Terese's Music Tales

A Great Resource for PTSD Education 

I was recently contacted by Nicole from Maryland Recovery in the US who found my blog post about my experiences with Matthew, and invited me to read their blog post and share it.  I found it extremely interesting and a great read for those who may not understand post traumatic stress disorder, and the toll it takes on the mind and body.  Please take a minute to read the blog for yourself.  Maryland Recovery are doing a great job!

Click here to read blog post on PTSD from Maryland Recovery

 

Terese!

Matthew Millhouse - Husband, Soldier, Father, Fighter - Through My Eyes 

My blogs have been few and far between but I hope to get back in to it more regularly again as my music and life journey continues, after a hiatus. 
This time I feel like sharing what I have been going through over the last period of time (if you are not already aware).  I hope you will indulge me and read on until the end, as it is difficult to write and will most likely be difficult to read.  I also write about it to continue to try to understand and come to terms with what has actually happened over the last 11 years.  Disbelief is an understatement.  And also to give you a glimpse of what it was like for Matthew and I. 
On 28 August 2015 my beloved husband of 7 years and best friend of 13 years, Matthew Millhouse, passed away at the very young age of 36.  He leaves behind myself and our five year old daughter, Eleanor. 

Eleanor's 5th birthday, 9 March 2015





















Two and a half years ago Matthew was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia.  It was a rapid and progressive dementia, which at the time was very hard to comprehend.  We really did not know how long we would have him for, although I did think at the time that anything more than 5 years would be a blessing.  (This is the average lifespan of people with dementia from diagnosis, although someone can have dementia for up to 10 years prior to diagnosis as well – Alzheimer's Australia Fighting Dementia website).  Matthew’s dementia was triggered by a traumatic brain injury that he incurred back in 2004 in Iraq from a car bomb explosion.  He was serving in the Australian Army, and the light armoured vehicle convoy he was travelling in was targeted.  At the time, he showed no signs of injury, although he was thrown from the seat he was sitting in, and was knocked out for what could have been moments. 
 

 

(Both photos taken after car bomb explosion occurred in 2004. Matt continued his deployment as normal.)





















Nowadays there is a lot of research and understanding surrounding traumatic brain injury and the effects of explosions on our soldiers, particularly in America.  But unfortunately for us, the effects were not known back in 2004, and there was no education surrounding the requirement for continual monitoring of Matthew’s brain and behaviours.  Matthew would have headaches almost every day for the last 5 years of his life.  He was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol abuse, which added an extra level of masking any symptoms of dementia. 

Back in around 2009, before Eleanor was born, Matthew thought he had a brain tumor because of his constant headaches.  So his GP ordered an MRI but everything looked ok back then.  The dementia was starting to show some symptoms (headaches, depression, more early signs of dementia), but it still wasn’t clear what we were dealing with.  In hindsight, I think Matthew knew something was not right, but couldn’t pinpoint what it was.  And at the time it was hard for me not to think it was paranoia, and hard to keep him calm, because he also had anxiety at this point too.  Even when Matthew was diagnosed with PTSD in December 2011, another MRI was conducted and no brain atrophy was found, but he struggled with focussing, his mood swings were erratic, he even had difficulty looking after Eleanor on his own for longer than a couple of hours, and his speech had changed.  He was speaking very quietly and started to stumble his words. 

There were so many signs, but with each sign there seemed to be an explanation.  Right up until his speech continued to get worse, and his balance and coordination became very abnormal for Matthew.  He would trip a lot and he couldn’t run properly or throw and catch a ball properly. 

Matthew was turning into a completely different person from the man I had met in 2002, and married in 2008.  He was a shadow of his former self, and I had trouble understanding why and became depressed myself, trying to understand what was wrong with him, what was wrong with me, why couldn’t he look after our daughter by himself, where were the irrational behaviours coming from, was it just the PTSD or depression? Could those things change a person that much?  Matthew was a very laid back, cheeky, loveable, kind and loyal man.  I reflected those traits in myself.  But before I knew it, every day became difficult, and there were long discussions and negotiations to get small tasks done. 

