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What is Self-Compassion?

What is Self-Compassion?

3 October 2019

Definition of Self-Compassion:

Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “There but for fortune go I.”

Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.

 

The Three Elements of Self-Compassion

1. Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment.

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.  Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism.  When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced.

2. Common humanity vs. Isolation.

Frustration at not having things exactly as we want is often accompanied by an irrational but pervasive sense of isolation – as if “I” were the only person suffering or making mistakes.  All humans suffer, however. The very definition of being “human” means that one is mortal, vulnerable and imperfect.  Therefore, self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone.

3. Mindfulness vs. Over-identification.

Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.  This equilibrated stance stems from the process of relating personal experiences to those of others who are also suffering, thus putting our own situation into a larger perspective. It also stems from the willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.  At the same time, mindfulness requires that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity.

 

What Self-Compassion Is Not

Self-Compassion is not self-pity.

When individuals feel self-pity, they become immersed in their own problems and forget that others have similar problems.  They ignore their interconnections with others, and instead feel that they are the only ones in the world who are suffering. Self-pity tends to emphasize egocentric feelings of separation from others and exaggerate the extent of personal suffering. Self-compassion, on the other hand, allows one to see the related experiences of self and other without these feelings of isolation and disconnection. Also, self-pitying individuals often become carried away with and wrapped up in their own emotional drama. They cannot step back from their situation and adopt a more balanced or objective perspective. In contrast, by taking the perspective of a compassionate other towards oneself, “mental space” is provided to recognize the broader human context of one’s experience and to put things in greater perspective. (“Yes it is very difficult what I’m going through right now, but there are many other people who are experiencing much greater suffering.  Perhaps this isn’t worth getting quite so upset about…”)

Self-Compassion is not self-indulgence.

Self-compassion is also very different from self-indulgence. Many people say they are reluctant to be self-compassionate because they’re afraid they would let themselves get away with anything.  “I’m stressed out today so to be kind to myself I’ll just watch TV all day and eat a quart of icecream.” This, however, is self-indulgence rather than self-compassion.  Remember that being compassionate to oneself means that you want to be happy and healthy in the long term. In many cases, just giving oneself pleasure may harm well-being (such as taking drugs, over-eating, being a couch potato), while giving yourself health and lasting happiness often involves a certain amount of displeasure (such as quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising).  People are often very hard on themselves when they notice something they want to change because they think they can shame themselves into action – the self-flagellation approach.  However, this approach often backfires if you can’t face difficult truths about yourself because you are so afraid of hating yourself if you do.  Thus, weaknesses may remain unacknowledged in an unconscious attempt to avoid self-censure. In contrast, the care intrinsic to compassion provides a powerful motivating force for growth and change, while also providing the safety needed to see the self clearly without fear of self-condemnation.

Self-Compassion is not self-esteem.

Although self-compassion may seem similar to self-esteem, they are different in many ways.  Self-esteem refers to our sense of self-worth, perceived value, or how much we like ourselves. While there is little doubt that low self-esteem is problematic and often leads to depression and lack of motivation, trying to have higher self-esteem can also be problematic.  In modern Western culture, self-esteem is often based on how much we are different from others, how much we stand out or are special.  It is not okay to be average, we have to feel above average to feel good about ourselves.  This means that attempts to raise self-esteem may result in narcissistic, self-absorbed behavior, or lead us to put others down in order to feel better about ourselves.  We also tend to get angry and aggressive towards those who have said or done anything that potentially makes us feel bad about ourselves.  The need for high self-esteem may encourage us to ignore, distort or hide personal shortcomings so that we can’t see ourselves clearly and accurately. Finally, our self-esteem is often contingent on our latest success or failure, meaning that our self-esteem fluctuates depending on ever-changing circumstances.

