The Year I Met My Brain: ADHD as an Adult 

Matilda Boseley speaks on her book 'The Year I Met my Brain' and her journey with ADHD...

The book The Year I Met My Brain by Matilda Boseley ventures into the lives of adults with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), given her own experience of being diagnosed later in life with ADHD herself. She works as a social media reporter for the Guardian. 

While Boseley has struggled with her ADHD and her journey for an adult diagnosis, it has also been a journey in better understanding her own behaviours that were somehow missed throughout her childhood. She interrupted in class when things got interesting, became fixated and even obsessed with certain topics, and suffered through anxiety and social phobia after not knowing how to communicate with people who thought so differently from herself. Recognising all these negative experiences, she still states that ADHD “can also be really fucking funny.” 

In her personal life, she speaks of her own experience in writing this book about her ADHD and how her ADHD nearly prevented it from happening altogether. In waiting for an important meeting with her publishers, she found a task to do that would take 45 minutes, or one episode of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, only to become so entranced by her task that suddenly the show’s credits had rolled around, for the second time. Now 45 minutes late for this meeting, she found many messages asking if she was okay, and she began to beg their apologies. Assuming the worst, Boseley decides the best way to calm her anxiety is a relaxing bath, and after running this bath and getting comfortable, the phone rings, forcing her to take this very important and very long phone call naked, in the bath, staying so still in order not to splash the water and give away her quite embarrassing, but very funny, situation. This has become an essential part of her story in getting this book published, and the absurdity of it all has made a great party story. 

There are often two sides to every ADHD trait. Boseley shares her impulsive thinking and often interrupts, which makes her fun at parties. Her humour is strongly appreciated in social circles, but this behaviour can also be seen as rude or inappropriate in other places, such as classrooms or offices. Creativity is appreciated when it can contribute to innovation and problem-solving, but if your mind wanders when you are supposed to be paying attention, then that creativity is no longer rewarded. This can contribute to poor self-esteem and anxiety as ADDitude reports in a 2023 article that “Individuals with ADHD are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than are individuals without the condition, with rates approaching 50 per cent.” 

Boseley laments that ADHD can feel like an endless struggle, and 70% of adults experience an improvement while on medication, according to a 2013 study from Frontiers in Neuroscience. Despite these improvements, it does not change for people with ADHD; it can feel like the world was not made for them.’ 

“Because here’s the thing about my ADHD, is that sometimes it turns me into someone that I’m not. I don’t want to seem selfish. I don’t want to be careless with other people’s time. I don’t want to be caught in this whirlpool of unaccomplished chores, unanswered emails, and disappointed friends’ family and coworkers, but sometimes it feels like I will never be able to row fast enough to break out.” 

If you want to learn more about ADHD from people who have ADHD, be sure to read Matilda Boseley’s book The Year I Met My Brain: A travel companion for adults who have just found out they have ADHD

W’SUP news would like to thank the Sydney Writer’s Festival team for providing the opportunity to attend events media personnel and for hosting such incredible sessions. We hope to continue collaborating in the future and bring these important conversations to Western Sydney University. 


WSUP’s Book Picks 

Team WSUP's Book Picks from Sydney Writer's Festival ...

Tash – The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon 

This fictional story is the fourth in the Bone season which is a dystopian and paranormal thriller. Being in the centre of a planned seven book series means that this is the integral part of the storyline. Compelling, driven, and full of suspense.  

“It is a beautiful mask, but all masks fall. In the end.” – The Mask Falling 

Anya – Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes 

A fictional story using the ancient Greek Pantheon and Medusa, who experiences mortality unlike her sisters. This modern retelling of the ancient myth is proclaimed as witty and passionate as it explores the concepts of beauty and persecution through Medusa’s story.  

Julia – Reclaim by Dr Ahona Guha 

Dr Ahona Guha is an Australian psychologist with a doctorate in clinical and forensic psychology from Swinburne University. She has also written the book “Life Skills for a Broken World” and works to break down the stigma between mental health and mental illness. Reclaim is about the tools needed to survive complex trauma and abuse, as well as the aftermath of this suffering. Whilst this might be useful for people struggling with their mental health and building relationships, it is also a fascinating read for anyone who wants to learn more about human behaviour and support the people who may be around them. 

To see WSUP’s complete book list from Sydney Writer’s Festival check out our bookshelf on Goodreads now.

W’SUP news would like to thank the Sydney Writer’s Festival team for providing the opportunity to attend events media personnel and for hosting such incredible sessions. We hope to continue collaborating in the future and bring these important conversations to Western Sydney University. 


