Peer Worker Blog
Have you ever driven past a home in your neighbourhood and thought “look at all that stuff, how can they live like that!” If you have, you’re not alone. For many of us, the unsightly dwelling can leave a feeling dismay at the level of disorganisation. However, the person in that home could be your child’s school principle, the counsellor your friend has been to see or the gentle man who you pass in the street. Each person behind the clutter has an amazing story to tell – a story that would make your eyes water after the first few sentences. You see, hoarding isn’t about the stuff that sits in the yard, or blocks the hallway and doors. It’s a result of a person’s life experience, usually baked in suffering and grief.
Hoarding has become media fodder for many to consume. What we fail to see is the shame the person behind the clutter feels. As a society, we feel free, almost obligated, to comment on that which doesn’t conform or what we don’t understand. With the comment comes great judgement. For those of us who have commented on the neighbours dwelling and asked “how can they live like that!” have we said the same for the neighbour who is so deep in depression and sorrow that they cannot leave the house. You see, these neighbours aren’t that different – both suffer mental illnesses. What can be vastly different is our reactions. We can feel compassion for the sadness of those who suffer depression, yet disgust for those living in clutter. Our reactions matter!
The National Eating Disorder Association, based in the US, have a range of short video interviews available on their website. In these short video clips, individuals who are in recovery get a minute to share some key insight and advice from their experiences and their recovery journey. Check out some of the videos and find out more about the challenges of living day to day with an eating disorder.
The PACE team have recently launched the first two episodes of their brand new multimedia program PACEtv.
The new online documentary series aims to help South Australians with Panic Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive and Eating Disorders.
“PACEtv will provide individuals, families and communities real life guidance, insight and hope from individuals and families who have made the journey to recovery,” says PACE Manager Chris Chalubek.
“We have interviewed individuals, families and professionals to create video resources that offer experiences of hope and recovery in their own words and highlight the power of lived experience.”
Heather Nowak, featured in the first documentary, talks of her OCD that emerged in her early teens and went away in her late teens. It then returned when she was in her mid 20s after the birth of her first daughter.
“I would have a list of things by my bed of what I had to clean the next day which included 20-30 showers,” she says.
Her list included washing doorframes, floors and beds. If she had to go out the cleaning would take her 7-8 hours. With the help of an understanding GP and mental health nurse she began her road to recovery.
“While everyone has a way of helping, it is about finding the person who connects to you,” Heather says.
The first two episodes focus on panic anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, with later episodes to focus on eating disorder recovery and the experience of friends and relatives.
Watch the videos at https://vimeo.com/centacare
Are you looking to broaden your understanding of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? You may be facing the challenges of recovery, or be looking to improve your own knowledge in order to help a loved one with their own recovery.
We already have some useful fact sheets available on our resources pages, but you may also want to check out the following links for more information and guidance:
The International OCD Foundation has an excellent fact sheet on all things OCD. The organization is based in the US and so some of the statistics relate to American studies only. However, for an overview of the major issues relating to OCD and recovery it is a great resource.
You can check it out here: http://www.ocfoundation.org/uploadedFiles/WhatYouNeed_09.pdf
Please note – this fact sheet also includes information about medication. Any questions you may have about medication should be first discussed with your GP or a qualified psychiatrist.
The team over at the Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria (ADAVIC) also have an excellent fact sheet full of information on OCD.
You can access their resources here: http://www.adavic.org.au/PG-fact-sheets-obsessive-compulsive-disorder.aspx
Please note – ADAVIC is based in Victoria, Australia. The specific support groups and treatment centres recommended by ADAVIC are not available in South Australia. To find a support group in SA, contact us directly on 1800 809 304 or email us at email@example.com
Our peer workers are always finding new resources from right around the world to help with managing recovery. One great place to find useful resources for tracking your recovery progress is:
They have stacks of therapy worksheets and CBT tools which you can download and use to track your recovery.
They have worksheets for tracking your daily mood, personal wellness, social anxiety, panic attacks and eating. They even have worksheets for crisis management, and for establishing and tracking your goals.
So if you’re looking to do some planning with your future wellness, record your success with a particular challenge or simply just keep track your daily mood, there’s loads of useful material.
Check it out!
Members of the PACE team will be at the UniSA Campus Day this Friday March 21st in Adelaide. Festivities begin from 12pm onwards so if you’re in the city and want to come down and find out more about PACE services then you can come and check out our booth at UniSA City East Campus.
We’ll have stacks of information about our services for panic anxiety, generalized anxiety, eating disorders, OCD, social anxiety and hoarding disorder. Come and find out more.
See you there!
PACE peer workers Lisa, Mary and Ellie are currently working on the development of a closed eating disorder group based around Carolyn Costin’s new book: 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder.
Follow the link below to hear Carolyn talk about her work and to find out more about this excellent recovery resource.
The words pressure and stress are often used interchangeably, but do they actually mean the same thing?
When I think of pressure, I think of working under a set of demands that are stimulating and designed to stretch my abilities. Having this pressure on me to succeed is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s that feeling that I need to rise to the challenge and push myself further that often helps me achieve my goals, and I couldn’t do that with out some degree of pressure.
So how does this differ from the experience of stress?
Sometimes, when we’re under a lot of pressure, the demands that are placed on us by our situation can exceed our ability to cope effectively. When we reach this point, when we start to feel overstretched or strained by the demands placed upon us, that’s when we begin to drift into the realm of stress.
When trying to manage the challenge of recovery from anxiety, OCD or an eating disorder, being able to recognise the difference between pressure and stress can be a key skill to master.
So next time you’re facing a demanding set of circumstances, take a moment to reflect on what it is you’re facing and ask yourself: is this pressure or is this stress? Can I cope with the demands placed on me, and will those demands help me perform at my best, or do I need to ask for help or take a step back?
It’s good to set expectations for yourself. When we have a goal to work towards, the pressure association with achieving that goal can help us stay on track and fulfill our potential – this is a good thing! But if the demands we are placing on ourselves are exceeding our ability to cope, then stress and even anxiety can soon start to dictate our mood.
That’s when we need to learn to assert ourselves, and say ‘no!’
ABC Radio National have produced a fascinating radio documentary piece looking at the experience of eating disorder recovery and looking at a new treatment approach from Hawaii.
You can download the this current affairs documentary in full at the following address:
A fascinating look at the world of eating disorders and eating disorder recovery, produced by emerging South Australian filmmakers from MAPs Film School.
Check it out here: