompanied with the caption, “Hey guys just sayin’… Culturally insensitive. Y’know? #SITG.”

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The cultural appropriation argument has been ongoing and not just with headdresses, but many other cultural symbols.

Often the argument against wearing these cultural symbols rely on people lacking an adequate education regarding the matter, but upon researching the history of the Native American war bonnet (headdress) it is revealed only men were given the privilege of wearing them. The headdresses that are being sold by designers are currently styled as to those in which only Native American male tribal leaders could wear, highlighting the unequal rights of a women in the tribe, even if they battled or were chiefs in which there indeed was.

Being a woman myself, I am a part of a minority group so perhaps I can argue that I am deeply offended by the fact women, despite being leaders and helping their community, were not allowed to wear headdresses.

Although I am not offended, my argument is that many cultural appropriation activists actually lack the knowledge of what they are standing up for. While Zan Rowe is educating many who do not understand the importance of these headdresses, which is very beneficial, she can be seen to also be suggesting that she believes it was okay that men were given the privilege of wearing such a powerful headdress, while women were not, even if they were equal in their position within the tribe.

Another issue surrounding these activists is that while protesting against cultural insensitivity for one cultural symbol they will be indulging in many others. For example, many will attack a headdress-wearer or a Bindi-sporter while preparing for their Mexican-themed party on the weekend, in their cowboy boots, and donning a tartan-patterned clothing item.

Although many don’t see the harm, Mexican-themed parties can actually cause offense, with a Latino student group distributing a letter last year stating they are offended by these celebrations.

“Some of our peers choose to throw ‘Mexican-themed’ parties that are culturally insensitive, offensive, and detrimental to the Northwestern community,” said the group, which identified that this was an issue year after year.

“Drinking tequila shots, eating tacos, and wearing sombreros do not commemorate Mexican culture; on the contrary, that offends, marginalizes, and isolates many of our friends, classmates, and community members, and casts our entire community in poor light.”

However on Zan Rowe’s instagram account she has posted a photo of her producer wearing a sombrero in early 2014 without any indication that she believes this is culturally insensitive. This conveys the idea that cultural appropriation is only acceptable when it suits activists.

Cultural appropriation is very real and can understandably offend those who are being represented in a stereotypical sense rather than a respectful manner, however those who attack and shame others for wearing cultural symbols need to question whether or not they have participated in cultural practices which have actually been offensive, despite being fun, for example wearing a lei at a Hawaiian themed party.

Read the article regarding the letter from a Latino group here

Ice Challenge could cause more harm than good for charities

ice challengeThe next trend to sweep social media since the questionable ‘nek nominations’ is the ice challenge. Like its disorderly parent, which involves someone being nominated and recorded to skull certain amounts of alcohol, the ice challenge involves a person being nominated to pour ice cold water over themselves on camera. The video then needs to be uploaded to social media with their nominations to keep the challenge rolling.

Since the trend began it has evolved from a single bucket of ice water to one being completely submerged in pools of ice water. It also originally involved a payment of $10 to a charity of choice if you do choose to do the challenge or $100 if you refuse the test, however it has now changed to only having to pay $100 if you don’t do it.

Many health professionals advise against the chilling challenge suggesting it can be fatal. Evidentially, a New Zealand father died just five hours after filming ice cold water being poured over him. However big a problem that may be people are going to do it regardless the warnings. In doing so, it can be said that one is inadvertently suggesting they would rather pour freezing cold water over them than donate to a charity. This therefore has the potential to damage reputations, and in turn cause loss of employment along with other negative consequences.

For those sticking to the rules of paying the $10 after accepting the icy task actually run the risk of damaging charity’s reputations. The negative reaction that comes with these viral videos compels the question as to whether or not some charities can withstand the criticism. Charities will have to figure out what they do and don’t want to be associated with as accepting money from someone who has behaved in a way that goes against the charity’s beliefs could potentially do long term damage to their organisation and when the novelty of the social media game is all over they will have to deal with the repercussions.

Charities need to be careful not to encourage the ice challenge due to the possible associated health risks. There is also the added issue of alcohol usually being involved when performing the dare adding further health hazards.

According to former neonatal paediatrician Dr Stephen Wealthall , throwing cold water unpredictably over the head is extremely dangerous.

“It invokes the airway protective reflex which closed the larynx, slowing the heart rate and causing a person to stop breathing,” he said.

This means that it could be fatal, even if it isn’t immediate.

“It might set up a stage where someone who already has rotten coronary arteries is short of oxygen, and a lot of heart attacks happen gradually and they don’t necessarily have pain” Dr Wealthall said.

If someone chooses a charity designed to raise awareness and generate donations for the research into heart disease, such as the Heart Foundation, the charity could end up being criticised, resulting in more harm than good from this viral game. Games can be fun, but like many things associated with social media the consequences could potentially be extremely harmful. However charities do need the disposable dollar so these here-today-gone-tomorrow viral campaigns are easy, unpredictable and risky.

