Seven Lies ‘The Bachelor’ teaches us about Relationships


There’s something captivating about reality TV, and when it comes to The Bachelor (or The Bachelorette), we seem to be drawn in to these ‘real’ stories of love and lust more than ever. While some people watch The Bachelor for the drama and cat-fights, many watch it because we want to see a love story unfold.

Ultimately, we want to see the quintessential, attractive ‘good guy’ find his soul mate, and this tends to justify his means of finding them. But did you ever pause to think about the lies The Bachelor tells us about relationships? Here are seven lies to be mindful of next time to tune in. Remember, reality doesn’t always equal real.

  1. The perfect partner exists

Even with 22 potential partners at his disposal, The Bachelor will never find the perfect partner. Why? Because no one is perfect. It’s easy to miss someone’s flaws when we first fall for them, but after awhile our idiosyncrasies, differences and emotional baggage come to the fore.

The Bachelor does a great job of editing these ‘imperfections’ out, making us believe that once we’ve found the ‘one’ everything is smooth-sailing. But no one is perfect; so don’t expect your partner to be. Instead, love them for who they are, and support each other as you grow and change.

  1. Relationships are always romantic

Multi-million dollar yachts, cheese platters and designer dresses—The Bachelor is the ultimate recipe for romance. In fact, every date seems to be bigger and better than the last!

Every relationship needs some romance in it, but expecting it all the time (especially on such a grandiose scale) is not normal by a long shot. Healthy relationships ride out the seasons of romance, the mundane moments and navigate any conflict that arises. Don’t expect your partner to always have a red rose for you, but remember to add a touch of romance in every now and then. It’s good for you both.

  1. Love has a timeframe

Every season of The Bachelor begins with the question: Will our hero find the woman of his dreams and get engaged? And after 3 months of dating on-and-off (and with a bunch of other women in tow), the answer is nearly always yes. There is a proposal, an engagement ring, and the press report they’ve broken up within the next year.

The Bachelor works on the idea that love—and marriage—has a time frame. But in reality, it’s impossible to be ready for such a huge step without truly knowing who the other person is in real life. Some people fall in love and form a long-term commitment seemingly quickly, for other people, it takes months and years of getting to know each other.

Don’t pressure each other into a long-term commitment early—give your love time to develop so it has a chance to endure long after the puppy-love is over.


Bachelor Matty Johnson is looking for love on this year's The Bachelor. Image courtesy

  1. You have to change for true-love

Any relationship requires compromise and sacrifice, but on The Bachelor we see this taken to a whole new level. Instead of meeting the Bachelor and seeing if they’re compatible, the women will strive for his attention and affection, modifying their behaviour, conversations and appearance to please him.

If a person is worthy of your life-long love, they need to accept you for you. They will be naturally drawn to your personality and find you attractive inside and out. Don’t modify yourself to become what you think they want. Just be you. You can’t build a healthy relationship on anything else. 

  1. There is a dominant player in every relationship

When it comes to finding ‘the one’, the Bachelor has the ultimate power. He can offer roses to whomever he chooses, kiss who ever he wants, and select whatever woman he wants in the season finale. In real life, a relationship is two-way.

Unlike The Bachelor, a healthy couple will each have equal say over their status and future. No one is more powerful than the other, and each work to make their partner happy—while remaining true to their own identity and self-worth.

  1. Love just happens

Love seems easy on The Bachelor. There’s a spark between the couple the first night, and on each unfolding date they grow closer until their engagement at the finale. In real life, love doesn’t just happen like this. Sure, when you first fall in love these feelings can sometimes seem sudden and out of the blue, but lasting love requires work.

You have to make time for love, and this requires intentionality. Unlike reality TV, dates aren’t set out for you, and they certainly don’t come scheduled. So make a point to set aside time for dates, conversations and generally just being together. Life doesn’t stop, so make your relationship a priority each day.

