Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Category: Heal (page 2 of 3)


“In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves.” – Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

GLOW Perinatal Emotional Health & Wellbeing Clinic – a unique concept on the frontier of perinatal and infant mental health – Dr Araobi Udechuku, International Marcè Society Conference 2016

One third of women deliver in the private system and use some form of complementary medicine. The Glow Clinic in Melbourne, provides a holistic approach to perinatal mental health and has extended the perinatal period from the first 12 months to the first 5 years. This unique service includes not only perinatal psychiatrists and psychologists, paediatrics, midwives, lactation consultants but also early parenting consultants, nutrition, yoga, massage, meditation to support wellness in mind & body for the whole family.

I love Glow’s unique concept and model of care particularly with the lack and fragmentation of health services. I delivered my son in the local private hospital and I was admitted during my episode to the local public hospital with follow up through the public system as well. I have been advised to receive the care I would need if we were to have another baby that I am best to deliver in our public hospital; so what is the point of expensive public health insurance? Any complimentary or holistic services or treatment I were up to me to seek out as I recovered. Follow up appointments with a perinatal psychiatrist were self-initiated only because we were contemplating in having another baby and this was 2 years after my episode. If I see a general health professional or even the local child health clinic, it is up to my own discretion if I mention about my mental health history and how it impacts on my current care needs.

If a service existed like Glow in Sydney I would be still eligible to be receiving care with my son now 4 years old, my whole family would be taken care including my husband who would have the support he needs/needed, I wouldn’t feel conflicted between my wellness and nutrition approach and the advice of health professionals, perhaps I may not have fallen through the medical system cracks and be missed in follow up after my episode, and I would feel more comfortable if we were to have another baby that I would have effective management and support I need in a holistic, integrated, collaborative space.


Finally cracked it! 40kgs weight release!! I’ve been on a long plateau of almost 40 for months. So proud of myself for how I’ve come in the past 2 and half years. Remember it’s not all about the numbers; it’s about the quality of life you live and the state of your health. The numbers on the scale are not are reflection of who you truly are.

However, I did not set a goal to lose 40kgs. I didn’t even set a goal to lose 10 kgs. Goals have never sat right with me, I always feel like I am setting myself up to fail. For me goals are overwhelming. Instead, I started to ask deep questions of myself, what was I doing? What can I do better? I kept going with what felt right, finding things that I love, taking responsibility for my health.

Living a values based life is the crux of it – Brooke McAlary

I felt I needed to slow down. There is no one size fits all ideal of the slow life and I loved listening to this conversation Caring more and caring less. Slow living defines life based on what we don’t want it to look like. Standards trying to live up to, are they really that important? Are they really what we should be chasing? Slow living is about where our mindset is, taking time to answer your own questions, figure out what you want and forming your life from there.

Overcoming that urge to measure your life by any standard, and accepting what is and being mindful of that. – Erin Loechnar

Who says I should live life a certain way? I became more aware of the life I had been living before becoming a mum, trying to live up to societal expectations. I became aware of the life I was creating now with my family, defining my own expectations.

A big key in living a slower life is understanding and accepting that it is what is, you do what you can, you make the changes, you shift, you clarify and live according to your values. – Brooke McAlary

I began to let go of control, let go of trying to keep everything in order, let go of perfection, let go of the shoulds. I started to realign with my values.

We can try to shift every aspect to live the ideal balanced perfect life but still things happen, you have to loosen the reigns and let go and decide you can be with or be defined by the pace of my life or can define what I want from this instead and not let circumstances define who I am and how I react – Erin Loechnar

I started to figure out what is important for me. Stop worrying about things weren’t important and focused on things that were. I started to live according to what was important for me.

I care less and we care more, its the shift in what matters and what doesn’t – Erin Loechnar

This shift in awareness, this shift to a slow life has not been all rainbows and unicorns. There have been tears, fits of anger and frustration. Two steps forward, one step back. Listening to If not crying you are not trying, frustrations come with having a go no matter what you are doing made me realise that my tears are not a sign of failure. “Crying is a sign that going somewhere never been before, you are breaking through stuff, that you are actually trying”.

What I have been through, what I have experienced, and the adversity I have faced has led me to be the person I am today tears and all. “You set out to make a goal, to achieve goal yet when faced with adversity you ask why is it happening to me? Why because you ask for it, because can’t get stronger or smarter without it so how you did you expect to achieve your goal.”

Once you decide consciously to make a decision and accept or not accept certain things into your life, you can control that by putting intention to it and making it a part of who are – Lauren Heys

I may not have consciously made a goal to lose weight but I made a decision that things needed to change in my life. “Attaching meaning to something, you will learn it more.  Space of adversity, when you go through your adversity, cause you will, that adversity is giving you an opportunity, don’t miss this opportunity because you are too busy being a victim,  its something you need to face because facing that and coming out the other side will give you the level up that you need to be the person that you are trying to be. Even single time you look back at your adversity you have gone through in your life you are thankful for it happening. Adversity you go places you have never been before, you realise you are physically emotionally strong enough and to make it better. Pain is to move forward and use as reference point, you so much stronger than you believe you are. Most people are not aware of what they are capable of achieving until they are put into a situation. Not everyone will do it, but at that moment at that level of adversity it became possible.” – Dave Nixon

My pain led me to discover what is truly important to me. Letting go of control means I am in control of who I am. I have a choice.