We had marriage counselling for some months before I realised that neither of us were getting better mentally, and I was at the point of being unable to look after Eleanor, let alone myself and Matthew, due to depression.  The only option I could see was to separate, to create some space to try to get myself well enough to rebuild our marriage and hopefully get some more help in getting Matthew well again. 

The following 6 months after we separated were taken up with me organising and going to medical appointments with Matthew to get a diagnosis for what was, at this point, clearly something wrong.  I was even thinking that he’d had a stroke which caused the speech and movement problems.  The first two appointments were evaluations from psychiatrists in the area of dementia and memory loss.  The third was an MRI.  This MRI was the beginning of the end for me.  It finally showed there was something abnormal with Matthew’s brain - general brain atrophy, or degeneration.  Not a good sign.  His brain looked normal for a 90 year old person, but not a 33 year old.  Next followed an appointment with a neuro-pyschologist for further testing of his brain function, using verbal and written questions and tests. 
Now that I knew about the brain degeneration, the more research I did into his symptoms, the more I realised we were looking at something terrible.  It was all pointing to one condition that was very hard to comprehend for Matt’s age, dementia.  At this point I realised that our marriage, our little family, our lives as we had known it before, would never be the same, and we would never be able to get it back.  There was no recovery, no cure. 

I made it to the end of June 2013 before I had a mental and physical breakdown and required four weeks hospitalisation in a mental health clinic.  I used this time to rest, and to come to terms with what Matt’s diagnosis would likely be, and prepare myself for what was to come.  While I was in the clinic, Matthew continued to have problems doing his job as a correctional officer properly, he was not able to concentrate and kept making errors.  Finally he went to work one day and forgot to put the park brake on, and his car rolled down in the car park and caused some damage.  It was after this that Matt went on leave from work.  The last week I was in the clinic, I got a phone call from police advising that Matthew had had a number of small prangs in car parks and was paying the vehicle owner’s cash to pay for the damage and keep things quiet.  I let the police know the diagnosis process we were currently going through.  They were very understanding and sympathetic, and they sought advice from Matt’s neuro-psychologist as to whether he was safe to continue driving.  It was deemed that Matthew was no longer safe to drive a car, and he also owned firearms which needed to be handed in to police and sold.  Matthew had lost his independence; he could no longer drive his prized Nissan Patrol that he loved so much and which provided us with numerous road trips and fishing trips, including an awesome three weeks together driving back from Darwin to Hobart in 2006.  He could no longer go shooting with the boys, something he enjoyed very much also.  Another loss was his credit card, which had been scammed after Matthew had been on some questionable websites and we needed to cancel the card all together.  His decision making and judgement cognitive skills were declining as well, among other things. 

In September 2013, Matthew’s psychiatrist diagnosed him with fronto-temporal dementia.  This was confirmed by a neurologist.  Then in October 2013, Matthew’s diagnosis was accepted by the Department of Veterans Affairs as being caused by the car bomb explosion in 2004, and liability was approved.  So it all became official.  We finally had a devastating diagnosis.  And everything over the last 5 years in particular started to make sense regarding Matt and his behaviours and symptoms. 

But there wasn’t any time to get used to the idea.  In November 2013, Matthew was deemed not of sound mind, meaning he could no longer look after his own finances and make sound decisions.  Then in December 2013, after a number of falls throughout the last three months, we were told that Matthew could no longer be left alone to look after himself, in case of a fatal fall or not knowing what to do in the event of a fire.  Another independence loss for Matt.  After a heartbreaking decision by Matt’s family and I, he went to an aged care facility to get the high level 24 hour care he needed.  There were no other suitable options despite myself and other organisations researching for four months afterwards until we finally accepted that he was in the best place to care for him, although not age appropriate. 

