Get Real: Talking mental health & disability

Self care, mental health and parenting a neurodivergent child with Donna Markham OAM

December 22, 2023 The team at ermha365 / Donna Markham Season 4 Episode 92
Get Real: Talking mental health & disability
Self care, mental health and parenting a neurodivergent child with Donna Markham OAM
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This is our final episode for 2023, and we thought it would be timely to talk about self-care, especially during Christmas and the New Year period with, as always, a focus on mental health.  Donna Markham is our guest. Donna is a qualified occupational therapist, an adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University and also a member of our ermha365 board, and chairing the Practice Governance, Quality and Safety Committee. Donna is Victoria’s former Chief Allied Health Officer and is now focused on entrepreneurship, using her allied health leadership experience to coach professional women, many in allied health, around career transition, among other things with her business Disequilibrium.

 Donna joined us on Get Real for our last episode of 2021 and since then a lot has happened in Donna’s life, including the honour of being the recipient of the medal of the Order of Australia in 2022 for her contributions to healthcare administration and the diagnosis of her young son as autistic/ADHD.

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Produced, hosted and edited by Emily Webb, ermha365 Advocacy and External Communications Advisor with Karenza Louis-Smith, CEO ermha365.
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Welcome to Get Real talking mental health and disability brought to you by the team at ermha 365.

ermha365:

Join our hosts Emily Webb and Karenza Louis Smith, as we have frank and fearless conversations with special guests about all things, mental health and complexity.

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We recognize people with lived experience of mental health and disability, as well as their families and carers. We recognize their strength, courage and unique perspective as a vital contribution to this podcast so we can learn, grow and achieve better outcomes together.

Donna Markham:

And the whole notion of what a good parent would do, what a good mother would do. I mean, we spend a lot of time shooting on ourselves. I should do this, I should do that. I think we need to stop shooting on ourselves.

Emily Webb:

Welcome to Get Real talking mental health and disability. I'm Emily Webb. This is our final episode for 2023 and we thought it would be timely to talk about self care, especially during Christmas and the New Year period, with, as always, a focus on mental health, and I'm so pleased that Donna Markham is joining me to talk about this topic Now. Donna is a qualified occupational therapist and adjunct associate professor at Monaster University, and also a member of our ermha 365 Board. She chairs the Practice Governance Quality and Safety Committee.

Emily Webb:

Donna is Victoria's former Chief Allied Health Officer, providing professional governance of the Allied Health Workforce in Victoria from within the State Government's Quality and Safety Agency, which is safer care Victoria, and she was in this role in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donna is now focused on entrepreneurship, using her Allied Health Leadership experience to coach professional women many in Allied Health around career transition, among other things. Donna joined us on Get Real for our last episode of 2021 and since then, a lot has happened in her life, including the honour of being the recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2022 for her contributions to healthcare administration. So welcome, donna Markham OAM. Thanks for joining me for the last episode of 2023.

Donna Markham:

Hey, emily, thank you, it's so great to be here again and it's hard to believe it's two years on.

Emily Webb:

I know it's just flown. It's unbelievable, really. So first of all, congratulations on the Medal of the Order of Australia. The team at ermha365 was so proud to hear this news, so tell me more about this.

Donna Markham:

Thank you. Yeah, I mean, it's one of those kind of life changing moments, really receiving that sort of a recognition and honour. Yeah, it was just. It was so lovely to know that some of my colleagues and you know people who had worked with me had put forward the nomination and supported the nomination. It's quite a lengthy process. It's sort of an 18 month to two year process that they review that and then to sort of to be there on the day and to receive the medal from the, you know, the Governor of the time and it was just, yeah, it was just remarkable.

Emily Webb:

And as we record this episode, it's the 12th of December and there's definitely that hectic feel out and about. How are you going with the lead up to Christmas? Because I know you're a mum. You've got your own business. Before we recorded you'd hopped off a session with a client, so I'm guessing you're pretty busy.

