Sunday, 19 June 2016

Top 5 most hated characters

Like I said, although I don't watch much TV I do have my favourite characters. I also have characters who I would like to see completely wiped from this earth. What brought this on? Read on to find out.

5. Sasuke Uchiha - Naruto

This little runt pisses me off no end. Always all about revenge and being a brooding emo, he's just so one-dimensional it's not funny. Sure, Sakura isn't one of my favourite characters either, but for heavens sake she deserved better than to be lumped with this loser! He doesn't grow at ALL during the course of the story, except for the last little bit where he admits Naruto is right. And suddenly all is forgiven and happy, happy, joy, joy. UGH!

4. Bella Swan - The Twilight Saga

Do I REALLY need to go into why this chick is so annoying?! Again, so one-dimensional and she never, EVER grows up. She just stays stuck in brooding teenager mode forever. I literally threw the last book across the room I was so furious with her. GET A CLUE YOU WHINY BRAT.

3. Shou Tucker - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The reason I'm writing this list. I just watched episode 4 and what he utterly despicable. The first time I saw that scene I was FURIOUS. Fathers don't do that. They just DON'T.

2. Princess Bubblegum - Adventure Time

She won't fix Lemongrab. He is living a miserable, lonely, painful existence because SHE WON'T FIX HIM. This one hits so close to home for me because if someone could take my autism away and make me into a person without the poor social skills and the over sensitivity to touch and sound and they REFUSED TO...I relate so much to Lemongrab, and how he suffers because no one can understand his "Lemon Way"...oh she makes me furious! It's not just Lemongrab that pisses me off about her, it's her whole attitude and superiority complex that also ticks me off. Stupid princess.

1. Dolores Umbridge - Harry Potter Series

Just ask any Harry Potter fan, and they will tell you what an evil, nasty, horrible piece of work this bitch is. At least with the Dark Lord, you can understand how he became so hateful, and perhaps even pity him, but not this cow. She takes Bubblegums superiority to a completely new level, and abuses her powers as much as humanly possible. She gives us Slytherins a bad name, and it brings me shame to have been sorted into the same house as her!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Anxiety and Overloading

Being of the autistic and anxious nature, I tend to suffer from panic attacks. These can be categorised two ways - anxiety attacks and overloads. These commonly happen at work and at dance class, and a lot of people don't understand really WHY it happens. At dance, it's often assumed that my attacks are because I don't feel like I can keep up with the class (when I think at least 80% of the time I'm pretty good at keeping up) and I'm really not sure what the guys at work think.

Here's a quick overview of how it works:

As stated earlier, I either have an anxiety attack or I overload. This is because unfortunately I have limited energy for coping with the stresses of life that everyone else seems to take in their stride. Think of it as having two meters: my "Social Energy" meter and my "Data Usage" meter.

My "Social Energy" meter is how much energy I have left to deal with social situations before I can't hold off the anxiety any longer. Things like conversations, going out to fix customers problems, driving, dealing with my fears, talking on the phone etc deplete this meter.

My "Data Usage" meter is how much more I can process before I overload. Sound and touch contribute to depleting this meter, as does trying to learn or trying to absorb new information.

If one meter gets too low, it can start impacting on the other meter. Also, my panic scale can also affect how fast the meters go down. Being at a high level on the scale can drain my "Social Energy" meter, while making it harder for me to absorb information, which starts to drain at my "Data Usage" meter. Conversely, if I can get my panic scale low enough (to a 2.5 or below) I can actually start to recuperate any lost "energy" or "data". This is why I insist on walking at lunchtimes, because it will easily replenish my "Social Energy" meter, while listening to music and letting my brain go nuts will replenish my "Data Usage" meter.

Of course, if the meters get too low, then it becomes harder for me to get and keep to a low panic scale. Also my physical condition can affect how fast the meters go down as well. Plus, I don't always start the day with the same amount of energy as I did the day before. A couple of long or stressful days in a row can have me starting my days with next to no petrol tickets left in either tank.

So let's look at some examples. Take my first mini-attack at Swingsation on Saturday, brought on by my dread of losing my balance. This was during a workshop, which was just after another workshop, so my "Data Usage" meter was already pretty low. This was starting to drain at my "Social Energy" meter, as well, raising my panic scale to around a 5. Now, earlier, when my "Data Usage" scale was fuller, I was happily sitting at 3.5. Then, they showed us we were going to be doing a dip. Like I said at the time, it was a sudden hit of fear to the face, instantly throwing my panic scale up to a 7. Had my meter had more data available, I could have maybe gotten back down to a 3.5 and gutsed it out, but I was depleted and thus after three or four attempts at the dip I hit 8 and fled.

The major attack on the Sunday at Swingsation was similar, only this time both meters were out. Unfortunately I could only recover so much energy from Friday, which I used up on Saturday, and couldn't fully recover by Sunday. Physically too I was drained. Dancing was able to keep me down to a 3, but then I picked a fast dance with a complete and utter manic which completely wiped out my "Data Usage" meter and left my "Social Energy" precariously low. Sure enough, I hit a 9 and couldn't speak. Super-embarrassing stuff.

Just this week too I had another attack, but this time because my panic scale was otherwise low, I was able to recover the energy and data and guts it out. This one was caused by a one-footed spin which had me off-balance, which is a great way to send me to an instant 6 on the panic scale. Coupled with all the information I was getting in class depleting my "Data Usage" meter, I had an attack. However, my "Social Energy" meter was high enough that after sitting down for five minutes I could guts out the rest of the lesson, and a few dances (which mostly bring my scale down to 2) were enough to replenish my meters and I was able to enjoy the rest of the night.

It's important to be able to tell if I'm anxious or overloading - if I overload, DO NOT TOUCH ME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES because it will HURT like anything because I simply can't take any more input. However, if it's anxiety, I need to be hugged and fretted over and protected. Of course, if both meters get completely wiped out and I hit a know what, let's not even go there, because I certainly never want to hit a 10 ever again.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

One is Not Enough

WARNING: I'm high on Nurofen at the moment (YAY FOR DRUG SENSITIVITY) and I have a cold and I am tired and I really should be asleep but thoughts are keeping me awake. I have zero idea where I'm going with this.

I'm having a bit of a chuckle to myself at the moment, reading all about Government Elections here there and everywhere. The fact is, the way us humans govern ourselves is complete and utter horse shit. Systems seem to be designed around one central figurehead, one person, ahem, "elected" to hold the power over the populace. Am I the only one who thinks this is the STUPIDEST thing in the world?!

ONE person. ONE Prime Minister, President, Queen, King, whatever. While I understand that there are processes in place to ensure that these people don't abuse their power (for example, the Senate) these seem almost as stupid as having one central figurehead to run the joint. In Australia for example, ONE person represents 0.0000041% of the total population. The people in Parliament equals 0.00062% of the population. Am I the only person who sees how utterly ridiculous this is?

The simple fact is that there are over 24 million people in this country. Each of us has our own needs, wants, hopes, dreams. We all have our individual ideas about what is right and just. Most of us accept that sometimes our wants, hopes and dreams need to be sacrificed for the greater good. Just to make things even more fun, each and every one of us has our own ideas about what the greater good entails. We pretty much live by a majority rules mentality. To try and make things even, we divide ourselves into Electorates, a whole 150 of them. Yup. Only 150 representatives for over 24 million people. 0.00062% of the population. That means roughly one representative per 160,700 people. Those 160,700 each with their own ideas and wants and needs. Not to mention the representative themselves has their own ideas and wants and needs. In fact, the Prime Minister ALSO has their own ideas and wants and needs. 

Part of me wants to cry "Bring on our AI overlords!" Alas, the AI would have to be programmed by a human...again with their own wants, needs and ideas. What a mess.

I guess the biggest fix for our Government would be for those in power to realise that it's not just all about them. I'm not just talking about the elected government either, the Opposition also need to realise that opposition≠being dicks. If such a small section of the population is going to be in charge, they NEED to work together. I'm sick of turning on Question Time and nearly mistaking it for Degrassi High. These people need to realise that each and every one of them is such a small percentage of the population, and really if it weren't for the other 99.938% of the population putting them in power their wants, needs and ideas wouldn't count for shit. Each and every one of them is representing 160,700 different wants, needs and ideas. 

There are so many people in this world that one person just isn't enough to change the world any more. It's now got to be a team effort from all of us to advance ourselves as a species and actually govern ourselves with a bit more accuracy than what we are at the moment. Make sure you vote correctly and to the best of your ability. If you have a concern, write to your local member. 

And remember, we all have a voice. While making ours heard, let's listen to the other voices too. After all, you're only 0.0000041% of the Australian population.


I'm going to bed now.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Top 5 Things I Like About Myself

Man, I NEVER thought I'd get to this stage. I actually LIKE me! I think I might actually be the one for me!

