Truth Joy Beauty

Just my thoughts and reflections about living and loving in the post-post modern age.

Archive for the tag “Mental Health”

Why more rentals should be pet friendly

When my partner and I first decided to finally move in together – we both lived in teeny tiny studio apartments, (which by Sydney’s inner west standards were quite spacious, I have since discovered) but certainly not suitable for two people, plus one Chihuahua and one cat (breed unknown) – we found it difficult, to say the least, to find a pet friendly rental in Sydney’s inner west. Something which may be surprising to some as anyone who has lived in the inner west knows, there seem to be more dogs than people! I am pretty sure that not everyone with a pooch  owns their own property so surely these numbers don’t add up?

In any case, it took us many weeks of looking to finally find a place that allowed pets. Note, if a property was advertised as NO PETS then we didn’t bother applying of course, but many don’t specify whether they are pet friendly so it is quite disheartening to find something reasonable that you like, only to be told either at the inspection or by telephone, Sorry the owner won’t allow pets. In many cases, even if the real estate agents say, Pets will be considered on application, you get no response at all to your application or an email simply stating your application was unsuccessful. Both my partner and I work, have a good rental history so I can only put it down to, what I call, The Pet Factor. Another factor I admit was that due to our budget and the ridiculously high cost of rent in inner Sydney, the properties we were looking at were mostly apartments or houses that had been split into apartments. I do understand that it is easier to find a pet friendly house as a rental but our budget simply wouldn’t allow for that.

My dog at the time was 10 years old and had spent most of his adult life living indoors. He gets walked twice a day and is quite content to just snore away in his little bed (or practically on top of the heater when it’s on) the rest of the time. Plus, he is a Chihuahua. The most apartment friendly dog you could ask for.

Over the years of renting in Sydney’s inner west I have always found it challenging to to find a rental. It is always a source of great stress and anxiety. At times, due to time pressure and the need to find something asap I have neglected to even mention that I have a dog and have gotten away with in on almost every occasion but one. Then I was asked to leave or give my dog away! As if. I’d rather live in a tent thank you very much.  In fact, many homeless people end up that way, partly as a result of having to give up their pets in order to access emergency housing. Many would rather risk life on the street than part with their animals. This to me illustrates how important animals are to our mental, emotional and spiritual well being. A fact that I can attest to from personal experience.

When I left a previous abusive relationship, and found myself alone in a different state and thousands of miles away from friends and family, it was my dog (the same one I mentioned earlier) that made all the difference to my mental health at the time. I know, for a fact that if I had not had his little, warm body sleeping on my bed, I would have felt a lot less safer and a whole lot more alone. And, if I had not had his little face looking up at me each morning, sometimes walking up onto my chest and staring right in my face with his big brown eyes silently yet intently imploring me to get up and take him for a walk, I would have stayed in bed a whole lot more. I would have given into the waves of depression that threatened to engulf me constantly during those dark days. Quite simply, in many ways, I owe my dog my life. He was the one thing that kept me going, getting on with things, got me out of the house and he always made me smile, somehow.

My dog was the one source of unwavering, unconditional love that was a candle in the dark that I will always be grateful for. He is gone now (passed away from a heart condition, ironically, in January 2016) but I will always have the deepest gratitude for his presence in my life.

This is why I implore landlords to reconsider their stance on pets. Pets do as much damage as children in many cases, but no-one would dare have a ‘no kids’ policy attached to their rental. I have personally looked at rentals that are still occupied where kids have lived there and the places always, like their parents, generally look a little beaten up. If anything, a ‘pet damage’ clause is something most tenants would be happy to sign. If my pet damages it, like anything else in a property, I would be more than happy to pay for it to be repaired.

Pets add so much value to our wellbeing that it is time to recognize that and place a little more value on humanity than the purely economic factors of property ownership as a growing number of studies are attesting to.

Lyon the Chihuahua

Good moaning!




Guess what, our minds and bodies are connected

I just read this post on Mamamia titled, “Sarah Wilson says she knows why women get sick. And she’s wrong”. Not a sensational headline, in the least. Many people are commenting that they agree with the author, an Amy Stockwell who calls herself a scientist, yet who hasn’t heard of the growing body of research which supports Sarah Wilson’s opinion. Yes Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar, has dared to write an opinion piece and for some reason this Amy person has taken it far too literally. I don’t know what’s going on there, but as far as I know, the last time I checked, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Especially based on their personal experiences.

If you read the Mamamia article and Sarah’s piece you will see that this Amy person seems to have taken Sarah’s words and has made a number of assumptions and run indignantly away with them, even stating, “Part of me thinks that Wilson is just trolling – making outlandish statements in order to generate a response.” Well, I hate to say it, but the Mamamia piece reads like one long troll and there are a number of outlandish statements within, including the above quote. Why else would I be compelled to write this response.  Reading Sarah’s piece, nowhere does she state with arrogant authority that her opinion holds true for everyone who has ever been diagnosed with a chronic disease.

The point is, there IS a growing body of research on the topic of the connection between mental and physical health.

According to this source, quoting the American Psychological Association: “Psychological studies show that your mind and your body are strongly linked. As your mental health declines, your physical health can wear down, and if your physical health declines, it can make you feel mentally ‘down’.” And there are many other articles, from respected sources including some cited and peer reviewed on the topic as well.

Here are just a few that I Googled in the last five minutes:

The above articles are from different countries and sources but they are all basically saying the same thing, our mental health and our physical health are closely related. If one goes blah, the other is affected. If we feel anxious and upset for a long period of time, we can ‘make ourselves sick’. Conversely, if we or someone we know has a physical ailment that is ongoing and difficult, our mental state is affected.

What interests me is the reaction of both the author and some of the readers who agreed with her. Why so vehement? Why was what this Sarah person saying so confronting for them. An interesting question which I don’t have a ready answer for…

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