What am I going to stand for that’s important to me and that my values and morals really dig deep and that are important to me? – Dave Nixon

So how did I get here? I went through adversity. I became a mum, I experienced postpartum psychosis. I had the opportunity to read the Changing Habits Changing Lives book by Cyndi O’Meara of Changing Habits and began to follow the Up For A Chat podcast. No protocols or programs, no quick fixes. Taking the time, slowing down. Self-Awareness. Deciding my impact. Releasing 40kgs, not losing 40kgs for I will not be finding this weight again.  For me it was cracking myself open, changing my habits, just eat real food, daily self care rituals as well as moving towards a slow, simple way of life with a low tox approach. I have a story to tell…

Sometimes the adversity you are going through isn’t for you, sometimes the adversity you are going is to help someone through their adversity in years to come,  all you need to do is tell the story, you just have to get through it “- Dave Nixon

You are on a different road… I don’t care!!

Losing my mind

I couldn’t believe child birth could trigger such a devastating mental illness. All anyone ever talks about is post-natal depression. I literally couldn’t believe this strange condition I’d never heard of could happen to ME!

Source: ABC OPEN: Losing my mind || From Project: Speak Your Mind

October 2014, National Mental Health Week and I was reading these words with tears streaming down my face. It was the first time I had come across postpartum psychosis in mainstream. Not on a mummy blog. Not somewhere on the internet that I had to go digging for. Mainstream Australian Media.

Another mother who was like me, who had not know about this complication of pregnancy and birth, did not even know it existed until it happened to herself.

What happened to me is extremely rare. About one or two women in every 1,000 births suffer post-natal psychosis. I didn’t know it existed until it happened to me. I didn’t know women with a history of mental illness were at risk. I didn’t know birth could trigger mental illness.

I had not heard of postpartum psychosis before it happened to me. Even though I have studied psychology and neuroscience at uni. Even with reading everything I could get my hands on about pregnancy and birth. Even with attending two antenatal classes, one in the hospital and one transition to parenthood course. Never heard of it!

Keryn’s open post on Speak Your Mind inspired me to create a platform to share my story of what I have experienced with postpartum psychosis and what resources I find that can support other mothers going through a similar journey.

October 2016, National Mental Health Week.  I’ve just made a mental health promise to myself as part of World Mental Health Day. You can make your own promise here and be part of a world-wide movement to improve mental wellbeing in our community. #WMHD2015


I am ready to share more of my story…



I have not done enough for this blog.

I do not have enough time for a blog.

I am not enough to be writing a blog.

In a time when it is all too much, when I have had enough, I reflect on the words of my beautiful girlfriend Christin:

You do enough.

You are enough.

You have enough.

And breath deeply.

Repeat 3 times.

– Wandress Life

I have spent the past 2 weekends away pursuing what I love in self-care and nutrition. Being surrounded in the loving and supportive company of like-minded people gave me an opportunity to reflect.

At the recent Twenty8 HLE Graduation weekend I was asked to recall my experience of being a HLE student only 6 months before hand and share with the current students where I am up to as graduate and what I want to do from here. I had some big personalities in my HLE intake group, even celebrities in my eyes, and in my mind I did not feel I was enough compared to them. I could not do what they are doing in getting the message out there. What I have come to realise is that I don’t have to be like them, I don’t have to do it all in a short amount of time. I have to be me, believe in me, and be me in my own time. This is my journey, no one elses; you cannot compare someone’s chapter 1 with another persons chapter 20. I am beginning to see in myself what others see in me, and this is a big aha moment for me!

My girlfriend Hen recently posted:

No one else has the same beliefs, knowledge or experience. No one knows exactly what’s going on in your universe. No one can possibly have your perspective.

– My Innate Vitality

At the recent Changing Habits Graduation weekend people I was meeting new people who did not know that was going on for me and the darkness that I have pulled myself out of; I came to realise that not everyone needs to know. All people need to know is that I do have a different perspective, no one else has the same experiences as me, no one else has the same learnings as me, and if I share this perspective with others it may resonate with them for them to what to find out more and create the ripple effect of change just from me being the example.

I am enough!

I have been doing a lot the past months raising a family, working, and completing 3 courses in 2015.

This blog is just over 12 months old; good things take time to grow.

My story needs to be shared with the world.

“You never get over it, but you do get on with it”

– Carren Smith

So let’s get on with it!