Don't get me wrong - it's taken a LOT of work to get to this stage, and still sometimes there's that nagging doubt in the back of my head. However, the voice is getting quieter all the time, as I find out things about myself that are pretty awesome. When you're stuck in the bowels of depression it's really hard to find anything good about yourself, so when you DO finally have that self-respect and self-love, that's when you need to start putting aside some of those good feelings for the times that you'll need them. Things like songs, videos, games, memories and even lists of good things are all the sorts of things that you'll be grateful for when that black dog comes around again. Trust me, there's always a chance that it'll come back. I already have some great memories stored away (check my blogs on Swingsation) and Spotify is a great resource for hoarding those songs that make you feel good. I also have my list of reasons I want to be alive (which has the names of all of those people precious to me) and now I'm going to internalise and find some reasons why other people would want me to be alive.

5. I'm loyal to a fault

Show me any sort of kindness and I am yours for life. I'm fiercely loyal to my friends, and I'd do just about anything for them. Hurt one of them, and I'm sure I'll find some way to make you pay. Friends become like family to me so easily, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

4. I don't give up easily

It would have been so easy to run away from Swingsation after the first panic attack. It would have been so easy to quit my job and return to Oakey after my breakdown and subsequent depression. It'd be so easy to give up West Coast Swing because it does get really hard. But I'm not going to give up, I'm never going to give up and I'm going to continue to try my best and give it my all!

3. I'm a damned good writer

And a good dancer too come to think of it. Who doesn't love creative energy? I try to use my ability as a writer to try and make the world a better place, by trying to make people believe the good in themselves and sharing my experiences to hopefully stop people from making the same mistakes I did. This blog is just one example.

2. I'm intelligent

My psych has often commented on my high intelligence. I love thinking and I love ideas and figuring things out about the world. I love learning too, although sometimes I'm a bit slower than everyone else once I have a concept I'm not letting it go!

1. I'm fucking hilarious

Well, at least I think so! There is no greater feeling in the Universe than making someone laugh, especially if they're feeling down. The sound of laughter is the most magical sound in the world, the most powerful sound in the world, and it'll be laughter that saves the world.

So now when life decides to be a bitch and try and get me down, I now have another list I can refer back to to help me get back up again. Even if you don't have a history of mental illness, it pays to have something (or lots of somethings) that remind you of the good in you, and in everyone else.

My List Of Reasons I Want To Be Alive

Friday, 27 May 2016

Top 5 Things that Scare the $^1+ out of me

I will note this is not a list of my top five fears (which is basically 5. Eye contact 4. Speaking on the phone 3. Sharp objects near my wrists 2. Stairs/Elevators 1. Going blind) rather it's a top five of things in the media/on the Internet that scare the everliving shit out of me. These things at some point have caused me to lose sleep for a week.

Just be careful clicking links - I take no responsibility for you being terrified out of your wits.

It's mainly the picture that does me in. Those fucking eyes. I was first exposed to this via a stupid Facebook chain picture that scared me witless. I had problems sleeping for a week afterwards, although it doesn't bother me as much now.

Again, the freaking imagery that people have made. Plus the fact that I relate so much to Squidward (my siblings were very much the Spongebob and Patrick, and I hate both characters with a passion). How do people come up with this stuff?!

Saw this at a friends place, only watched the first half an hour before heading elsewhere to do something else like play sweet, innocent video games. Finally fell asleep that night after watching a silly silver-screen movie called "A New Leaf" before passing out to Schnukums and Meat.

Just gross. There are just some things that don't need to be watched (or in my case, overheard).

1. Springtrap/The Purple Guy (Five Nights At Freddys)

FUCK this animatronic and FUCK the Purple Guy. For those not in the know, the Purple Guy is the evil bastard who killed the kids who haunt the animatronics in the Five Nights At Freddys games. After the first game, he's killed by a Golden Bonnie Suit he was trying to hide in, and became Springtrap, the antagonist of the third game in the series. Even keeping my lamp on doesn't help, and it's only gotten worse since Bastet died (being a bigger cat, he could have easily taken on any animatronic, and he always slept on the end of my bed, where I could comfort myself by resting my foot near him). Of course, he's just as bad in his Purple Guy form - one night while casually reading about the Puppet (quite possibly my favourite character) an animation started where the Purple Guy started walking across the screen. Thoroughly frightened out of my skull, I exited the FNaF wiki quick-smart.

Sleep well!

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Swingsation: Day Three!

I really did NOT want to get out of bed this morning. I had definitely spent WAY too many petrol tickets on Saturday night. However, I was determined to force myself to at least watch the workshops today, and get as many dances under my belt as I could.

Well, first I left my shoes at the apartment (discovered while in the middle of crossing the road). Then coming back down the stairs the strap of the bag that my sister gave me snapped. Thankfully I was able to hook the strap onto one of the zippers so it's still functional.

The first workshop was with Arjay, who has a huge, amazing, constant energy. It was all about dancing with one lead, two follows. Of course, I forgot to put on my dance shoes didn't I? Anyway, after that little faux pas, we had a BLAST with the workshop. It was easily the most fun workshop of the weekend, and I really hope I get the chance to do another double-dance soon.

Of course, my left plantar fascia (which has been troublesome since I was a kid) was determined to try and put a damper on things, as was my complete lack of energy. Both were egging on my anxiety but I wasn't going to give in.

Lunch was Maccas with my roomie Josephine (who I am so glad I got to know this weekend), who I introduced to the Loaded Fries with cheese sauce and bacon. Yes, I am evil.

After watching the last workshops, I scooted back to the apartment and foolishly took a nap. I awoke groggy and really not in any state to do anything except grouch, but I was determined and as anyone who knows me will tell you when I get determined there is NOTHING that can stop me. It was probably a good thing I had the apartment to myself, I was able to try and unwind a bit before heading to watch the Invitational Jack and Jill.

The Invitational was amazing. It almost made me want to dance competitively just for the chance to be able to dance with one of those pros, but I know that competitive dancing is well beyond what I'm capable of. Yes, even I have limits.

It was after the Invitational that disaster struck. Dancing with Chris, the plantar fascia finally gave a massive "WILL YOU GIVE IT A REST BITCH?!" No one calls ME a bitch, so I kept going despite the fact owchie. As Chris helped me off the dance floor, I felt a familiar snap in the back of my head. Oh. Crap. That snap meant that my ability to speak was GONE. I tried to form the words, but there was nothing. Not one word. And my foot was burning badly. I ended up outside with Natasha (who is wonderful) who managed to calm me down and get some of my Rescue Pastilles into me. Of course, I still couldn't speak.

It was after the awards (congrats to all the winners by the way!) that my ability to speak finally returned (with a lot of effort mind) and I managed to get in one last dance with Ty (who I knew would be gentle with me). I then headed back to the apartment (as much as I would have loved to stay) and now it's time for some rest before the long drive back to Brisbane tomorrow.

Overall, this weekend was a success. I asked so many people to dance (and I apologise to you all, but I can't remember any of your names!) and met so many new people. I learnt a lot about myself and my dance, and I like to think that I strengthened some of my existing friendships. I actually felt confident for 90% of the weekend, and I got to dance with some very advanced dancers (unfortunately not the pros, but there's always next time). West Coast Swing and the community around it is a great place for everyone, especially those with mental illness, and I am so glad I took the opportunity to experience this great weekend and all the good things that came with it!

One could almost say I felt like a normal girl for once.

Swingsation: Day Two!

IMPORTANT NOTE: For an alarm to go off, it must first be set. Just something I thought I'd throw out there.

So after sleeping in until 0900, I quickly rushed to the Mantra to continue the Swingsation fun. The first workshop was all about musicality, and I took a lot from it (even if I totally sucked at it - hashtag oh well). It made a difference watching the Jack and Jill competition too - I could really start to see how the competitors were working the music with their partners, so it's definitely an area I need to grow in. I'm really bad for letting the music take me over and almost completely missing musical cues from my lead - however while social dancing tonight I did manage to hit a few spots so I'm definitely improving!

The second workshop was all about connection, which is by far the weakest aspect of my dance. This workshop definitely helped there, although disaster struck towards the end. You see, I have a really, really big problem with losing my balance (as my first dance teacher Chris can easily attest to - he had quite a challenge teaching me the start step - hashtag infinite patience), and the last part of the routine we were learning involved a dip. The moment they demonstrated the dip, it was instant pure terror to the face. Cue mini-panic attack.

I headed out to try and walk it off, without realising I still had my dance shoes on. So I took them off and walked around barefoot on the streets of the Gold Coast until I found a pharmacist, where I was lucky enough to find my Bach Rescue Pastilles in a blackcurrant flavour (which beats the disgusting cranberry and lemon flavours - hashtag gross). The pharmacist instantly saw my predicament and kindly offered me water and to sit down. I thanked her, but decided it was best just to walk it off. I got back to the Mantra, got my shoes and went out for lunch.

I got back to the Mantra in time for the Jack and Jill preliminaries. Social dancing somewhat calmed my frayed nerves although I was well and truly frazzled. Thankfully after some really amazing performances by the competitors the ballroom was closed so we were all forced out for dinner. It gave me the chance to calm down (and take advantage of the Blackadder DVDs in our apartment - hashtag WINNING).