  1. People stay the same

The Bachelor promotes the idea that no one changes; who you are, and the person you fall in love, with will always remain the same in values, appearance and demeanour. In three months we don’t necessarily change all that much, but over three years or 30 years, any couple will tell you a lot of change happens.

Life circumstances, crisis, conflict and general development happens to all of us over time. When you make a long-term commitment to someone, you’re not just committing yourself to who they are now; you’re choosing to navigate the future with their changing-self as well.

This is why long-term relationships need a solid foundation—not just a TV series, to build a future on.

Are you looking for love and need some support? Are you experiencing conflict in your relationship? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW.

Ask yourself these questions before you post online

15 years ago, we didn’t know Facebook from Twitter (in fact, Twitter wasn’t even ‘born’ yet), and the concept of sharing every detail of our lives with strangers seemed a bit…weird. Yet today, 1.94 billion of us are on Facebook, and between this and our profiles on Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram, the world knows a lot about us—what we had for dinner, the name of our pet, and how we felt the moment our best friend got married.

Despite our constant use of social media, it snuck up on many of us who signed up believing we’d only use it ‘sometimes’. That means we don’t have a rulebook or guide on what to do—and what not to do, in cyber space. Often, this results in awkward status updates, over-sharing and sometimes, ruined relationships over miscommunication because we used the wrong emoji.

Do these consequences sound familiar to you? By asking yourself these questions before you post online, you will save yourself a lot of heartache and pain.

  1. Would I say this to someone in real life?

If you’re sharing something online that you’d never broach with a close friend, your spouse or a colleague, don’t post it. When you do so, you not only allow the world to invade your privacy, but you’re inadvertently telling the people you love that they are not worthy of your time or trust. If you need to discuss something but fear doing so, talk to a counsellor about developing strategies to do this.

  1. Will this hurt anyone?

Another great phrase for this one is, “Am I being passive-aggressive or ignorant with my post?” Anything that indirectly (or directly) points the finger at someone you know, contains prejudiced language or images, or uses triggering words needs to be edited or not posted at all. You may not set out to hurt anyone, but by simply posting in the public sphere you have great influence over people’s emotions. Be smart and post with clarity and a clear head.

  1. Am I doing this to feel important?

Are you posting selfies everyday? Do you receive a boost when people like your post or gives you a thumbs up? I know I do, which I why I have to constantly ask myself WHY I’m posting content online.

If you’re looking for affirmation and feel deflated when you don’t receive the response you were hoping for, consider stepping back from social media for a while. This habit can also be a symptom for feelings of deep inadequacy, so consider seeing a counsellor or talking about it with people you trust to begin healing.

  1. Does anyone care?

This isn’t an excuse to avoid activism (that’s an entirely different topic); rather it’s about the significance of your content. Do people online really care what you ate for dinner? Do they want to know you went for a walk, worked out or that you had a falling-out with a colleague?

There’s room for superfluous posts—a snap of dinner every once in a while or a work out isn’t going to do any harm, and sharing details is useful if you are actively looking for support and want to keep friends up-to-date. But posting stuff simply to keep yourself busy isn’t healthy. Join a community or catch up with a friend instead. Doing life together (mundane details and all) is much more meaningful in real life.

  1. Am I being too honest?

Social media and blogging are brilliant, because they allow people to be honest about their stories. Countless people have been inspired by what they’ve read on the Internet, and people find healing by telling their story. But there is a fine line between sharing and over-sharing.

Over-sharing often happens when we feel disconnected, afraid and unheard. Sometimes we’re angry, and occasionally we want pity or praise.

When you’re tempted to post something from this negative headspace, write it down on paper instead and show it to a close friend or your counsellor. Alternatively, you could type it out. But instead of posting it immediately, save it to your phone or computer, and re-read it again in 24 hours. Give yourself the chance to reconsider why you’re sharing it. You deserve to be heard and validated, but this doesn’t happen on the Internet, it happens in relationship, so tread carefully.