Donna Markham:

Well, I mean yes and no. I mean I sort of sometimes people wear, yeah, I'm really busy as a bit of a bit of a bad jive on. But I actually try not to be too busy because I'm not at my best when I'm too busy, and so I guess at the moment I'm actually trying to wind down to Christmas so that I don't feel hectic and crazy. I don't particularly enjoy being in that state. It's not good for me, it's not good for my well-being, and I'm sort of taking steps right now to, yeah, to settle, close things out for the year.

Donna Markham:

I'm hoping to wind up work next week when the kids finish school, so I've got some time to be available for them. But having said all that, there is, you know, there is sometimes the pressure to finish off things or to attend those last minute, you know social gatherings, and so I've sort of been trying to practice saying no to a few things as well. Actually, I can't attend that, but perhaps we could do something in the new year. And what's the cost? Is it a cost to my well-being? Is it a cost to family time, or whatever it might be? So you know I'm sitting with all those sort of tensions at the moment, but trying to honour actually slowing down and not feeling frantic.

Emily Webb:

Yeah, it sounds good. I'm trying to do a bit of the same. Learning to do that. It's taking a while, and when we spoke, probably well, two years ago, there's something you said that really has stuck with me, honestly, about the importance of self care, and it was along the lines of you know, we've got to look after ourselves first so we have the capacity to care for others. In your case you said it was your husband and children, and you know that can be hard because, especially for women, because there's that societal norm gender stereotype that we're caregivers. You know mothers must be self-sacrificing and to be seen as good mothers and I'm putting air quotes around that listeners, you know we have to put everyone before us and I'd love to unpick this with you.

Donna Markham:

Yeah, look, that's an excellent point, emily. I think probably what I would have said last time. My mantra is self care, couple care, family care, and I suppose that's something I try to live by, because if you can't care, you know, if I'm not okay, then my partnership with my partner, dan, is not okay, and if we're not okay as a couple, then the family is not okay. And I guess I try and put all those things in place for it's before I even contemplate what that means for work and and the whole notion of you know what a good parent would do, what a good mother would do. I mean, we, we spend a lot of time shooting on ourselves. I should do this, I should do that. So I think we need to stop shooting on ourselves and, you know, think about what's right for us and right for our family. And you know I've had to work really hard. It was a mantra two years ago, but I think in the last two years I've had to work especially hard at that. I mean even in the last 12 months. You know, in more recent time, about a year ago, my youngest son has been diagnosed as autistic and an 88 year, and so I have had to kind of completely flip how I thought I would parent, how I thought my children would grow up, how I thought the relationship between my two children might be on its head and actually, instead of think about who I thought I should be, actually be the parent that my children need me to be. And that is a work in progress. That is not an easy thing to do, to drop all of those expectations and all those shoulds that we have on ourselves. But, yeah, it's a work in progress and something and I'm really working hard on. And I guess just to give you an example Of what that means for us this Christmas.

Donna Markham:

You know, christmas is hard. I think Christmas can be a very tricky time of year for many, many people. It is not always the fun and joyous occasion that we think it should be and and it can often be really challenging, and for my neurodivergent child in particular, it's a really tricky time. There's lots of big feelings, there's lots of expectations, there's just a lot going on, and good or bad, let's not label it as either it's just a lot, and so it's a very tricky time for us. And so we sat down. I sat down with my partner and said, well, let's set the kids up for success. You know we want Christmas to be something. We want it to be a day that they can look back on and go. I had a good day.

Donna Markham:

You know not all the expectations of what Christmas could be, so We've decided to kind of boycott Christmas this year and so we're not doing the big family lunch, we're not going. I even have to manage Christmas presents a little bit differently because I know that when my younger son sees the gifts that my Older son gets from Santa, he's gonna want them, and rather than expect him to manage that differently because of the break the way his brain works, let's just set it up a bit differently and let's help my older son manage expectations. And so I said to the kids look, we're not gonna do the family lunch this year. What would you like to do if you could pick anything you wanted? What would you like to do?