Unfortunately there wasn't enough leaders for me to participate in the next workshop which was all about partner-stealing, but it was really fun to watch. Also by this stage an old childhood malady was beginning to play up - I was born with really, really bad foot arches, and my left one was starting to hurt. I ignored it though (hashtag future issues) and kept on dancing away. The Jack and Jill finals were a treat to behold, and you couldn't pull me off that dance floor even if you tried (to my detriment, hashtag responsible adult). About ten minutes before the Pros were going to do their fun Jack and Jill competition (wow, just wow. So, SO amazing, so brilliant, so much energy and passion - hashtag speechless) the pain began to get too much (thank you James for chatting with me while I rested - hashtag thanks mate). I was going to give up and go back to the apartment, and had put my shoes on when I saw something in my bag that made me change my mind.

A few weeks ago I finally found a Joel Patfull footy card. My hero. The man who never gave up even though he was delisted by port. The dance shoes went back on - hang it all, I was going to dance through that pain even if it killed me, because no matter what happens I want to be like Joel Patfull. Eventually I lost feeling in the foot, which made dancing interesting, but then the pain returned with a vengeance, surging up to my knee. Finally out of petrol tickets, I headed back to the apartment at around 0115. Phew!

Easily the best part of the day was getting to dance with the two best dancers in the whole world (in my opinion - hashtag biased), Zac and Chris. I love these guys to bits, dancing with them just makes me feel so much better about myself, and any dance class where I don't dance with either one of them is a class wasted. Chris is my favourite to dance with, and as I mentioned earlier he was my teacher when I first started. If it weren't for him, I doubt I would have continued dancing (even though at the time I would have happily smacked him. Repeatedly. Hashtag I'm sorry!). Zac, even though he's a world-class dancer, is so incredibly down-to-earth and just brings so much energy to every dance. Every time I dance with him I feel so much more confident as a dancer, he seems to know just how good you are and how to make you feel like you're a star even if you have no clue what you're doing.

That being said, I had some awesome dances with so many guys today that I am simply blown away. This whole experience is making me wish so badly that my social skills weren't completely shit, so that I could really talk to people and make connections and friendships, because everyone is just so awesome. I really hope that I can take some of this energy away with me to use at regular Raw Con classes back at Mt. Gravatt. Who knows, maybe I'll even start joining everyone for dinner before dance class...maybe.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Swingsation: Day One!

So, I got up at the usual time of 0750 of a night of very poor sleep. However, after cuddles with the Chinny-cat (who I dearly wish was here, I worry about my only living fur-child) I left home at 0830 and had a pretty good run to the Gold Coast, where I immediately headed to the beach to get my feet wet in the ocean and get sand all over my feet.  Feeling a bit more confident, I then headed to the Mantra on View to start my Swingsation Day.

The first workshop was a styling workshop for ladies with Virginie (who is gorgeous!) - I got the first few moves, but a free-spin? Me? Not going to happen in this lifetime (without someone getting seriously injured anyway - namely me). The next workshop was a really fun lesson on passes with both Maxence and Virginie. I'm not really sure if I got it or not, but a few of the guys used the moves in social dancing with me later that night and I didn't step on any toes so I think I did good.

Lunch was...UGH, I HATE eating out in public! I hate ordering food, I hate having other people around that I might accidentally look at, I hate trying to not get food all over myself, I hate people looking at me when I eat UGH UGH UGH! I went to Hungry Jacks and while the food was nice and well presented...I'm sorry, it's one of my hang-ups.

The next workshop was an intermediate class with Ben and Victoria, who were just awesome. I was debating whether or not to actually do this workshop, not having a very high opinion of my skills so far. I'm glad I did it though.

I skipped the next workshop, which was more advanced, and took a bit of a breather to watch the more advanced dancers do their thing. It gave me a chance to settle a bit, which was good as I was going to need all the composure I could get for the evening.

Afterwards (after finding somewhere to park that wasn't going to get me a parking ticket) I headed to the apartment where I'm staying with a friend. The building itself looks fairly old, but the apartment itself is mondo neato. After having a short break, I decided a small serve of chips was in order for dinner, however upon heading out I bumped into some good friends who were having Italian. So I decided to order some spag bol to go while actually enjoying some social interaction for once. I then headed back to the apartment, had a shower and chilled out for a bit.

Now the big challenge - the evenings festivities. I learned pretty quickly that if I sat down for too long without dancing I started thinking. Given it was in a very loud, crowded place (a very high-stress situation for even the most neurotypical of us) thinking usually means thinking bad thoughts like "Obviously no one likes me." "I'm shit at dancing." "I should just give up." (I think I'm in for a couple of smacks from a couple of my dance teachers and fellow dancers for that last one)

So I was determined to spend as much time on the dance floor as possible - and the guys at Swingsation are AWESOME. Every dance had me grinning from ear to ear, even if I didn't get to dance with everyone I wanted to. Even towards the end of my evening when I was getting pretty tired and starting to slip into an attack I was still able to happily dance and maintain a panic scale of between 2-3.

I think that might have been because I've found a niftly little device that keeps my core warm while leaving my arms free - an exercise vest. A lot of people commented that I must be baking, but I reckon that warmth bought me a couple of extra hours.

Anyway, there were times that I had to leave the dance floor, and that was for the Strictly Swing competition and the Classic competition. Sitting there trying to keep the bad thoughts away was stressful, and multiple times I wondered if I was even going to be able to dance again that night. Thankfully my sanity prevailed and I managed to last until a little after midnight. Yay me!

The best bit of all was the line dance we did - super simple and super fun to play with! I probably looked like the biggest dork in the world, but I really don't care. I had a blast!

All in all I had a great day - but it was a long one, and it's only Friday. There's still Saturday and Sunday to go. Do I have the energy and the mindset to last the full weekend without an attack, or worse, a full autistic meltdown? I'm worried that I don't, as I am thoroughly exhausted right now, and I haven't been sleeping well at all recently. My panic scale also peaked at 6 by the end of the night after being able to maintain a 4 last night. Is it just going to keep rising? Or am I just being paranoid?

Here's to a fun weekend for all, and hopefully all goes well!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Swingsation: The Pre-Party!

For those not lucky enough to be in the know, the annual Swingsation event is going down right now on the Gold Coast. Being of the shy, autistic and anxious persuasion, I have been pretty nervous heading up to this event, but as it turns out I might not need to worry.

Tonight was the pre-party, so I took today (and tomorrow and Monday) off work to prepare and enjoy. The day was all about preparation, getting clothes washed (and making an impromptu visit to the Target at the Queen St. Mall to get some pants). Plus my "Smoke Me A Kipper" shirt arrived in the post. I was worried this afternoon as I returned to the laundromat from the city on the bus (having shoved all of my washing into the dryer and racked off to the mall) that I might have spent one too many petrol tickets on the preparation (going to the post office + laundromat + visit to the city spells exhaustion). I was going to have a long drive ahead of me to the Gold Coast - was I going to be able to get through it all without having an attack?

The answer, happily enough, was yes. I did decide to leave at around 8.30-9pm though to drive back to Brisbane (before staying the weekend on the coast), thinking it was best that I left on a high. I managed to ask 3 people whom I had never met before in my life to dance (a huge undertaking for one such as I) and couldn't help but grin the entire time. It helped that the first thing that happened was that I ran into people I knew, which helped me feel safe.

Tomorrow will probably be an early start - I want to get a few social dances in before the workshops start. I had a lot of fun at the workshop tonight, Maxence and Virginie are AWESOME (and I WILL get at a social dance with Maxence if it kills me!). I hope too that I have the petrol tickets to get through the whole weekend without having an anxiety attack, while making lots of new friends and trying to be the most personable and social person I can be!

But best of all, I get to dance!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A Cycle of Depression

Depression sucks. I should know as unfortunately I am slowly coming out of another lovely depressive cycle, brought to you by stress and anxiety. I was stupid enough to take on a stressful project at work, which lasted a month and ended with me having a seven-day panic-attack (complete with chest pain, breathlessness, sore arms, painful neck and shoulders - the works!). I then fell into a depression (which thankfully wasn't as bad as it could have been - thanks Raw Con and my psychologist!) which seems to be in its last throes now. So I thought I would give you an overview of the timeline of how my depression seems to work. I'm hoping that I've got it figured out now, so now it's just a matter of recognising where I am in the cycle, and possibly preventing the depression from even happening in the first place.

Everyone will have a different cycle, so it's always good to try and figure out what your timeline is so you know when your danger periods are. It's good to keep friends and family informed too, which is another reason I'm writing this blog.  If you haven't read my previous blog where I talk about my panic scale, you might want to take a look, as I refer to it in my timeline. I'm just a clusterfuck of fun times aren't I?

1. Everything is good.

At this stage is when I'm at my optimal levels. I'm functioning normally (well, as normally as I usually function), I have good routines settled in which allow me to work well while keeping happy and energized. I like being here. Yes, I still have my off days which admittedly sucks, but I get over them pretty quickly. I can easily keep myself to a 4 or under on the panic scale, sometimes getting to a 5 but rarely getting above a 6. If I do manage to get to an 8, it usually drops back to a 4 pretty quickly

2. I get overconfident.

Yep, I've been in those routines for a while now and I've gotten everything sorted out. I am OWNING the world! I can do anything! This is the big danger period, because this is when I usually start getting slack or signing up for things that realistically I simply can't handle.