Read Dr Stephen Wealthall’s opinion on the ice challenge here 

 

 

The Voice Kids should be axed

The Voice is an international franchise, gaining popularity in countries such as the UK, the US, and now Australia. If putting vulnerable, budding, singers on a television show to be judged by millions isn’t enough they’ve added children to the mix.

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Apparently former child stars Lindsay Lohan (Parent Trap), Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone movies), and Justin Beiber aren’t enough evidence to prevent allowing young children from entering the show business, nor is the potential psychological damage from being rejected on national television enough to stop the franchise favouring profits over kids.

Recently, 12 year-old Romy broke down after not a single judge turned around when she performed on the show. Not only was this uncomfortable as a viewer to watch, but it will have lasting emotional effects on her. She was rejected by famous, elusive, celebrities in front of millions of people. Many were quick to slam The Voice Australia Kids for airing the segment, but really they should be slammed for airing the program at all. Whether or not they cry, being rejected by public figures these children potentially look up to, in front of a large audience, can cause enduring damage. Adults have the ability to separate this rejection from this idea of belonging in society whereas children cannot.

Besides the obvious emotional scarring such a show can do to children, the pathways it creates for such young, impressionable people can actually create negative consequences. Winner of the Spanish voice kids, 12 year-old Paola Guanche, won a recording deal and $50 000 to put towards her education. While the latter is commendable, the recording deal is questionable. The deal could go two ways. She makes an album, it sells a few copies but not enough to keep her in the business and she suffers her own kind of rejection from the industry, or she does exceptionally well and becomes a huge star, only to have a break down in the future with drugs and alcohol just like all her fellow former child stars.

Either way The Voice Kids is a reality television show that plays on the vulnerable to generate profits. Children are extremely impressionable and need to be nurtured in a healthy environment for them to be able to grow into functioning adults.

Read the article about Romy here

Read the article about Paola Guanche here

Should employers treat their interns the same as their employees?

Working for free can come at a cost.

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Unpaid work experience is a necessity for university students to stand out from their cohorts. Great grades are highly commended but to ensure a student will be considered for a position it is suggested they undertake an internship. While the type of position varies across industries, the amount of experience gained at an internship can depend greatly upon the organisation. From getting coffee to being given the responsibilities of a full-fledged employee, the rights of an intern can often be unclear and many go in with the risk that they could be treated poorly. So should organisations treat their interns the same as their employees?

Since internships are usually undertaken voluntarily without the association of an authorised education training course it can be difficult to identify whether interns are protected under the Fair Work Act. This means the intern is very open to exploitation.

Personally, I have done a number of internships. These have included large and small organisations in which I have travelled for and spent a fair bit of money doing. The most recent three have varied in how I was treated. With one organisation, which was situated in Sydney, I was gifted with the mundane tasks of getting coffee, filing, and even building IKEA furniture. I didn’t get anything published, nor did I polish my writing skills. Although it was amazing to see how the office worked,  it was disappointing to not gain any real skills when the organisation is seen to be large advocates against the exploitation of internships in their publication.

At another organisation, also situated in Sydney, I was actually able to polish my writing skills, learn how to write editorial, and get work published, however the level of professionalism was mediocre. I was told I would be contacted regarding the continuation of the internship, however they failed to do so. After I emailed them they finally returned with an email a few days later saying they were just trialling some other candidates  and would get back to me. They didn’t get back to me, so I sent another email, only to receive a late reply stating their needs had changed and they needed a full-time writer to commence immediately, which I could not do. The unfortunate thing about all this is legally they had done nothing wrong. They could have never responded to me  and still wouldn’t have done anything wrong. This is the risks interns have to take just to add something more to their CV.

One internship which did go brilliantly was actually gained through my University so perhaps I was treated professionally due to these circumstances.

In order for interns to feel secure and have some sort of protection it should be undertaken through an educational placement, however this can not always be obtained and for many it will remain this way due to the need for a job being far greater than the need to be treated fairly when working for free.

The Secret Life of Misogyny

misogynistFeminists all around the world rejoiced when Australia’s former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, smacked down misogyny in a 15 minute speech. Unfortunately, we have not come far since then. There is this unspoken stigma attached to feminism, suggesting that behind every misogynist there is a short-haired, angry, lesbian that never shaves.

Elle Magazine recently did an interview with David Finch, the man behind the Wonder Woman graphics for DC comics, and revealed that he “wants the character to be ‘strong,’ but not ‘feminist’.”

“I think she’s a beautiful, strong character. Really, from where I come from, and we’ve talked about this a lot, we want to make sure it’s a book that treats her as a human being first and foremost, but is also respectful of the fact that she represents something more. We want her to be a strong—I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong,” Finch said.

Now what chance does a young, vulnerable, impressionable, woman in everyday society have when Superwoman can’t even be dubbed a feminist?

Recently, I was out with some friends when a male friend came up to me after a dispute with his female friend and said “you’d be useless without a vagina.” Unfortunately I did not stand up for myself and instead laughed it off. Not only was I afraid he, and everyone else who was listening, would see me as a feminist but I was also afraid of appearing  unfeminine, which is actually quite the opposite of what a feminism is meant to support.