In contrast to self-esteem, self-compassion is not based on self-evaluations. People feel compassion for themselves because all human beings deserve compassion and understanding, not because they possess some particular set of traits (pretty, smart, talented, and so on). This means that with self-compassion, you don’t have to feel better than others to feel good about yourself.  Self-compassion also allows for greater self-clarity, because personal failings can be acknowledged with kindness and do not need to be hidden. Moreover, self-compassion isn’t dependent on external circumstances, it’s always available – especially when you fall flat on your face!  Research indicates that in comparison to self-esteem, self-compassion is associated with greater emotional resilience, more accurate self-concepts, more caring relationship behavior, as well as less narcissism and reactive anger.

 

Tips for practice

Self-compassion is often a radically new way of relating to ourselves. Research shows that the more we practice being kind and compassionate with ourselves, the more we’ll increase the habit of self-compassion.

There are a few tips to practicing self-compassion that are important to keep in mind for novice and experienced practitioners alike. Self-compassion is a practice of goodwill, not good feelings. In other words, even though the friendly, supportive stance of self-compassion is aimed at the alleviation of suffering, we can’t always control the way things are. If we use self-compassion practice to try to make our pain go away by suppressing it or fighting against it, things will likely just get worse. With self-compassion we mindfully accept that the moment is painful, and embrace ourselves with kindness and care in response, remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. This allows us to hold ourselves in love and connection, giving ourselves the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while providing the optimal conditions for growth and transformation.

Some people find that when they practice self-compassion, their pain actually increases at first. We call this phenomena backdraft, a firefighting term that describes what happens when a door in a burning house is opened – oxygen goes in and flames rush out. A similar process can occur when we open the door of our hearts – love goes in and old pain comes out. There are a couple sayings that describe this process: “When we give ourselves unconditional love, we discover the conditions under which we were unloved” or “Love reveals everything unlike itself.” Fortunately, we can meet old pain with the resources of mindfulness and self-compassion and the heart will naturally begin to heal. Still, it means we have to allow ourselves to be slow learners when it comes to practicing self-compassion. And if we ever feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions, the most self-compassionate response may be to pull back temporarily – focus on the breath, the sensation of the soles of our feet on the ground, or engage in ordinary, behavioral acts of self-care such as having a cup of tea or petting the cat. By doing so we reinforce the habit of self-compassion – giving ourselves what we need in the moment – planting seeds that will eventually blossom and grow.

 

Credit: Dr Kristin Neff, https://self-compassion.org/

Social September

Social September

26 September 2019

Social September 2019 encourages us to press pause and disconnect from our digital lives and reconnect with each other and ourselves. The aim is to create opportunities for face-to-face connecting promoting positive mental health and well-being.

The Collective Family knows how important it is to develop and maintain strong and healthy relationships. Research shows that the one variable that has the greatest influence on the quality of our lives is relationships – not money, fame or good looks - RELATIONSHIPS!

People who are deeply connected to their friends, family, co-workers and even the local community live longer, are healthier, happier, more fulfilled and live a better life in general.

Just this week I was talking with a client about her family and friends which led to a discussion about Relationship Circles. Firstly you must first love yourself before you can build deep relationships. The reason you first must love yourself is:

  • The more you truly accept yourself, the more you can accept other people
  • The more you love yourself, the more forgiving you can be toward other people
  • The better you understand emotions, the more constructively you can express them
  • The stronger you are emotionally, the easier you can deal with disappointments and people’s imperfections

Dunbar’s Number (a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships developed by anthropologist Robin Dunbar) is 150 and include the six fundamental types or pillars of relationships:

  1. Primary family – mother, father, siblings
  2. Secondary family – spouse, children
  3. Friends
  4. Superiors
  5. Co-workers
  6. Mentors

It is difficult to understand your roots if you do not have a good relationship with some members of your primary family. Choosing a spouse is one of the most important decisions of your life and children the most important legacy you leave behind. You want to share interests with friends and co-workers and engage in some form of meaningful paid or voluntary work. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and find a good mentor or coach who can fast-track your progress in any area of your life.

As with everything in life being pro-active pays dividends and relationships are no exception. Being pro-active means that you do not just react to whatever is happening in your life but you systematically, deliberately and assertively respond and find the most constructive way to meet your goals and needs. Being reactive in relationships means that you do not put any conscious effort into relationships or interactions. You place your relationships and communication on auto pilot.