3. Prolonged stress/series of unfortunate events.

I can still do it, I can get through it, I'm doing fine...those are the lies I start telling myself to get myself through this period, all while my energy starts to sap away and my routines fall apart and the good, solid base I've built for myself crumbles away. My panic scale starts sticking at a 5 or a 6 most of the time, which is a BAD thing, and I shoot to a 7 or 8 a lot quicker and find it a lot harder to come down.

4. Breakdown.

This can come in the form of a prolonged panic attack (like the seven-day panic attack), a full blown autistic meltdown (may that never happen again) or a nervous breakdown. Congratulations, you just reached 9 on the panic scale and you're not getting below an 8 any time soon!

5. Depression.

I'm stuck at 7 or 8 on the panic scale and it feels like there's no end in sight. Anyone who's had depression knows what it's like to be here. Here sucks.

6. Recovery.

The tail end of the depression sees me stay around the 5 or 6 mark on the panic scale, sometimes getting up to a 7 but starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes I even get back down to a 4. How nice.

7. The Drop.

Talking with my psych yesterday, I mentioned that last time I had a depression I had about a month of paranoia, not caring, anger and anxiety before finally getting better. I call this the drop, which is the period just before I get back together where I become the most unbearable person in the world. I hate everyone, I'm certain I'm going to get fired, I'm certain everyone hates me. Basically I become a 15-year-old again.

And then after that it's back to square one again. Hopefully once I get back to square one I can stay there. I'll definitely be talking to friends, coworkers and management so they can make sure I don't go taking on any more than I can handle, so I don't plunge myself into another depression again. Because yes, this one was purely my own fault for volunteering for something that I realistically am not able to handle. Lesson learned!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

I dislike today

Today is the one-year anniversary of when my fur-son, Bastet, was killed. I came home to find his dead body in a box under the stairs. I miss him so much it hurts, but that's not the only pain that comes from his death.

You see, even though I am a fertile young lady who would LOVE to have a large brood of children, I have ultimately decided against breeding. It hurts. My craving to be a mother has always been strong, just ask my siblings how maternal I can get sometimes. Hell, you don't even have to ask my blood siblings, you can ask any of the ones I seemed to have picked up along the way. So having the life of one of my fur-children cut drastically short is devastating to me.

"But if you want to be a mother so much, why don't you?" I hear you ask. Several reasons actually.

1. My poor genetics.

I am a genetic disaster. The mental illness alone is bad enough, and there is no way I'd ever, EVER put anyone through that (especially my own children). Now add on my genetic heart problems stemming all the way back through the maternal line, the dodgy knees and the fact that I am physically weaker than most ten-year-olds and I think it's probably best my dodgy genetic material stops with me. I seem to have been born at the shallow end of the gene pool, my brother got considerably better genes that what I have (he at least has hand-eye coordination and is strong for someone his age).

2. I'd make a terrible parent.

Did I mention my mental health? I still have a lot of trouble controlling my temper, and I will lash out at what a lot of people would consider insignificant things. When I'm angry, I go right for the jugular, and I always seem to know what words will hurt the most. I also have a hard time letting things go (I still shake with fury when I think about how my parents simply let my sister save over my first Pokémon game - I now have zero record of my first Pokémon, thanks for nothing) and I don't think things like that are particularly healthy for children.

3. No one will breed with me in the first place.

Yeah, the whole thing about breeding is that you need someone of the opposite sex in order to complete the process. Yes, there is a guy I'm interested in, and yes, I'm 99% certain he's aware of the fact (If he isn't he's exceptionally thick) but there's no way I'd put him through being with me. It's not that I'm a bad person, it's simply that I'm better off by myself. Most of my time I spend alone anyway, and I enjoy my time to myself. That's not to say I don't crave affection, but if I ever want a hug, I'll just go to dance class where they hand out hugs like lollies. Besides (and we are going into wayyy too much information here) no man can ever do for me what a couple of AAA batteries can.

That all being said, at least once a day I sadly think of the life I'm not going to have. I do want someone to love and to love me, and I desperately crave my own family. The thing is, I know it'd be a bad idea, ending with someone getting hurt. I don't want to hurt people, especially not my own (non-existent) children.

So if you're hanging out with me (especially to my friends who are younger than me) and I start fussing over you, you now know why. And I'm always up for "adopting" more younger siblings so if you ever wanted a big sister, I'm more than happy to help!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Let's Get Social!

I can hear the many groans, protestations and eye rolls from all of my fellow Aspies/Auties already.

I don't know about you guys, but I am stuck in a bit of a dilemma. I, as a human and a somewhat social creature, crave friendship and human contact. I want to go out and have dinner with friends, or go for walks, take a car trip to the mountains and take photos etc. Alas, I lack the social skills to cement those sorts of friendships, and I'm often too anxious to join the few friends I do have in their more social pursuits, like parties and being in large groups. In fact, I have often considered ditching dance class purely because I don't do people well (not because I think I can't dance, which is what some people think - bitches, EVERYONE knows I can dance!).

However, every so often I am rewarded for venturing out from my shell, and tonight was one of those times. Due to the heavy stress I am under (thank you work) I am finding a lot of the progress I have made in beating depression and anxiety is being quickly eroded. This is beginning to manifest physically in the form of lethargy, painful limbs/shoulders and a busted immune system. I have been advised by my beloved Mumsie to look for physical therapy to try and help combat this (along with my psychology sessions). So tonight I went for my usual trip to the laundromat, where I bumped into a nice lady with a dog she was taking care of. It turns out that this lady is a massage therapist. We ended up having a really good chat about animals and I got to see her "office" as she lives around the corner from the laundromat.

It might sound like a meaningless coincidence to some people, but positive interactions like the one I just had a huge in encouraging people with Autism/anxiety to come out of their shells and contribute to the world at large. Another fun interaction I had was at the NRL. I was lucky enough to be sitting with the Rabbitohs fans, and one young lady was friendly enough to strike up a polite conversation. WINNING!

I will admit it's not all smooth sailing (just ask anyone who was at Raw Cons "Last Supper" at Greenslopes how awful I was) but sometimes you just have to soldier on and keep practising at being a functional human being - remember the "fake it 'till you make it" rule and go for gold!

Just stay away from automatic doors.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

I love sport.

Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm a cool, diverse, hip young creature who likes to try out new things, and I will head to Suncorp Stadium to watch either the South Sydney Rabbitohs or the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs take on the Brisbane Broncos (as much as I love my Lions, I can't muster any love for the Broncos. Sorry Brisbane). I will say this right off the bat: AFL and NRL atmospheres are NOTHING alike. The closest you will come to an NRL atmosphere at an AFL game is when you go to a Giants game.

The first major difference is the aggression. NRL atmosphere is very aggressive for most of the game. They want physicality and aren't afraid to vocalise it. AFL crowds by comparison are more about barracking for their team - until either a) someone pulls a dog act (ala Steven May) b) the umpire really, REALLY stuffs up or c) there's a traitor on the field. Then the aggression of the NRL crowd looks like rainbows and cupcakes compared to how vicious an AFL crowd can get. Going back to the Steven May example last weekend, I have NEVER been a part of such an angry crowd before. We wanted him DEAD. Deader than dead. His blood smeared from one end of the Gabba to the other. Another time I've been at the receiving end of a vicious crowd was none other than one of the most passionate supporter bases, Essendon. It was back in 2013 when we beat them at Etihad. I was 100% certain that the Essendon fans surrounding me were going to kill me. I was truly terrified for my life. Even though I've sat with angry Souths fans before, I never really felt that sort of righteous fury.

Next is the noise. NRL fans just keep going and going and going and going...AFL fans on the other hand tend to be a bit quieter at points. It's the difference between the games, in NRL there are greater periods between scores, meaning the fans need to chant to keep themselves amused. They certainly have much longer and more interesting chants than most of the AFL fans (the exception being the GWS Giants - for such a young club, they've certainly carved an identity for themselves). The quicker pace of Aussie Rules means quick, repetitive chants that can be finished quickly in time for the next play are much better suited, thus less creativity.

I've mentioned the Giants twice already, but I think they prove an important point - the AFL and the NRL should NOT be competing against each other. I am watching a Giants game right now, and they've brought their Western Sydney Rugby heritage to their chants, which add an amazing flavour to the game (take a hint you Gold Coast Scumbags!). Can you imagine marketing a sporting weekend in Queensland if the AFL and the NRL got together? Go to a Titans game on the Gold Coast on Friday night, head to Metripong on Saturday afternoon for the scums game, then a trip up to the Gabba for a Lions game and then on Sunday off to Suncorp for a Broncos game. I can hear Queensland Tourism licking their lips already! They need to start working together - not just for the betterment of the individual codes, but for the betterment of sport in Australia in general. Think about how both codes could benefit from cross-pollination - faster-paced Rugby, more physical Aussie Rules!

