Local Perth woman, Loz Sindel, has taken what could have been seen as a challenge by some, and made it into a positive for herself and others. Specifically what I love about Loz’s story is how she has used her own anxiety and disease journey as an inspiration for a series of books for children on their own health journey, and those with parents who have a illness challenge. It is people like this that make Perth a richer place to live.
Tell us a little about yourself and living in Perth
I consider myself a happy and positive person. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, I work full-time, and I volunteer for Silver Chain, as part of their community connections program. Although I have three auto-immune diseases (Arthritis, Endometriosis and Ulcerative Colitis), I try not to let them define me, but inspire me.
I live in a Northern suburb of Perth with my husband Luke and our fur baby (rescue dog) Luna. I love living in Perth, and have lived here since I was two, after my Mum & Dad emigrated from Ireland with six kids in tow.
Perth truly is the best place to live. Everyday Luna and I walk along the coast to take in as much fresh air and beauty as possible. It is the best way to start the day, every day, and I am so grateful to have the heath and ability to enjoy Perth and all it has to offer. Something I know should not be taken for granted.
What prompted you to write this series of books for children? What would you like them to take away from reading them?
It was my own heath struggles, as well as that of family members, that encouraged me to write these books. I feel very strongly about building awareness and understanding around health conditions, so that no one should ever feel different or scared during the uncertain and fearful times that ill health can bring.
I’d like people to gain courage, hope, insight, reassurance and comfort from reading the books. Sometimes life can present us with scary challenges, but we are brave enough to get through the difficult times. I personally have found that a hopeful and positive mindset can help when dealing with difficult situations, and I want to try share that with others.
The health condition books come in first and third person options, to help adults explain their own health conditions to children. Often children pick up on the anxiety and effects ill health has on adults, and the fear of not knowing what is happening can lead to unhealthy assumptions or associations for the child.
Did you write them altogether or one by one? And when was the first one published?
I wrote most of the books in relatively close proximity to each other. The health condition books all follow a similar structure, so it was a fairly fast process. There is a sentimental story linked to all of the books written so far, so they are all very close to my heart. I am still building my book list though, with a few planned and one currently in draft (about bullying).
The books were printed last October and I officially launched in November 2019.
How has writing these books helped you on your personal health journey?
These books have been very cathartic for me to write. They help me process my own thoughts and feelings, and it is so rewarding to think that they might help someone else that might be struggling to do the same. The thought of potentially helping others avoid some of the mental (even physical) anguish I have felt because of ill health (mine or a family members) makes me feel good about my little passion project. Because I donate some funds to charity, I also feel like I’m helping more than just one person with every book.
How did you craft your experience of anxiety as an adult into a version for children?
Quite easily actually. I was always an anxious child, and I feel that is where most of my health issues have stemmed from. When we are scared or anxious, sometimes we need to make our self-speak softer; almost child-like, to be able to navigate our way through the fear and uncertainty.
What sort of feedback have you had from kids using them?
I’ve had some really lovely feedback. One example in particular is from a mum who bought two of my books (The Anxiety Aid and The Self-belief Builder). Her five-year-old daughter was always too scared to sleep in her own room because of a fear of the dark, but after a few days of reading the books she felt brave enough to sleep in her own room.
That feedback really made my day and reiterated why I started Brave Books.
Sales from your books go to a few charities. What’s your connection to these specific ones?
All of the Health Condition books donate money to a charity relevant to the condition. Currently, I raise funds for National Breast Cancer Foundation, Bowel Cancer Australia, Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, The Kids’ Cancer Project and Crohn’s & Colitis Australia. All of these charities and conditions are important to me. I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Colitis), and I know how debilitating it can be, so I am passionate about building awareness and understanding around this condition. In relation to the Cancer related charities, I have had close family members with various cancer diagnoses. Some with positive stories of survival, and others who passed.
Do you think the level of anxiety has changed during this COVID experience Perth has been through?
I’m obviously unable to comment as a qualified professional authority, but from personal observation I do think that people are more anxious since COVID; particularly those of us with auto-immune diseases, because we are more susceptible to viruses.
To find out more about Loz’s books head to her website: Brave Books