The Myth of Being Over Depression

You only ever really temporarily come up for air before being pulled back under.

How I Forgot Myself And Ended Up With A Miserable UTI

Their worth is in their suffering — and in the praise that’s a by-product of it.

Why You Need To Rest When You’re Sick

Flu season is upon us and you may already be feeling under the weather. With germs being spread around you at work, on public transport and even at the gym, it’s often easy to pick up the flu bug and find yourself surrounded by tissues and lozenges.

RELATED: Makeup For Sick Days

When you’re sick, your immune system is fighting off the germs that are affecting your body and you need to allow it to do so. Engaging in your usual activities when your sick will make your body weaker and make you even more susceptible to the germs that you have caught.

Exercising when you’re sick is generally a no-no because you are working your body too hard and as a result making yourself sicker. Letting yourself recover from the illness and then easing yourself back into exercise is the best way to listen to your body and know your limits.

If you’re a member of the gym, it’s your duty of care to the people around you to not attend when you are sick. Spreading germs at the gym is very easy to do as you are in close vicinity with others and touching many of the same things they are. You’re also in a closed environment, so if you’re coughing and sneezing everywhere your germs have many things to cling to.

Public transport should also be out – you’ll just be making other people around you sick and you’re also in an environment where you yourself can catch more germs. Have you ever been on the train or bus and someone is sneezing or coughing behind you or next to you and not covering their mouth? I can feel you shuddering at the grossness right now.

Don’t be afraid to take some time off when you’re sick, either, because work and work stresses have the ability to make that flu worse by wearing down your immune system even more. Your productivity levels are generally going to be lower when you’re sick and you’re more likely to spread the sickness around your workplace, as a result lowering the productivity and morale of your whole team. It’s also harder to get better if you’re in a workplace where others are sick as well.

So, during a sick period it is okay to take time off from your usual commitments and allow yourself to rest. Resting and taking care of yourself should be number one on your priority list so you can get better quickly and get back to enjoying life.

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Man Flu: Is It Real Or Imagined?

Man flu has often been described as an illness which causes the male of the species to be helpless and sicker than any other family member. In females; a cold. While women struck down by the flu simply remedy it by popping a Codral and then carry on, men who develop flu-like symptoms suddenly turn into helpless toddlers in need of some serious babying. Honestly, it’s as if man flu is life-threatening! Do men just really need to harden the f*** up?

Should you ever be accused of dastardly man-flu neglect, went in search of answers to these age-old questions and quandaries: Is man flu real or imagined? Why do men fall to pieces over a few sniffles? Do men deserve more sympathy when sick? Man flu does in fact exist, says Australian Medical Association Queensland president, Dr Shaun Rudd.

“Man flu is a term that describes when men develop flu-like symptoms – men are not as tough as women,” Dr Rudd says. “Men are very different to women – men seem to go down quicker [with the flu]. Women just seem to battle on when they’re sick.

“I must be the exception to the norm because I can battle on – all men don’t suffer the man flu the same. But I’m not as tough as my wife, for instance. Men should always do as they’re told! When we doctors are prescribing man flu, we like to tell people to go to Bunnings, and we tell them to take a spoonful…”

Meanwhile, low and behold, a recent UK study suggests men may actually suffer more when sick. The study, by Stanford University School of Medicine, revealed that this is because when men are struck down with flu their high levels of testosterone can weaken their immune response.

The study examined the reactions of men and women to flu vaccinations. It found women generally had a stronger antibody response to the jab than men, giving them better protection against the virus. Hmm, my jury’s still out.

What do you think? Is man flu real or imagined?

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‘I Am Pregnant, Not Sick’

One of my friends in Pakistan would often say that we, women, were very hypocritical when it came to using the ‘female card’. “You play it safe and convenient,” he would say, adding that we always wanted to remind men about women ‘being first’ when standing in queues or entering a building or expecting for the door to be opened for them or a chair to be pulled out, but would prefer men to take lead in things we (women) wanted to avoid. He said we played the card when voicing for gender equality at work, political representation and issues related to equal pay scales as their male counterparts, ‘very conveniently accusing men of gender discrimination and discernment’.

I never agreed, always asserting that a gentleman’s behaviour and gender balance at professional settings were different attributes, both of which crucial for a civilized society and productive working environment, respectively. But now, when commuters in public transport offer me a seat on noticing my baby bump or a generous colleague offers to take over a project that we were originally supposed to do as team because ‘it is not good for me to overwork’, I often think about my friend back in Pakistan. Are these such moments when I am playing the female card?

No matter how tempted I may get at times, I always very self-effacingly decline the offer. I don’t want people to treat me as if I am ill or offer help just because I am carrying a life. After all, I am pregnant, not sick.

Why treat pregnancy as a disease?

A woman’s strength can often astonish you, especially during pregnancy. I’ve grown up in a family of strong women. Strong enough to drive themselves to the hospital for labour. The women in my family have never treated pregnancy as an illness or a condition that needed treatment. I grew up watching them continue their routine chores, both inside and outside their homes; take care of their families; drive; cook and work. 