  1. Does this leave myself, or anyone I know, vulnerable to attack?

Another consequence of over-sharing is the risk of being hurt by people’s responses. If you are in a fragile emotional space or know that you or the people you love may be trolled or harmed due to what you’ve posted, seriously consider why you’re posting it.

We can’t take responsibility for the actions of other people, but we can prepare ourselves for this and even avoid it. Whether it’s a tweet, a blog post or a photo, if you know posting it could unintentionally hurt anyone, talk about it with someone first. Weigh up the pros and cons, and if you post, make sure you have people surrounding you to help with any fall out.

Do you feel anxious or stressed about your online relationships? Would you like to develop strategies to create healthier relationships and care for yourself? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.


How one father explains mental illness and parenthood


Comics about mental health have been making the rounds on social media for the past few years, and artists like Toby Allen and Gemma Correll have changed the way many of us talk about mental illness. Now there’s another artist to add to the mix—but with a point of difference.

Toronto based teacher Chris Grady is the creator of Lunar Baboon, a series of comics depicting his everyday life. His comics are simple and sweet, showing the moments he interacts with his wife and kids. Notably, they also poignantly depict his struggle with mental illness.

In an interview with The Mighty, he explained that he began drawing to cope with his own struggles.

“After the birth of my first son, I was going through a really hard time. I wasn’t sleeping and started getting really depressed and found myself in a dark place. I needed something different, I was having a lot of negative thoughts and I needed a place to put them so I started drawing in a moleskin notebook and it’s taken off from there,” he said.

From comics about cheeky interactions with his son, to honest encounters with his wife, and brave attempts to find humour as he lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, there’s something instantly relatable about Chris’s work. What’s more, it shows how to healthily communicate in family relationships and what we can do to support one another.

To see more of Chris’s work, visit His book Lunar Baboon: The Daily Life of Parenthood is out now.

Are you a parent? Would you like support so you can manage a mental illness? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How the Enneagram leads to self-discovery


We’re big fans of the personality theory of the Enneagram at Watersedge and are always on the look out for new resources to learn more. This week we discovered a podcast and book we can’t wait to share with you.

In episode 4 of the Shauna Niequist podcast, Shauna interviews priest and author Ian Cron about the Ennagram’s ability to aid in self-discovery.

Ian just released a new book titled The Road Back to You: An Enneagram journey to self-discovery, and he chats to Shauna about the basic elements of each type, how they influence culture and people across the world, and why knowing ours can enhance our spirituality.

Whether you’re a newcomer to the Enneagram or a long-time follower, have a listen and find out some new and interesting things about the fascinating theory and what it means in your own journey to self-discovery.

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You can purchase The Road Back to You: An Enneagram journey to self-discovery by Ian Cron now.

For more details on The Enneagram, head to our Enneagram page for free downloads on each personality type. You can also see our blog on the basics on the Enneagram in relationships here.

Do you want to know more about the Enneagram? Would you like to better understand yourself and the people around you? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Consider This Before You Move In Together – Part 2


The prospect of moving in together can sound very exciting and alluring. Cohabiting represents a whole new stage of the relationship when we begin to share our daily lives, learning more about our partner’s ‘quirks’ and effectively committing ourselves to sharing our physical and emotional resources. In our enthusiasm though, it is easy to neglect taking the time to truely explore our compatibility. Sometimes in a ‘whirlwind’ romance our passionate and all-consuming emotions simply takes us there and before you know it, you are doing ‘house’ together.

Taking the time to explore your partner’s values, beliefs and attitudes towards life and relationship is necessary to ensure that you are not setting yourself up for disappointment or hurt or even, in some instances abuse.

Here are 9 questions to consider and explore both privately and with your partner before you take this next step:

1. Do you feel respected in the relationship?

  • Are you listened to?
  • Do you feel heard?
  • Do you feel understood?
  • Does your partner accommodate for your needs?
  • Does your partner make spend quality time with you to nurture the relationship?
  • Is your partner respectful in the way they speak to you and behave towards you?
  • Do you feel safe with them?
  • Do you feel proud and comfortable in social situations with your partner?