Matthew struggled for a long time to accept living at ‘The Lodge’ permanently (what we called the nursing home).  The name on his bedroom door had ‘Matthew Millhouse – respite’, as per his request.  He would constantly tell me he was going to buy a house and live by himself, and he would even send me links of houses he liked on realestate.com.  I would calmly tell him that it wasn’t something he would be able to do, but he was adamant that that’s what he was going to do and no-one could tell him otherwise.  (Anyone who has a family member with dementia knows it’s pointless to argue.)  So whenever he would mention it to me again every three months, I decided not to argue any more.  My response became “OK love”, and then he would forget about it for three months, then he would mention it again…until the realestate.com links stopped being messaged to me.  My response for most of Matt’s requests became “OK love”.  For example, he did not realise that he couldn’t go skydiving anymore, but in most cases he just needed the acknowledgement that his request had been heard, and he would be happy.  And again, it was pointless telling him he couldn’t.  (The skydiving got as close at Matthew asking the receptionist to find the number for skydiving in Tasmania.  Unfortunately for Matthew and much to my relief, the place went out of business.) 

Neither me or our families ever had time to come to terms with what was happening with Matthew.  We would get used to something that had changed or declined, and a month later something else would happen.  It was continual loss, continual grief, no recovery time for any of us, including Matthew.  As time went on though, it became easier for Matthew and harder for us.  His behaviour became more accepting, content and child like, while we watched on at the changes happening right before our eyes.  Matthew would have two or three falls a week.  Every time I got a phone call from the nurse at The Lodge, my heart would sink.  His speech would progressively get worse. He wouldn’t be able to work out how to do a $2 scratchie.  He couldn’t focus on reading his favourite books.  He would not always remember to wash his hair, or to use soap or deodorant.  His falls became so common that a wheel chair was required for his own safety on outings.  He outright refused to use a wheel chair until one day I wheeled Eleanor in to his room on ‘Willowmina’ and it became the funnest thing ever!  I would take Matt and Eleanor on rides up and down the halls where we all had to make fast car noises and burn out noises!
 













 




January 2015 - Family day at the Circus with Willowmena


After another short period of time, Matt would start to have regular falls just in his room, between his arm chair and the bed, or in the bathroom.  I would even be walking beside him, look around for 1 second and he would overbalance and fall.  So the next phase was to introduce a walker for Matthew to use, which would help his balance.  He only chose to use it after he had just had another fall in his room, and he allowed me to show him how it worked.  After a couple of days, he told me it was the best thing and he felt a lot more confident with his walking!

In the two years that Matthew was at The Lodge, I think I received over 50 picture messages of his dinners that he didn’t like and wanted to let me know about.  Initially we were going back to the staff and asking for things that Matt liked to be made for him.  After a while I realised that it just came down to the fact that Matt was having trouble feeding himself, cutting his food up and also being able to taste food properly.  He would also start to blame the meals he didn’t like on the fact that he was losing weight too. He began to just decline what I would think was a delicious meal, even our home cooked meals or meals when we went to restaurants.  So I started to stock up Matt’s little fridge in his room with ready pasta meals that he enjoyed, for an occasion when he would send me a picture of his dinner, which meant he didn’t like it.  And even though he had food that he could eat and enjoy, he still lost weight.  An unexplainable phenomenon with dementia patients also, towards the end. 
Then just in the last six months, Matt developed bulba palsy.  It affects the area of the brain that helps you control your saliva and swallowing.  Matt would not be able to stop himself if he drooled, other than to use a tissue.  But it also meant that he couldn’t stop saliva or food objects from getting into his lungs.  This is a common thing to occur for people with dementia.  It often leads to pneumonia which is untreatable. 

In the last two months Matthew continued to lose weight drastically, he had regular falls even when using the walker, and I was constantly afraid of any temperatures he might develop, incase it meant a chest infection or pneumonia. 

