Hey everyone!

Do you know how many posts I write and never publish? A fair few. You see, however nice it would be to be an optimist I don’t think I ever will be. When you’ve been dealt a lot of mental turmoil, you go through this phase where you try not to see through rose coloured glasses and as a result you won’t get hurt. My relationships have been well . . . trying

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Are you a MANIAc?

I’m sorry for the break in posts – Uni duties!

I realise that I’ve talked a lot about the depressive part of Bipolar but not very much about the mania – reason being, folks, is because the depressive side is a little easier to accept. People develop their own opinions about mania based on how irrational someone’s behaviour is. I’ll give you a lowdown on what it’s like to be manic:

1. You have absolutely no need to sleep, your mind is running at 500km per hour and you simply cannot shut it down. You can also function on little/no sleep

2. You get really “passionate” about your opinions and argue the heck if someone doesn’t agree with you. Sadly this always the case with my mania. My dad and brother have very traditional catholic views about how homosexuals shouldn’t be able to get married which I argue the toss about, and I am less tolerant of my brother watching every morsel of food I put in my mouth than usual, which leads to a lot of screaming and crying.

3. I want to save the world. Everyone who knows me behind the blog world knows I have strong ambitions to end bullying forever and whatnot, but only my family know I sponsor a child in Ethiopia. I decided to sponsor when I was manic because I decided the $43 a month donation plan was more productive than an iPhone plan – not that there’s anything wrong with iPhone plans! – without considering that I earn a minimum wage at a retail store in a department I LOATHE (shoes), and I live away from home half the week so I need money then. So far I haven’t had too many problems with the sponsorship and I get a great boost of self-esteem when I know I’m helping a child in poverty, HOWEVER I just wish I’d waited until after uni.

4. I’m much more gossipy when I’m managed and while I was under a lot of stress adjusting to life away from home in 2010 I am ashamed to admit that I engaged in bitchy behaviours without considering the effects on that particular person. This is one of the reasons I’d never want to lose control of my mouth (with alcohol or any substance) because in a way being manic is very similar to being drunk – aggression, tears and all.

The worst part about mania is I often don’t realise I’m manic until Mum asks me if I’m sick. I was born with craziness in my A Positive blood. Not singing in the shower is uncharacteristic for me and I have some ridiculous mannerisms that I blame my father for – so you may have realized that I don’t fancy being “high”.

Sorry about the essay, guys!

Over and out.

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My placement

Hey everyone,

I started nursing placement last Monday (17/9) at a hospital in southern Tasmania in an Assessment and Planning Unit (APU). I was so nervous about this prac because my last one, which was in palliative care, didn’t go very well. In all fairness I hadn’t been on placement for 18 months due to failing bioscience in first year and that was a pre-req for the placement unit for second year – everyone knows what that means . . .

Anyhow, I became really anxious during that placement. Physically: I was so stressed out out that I didn’t think before I did anything, e.g. I gave medication without knowing what it was for – massive no-no in the medical practice – and I put finger pricks for blood sugar checks in an ordinary bin instead of a sharps container. A bit of TMI here but I am a nursing student – I couldn’t get off the toilet either because the anxiety was attacking my digestive system. During the first week I stopped taking my morning meds because I thought that that was the reason I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 7am handover which was really due to the fact I wasn’t sleeping properly.

Emotionally: Palliative care is ‘end-of-life-care’ mainly aimed at minimising the patient’s pain and maximising the patient’s comfort. There’s no CPR because their bodies are too weak to fight but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. So anxiety struck me like a gunshot wound – I turned into someone with scary behaviour. Mentioning to someone having chemo that I’d had a central line too, but for shock treatment! Like why would I even say say that?! I was either too nervous or too jovial and whatever I did wrong intercepted back to my clinical facilitators who gave me 3 strikes before deeming I was unsafe to practice – 3 days before I finished the 3 weeks. It was . . . horrible. The thought of telling my parents that I’d failed prac seemed far less appealing than getting hit by a truck.
BUT I trudged on, with the resilience that’s fought off numerous bouts of depression. I’d fallen over again, yes, but I wiped off the dirt and started planning what I had to do.

Well as a novelist, I try my best to make sure my stories follow a “learn-by-mistakes” policy and guess what? This placement – so far – could not have been better. With a week to go I’ve really been enjoying it and learning heaps!

I credit my resilience and courage for picking up the increasingly scary task of going into placement again, building upon all the criticism I gained from palliative and – so far – it’s working.

Observe how a child learns to walk, they fall over constantly but keep getting up again – we have so much to learn from toddlers” – Cheryl Jones

 

 

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Don’t be Curt

So I thought today I’d share something pretty spesh with you! My latest work called Don’t be Curt.
It’s true that I haven’t done much on this novel yet but I thought I would share it anyway.