If you answered in the negative to any of these questions it is important that you address this before you move in together. Believing that your partner will change once you have moved in together is self-deceptive and sets you up for significant emotional pain and frustration. Talking to a counsellor will assist you to clarify this issue.

2. What expectations/assumptions do you each have for the other?

  • Does your partner have certain expectations around the roles that you will perform in the household context? Do you have your own expectations or assumptions?
  • With regard to independence in the relationship, to what degree do we give up our independence to become a team?
  • How do we each experience the others family? Do you want to stay close to family? Does your partner like your family? How will their attitude effect you?

3. How does your partner talk about the opposite sex?

  • Are they respectful or demeaning? If your answer is in the negative, it is likely that your partner will eventually treat you with equal disrespect.

4. Do you know what your partner’s short-term/ long-term goals are? How might they impact the relationship? How might they impact you?

  • Is this a long-term or short-term relationship?
  • Do they want children? If so, when?
  • Do they want to travel? If so when?
  • Do they want to be married eventually or prefer a de-facto relationship?

5. What is your partner’s relationship like with their parents and siblings?

  • Are there any unresolved issues? How are they dealt with?
  • How do their parents deal with conflict? How does your partner deal with conflict?
  • How does your partner communicate within their family context?

Getting to know your partner’s family dynamics will give significant insight into how your partner is likely to react in your relationship, how they communicate and negotiate. Why not consider a couples session with a Family Therapist to learn and understand more about each other’s family dynamics?

6. Does your partner have a religious preference? How will that impact you and your relationship?

  • Do they adhere to particular rituals?
  • Do they hold to certain beliefs?

7. What is your partner’s relationship to money?

  • Is accumulating wealth a significant driver? How might that impact you and your relationship?
  • Does your partner talk to you about their finance?
  • How will you use your financial resources in relationship? Is it a shared resource or independent of each other? What might that say about the relationship and the level of trust?

The issue of finances within the relationship is a common theme of couple counselling. Becoming familiar with your partner’s attitudes and behaviour towards money is necessary for the health of your relationship.

8. What are the ‘rules’ about our relationship?

  • Is our relationship exclusive or does one of us want a more open relationship?
  • How will we share our material resources?
  • How will we negotiate time together and time with friends, family or independently?

Questions such as these are often only assumed but never discussed and therefore have the potential to become major stresses in the relationship.

9. How does your partner react to the word ‘no’?

  • Are you allowed to say ‘no’? Do you fear repercussions if you say ‘no’? Where there is strong coercion or manipulation or physical violence is applied so that you feel like you have to move in, that you have no alternative, it is a sure sign that everything is not as it appears to be. Seeking out a Counsellor to talk about this will give you further clarification and support.

Are you thinking about moving in together’? Do you want to take your relationship to the next level? Do you need the support of a professional to assist you in creating a healthy relationship? Contact Colleen 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW.

Consider this before you move in together – Part 1


Are you in a fairly new relationship and want to take it to the next level—are you thinking about moving in together?

There is no doubt that there are some very attractive benefits to moving in together: the convenience of having your own space to chill and relax, never having to say goodbye at the end of a great night or early the next morning, and the fact it is cheaper and highly preferable to living with your parents or a mate all come to mind.

But there are also some negative effects where a relationship is still young and untested. In our ‘I want it and I want it now’ culture, we have lost the ability to wait and need instant gratification. But what do you stand to lose if you move in to quickly?

If you are considering moving in with your partner, I expect that you are saying, “Other people might struggle when they move in together, but it will never happen to us. We are so deeply in love. We can’t get enough of each other. Living together would make it just perfect”.

