Please stop trying to heal my chronic illness with unsolicited advice

The other morning, at my favourite cafe, a Reiki healer quietly slid her card across the table.

"Excuse the interruption, but I can't help but feel I'm in the right place at the right time," she told me. I had been quietly sobbing (at least I thought it was quiet) in a hushed conversation with my mum about some shattering blood results.

The stranger thought she was offering me the missing link to healing. And, I suspect, she thought she'd make a buck or two in the process.

This is not an isol

From menstrual leave to 'pet illness leave': Businesses are adopting new leave benefits and we have questions.

“Fertility leave is one I feel really positive about,” Hardie says. “We’re 81 per cent women in our business and there are always a lot of staff who are having babies and trying to get pregnant. I think that IVF is something people tend to keep pretty private, but it has a lot of repercussions for emotional and physical wellbeing.”

Hardie admits that she was initially daunted by how much extra leave the company could be paying. But she doesn’t think it is a hard thing for business leaders to of

I scoffed at everyone’s emotional support water bottle, until I got one

In case you’ve been living under a yoga mat these past few years, hydration is back in vogue, only this time it’s super-sized.

If you cast your eyes around at cafe tables, your colleague’s desk or the perimeter of your boutique gym class, you might have noticed a growing trend. In fact, it’s impossible to miss those colourful insulated vessels because they’re bloody huge and, for the past two years, the “emotional support” water bottles had me rolling my eyes so far back into my head I saw star

'My life-sustaining medication is out, everywhere. This is what it’s like.'

I reached the counter of my twelfth pharmacy, heart pounding, eyes brimming with tears, and choked out, “I called earlier about the hydrocortisone”.

“The woman on the phone said you had three bottles of the 20mg,” I said.

She scanned the shelves quizzically. “Nope, we have one left that’s about to expire but that’s all.”

This was it. Breaking point. My tears shook themselves loose and flooded her counter.

I have Addison’s Disease, an autoimmune disease that affects my adrenals, rendering the

There’s only one reason we should be talking about Jelena Dokic right now

Jelena Dokic is doing a world-class job of calling out fatphobic slurs. And what a waste of her precious time it is. Sure, we’ve come a long way in the fight for body diversity in media, but if you think we’re living in a body-positive, post-fatphobic world, I would invite you to draw your attention to any woman in media or entertainment living in a plus-sized body. Returning serve: Jelena Dokic is at the very top of her game as a tennis commentator. Dokic does a fantastic job of anything she at

Please don't ask me when I’m having my second child.

"What a gorgeous little boy! Must be time to go again soon?"

I paused, briefly processing the intimacy of such a question coming from someone I’d spoken with for just three short minutes. I’d chatted with the check-out clerk casually in between unpacking groceries onto the belt, and then replacing the ones my toddler had thrown back into the trolly. So far, we’d covered our shared despondence over the end of summer, our appreciation of the upcoming winter fashion, and how long she had left on h

The pandemic took away my hope. How do I get it back?

“My girlfriends have all quit.” Angela’s voice on the phone breaks as she speaks of the toll the pandemic has taken on her and her nursing colleagues. “I’m the last one standing.”

At 58, with more than 40 years’ experience as an emergency department nurse under her scrubs, she’s worked in nearly every state and seen more than most do in a lifetime. But even with an arguably unmatched baseline level of resilience, the pandemic took a heavy toll on her sense of hope. “We did it tough and it has b

'For years, I subscribed to 'hustle culture'. It landed me in hospital.'

From my vantage point on my far-too-comfy couch, as I make my way through the day’s to-do list (carefully curated to allow ample room for cup-a-soup breaks, accidental naps and social media k-holes), it occurs to me that I may have finally liberated myself from the clutches of hustle culture.

I’ve resigned. I’m opting out. I’m D.O.N.E – and I’m not the only one.

While the pandemic brought us an onslaught of personal and societal miseries, for many of us, it also elicited a much-needed shift in

Creating an inclusive workplace for people with chronic health conditions

This blog is part of our Expert Commentary series, bringing you insights into some of the unspoken challenges people face in the workplace, from experts with lived experience. The series explores a range of topics and perspectives to highlight the ways inclusive and compassionate leadership practices can benefit everyone.

“She was so dedicated to getting us over the finish line.”

We all sat, captivated, as the director spoke between hurried mouthfuls during our overdue lunch break.

Stop telling fat people their bodies are costing our healthcare system

Allow me to be clear: A person’s health status, or the status we assign their health due to their appearance, is not information that is owed to anyone, aside from perhaps a trusted medical professional. I choose to share my health status publicly because I’m able to do so without the fear of being accused of “bringing this on myself”. I never have to worry about someone telling me “it’s your unhealthy choices that led to these health problems”. But those living in fat bodies with a clean bill o

'I never looked sick.' In 2023, eating disorders don't look how you think.

Content warning: This story includes descriptions of disordered eating that may be distressing to some readers.