Time is the silliest thing ever created my man, my mum always says to me that there’s not enough time to do all her work in the day; not enough time to spend with me. But I’ve always been in the boat there’s too much time to spend going through the motions when all you want is an escape. That is why every day I sit in this warm, cosy library reading a novel – I finish one every day. When you don’t go to school you can afford to waste your time like that.

     “Oliver Twist,” the assistant librarian, Ellie, reads from the cover. I’ve been coming in here every day since before she graduated with her library degree. She must think I’m a public loser for coming in here day after day reading about stories which came from someone’s imagination. “You must be hungry today?”

     I choke on a snort and feel my cheeks heat up. “Hungry?”

     “Well I only remember that one line from the musical, ‘Please, Sir, may I have some more?’”

     “The musical isn’t as good as the book,” I murmur.

     She plonks herself down beside me, that’s when I smell the musk stick perfume she’s wearing. “That’s the longest string of words you’ve ever said to me – well done.”

     Ellie’s been about the only young person who’s ever bothered to talk to me. When she talks to me I forget I’m a freak who wets the bed nightly and has a worse sleeping pattern than my three month old baby brother. When she talks to me I feel normal.

     “I’d best check this book out,” I say, getting up.

     “Sure,” she says, following my lead. “I came to ask you, though, if you wanted a lift home – it’s pouring outside.”

     “That is such a nice offer, but I have an umbrella and I need the exercise. Thank you though.”

 

Ellie wasn’t wrong about it pouring, it was also blowing gale force winds as well. Mum rushes me inside when I open the door after walking home. “You should have called, Curtis, I was so worried. I could’ve picked you up.”

     “Forgot my phone,” I lie.

     “Like always,” Mum rolls her eyes. “Jayden’s napping, d’you mind watching him while I go out to the shops?”

     “Fine.” I feign a smile and wait for her to leave, then count to exactly ten seconds before my brother starts wailing. Like most people, Jayden hasn’t developed a great bond with me – he hates me. I told my mum this a month ago and she burst into tears. I didn’t know why and frankly I’d seen her cry so many times I was conditioned to it.

     “Coming, Jayden,” I yell.

     Once excluding that Jayden wasn’t hungry and after I’d changed his nappy and he was still discontent, I lay down on my back on the couch with Jayden on my tummy and sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Jayden stopped crying just as I was falling into the realm of my nightmare.

 

     I wake with a cold washer on my forehead and my pants wet – but Jayden’s gone! “Where’s Jayden?” I scream.

     I hear someone rush in from the kitchen; my step-dad Lucas. I have absolutely nothing against this guy as he’s made Mum happier than she’s ever been and he’s kind – but he’s the only one who questions me about my nightmares. “He’s in his bed,” he says. “In considerably better health than somebody we know.”

     “I’m going out,” I murmur, pushing past him, but he blocks the door.

     “No.”

     He does this every day and the same thing gets to him. “You’re not my real father. You can’t tell me what to do. Now move or I’ll pack my bags!”

     Normally he moves away but this time he doesn’t. I smile slowly, realising how much freedom I’ll now have and start packing my old schoolbag, finally I can leave this hellhole.

 

     I can’t remember when I last enjoyed life because all my life I’ve wet the bed; all my life I’ve been picked on for being the freak I always know I have been. What kind of kid enjoys reading books rather than playing Aussie Rules? What kind of teenager deletes their whole connection with social media because of a bit of teasing? What kind of adult would rather stick pins in his eyes than go out ‘clubbing’? I realise after I’ve left the house and started running, how unfit I am. I run for a minute down the road before stopping with my hands on my legs, completely out of breath. If I’d learned how to skateboard this would be much easier. I walk the ten blocks to Lakeley shopping plaza before sitting down and literally figuring out my plan of attack.

     “What’re you doing ‘ere, homo?”

     I close my eyes as I recognise the voice of the boy who made school so miserable, Danny Webber. “I’m . . . s-studying,” I manage.

     “Learn to talk, retard,” he sneers. “Word around the street is you’ve quit school?” I guess everyone had to find out someday. When I decide not to comment he says, “Y’know I might’ve actually seen that as cool if you didn’t spend all ya days reading Shakespeare in the library, wishing you were at school.” Danny wouldn’t come within one hundred metres of a library if he wasn’t forced to. He draws all the phlegm from his throat and spits on my head. I feel the cool, wet texture of the tar-infected mucous on my scalp. “I thought I might shower you with a bit of masculinity – you gay piece of shit!”

     I can feel my knees trembling, unable to stay steady. When he kicks me I fall over, he proceeds to kick me in the head, back and groin before whispering in my ear, “Gayness is a choice.”