Three weeks before Matt died, the doctor confirmed that Matt had reached end stage dementia, and he could go at any time, in a short space of time.  Even though the risks had been high for some time now, this advice made things very real and we could see it happening in Matthew as well, especially the weight loss.  He had become emaciated.  Literally the day after I was told this information, Matthew developed a temperature of 39 degrees and pneumonia/chest infection, thus starting the real beginning of the end for us.

For those three weeks, Matthew continued to fight, despite being bed-ridden and having high temps every couple of days.  He maintained his sense of humour, his love for watching movies and tv shows, chocolate, Wally, and reminiscing on old times.  In those weeks, he seemed to become his old self again.  Matt’s sister Nicole flew down from Queensland, and she and I started to take it in turns of ‘having a sleep over’ with Matthew.  She felt like she had her brother back, it was amazing to witness. 
 

August 2015 - the last few photos taken of Matthew

















But none of us could tell how long we would have him for, only that it could be days or weeks, or possibly that we would wake in the morning after a sleep over, and Matt would not.  We did know that him not eating for a couple of days in a row meant it was getting close. 

Our daughter, Eleanor, knew that Daddy was sick and had been for a long time.  But I realised that I needed to prepare her for the fact that Daddy was now very sick and won’t get better at all, even though she saw he was bed ridden whenever she visited.  On Friday, 28 August 2015, Matthew deteriorated again and his meds needed to be increased to keep him comfortable and not choke from the fluid in his lungs.  I drove quickly to pick Eleanor up from a playdate at a friend’s, and we went back to The Lodge to see Daddy.  While walking in to see him I managed to say calmly to Eleanor that Daddy was now really sick and he will be going to heaven soon.  She understood the concept of heaven as Matt and I both lost our Nan’s this year as well. 

She was amazingly brave and strong when visiting Matt.  He was sleeping in his bed, curled up on his side, constantly wheezing and gurgling through his shallow breathing.  After she saw him I took her out to the sitting area and she said to me, “Mummy, will Daddy go to heaven tomorrow?”  I said “maybe darlin’”.  Then she said “I think he will go in the night.” 

And he did.








 

Just a short note... 

It's been a while since I updated my blog, but I felt up to putting a few words to type to let everyone know that I have started songwriting again after a break of quite a few months.  I have just finished five songs that I will next be recording professionally for my next EP.  These songs are my most personal and emotional to date, exposing a bit of my soul along the way and the journey I've been on personally.  I can't wait to get into the local recording studio.  I'm currently getting my voice up to scratch to be able to sing them at my best, which I work on every week with my vocal coach and mentor Jude.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks I will be able to look at getting one song at a time recorded and produced.  This latest EP project has really helped me to have a focus, something to work towards and look forward to.  I have found the enjoyment of songwriting again, and it allows me to have a break and escape things for a little bit each day.  It is great therapy for me.

Take care as always, and remember...

Music Is Love Is Life!

 

A new opportunity can be just round the corner! 



 
It's amazing what can happen from one day to the next.  And sometimes it's a result of 1 minute of time that you invested the previous week!  I was at home the other week having a play on my piano when I started to hear some amazing electric guitar playing. I assumed that it was a CD that one of the neighbours in my unit block was playing.  After a little while I realised that it was in fact someone playing the guitar live!  It piqued my interest because it was so good, so I went outside to see if I could determine which unit the music was coming from.  After which I then decided to leave my little business card and a note to the person playing, introducing myself and see if they would be interested in 'having a jam' one time!

Low and behold a week later I received a text from my neighbour, who had been the guitarist and he was interested in meeting me!  We've since met for coffee to get each other's musical background experience and chat more, and today we had a bit of a jam with a couple of my original songs and some covers to see how we 'meshed'!  We really played well together, me on piano and vocals and he on acoustic guitar. We decided to get music to a bunch of covers and meet up once a week to practise, and eventually work towards doing gigs together, which would expand the kind of music I play as a solo singer-songwriter pianist!  It really got the creative juices flowing and I am now very pleased i took the minute to leave a note in my neighbour's mailbox!