A journey of healing and self-discovery

This week I am a guest blogger on Changing Habits. So excited and proud to see my first guest blog! The past three years has been a journey, and Changing Habits has been a huge part of my recovery. Check it out here A journey of healing and self-discovery by Sarah West.

Here is my story…

Journey of healing and self-discovery – Sarah West

Like so many of us it took a health crisis for me to awaken to a new way of eating and living. Three years ago in 2012, two weeks after the birth of my first child I developed Postpartum Psychosis. This is an acute mental illness that occurs after having a baby, a loss of contact with reality that includes mania, confusion, strange beliefs, hearing and seeing things, racing thoughts and is a psychiatric emergency. Despite having a background in Psychology and Brain and Mind Sciences, I had never heard of this postpartum mood disorder. Like many I only knew of Postpartum Depression, and I was struggling to comprehend what had happened to me, why did it happen and what triggered it. I was not only struggling to care for a newborn, I was also struggling to work out who I was as a new mother. I was struggling to work out how best to look after myself and heal from the darkness of my mental illness.

In times of unknown I seek out answers, I research and educate myself. In searching for a reason for Postpartum Psychosis happened to me I had a theory that it had something to being deficient in nutrients as the pregnancy had drained what little I had to begin with. I had ignored my body whispering Ketosis Pilaris to me for years, a fatty acid deficiency, which I knew from my university studies that Omega 3 plays a major role in mental health disorders. I have grown up on the Standard Australian Diet, a low-fat diet which I have now realise that is not compatible with a fatty acid deficiency, processed foods with all the chemicals that add toxins to my body, and lacking nourishment for my gut-health. Throughout childhood I was chubby, and as I got older I continued to put on weight, no matter what I seemed to do or try the weight kept creeping on into adulthood. The pregnancy and anti-psychotic medication tipped me to the heaviest weight I had been in my life.

2013-11-15 010 Damien

A year along in my journey of recovery I began to research to seek answers to my questions and as I researched I stumbled across the Changing Habits Website in November 2013. Everything I read made sense, and I began to realise that my nutrition and nourishing my body was key to my recovery and healing. With the expectation that I have nothing to lose I threw myself into Changing Habits. I began to listen to the Up For a Chat podcasts from the beginning which gave me huge support and motivation, many ahas along the way and three vivacious ladies who made me feel that I wasn’t alone on this journey of healing. I heard that Cyndi was doing a workshop in Sydney in March 2014 it was a glimmer of hope for me. I took mum and myself along to the workshop for a day packed with nutrition-focused information. From this workshop I came away feeling that I can change one small habit at a time, I began to work out what my body needed in order for it to heal. Meeting Cyndi at the end of workshop was a highlight, she was so genuine and down to earth, supportive, and happy to chat and listen. I still remember her advice to me was “You need to meet Mel”, as in Mel Kent, the Changing Habits Healthy Living Club Coach.

With the ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ book in hand I devoured every chapter of knowledge and began implementing small changes into our family lifestyle. When weaning our son off bottles, we weaned our family onto full fat milk. I started to scrutinise the back of every pack, scanning the ingredients and reducing the numbers of additives. I began cooking and baking at home making food from scratch, starting with making our own bread. I began to reduce the amount of refined wheat and sugar our family were eating. The more changes I made the better I felt mentally, which gave me the resolve to take on another change, which the weight began to fall off giving me more energy to take on more changes. The biggest change I made was adding in the good fats, this was a huge change of headspace for me after growing up with the notion that fat is bad for your health. Instead of focusing on what I had to take out, I slowly added in the good, nourishing foods which crowded out the not-so-healthy foods that I had grown up with.

I heard that Up for A Chat was holding retreat on the Sunshine Coast, the Awaken the Change Within retreat in November 2014. Along with mum we jetted off to Mooloolaba for three action packed days with Cyndi, Kim from Twenty8 and Carren Smith. At this point of my journey I had released 15kgs since the Day with Cyndi in March and I was touched that Cyndi remembered me, though I did look different! I had many break downs and break throughs over the retreat but it gave me the strength to continue on my journey of healing. I picked up another key to my recovery: self-care. It was up to me to nurture myself physically, mentally and spiritually.

2014-11-21 011 Cyndi

In May 2015 I attended the MINDD Forum in Cyndi and caught up Cyndi, who once again did not recognise me. I looked different having released another 15kgs, a total of 30kgs in 14 months. In May I also attended the Day with Cyndi 2016 and was able to connect with others who were also on this journey of change. I love how Cyndi is always educating herself and sharing her research with her tribe. From attending the MINDD Forum to the Day with Cyndi workshop, Cyndi was passionately speaking about how we need to get back in the kitchen to feed our families to heal the nation. Being in the kitchen was instrumental in healing myself and I was seeing changes in not just my own health but also my husband and son’s health.