The term ‘feminist’ was created after women began to fight for their right to gain equal rights and be seen as the equal sex, rather than the inferior sex, however the meaning has now been corrupted by men who fear strong and independent women and has managed to appear as an undesirable status within the public.

Until women, myself included, gain the ability to ignore society’s expectations this will not change as no one wants to appear undesirable amongst their peers.

Read Elle Magazine’s interview with David Finch here

Watch Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech here

Todd Carney faces social media repercussions

The consequences of social media are very real and  Todd Carney has learnt this losing his job on the weekend over the release of a lewd picture that has now gone viral. Many have chosen to defend this man’s actions pointing out that he has not hurt anyone so he should not be penalised. If anything Carney should have known better.

Many people who are not in the public eye have lost their jobs due to social media so why should he be exempt to the consequences. From a teacher who was sacked after she posted pictures of her drinking on a holiday, to a woman who lost her job before she even started after she tweeted the pros and cons of her new position, as well as employees at Dominos who were let go after releasing a video on social media tampering with the food, they all have faced the aftermath of their digital actions. In fact there are countless incidents where individuals who are not in the public eye have lost their jobs due to uploading content that jeopardises their reputation.

Add the responsibility of being a public role model and the countless contacts that would advise these public figures of their rights and how to act on social media and we can see it is pretty clear why Carney should be sacked.

Those who are not granted access to personal contacts that can educate them on the constant changing cycle of technology are still subjected to the danger of losing their job if they say or do the wrong thing on social media, so there should be no special treatment for Carney. Carney does state he didn’t think anyone had taken a picture of this ‘prank’, however the fact that anything can be captured in this constantly monitored environment would have been advised to Carney and all his actions could be captured in a public place (especially a public bathroom where this photo has been taken) therefore he should be constantly aware of his behaviour. It does seem somewhat unfair, but the perks of being a star means the responsibilities to behave appropriately. Those without the fame can manage to do so, and those who don’t face the repercussions.

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Todd Carney performs “bubbling” as a prank

In response to those who argue he should not be punished since he did not hurt anyone then those must also argue that Barry O’Farrell should not have had to step down since it didn’t hurt anyone by not declaring that expensive bottle of wine, Carney did the wrong thing and these are the consequences of social media in the digital era.

Side note: The myth regarding urine being sterile has been debunked and in fact claims urine contracts bacteria as it exits.

Read the article about how 10 people lost their jobs due to social media here

Read Todd Carney’s response to losing his job here

Read the article debunking the myth of urine being sterile here

Students are disrespected by their non-studying cohorts

images (1)Sleeping in, free money from the government, and full days in pyjamas; these are just a few of the things those who do not study view those at university score. Not only is there a stigma attached to the student life but some even go so far to put down a degree now, suggesting full or part time employment straight after high school is more notable than studying.

However as a former student myself this is not the case. Along with the long list of benefits, there is an even longer list of disadvantages including, a hefty HECS loan when graduating, the extensive hours required to achieve maintainable marks, coming up with arguments that have to be both original and supported by academic references, forking out a couple of hundred for text books needed for a minimum 13 weeks and maximum 26, hours of no sleep due to stress, and more.

For some, a degree is undertaken whilst working part time, or even full time. I did so for a few years, which taught me time management skills, however my marks did suffer. For those who rely solely on their marks to get a job once graduated this can place a hindrance on their life. Many choose to rely on the government to help fund their desire to do well at University, however those who have chose not to attend university label these people as bludgers. Bludgers who can produce 3000 word essays worthy of a high distinction from a long standing academic. A high distinction may mean nothing to you, but it can be the difference of about $10,000 in pay once graduated.

Although studying is not for some, and yes many can be successful minus the degree, give some support and acknowledgement to those who do choose to study instead of tearing them down. Besides, one day you might find yourself at university and you will understand just how hard it actually can be.

Caitlin Stasey has a point

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Tomorrow when the War Begins’ star Caitlin Stasey has recently hit her arguably brilliant twitter feed to rant about Bindi Irwin’s public opinion.

Personally, I believe Stasey has a point.

Irwin, for those who missed it, suggested in a recent interview to News Corp Australia that young girls should start dressing their age. Stasey responded stating “Open letter to bindi, in ten years you’ll wish you stood beside your shared sex rather than be proud you belittled their choices & agency.”

Critics were quick to jump to Irwin’s defence arguing she is a great role model for young girls and such advice is remarkable. However these critics are missing Stasey’s point. If you actually read Irwin’s reasoning behind said advice you will understand that it does not support young girls to dress age appropriately, rather it attacks young girls who don’t.

“I mean, for me, I look around at a lot of young girls that are my age and they’re always trying to dress older. Whether it’s wearing revealing clothes or hardly wearing any clothes at all, I feel really bad for them,” Irwin states.

Stasey is merely pointing out that Irwin has gone about this advice the wrong way and is actually putting her shared sex down, rather than supporting them. Young girls are very impressionable and to have a public figure attacking their choices can have negative consequences.

Read the full article regarding this issue here