The Secret Lives of Women 

Three writers join together at the Sydney Writer’s Festival to explore their character's depths. ...

On May 24th, at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, a panel titled “The Secret Lives of Women” featured three cross cultural novelists. This panel discussed the inner worlds of their characters, where aspirations that are obscured by duty and expectations of the world. The three novelists were Elizabeth Acevedo, a Dominican American author of Family Lore, Balli Kaur Jaswal, a Singaporean novelist of Now You See Us and Sara M. Saleh, a Palestinian-Lebanese author of Songs for the Dead and the Living. ABC Radio National host, Kate Evans, moderated the author panel. 

Each panellist began diving into how they weave goals and topics they are passionate about into their characters. Acevedo’s own family lore was the inspiration behind her novel. Coming from a house with nine women, she was longing to write based on how her family holds and loves each other. In her novel Family Lore, the main character Ona feels a deep tenderness towards the child her mother once was, allowing her to engage during their interactions sharing in the novel, “I want to remother my mother.”

Jaswal’s story Now you see us was drawn from a real case from the 1990s about a domestic worker from the Philippines who was executed in Singapore for murder. This sparked an idea, wanting to pull the curtains back and reveal the reason for Singapore’s success and how it is built on the backs of migrant workers. 

Saleh’s story Songs for the Dead and the Living is loosely based on her mother’s migration to Australia when war landed on her doorstep in Lebanon. She also describes how she and the main character in her novel share intersections and geographical origins.

It is possible to be joyful and to laugh and have fun in novels that focus on serious themes. In Jaswal’s writing, throughout the moments of frustration and anguish, there is also humour, as she wanted to hit different notes steering directly at exploitation of workers, as it is a lot to put a reader through. Weaving humour and celebrating friendships is important. Saleh took a step back to revisit an instance of the media being outraged when citizens of Gaza were hanging up lights to celebrate Ramadan. Saleh highlights the sense of audacity thrust onto people seeking a moment of normalcy in a genocide. For main characters in serious moments to celebrate small joys and a sense of purpose, Acevedo added onto this by saying –   

“Isn’t that being human, in the middle of whatever you experience you carry more than one emotion at the same time, how many of us have been to a wake and share stories of who passed away to reminisce and laugh at the past. Of course I grieve, but as humans we cannot only carry the heavy parts of life.” 

It is interesting to observe how each author talks about bodies in their novels. As the moderator states, “Women’s bodies are always a part of the story”. Jaswal researches the Singaporean regulations on domestic workers. On how their sexuality is policed and how they are infantilized, wanting to have control over them. Acevedo wanted to tell the stories of older women, focusing on aspects such as menopause and their diverse relationships with their joints, bodies and partners. Younger women are also often taught that pleasure and their bodies are not supposed to be celebrated. Saleh spoked about how the body, especially in Palestinians who have been exiled and survived the Nakba, carry grief, shame and trauma. It is very common for that generation to suppress that, which is evident in the grandmother in her novel, not talking about that experience to avoid reliving that shame. “The bodies are living archives” Saleh stated. 

All of these authors explore different, often ignored aspects, of womanhood. Bringing light the struggles and joys women all over the world experience.

W’SUP news would like to thank the Sydney Writer’s Festival team for providing the opportunity to attend events media personnel and for hosting such incredible sessions. We hope to continue collaborating in the future and bring these important conversations to Western Sydney University. 


Creating a Monster at Sydney Writer’s Festival

Read more to hear about the Creating a Monster event at Sydney Writers’ Festival 2024...

The Creating a Monster event, held at the Sydney Writers Festival on the 25th of May, had three ‘Masters of Monsters’. C.S. Pacat, author of Dark Rise, Vanessa Len, author of Only a Monster, and Sarah Street, author of A Curse of Salt discussed their process of crafting their stories in a more complex way rather than in the good-verses-evil binary.  

C.S. Pacat, bestselling author of the Dark Rise and Captive Prince, talked about how the villainous portrayal of queer-coded monsters in media affected her growing up as an individual. From the depiction of queer-coded characters such as Scar from ‘The Lion King’ or Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid’, it had led her to feel uncomfortable with herself and her sexuality. After a while, she then realised that in her own writing, she could go beyond the binary, so to speak. In her stories, she could create queer-coded characters and monsters that aren’t necessarily malicious in nature. They can be complex, morally grey, be the heroes of their stories, and inspire readers. 

