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Showing posts from October, 2015

Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong. I have wittnessed the phenomenon described in this video in my work at a needle exchange and health facility in Melbourne. As clients became involved in the Art Therapy program, many absorbed themselves in creativity rather than heroine, coke and meth. Yes, some became almost addicted to their creations but they were alive and happy. Some were able to sell their work at the exhibition that I organised for International Aids Week. The money was not used to buy more drugs but was spent on more art materials.

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Australians understand depression, so why don’t we ‘get’ anxiety? A range of psychological, medical and lifestyle treatments can effectively treat various anxiety disorders. Treatments need to be tailored to the person’s particular type of anxiety disorder and will usually involve a commitment over several months.

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The origin of Halloween lies in Celtic Ireland - it marked the end of the pastoral cycle – a time when all the crops would have been gathered and placed in storage for the long winter ahead and when livestock would be brought in from the fields and selected for slaughter or breeding.

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Music - Relaxing acoustic Guitar 2 hrs

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Are You Raising A Boy Or A Toxic Man? We need to start talking to our sons, and tell them that it’s OK to feel and express emotion. That it doesn’t make them any less of a man.

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All kinds of minds These powerful stories shatter preconceived notions about mental illness, and pose the provocative question: What can the world learn from different kinds of minds?

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Sane Australia : People like us - Encouragement for us all to take a fresh look at how we view people who are affected by mental illness, through authentic and positive real-life stories.

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How your brain can heal itself : Groundbreaking research offers new hope for people with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and more - For decades, Doidge remarks, scientists wouldn’t use “healing” and “brain” in the same sentence, because they thought the brain was so sophisticated that it lacked self-healing powers. That turned out to be wrong—the brain is even more sophisticated than anyone realized.

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Violin Making - The Fiddler (1975) - Rare Film , A slow paced but quaint and interesting look at handcrafted violins. I thoroughly enjoy watching and learning about artisan traditions being passed down through generations.

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Medications and weight gain. I am now the heaviest I have ever been and that includes when I was pregnant with twins. With the help and encouragement from my health professionals I am attempting to fight this uphill battle. Mairead Ashcroft 23/10/15

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Struggling with weight gain has been difficult for me over the past three years. Before I began to take Seroquel I carried a healthy weight for 48 years. Over a six month period I piled on 16 kilograms and despite exercising more regularly, drinking no alcohol, soft drink, juice or tea and coffee, my weight has plateaued at 88 kgs. For the first time in my life I am now classed as obese but worse still is the fact that my cholesterol is high and I have a heightened risk of type two Diabetes. This is a dilemma that many face and can be the cause of relapses in mental health due to people choosing to not take their antidepressant medications. With the help of my doctor and pharmacology education I am now attempting to lose some of this unhealthy weight.
I have learned that Seroquel not only increases my appetite but that It also decreases my metabolism. What this means for me personally is that firstly - my body is telling me that I need more food / energy that I actually need and there…

It is fairly well understood in the pain community that there is an association between catastrophising (essentially, dwelling on the worst case scenario) and pain related disability (Linton & Vlaeyen, 2012). The theory goes that worrying excessively about our pain or condition makes us less likely to attempt to do things that might make that pain any worse, and subsequently we avoid things. These means that over time we lose function and become less able to do the things that are important to us.

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I encourage you to take a peek at this incredible series of films being made for the benefit of human kind and our environment. It is the brain, body and spirit child of my friend Dr. Geoff Berry.

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Music - Norah Jones - Come Away with Me

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'Lessons for Life' - Featuring five ordinary Australians who share their extraordinary stories of survival. If their stories bring up feelings of distress or grief and you live in Australia, please reach out and call the SANE Helpline (1800 18 7263) or Lifeline 13 11 14.

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I have just accepted the position of Peer Support Worker in the mental health department of St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne - Emergency Department. This role is relatively new to the mental health industry and I hope to be part of it's growth, filling an important need in the mental health community. In my new position I will be a bridge between the Crisis & Assessment Treatment Service (CATS), Emergency Department Mental Health (EDMH) & Psychiatric Triage - psychiatric advice, screening and assessment (24hrs/7 days) and intensive community-based treatment for people in the acute phase of psychiatric illness. An extended triage function provides short term support for people until they are engaged with appropriate primary care or private psychiatry services. Tel: 1300 558 862

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This powerful speech by Mental Health Peer Support Worker Frances Skerritt,
gives an insight into my new role.