Close your eyes for a moment and picture someone suffering, in the grips of an eating disorder.

Imagine them struggling to eat a full meal, being tormented by obsessive thoughts surrounding weight and calories, and pushing their fragile body past its limits.

Now take a second to reflect on the image that popped into your head during that description.

It’s likely that the image you

From avoiding trends to cost-saving measures: 5 things to consider when planning a renovation.

Have a few (hundred) lockdowns and countless kitchen-bench Zoom meetings seen you cast a more critical eye over your living quarters?

Maybe those creaky floors and cracked bathroom tiles seemed charming when you first moved in, but now you fantasise about taking a sledgehammer to your leaking kitchen sink each time it sprays water onto the ceiling.

If that sounds familiar, maybe you’re ready to ditch the plunger and take the plunge into a full-blown reno. Having just finished gutting and trans

Last year we were alone together. Now, many are just alone

Again, I truly hate to bring the mood down at a time when we’ve finally achieved the freedom we all craved for two years. I’m a Melbourne girl, I lived through a lifetime of lockdowns and social restrictions, cancelled my honeymoon, cried with friends over their ill-fated nuptials, and prayed for the day we could go back to the theatre, the bars or a cafe for lunch. And now we’re here. I just didn’t expect it to mean freedom for, seemingly, everyone else but me. “It’s bloody rough living as a yo

'Please stop commenting on my pregnant body.'

Late in my third trimester, I walked into a furniture store and held the door for the woman coming in behind me.

"Oh, I should be holding this for you! How far along are you?" she asked.

"35 weeks," I said. "Almost there!"

"Well, you look incredible," she said, eyes darting up and down my body. "So... compact!"

"Thank you," I sighed, accidentally letting the door slam behind us.

Watch: Your questions about childbirth, answered by mums and non-mums. Post continues below.

As she walked off,

I had anorexia but you won't see a 'before' photo from me

I walked past my local GP clinic and stopped cold. Did I imagine it? Stepping back a few paces, I could see it clearly, written in bold letters, positioned on the highway for all to see: “Lockdown bulge? Call now!”

I might have expected this from my local gym trying to score new members upon reopening. But from my doctor? 2020 just reached a new low. By now you've probably seen the familiar photoshopped picture of Barbie placed next to her usual thin image stating “Me before quarantine/me after

'I feel fraudulent'. The whole time I worked in the fitness industry, I had an eating disorder.

Content warning: This post deals with eating disorders, and could be triggering for some readers.

"Get a head start on your summer body..."

My phone buzzed, and I looked down to see an unsolicited marketing text from a major gym chain, not unlike the hundreds I’ve received over the years.

Except for some reason, this one really bothered me.

It wasn’t touting the health benefits of movement, the community found in gym culture, or the satisfaction there is to be gained by improving your physic

'Do you have a real job as well?' I'm an actor. Here are the 6 things people always say to me.

As a group, we certainly have an unenviable reputation. Much like lawyers, comedians and car salesman, there are certain, unavoidable assumptions that follow as soon as the word “actor” tumbles out of my mouth at a party.

Over the years, for better or worse, here are some of the things I’ve encountered…

Side note: Watch the horoscopes and self-care. Post continues below.

“Omg, this is so cool, now I know someone who’s famous!”

Do you? Who?! Oh…

Sorry to disappoint, but I am not turning many

Why am I so annoyed when someone calls my baby a "little man"?

The receptionist at my obstetrician’s office cooed down the phone after confirming my blood results.

I thanked her and booked my next appointment. Before the call ended she cheerfully sang out, "Congratulations on your little man". My body convulsed. "And so it begins," I sighed.

I can’t be the only one who finds the term "little man" when referring to a newborn baby or toddler, deeply unsettling... can I?

If the bulk of the pregnancy and birth announcements I’ve seen lately are to go by, I a

"It gets better, I promise." 5 things I wish I'd known before my baby was born.

"Congratulations! Is this your first?"

I was finalising the details with my anaesthetist’s office for my upcoming c-section and the woman on the other end of the phone was uncharacteristically chatty.

"Yes!" I said. "I’m quite nervous."

Watch: Your questions about childbirth, answered. Post continues below.

I had extra reason to be. In early pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

At the time, adding insult to chronic illness were Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions, ever-c

“I’m more at home than I think I’ve ever been.” Exactly how I feel about my body after my first child.

My husband had just walked in, home from work, and enquired about the loud banging sounds coming from the laundry.

I basically yelled it at him, as if it was his fault... I mean, there is an argument to be made for that, but that's a discussion for another day.

I hadn’t intended to yell, it just came out – much like the trickle I hadn’t expected to find running down my leg and into my Ugg boot earlier that afternoon. And, spoiler alert, the banging from the laundry was that very boot, having j
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About Me

Hannah Vanderheide is a writer, actor, and voice artist with a beautiful baby boy. She's also a body-neutral trainer, eating disorder survivor, and wellness industry sceptic who loves to write about the sensible side of health.