Q My doctor recently diagnosed with me with depression and ordered some blood tests in addition to prescribing anti-depressant medication. The doctor said the blood tests will screen for anything else which may be impacting on my mood, particularly relevant to a woman. How much does physical health effect depression? I understand eating a good diet and exercise are important, but how does it all link to mental health?
Q I’ve just moved in with my partner and his two children; both girls, aged ten and 13. I’ve never had children on my own and I don’t want to replace their mother but I do want to build a relationship with them. My partner would like us to parent them together and this scares me a little bit as I never want to come across as the “evil stepmother”. We got along well before I moved in and I would like to build on this relationship. How do I now adjust to this new role while preserving our positive relationship?
Q I’m not coping with being at work at the moment. I feel like I am a hated person and a group of staff now ignores me because I told them they made me feel uncomfortable for speaking badly about other staff. There seems to be a culture of negativity and when I raised my concerns with the manager, I was told to lodge a formal complaint and to access counselling. I just don’t see how counselling will resolve the bullying I am now experiencing. I am also afraid to lodge a formal complaint because these colleagues will know it is me and will probably make my work life even worse. I feel stuck and miserable – what if I lodge a complaint, put myself through a process and the investigation comes back in favour of the colleagues I have issues with? This has happened before and I don’t want to have to leave another workplace due to something like this. What do I do?
Q My children seem to be addicted to their electronic devices, especially their iPads, and so getting them to do anything around the house is so difficult. As much as this frustrates me, I accept that I have allowed this to happen and now really want to find ways to reduce their device time. Any ideas?
Q My father has begun to display early stage dementia and his doctor has confirmed this. My children are aged 5 and 7, and as Dad’s dementia progresses, I want them to develop age-appropriate understanding. At the same time, I don’t want them to think that dementia and the forgetfulness that goes with it is automatically part of growing older. Please give me some tips to encourage them to be patient and thoughtful.
Q My son Jack has completed his first term of Year 12 and his anxiety levels are climbing. He has set himself high standards and wants to proceed to university. I want to support him and would appreciate some strategies, including how best to prepare him for the HSC exams.