‘For eight years, Kate’s eating disorder has been a daily feature of her life. In the last three months, however, following a period of determined treatment, I can count the number of days that have gone badly on just my fingers.’
Hear more about the journey…
Festive season checklist
We understand Christmas and the holiday period can be a difficult time for some. It is important to remember planning and communication is the key. To help you cope with the stresses of this busy season we’ve come up with a check list you can follow to reduce the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed.
In the lead up to Christmas and New Year:
- Don’t be scared to say ‘No’ to invitations if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Socialise with trusted friends & family prior to Christmas. Where possible, do this over a meal or snack to help prepare you for Christmas gatherings.
- Discuss with someone you trust how to cope with family interaction by predicting and preparing for social activities.
- Predict likely questions from family and friends you haven’t seen for a while and prepare some responses.
- Plan what you will do to give yourself ‘time out’ from the crowd – perhaps listen to music, going for a walk with a friend or family member, sitting in the sunshine.
When eating out
- Take time to plan and to think about who will be present and what food is likely to be served.
- If you don’t know what food will be served ask the person who will be preparing the meal, or ask a family member to find out for you to reduce your anxiety.
- Offer to take ‘safe’ food to share so you feel comfortable knowing there is something you can eat.
- Focus on enjoying the company of companions rather than what you are eating.
- Many people overeat on Christmas Day and often comment on the quantity they have so remember these comments are not aimed at you.
Communication reduces holiday stress. We all know how busy life gets in that hectic period around Christmas each year. For many families the changed routines and extra day to day activities means less time to talk and listen to one another. Ironically, effective communication is a perfect coping mechanism for families to deal with the holiday season’s increased stresses.
- Effective communication requires
- Sensitivity when listening and
- Ability to express your own thoughts and feelings. Ask yourself how you feel so that you can state your message as clearly, honestly and constructively as possible.
- Take the time to talk. Whether you’re driving, wrapping gifts, or doing household chores it is important to maintain communication in order to help create a memorable and pleasant holiday experience for the entire family.
(Adapted by Mary P and Lisa H, from Eating Disorders Victoria December 2011 and 2012 Newsletters)
In recognition of mental illness being Australia’s third biggest health problem – after heart disease and cancer and its impact on families the Sibling Project is a formal collaboration between Centacare and Siblings Australia, the peak body committed to improving the support available for siblings of children and adults with chronic conditions including disability, chronic illness and mental health issues.
In August 2011 Centacare’s Navigate program and Siblings Australia officially launched a new fact sheet, ‘Siblings and Mental Health’ for siblings of people with mental health issues. The fact sheet aids families and siblings to better understand the sibling experience and provides strategies to manage mental health problems in the family.
To download a copy of the Sibling Fact Sheet or get further information on the Navigate program visit http://www.centacare.org.au/OurServices/HealthWellbeing/Navigate.aspx
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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 here.
PACE Support groups will be expanded in 2015 to include closed groups in Adelaide’s west, south and central areas. Locations are still being finalized so stay tuned for more information about the support group nearest to you.
In 2015 PACE will still offer open support groups for panic anxiety, OCD and eating disorder support, but we will also begin a program of closed support groups that will run a 12 week support and recovery maintenance program, where participants will have direct access to lived experienced peer workers who will assist and guide participants to expand their general knowledge and understanding of a range of recovery approaches including ongoing recovery maintenance strategies.
These closed courses will function as a general introduction to the principles of recovery for new comers, and a support and maintenance enhancement service for those that have already completed a course of therapy with a trained mental health worker.
Our new 12 week closed group programs are not designed to replace the knowledge and expertise of a trained psychologist or psychiatrist, but they can help you to gain additional perspective and strength in your personal recovery journey.