But consider this for a moment: moving in too early in a relationship shortens the ‘honeymoon’ period. Remember the excitement, counting the hours, the longing, being deliriously happy just being together and laughing at your partner’s quirks? By cohabitating sooner than later, we inevitably trade the romance for the domestic routine of daily life. Long dinners over candlelight are swapped for quick meals in front of the TV, and finding out about your partner’s excessive cleaning (or lack of) habits can leave you in a bind.

Why is this?

In the early, heady days of a relationship, the brain releases a flood of feel-good chemicals, including Dopamine, which triggers specific physical reactions including making our cheeks flush, our palms sweat and our hearts race. Dopamine is the feel good chemical that creates feelings of euphoria, a natural high—effectively making us addicted to the object of our pleasure.

While there is an element of unpredictability to the relationship—the waiting, day dreaming, love notes, long conversations over the phone, stolen moments where nothing matters other than that you are together;the brain continues to produce large amounts of Dopamine. As a relationship becomes more fully established and we become increasingly familiar with each other, the brain produces less Dopamine and what was once new and exciting has become familiar, normal and even routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that relationships never get beyond the excitement of those early days. In fact, it is necessary that a relationship develops beyond the honeymoon period so you face the world as a couple to establish home, family, career and the other life goals. Just don’t be too quick to get there. Our ‘honeymoons’ are  for a moment in time, when life takes on a euphoria like no other and we feel for a moment that, as long as the other is by my side, anything is possible.

So, if you are still in the early days of your relationship, don’t be too quick to take it to the next level and move in together. Enjoy the waiting and the longing, enjoy the thrill that comes just by being with the person you love, watch more sunsets together, go for more long leisurely walks along the beach holding hands, celebrate the milestones—one month, two months, six months, and savor the present.

Look out for our follow up article where we explore what else to consider before moving in together.

Are you thinking about moving in together’? Do you want to take your relationship to the next level? Do you need the support of a professional to assist you in creating a healthy relationship? Contact Colleen 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment click the icon BOOK ONLINE NOW.

The secret to communicating with your kids


How many of these phrases sound familiar?

“I heard you the first time!”

“Alright, alright. Keep your hair on…”

“Okay, okay—I said I'm coming!”

“Wait a minute!”

“But mum…”

*Enormous tantrum*

When do you hear these phrases the most? When you're trying to get the kids out the door to school? When you've asked the kids to clean up their room? When you want them to put down their device ready for dinner?

These moments can be enormously frustrating and stressful. It's like our children work on their own time schedule—a schedule that works exactly 13 minutes and 34 seconds slower than ours. Of course, their schedules switch to working 3 hours ahead of ours when it comes to taking them out for a treat or putting on an anime DVD!

I've got to tell you, there are some days when I get so sick and tired of my children just not doing what I ask them when I ask them to do.

But let's flip the tables for a moment.

What do you say when you are happily pottering around the house, baggy track-pants and crazy hair and your partner tells you that he needs a to be dropped at the train station—NOW!

Or what about when you are the in the middle of typing a delicate work email and one of your kids start to nag you about making pancakes for their morning tea?

It's not always easy to be calm and courteous is it?

If only my partner had given me a thirty minute warning that they would need a lift.

If only my child had known how stressed I was about getting that email right.

Believe it or not, kids feel like this all the time.

“If only my mum knew that this TV show would be finished in two minutes,” they think.
“If only my dad knew that I didn't hear him when he said we would be going out soon,”
“If only my parents knew that I feel really tired and don't have the energy to clean my room tonight.”

However, our children don't articulate themselves in the way we would like—or perhaps we don't always listen when they try to tell us how they are feeling. So, we end up getting angry responses like “Okay, okay!” “I told you I'm coming” and *enormous tantrum*.

Our households could be much calmer, peaceful places if we just got alongside our kids and let them know what we need them to do ahead of time. What if we tried:

“At the end of your TV show, could you please go and clean up your room?”
“Just to let you know, later this morning we are going to be going out to the shops, so you need to start finishing up your game, okay?”
“I really want you to be on time for school today. Do you think you could go and get your shoes on? Then you can play your game in the car on the way to school.”