2015-05-23 002 Cyndi

Over the months I continued to seek out more knowledge and education. In 2015 I began the Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Education Program with Kim Morrison, learning the power of essential oils and daily self-care rituals and how important they are in my journey of healing and self-discovery. I also heard that Changing Habits was starting an Education Course too, which I was so keen to be a part of. I got the opportunity in the July 2015 Intake of the Changing Habits Online Nutrition Course. I am empowered being a part of like-minded tribe of incredible souls, sharing knowledge together and working towards changing the world to be a better, more nourished and healthy place for us all.

People would ask ‘How did you lose the weight?” Nourish my body and nurture my mind. “Do you exercise more?” No, if anything I exercise less to reduce the stress on my body and allow it to heal. “Are you doing Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and the like?” No, I am changing my habits and biohacking what is right for my body. “So what do you eat?” I just eat real food. For those who were aware of Changing Habits, “Have you done the 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol?” No, I read the book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ and imagine what the possibilities are when I do start the protocol! I changed one small thing at a time; there are no quick fixes, no diets, no magic pills, just working towards being the best version of myself. To date, November 2015, I have released 38kgs over two years, I am discovering who I truly am and I am healthier than I have ever been in my life!

Inspiring you to nourish yourself towards healing and self-discovery!

Changing Habits



Recently I attended my son’s annual childhood clinic check up. In Australia, these are appointments with a health professional to check on the growth and development of your child and to work together to achieve the best health outcomes for your child.

While these annual check ups are focused on the child, they in my view are not in the best interest of the parent, particularly a mother with previous mental health issues. My experiences of these check up visits to date have been anxiety provoking, making you as the mother second guess the choices you have made and actions you have taken as the parent in the best interest of your child, with the health professional making you feel as if you have made the wrong decision. I had been assuming that as my son got older, my anxiety levels around these check ups would lessen; how wrong I was.

My anxiety with these check ups started just after my son was born and we were arranging the post birth home visit with the childhood clinic nurses, which is standard procedure. As I was starting to spiral into postpartum psychosis and we didn’t know it, I was misunderstanding the screening questions I was being asked prior to the home visit. This resulted in myself becoming delusional and confused around being asked if there was knives or guns present in the house (knives yes as husband is a chef; guns no) and thinking that my son was going to be taken away from me, which is a fear that causes women with postpartum psychosis to conceal their illness (McGrath et al 2013). In between the time making the appointment and the actual appointment I descended into psychosis and therefore was not actually present for the home visit as I was in hospital.

The subsequent appointments every 3 months for the first year I used to dread going, over-thinking what they were going to ask and over-analysing what was discussed at these appointments. I see these check ups as opportunities to ask questions about my child’s development and raise any concerns I may have as a parent to see if these are valid in the eyes of a health professional. All this results in is me questioning my ability as a parent, like the time I questioned about how structured in routines my son was at the time and I was presented with the option of doing a behaviour screening questionnaire.

At the recent check up I raised some concerns I had around my son and toilet training. We had started toilet training just after Christmas this year however my son was still struggling with a few aspects. Only in the week of the appointment did my son turn a huge corner and it all came together with toileting. However, I still raised my concerns with his progress to get the health professionals view on the situation, only to be told  that my son was ‘manipulating’ us as parents and that he is capable, but we as parents were not using effective reinforcement like reward charts, recommending a parenting program to us. The mother lioness came out in my and I spoke my thoughts to the nurse, informing her it was a cognitive development stage and timing issue, not a case of manipulation based on my background education in psychology and previous work experience in said parenting programs. Why do I feel like I have to go into battlefield with the health professionals using my education as armour against them, and if I am having this experience in defending my parenting skills with the level of education I have, how do other parents manage this?

Another concern I raised with the nurse at the recent check up was my son’s language development. As he has only just turned 3 I am not overly concerned with his speech, knowing from my uni studies that the syllables he is struggling with are the one that develop later. The response I was given to my concern was ‘Do you have private health insurance?’. A beg your pardon? The standard response is that they refer all children to a private speech pathologist as the public wait list is so long, and early intervention is key. Well, that is one sure way to induce a panic attack in a mother who simply raised a slight concern. The nurse hardly even listened to my son speak and proceeded to push the speech path response; so much for a health professional opinion.

My son attends family day care and is in the presence of other adults who have not raised any concerns with his development. I was quite rattled after this annual check up and it took a few days for my to bring my anxiety levels back down and under control. As a mother, I see the health professional as someone to guide parents on their development of their child, not to destroy the parents confidence.

The one thing that most gripes me about these annual child check ups with a health professional is that it is all child-focused. In a recent study by Megnin-Viggars et al (2015) several key themes were noted in the experience of care with perinatal mental health issues including this focus on children over mums, health professionals either being unable or unwilling to address mental health issues in women,  the need for support as well as the need for integrated care. In all the check ups I have done for my son, only one nurse has asked how I am going and if she can do a routine Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) on me. In this case, I actually had to prompt the nurse to read the file in front of her and say that should be a routine procedure for mothers with postpartum mood disorders. The nurse had a look of surprise when she took the time to read my file! One of the stages of recovery from postpartum psychosis is the tendency to conceal the illness, particularly from professionals (McGrath et al 2013). If the health professionals were more encouraging in women being open about their experiences, this would facilitate women to seek support and aid the recovery process (McGrath el al 2013).