If you are pro-active in relationships, you consciously decide who you want to meet, with whom you want to spend more time, what relationships you wish to nurture and so on. A good start to relationship proactivity is to map all the people who are present in your life and list all the 150 people that interact with you on a regular basis and then arrange them in four categories, in four different circles, based on how close they are to you (see the diagram below).

  • The circle of intimacy – these are people you cannot imagine your life without. They know your private self well, you spend a lot of time interacting with them, you usually live with them and you trust them the most.
  • The circle of friendship – these are people who are close to you but there is less intimacy involved. They do not physically live with you, share a bathroom with you or support you financially. But you do share your dreams, good news and troubles with them.
  • The circle of participation - most co-workers, local community, acquaintances and other people that you interact with on a regular basis (but are not your friends) fall into this category. All the friends you start neglecting can be quickly outcast into this circle.
  • The circle of exchange - the last circle contains people with whom you do transactions. They can be your doctors, a hairdresser, home cleaner, maybe even a customer, and so on.

Draw an arrow to each person, indicate if you want to move them more inwards (build a closer relationship with them) or if you want to move them more outwards and create more distance - maybe even cutting them off.

If you want to read more visit ‘Relationship circles – The most important diagram of your life’ by AgileLeanLife at https://agileleanlife.com/relationship-circles/

And just for fun watch the You Tube Video ‘A Teacher Valuable Life Lesson’ at https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=a+teachers+lesson+about+life&view=detail&mid=47FFF5FDD7750382A82747FFF5FDD7750382A827&FORM=VIRE

OCD and Anxiety Disorders Week 2019

OCD and Anxiety Disorders Week 2019

16 August 2019

The Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic) is a state-wide, specialist mental health organisation, providing support, recovery and educational services to people and families living with anxiety disorders. ARCVic aims to support and equip people with knowledge and skills that will build resilience and recovery and reduce the impact of anxiety disorders.

 

This week the MHC family have provided a brief overview of OCD and anxiety disorders. Would you like to become a member of the ARCVic? This organisation represents the needs and experiences of people and families affected by anxiety disorders to the community, professionals, health and mental health services, academic researchers, the government and media. ARCVic provides essential support, information, education and recovery services for people living with anxiety disorders.

 

ARCVic is committed to providing information to those most in need at the lowest cost possible and in some instances the seminars are free. ARCVic provides short term, skills based group therapy programs for people with anxiety disorders. Their Support Groups provide an opportunity for people to help one another, understand their anxiety disorder and the recovery process.

 

Children worry about many different things. Learning to cope with their anxiety, stress and fear can be really difficult, not only for them, but also for the parents and family. Developing an understanding of anxiety and learning some skills to manage it can make a significant difference to a family and can help empower children to have a sense of control in handling their own worries.

ARCVic’s relaxed and informative seminars include:

  • Understanding anxiety and normal childhood development
  • How personality and environment contribute
  • Different types of anxiety
  • The signs and symptoms for you and your children
  • Management methods and strategies for you and your children
  • Relaxation techniques with tips on building resilience
  • Where to go for more information and help and take home material 

For more information visit www.arcvic.org.au and/or email arcmail@arcvic.org.au

OCD & Anxiety Helpline 1300 269 438 or 03 9830 0533

Talking about death with young children: lessons from Sesame Street

Talking about death with young children: lessons from Sesame Street

9 August 2019

(credit Kerrie Noonan, The Groundswell Project)

 

Don’t you remember we told you? Mr Hooper died, he’s dead.

Oh, yes , I remember. I’ll give it to him when he comes back.

Big Bird, Mr Hooper’s not coming back.

Why not?

Big Bird when people die they don’t come back…

Ever?

No, never.

Why not?

Well, Big Bird they’re dead, they can’t come back.