The one thing I am learning about the music industry (and anything really), is it always pays to be proactive.  Make things happen, if you sit back and wait for them you'll be waiting a very very long time!

Music is Love is Life 


Helping in more ways than one. 


Hello all!  I wanted to touch on how amazing it feels to find others out there who are going through/have been through the same things as me and my family, knowing we're not alone really does help and talking about it also helps.  This feeling is only something I have discovered in the last month.  I have felt like I wanted to talk about and share my story and help spread the word about PTSD, the effects and getting help and supporting each other.  It is so very necessary but often when we are caught up in the midst of it all, it is very hard to recognise this and even put ourselves out there to get help, as we are in survival mode.

Well now that I am slowly coming out of the fog I've been in for the last three years, I really feel up to helping others by sharing my experiences and showing people that they aren't alone, helping to spread the word.  I have joined the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia (Tasmania Branch) recently and it has been one of the best things I have ever done.  I have come into contact with other men and women who are not just veterans of vietnam and family members, but the younger generation who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas for peacekeeping tours.  It is very sad to see that this wave of PTSD is occuring again, but so glad that there are organisations out there willing to help.  I finally felt up to meeting with the lovely ladies of the PVA, plus others from my generation with very similar experiences, and I haven't look back since!

Talking about it does help!  Share your story!  I am hoping to make a bigger difference as a member of the PVA, but a way I have been able to help individually has been by creating a Forum space on my website for others to share their story, and I am so glad to see that it is being used and people feel that they can share.  I am not an expert, I only have my own experiences and I hope I can help to make even the smallest difference to someone else going through the same things, and help them find the right support.

Finding a creative outlet to help deal with your emotions is definitely something I would recommend as well.  For me it is my music and songwriting.  For you it might be art, reading, writing, singing, anything!  It is an amazing therapy that you can do yourself and in your own time when you are ready.

Look after yourselves and know that you are not alone!

Music is Love is Life :-)

The Week That Was! 

This has been such an accomplishing week for me with a lot happening!

It started with moving house which, as everyone would know, is a huge effort and stress...but I got through it and feel reasonably settled in my little sanctuary once I set up my home studio with a view! 



I have also been battling a viral inner ear infection so every now and again throughout this week I've had dizzy spells and aches!!  Then on Wednesday morning at 6.35am I was interviewed on ABC Radio Hobart 936 Breakfast Show with Ryk Goddard, about my EP Fives Shades of Me and the story behind the songs and my experiences with dealing with my husband's post traumatic stress disorder from serving overseas in Iraq.  You can hear the whole interview and read a small article entitled 'Loving A Soldier'  here .

I shared the interview with a number of Facebook pages and Groups relating to support for Australian Peacekeepers, return servicemen and partners of veterans, and from that I was invited to have an article written about me in The Australian Peacekeeper magazine in their September issue! On Thursday the viral infection sprung again and I had a very tired struggle day, with only a day away from performing at Shoreline Hotel!  After getting in a few practices I got myself all dressed up and ready to perform at Shoreline on a beautiful polished wooden grand piano!



I really enjoyed myself playing for the patrons who were enjoying a delicious meal, and I received some lovely comments.  I will be going back to sing at Shoreline about once a month which is exciting for me!

Saturday was a quiet day musically, I spent the day/night having mummy/daughter time with Eleanor.  We went to the park while friends and Eleanor's dad went orienteering...the new Saturday social gathering, following by drinks (and a bubbacino)!

On Sunday I had a lovely time performing during the Flourish Handmade Markets at my own stall!

        Doin' my thing!                                                                 My 'stall' at the markets!                                                   Eleanor (my daughter) playing for the crowd!
  