For women who have experienced postpartum psychosis the support of health professionals, along with support from family and friends, is the second most important factor in recovery, with the women’s own determination being the most important (Engqvist & Nilsson 2014). To have hope and faith that you will get through, to have support that you will be ok is crucial for someone who has been experienced mental illness and forming a holistic perspective with professionals can be an effective approach for recovery (Engqvist & Nilsson 2014).  So for me not having the support I am looking for from a health professional is a hindrance to the recovery process. Why can’t the childhood clinic collaborate with other health professionals in the care of women with postpartum psychosis, or even with postpartum mood disorders in general? Psalia et al (2014) notes this disjoint of care from maternity services to child and family health services showing that processes and communication were lacking, such as transfer of information being reliant on discharge summaries alone, to ensure this collaboration occurs. A suggestion from Psalia et al (2014) for families ‘at risk’, which I consider mental health to be in this category, is to have regular meetings between midwives and the child and family services, particularly to ensure the understanding of each of their roles in the care provision.

I really wanted support from a health professional as I was lacking the parenting confidence, particularly as I was a first time mum, and this seems to be similar to other mums seeking support (Miller et al 2014). It appears though even with dedicated Postnatal support service (UPNCS) put in place across public health services, receiving almost double the amount of contact than normal services, there was no association between UPNCS and parental confidence or perception of the sufficiency and quality of care received (Miller et al 2014). It was noted in this study that the type of contact provided, either by midwives or Child Health nurses who have different skill sets and care focus, that further research is needed to investigate if this plays a role in the association between support received and quality of postnatal care (Miller et al 2014). From my experience, I feel that this certainly does play a role in the postnatal care and support provided, especially women with a history of postpartum mental illness.

A downside to these childhood check ups and not being focused on the mother is that symptoms of depression can persist into the early years of childhood. Horwitz et al (2009) found that depressive symptoms persist in mothers who have children of pre-school age and the pattern varies across assessments with 27.2% reporting intermittent symptoms. Socioeconomic factors, like trouble paying the bills, as well as psychological characteristics, like conflict in the family home and levels of parenting stress, play a role in the level of depressive symptoms reported (Horwitz et al 2009). This can have an impact on the child as mothers who report elevated depression symptoms report lower for their child’s health (Horwitz et al 2009). So what is best for the child may be what is best for the mother, and what is best for the mother is a health professional checking in, perhaps doing a quick EPDS, and seeing how the women is coping as a mother of a toddler.

How have you found your experiences with the childhood check ups? Do you feel that they are too child-focused?


Enqvist and Nilsson (2014) The Recovery Process of Postpartum Psychosis from Both the Woman’s and Next of Kin’s Perspective – An Interview Study in Sweden.

Horwitz et al (2009) Persistence of Maternal Depressive Symptoms throughout the Early Years of Childhood

Megnin-Viggars et al (2015) Experience of care for mental health problems in the antenatal or postnatal period for women in the UK: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research

McGrath et al. (2013) The process of recovery in women who experienced psychosis following childbirth

Miller et al (2014) A call for better care: the impact of postnatal contact services on women’s parenting confidence and experiences of postpartum care in Queensland, Australia

Psalia et al (2014) Smoothing out the transition of care between maternity and child and family health services


Did you know that if you rub garlic on your feet that you will taste garlic in 30 minutes? This is a cool fact I learnt in Twenty8 Health and Lifestyle Educator Program (HLE).

A few months ago I noticed a red, raised, rash-like patch the size of 20 cents on my armpit. I had no idea what it could be and it proceeded to get extremely hot, irritated and itchy especially being located in my already hot, sweaty armpit. It only got worse as rashes to began to appear on my other arm pit as well.

At first I thought it might have been an unusual way of detoxing as lymph nodes, which are part of your immune systems that help fight infection and disease, are found in the arm pit area as well as many other areas in your body. Then I saw on a low-tox Facebook group a number of other people were asking about rashes in their arm pits. I was not alone! However, it turned out that most of these people had made a recent switch to natural deodorant like Black Chicken. In my case I had made the switch to a natural deodorant months prior and it didn’t contain bicarb.

Not knowing what I had I asked my Mother-in-law. One look and she said ‘ringworm’. Great I have worms! Actually I had a fungus tinea also known as athletes foot. Ringworm thrives in wet, moist areas, particularly if you sweat a lot, and is highly contagious. Ringworm, like candida, may be caused by my ongoing issues with gut dysbiosis. One Google search mentioned “GAPS Diet along with antifungal herbs, supps would be great help. Fungal infections also are indicators of low immunity. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell, fungus overgrowth wouldn’t clear up until mercury/heavy metals are gone from the body. She says fungus is there to protect you from heavy metals. …B vitamin deficiencies, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E, D all are immune boosters. When they are low, body won’t function the way it should.” This particularly interesting as healing my gut is a work in progress. After the MINDD Forum listening to Dr Natasha in person I am looking into GAPS and I am currently getting tested by a holistic doctor following up some of ahas about my health, particularly around vitamin deficiencies and heavy metals levels.