Internationally bestselling Australian author Vanessa Len wanted to take a different stance on how monsters are portrayed in stories. She thought it was strange how monsters were written majorly as villainous when they can be more morally grey and complex in nature. In her first novel, Only a Monster, Len wrote about how the main character comes from a family of monsters with terrifying abilities and how she needs to embrace her inherited monstrousness to defend herself against a legendary monster slayer. Len mentioned how, in watching media with monsters, she often felt empathy for them, thinking about why they can’t be more than a mindless, ravenous beast that kills on sight. 

Young Adult (YA) fantasy author Sarah Street told the audience that she wanted to add more complexity to the monsters in her stories. She achieved this with the heartless king in her debut novel, A Curse of Salt, a retelling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with pirates. In the novel, the dark, brooding pirate, known as Heartless King, isn’t as villainous as he seems on the surface, and there is indeed warmth within his ice-cold heart. Street explores this and allows readers to realise that there are many sides to an individual, and it takes getting to know them to understand why they are the way they are. 

As a reader of YA fantasy novels, I appreciated how these authors wanted to explore monsters as misunderstood and complex characters. 

W’SUP news would like to thank the Sydney Writer’s Festival team for providing the opportunity to attend events media personnel and for hosting such incredible sessions. We hope to continue collaborating in the future and bring these important conversations to Western Sydney University. 


An end to placement poverty? Students are left doubtful.

The government announces payments for placements, but students feel they are missing the mark. ...

In recent news, the federal government announced that students undergoing teaching, nursing, and social work placements may be eligible for weekly payments by July 2025. 

The government calculated that students could receive up to $319.50 a week.  

While the government expects the change to help, students say it’s not enough to ease the economic challenges they’re currently facing. 

What is placement poverty, and who does it impact? 

“Placement poverty” is a term first coined by Social Work students in April 2024, in reaction to the hardships of struggling financially whilst trying to maintain their placement experience. 

Students say the time spent on placements without income has pushed them close to or below the poverty line, which is defined as half the median household income, according to Poverty and Inequality Australia. As of 2022, it’s $489 a week for a single adult, and $1,027 a week for a couple with two children, as stated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Jasmine Taylor is a learning support officer and a teaching student at Western Sydney University. Even after taking an additional job in retail and receiving youth allowance entitlements, Jasmine says she is struggling to stay afloat: 

 “I was, up until a few weeks ago, working two jobs and accessing Centrelink and that still was barely covering my essentials…Everything is so expensive,” Jasmine said.  

Jasmine says the cost of living makes unpaid placements ‘impossible’ || Image by Ruby Ritchie

Like Jasmine, anyone studying teaching, social work or nursing must complete placements as a part of their qualifications. However, these placements are unpaid and span between 16-26 weeks.  

The $319.50 a week is equivalent to the single Austudy weekly rate. The payment will be means tested and available from July 1, 2025.   

 The government has stated that 68,000 higher education students and 5,000 VET students would be entitled to the payment, but it is only available to teaching, nursing and social work students.  

“This will give people who have signed up to do some of the most important jobs in this country a bit of extra help to get the qualifications they need…This is practical support for practical training,” said Federal Minister for Education, Jason Clare, in a media release.  

While she has yet to start her placement, Jasmine feels the payment amount is too little and believes that the Austudy entitlement is not a fair benchmark.  

“Yes, money is money, and a step forward is good. But this isn’t something that students should be subjected to, in terms of using their time, energy and resources to supplement the shortages they have in those industries,” Jasmine said.  

Students say government should increase payments to minimum wage:

Sabrine Yassine, the Welfare Officer of the National Union of Students (NUS), said whilst the union welcomes the payment as a significant step, the federal government should go further.  

“It’s such a great first move… government is listening to students in terms of what they want… it alleviates about 10 to 20 hours for students, that’s 10 to 20 hours they don’t need to work on a part time job,” Sabrine said.  

Sabrine says the government has taken a good first step || Image: Sabrine Yassine

When broken down, the proposed payment will total $8 an hour. The NUS urged the federal government to increase the payment to the national minimum wage, being $23.23 per hour or $882.80 per 38-hour week.  

“We have three clear asks…amend the Fair Work Act to make unpaid placements illegal, increase the payments to at least minimum wage, and pay all students who must undertake mandatory placements,” added Sabrine. 

Why can’t every student access this? 

One critique the government has faced is that medical, engineering, and psychology students won’t be entitled to the payments.  

In addition, the entitlement can only be accessed by domestic students, as Centrelink is only accessible to Australian citizens and permanent residents.  

“All students should be paid. All unpaid work should be illegal…I think international students are doing the same amount of work and unpaid hours as domestic students,” Sabrine said.  

The next steps:

The government has not yet revealed how they will conduct the means test for this payment but has said students can access the payment alongside other entitlements.  

