03 January 2013

Time for a little self-raising SELF

"If you create a GOOD situation out of a BAD one, than the MEANING of the event has changed." - Bev Aisbett, A Guide to Being Your Own Best Friend.


I've been quiet in the self-raising kitchen.

The oven's left cold, the stove's gathering dust, the knives are left blunt and unused.
Once loved cooking magazines and books are now untouched, unseen.
The kitchen bench once a platform for herbs to be cut, garlic to be crushed and spices to be pounded, is now a collection point for piling bills, alone.

Yes, I've been quiet in the self-raising kitchen.

The light went out. The darkness engulfed me and the self-raising kitchen.

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So what is this about? I've had a few people contact me about why the updates of my kitchen adventures vanished for a while. I've even had friends email or call asking why they've not seen me for months.

What have I said? To many I have said nothing, or avoided the calls or questions about where I've been. What do I say? Will they understand? Or will they think I'm a freak and a person who should just get over themselves?

You see, I have an illness. An illness that has left me unable to work, socialise, love or care about myself and those around me. An illness that has left me loathing the very core of who I am. An illness that has made me hurt myself as a way to release the unbearable pain within that I do not understand or comprehend.

This illness strikes so many - and the numbers are increasing - yet it's rarely uttered in civilised conversation. Whisperings of its name can be heard within private discussions, but it's treated as if the mere mention of it will leave the speaker suffering from the condition themselves. Maybe it should be labelled 'the-illness-which-shall-not-be-named!'.

After much angst and realising that bringing this illness into civilised discussion can sit with me, I've decided to be open about what I've been suffering with for most of my life, and medicated for over the last 10 years.

I have depression, closely followed by a dose of anxiety and panic disorders, and topped with an eating disorder (the irony!).

I originally started to cook and blog, not only because I have a love of food, but because it helped give me purpose and kept the depression at bay. What I love the most about cooking is the clear beginning, middle and end. Within a few hours, give or take, I can see an achievement - a cake, a curry, a roast - which fills me with a great sense of satisfaction. However, this latest depressive episode even took my joy of cooking away.


I had become so disengaged with life and my own wellbeing that standing up and caring enough to ask for help, again, - as I'd already felt like I had been down this road so many times before with various doctors, counsellors, psychologists, nutritionists, self-help books, friends, family, personal trainer and medication - felt near impossible this time around.

But, I'm one of the very lucky ones. One, because I'm still here therefore can share my story, and two, because I have a partner who saw the signs and insisted on me seeing my GP. That was about six months ago, by which time my cozy black fog was securely wrapped around me happily threatening to throw away the key.

After several changes in medication, time with a psychologist, time with a psychiatrist and time with a mental health nurse, I'm getting there.


Actually no, I'm not okay!
Image owned by SRKitchen

But I will be!

So where's this leave the self-raising kitchen? The kitchen will continue as before because it gives me purpose, but I will also share stories about my progress with this illness.  It is time to show that life is not always gourmet meals and rich gooey cakes, sometimes it's just good ol' bangers and mash or Vegemite toast, and that's okay.

So as the image says above, actually no, I'm not okay…but I will be. And that is my focus for 2013.


If you or someone you know needs mental health help in Australia, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36, or Salvo Care Line 1300 36 36 22.

19 comments:

  1. A beautiful and brave post Fiona. I'm also grateful to your partner. And very glad you are getting the help you need, and on the mend. Thanks for sharing. Mel xx

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  2. Excellent and as they say in other circles admitting you have a problem is the first step. Good on you :)

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  3. Sending you a big hug. You've been missed. xx

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    1. Thanks, Anita. Hopefully a few more books will be read this year :-)

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  4. I'm sending a big hug as well and I'm happy you are getting the help you need and deserve. Take care x

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. As you know, puppy cuddles are also essential to healing. Xoxo

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  5. I'm so glad and honored that you shared this with us. I admire your bravery in doing so as I'm sure it was very difficult and I am very happy that you are finding help and support and allowing those who love and care about you including we self raising readers to share the load you carry and in doing so hopefully ease and lighten your burden. Love your cyber buddy Katherine

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    1. Thank you so much, Katherine. It was very hard to do as I was so worried about judgement and any repercussions from the post. But, I'm realizing and seeing that more good has come from it then bad.

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  6. A dear friend of mine shared your post with me. I am teary and so proud of you. I've been there. I'm just coming out the other side myself and still can't get used to living without numbness, without the pervasive sadness, without fear. Thank you for being so brave to share this. I KNOW how scary it is. There are some dreadful people who will not understand, but there are others who will TOTALLY understand and love you to pieces no matter what. You will get through this, and you will be an even more amazing woman as a result. Cheering for you today. :-)

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    1. Thank you so much. I wish you all the very best in your own journey down this path. It is tough but I know we can get through it. :-)

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  7. I am so very proud of you and the effort it must have taken for you to reveal your insidious illness. You WILL come out the other side because you have a loving and supportive partner (I don't think people realise the suffering they go through as well), a beautiful disposition, the most beautiful smile that says to everyone "you are special" and an adored family and in-laws who think you are the most beautiful and treasured person. Take care my darling girl, you are thought of every single day and we will all be there waiting for those special moments of our girl "in the kitchen" - take delicate steps one day at a time and surround yourself with those who make you happy. Much love -xxxxxxx

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    1. Thank you so very much for your kind words. I'm extremely blessed with loving family and friends.

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  8. I didn't think I could respect and love you more...well I was wrong. Sharing your journey puts life into perspective. It's all about love. Surround yourself with love, from near and far. You are truly amazing; your courage, spirit and inner strength. Luv you honey. xo

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    1. Thank you, Son, I'm extremely lucky to have wonderful friends like yourself. Lots of love.

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  9. You are courageous for being so open with your readers, I have a great deal of respect for you. Depression shouldn't be a dirty little word. Your strength shows in your writing and you will get through this as so many of us have. Often it really is just one day at a time.

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    1. Thank you so much. You brought tears to my eyes reading your comment. It is just one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time. Wishing you good mental health :-)

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  10. Hey there, I'm checking in to see how you are getting along. Sending hugs xox

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