Developing your writing skills can lead to great opportunities
As I look back on the past year, I ask myself What have I learnt as a writer? and How have I grown as a result of my experiences? The year 2012 brought many surprising opportunities for me to develop my writing skills and to grow as a writer in unexpected ways. Many doors were opened, giving me clear direction for 2013 to pursue my Masters in Writing and Literature at Deakin University.
Consumer experts give governments a unique perspective into living with mental illness
There are different kinds of experts. Usually an expert needs to study hard at university. But life experience can also make someone an expert. Governments around Australia have recruited people with lived experience of 'mental illness'. They are called consumer experts and work in mental health services. Their experience gives them unique insight into the problems faced by people with 'mental illness'. Consumer experts work in a wide variety of roles. Many have other qualifications to. Some doctors think they aren't needed. But mental healthcare experts say their contribution has led to better treatment for users of mental health services.
It's very hard for me to control my impulses. Food and shopping are my addictions. I cannot help myself with them sometimes and often have to take extreme measures to combat my urges. However, I'm trying to be more moderate, even though it's very difficult. By playing a numbers game with the calories I consume and the dollars I spend before I indulge, I curb temptation. On the whole, I feel a lot better about myself when I exercise impulse control. I hope to keep on fighting temptation with the strength I've built up over time.
A friend recently expressed surprise when I said I did most things myself, with a little help from family. She said she thought I should be getting more help. Some people with a disability, like Kurt Fearnley, have managed to succeed at many things on their own. If I believe in myself, I can do that too. I told my friend this and she said she thought I was amazing. I don't think it is amazing to do things on your own. It is just part of living your life the way you want.
Decorating your Christmas tree can be a very personal experience
I've had a variety of Christmas trees. This year I'm using a tree saved from my friend's garbage collection. I have spent years collecting decorations. A beautiful angel on top of the tree is the symbol of peace, love, joy and hope. Other decorations signify the birth of my children and my grandchildren. Coloured birds and butterflies remind me of those who are no longer with us. The twinkling lights are smiles and the gifts are my way of saying thank you. My tree is a symbol of my life and those in it.
I love Christmas. But it's also a very busy time of the year. I asked people with vision loss how they cope with the extra pressure. Being organised tops the list. Many use the internet to do their shopping. Writing on cards can be difficult. But people have come up with a variety of ways to overcome this. Many use computer adaptive equipment. Others make putting up the Christmas tree and wrapping gifts a family affair. It's about finding time for more fun and enjoying the season.
I spent some time at the Morwell Centenary Rose Garden. The garden is in the town of Morwell, two hours east of Melbourne. It was established by local people twenty years ago. Volunteers take care of the garden and the roses that grow there. The garden has been designed with accessibility in mind. It has paths and benches so visitors can enjoy the sights and scents. There is also a perfumed sensory garden. The garden is a peaceful place where my mind could wander. It is well worth a visit.
Alternative designs for artificial limbs are being made.
When people have part of their leg missing, they might use an artificial leg. But artificial legs can cause problems and can damage a person's leg. But a technique has been developed that attaches an artificial leg to the bone. The technique has many advantages. It can be used on animals as well as people. Unfortunately there is risk to this technique. There is a higher risk of infection for the person. But veterinarians and doctors may have a solution. It involves getting skin to grow onto the artificial leg. Both animals and humans are trying this new technology. It may help people who use artificial leg to lead pain-free lives in the future.
This week is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week. I spoke to Lachie O'Brien about his spinal cord injury and the Spinal Cord Awareness campaign. Lachie was injured playing sport. At first, Lachie wondered what he would miss, but his positive attitude allowed him to cope. Lachie is still passionate about sport and hopes to win gold in the Paralympics one day. He also has a desire to help others and is an ambassador for Spinal Cord Awareness Week. Lachie says it's a great opportunity to let others know that life can still be good.
My friend was very upset. She doesn't like being treated as through she is useless. But sometimes bullying knows no bounds. A report by the World Health Organisation says that negative treatment still persists for people with disabilities. Bullying can happen in any situation and by those you least expect. And it has long lasting effects on your health and well-being. If you are being bullied, it's not your fault. But there are strategies you can use to help stop this negative behaviour.