Donna Markham:

And so they said can we stay in the city? And I said, well, yeah, okay, why not? We'll do Christmas morning at home, just the four of us. And then we're staying in the city for two nights and we've just booked an apartment that has a swimming pool and we're just gonna go and have some fun and create some memories that are a bit different and kind of get rid of all those Expectations and norms and shoulds and what not and just do what we think will work for our family. So that feels really empowering and exciting actually.

Emily Webb:

I'm really glad that you shared that with us, donna, because I read a really, really interesting Article online with you.

Emily Webb:

It was on the Allied Health Professionals website talking about leadership and career transition, and you did mention this and you'd said that you know, when you found out about your medal of the order of Australia, you like burst into tears because obviously it's incredible, but also because you were, you know, really processing and managing some challenges at home.

Emily Webb:

That process of diagnosis and you know, I felt this so deeply because last year, both my teenage daughters were diagnosed with ADHD After I had been diagnosed Like it's been life-changing in a lot of ways, great ways, but just, yeah, it's, it's a lot to learn. And yeah, you mentioned that this has really changed how you're gonna negotiate Christmas and it sounds really great. It sounds like a very supportive, safe way to, you know, do things and I think one of the reliefs I know when I found out about ADHD and that I had it, it was like Wow, I think I can really try to stop people pleasing. That was a massive thing for me. And yeah, I just wondered what else you've kind of Learned during this, this journey, because, yeah, it's, it's something that a lot of families can relate to.

Donna Markham:

Yeah, absolutely. And look, thank you for sharing your experience with me too, emily, in terms of you know your own diagnosis and your children's. The more we talk about it, the more people share and the less lonely it is in sharing that experience and the more we normalize and recognize. You know, neuro divergent brains is an important part of our community. I still think it's something that's incredibly under diagnosed, but I know that there are a lot of adults getting diagnosed, you know, later in life and Sometimes as a result of their children going through the process and they're filling in the forms and going hang on a second, that sounds like me or you know, or vice versa, and I think it takes a lot of courage. I think as well for adults in particular to to go through this process, because there, you know, there is a big part of who we are and our identity that's sort of wrapped up in this. So, anyway, thank you for yeah, for sharing that on your side. I mean, there is so much that I have learned in the last 12 months or so. Gosh, where to start. So one is, I don't want my child to, so Hugo is his name. I don't want Hugo to have any shame for who he is and how his brain works. He's fabulous as he is, and I know that in the past is probably because of stereotypes and just awareness and even therapeutic approaches to neurodivergent individuals. There are a lot of people out there who feel that they are less than or feel a lot of shame for how their brain works, and I suppose my number one goal is his parent is to try and do everything I can so that he doesn't feel that way. That is hard because there are many times that he does things that are very challenging and very confronting for me, and often when I am tired and depleted, my reaction is to be angry and he then internalizes that as I'm not a very good person and I'm making mummy angry, so there's a lot in there around that that I need to manage myself in order to effectively support him, and so in many ways, I feel like I'm the one that has to do the work, not him. He's thick, I'm an adult and I have more resources and skill at this point in my life than he does when he's six.

Donna Markham:

So how we've approached his therapy he's got NDIS funding and he's not having any direct therapy at the moment. We've chosen to get support from an OT, a psychologist and dietician to do parent education and coaching with us. My partner and I sit down together and we are learning because we are with him, except when he's at school. We are with him 24 seven, so we're the ones that are with him through thick and thin and through the challenging times. So we are learning so that we can best support him. And I'm sure as he gets older, then direct therapy will be appropriate. But right now that's how we've decided to approach it.

Donna Markham:

So, yeah, so there's lots in there.

Donna Markham:

There's lots of, I guess, acceptance that in many ways we're the ones that need to change to accommodate him, that there is so much for us to learn in order to support him that we're doing what we can so that he doesn't experience shame for who he is.