I started treating the ringworm with over the counter anti-fungal creams, the heavy duty strength version where they recommend no longer that 2 weeks usage. Not particularly encouraging to use especially when you are applying this to your highly absorbent arm-pit area. I even tried a natural version of a over the counter anti-fungal cream. Creams didn’t really have an effect.

2015-06-21 008 Lavender

Twenty8 Lavender

Dr Google wasn’t much help as there as so many ways people recommend to treat ringworm, some even saying its difficult to treat or incurable despite it being so common. I was confused on what to do and reluctant to go to the doctor to get prescription medication. So I turned to my trusty essential oils. Lavender and Tea tree essentials oils have great anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties and these two oils in particular are safe to apply directly to the skin. Not having a pure therapeutic grade tea tree essential oil that I could trust I used my Twenty8 Lavender essential oil. Every first aid kid should contain Lavender.

Over the next few weeks the redness and itchiness subsided and the initial patch began to heal. But other rashes persisted and were starting to drive me bonkers. In my Twenty8 HLE course I started to learn the different properties of essential oils. I thought a synergistic effect of a combination of anti-fungal oils would be more effective than Lavender alone. I started to do a mini-massage on my arm pits with half a teaspoon of sweet almond oil and 1 drop of Twenty8 Immune Boost. This had the desired effect and slowly my arm pits started to recover slightly, but the ringworm still persisted. The tea tree oil I did have on hand I used as an anti-fungal laundry rinse aid by adding a few drops (or perhaps a drizzle) to each load of laundry as ringworm can be extremely contagious and spread easily in a household. Tea Tree essential oil certainly made our clothes, sheets and towels smell amazing!

2015-06-21 005 Calm kids

Calm Kids by Jennifer Jefferies

I was at the stage of seeking medical advice to combat the ringworm that had plagued me for months now. I had hoped with the advent of the winter months and the cooler weather this would help settle down my skin. I was sick and tired of having itchy, irritated armpits. Whilst reading Calm Kids book (recommended reading in Twenty8 HLE) I read that garlic can be used on older children to treat ringworm.

I decided to try the garlic option as it seemed easy enough. A sliver of raw garlic rubbed directly onto the skin. You may experience a slightly burning sensation if you get the garlic on unaffected skin, but the relief from the itchiness is almost instant. Its the caprylic acid in garlic that is anti-fungal and which is also found in coconut oil, another recommended option to treat ringworm. What I discovered after the fact was that it should have disclaimer on the numerous sites claiming garlic is an effective treatment. After I treated myself with garlic I Googled an explanation as to why I became so ill. A side effect of garlic can be diarrhoea, stomach issues, nausea, gas in some individuals like this and this website mentions. I got all these symptoms in spades along with loss of appetite not surprisingly, and this was most likely caused by the toxins excreted from the fungal die-off.

However, within three applications of raw garlic onto my armpits over three days my ringworm has almost cleared completely. It took over a week to start to feel like my stomach was happy with me again and to be able to eat without wanting to gag. I continue to apply the anti-fungal creams and essential oils now that the ringworm appears to under control.

Have you tried any natural remedies for ringworm? Or a natural treatment for skin conditions?

You’ve got a friend

Friends are there when you need them most, even if they don’t know it themselves. They are there when you need them, picking up where we last left even though it has been months (really where has the months disappeared too).

The first Friday of the month a bunch of girl friends get together over lunch, women of different ages coming together over a common shared interest. We are connected by a volunteer organisation we are all apart of so usually end up chatting about how we are going in each of our groups, sharing ideas and discussing challenges. These women have been a huge part of my life, even knowing me from a young age as some have watched me grow up, or have children themselves the same age as me. These women without knowing themselves have been a huge support to me, particularly after I had my son.

One of these special ladies, a close girl friend of mine, was there for me in my darkest hour during my Postpartum Psychosis episode, and she has a very special place in my heart. This bunch of ladies every month were my safety net as I ventured back into the real world just a few months after my episode, though most did not know the depths of what I had been though. I knew I could go out for lunch with my son tucked up in the stroller and enjoy a hour or so of social chit chat and a laugh in the company of these lovely ladies and feel safe, to be myself.

