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Where to start when everything's a mess?

These are some issues my friend faces, I also face some (due to a non routine though very loved job)


Lack of routine

Lack of appetite and regular eating

Difficulty sleeping/insomnia/etc

Not working

No license or car (on learners with nobody to help yet)

Some headspace appointments (never at route of problems)

Just broken up by fiancee (dated 4 years)

Moving to Perth to start a new life

I am very concerned as my friend has many health concerns and once addressing these or knowing if she does or doesn't have these issues, would hopefully feel better. She is petrified of needles!! 


I would love to help my friend, however I can't help her when I need to help myself too.


I cannot get routine because I work all different times of day and night.. it's a 3 year commitment, with 2 years to go.

I do not get an appetite sometimes, whereas other times I will eat the house down. I eat meals at work, but at home or on days off, I may run errands an entire day and only have snacked on some things/drunk a glass of cold milo.

Due to my shift work, my sleep is also stuffed, though have always felt this to be an issue, I have always felt better being awake at night (though don't function better at work at night, it's about the same).

Haven't seen a councillor/similar in 1 year, scared about getting back to it, and worried about costs. I also took antidepressants for approx 10 months in 2012-13. Though struggled to remember taking them.

What I want to know is:

Where can my friend and I begin in order to help ourselves get to a better state of mind, etc. Both not gym people...


I have no psychological health cover, where can I get free sessions, or should I go to one which costs? (As well as my friend)

Thanks in advance! Smiley Happy

Re: Where to start when everything's a mess?

Hi there @Chewie and welcome to ReachOut!! That sounds like a lot of issues for you and your friend, and so my first suggestion would be to start small, and tackle the easier things. Work around your current lifestyle and see where you can make potential adjustments.

I used to have a routine like yours which was all over the place, and it ended rather disastrously for me, so here is what I can tell you based on what I have experienced:


  • Find a week planner and put in all of your current committments (work/study/volunteering/etc): This way you can figure out when you have free time and how much of it you have, so that you know when the best times are to run errands, socialise, find time for yourself, eat, sleep, etc.
  • Find time to nap!! Naps saved me during those times when I would be up late studying/working!! Even 10 minutes can be refreshing
  • Try and schedule mealtimes when you can, and if you are working right through lunch, buy/make something you can eat on the go (i.e. a sandwich, wrap, muffin, etc). If you are naturally a big eater, bring several items.
  • Overall, try to introduce some type of structure, so your body can develop a natural eating/sleeping rhythm

As for everything else, counsellors can be great in getting you set up with social workers or youth advocates who can help you adjust to life in a new place. If you are registered with Medicare you are eligible for up to 10 free sessions


Here are some factsheets which might help you:

What is self-care?

9 tips to improve your well-being

Where to get professional help

All about psychological treatments


Hope this helps Smiley Happy

Re: Where to start when everything's a mess?

Hey Chewie - when things seem to pile up and you feel like you don't know where to start, it can help to prioritise your list and then break everything down into small, achievable steps. If you look at the list posted above, can you prioritise the list by deciding what is having the biggest impact on your life (what's affecting you the most and getting in the way of feeling happy and healthy?).


Once you've done that then just start with the first/biggest problem (forget about the rest for a moment) and then decide what it is you need to do to resolve it, then break that down into small acheivable steps.
For example: there are lots of solutions on this website and this one  for shift workers to improve their wellbeing. Make a list of small steps you can take then cross them off as you go. 


As for the counsellors - you can try Headspace if you are under 26 - and if you are worried about it because you haven't seen a counselor in awhile how about trying eheadspace first (webchatting)?
You can also go to a GP and get a mental health care plan with will entitle you to 6-10 sessions at a very low costs (medicare reimburses you)

Online Community Manager

Re: Where to start when everything's a mess?

Hey @Chewie

I don't know if you are a documenter like me but what I tend to do is right things down. Like keeping a sleep diary or a food/activities diary. That sort of keeps me on track and accountable, might help if you like that sort of thing.

You don't have to be gym people but maybe taking a walk or jog as often as you can and journalling it might help you both stay accountable. I find what helps is myfitnesspal (food+exercise).

I hope this helps you somehow Smiley Happy
**Believe in the power of you because you are your own hero**

Re: Where to start when everything's a mess?

Hey, I just want to start by saying I love the way you have set this out. You have a good list of goals (almost like a check list) which can be less overwhelmimg and organised in seeking change. it is amazing that you are trying to help your friend, but make sure you remember that you need to also look after yourself and be in a good frame of mind before you can successfully help others. 


Where can my friend and I begin in order to help ourselves get to a better state of mind, etc. Both not gym people...


  • Identifiying the struggles you are having is the first step, which you seem to be doing a great job of
  • Getting into a routine will help alot of these issues you are expeirencing, try with small steps in getting a more regulated diet and sleeping pattern. Little steps each week to work towards a goal. 
  • Looking at your wellbeing, if you are not gym people perhaps going for a light walk or even just being out doors can be really awesome


I have no psychological health cover, where can I get free sessions, or should I go to one which costs? (As well as my friend)


  • Depending on if you are a student or not some psychologists bulk bill, if not headspace is definitely a good place to have a chat with
  • Have you spoken to your GP? they will be able to provide sepcific services to your location