Donna Markham:

And you know, on occasions like this, that I talk about it with as many people who are willing to listen, because there are so many neurodivergent people out there who perhaps don't speak up. And the more you talk about it, the more people say, yeah, that's my experience, or my child too, or, like you've just done, well, I just got diagnosed as an adult recently. The more we talk about it, the less lonely the experience and the more we can support one another, you know, and just normalize these experiences, because I think there is there's a huge amount of grief comes with that process and that's okay. Like it's okay to grieve the life you thought you had, all the way you thought you'd parent, or the sorts of holidays you'd have, all the types of Christmases you've had. Like it is okay to grieve those experiences because that is that is real. So I'm also trying to find space for that grief as well, as, you know, holding space, you know, for parenting him the way he needs to be Gosh.

Emily Webb:

I feel like there's like series I mean I, you could do series, you could do books. I mean people do. I found it really very helpful when people spoke about their own experiences and that's actually what kind of sparked me into thinking about ADHD, because our friend said, do you think you might have ADHD? And I was like what? That's ridiculous. I think it's a real education process and yeah, it's great, I feel like it's empowering, but it is difficult, like my parenting.

Emily Webb:

I'm truly trying to be a different parent, acknowledging the ways that I've handled things previously were, you know, not great, but also not understanding my own self. And yeah, it's all very complicated, but I look forward to talking to you about it more, whether it's informally or, you know, seeing what you may end up. I don't know, you may end up doing something with your business or your ventures, but let's talk about that, because you started disequilibrium around two years ago and I'd love to know how it's going. And also, I love the name of it. It's really cool and there is a special kind of reason for it, isn't there?

Donna Markham:

Yes, there is, yeah, yes, I'll tell you about the name and then I'll talk a bit more about how it's going. So disequilibrium that name has been kicking around in my head since about 2014. Well before I had any inkling that I might start a business, I did a year long leadership program with Leadership Victoria it's called the Williamson Community Leadership Program and it's an incredible program and at the beginning of that year, they drew this squiggly line on the board and said you are going to feel, you know, this sort of state of disequilibrium this year. And it was so true. It was just the intense highs and lows and a whole lot of discomfort and uncertainty, but there was so much growth for me in that year and so for me, disequilibrium is just that word or that phrase just captures. You need to feel all the feels and being, all that discomfort in order for growth to occur.

Donna Markham:

So the business name disequilibrium the sweet spot where growth occurs, because that's and still is, you know, based on what I just talked about, that is where all of my learning has come from, in the most uncomfortable times and the periods of most uncertainty, I suppose. So the moment I decided to leave being an employee, so to speak and start my own business. There was just it's. That, was it? Disequilibrium is the name. So yeah, and it's a great conversation status.

Emily Webb:

Yeah, so I know it's been going for around two years and you are really supporting people who want to make a move into something different. You know, do their own thing and how's it going.

Donna Markham:

It continues to evolve. So my work now I think of it as a bit of a portfolio of things. I have a number of coaching clients one-on-one and team coaching and then I do some consultancy or facilitation work and then I do my board work, which is obviously MF365 is one of my board positions. I feel like I get to use all of my skills in lots of different ways and I really love that variety in my work and it's huge amounts of flexibility and freedom so that I can be there for the kids and provide the support that they need. So, in terms of, I guess, themes and I'm continually learning about myself, which is beautiful I love that. Exploration I mean reflective practice is so important, whether you're a clinician, a coach, whatever it might be, so that's something I'm always doing. I'm starting to notice, I guess, some trends in terms of the types of people that are interested in working with me and, as you said, many are at a transitional point or they're thinking about a change in their career and perhaps they're drawn to the courage that I've previously had to lean into for my own changes. The other reason might be people who are stepping up into a leadership position for the first time or a more senior role and they're trying to work through their own anxiety and all of the self-doubt and the feelings. People talk about imposter syndrome and there's lots of different views on what that means and whether it's a system issue or an individual, etc. Again, probably a whole nother podcast on that, but those feelings are real. People have those doubts and uncertainties. So a lot of people will come to me because they're like I want to be the best leader I can be, but I need some support because I've got all these doubts. I'm in this role and I'm feeling really scared. So it's really lovely to be in a position to coach someone and empower them. Deep down, those self-beliefs are there and it's just helping people really connect with their own beliefs and strengths and confidence. So that's certainly a big thing.

