Yesterday's post about all the thinking and changing I've been doing is all very well. It's been occupying my mind extensively for a long time.

But then I sat down to read 'Gogo Mama' a book about the lives of 12 African women by Sally Sara, the ABC Africa correspondent.

The first woman was mutilated with her lips cut off by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. They also killed her daughter and murdered her husband. Her family work their fields during the day and sleep anywhere they can find to hide at night, just in case they get attacked again by the rebels. Children are at constant risk of being abducted and forced into becoming child soldiers. Men can be murdered. Woman are raped and mutilated.

The second woman, a traditional Pygmy lives with her family in the path of a live volcano in DR Congo, because she and her tribe were forced out of their traditional land in the forest. Being abjectly poor and the lowest of the low, they had no other option but to till the land no-one else wanted. The volcano has erupted twice in the last 30 years. Each time they had 15 minutes to get to safety up a hill, and watch all their possessions and their crops be crushed and sizzled by molten lava.

The other stories include a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide, one who walked her children across Sudan to a refugee camp, through starvation and terror, one who is fighting female genital mutilation and one who didn't want to get married. As she wouldn't cooperate, her family arranged for her to be abducted and raped by the prospective bridegroom.

I read this stuff and it shakes my life around. Are we all living in the same universe? Why is my biggest problem autism, where another woman's is rape, or anguish, or constant anxiety from fear of attack a baby who died of untreated dehydration?

Discombobulated apparently means shook all out of whack. That's how I feel some days.