Jasmine remains sceptical of the government’s payments but is hopeful for change.  

“I think the generation going into all of these industries is very aware of what they deserve, their rights, and what isn’t okay to experience. Unpaid placements are absolutely not okay,” Jasmine said.  

The payment to help ease placement poverty will not come into the hands of students until 2025, however, and there is hope that the government broadens the list of eligible courses that qualify, so many more in need can receive assistance.  

When Education Minister, Jason Clare, was asked by Radio National on whether more courses will be added, he neither confirmed nor denied:  

“That’s something we’d have to look at down the track.” 


Gami Chicken – now in Penrith!

Gami Chicken, a newcomer in Penrith's dining scene, delights locals with its superb Korean cuisine and hospitality, creating a warm community hub....

(Pictured: The facade of Gami Chicken’s new branch in Penrith located in the Nepean Shopping village) 

Korean cuisine is relatively new to Penrith and as such, Gami inherently stands out from the crowd. While Gami is known for its fried chicken, it also offers a range of grilled chicken dishes and more traditional Korean dishes such as its Bibimbap and Beef Bulgogi. 

At the helm of this establishment are Western Sydney locals, Anthony and Lolita Java, who have embraced their love for living in such a diverse neighbourhood. For them, visiting their restaurant is a special occasion and not a simple commuter stop. 

Hosting locals for dates, birthday parties, pre-game feeds, or catching up with friends is a lot of fun for us. Many of our customers have become friends; we have even joined them for meals said Anthony.  

(Pictured: The interior of Gami Penrith which follow’s the signature Gami decoration) 

However, things are not always fun and easy. The pair have faced many challenges particularly amidst Sydney’s cost of living crisis. “This has been the most challenging time for hospitality; when discretionary income is low, dining out is the first thing you cut in the household budget,” said Anthony. 

To overcome this, the Java’s have learned the importance of value and ensuring customers receive value for their money. They have done this by engineering their menus to offer more cost-effective options and by ensuring the provision of exceptional service.  

“Our team adheres to the motto that dining is not just about the food—as important as food is. It’s an experience from the time you are greeted at the door, seated, the menu explained, and everything else in between until we say our goodbyes. In other words, we deliver consistently exceptional hospitality alongside the delicious food. It is not uncommon for us to see the same customers three times a week,” said Lolita.  

For aspiring business owners in Western Sydney, Anthony and Lolita offer invaluable insights gleaned from their journey. “Find a business or industry you are passionate about. Otherwise, you will soon realise you have bought yourself a job.” Both advise owning your own business can be lucrative, but not to do it just for the money. 

“You must also be prepared to work ridiculously hard. This may mean working over the weekend, on public holidays, and for long hours. But if you enjoy what you do, it’s not a sacrifice,” said Anthony. 

“And finally, understand the power of community. Everyone you meet and interact with is a potential future customer, whose friends and family become future customers,” said Lolita.  

To those interested in the restaurant, Anthony and Lolita recommend trying their Chicken Corndue, a cheese fondue chicken dish where customers wrap melted cheese around their chicken so it’s both fun and delicious. “It’s a real crowd favourite, and customers can’t help but take their phones out and snap photos,” said Lolita. 

I also had the opportunity to try out some of Gami Chicken’s dishes, and here are my unfiltered thoughts:

Mad Gochujang Chicken – The noodles and tteok were sweet and chewy but had a spicy kick that made things interesting. While cooked chicken completed the dish texturally. Great Overall! 

Unmissable Chicken (Included four variants) 
1. Crispy Original – Tender. Crispy. Couldn’t have asked for more. 

2. Soy Garlic – Perfect if you love garlic. It’s subtle but definitely present. 

3. Sweet Chilli – SOO much better than chicken with store bought sweet chilli sauce. 4. Spicy Red Mayo – Super nice! I just wish it had more mayo. 

Tangy Garden Salad – Talk about variety of greens! This salad didn’t have the strongest dressing, but it really didn’t need to, it made a perfect compliment to the chicken(s). 

Gami Chips – Super crispy and chunky! Exactly how chips should be. (At least in my opinion). 

Chicken Skewers Plate (Included three variants) 
1. Sweet Mustard – Better than regular mustard for sure! 

2. Gochujang – Just as good as the ‘Mad Gochujang Chicken’ 

3. Sweet Chilli – I’d like to steal their sweet chilli sauce recipe. 

Gami Chicken hopes to continue serving Western Sydneysiders with the joys of Korean food and a warm sense of community. This terrific restaurant is in the Nepean Shopping Village, a 15-minute walk from Penrith station, and is a must-try for all interested in Korean cuisine.