I sang on and off for four hours which is a huge feat, for me anyway!  It was just like a rehearsal really as market patrons browsed around at the other stalls while I sang!  I received some lovely comments as well, and although I only sold one EP, I was asked if my music could be the background music for a slideshow of the stalls showcasing Flourish Handmade Markets on the 'Think Tasmania' website!  This website receives over 400,000 hits a year and they have a newsletter that circulates to 2000 people a week so this will be AMAZING exposure for my music!  'Think Tasmania' researches and promotes all things Tasmanian!  Thank you to Tania and Gavin of Think Tasmania for the opportunity!

I have also just received the current June issue of the Hobart Mums Network monthly newsletter, and it features my last music blog entry as an article!  You can have a read of it here, click on the June issue and go to Page 5!  It outlines an important and close personal issue about raising awareness for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) earlier and targeting the younger veterans who are having issues.  In saying that, I have made a small contribution to the cause by creating a space on my website for a forum discussion board for return servicemen and their partners, families and friends who want to share their story about being touched by PTSD.

And now I have an exciting announcement thanks to modern technology!  I have my very own Android and iPhone/iPad App!!  It is free and downloadable from my Reverbnation website here (access website via your Smart Phone).  On the App you can hear my music, view photos and videos and other features, all from the ease of your Smart Phone device!!  It isn't available to download in the iTunes store as that costs a lot of money to register it with them.  So feel free to share the website for the App with your friends and family!

And that brings me to writing this blog today!  So it has been a full-on week!  My next goal will be to gain some media and music industry reviews for my EP, which will help to gain credit for me and my songs, and also to book some more gigs!  I'll eventually get back to songwriting again but I am enjoying the ride too much of promoting my music!

Signing off - Music Is Love Is Life!!

Remembering My Love For Performing! 


In the last three years, since I started writing and recording again, I felt quite content with being the songwriter and not the performer, to the point of being anxious by even thinking about performing!  I was happy for other people to sing my songs.  And yet I still felt that I wanted to release an EP as the singer-songwriter so that I could say I did it, and I have now achieved that!!  And until the 1st May I was still happy just to be the songwriter and not the performer.

Now for people that know me, my family in particular, this is rather unusual.  I used to perform all the time in choirs, for school, in church, with my mother busking and performing concerts, and I loved it! I used to play the piano and sing without even thinking about it! I loved how it made me feel and how I made others feel!  Somewhere in the last 10 years I had forgotten that and stopped being true to that part of me.  I have no idea why, I was experiencing new things in life and new loves and that was what I was doing, certainly not a bad thing.  But to not want to perform and having to think about playing the piano and sing at the same time, was to the point of anxiety!  Even during my singing lessons I struggled with it! And yet I had no second thoughts about releasing my own EP as the artist!!   And so now I have my EP to thank, because since the release on 1st May 2013, I started receiving requests for me to perform, and it was the most exciting thing I have felt in a long time, even amongst a very difficult time in my personal life.  I decided that there was no time like the present, people wanted to hear me sing so I was going to do that for them!

In my preparations and practicing, I have remembered how easy it used to be.  It was like riding a bike!  I sat down at the piano and started to play all the old songs from the 90s that I used to play on repeat, like Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx, or The Day You Went Away by Wendy Matthews!! And now I am teaching myself the current songs like Someone Like You by Adele, or Stay by Rihanna (all amazing ballads of course!), and now my own songs!!  It had been a 15 year 360 degree turn, but I have remembered and returned to my roots!  I had such a great time performing at The Haven for all the mums and bubs, and I now have two more gigs coming up this week at The Shoreline and Flourish Handmade Markets .  I am also about to start making phone calls and visiting venues and entertainment booking agencies to expand my gig opportunities, with the aim to do my passion full time!  It is a very exciting prospect!

I have also just bought myself (on special) a very portable small PA system so that I can perform anywhere!  The mixer fits in the back of one of the speakers and the chords/leads fit in the back of the other!  I'm on my way baby haha!!!

So this post will give people an insight into my past and current situation.  All of it has all led me to where and who I am today.  I obviously wasn't ready to explore this earlier in my life. Things are happening as they should be now, for a reason.