Maybe one of the reasons our children are becoming angry and frustrated with us is because we keep on asking them to do things without giving them warning. We like to be given warning when we are expected to do something, so why don't we afford our kids the same courtesy?

We need to think about what we want our children to do ahead of time so that we can give them time to finish up what they are doing and prepare themselves for what we want them to do.

Why not try an experiment this week. Give your child a friendly 5 minute warning before you need them to:

  • Get in the car
  • Wash their hands for dinner
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Leave the playground
  • Get in the bath
  • Clear their room

I wonder if the number of angry outbursts begins to go down with the more 5 minute warnings they get?

Louise Griffiths is the founder of Exploring All Options, an educational consultancy and tutoring service that provides alternative ways to teach young people in a way that works best for them. Visit her website here.

Do you struggle to communicate with your children? Does your household experience more tantrums than peaceful discussions? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

13 Reasons Why: 10 Resources you need to see before you watch the TV show

13 Reasons Why

When hit TV show 13 Reasons Why debuted on Netflix on March 31, viewers quickly devoured the teen drama. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher, it depicted the story of a Hannah Baker, girl who committed suicide and left 13 audio tapes for people in her life, explaining why she died.

Public response to the show has been varied: some viewers praised it for openly discussing mental illness, while others found it triggering due to its graphic portrayals of suicide, sexual assault, gun violence and bullying.  Several episodes include warnings, however some people don’t believe this is enough, prompting Netflix to include more. Despite this, it is likely a second season of the show is on the way.

If you have yet to watch 13 Reasons Why, or know someone who is watching it, it’s essential you know what the series is about so you can make an educated decision about if you will watch it, who you will do this with and when this will happen.

Here are 10 resources we found discussing the pros and cons of 13 Reasons Why. Take a look at each one and talk to a friend, mentor or colleague about how you will approach the series. By being educated about this pop culture phenomenon, you can better care for yourself and the people around you.

  1. To Write Love On Her Arms
    Blog: In response to 13 Reasons Why
    A non-profit that presents hope and help to people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and thoughts of suicide, founder Jamie Tworkowski discussed the show in a recent blog. Expressing concerns about the way it vividly portrayed suicide and the negative connotations it aired about seeking professional help, they praise people who “put [their] recovery first” by making the choice not to watch it.
  1. Headspace
    PDF: How to talk to young people about 13 Reasons Why
    After an increased amount of queries once the show aired, this Australian mental health service for young people released a PDF that clearly identifies the concerns people have raised about its content (eg. suggesting suicide is reasonable due to the ’13 reasons’). It also lists the research to support or dismiss each point, and suggests strategies to talk to young people about each topic.
  1. ABC
    Article: 13 Reasons Why: How to talk to teens about suicide and mental health issues raised in the Netflix series
    Dr Fiona Wagg a psychiatrist at Royal Hobart Hospital, discusses how parents can best approach their children and teens about the series.
  1. NY Mag
    Article: Teens explain what adults don’t get about 13 Reasons Why
    This piece by NY Mag is unique because it goes straight to the target audience of the TV show: teenagers. Revealing a variety of perspectives, you’ll find this enlightening as teens point out what they did and didn’t like about the series, and how it has impacted them individually, in their family and how its been received by the wider community.
  1. The Mighty
    Blog: 13 Reasons Why archive
    Mental health website The Mighty has published numerous articles on 13 Reasons Why. With blogs highlighting the impact it has on someone with PTSD and chronic illness, a parent’s point-of-view, how it has helped people find safety and overcome shame and even a piece where a young person discusses their regret upon watching it, this is an invaluable archive for personal responses to the show.
  1. Associated Press
    Interview with producer Selena Gomez
    This short interview with teen icon and producer Selena Gomez gives some insight into the purpose of the series.
  1. Vanity Fair
    Op Ed: 13 Reasons Why writer: Why we didn’t shy away from Hannah’s suicide
    Series writer Nic Sheff wrote this exclusive piece for Vanity Fair, detailing the very personal reasons he took on the controversial TV show. While this is important reading, it is extremely descriptive and graphic as Sheff talks about his own suicide attempt. Read with care.
  1. The Guardian
    Article: 13 Reasons Why ‘not helpful', suicide prevention summit told
    This piece by the Guardian gives a fantastic oversight of the response from the Australian mental health community, as well as a more general overview on the impact of suicide in society. Keep an eye out for quotes by Lifeline Chief Executive Pete Shmigel, who explains why they believe 13 Reasons Why has gone ‘too far’ in their depiction of suicide.
  1. CNN
    Long form article: Why teen mental health experts are focused on '13 Reasons Why'
    This extensive piece gives a thorough over view of the public’s response to 13 Reasons Why. Referencing the responses of mental health services across the world, the intentions of the show’s creative team and referring to appropriate statistics and research, if you’re looking for a single, overall piece to read, this is it.
  1. Netflix
    Documentary: 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons
    Also available on Netflix, this documentary accompanies the 13-part series and shows exclusive interviews with the cast, creators and mental health professionals, giving more context to the story. Please note that this documentary is rated MA15+ and could be triggering to viewers due to audio and visual content.