It has been a few months since I last went out to lunch and it was so great to see everyone’s smiling faces again. I haven’t seen them since my last psychiatrist appointment (that’s another story), since I have lost a big chunk of my weight, and since I have found the strength to acknowledge and speak out more about my journey. Over lunch the conversation twisted and turned and I somehow stumbled onto a conversation with a lady who happens to be a nurse working in a Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service in a local hospital. As I felt comfortable enough with these ladies I was able to share some of my story with her knowing that she has more of an understanding that most people of what I have been through. She shared her knowledge of the system, of psychiatrists with expertise in perinatal mental health that she recommends, and tips to navigate the hospital system if I were to fall pregnant again.

This lady shared how in the past 18 months NSW Health have put in place SAFE START positions, like a specialised perinatal mental health midwife, to provide comprehensive psychosocial assessments as a component of routine antenatal and postnatal care. As a mother at risk mentally I would routinely have my history reviewed, a care plan would be set up and I be followed up throughout my pregnancy and after birth, which in my case would minimise the change of falling through the cracks in the health care system. Though our conversation I discovered another service Jade House through Karitane for women with perinatal mental health issues. Now I am forearmed with questions I can ask my local hospital mental health service to see if they have a SAFE START clinician as part of the perinatal team. How I wish that more can be done to link together all the health services so that it is easier to navigate the perinatal mental health care system. This lady said to me it was huge step for me just to be able to talk openly about Postpartum Psychosis, and that she knows of a woman recently diagnosed where both herself and her husband were both in denial that she had had an episode previously. It made be realise that I have come a long way in my recovery and acceptance of my episode of Postpartum Psychosis. I am so grateful for this group of girl friends that are part of my life.

This song was playing as I walked back to my car after lunch. It brought a smile to my face and tear to my eye all at the same time.

Sick of being sick

I am so sick of being sick. I feel like I am on this merry-go-round that I can’t seem to get off. In six to eight week cycles since Christmas 2013 I continue to come down with the cold and flu symptoms, putting me out of action for days and recovering for weeks. This stop-start business of getting sick, then catching up on life, start to feel good again, only to then get sick. I have had enough already universe!

At first I thought it was the detox processes at work as I started my journey to wholesome real food. Eating the good food to crowd out the bad food. Letting my body adjust to the new ways of health and wellness. Going through gut die off as my body recalibrates the good bacteria. I continue to keep up the probiotics, fermented foods and the kombucha to support my gut health.

I went to see my local GP after about the third bout of sickness. It’s nothing the doctor can do, it’s probably just a virus, let it run its course, rest, and keep your fluids up. Who can rest with a toddler I think. I ask as to why I continue to get sick and it’s because I am ‘unlucky’. What does luck even have to do with it? I feel like I am dying while being sick with a toddler.

Every six weeks I continue to be knocked down with head aches, stuffy runny nose, body aches and fever. Is it my body telling me to just simple slow down? My body always has found a way to put up the white flag and to get me stop. My body’s greatest way of doing this is slamming me with a massive migraine. Usually stops me in my tracks, forcing me to retreat to bed with the lights off not wanting to move an inch.

I had come to accept that getting sick was just a part of motherhood, with the exception that I seemed to be the only one in the household getting sick. Until I read Deja Ewww! by Dr William Davis, Wheat Belly. Could my symptoms of sinus and mucous, body aches and general tiredness by a symptom of wheat re-exposure? Over the months I had reduced the amount and type of wheat we had been eating at home. The periods of sickness seemed to follow days after a family function, along with a guaranteed migraine two days later and an upset tummy. Coincidental or not? Nothing against my beautiful family, however, the pastas, breads and gluttony of delicious cakes and desserts were my weakness and most likely containing refined wheat in large quantities. I strengthened my resolve to not eat wheat whilst dining with family or friends.

After this epiphany about wheat I went four months sinus and sickness free, only to be stricken again over Christmas with the flu and a chest infection. Everyone in the family had it so this time round I at least knew it wasn’t due to something that I had eaten. Being sick over the Christmas break is not fun, especially when you are stuck at home with a bored toddler.

Six weeks later we were all struck down again with another virus, this time putting my husband and son totally out of action for a week. Husband suffering with a severe sinus infection and resorting to antibiotics, looked for alternatives to clear up the mucous. A mate of his recommended Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to treat sinus infections. Drinking a splash of ACV in a glass of water takes a bit of getting used to but it worked.

Another six weeks later and again the toddler starts with a running nose on Saturday. By Sunday morning I am curled up with the shakes and temperature fluctuations, struggling to breathe. This time I halt everything, no housework, no leaving the house and watching way too much TV for my liking. I drink ACV 3-4 times a day. My morning ritual of body boosting includes Twenty8 Immune Boost. We are eating our nourishing bone broths. I have all our oil diffusers constantly wafting Twenty8 Immune Boost through our home. It’s most likely another virus going around, perhaps something my son has brought home from day care or from the gym creche, or something we picked up on public transport. I rest in bed as best as I can or sloth on the lounge. After a few days I get down to the beach to earth myself and try to breathe in the salt air to clear the lungs and relieve the aches.