Thanks for reading! 

Music is love is life!

Terese Millhouse


Onward and Upward! 

Hello all!  It has been a real rollercoaster fortnight since my debut EP Five Shades of Me was released world-wide on 1st May 2013!!

Firstly I'll just provide the direct links to the music stores to purchase/download my EP:

CD Physical Copies:
My Website
CD Baby

Digital Downloads:
My Website
iTunes
Amazon
CD Baby
Bandcamp
Spotify

So!  Since releasing my EP I have received a lot of excellent feedback!  I love hearing which song is your favourite so keep it coming, thank you!!  I have sold a few hardcopy CDs as well as digital downloads, both from my website and iTunes so far!  I also took the proactive approach of forwarding four CDs each to all the capital city community radio stations around Australia (can give you a foot in the door to the commercial larger radio stations)!  Since then I am receiving high rotational airplay on Edge Radio 99.3FM in Hobart, receiving airplay on Huon FM in Hobart plus a 30 minute interview that featured on Friday 10th May at 10.30am (podcast to come), and receiving airplay on FBi Radio 94.5FM in Sydney in four separate shows (see Photos on my website for list of shows)!

I have also received two requests to perform my songs at three separate events which is very exciting and motivating for me!  I was just planning on being the songwriter but since the release of my EP, and recent personal experiences, it has made me realise that I need to take nothing for granted and just go for it and do the singer-songwriter thing!  As such, I now have an Upcoming Gigs page on my website so you can have a look at what I've got coming up, and maybe try to make it long for a performance or two if you can!

Another highlight this fortnight was that my song Bare was shortlisted to be in the running for the opportunity to co-write with Allan Rich! Allan is a two-time Grammy, Academy Award and Golden Globes nominee whose songs have sold over 65 million copies, including Whitney Houston's smash from the Bodyguard, Run To You!  I will find out on 15 May whether I have been selected for co-write.  Being that I am in Australia, it would be a three hour skype session co-write and would be a dream come true!  I'll keep you posted.  Just for being shortlisted, I received a 'Rising Star' award on the SongU website that I am a member of (an online songwriting university created, run and mentored by professional songwriters!).

As part of the promotion of the EP, I am hoping to bring a greater awareness to the effects that serving overseas in a warzone is currently having on the soldiers and their families from Iraq and Afghanistan.  My husband suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression (he served in Iraq in 2004/05 and 2005/06) and it has had an effect on the whole family.  My EP is very much about my experiences,observations and emotions surrounding this issue.  PTSD is something that has affected all soldiers and their families from all war throughout the times, and after the way that Vietnam Veterans were ignored and provided with no support, I hope to change that.  Even now, there is more support than there used to be but it is still taking too long to provide that support (usually after diagnosis), and there is not enough focus on prevention and providing support right from the beginning, not just for the soldiers but support for the families too, right after the servicemen and women return from a warzone.  There is still no where near enough support coming from the Defence Forces or the Department of Veteran Affairs, it is mainly through the Veterans and Veterans' Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and again, usually after diagnosis!

I have just become a member of the Partners of Veterans Association, which is a National body, that is trying to reach a larger audience and let the younger generation know that there is support out there.  I will be performing at an event that the Tasmanian PVA will be hosting in July, singing my songs and sharing my experiences with others who have been/are going through the same thing.  If anyone would like to find out more information about the PVA, please send me an email and I can get you in touch with the lovely ladies that run the Tasmanian branch of the PVA!

I still have so much that I want to do in relation to this EP launch.  I want to video a live accoustic version of me singing Bare for my YouTube page, I want to contact some more radio stations and try my luck at some of the commercial stations, I want to submit my songs for licensing and recording opportunities with many music supervisors, and lastly i would love to promote myself locally, get more gigs and collaborate with Tasmanian musicians in particular for both songwriting and performances!  I also had a wild idea of applying to be the entertainment on a cruise ship, how amazing would that be!