Have you watched 13 Reasons Why and had a strong, emotional response to it? Are you concerned about a loved one who is watching the TV show? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

Managing Meltdowns: Wisdom from over the fence


It had been a particularly rough 12 months for our family. My father was terminally ill, one of our children had additional needs, which required at least one therapy session a week, and my husband had had an incredibly stressful few years at work and had just changed jobs which necessitated that we move to a semi-rural suburb on the edge of Sydney.

I was physically and emotionally exhausted, but our change of location brought with it some wonderful benefits. We were on a large block of land by suburban standards and rather than being surrounded by 6 foot high fences, our property boundary was marked by chicken wire held up by neatly spaced stakes. We had an uninterrupted view into our neighbours yard, complete with a sweet little staffy dog, a small tractor and two horses. Much to our delight—the horses were stabled right beside our fence line.

I quickly became friends with our next door neighbour. Her name was Chris. She had been a nurse in a busy Sydney hospital but, in her 40’s, she left that career behind to take on a quieter existence. She earnt a small income as the ‘photocopying lady’ at a local private school and spend her afternoons tending her property. Just before five p.m. everyday, she would be out with the horses and I would often meet with her for a chat over the fence. She was full of wonderful wisdom about ‘country-etiquette’, gardening plus motherly advice and support.

One of my children was going through a particularly rough patch and she often heard the tantrums and meltdowns through the open windows of our house. She would ask me how I was coping with motherhood and chat with me about the challenges my children were facing. She never judged, she always listened. We just chatted, sometimes even as my child was wailing and stomping by my side.

I was so, so tired. Some days I just couldn’t give my children the time and attention they wanted. Sometimes their wants and needs took me totally by surprise. And sometimes, those screams and tantrums just kept tumbling out of my children, one after the other.

As much as the fresh country air and slower lifestyle helped me, it still wasn’t enough to quell the anxiety and depression that I had been battling as a result of the events of the previous year. The crisis point came when I suffered a minor nervous breakdown. I was overwhelmed with life, with the things we had come through and with the uncertainty of the future. I ended up in bed for two days, on a steady diet of lemonade icy poles, staring at ABC 24 and unable to engage with my children.

When I finally got up again, I went to the Doctor and asked for help. She wrote me a prescription for anti-depressants and referred me to a counsellor who could assist me in making sense of my turbulent emotions. With time, I regained control of my mental health, my mood brightened and I was more engaged with my family. I began to read my children’s behaviour much better and took pre-emptive steps to divert and avoid their meltdowns before they happened.