I was 16 when my mother was expecting my youngest sibling. I had seen her finish stitching a cradle cover for him an hour before she gave birth to him. There was utter silence in the house, not even her painful mutters could be heard. Then, she just got up and said she was going to the hospital. An hour later, we were informed that we had had a baby brother.

She and women like her give me hope and courage and build up my belief that pregnancy is a natural healthy condition, which should not be treated as something as unnatural as a disease.

Pregnant women should not treat themselves as sick or weak. For those who do, it is just an illusion that makes them think that they are physically weaker or in need of a helping hand.

If you aren’t worried, why should other people be?

Yesterday, as I left my workplace, my new boss – with whom I am working on a writing project to be launched in two months – seemed rather apprehensive. Guess why? He was worried about the future of the project with my baby due to come to this world in a few months.

“What will happen to the project,” he asked.

“Should something happen to it?”

“Well, not really,” his words changing their frequency from high to low.

“Then just be cool about it. My pregnancy shouldn’t be a reason for you to worry about the project.”

After a five-minute discussion of concerns and assurances, he looked satisfied. Before I left, I turned back to him and said, “I am going to have twins- the baby and the project.” He smiled and waved me goodbye.

Six things you should never say to a pregnant woman

There are hundreds of such lists on the internet, but I’ve personally prepared this one with my personal experiences.

Are you sure you can do this? Never judge or underestimate a woman’s willpower. I travelled to Afghanistan for a training in war reporting 19 hours after I had a DNC following an early miscarriage. I came back with my story having won the second award, and the interesting thing is, no one there could tell what I had been through in the last week. 

You look so tired. I think you should just stop here. Anyone can look tired. A school teacher after a long day, a truck driver after a long drive, a bricklayer after a 12-hour shift or you after a bad night’s sleep. Isn’t looking tired normal?

I am worried about how you’ll manage this. Don’t. Trust me, if a woman gets herself into something, she knows she can do it. It’s the psychological determination that makes the body work, too.

You certainly need help. Yes, but only when she asks for it. And even when helping, don’t make her feel weak or dependent. She does not deserve to be treated this way, when she is creating a wonderful life.

Life’s going to get really tough in the coming weeks. How can you tell? Life can be tough on anyone. My friend’s husband lost his job, weeks after she had her second child. She was a housewife then. He remained jobless for two years and got bankrupted for credit card and other loans. They had to sell their house to move to a smaller one to rid themselves off the loans. Two years later, they are fortunately recovering, after both of them have started to work. Does pregnancy still sound tough?

How will you ever complete this task? You shouldn’t have accepted it knowing you are pregnant.  This is not only discouraging but daunting and prejudiced at the same time. An old acquaintance, now a close friend and an inspiration, got pregnant with her second child in the first semester of her PhD. Not only she gave birth to a beautiful daughter nine months later, she secured a distinction in her first semester and earned herself a scholarship in the last year. Her daughters are now seven and five, as she plans to move to another country for a post-doctorate.

Pregnancy is a condition not a disease, nor is childbirth a medical emergency. 

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By Ayesha Hasan

Man Flu Turns Men Into Sick Kids

It’s official: According to women, the common cold turns the average Aussie bloke into a snivelling child when sick. Nearly three quarters of women believe their partner displays childlike behaviour when under the weather and more than half of females claim that Man Flu only exists because men are so pathetic at coping with illness.

The survey – commissioned by Vicks VapoRub – reveals that nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of women believe a cold can transform a strong, strapping man into a big kid, with a need to be waited on hand and foot (47 per cent) or reassured that he really is sick (46 per cent). It’s also not uncommon for men to like being tucked into bed when they are struck with a cold or flu (15 per cent).

When the tables are turned, the majority of women (79 per cent) are confident they are better at handling a cold or flu than their partner. Nearly all women (98 per cent) say that their other half at times demands more sympathy than her when sick, and one of their more common ways to respond is to ‘whinge about how ill they are as if it’s the worst cold or flu ever’.

One thing that both males and females have in common however is the belief that Man Flu exists. 59 per cent of women say this is the case, and nearly one in two (44 per cent) of our male population believe they have suffered a cough or cold which could be described as Man Flu.

However, it’s not all about the men. While child-like behaviour is most commonly observed in our Aussie men suffering from colds, women can throw their toys out the pram too with more than half (57%) of men saying their other half resorts to acting like a kid when sick.  And blokes: watch out for tell-tale female cold and flu signs such as your other half not moving from bed (27%) or becoming needy (21%). And while women say their men complain, nearly half of men (43%) acknowledge that women typically carry on with a cold and go to work, rarely taking a sick day.

TV presenter, writer, broadcaster and regular Man Flu sufferer Jonathan Coleman feels the pain of our male population. He says:

“A severe cold can hit at any time and reduces even the manliest of men (including myself) to a Man Child. My wife can tell I’m acting like a Man Child when my eyes turn watery, I’m buried in tissues or when my bottom lip starts to quiver when I’m not getting my own way.

“For all of those fellow Man Flu sufferers out there, my top tips are to get cosy on the sofa with your favourite TV show, keep your cupboards fully stocked with treats at all times and ensure you have your trusty Vicks VapoRub with you at all times.”

For help in choosing a range of cold and flu remedies you can use the Vicks Product Selector, found here: