‘Most of the women I see have this desire to be the perfect mother which is one of the drivers for them getting depressed and anxious. I’m a Professor of Psychiatry specialising in women’s mental health – in particular perinatal mental health. We now have screening for post-natal depression but now we need to help the child and help her parent the child so the inter-generational transmission isn’t happening.

‘The primary carer, which is quite often the mother, is the prototype for every future relationship that this child is going to have. This is where you learn trust and where you learn how to interact. If someone is depressed or so withdrawn because they’ve got psychotic illness, then it makes it really hard.

‘Unfortunately these days we’re trying to be so many things and the result for some people sadly is that they’re not doing any of them well. Guilt keeps coming up again and again – that’s a recurring theme.

‘The reality is kids will suckle the good stuff – anything you’re able to give them. Basically you’ve only got to get it right 30% of the time, try to get it right another 30% and the rest of the time, well the kids will cope!

‘Be bigger, stronger wiser and kind no matter how little you know about parenting – you know more than your child. If you don’t know it, you can find out – ask someone about it.’

For help, visit www.beyondblue.org.au.

‘It was very late in life when I finally worked out what I wanted to do. I started at the age of 47. I think sometimes things are meant to happen at ages that you don’t expect things to happen.

‘I don’t wish it had happened earlier. I think my life has panned out just nicely. There were other things I wanted to do. I was convinced I wanted to be a beauty therapist and an actress. I did both of those things and then realised they’re not for me.  My passion just naturally changed and I think there is a strong message in that for everyone looking at what they want to do with their life. It’s not too late to change your passion. It was very hard to let go of the acting because I studied for 3 years, did my degree and then wondered how I could possibly stop but I finally gave myself permission to finally let go. This is my new passion and I love what I do.

‘From about 14 I was drawn to vintage clothing. I went through a number of years working in retail, studying acting and always in creative fields. One day I was unhappy with where my life was going. I walked in to an antique shop. I was looking at a shop counter and the guy asked where my shop was. I said that I didn’t have a shop but just loved the counter. He asked me if I did have a shop what would I have and it just came out. I said to him that it would be a vintage clothing shop. I had an epiphany at the moment, walked out and rang my husband and my mum straight away and said to them I know this sounds crazy as I have no stock but I just want to have my own vintage clothing shop. I didn’t buy the counter. Someone else bought the counter and I kick myself to this day that I didn’t but it was the catalyst. It really was like a bolt of lightning. I literally walked on air out of that antique centre because I knew what it was that I finally wanted to do with my life.’

What’s been your biggest challenge in life?

‘Doing my first degree when I was 38 which I loved and sailed through and I got a first. I studied Drama.’

What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

‘Aim for RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London) – do the degree early! That is where I wanted to go but my parents wouldn’t let me. I became a registered nurse when I was 18 instead.

‘I’ve only stopped performing on stage in the last five years because I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth and I won’t go on stage with no teeth. I can’t annunciate properly but I’ll have new teeth in soon.’

Will you go back to stage then?

‘Only to do cabaret – I love cabaret. I didn’t find cabaret until I was actually doing my finals project. I love singing and dancing. I shall return!’

How appropriate that we should bump in to these wonderful Humans of Newtown on Father’s Day. Adam featured on our page on Friday crossing King Street with both twins strapped to him – daddying like a boss! Join me in wishing him and all the dads (and dad role models) out there a wonderful Father’s Day.

‘Life is meant for laughing and joking and things like that. Not for worrying and being serious about things. And if you feel like dancing and singing, go ahead. Life is for joy – not for miseries. Here on the Earth is a wonderful place. We should be looking after it a lot more than we do.

‘I’m proud to be an old coot. On the 22nd of September, I shall be 90 years old. I’m no longer a dashing young chap. I used to dread old age but now I’ve learnt all these things about how to maintain my health.

‘Avoid all synthetic food – like margarine. The other thing to avoid is Aspartame – it is quite a poison. Also, there are five exercises called ‘The Five Rites of Rejuvenation’. These are the most interesting things I have learnt. I’ll demo the first one. You’ve heard of prana and you’ve heard of chi and George Lucas tells us about the force. It’s all around us. There is a way of scooping it in. This is the basic one – now stand back. What you do is you’re scooping it up with this hand and with the other hand you’re flinging it away.

‘I do that every morning. I learned this at 60 years old. I still get up half an hour earlier every day to do this. People are flattering – they tell me I don’t look a day over 60. Well, 60 was a long time ago!’

‘The mainstay of my work is sideshow. I swallow razorblades, walk on broken glass, eat lightbulbs and stuff. For a circus performer, I’m neither fit nor flexible. It’s all in my fingers and tongue. I had an act where my assistant would feed me razorblades. She’d then swallow some string and then we’d snog. As we snogged, we regurgitated what we swallowed and tie the razorblades under the string with our tongues.’

How did you get in to this?

‘It’s weird. I studied business. I thought that was the smart thing to do. I didn’t study art and drama like I wanted to because like that’s ever going to make you a living. I picked up fire twirling just by randomness and started getting work for it. I then started to diversify. I went from fire dancing to fire eating to fire breathing to sword swallowing to swallowing other things to just working on controlling responses of the body that are normally automatic that we normally don’t have conscious control over – that your subconscious takes over itself.

‘What I do, it’s not like an adrenaline rush. I’m not seeking death or pain or anything like that. It’s actually more methodical. It’s more mastery of your body. It’s not even mind over body. It’s more mind over mind really. My old assistant used to say, “Everything is in the mind. Even the mind is in the mind.”’