***

When I was a child, I loved watching Sesame Street. I still find it delightful and love watching the old clips of Ernie in his bathtub, those weird telephone-discovering Martians that say yip, yip, yip…

But none come close to Big Bird. I watched in the days that Mr Snuffleupagus was still his imaginary friend and I loved the way that Snuffie could disappear from those pesky adults despite his size.

In 1982 Mr Hooper, who ran ‘Hooper’s Store’ died in real life and the producers of Sesame Street decided to acknowledge his death this very touching scene that you can watch here. I don’t recall ever seeing this episode as a child, but I remember Mr Hooper and remember Big Bird having trouble saying his name.

This scene, apparently captured in one take, provides a lesson in how to talk to our children about death. Here are the 5 things it teaches me.

1. Say the words “dead” and “died”

They may not be easy words to use but all children need to hear these words first.

Using phrases like “passed away”, “gone”, “sleeping” or even “gone to God” and “an Angel in the sky” are confusing for children who need a concrete explanation.

Start with the plain facts of physical death (dead means you can’t come back, dead means your body doesn’t work anymore) and then add your spiritual beliefs. Like most young children, Big Bird tries hard to grasp that dead means never coming back. Stick to the physical aspects of death first.

In this clip, offering Big Bird the reassurance that ‘no one will forget Mr Hooper’ and reminding BB of the importance of memories (ie our ongoing relationship with the dead) is given preference over talking about spiritual or religious beliefs which can come later.

2. Go at the child’s pace

Young children need time to absorb loss.

Big Bird says a number times that he doesn’t understand, even after the finality of death is explained to him. I find it very touching how the adults just wait.

They are not trying to fill-up all the silence. They wait for the next question to emerge and then they respond to that.

They also calmly repeat the same information about death and resist the urge to make it up as they go.

3. Share and show genuine feelings

So easy to say, but so hard to do!

The moment when Maria tearfully says “That’s Hooper, Big Bird, Hooper” is a total tear jerker! 

In this clip, the adults are not trying to be brave or hide their feelings. This seems to help Big Bird because like most children, it's only once the adults acknowledge and share their feelings, that Big Bird says "it makes me sad" and he begins to share his. 

4. It takes a community

All the adults in Big Bird’s life are working together to help him feel secure.

They seem to be looking out for each other and at the same time supporting Big Bird. In a perfect world this is what we all need when someone dies. It isn’t always possible but if you can find a small group of supporters in your family, school and community it can have a tremendous effect in helping children feel supported and secure. 

 5. Just because…

There is something perfectly wonderful about the exchange between Big Bird and Gordon at the end this scene.

Big Bird protesting Mr Hooper’s death says, “… but why does it have to be this way, give me one good reason!”.

To which Gordon responds: “It has to be this way, because… Just because”.

Such an honest thing to say in that moment. There is a part of me that wants Gordon to say more and try and explain ‘it’ to Big Bird. I’m glad he doesn’t because in that moment Big Bird accepts it and they all move on.

Talking about death with children needs time and it doesn’t need to be complicated.

 

For more resources on talking about death to children, have a look at this list of children's books on death and bereavement (courtesy of The Guardian and dyingtoknowday.org ):

1.Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
This was a book I read and reread as a child (as well as Back Home, my favourite of Michelle Magorian’s books). I read it again recently as I heard the author on the radio talking about the book, and I was fascinated to hear that she’d considered not including the death of one of the main characters. I remember being horrified, almost angry, when I first read the book – the death (not saying whose) seems so incredibly unfair after all that Will, the main character, has suffered. But as she said, the war was real, and it would have been cowardly not to show how horrific the losses were. My oldest son (Tom, and another of my sons is called William…) read Goodnight Mr Tom at school last year, and was equally shocked – he said it was the first book he’d read where a main character died, and he almost didn’t believe that it could be right, I remember the same feelings so clearly. Will’s grieving is described so realistically, as is the way he carries on, trying to think like his friend, so that he’s not forgotten.

2. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I borrowed this from my school library, probably shortly after I read Goodnight Mr Tom – again Leslie’s death (this one is impossible to talk about without spoilers, sorry!) is so shocking. But the amazing world she created carries on for Jesse and May Belle. This is one book where the film is almost as good!

3. Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr

I bought this for my boys as they’d loved all the other Mog books, and I knew that they would find it difficult when our own elderly cat died. Although it’s about a cat dying, Mog’s tiredness and readiness to leave are beautifully expressed and would help a child struggling with any loss. Mog’s continued love for her family, and the way she wants them to be happy after she’s gone, are heartbreaking.

4. No Matter What by Debi Gliori

I read this picture book long before I had children, and thought it was so beautiful that I made my husband read it – in Waterstones, where it made him cry… No Matter What is about love, going on forever, even after we’re gone. As an adult, particularly if you have young children, do not read it in public if you don’t want to be seen crying!

5. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

When the Velveteen Rabbit’s owner has scarlet fever, all his toys have to be destroyed for fear of infection. But the rabbit has been so well loved that he’s made Real. Such a beautiful book, again not directly about death, but about being taken away from someone you love, and the way things change and carry on.

6. Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Oh dear. So horribly sad, and Charlotte’s death is so uncompromising, the way she’s left behind in all the litter of the fair. But she carries on in her children (who have never met her) and the stories that Wilbur tells of her.

7. Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch

My youngest son and I came across this in the library a few years ago, and he was fascinated by the ghoulish-looking Death, who is drawn with a skull for a head. This book is so interesting, mostly because it doesn’t give any answers. This is actually very helpful – lots of room for discussion. The story implies that Death is part of life, a close companion always. The writing (or rather, the translation, this book is translated from German) is beautiful. I particularly love that after Duck has died, Death strokes her crumpled feathers back into place.

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

One for older children – not because it’s at all difficult to read, it’s a complete page turner, but it’s deeply emotional. Conor is desperately trying to cope with his mother’s approaching death. An absolutely gut-wrenching description of the fury and guilt surrounding caring for a parent. Conor’s anger makes you want to wade in and save him, somehow. I was practically grinding my teeth at the unfairness of it all. No easy answers in this one either, but that’s the beauty of the book.

9. Michael Rosen’s Sad Book by Michael Rosen

Like A Monster Calls, a wonderful book that says you’re allowed to be sad, and everyone is sad sometimes (and angry and disbelieving and horrible to other people…) I usually think of Quentin Blake’s illustrations as mad and bright and joyful, here they’re brilliantly scratchy and dark.

10. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Not an obvious one, and the one that doesn’t immediately fit into my argument… But I’m working on a book inspired by The Secret Garden at the moment, and I’ve been reading it and thinking about it a lot. Death pervades this book – Mary’s parents have died, so she’s sent back from India to Misselthwaite. Colin’s mother has also died, after an accident in her beloved garden, leaving his father grief-stricken, and his son abandoned and terrified that he will die too. It’s not a book to give a child who’s grieving, more an example of how crippling (literally, in Colin’s case) grief can be. But then the garden itself comes back to life, bringing memories of Colin’s mother, who created it, and healing both the children. Frances Hodgson Burnett had some interesting theories about what would probably now be called positive thinking, but her descriptions of spring reawakening the garden are beautiful.

 

Younger kids might like

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr

A poignant and reassuring story about loss. Through the lens of a pet fish who has lost his companion, Todd Parr tells a moving and wholly accessible story about saying goodbye. Touching upon the host of emotions children experience, Todd reminds readers that it's okay not to know all the answers and that someone will always be there to support them. An invaluable resource for life's toughest moments.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Offering a very simple approach to overcoming loneliness, separation, or loss with an imaginative twist that children easily understand and embrace, this book delivers a particularly compelling message in today's uncertain times. This heartwarming picture book for all ages explores questions about the intangible yet unbreakable connections between us and opens up deeper conversations about love.

Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes Inbetween by Robert Ingpen

Have you ever wondered why a butterfly lives for only a few weeks? Or why a tree lives for hundreds of year? You may have been sad when someone in your family, or a favourite pet became sick and died. There is a beginning and an ending to everything that is alive. In between is a lifetime. Dying is a much a part of living as being born.