Enough is enough. I am eating well, looking after my self better than I have in a long while, not overdoing things and I am still getting sick. Time to look into other avenues as to what may be going on with my body. Have you sought alternatives to healthcare? What has worked for you?


What's With Wheat Documentary - opt-in page

If, not when

“So when are you planning to have the next child?”

It’s the question everyone seems to be asking, especially as my son has reached the grand old age of 2.5 years. My voice quivers, I take a deep breath and quickly say “I had health problems when we had our son so I am not sure when we will have the next one”, leave it at that and change the topic abruptly.

The truth is I am not sure if, not when, we will have more children. Our hopes and dreams were a family of four, for our son to have a sibling to grow up with and to have our two children with a reasonable age gap of 2 to 3 years. The nightmare of Postpartum Psychosis has changed this considerably.

I was chatting with a friend this week about having more children and it shone light on another perspective I had not considered. My friend has one child and she too had severe health issues during her pregnancy and after birth. My friend weighed up having a second child against her first born requiring more care, attention and resources due to special needs; her marriage was on the rocks; and she was living a considerable distance from her parents. Her hormones were wanting another baby but her head was saying one child is enough. My friend was grateful to be able to have the joys of one child in comparison to her close friend undergoing IVF at a similar time. My friend could not imagine going through her health challenges with a toddler and a new born, as the toddler would effectively not have a mother for the 9 months of pregnancy and she would not be able to manage the care of two young children due to her health. She herself did not want to go through the experience of severe ill health again. Her choice was to be content with one child.

What is if there was a way to skip pregnancy and birth and be given the child when they reach say 4 years old? A way to skip over the pain of labour, the sleepless nights, the endless demands on you as a mother as well as the health challenges the mother may face? We had wondered if there was a way of fast forwarding this joyous stage we are in currently of toilet training. But what fun would that be missing all those snuggles, the smell of a newborn, and reaching those precious milestones?

Perhaps an option could be surrogacy? My friend had considered this but a suitable close family member or friend was not in the picture at the time to make it an option. I hadn’t even thought of this possibility as a way to expand our desired family. Sure surrogacy would be a way to eliminate the hormone crashes one experiences after birth that may contribute to Postpartum mood disorders, but you still have the cruelling routine of sleep-wake cycles attuned to the newborn. Disrupted sleep for me was a huge factor in tipping me into Postpartum Psychosis.

My husband and I had always joked that if we were to go through Postpartum Psychosis that it would be ok for me as I wouldn’t remember it. There is a period of about a week, around the time my son was 3 weeks old, where I have no memory whatsoever thanks to the psychosis. My memories of the first year are shaky at best and I so grateful to have done Project365 to capture these precious moments. So I wouldn’t remember the full force of another psychosis but those close to me would remember. I don’t want to put my husband through this traumatic experience of seeing his beloved totally out of her mind. I don’t want to put my parents through this stressful harrowing ordeal. I don’t want to cause worry and concern from fear of the unknown onto my family and friends. How fair is that especially the second time round?

One child could work for our family. At this stage I am able to manage caring for my son, working part time, and running the household. Our finances are managing the cost of a family of 3, though at times it can be tight. Growing our family would be a greater expense. However, the stress of full time work is daunting and having two children in day care is not an option for our family. Our family of 3 could continue comfortably living in our lovely unit without the pressure of upgrading to a house due to space constraints. We could devote more time and resources to our son, and with a small family there is a greater possibility of travelling together.

But the longing of having another child is still there. It would be ok if I were to experience Postpartum Psychosis again as we would know what we are dealing with this time round, what signs to look out for, and how to minimise the triggers. We would devise a support plan including regular psychiatric monitoring throughout pregnancy, and voluntarily going to the Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit straight after delivery before I even develop psychosis. Scripts would be written just before I give birth so that I have the medication on hand to buffer me as soon as possible after delivery. I would plan to formula feed right from the start to minimise the hormonal impact on myself. I would have a support team around me to manage with the feeding, sleeping and to be with me closely in the first few weeks. But I still have this big “What If” hanging over my head, a toss of the coin, a 50% chance of it occurring a second time. I really do not want to have people hovering around me, watching over my shoulder and waiting even if they are doing it with the best love and intention. I just want to be like every one going through pregnancy and birth.

Truth is I am scared. Scared of developing Postpartum Psychosis again. This new perspective has rattled my husband as he hadn’t fully thought through the impact of a second episode of Postpartum Psychosis would have on me and on our family. I do not know what the universe has up her sleeve for our family. At this point in time I cannot make a decision as to if one child is right for our family, nor do I need to make a decision yet.

Have you had more children even if it means confronting your own health issues head on?

I keep hearing this song this week “Where’s your head at”. Very timely!

P.S. Cyndi from Changing Habits has released dates for her Australian ‘One Day Speaking Event’ tour commencing in May 2015 . Get in quick as tickets are on sale now! Highly recommend this event as I attended last year and this is what catapulted my journey of health.


Changing Habits

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