Depression can hit us anytime

I am saddened by the passing of Danny Frawley. I have read articles around this and about how Danny spoke to Jeff Kennett about his issues with depression. In light of reading about Danny’s issues with depression I feel compelled to share my story in relation to anxiety and depression not in vain of sympathy but in hope that it will help someone and motivate them to seek support to deal with it.

People sometimes think depression is something that they will never have to deal with however it can hit you at any time and when you least expect it. I have being doing a lot of work to raise awareness over the last few years on social media, in media and speaking at events/conferences. Depression hit me a month after I spoke at RMIT. It creeped up on me and suddenly hit which made me anxious as well. 

One can never pinpoint depression exactly or the cause of it. Often it is micro events in our lives or signals that are telling us to slow down or that something is wrong or triggers leading us to depression. Sadly, too often we ignore these micro events or signals in our lives to our detriment. Hence we suddenly realise we are depressed without thinking about why or how we came to this point in our lives.

For myself allow myself to be taken advantage of and doing too much for free was a trigger. Also, the day to day demands of life and having to read negative press about transgender people got to me a bit. Putting up with the day to day stuff like people over phone calling from call centre when I answer phone saying “Hello this is Melissa” and people on the other end responding after a moments silence with things like “Can I speak to a Melissa” or “Are you Melissa”.  Also people calling me sir even after explaining I am transgender female or woman just because I have more masculine voice, a problem a lot of transgender women face. 

Sadly some large corporates off-shore there call centres and don’t invest in diversity and inclusion training hence transgender women still have issues. So these things, other events in my life including dealing with bullying, and trolls on social media and also dealing with helping my flatmate through dealing with the medical system during his cancer treatment and other small things all impacted on me. I can see now that it was an accumulation of things both before that lead to my depression as well as during the time dealing with it and anxiety as a result of this.

I was lucky that I had a few good people I could go to talk to deal with it even though it took time to get through it. During this time I spoke again at an event and though I appeared upbeat the reality was far from this. I was still writing articles in an effort to maintain an even keel and doing a bit of consulting whilst working fighting my way through my depression and the black hole it seemed to be sucking up all my energy. 

Some people think a quick visit to a psychologist will fix it when this is not the case. It is a start but more time with psychologist or counsellor or someone professional to support you is needed. Having someone or some people to support you is so vital to begin the process to get though and process of dealing with it so can look forward to one day recovering from it.

I managed to get out of this black hole because I took time out to deal with it; also using various strategies such as continuing to live as normally as possible even though this hard sometimes; also by writing articles and asking for support meant I got though it. I also let go of emotions bottled up for years by crying a lot and speaking to a few people close to me. I have also been lucky to have people in the background who have supported me though maybe few they always have been there for me when I have needed them. What works for each person is different however the key is getting support and the right support to deal with your anxiety and/or depression.

I can only encourage people to call Beyond Blue on phone: 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on phone: 13 11 14 if you need to talk to someone ASAP. The sooner one reaches out for support the sooner one can begin to deal with there issues around anxiety and/or depression. 

We all need to acknowledge and understand depression exists and the impacts upon your life can be horrific. It impacts your confidence, ability to think straight and ability to socialise with others in society or partake in day-to-day activities. Let us all recognise that unless we come to terms with the fact depression exists; talk about so we can deal with it as a society in a better way then this issue will only get worse. 

You will be sadly missed by all Danny Frawley R.I.P.

Can we effectively advance diversity and inclusion efforts in today’s political climate?

In Texas at a recent state bar meeting in Austin the question was asked during the presentation to the panel “can we effectively advance diversity and inclusion efforts in political climate?” This may be a difficult question for the panel to answer nonetheless it is a valid one given the state of play in USA at moment. However during this panel “Hon. Miller spoke of the need for more diversity in the courtroom.”

It seems in Texas thought that diversity and inclusion is improving with “Harris County Young Lawyers in the Courtroom Program, which encourages and litigants and counsel to be mindfril of opportunities for young lawyers to “stand up” and speak at hearings.” This is allowing for a young lawyer to be able to handle a hearing and be lead counsel given circumstances are appropriate for them to do so. This is a great initiative by Harris County and one that should be applauded as it is allowing for the inclusion of younger lawyers to have opportunities to be lead counsel.

Also having ‘17 African-American women elected to the bench recently’ is an improvement in diversity and shows that at least in Texas that diversity and inclusion is an important issue to the State Bar of Texas. Having more diversity and inclusive practices can only benefit the legal profession and the bench. Texas seems to have several “diversity initiatives in the state” which is great to see. Let us hope that these intiatives along with the on-going expansion in diversity of the bench will extend more and more elsewhere and to the legal profession and beyond.

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Great to see Rangers Football Club launching their ‘Everyone Anyone’ campaign

Great to see Rangers Football Club launching their ‘Everyone Anyone’ campaign “which aims to unit people from all backgrounds, cultures and communities.” What a great idea to promote diversity and inclusion through its fan base. Rangers Football Club are taking on a big challenge however they seem to have the will and be determined to champion diversity and inclusion. 