 

Myths and Misconceptions about Organ and Tissue Donation

Myths and Misconceptions about Organ and Tissue Donation

2 August 2019

Thinking about organ donation can be uncomfortable, and can lead us to avoiding this important issue. Below we’ve listed some of the common myths and misconceptions about organ donation to help answer some of the questions you may have.

               

MYTH: It’s better to just let my family decide at the time

FACT: If you want to become an organ or tissue donor – you need to tell your family.

  • A main reason that families decline donation is because they simply don’t know what their loved one wanted.
  • 73% of families that have prior knowledge of their loved one’s willingness to donate say ‘yes’. This increases to 90% when the deceased is a registered donor.
  • When the family is unaware of their loved one’s donation decision, only 44% of families agree to donation.

 

MYTH: It’s my choice – I don’t need to discuss it with my family

FACT: Your family needs to know. They will be asked to confirm your decision.

  • Families play a crucial role in the donation process because they are asked to confirm the donation decision of their loved one.
  • The family will be involved in each step of the donation process and be asked to provide vital health information – even if you have registered your decision.
  • If you’ve decided to become a donor, you need to register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register.
  • Most importantly you need to discuss your decision with your loved ones. Prepare your family so that they are comfortable being part of the process.

 

MYTH: Organ and tissue donation disfigures the body

FACT: Organ donation is specialised surgery and does not disfigure the body

  • Organ and tissue retrieval is performed by highly skilled surgical and health professional teams.
  • The surgical incision made during the procedure will be closed and covered as in any other operation and will not be visible beneath the person's clothes.
  • The donor’s body is always treated with dignity and respect and the family can still have an open casket viewing if desired.

 

MYTH: If I am a registered donor, doctors won’t try as hard to save my life

FACT: The doctor’s first priority is always to save your life.

  • Saving your life is the absolute priority of medical staff – health staff, doctors and nurses work incredibly hard to save people’s lives.
  • Organ and tissue donation is only considered when the person has died or death is inevitable, at which time the Australian Organ Donor Register is checked and the family is asked to confirm their loved one’s donation decision.
  • One organ and tissue donor can save and transform the lives of many.

 

MYTH: Organ and tissue donation is against my religion

FACT: All major religions support organ and tissue donation as an act of compassion and generosity.

  • All major religions including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism support organ and tissue donation.
  • The organ and tissue donation process can accommodate religious and cultural end of life requirements.

 

MYTH: I’m not healthy enough to donate because of my lifestyle choices

FACT: People who smoke, drink or have an unhealthy diet can still donate. You don’t have to be in perfect health to save lives.

  • There’s every chance that some of your organs and tissues may be suitable for donation. Don’t rule yourself out – count yourself in!
  • The determining factors are where and how a person dies, and the condition of their organ and tissues.
  • The important thing is if you are willing to one day save lives as a donor, register and discuss your decision today.

 

MYTH: I’m too old to be an organ and tissue donor

FACT: Age is not a barrier - people over 80 have become organ and tissue donors.

  • People in their 70’s and 80's have saved the lives of others through organ and tissue donation.
  • While your age and medical history will be considered, you shouldn’t assume you are too old or not healthy enough.
  • Every potential donor is assessed on an individual basis. There is every possibility you may be able to donate your organs or tissues.

 

MYTH: I’m already registered on my driver’s licence. I don’t need to do anything else.

FACT: You need to join the Australian Organ Donor Register – state-based driver’s licence donor registries no longer exist.

  • If you previously registered to be a donor on your driver’s licence, you now need to join the Australian Organ Donor Register. It takes less than a minute. Have your Medicare card handy and go to https://donatelife.gov.au/register-donor-today.
  • You can no longer register to be an organ and tissue donor on your driver’s licence. State-based licence donor registries, whereby you registered to be a donor on your driver’s licence, no longer exist.

 

Credit: DonateLife

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