Art therapy is a solution that is available when talk therapy fails to resolve all issues. While participating in a therapeutic art program, teens are allowed to express their feelings through creative arts. Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2707312#ixzz3ogYBGl3O

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How Childhood Trauma Can Make You A Sick Adult

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Margaret Heffernan: Why It's Time to Forget the Pecking Order at Work

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50+ Films about Women That Will Change The Way You See The World

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My rescent life events using the theory of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey - Where am I now? Mairead Ashcroft 11/10/15

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I have been feeling quite ill for the past three months or so, nothing overly serious but it makes for a trying life. This seems to coincide greatly with Hartman's conformation of guilt to his sexual, psychological, spiritual and emotional abuse against me when I was aged between 8 and 11. After the initial feelings of relief and elation I seem to have crashed spectacularly, more so than I ever have in my 51 years as a conscious being. American scholar, Joseph Campbell describes in his Hero's Journey describes a pattern of narrative that throughout history has played out in religious ritual, myth, story telling, drama music and psychological development. Examples of this can be recognised particularly in the Star Wars epics in which George Lucas acquired Joseph Campbell as an advisor all the way back to Homer's Odyssey, the story on which Star wars was first based. http://darthgrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Star-Wars-A-Myth-Article.pdf
I have noted in my art journa…

The White Man in That Photo - "It’s a historic photo of two men of color. For this reason I never really paid attention to the other man, white, like me, motionless on the second step of the medal podium. I considered him as a random presence, an extra in Carlos and Smith’s moment, or a kind of intruder."

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Music - Best relaxing arabic music instrumental without word

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Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

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When suffering with mental illness, it can sometimes be helpful to the individual, friends and family to have a guide and what they might possibly expect for a person experiencing a particular illness or illnesses. Sane Australia has compiled easy to follow guides covering a wide variety of diagnosis, symptoms and treatments. We are all individuals with individual presentations.

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Today I Rise - The world is missing what I am ready to give: My wisdom, My sweetness, My love and my hunger for Peace.

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http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/today-i-rise/

When I was younger and in my early advanced study I was often getting into trouble for Doodling. I wish I had this article then. The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory. Research Shows That Doodling Helps People Stay Focused, Grasp New Concepts and Retain Information

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Due to the high rates of crime being reported in Hobsons Bay, after many years of silence, I will soon be holding Group Art Therapy sessions at the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre (no art experience necessary. I also offer a free Support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse a the Altona Homestead. If you feel that you might like to attend either or both of these groups. please contact me artoflifewithmairead@gmail.com or Mob:0401649967

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A Gentlemen's Guide To Rape Culture - This reading may challenge you at first but please continue on past the introduction, you will find it well worth it.

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Say the Right Thing: 8 Go-To Phrases to Raise Happy Kids: These go-to phrases are pretty much all you need to keep in your pocket to have a happy, independent kid.

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An Indigenous Approach to Healing Trauma The Healing Power of Listening in Stillness. “Dadirri is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for. It is something like what you call ‘contemplation’.” – Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, Ngangiwumirr Elder

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Carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Mairead Ashcroft 1/10/15

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Post traumatic stress disorder can present a variety of difficult experiences for those who are under it's grip. My responses to the childhood trauma and PTSD have been hyper-vigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty in social situations, confusion of thought, inability to relax in crowds, dissociation, numbness, disconnect from the body and over thinking which have lead to overwhelming tiredness. A new experience had developed over recent months since the recent arrest of Brother Bernard Hartman, the man who sexually abused me as a child. I have struggled being alone in my home. In the past I have really enjoyed having some me time. I would paint and draw, listen to music, read, garden and whatever else I fancied, but during the past 5 months, noises and thoughts seemed to become louder, time seemed to loose meaning and my focus became very serious, almost macabre. I seemed to hold a fatalistic view of the world that was magnified when I was on my own. I felt as though I was …