A few months into my new regime of medication and counselling I was chatting with Chris as she fed the horses. “I haven’t heard many tantrums from your place lately. What’s happening?” Chris asked. My response was simple

“I started taking anti-depressants and went to a counsellor!”

My neighbour smiled knowingly. She knew full well that children aren’t always to blame when meltdowns and tantrums occur. The fact of the matter is, a parent’s state of mind and their ability to respond to their children are actually key factors in avoiding the conflicts and misunderstandings that lead to meltdowns. It was a lesson I had to learn on my own.

Five years later, I continue to monitor my mental health, taking medication and seeing my counsellor as needed. It has helped me cope with the passing of my father, an interstate move and more career ups and downs. Despite this, I usually manage to remain the loving, engaged parent my children need. And I can tell you now….there are a whole lot less meltdowns in our house when I am looking after my own mental health!

Louise Griffiths is the founder of Exploring All Options, an educational consultancy and tutoring service that provides alternative ways to teach young people in a way that works best for them. Visit her website here.

Are your kids having a meltdown? Are you a busy parent who wants to care for your mental health? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

How to make time for fitness when you are a busy parent


Everyone struggles with making time for health and fitness. We simply live incredibly busy, fast paced lives. When you add parenting into the mix, it can feel like attempts at a regular exercise routine are impossibilities. When you can’t even find time to go to the bathroom or to cook a meal without some sort of interruption, how can you make time to be fit?

Although you love your children, they do make time management a foreign concept. Between chores around the house, the demands of your workplace, school, appointments, caring for your kids, and all the rest, there isn’t much time left to get your exercise on. But, there are a few things you can do to get the “me time” you need to be healthy.

Plan to exercise

If you made an appointment at the dentist or your child had a performance one evening, you would put it in your calendar and you would make sure that you showed up on time. Use that same tactic to find time to work out. When you put down a time in your planner, just as you would for any other important appointment, you feel like you need to follow through. Make your yoga or spin class part of the family calendar and treat it as non-negotiable.

Stop worrying about what to wear

When you practice fitness first thing in the morning, you don’t want to slow down to decide between black sweatpants and patterned ones or to pick a sweatshirt that matches them. First, let go of the idea that you need to look perfect. The important thing is that you get active—how you look doing it is secondary. Secondly, stop trying to decide in the AM. Pick out your clothes the night before and have them ready to go. Heck, if it helps, just sleep in them. Do whatever you have to do to make getting up early to exercise something you can maintain.

Bring the kids with you

You can’t always count on sneaking out of the house for a run while your kids stay at home with another caregiver. If you are a morning jogger and your kids are getting up earlier and earlier, you don’t have to give up on your run. You can throw them in a jogging stroller and take them along with you. During your run, you can chat with them and sing with them and enjoy each other’s company. You are also setting a healthy example. You will have to plan a little, like bringing books and snacks, but you can get those things ready the night before to streamline getting out of the house.

Evaluate your schedule

People who work out don’t magically find the time, they take the time. Most people have time in their day that is spent doing activities that kill time, like cruising Facebook or playing games online. When you assess how you spend your day, keep an eye out for times that could be carved out to get active. If you can, take a little time from multiple activities (so you don’t have to give them up entirely) and combine those small increments into one large chunk.

Be kind to yourself

There will be days when everything will go haywire and you won’t be able to do the amount of exercise you had planned to, or you may not be able to do any at all. You have to accept what you have available to you and make the most of it. Don’t stress and don’t compare yourself to other people. As long as you are making the effort to be healthy, enjoy your successes.

Do you feel overwhelmed by your parenting responsibilities? Would you like to like a balanced, healthy life? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

Esmeralda A. Anderson is a health and wellness blogger that writes about parenting, mental health, kids, marriage, self-improvement, divorce, relationships, addiction treatment for heroin and more. Most of her works are published in health magazines. Follow her here.