That's all for now.  Thanks again for everyone's support!  Please share my music, website and blog to help spread the word (I am an independent artist and I rely on word of mouth, shares, emails etc!).

'Til next time...remember that...

Music is Love is Life!



EP done and dusted! Released around 1 May 2013! 

 Hello everyone!  I am so happy to annouce that all my songs are finished and I have just ordered the physical copies of the CD that will be delivered in a couple of weeks, plus had the EP distributed digitally to all major online music stores, including iTunes, Amazon and Spotify!  So the official release when all websites should have them up and running will be around 1 May 2013!

You can now listen to, purchase and download the digital album on this website on the home page and coming soon will be the physical CDs!

So here is a little bit of information about the EP and the story behind it and each song.  The EP is called Five Shades of Me.  There are five songs on the EP that each have a story and reflect on an emotion that I experienced at those points in my life.  The five shades are what I have used on the design of my EP cover:

1. Bare (purple) - a story about being hurt by an emotional trauma and losing the ability to love, and hitting rock bottom.  Reflects on pain, hurt, emotionally bruised and having nothing left.  This personally was about myself hitting rock bottom in the middle of 2012 after going through long term high stress levels and trying to help my husband who was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (in Dec 2011), anxiety and depression (in 2010).  I only wrote this song in the last couple of months.

2. I'm In Love With You Now (red) - a story about how my husband and I first met and our feelings grew even though a friend of mine also liked him back then.  Reflects on love and wanting.  I wrote this song about a year ago.

3. On The Other Side (black) - a story about loss of a relationship from the point of view of the person who left, and the relationship was cut short unexpectedly. Reflects on loss and sorrow.

4. Take A Breath (yellow) - this song is about remembering to stop and take a breath when things get a bit overwhelming, to look inside yourself and bring out the light within, to breathe and bring calmness.  I wrote this song not long after I hit rock bottom and needed something to remind myself of these things.

5. A Soldier's Wife (green) - a story of a wife observing her husband after he had been overseas in a war zone and now experiencing PTSD, and the effects it had on him and the family.  My husband wanted me to write this song as a way of expressing what we and he have been going through.  I also wrote this song just over a year ago.  It is a follow up to my original song called A Girl and Her Soldier, which was more about the love and longing of two people separated while the soldier went off to war.

So there you have it peeps! A brief run-down of my EP and what each song and colour means.  I hope you like the songs, and show your support by buying them and telling all your friends and family about them!  There is at least one song on the album that everyone will love!!  I have attached the EP front and back cover to the blog, and all the songs are available to listen to on the website audio player!!

Peace out!

Music is Love is Life!!

Five Shades of Me - Front and Back Cover

One more to go! 

 Hi all!  Well its been a view weeks since my last blog but I have been busy writing and re-writing and recording the last song for my EP (and I started back on my day job at the beginning of Feb!).  I have made a creative change to the line-up and swapped the heavy rock song called End of Me with my very newest original song called Bare.  The heavy rock song is a contrast in genre to the rest of the songs on the EP (pop rock) and wanted to keep consistency with the genre in the one EP, which will help when pitching and marketing the EP!

I have been recording and getting feedback for my song Bare and hope to have it sent off to Tony, the sound engineer very shortly.  I'll also do a little video for it soon too!

Apologies that my newsletters has been few and far between but that is mainly because I'm doing it all myself and trying to find time between family, work and songwriting, the admin doesn't always get done!

In other news I have also been working on other projects and co-writes: with my friend Adam Maxfield in the UK; a fellow songwriter I met through SongU who lives in Launceston, Steve Hyde (helping him with the music to his musical theatre project!); a co-write with my lovely singing teacher and very talented singer/songwriter Jude Elliot; and I hope to start a new co-write soon with another lyricist I met through SongU who lives in Chicago, James Hancock!

So take care of yourselves and I'll let everyone know as soon as I can officially release the EP YEY!!

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