Editor's Note: One factual error, discovered by the author's older brother, ("Her own husband had fallen hostage to the demon drink"), has been removed.  It was the brother of Kitty Walker, named James, who became addicted to alcohol, not the husband (also James) of the Elisabeth mentioned in this post. (Explained on page 90 of A Little Bit of Irish.)  The greater part of this post is/was "true". 2018 I'm re-publishing this post, with modifications, from two years' ago. My cousin and I are about to embark on a search for more in-depth information about her deceased mother's early life. For this reason, I shall revert to real names in this post. We are hopeful of finding anyone who knew Kitty Walker's daughter, and who can fill in the many gaps about her life in an orphanage in Sydney and beyond. Our next step will be to widen the search, utilising orphanage and ancestry sites and records contained within. 2016 I'm lying in bed feeling sorry for myself when I receive the message. It's ten days since I caught this virus from, guess who? my significant other. The first flu I've had for years and, guess what? It went straight to my newly 20/20 vision eyes...  Just after having cataracts removed. Yes, nowhere else but there! Until today, when I felt nauseous and knew it wasn't from "you know what"...  Perhaps the tummy ache is a good sign, the last kick of the virus before it leaves for good...

Psychology as a Field of Study

Psychology is a relatively recent discipline, arising from pioneering work carried out by the American philosopher and psychologist, William James (1842-1910). Depth forms of therapy, sometimes known as psychodynamic therapy, consider past events in a person's life from a causal perspective. They rely on in-clinic experience, and the close relationship between the analyst and the analysand. Cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT) rely more on evidence-based research, and involve retraining of clients' thought processes, emotions and behaviour, without the necessity to recover repressed memories from the past. [caption id="attachment_13988" align="alignnone" width="640"]freud's couch Freud's Couch[/caption]


I had my first taste of philosophy at Armidale Teachers College in 1961. This was one of the options that I chose to study, apart from the more mundane teaching subjects that were mandatory. Miss Margaret Mackie enchanted us with stories of the Delphic oracle, as well as introducing me to a long-term love affair with Plato, and Platonic ideals.  I did not realise it at the time, but this gifted teacher was opening up the foundations of Western philosophy and science to me and to others in the class.


Plato (428-348BC) has been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality. Plato's teacher was Socrates, and much of Plato's works are based on Socrates' ideas. We studied Plato's Republic, an amazing work about the just society. Our teacher focused on the allegory of the Cave, which has fascinated students of philosophy and mysticism ever since.

A mother is often the first positive influencer in one's life

Mum's favourite poem, when she was alive, was "If" by Rudyard Kipling. She was not an educated woman in the traditional sense, but she'd learnt to be tolerant of others and knew how to remain positive. Another message she tried to impart to my siblings and me was about staying true to yourself and respecting others. It is sometimes hard to stay positive when the world is in turmoil, with wars raging in other countries, and suicide bombers killing and maiming their fellow creatures. And when one seventh of the seven billion people on earth are hungry, it is hard not to think about this, especially as I sit down to eat in a place of plenty. The fall of the dice could have placed me in that seventh part of the globe. There but for the grace of God go I... But I have to think, rather, how lucky I am to be born in a country that looks after its people and tries to maintain some semblance of egality of wealth across all demographics.  It's not perfect, but I give thanks for living in a multicultural country that supports freedom of speech and religion for all.

When I married, another positive "significant other" came into my life:

"Nothing good ever comes from being negative," he said, "but something good can happen if you are positive." I used to shrug off these words as just another mindless cliché—the bain of writers' lives, as they are trying to improve their writing for publication. And I went through some dark periods in my past; there have in fact been many negative phases in my life. Perhaps it all amounts to cycles, as expressed through the lyrics of the song from the fifties and sixties, "To Everything There is a Season".  Positivity didn't happen overnight for me. There was a life crisis in the eighties, when my children were still young. But not long after that I knew it was time for change.

Online Dating

If you have never thought about trying Online Dating services or downloading the Tinder App, you are probably in a loving, monogamous relationship, and you might just be, but not necessarily, over fifty! In any case, you are sure to have a son or a daughter, or and older single friend, who has tried this modern phenomena with varying degrees of success. woman-and-smart-phone If you go online, you will find a dazzling plethora of dating sites that must be simply overwhelming to the newcomer: Match.com, Zoosk, Elite, Attractive World, rsvp, Be Naughty, be 2, Academic Singles, eHarmony, City Swoon,  Amour Life,  Puppy Love, Blink Dating, Encounter Dating, The League, The Senior Dating Agency, cDate, Victoria Milan, Senior People Meet, Aussie cupid.com.au ... and counting.

Did you know that one in five Australians will personally experience clinical depression or a bipolar disorder over their lifetime, there are the families, partners, friends and work colleagues who are also drawn into the crisis. Often, it is these people on the perimeter that selflessly reach out to assist those who are living with a mood disorder, offering their time, their acceptance, support and hope. In searching for strategies to deal with mood disorders, the latest Black Dog Institute Writing Competition throws the spotlight on the powerful stories that come from carers, with a particular focus on the questions of what worked best, what didn’t work and what you learnt.