In fact, why can't all sporting codes just work together? Or am I just using too much logic?

Friday, 8 April 2016

Top Ten Songs to Dance to

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but I LOVE MUSIC AND I LOVE TO DANCE! And now that my body is on the mend, I was able to get back into some West Coast Swing last night and some dorky car-dancing on the way home from work! So to celebrate my returned health, here are my top ten favourite tunes to dance to - enjoy!

10. Unskinny Bop - Poison

The beat is just so incredibly laid back and, dare I say it, boppy, that it's almost lazy. It just feels so natural to just groove along to this tune that it's almost an automatic response every time I hear this song!

9. That's How You Know - Nico and Vince feat. Kid Ink and Bebe

This song is hilarious. The slow beat provides a funny counterpoint to the lyrics, not to mention it's just funky and easy to move to. Great for when you're stuck in traffic and need something slow and groovy to bop to while you're waiting for those god-forsaken lights to change. That's not mentioning how fun it is to sing along to. Loudly.

8. Pussy Game (JUSTiNB's Hyped Up Remix) - Bonnie Max

The SECOND this fast-paced dance-fest starts you are just zapped with instant energy, making you want to jump up and down and around and around. Then the sexy melody kicks in during the verses and it becomes just this powerful sex anthem - innuendo anyone?

7. God Is A DJ - P!nk

This song is just the perfect let-go-and-party song. The lyrics are deep and relatable, the beat is laid back with a solid energy that carries you while you just don't care. This song is just for you, letting you forget about everything and just enjoy the moment.

6. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.

I make no apologies for this song at all. Like YOU don't dance to it and yell "Ghostbusters!" every time Ray Parker Jr. asks who you're gonna call. The only difference between you and I is that I'm not afraid to admit that this song is just plain funky - and I sing it in public. I ain't afraid of no ghosts!

5. Hot Chilli Woman - Noiseworks

Hearing that harmonica and everyone in the room is like "Ohhhhhhhh yeah!!!!!!" and the dancing is hot and frantic and sexy and rockin'. This song is the stronger, sexier "Unskinny Bop". Put it on and just watch everyone get hot and sweaty.

4. And We Danced - The Hooters

This sweet little number is all about that connection that you get dancing with someone - the vibes are right, the moves are sweet, the beat is rockin' and we're gonna dance all night and shake the paint of the walls.

3. All Night Long (Panik Mix) - J-Mi and Midi-D

Like "Pussy Game", this song just starts off with pure energy - and keeps it throughout. The ebb and flow of that amazing bassline makes moving along to the music feel so amazing and natural - you just get taken along on a magical musical ride and you don't want to get off.

2. I Can't Dance - Genesis

Okay, hands up everyone who KNEW this song was going to be on here? Now keep them up if you thought it was going to be number one? Ha ha! This song is my all time most favourite song of all time, of course singing and dancing along with it in the most dorky of fashions is going to be one of my favourite things.

1. Dancing in the Storm - Boom Crash Opera

Boom Crash Opera have to be one of the most unappreciated bands in the entire Universe. This song is that perfect rock song that is surprisingly deep, so perfectly natural to dance to, has a great beat and just captures you in its embrace and dances away with you. It combines the rock from songs like "Hot Chilli Woman" with the depth from "God Is A DJ" and the need to dance from "And We Danced".

For those of you on Spotify, I have made this top ten a playlist! Click here for a listen!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Top Ten Songs to Listen to when you're down

So I'm currently laid up in bed with chest problems (which, thankfully are starting to ease up. Wednesday was HORRIBLE) which I suspect have been caused by stress and anxiety (thank you work). Hopefully by the time I return back to work on Tuesday I should be 100% okay again. That being said, I feel miserable. My mind is SCREAMING for at the very least a 5km walk, but my body baulked at barely 1km. I'm going stir-crazy, and I have writers block like you wouldn't believe. So I'm listening to what I like to call "downer music", which is what I listen to when I'm in a mood and the happy music I regularly listen to would just annoy the living daylights out of me. So Ima bring you all down with me, here are my top ten most depressing songs!

10. "Don't Don't Go Away" by Foxxie

I'm technically cheating here as both the Richardo Autobahn 12" mix and the Discowarp Main mix can be equally cathartic. The 12" mix though is better for those gloomy days where you just want to stare out of the window dramatically while the rain pours down.

9. "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel

If I ever do a top ten songs that piss me off, this song will be number one! I know I'm overreacting massively, but every time I listen to the lyrics (especially "Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes") I feel ready to slap someone. They just feel too condescending for me. Definitely one I listen to if I'm feeling miserable.

8. "Easier to Run" by Linkin Park

Linkin Park is definitely one of those bands you turn to when you're feeling down and sorry for yourself. This song is one for those days where every little mistake you've ever made decides to come back to haunt you. Isn't anxiety fun?

7. "Mandolin Rain" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range

Even if you take the defeatist lyrics out of it, the melody itself is just so melancholy and depressing that you just want to do something drastic. Ugh, this song is downer.

6. "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" by U2

This is my "who gives a shit anymore" song. The music coupled with the subtle irrelevancy of the lyrics makes you feel a bit disconnected from the real world, especially if you're already feeling isolated. I tend to treat this song with a bit of caution.

5. "Throwing It All Away" by Genesis

Oh come on, of course Genesis were going to find themselves on here. They have some really depressing stuff out there and for me, this one is the worst, with "Since I Lost You" and "Driving the Last Spike" coming dangerously close. This song is so completely defeatist it's not funny. Just throw up your hands and give up!

4. "I'm Goin' Home" by Hootie and the Blowfish

A song covered in death and loss, and with a guitar riff that sounds like it's just about ready to give up too, this song is great for wallowing in your own misery. Actually, the whole album is depressing really.

3. "Jesus of Surburbia" by Green Day

This was a staple of mine back when I was trapped in Oakey/Toowoomba. Especially "City of the Damned", which encapsulates my feelings about that place perfectly. There's a reason why I refer to Toowoomba as the City of Lud and everything west of it as the Wastelands, that place just leaves me feeling so hollow and trapped and there's just nothing there.

2. "Flame Trees" by Cold Chisel

Oh I hate this song. I hate this song so much. If "Jesus of Surburbia" captured how I felt about living in the Wastelands, "Flame Trees" is how I feel when I have to go BACK to those god-forsaken hell-holes (which, thankfully, just got rarer as Mum is now off to Canberra and hopefully we can get Nanna and my sister out of there ASAP!). I hate going back there.

1. "Don't Believe Anymore" by Icehouse

The Whitlams did an okay cover of this song, but the raw anguish and emotion of the original cannot be beaten; that saxophone crying in the background to Iva Davis chilling voice just rips at you. Yes, it is a technically a breakup song, but no matter what your circumstance, I challenge you to find a phrase that encapsulates the feeling of being so dejected, so miserable, so lonely, so given will find yourself screaming "I don't believe anymore!" alongside Iva if you're feeling vunerable enough.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to listen to "I Can't Dance" because man this was a downer! I can certainly be melodramatic when the mood hits me!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

National Rail System Please!

I can NOT be the only one who thinks Australias reliance on trucks over trains is the STUPIDEST thing ever. I mean, how ridiculous can you get? Yes, there will be times when you do need a truck, but surely anyone with half a brain cells worth of common sense can see that a National Train System would improve this country exponentially.

Oh. Right. Common sense. Yeah.

Here are THE best reasons to get trucks off the roads and their cargo put onto trains.

1. Speed

A train doesn't have to worry about traffic jams. A train doesn't get stuck behind a granny driver in her Honda Jazz (most pathetic "car" ever) doing 20km/h under the speed limit. A train doesn't share a road with cars less than a quarter of its size, meaning it can go faster without worrying about whether or not something the driver can't see is around. Which leads to point number two...

2. Safety

Australia FLOGS its truck drivers. They're under tight deadlines and a lot of stress, which would make anyone driving even the smallest car a very dangerous prospect. Now put them in charge of several tonnes of truck, trailers and cargo. Who else is feeling scared around about now? Now add that a lot of small-car drivers simply do NOT know how to drive around trucks and we have a recipe for disaster, which you read about nearly every day in the newspaper. The only real worry about trains is idiots and train crossings - and even that can be minimised by having less train crossings and more over/underpasses. Plus in the event of a train crash, there's usually less victims, whereas if a truck crashes it usually takes out a few other cars and causes traffic to have to stop, leading to congestion and traffic jams. Everyone loses.

3. Road maintenance

Trucks DESTROY roads, that then have to be used by other cars and smaller vehicles (which, in turn, affects their safety). Just look at the Warrego Highway west of Toowoomba if you need any evidence. Get the trucks off the roads and then other road users can enjoy better-quality roads.

4. Trains are cooler than trucks

They ARE! Plus trains can also be used to transport people! Can you imagine tearing down the countryside on a super-fast train, able to get up and walk around as you please, knowing that you'll get to your destination quickly and safely?

