Caitilin Punshon

Caitilin Punshon
Caitilin Punshon

After more than 20 years with a debilitating chronic illness, I'm still trying to find ways to live well. I strive to make meaning from my experiences but it doesn't always work. Visual art fascinates me and I also like playing with words. I'm curious about how people see the world, the marks we make and the stories we tell.

After more than 20 years with a debilitating chronic illness, I'm still trying to find ways to live well. I strive to make meaning from my experiences but it doesn't always work.

Caitilin Punshon's articles

Young woman looking peaceful with her head lying on her folded arms

Anne has found wisdom in living a slow and simple life

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a poorly understood medical condition. It affects people differently. Everyone who has it experiences severe fatigue. Ann has lived with CFS for sixteen years. She has had to change her outlook and her activities to manage her illness. She has also had to confront negative opinions about CFS from other people. Ann is lucky to have the support of her family and friends. Over time, she has learned to accept and appreciate her new way of living. She has found wisdom in her slow and simple life.
1 comment - on 15/04/2013
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2 women doing yoga in the sun

Yoga accepts and respects the abilities we have

Exercise is important for our health. But finding the right kind of exercise can be difficult. Not everyone can run or lift weights. Yoga is one form of exercise that claims to suit everybody. The physical poses of yoga may appear difficult. But they can be adapted for most levels of ability. Physical practice is only one aspect of yoga. Breathing techniques and meditation are also important. People can learn to do yoga at whatever level works for them. The simple sequence included here shows how yoga can bring harmony to body, mind and spirit.
1 comment - on 26/03/2013
Woman in pain lying curled up on a bed

How To Be Sick is about using Buddhist techniques to manage chronic pain.

Toni Bernhard has written a book called How To Be Sick. It sounds like it might be full of rules and instructions but it is not. Instead it is about Buddhist ideas and practices. Toni uses these to manage her chronic illness. She explains various practices in the book, including compassion and accepting things as they are. Toni is honest about how hard it can be do. The book lists different practices to use for specific problems with chronic illness. It is not only for people who are ill. It has good advice for anyone wanting to live well.
2 comments - last comment on 06/02/2013
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Beds of roses of different colours.
Morwell roses

Opportunity for pause and reflection.

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.
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The flannel flower, which is a small white flower.
Flannel_Flower finall

Mental health is everybody's business.

We all have beliefs about mental illness and those who live with it. Sometimes these beliefs are helpful, but not always. Today is World Mental Health Day. It is a good time to think about mental illness. We are told mental illness is more common than we think. It is also a normal part of life. Anyone can become mentally ill at any stage of life. People living with mental illnesses often feel ashamed. It's up to all of us to make sure they do not have to feel this way.
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Stuart Tripp handcycling on a street.
Stuart Tripp 2012 Paralympian

"I love racing", says Stuart.

Stuart Tripp was in a car accident in 1994. No one thought he would survive. He had many operations and part of his leg removed. It was a difficult time for Stuart. A friend introduced him to handcycling. This kind of cycling uses the hands instead of the legs to turn the pedals. Stuart really enjoyed the freedom handcycling gave him. He has already represented Australia in international competitions. Now he is going to race in two events at the Paralympic Games in London. Whatever the outcome of those races, Stuart has had an amazing journey.
2 comments - last comment on 04/10/2012
An open journal with handwriting on both pages.

My journals are a record of my life.

For many years I have kept a journal or diary. Writing it is very important to me. I explore my thoughts in my journal. I describe good things. I also write when I am sad or upset. Sometimes I read my old journals. I don't always remember events I wrote about. Often I write about the same kind of things. I put poems and pictures in my journals. Some people keep journals that have no words in them at all. I believe journal writing is one of the most meaningful things I can do.
4 comments - last comment on 04/03/2015
A close-up of a green ipod mini.

I listen to audiobooks on my iPod.

As a child I loved being read stories. Now I listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks are a recording of someone reading a book out loud. The popularity of audiobooks has grown. People listen to them while driving or knitting. I listen to them when I can't sleep. They let me escape into another world. Most local libraries have audiobooks available. They can be borrowed as compact discs or on digital devices. Some libraries also allow them to be downloaded. The Melbourne Library Service does this. Anyone in Victoria can sign up to borrow eAudiobooks. Listening to audiobooks brings me enjoyment and relief..
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Williams's modern painting called Sturt's Desert Pea. It has four horizontal panels, each of which have small red and black desert peas.
lge fred williams

Fred Williams, 'Sturt's Desert Pea', 1974

I went to the exhibition Fred Williams, Infinite Horizons . It is at the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square. There are more than 130 paintings by Fred Williams. He is an admired Australian artist. Most of the paintings are of the landscape. The horizon is important to Williams. In some paintings the horizon is up high. In some it curves. There are different ways to look at these paintings. You can stand at a distance from them. Or you can get up close. I think people will enjoy this exhibition. The paintings show the beauty of the Australian landscape.
2 comments - last comment on 10/06/2012
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Colin Friels on stage as Mark Rothko.
Colin Friels MTC RED photo JEFF BUSBY_128.JPG

Colin Friels as Mark Rothko.

Red is a play about the artist Mark Rothko. It is playing at the Melbourne Theatre Company. Alkinos Tsilimidos is the director. Colin Friels plays Mark Rothko. André de Vanny plays his assistant Ken. The play has many interesting ideas. Rothko has mixed feelings about painting murals for the Four Seasons restaurant. He wants people to feel an emotional reaction to his paintings. The play relies strongly on conversations between Rothko and Ken. But it doesn't have enough dramatic tension. The performances are good but I don't think everyone will like Red .
1 comment - on 03/05/2012
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