09 May 2014

My world as I know it


It’s been a long time since writing and a long time since cooking. You know how it is, the longer you don’t do something the easier it is to just…well…not do it. 


You see my wee world kind of imploded. Nothing went untouched. The husband, the dogs, the house, the job and the health all went KABOOM.

This is where I’ll give myself credit, when I do something I really do it properly. It’s the perfectionist in me. Or maybe it was the Universe telling me I was supposed to be on a different path.

Either way today I’m living back with my parents – at the age of 36 this seems sad – I have only my one dog with me, which breaks my heart, I have to tick that dreaded ‘separated’ box on forms, and to add insult to injury, I have to deal with Centrelink (welfare).

In regards to Centrelink I feel lucky to live in a country that provides people like me a bit of a leg up when times are tough. But do they have to make you feel like all you are out to do is rort their system? A system I’ve never been on before and I’m on now for the simple fact that I’m unwell.

The upside to this sewer of an experience is the people that rally around you. At times I’ve been left breathless with the love my friends and family have shown me. Even though some people don’t understand my illness, they are still ‘there’ for me in whatever capacity they know how. And for that I feel like the stars shine brightly upon me.

I’ve spoken before about my illness here, but in July last year I was finally hospitalised. During this two-month stay my doctor did some further testing on me and found I have bipolar II. What does this mean? It means I get the polar opposite of emotions between severe depression and hypomania. My hypomanic state comes across as being really enthusiastic, happy, productive, I take more risks than normal and try to do too many things. “But this sounds like most people”, I hear you say. It does need to be coupled with depression. Basically I can’t have a ‘high’ period without it being followed by a ‘low’ period.

Another recent stint in hospital, some more medication changes and an impressive medical team supporting me, the fog is starting to lift. I’m now working on reconnecting with my old loves, such as cooking, reading, crocheting and living. Have you ever not wanted to live? It is a very dark and lonely place misunderstood by many as being a selfish means to an end. I assure you the thought is not selfish. The thought comes from suffering so much internal pain that your very being is aching. This for me at least, has gone on for years. Years of unseeable, untouchable, unprovable pain.

Today there’s a sliver of hope in the world for me. Hope that maybe life doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Hope that I don’t have to wake up and fear the day before me. Hope because this dreaded illness has not killed me, but made me just a little bit stronger. And hope that this bipolar II will become more friend than foe.



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.

17 comments:

  1. I can't possibly pretend to understand what you're going through, but I do know one thing -- writing about the darkness, sharing the pain, is a damn good way to survive it, and maybe even thrive. I applaud your courage and am honoured to bear witness to your journey.
    Sending you love and light
    Katie xx

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    1. Dear Katie
      Thank you so very much for your kind words. I think you are spot on about the importance of talking about this beast.
      Thank you
      Fi xo

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  2. Stronger indeed!

    Thank you for sharing your story. Here's to more good times ahead.

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  3. You are awesome for telling your story, getting help and slowly, with baby steps move forward (with some back steps) I wish you all the very best xo

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    1. Thank you, Belinda. Sometimes those backward steps help keep us on the path we are meant to be on. Xoxo

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  4. You are an inspiration Fi. I know you and I know about your illness yet I still got teary and then really, really proud reading what you've written. I admire you immensely. Congratulations and I hope to see you soon :) Love Bree

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    1. Oh you are too kind, Bree. What a journey this continues to be. A catch up soon would be wonderful. Xoxo Fi.

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  5. Fiona. You are a wonderful advocate for people like us who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses. It is a dark place indeed, and only those if us who have been there, and those that choose to help aid our recovery
    really understand. I have learnt a lot about people in general and friends in particular and I can tell you unreservedly that you are one of the warmest most delightful people I have had the good fortune to meet. Onward and upward my dear. xxx.Denise

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    1. woops....'whom'

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    2. Oh, Denise, such beautiful and warm words. We have been to hell and back. But we are one of the lucky ones as we have fought to come back. I hold you dear in my heart. Xoxo Fi.

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  6. Dearest Fiona, I've been missing you and now that I read this post I understand where you've been. If only I could reach through this laptop and put my arms around you, I would. I have family members (including in laws) who suffer various forms of mental illness and I know how important it is to have good support and also to talk about this. Hang in there, love, this storm will pass. xox

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    1. Thank you so much, Lizzy. It was been a rocky road now for over a year. Have such wonderful friends both physically and virtually keeps me going every day. I'm truly a lucky girl.
      xoxo Fi

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  7. There is light at the end of the tunnel !! I have a daughter who spent on and off nearly a year in the Melbourne Clinic. She overdosed in my bed and has been very very sick. But has , with help and good medication and a new kitten, recovered and has become an amazing woman. Pets and family will keep you afloat and help you regain your sense of "you".

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter, manningroad. That must be extremely hard to watch your own child go through that. But it sounds like she has an amazing parent in you to look after her. And pets can never be underestimated. My little dachshund is everything to me. Wishing you and your daughter all the very best for a brighter future. xoxo Fi

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  8. Hey Fi,
    Two of my closest friends have Bipolar I I also. They are the most passionate, deeply caring and creatively talented people and artists in their own right in my world. Some days - weeks it is a struggle. As a friend of other sufferers, please try not to push the ones who love you away too far when your down, it hurts them too. They will know when to step back with some of your training. You are a shining light to be able to share your story. Keep sharing.....we are listening. X

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Jayne. You are so right about not pushing people away. It is easy to do when one is feeling so low. I wish your friends all the best. I know they'll be getting much love and support from a dear friend like you.
      Xoxo
      Fi

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