Don't get me wrong, we still need trucks as trains can't go everywhere. With a strong train backbone however, we can cut back the number and size of the trucks on our roads improving the quality of our roads and our trips for everyone.

Monday, 21 March 2016

My Top 5 Punctuation Marks

So I for a laugh I had a look at the Linkin Park Facebook page and now I'm having a LP binge to try and catch up with 8 years of not listening to them. Eh...?

Anyway, I was doodling on a piece of paper and started drawing some punctuation marks when it dawned on me: I'm a WRITER, so why don't I write about my favourite punctuation marks? It's the most logical thing in the world!

So here are my top 5 Punctuation Marks!

5. Semi-colon

Even though it's the only punctuation mark actually on my skin at present (and on my right wrist of all places) the humble semi-colon, which one uses to seperate clauses in a sentence, for example: "Peter hated his job; the hours were long and the people crooked." I'm trying to use them more in my work; semi-colons are nifty little devices after all.

4. Exclaimation Point

How awesome is this little dude! He can get anyone excited or make anyone angry; he's the emphasis of the punctuation world and he definitely makes an impact!

3. Colon

I write a lot of lists and love to describe things, so here is a description of my love of the colon: those two little dots are so cute and easy to write, and I can never escape them. They're used in IT a lot for drive letters for a start.

2. Full Stop

This little guy seperates ideas and allows space between thoughts and ideas. Between the full stop, the comma and the semi-colon, you can control the flow and sound of a sentence, changing meaning with a flick of ink.

1. Ellipsis

Stick one of these at the end of any sentence and people begin to wonder. You can change the whole meaning of a sentence with one of these things. It's the ultimate act of shit-stirring and cheekiness in written form, especially when paired with seemingly innocent sentences...

There you have it, my favourite punctuation marks! Feel free to read my other blogs, or even Chuckles and Giggles; not that I'd mind if you didn't...

Friday, 18 March 2016

Triggers and Panic Attacks

Yes, I know it's Friday, and yes, I know you're all expecting some "Chuckles and Giggles". You'll get it this evening. Right now I'm operating on 6.5 out of 10 on the anxiety scale after a psych appointment and I'm going to type it out. Hopefully this blog provides anyone else going through high anxiety and panic attacks with a bit of a framework that they can use to formulate a plan for themselves.

For me, the pattern seems to be:

1. Get to a high stress/high anxiety state
2. Get triggered by something seemingly small and insignificant
3. Panic attack

One would think after the past few weeks I'd be used to operating on high anxiety, but it doesn't work like that. I rate anxiety using a 1-10 "Panic scale":

1 - Me so chillllllllllll. I'm so chill I'm either writing or asleep.

2 - Walking. Off in my own little world and pretty much content. Also dancing. Of course, I can shoot from a 7 to a 2 and back again pretty fast.

3-4 - Where I usually sit on a good day. I'm alert, but I'm not going to have a panic attack any time soon.

5 - Mildly irritated/grumpy.

6 - Bad days. I can usually cope if triggered, but I will probably need to have a long rest soon.

7 - Will have attack if triggered

8 - Panic/Anxiety attack.

9 - Usually where mutism will kick in.

10 - Autistic Meltdown. I haven't had one of these for years and I hope I never do again.

Unfortunately if I'm high on anxiety I'm more susceptable to my triggers, which are:

-Sensory Overload - touch and sound are my weaknesses, anyone who knows me knows that I'm highly affectionate and crave hugs and closeness - from people I'm close to. Unfortunately anyone else will make me slightly uncomfortable, which I can deal with in small doses provided I'm not already high on anxiety. Sound on the other hand is a bit more clear-cut: if it's very high-pitched (especially a sustained high-pitched noise without a bassline to counter it) then I'm not going to have a good time. Give me deep bass-lines which I can feel in my chest and I'm happy.

-Fear - Stairs, lifts, driving, people looking at me, unfamiliar social situations, heights...again, if I'm not high on anxiety then I can deal with these problems with only a hint of annoyance (except for lifts, I think each of my coworkers has seen me completely freeze up each time I need to go in one of these things). If I'm already in a bad way however, these things will result in a panic attack. Best of all, these things can put me in a high-anxiety situation if either combined or through long enough exposure.

The biggest symptoms of an impending panic attack (that I've noticed anyway) are my breathing getting out of whack (precursor to hyperventalating), shaking and aching limbs. Unfortunately that's all I can think of, usually when I'm already at a high anxiety state I'm not really paying attention to my symptoms, I'm too busy worrying.

The best way I know to prevent this is walking. Also, writing and dancing have been known to bring me down from an anxiety high, alas if my stress levels get too high I either get writers block (GAH!!!) or I become very adverse to being touched/my limbs feel like lead (which rules out dancing).

So far, it seems the best plan is to NOT get into a high stress state in the first place, however given how prone I am to stress this is also the most difficult.

When I have a panic attack, the major thing is that I can't be touched, especially skin-on-skin contact - IT HURTS. Also, talking is good. Even if I can't be touched, I hate being alone when I'm having an attack, and having someone close by is comforting.

Everyone will have their own "panic scale" and triggers. Everyone will also have their own ways of coping and how others can help. The important thing is figuring out your triggers and at what stage you can handle things - as always, I really encourage people who are having problems to seek professional help. It makes figuring out this stuff so much easier.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Creative Responsibility

I'm sure I've mentioned this previously, but Alan Alda is my hero. His character, the great Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce was my introduction into complex characters and storylines, changing my path as a storyteller forever. This was solidified when I read "Little Women" by Lousia May Alcott, especially the chapter where Jo goes off to New York and nearly makes a disgrace of herself.

Yesterday, Mr. Alda made an appearance on the ABC's National Press Club of Australia. He spoke about how "Science Belongs to All of Us", and the speech he made touched me deeply. He's also going to be at QPAC tonight and tomorrow with his play "Dear Albert", based on the letters written by Albert Einstein, humanising this intellectual great of our history. I never thought I'd ever get the chance to even be in the same room as Alan Alda, so as you can imagine I'm very excited. However, meeting my hero isn't the only reason I'm excited.

Mr. Alda described Science and Art as "two long-lost lovers" who have drifted apart, and lamented on how Science has become almost completely inaccessable to the average person. He spoke about how scientists have to learn how to present their ideas and research in such a way as while not dumbing them down, they're more appetizing to the general public.  He also spoke of the medias responsibility to "open the door" to these ideas and concepts. This got me thinking, back to my blog on not writing trash and how Mr. Alda has inspired me to think big.

I loved the Deadpool movie. It was very funny and entertaining. Alas, there wasn't much depth to it, which is something I'm noticing is becoming more and more prevailent in storytelling nowadays. Storytelling, in fact, any sort of art, isn't just an expression of emotion or entertainment. It's also meant to be a way to convey ideas and open minds to new ways of thinking, spawning even more new ideas and ways of thinking. I again fall back on the example of "Harry Potter", where J. K. Rowling has created a world so big, so splendid, that your mind can't resist opening up and being open to so many possibilities. A lot of Japanese anime does this well too, like "Psycho Pass" (a chill just went down my spine), "Naruto" and even, funnily enough, "Ouran High School Host Club". I know a lot of jaws just dropped when I mentioned OHSHC but think about it - it really does make you think about the space between the wealthy and the poorer classes.

I think, as artists, we have a responsibility not just to entertain, but to be the ones to help open the door to different ways of thinking, to opening up minds to not only accept different ideas, but to create them as well. When minds are already open and creating, it's much easier to direct those minds towards things like Science, where open minds and different ways of thinking are not only welcomed, but critical to the continued improvement and learning of our species.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Six of one, half-dozen of the other

I like to think of myself as a patriotic Australian who'd do anything for her country - yes, including voting. UGH, I hate voting! I feel like no matter which side I pick, I've picked the wrong one (except that time I voted for the Pirate Party. Good times). And, as luck would have it, in 12 days Brisbane goes to the polls for a new Mayor, as the Labor propaganda I just found in my letterbox reminded me. So, as a patriotic Australian who wants the very best for her country and her favourite city, it's time to do some research into who will be the best person to lead this great city into 2016 and beyond.

DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion only, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world do NOT take my advice!!!!!!!

Jeffery Hodges - The Consumer Rights and No Tolls Party

I do like the name of his party - and I love the idea of ending privatisation of public assets (seriously, I'd love to smack the idiot who came up with the idea in the first place). I love how they have plans to deal with animal cruelty and their aims towards increasing recycling. What counts against him for me though is his lack of political expertise. That and the whole fact that he once worked for Toowoomba Grammar School. Ewness.

Jarrod Wirth - Independant

Well, the bare-bones lacklustre website is off-putting, but I'll try not to judge a book by its cover. I like that he's had experience in the public health sector, and seen first-hand what goes on. Reading on and I noticed that even he is sick of getting propaganda in his letterbox that's all about slandering the opposition (I had a rant about this last time I had to vote if I recall!), so it'd be good to see if he'll do something about this if he gets voted in. I don't know though, something just seems too "small time" for me to feel confident in voting for him - if I were voting in say, the old Jondaryan Shire Council elections and I saw him, he'd probably have my vote in a heartbeat. Nothing about traffic congestion though...

