Friday, March 11, 2011

Australia's Symbol for Mental Health Awareness

The Flannel Flower, an Australian native, is a national symbol to promote awareness of mental health.

The Flannel Flower is commonly found growing wild in the Australian bush, which has a wonderful inherent beauty and strength and is known for its extremes of weather and landscape.

To survive the extremes of Australia's climate the Flannel Flower has had to be adaptable, in the same way all of us, regardless of our life circumstances, need to develop resilience and the ability to adapt to change, in order to strengthen and maintain our mental health.

The Flannel Flower, with its soft silky texture, encourages contact and is though to help people express their feelings verbally and to develop sensitivity.

Being open and empathetic to a person's expression of distress can help not only the recovery of a person experiencing mental illness, but to change the negative attitudes of our society to mental illness.

This has come directly from here which is the Mental Health Council of Australia.  I just wanted to share this with you as I found it very appropriate.

I often think of the story of the Oak tree.

Once there was an oak tree that grew in a field it shared with tall willowy grass. Day by day the wind blew across the field of the proud oak. The mighty oak stood firm while the grass bowed at its passing.
One day the oak asked the grass, “Why do you bow when the wind passes?” The grass replied, “It is proper to do so.” The oak stood tall and firm to show the grass its wisdom and might. Day after day the wind blew by. Day after day the grass bowed while the mighty oak stood proudly at the wind passing.
One day the wind had and urgent call far off and far away. It moved through the field faster and stronger than it had ever done before. The grass did as it always did and bowed at its passing. The oak did as it always did and stood proud. The wind persisted to its quest far off. Stand as it might, the wind tore the mighty oak from its roots and through the proud oak to the ground.
When the wind had passed, the great oak laid on its side dying. With its final words it asked the grass, “Why has this happened to me?”
The grass gently bowed.

This is a wonderful analogy and continues to remind me that being flexible and open to change will allow you to adapt and survive.  Don't stand still and allow your pride to come before a fall.

Just a quick post for me tonight.  I went to my first art class tonight since coming back in to hospital on Monday.  I love art but I needed the five days to reflect, write and restore.  Tonight I worked with charcoal.  It is a wonderful medium to work with and one I want to work with again.  I got filthy and it was great.  Will take a pic and post it soon I promise.

If you are heading to bed, kiss your loved ones goodnight, tell them you love them because I can't tell mine and I wish I could.

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