Donna Markham:

There is also a lot of people who are just like I feel so overwhelmed right now and I've lost my not completely lost my way, but I just need help reprioritizing, refocusing, bringing back self-care. I think we're still and we probably will for many years feeling the long tail of COVID and the impacts that those couple of years had on us. I think we're all still readjusting to what life is now I know I certainly am Even. Just how much do you want to work at home versus being person? There's still a lot that everybody's readjusting too, so there's a lot of people that are also coming with questions around. Just how do I refocus and reclaim boundaries? Really?

Emily Webb:

I love that. I love anything talking about boundaries, because it's taken me a long time to actually learn about boundaries and that it's okay to say no. Like you said at the start of our chat, it's like actually you can say no to things, you don't have to go to every party, you don't have to go to every catch up, and that was, I know, something for me. That would overwhelm me and I would just loading myself up with these things and just them burning out and never understanding what it was. So I find that just really fascinating and the board work that you do. You're on a few boards and Irma's one of them, and Irma provides mental health and disability support. So what is it that, I guess, attracted you to join Irma's board? And I know that you do have quite a passion for mental health.

Donna Markham:

I've been interested in board work for a while and I think as I moved away from being a clinician, a hands-on clinician, into leadership roles, it was that interest in influencing at a bigger level, at a system level. So I still feel in everything that I do I am making a difference to the kind of care that people provide. I'm just not face-to-face delivering that care anymore, you know, in a practice or a clinical setting, for example, but at a board level it's just. You know you get to help govern an organisation and set strategy for an organisation. So you know it's such a privilege to be able to influence and to be a part of governing. You know an organisation like Irma because what we do is so critical and you know such an essential need for the most vulnerable in our community.

Donna Markham:

I think, in terms of why Irma I mean, apart from my own passion in mental health and well-being and self-care I had the experience when I was younger. My brother had a mental illness when he was young and suffered through school and high school and early adulthood with depression and anxiety, and so I had that first-hand experience of being a sibling and what that meant for me and the family dynamics and the sorts of supports that were available to him back then are very different to what would be available now. And you know, as I've been going on my journey with my son, Hugo, my brother's often reflected that actually he's probably autistic and I suspect many of the things that he experienced as a child were misdiagnosed and mismanaged and unfortunately he didn't get the support that he needed back then. So you know that's something that he still has to navigate in his life. So I think you know it was a combination of my personal experience, my passion and also just another way of using my skills to influence systems.

Donna Markham:

And being on the board of Irma is a real privilege and a pleasure. And you know we're lucky to have a really great team of board members and an incredible executive team and staff that you know I get the privilege to meet from time to time across the year. I think what we do is phenomenal, so it's just such a joy. I've been with Irma now, I think, about four and a half years and, yeah, it's just, it's an absolute pleasure.

Emily Webb:

It's quite heartbreaking, isn't it, when you're in the space of learning about either yourself or you've got a loved one, a child, a family member who's diagnosed with neurodiverse condition and you know, you realise that there's so much that's been misunderstood about people and they've lived their lives really struggling and you think, oh, if only they knew that it was autism or ADHD or I don't know something else. So in the journey with your son, is there anything that you found really helpful that you could share with listeners who might be setting off on this journey of trying to help their child with discovering whether they're neurodiverse or something like that?

Donna Markham:

I'm acutely aware of my privilege in terms of means, my resources, my health, literacy, my advocacy skills, like I appreciate. You know I have the skills to advocate and navigate the system for my child, but I know there are many families out there who don't. So, I think, talking to other parents and speaking, you know, reach out, talk to other people who are travelling or who have travelled a similar journey to yourself, because I think you know there is so much to learn and so learn from others who have been through it. So that's, I think, probably you know, just connecting with other. You know if it's a parent or it's for yourself, you know, talking to other people who have been through that journey. I think finding professionals who you can connect with and resonate with is really important. So finding people who are, I guess, like-minded in how you'd like to approach things in terms of from a therapeutic perspective or a parenting perspective or whatever that might be, even from an assessment and diagnostic perspective. There's a lot of debate out there amongst the autistic community about affirming practices rather than sort of more behavioural or challenges or limitations perspective. But actually let's look at this through an affirming lens and so finding practitioners who are going to have that approach, I think is really important for people as well.

Donna Markham:

The other thing that I think is really important is that we listen to the voices of lived-experienced people. So whenever I'm wondering what to do next or where to go, I try and tap into advice from the autistic community or the neurodivergent community. So there are so many social media points of access these days. Like I have just decided to hone in on one or two trusted sources who, I believe, provide evidence-based practice. You know, there's this fabulous speechy on Instagram and Facebook called NeuroWild, and she's autistic and an ADIH to herself, and she provides just such easily digestible information that is so real. And so I have just chosen one or two sources from people with lived experience to get my information and not get overwhelmed by a whole lot of stuff that's out there, because I just can't take that on. It's too much.

Emily Webb:

Oh, I hear you and that's a great recommendation. Actually I'm the same. I've sort of whittled down my places of information. I don't have clinical background or anything like that. I've got my lived experience. That's what I've got. But I do really like to tap into stuff that's got a clinical background and I do love. Look, I love a funny ADHD meme Like hilarious, but yeah, I am. There's stuff out there isn't there. Yeah, there's great stuff, but yeah, just after a while. Yeah, it can get very overwhelming and just don't have time because it'll just feed into ADHD anyway, hyper-focused.

Donna Markham:

Well, that's right, and one piece of advice I would have is stay away from blogs and Facebook groups Like, unless they are run by evidence-based practitioners providing evidence information. I just think you need to be very careful because, as you've said, emily, if hyper-focus is one of your strengths, it's very easy to get down a rabbit warren with some of those things, but you don't always know if the information is right for you. Sometimes it can be quite traumatic reading people's experiences and then everyone pausing with advice that may or may not be helpful. So I just think you need to be super careful with some of those sorts of less moderated platforms as well.

Emily Webb:

Yeah, I absolutely agree. I certainly did find some Facebook groups quite helpful. At the start I was just lurking and reading, like a friend of mine who was late diagnosed ADHD brought me onto a few things and that was just from there. I just started to read more and then, you know, listen to some audiobooks and stuff like that. So, yeah, it's good advice for sure. So from when we last spoke to now, what's working for you with your self-care? You've alluded to some stuff.

Donna Markham:

My self-care has kind of become even more critical than ever, really, just as we've been navigating these last 12 months or so, because I need to have energy you know, more energy than I ever did before for my children, and if I'm drained I'm not a very great parent or person to be around. So yoga is still a really big part of my self-care and I try to go into a studio once a week, but I just do a lot of that in the morning. I just get up a bit earlier for the before the kids are up, so that I have that nice quiet base and time in the mornings, which means I need to make sure I get to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep so I can do that. You know there's the physical activity Just taking the dog for short walks and things. He's getting a bit older now, though, so we won't go as far as he used to, but trying to just be out in nature and moving my body. So there's the physical side of that.