Graham Quirk - LNP and Incumbent Mayor

Seeing as this election seems to be all about the traffic congestion, what the hell has Graham Quirk actually done to fix the problem? From my experience public transport fares have gone up (and everyone knows how much I love public transport after being deprived of it for so long) and traffic congestion is still a major problem - just check out Waterworks Rd every morning if you don't believe me. I think there might be a reason I've never voted Liberal, and no, it's not just about pissing my Dad off (although that does factor into it - love you Daddy!).

Jim Eldridge - Independant

HE WANTS TO BAN ALCOHOL ADVERTISING ON BUSES!!!!! OMG! I can TOTALLY get behind that! Alcohol is one of the most vile, putrid, revolting substances on this planet, capable of turning decent human beings into violent, disgusting pigs and anyone who fights this disgrace gets a tick in my book. From the look of his website, Mr. Jeffery Hodges also supports this ban, so put another tick next to him. Let's see, equity and diversity (tick), picture book packs for, okay, while I support any measure to get people reading (I am a storyteller after all), wouldn't the money be better spent upgrading our libraries and making access to them easier? Ehhhh.......

Ben Pennings - Greens

I LOVE the idea of solar-powered buses. Plus he's also echoing the sentiment of lowering public transport prices to help ease traffic congestion. Cheaper power is always a good thing (I am NOT looking forward to my next power bill) and the thought of having CityCycle fixed is a pleasing one. Wait, they want to seperate the Cultural Centre bus station so if I want to travel from New Farm to Greenslopes (or pretty soon, Mt. Gravatt) I have to do the dash to make it to the platform on time? PASS.

Karel Boele - People Decide

No proper website, instead a Facebook page? Uh, okay then. Oooh, this "People Decide" thing looks interesting. Of course, it means he has no policies or anything for me to judge him and his party by. Sounds a bit too wishy-washy for me.

Rod Harding - Labor

Oh don't I have a love/hate relationship with this party! YOU BETRAYED ME YOU - ahem, that's Federal Government, we're looking at Local Council (broke my wittle heart and everything...). I love the idea of Fare Free Fridays and a Light Rail, a bit iffy on the whole Kangaroo Point Bridge thing (isn't the Goodwill Bridge enough?). I just don't know, the Labor Government has burned me in the past, and I'm not the type to forget in a hurry (why do you think I research all of my choices now).

I'm sure many of my friends who support these parties will flood my Facebook page will all sorts of well-meaning advice, and hopefully we might see a fight or two as well (and me without my popcorn, le sigh). I'm sure over the next fortnight I'll continue to research, hem and haw over my Big Decision, when really it probably doesn't count for anything anyway.

This is the sort of BS I've been getting. Not cool Rod.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Safe Schools - So much stupid...

I LOVE the original idea of Safe Schools, which was to make life easier for transgender/homosexual/etc children and educate everyone so that we can all live together with tolerance and respect.

Now our wonderful PM has decided to review this great inititive, because a bunch of closed-minded idiots are afraid of "indoctrination". Are you serious? What infuriates me more are some of the beyond idiotic Facebook comments, saying "Kids should be taught to harden up and stop sooking" and "Why can't they just conform?" Oh. My. Fucking. Glob. I have stated in previous blogs that the "suck it up and conform" attitude HAS FUCKING KILLED A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE PAST 100 YEARS, but no one seems to give a crap.

Not even 50 years ago, if you were homosexual/trans/etc, you either had to hide it (along with the depression and anxiety that came with it) or face so much abuse that your life wasn't worth living. And people want these attitudes to come BACK?! No! People go on about how "soft" children are nowadays - BULLSHIT. They're just as tough as they ever were, now they're just being taught that they have a right of feel safe and live a life free from presecution and fear. They're being taught that it's not right to abuse someone for being different. They're being taught that they DON'T have to "suck it up" and they're being taught that their actions, including their words, have consequences. 50 years ago, if you bullied someone, they more than likely lead a painful, short, solitary life and you got away with it. It just infuriates me that people think that this sort of ideal is okay!

It makes me even angrier because I've been there. I've been bullied, ostracised, alone, and I'm still paying the price for it, simply because I was born with the genetic flaw known as autism. People from 50-60 years ago are STILL paying the price for the bullying they copped as children. And yet we still blame the victims, and try to block any means of educating potential bullies so that they don't become bullies. This is just mind-boggling to me.

What. Fucking. Morons.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

My Relationship with the Church

Days without bad eating habits: 45
Feeling: Middling
Anxiety Level: I'm surprised Selective Mutism hasn't kicked in yet
Activity Level: Giving in to all my exercise cravings - so much walking!

So here I am, back at the Laundromat, one of my magic points.  On the way to the Laundromat, I drive past a Catholic Chruch, and driving past one of those on a Sunday morning brings back memories.

You see, technically I'm a Catholic. Not a very good Catholic mind, I haven't been to Church in nearly 5 years (except for one trip to a Mormon Church but let's just forget that ever happened - apologies to any Mormons reading) and I'm not really sure where I stand with God. Sometimes it's easy to accept what atheists say, because they make a hell of a lot of sense, but something inside me just won't make the full conversion (sorry to all my atheist friends out there).

In fact, driving past a Church on a Sunday morning almost makes me want to rejoin the Church again - but why? Most of the time I spend in Church having theological arguments with myself, which I think is rather rude when you're trying to worship someone (apologies to my Catholic friends). It's like I'm the ultimate fence-sitter, unable to fully commit to either side. Is it the sense of community I miss? Am I just chasing after lost memories of my youth? Have I been brainwashed?

So what do I believe in then, seeing as I can't make up my mind on the whole higher-power thing? After thinking it through carefully, I think I've narrowed it down to three things:

1. I believe in storytelling
2. I believe in music
3. I believe in magic

I think that's enough for me to believe in right now while I make up my mind on the whole God thing. I'm sure He doesn't mind and would rather I make an informed choice with all the facts available.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Top 5 Tear Jerkers.

When it comes to sad parts in movies and books, I am the biggest sook alive. I will bawl my eyes out, especially at these five tear-jerkers. WARNING: Feels and spoilers!!

5. Liza Comes Home, "Dicey's Song" by Cynthia Voigt

Tell me, how would you suppose a six-year-old would react when he sees a tiny box and is told his mother is in there? Sammy Tillerman delivers the heartbreaking "But it's too small!" when he sees the wooden box holding his mothers ashes, and I'm blubbering away like a fountain.

4. Tate Markham Comes Home, "On The Jellicoe Road" by Melina Marchetta

What is it with mothers and coming home that's so freaking sad? Taylor Markham hasn't seen her mother since she was eleven, and when she finally DOES get to see her, her mother is riddled with cancer and dying. Just dump a big bucket of feels on my head why don't you?!

3. Abysina Henry, "M*A*S*H"

Nope. Nopity Nope Nope Noping NOPE. You can't do this. Not to Henry. Not to the beloved leader of the 4077th. Just the shock ending of the episode after the jubilation of Henry going home marked a huge turning point in the show. Childhood innocence - GONE.

2. Littlefoots Mother, "The Land Before Time"

Even THINKING about this one gets my eyes watering. The too-real portrayal of Littlefoot finding his dying mother then trying to cope with the days afterwards is just too much and Don Bluth had NO RIGHT to do that to us at such a tender age.

1. Nephrites death, "Sailor Moon"

HE WAS TRYING TO CHANGE. HE WAS TRYING TO CHANGE FOR MOLLY. He'd only just learned how to love and care for another human being and his life was taken away from him! YOU MONSTERS! How could you do that?! How could you do that to Molly?! It's not fair!

Now if you excuse me, I need to go and invest in some Kleenex.


Friday, 5 February 2016

My Obsession: Lord of the Dance

Days without bad eating habits: 36
Feeling: Either extremely anxious, deeply depressed or overly optimistic. Almost normal for me really O_O'
Anxiety Level: All over the shop
Activity Level: Moderate

What a week. The Mental Health System in this country is a fucking trainwreck - it only looks at the past 4 weeks, not whether or not you have any long-term mental issues. Seriously makes getting preventative help hard. Didn't help that the doctor not only complained bitterly when I told him what I needed ("This will take forever and I'm supposed to finish in 10 minutes!" Well get your fucking act together and get to your appointments on time and you won't have that issue will you?) then laughed at me when I told him I'm pretty much scared or anxious 100% of the time. Yay professionalism! Of course, that triggered an attack and I spent the afternoon chilling out at Kangaroo Point until I cheered up. Got chapter 64 of Chuckles and Giggles finished though!

Anyway, enough about that. Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with Irish Dancing, specifically Michael Flateleys "Lord of the Dance" and to a lesser extent, "Riverdance".  Most music is like a drug to me, this stuff (combined with the beautiful dancing that's hypnotic to watch) is far beyond that. I swear the opening, a simple flute piece, could wake me from a coma in a heartbeat. "Warriors" always leaves me breathless, "Breakout" always leaves me with a grin on my face, "Stolen Kiss" always has me in tears and the titular dance, "Lord of the Dance" (which starts with the second half of "Stolen Kiss") does all of the above.