I admire clubs that can and are willing to tackle big issues and be a leader in not only creating more awareness around diversity and inclusion but also wanting to end all forms of discrimination. It is good to see that they recognise that discriminatory behaviour exists in all forms and oppose it. It seems that they have put a lot of effort, time and thought into this campaign which will give it a better chance of succeeding and fans been more engaged in this campaign. 

Also by valuing diversity and inclusion more and more along with equality then clubs and organisations can only benefit. Also more importantly having such campaigns will do more good than harm and those who may oppose it or not agree with it should firstly consider their own workplaces or other clubs they belong to and any issues there around diversity and inclusion. I believe that more people will be for this than against this and it is a campaign if implemented well that can not only create positive change for the club but also the broader community as well. 

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Australian workplaces are struggling to implement effective diversity programs

(My own views only). A lot of organisations/workplaces may have a diversity and inclusion policy however quite often it just sits on the shelf gathering dust. It is just in place to tick another box, another requirement to meet legislative or expected business protocol or corporate standard when in all reality it is not well implemented or actively supported by management.

Creating an environment which is inclusion for all is not an easy thing to do in today’s modern world we are under more pressure in both our work lives and personal lives than past generations have been. The key to having inclusive environments where diversity thrives is to create environments where people not only respect each other but also accept, understand and tolerate each other. If people respect each other however do not understand someone from a diverse background or is gender diverse then you will never have total cohesion in the workplace.

Acceptance of others who are different to you doesn’t mean you want to hug and kiss them every day you see them at work but just means that you accept they are different to you and still deserve a chance like everyone else to work. Understanding that we are all different so that we all may get on coming together working towards a common goal for the organisation that we work for. If we can learn to tolerate each other and put this all together then organisations/workplaces are more likely to succeed and have diversity and inclusion policies that will have a better chance of working.

Getting back to the basics which may seem a bit old-fashioned nonetheless it works. Management need to be 100% on board not only around having a diversity and inclusion policy but also need to 100% be behind it actively promoting and supporting it. Creating change in any organisation/workplace is hard enough however if organisations/workplaces do not start to tackle these issues now then it is only a matter of time before they will start to fail or go backwards on these issues.

Having diverse and inclusive environments benefits all and makes for a more happy, inclusive and profitable business where win-win situations can be created. A happy, diverse and inclusive workforce is generally more often than not a productive workforce whereas one which is not means productivity is more likely not to be as high.

Work life balance is more and more important these days so organisations/workplaces also need to consider that this plays a big part in people’s decision as to where they want to work; who they want to work for and the days/hours they are prepared to work. Society is ever changing and at a faster pace than ever before in history so if we are to keep up then we need to adapt and change too otherwise we will fall behind the rest of the world. Instead of lagging behind let us become leaders in diversity and including; true leaders creating meaningful positive change that will last for generations to come.

Why are students defending diversity and inclusion initiatives?

Why should students have to defend Boise State University diversity and inclusion initiatives and why are they? They are ‘speaking for those can’t speak’. They are defending the university’s diversity and inclusion initiatives because they believe in them and also because politicians are typically interfering in things they shouldn’t by urging ‘Boise State University President Marlene Tromp’ to distance herself from the initiatives.’

It seems to me that the students are in favour of such programs and want more in higher education. This is so great to see that young people believe in diversity and inclusion in Idaho. Young people realise that inclusion is for everyone not just some selected parts of the community.

If we can all band together and help those who are marginalised recognising that togetherness with understanding will help make a better future for all. If we want to create a better world now and for future generations then we need to get on board. If we do then we all work together solving pressing economic, enivronmental and humanitarian issues.

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I am now also an actress and model looking for work. Check my Instagram page @melissacgriffiths and website

Thanks to photographer James Taylor. #pics_that_pop

Transgender people self-identifying

My own views only. You can’t always believe the media and the mainstream thinking as this survey shows that over 50% of brits support transgender people self-identifying and children self-identifying as well. The ridiculous hurdles one has to go through to be able to even identify as transgender and acknowledged as such in Britain and in most states in Australia is something that needs to change.

Society is meant to be moving forwards yet it still struggles to grapple with others such as transgender people and don’t consider that transgender women should be part of female only groups or allowed to swim at the “Hempstead Ladies Pond” in Britain. One doesn’t transition so one can just use the female toilets nor is it a lifestyle choice. It is the way we are wired and who we are. It is that simple.

It is good to see that the majority of Brits from this survey done by YouGov support not only self-identifying but also the “teaching of LGBT+ issues in schools”, with those opposing this in the minority. One can only hope that the rest of the world will see what is happening in Britain and start to realise that we can all live together not matter who we are and become an inclusive soceity where currently we are really not.


What do you wish you had on your life?

Do you wish you had more time or more money or could pay your debts off faster like I wish I could?

Life is short so if you stop wishing and starting doing then one day your wishes will come true.

Love conquers hate

We are becoming a divided society and it will only get worse unless we learn to put aside our differences. We must come together united as one people, one society and one country learning that love is the only answer.

If we do this then we can end the era of bulllying, harassment and hatred wherever it exists.

Do what you love

Do what you love after all life is very short. If you pursue your dreams and give it a go then you never know you may actually get there.

In life most people never truly pursue their dreams so don’t die wondering what might happened. Live it and do what you life as in the process of doing so you will inspire others to do likewise.