Donna Markham:

From a mental health and wellbeing side, I still continue to see a psychologist, you know, every month and have a mental health care plan. You know it's a way of managing my anxiety. I am never short of material of things to talk about, whether it's, you know, just navigating relationships or parenting dilemmas. But I've also found that you know I talked about grief before and the grief that's associated with for me, that's been associated with my son and that has brought up some grief from my past and previous relationship breakdowns and big changes in my life when I was younger, and so you know I'm having to kind of reprocess some of that. So the professional support of a psychologist has been really critical. So that's another fundamental part of my kind of self-care.

Donna Markham:

And then the other part, I suppose, is thinking about my work and because I do a lot of coaching, like, in order to be an effective and a safe coach, really I have to make sure I'm caring for myself.

Donna Markham:

So I have to create space in my day to be reflective. I have professional coaching supervision to make sure that my practice continues to be safe and I can only do so many sessions in a day before I'm no longer effective. So creating breathing room and breaks in my days to be the best version of myself when I show up for people. And then probably the final part of that is my relationship at home with Dan, my partner, so that you know, we continue to try and find time to connect and talk about what really matters, so that we're not just falling into a habit of being either ships in the night or just transactional in our relationship, because, you know, in order to be solid in where we're at with our parenting, we need to be on the same page. And so, yeah, trying to find time to make sure we connect properly rather than just existing together, because it's very easy for that to happen.

Emily Webb:

I know that feeling. Yes, it's very easy for that to happen. It is quite incredible really reflecting. I think COVID, the pandemic, the lockdowns, caused us to have some pause, but it is quite unbelievable how we think we've got to push ourselves so much and just that. Yeah, I realize I am just absolutely no good in any way, shape or form if I am exhausted and I really that's how I operated for so many years. You know, I think part of the reason, to be honest, that I started to think what's going on was the lockdowns, you know changing routines, my age, you know hormones, a lot of this stuff, like I'm still investigating it and it's just like, wow, ok, yeah, self care is just so vital and so I love talking about this stuff and we're coming to the end of our discussion and do you have any final thoughts before we?

Donna Markham:

wrap up. I guess it's just reflecting on you don't have to keep doing things the way you've always done them, like we're talking about mental health and well-being and self care in a way now post COVID pandemic that we never had, not that it's really post. It's obviously still present. But you know, we're much more aware of well-being and mental health needs, obviously, a lot of political focus. There's been Royal Commissions, there's funding, there's. There is so much out there now. You know some of these things are much easier to tackle and talk about these days. So I guess just you know. Final words are keep looking after yourself.

Donna Markham:

Self care is not selfish, something you need to do before you can care for anyone else, because you can't give what you don't have. Putting out boundaries are hard. It gets easier with practice. It is a life skill and the only way you can do it is to practice and it gets easier as you go. So I think it's OK to acknowledge how hard it is, but sitting with that discomfort and practicing putting out those boundaries will pay off tenfold. And often I think when you do put those boundaries out, people then realise that oh, if you've done it, you know, so can I Like when I said to my family I'm sorry we're doing Christmas differently this year. We'll see you in and around Christmas. My brother turned around and said you know what I find Christmas tricky too. I'm not going to come either. And you know, I think when we put boundaries out, we give other people permission to put boundaries out. So you know, it's another way of leading by example, really.

Emily Webb:

Massive thank you to Donna for joining me on this episode. Thanks, donna, it's been amazing.

Donna Markham:

My absolute pleasure.

Emily Webb:

For our listeners. If you've been affected by anything discussed in this episode, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14. We'll also have some other mental health support resources listed in the show notes and if you're enjoying the podcast, we'd love you to share Get Real with your friends and networks and rate and review it on your preferred podcast listening platform. I know I say this every episode, but it does help get our content out there and to you all. Thank you for listening to Get Real in 2023. On behalf of myself and my cohost and Irma 365 CEO, karenza Louis Smith, who couldn't be here she's away we wish you all the best for a safe Christmas and new year.

ermha365:

You've been listening to Get Real talking mental health and disability, brought to you by the team at Irma 365. Get Real is produced and presented by Emily Webb, with Karenza Louis Smith and special guests. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next time.

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