When I saw "Dangerous Games" live late last year, I felt like my heart was ripped into shreds when it ended, especially as it ended with the original "Lord of the Dance" piece. I kept silently begging for them to dance one more time. The power it had over me was almost unbearable, yet so irresistable that I wanted more. The only thing better than seeing it would be to be able to dance to those beautiful melodies. Never going to happen, but I can dream.

"Riverdance" is a different kettle of fish, there are only 2-3 tracks from there that get my heart racing anywhere near the way that something like "Warriors" does. "Firedance" is easily my favourite, the combination of Flamenco and Irish Dancing makes me want to get up and move. "Reel Around the Sun" does its job as an opening well, and the titular track "Riverdance" has so much variation in it that it almost lives up to "Firedance".

Overall, just about anything to do with Irish Dancing will keep me excited. So I'll leave you with my favourite piece of all, and remember to keep dancing!

Sunday, 31 January 2016


Days without bad eating habits: 30
Feeling: Like death
Anxiety Level: Depends where I am
Activity Level: Still walking where possible

Who the everliving FUCK catches a cold in summer? Me, it seems. First it started with a sore throat (which I blame on singing loudly to and from Toowoomba to go and visit my mother) and now my sinuses are sore and the snot just will not stop (TMI? Too bad). On the plus side, it's no where near as bad as the infections I was getting last year (this time around, if I want relief I just go for a walk in the sauna that is currently Brisbane) but it's still fecking annoying, especially as the guys at work insist on having the air conditioner set to sub-zero at work. I swear I'm going to have to start wearing a ski jacket or something to work just to keep from getting hypothermia.

It's not all bad though. With the help of Bach Rescue Pastilles (which are super expensive mind) I am able to get through a Thursday night dance class again without the associated panic attacks. I seriously don't know what it is about Thursdays that set me off, I never seem to have any problems on Tuesdays. Maybe because Tuesdays are always a smaller group...?

The healthy eating seems to be working well, I have discovered that I do in fact have cheekbones (GASP) and my pants seem to be getting bigger (will probably have to shell out for new ones soon). I will admit Fridays I tend to be a bit naughty, the first Friday of the year was when we went to the cricket and were showered with free food. The second Friday saw me go to the Gaythorne RSL with my coworkers to indulge in a very undercooked steak (which is how it should be). The third Friday I went to Mums and enjoyed lamb chops and her famous potato bake, and this past Friday I treated myself to some yummy custard tarts. Friday is now firmly entrenched up there with Tuesday and Thursday as days that I can't wait for now!

Another positive is that since I posted my last blog (and a snapshot on Instagram) the number of spammers I have encountered has fallen drastically to zero. Which is what it should be and will hopefully continue to be!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Social Media - Followers

Every so often when I go onto Instagram or Twitter (which is very rare nowadays) some moron either messages me about "get more followers here" or tags me in a "get more followers" picture/comment. It's annoying as anything and WILL get you instantly blocked by me on any form of social media.

You see, I'm not about followers, as much as they're nice to have. I want to create interesting, meaningful content that people geniunely enjoy and can take something from. That's why I work so hard on Chuckles and Giggles, it's why I take photos of things I find interesting, beautiful or quirky, and it's why I try to experience new things and push my limits so that I can share them with my followers and give them something they can appreciate. For me, there's no point having followers that don't like what I produce, just for the sake of having followers. I don't do it to others, because I don't want stuff that I'm not interested in clogging up my feeds, and I don't see why others should do it either.

So if you're going to follow me, please do it because you geniunely like what I post and wish to see more of my randomness. It'd mean a lot more than just following me in the hope of a follow back, because honestly, I'm just not into that sort of thing.

Give me a loyal fanbase anyday!

Friday, 22 January 2016


Days without bad eating habits: 21
Feeling: Irritable, my tolerance for bullshit is very low
Anxiety Level: Ehhhhhhh...?
Activity Level: Dance twice a week, walking three times a week

I love walking. Back when I was in Oakey, every hour I'd take a walk around the building (mainly because it was cold), as well as walking to and from work. It's relaxing and lets me get out any excess energy, and being a naturally anxious/hyper person, I need to burn off as much energy as I can get.

My favourite place to walk is obviously along the Brisbane River around New Farm, Kangaroo Point, South Bank and the City. I also don't mind a quick walk around Coorparoo, although I haven't been around there for a long time, and the walking track at work is always good for getting away from the office. I plug in my earphones and settle into my own little world (and woe betide anyone who runs into me). My need for movement has gotten ten times worse since dropping the junk food and bad food habits - as I'm not in a constant food coma, I have more energy to burn off. I'm also more alert and less likely to take any rubbish from anyone - already this week I've done a mass unfriending from Facebook and bitten off a fair few heads.

Hopefully my mood will balance itself out as I start upping my activity level, otherwise I'm goig to be very, very tetchy!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Oh to be a dancer

Days without bad eating habits: 14
Feeling: I want bread and pasta
Anxiety Level: I want bread and pasta
Activity Level: Will do anything for bread and pasta

Seriously, I am craving me some carbs something baaaaaaaaaaad. Fridays are a little bit of relief, last Friday was the VIP Cricket Experience which was AMAZEBALLS, where I allowed myself a couple of party pies and some prawns and chicken (still drinking nothing but water though) and this Friday was our monthly Team Lunch (as the self-appointed Morale Officer at work, I try to get the guys out as much as possible).

The biggest thing that helps me though is my new "safe place", or Raw Connection West Coast Swing, particularly on the quieter Tuesday nights. I never thought somewhere where a lot of people get together to dance to really loud music would be somewhere safe for me, but the amazing people and the equally awesome dance style allow me some sort of relief from constantly trying to put up a brave front. Sure, I still have panic attacks at dance class (HUGE apologies to those teachers whose classes I've had to duck out of due to afforementioned attacks) but the associated guilt at having them is a lot less than at a place like work for example.

West Coast Swing is a very expressive dance style, which suits me fine. Even as a follower, there's plenty of time for you to put your own spin on the dance, especially in freestyle which is probably my most favourite thing to do ever after writing and making people laugh. The happiness I get from dance is comparable to how I feel listening to the soundtrack from the Irish Dance classic "Lord of the Dance", which to me is like being drowned in purest happiness. It's also helped me improve in other areas, like my posture (which my mother has noted is much better than it used to be). It's also one of the very, very few ways in which I can connect with other people, when you're dancing with someone it doesn't matter that they're rich, poor, neurotypical, autistic, black, white, religious, whatever.  Like I said, it's a very safe space, and my first couple of lessons completely blew me away by how open and friendly everyone is. I almost feel like I've known these people forever.

Now if I could just get my frame right...

Friday, 8 January 2016

Regret: Giving up Junk Food!

Days without bad eating habits: 7
Feeling: Look at me again and I will rip off your face and force feed it to you
Anxiety Level: High
Activity Level: Please kill me

So, just before Christmas, I got pissed off for some reason or another and decided that my junk food addiction had to go. The fact is that I was spending 80% of my time either eating or sleeping, every time I did anything (other than walking and sleeping) I had to have food with me. I tried to placate my conscience by eating cherry tomatoes or baby spinach leaves, but I couldn't ignore the fact that my eating habits were extremely unhealthy.

So I am now on a Lite 'n' Easy eating plan, and have been since Monday. I have had ZERO junk food since Friday (although the Lite 'n' Easy meal for today does include a small slab of chocolate cake - YAYNESS) and I am feeling the effects of radically changing my diet.

One of the first positives has already come through - I am sleeping so much better now that I'm not loaded with sugar when I go to bed. Another positive is that most of the food is EXCELLENT. I had a Caesar salad on Tuesday that was simply devine, and the Lamb shanks I had that night were amazing. For breakfast today I had an egg with some bacon and tomato on toast which was YUMMY and yesterdays mango yoghurt was magnificent. Of course, there were some let-downs, like the apple coleslaw (who does that, seriously) and the beef stroganof (ugh) but overall it's been great.

Of course, I can't ignore the fact that I now spend most of the day hungry because my body is trained to be eating just about all the time. The most annoying thing is, I've done this to myself and thus can't blame anyone else. Because I'm so hungry (which I'm certain is 99% psychological), my anxiety is high (I'd like to apologise to my fellow dancers at Raw Con for my panic attack last night), and I'm lacking any sort of motivation to do anything. I'm irritable and snarky, although I am trying to put on a brave face - like I said, this is entirely my own fault and those around me don't deserve to pay for my mistakes.

It's not all doom and gloom, last year I entered a competition and won VIP tickets for myself and 5 friends to the Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers game at the Gabba tonight. Which means I can lend someone my membership because I won't be using it tonight. I'm looking forward to tonight, hopefully it will be a lot of fun and the Heat can bring us home one more win!