     I don’t actually know whether I’m gay or not. I can’t say I’ve ever been turned on guy who plays Jacob Black in Twilight like most of the girls in my grade but I’ve never felt turned on by Miranda Kerr either like most of the guys in my grade.The more you stand up and tell the world you’re straight – the more it feels like you’re telling yourself that.

     I technically cannot move but I push through the inflammation from the beating but I do manage to pull my pants and underwear up that Matt left down after the beating. I hear my phone ring but don’t bother answering because I know it will either be Mum worried out of her mind or Jeremy choking with the guilt that I left him with.

      Jeremy is, on so many levels, way better than my real dad. My real dad wouldn’t have given a shit if I got up and left but it hits Jeremy hard every time, even if it is only for Mum’s sake. I was the one who convinced them to have a baby, I thought this would give Mum an incentive to move on from a lost cause, which is why, immediately after the nine-point-three pound baby boy was born healthy I decided to attempt something that I’d wanted to do since way before Mum got pregnant . . . and I failed . . . miserably. I landed an extended hospital stay and Mum landed a heavy bout of post-natal depression.

     I let the phone ring ten times before deciding to answer it. “Yes, Jeremy?” I can hear Jayden wailing in the background.

     “Oh thank God, I was going to call the police! Where are you? I’m coming to get you?”

     “A much better idea would be to feed Jayden, do some meditation and go to bed. You’ve got work at six and it’s,” I glance at my watch, “nearly midnight.”

     “If I don’t find you I will not be sleeping, Curtis, I can assure you of that and neither will anyone here.”

     “What if I don’t want to be found?” I say softly. “Look, I know you’re worried about Mum-”

     “You always say that, Curtis! Whether or not we have the same genes doesn’t matter to me. I love you just as much as Jayden-”

     “Logically imposs-”

     “You can shove logistics where the sun doesn’t shine, Curtis, I’m sick of you getting around my discipline by using the ‘you’re not my real dad’ excuse. Yes you’re eighteen, but how the hell am I supposed to give you trust when you won’t get help for this depression and go out running onto a highway because you can’t take the pain anymore.”

     I feel the burn in my throat of tears, but hang up before Jeremy can hear me sob. I’m not crying for that long when someone touches my shoulder. “Hey.” To my surprise it’s the voice of Ellie the librarian.

     Embarrassed and ashamed I wipe the tears off my face. “Sorry . . . I don’t usually . . .” I can’t finish the sentence.

     “Brave is a man who can let go of emotions without bottling them up.”

     “Where did you get that?”

     “Well I think I made it up, but don’t quote me because knowing me some psychologist quoted it first.” She looks at the sticky mucous on my head. “That is definitely not bird poo!”

     I laugh. “No. What do you think it is?”

     “It’s hard to see in the dark but it looks like someone’s sneezed on you.”

     “Very close.” I shuffle my foot. “Can I ask you something?”

     “Sure.”

     “Have you ever felt . . . like . . . life is a jigsaw puzzle and you just don’t fit in it?” I feel my face redden. “I can’t believe I just asked a stranger that?”

     “Strangers are the best people to talk to.” She smiles. “And the answer is yes. My dad died three years ago and I’ve been trying to see how my world fits without him in it – but I’m getting there.” She gets distracted from her train of thought and lies down beside me. “When I was little I used to wish upon stars.” She smiles.

     “What did you wish for?”

     “A trip to Disneyland, meeting JK Rowling and my dad’s remission.”

     I don’t really know what to say. “I’m sorry.”

     “Don’t be. We had so many good years together, and a few good years is better than fifteen terrible ones.”

     I feel a stab in my breastbone as she says that. Does Ellie know something about my father? There’s just too much irony. “I, uh, have to get home. Thanks for the talk.” Too late I realise I cannot actually walk properly with hobbling like a pathetic cripple who doesn’t even have anything broken.

     “What happened to you?” Ellie asks. “Did someone hurt you?”

     “No. I’m fine.”

     “At least let me take you home.”

     “No, but thank-”

     “Sorry but it’s my duty of care.” She tugs my arm and I limp stupidly over to the Honda parked in the car park. I’ve never had someone go out of their way as much as Ellie. I don’t know why she bothers but it feels nice all the same. I tell her my address and directions then let her drive me home. I feel myself drifting into sleep when she turns the music on and in the weird in-between stage of sleep and wakefulness I hear Jeremy thanking Ellie for taking me home.

     “I think someone was bullying him before I came and discovered him there. He can barely walk.”

     “Thanks heaps for letting me know, I’ve been suspecting that ever since I saw his absentee list.”

     When Jeremy starts to pick me up out of the car seat I fight him off. “I’m awake, Jerry.”

     Ellie passes me a business card, where she writes her mobile number. “Any time you want to talk or need a car to crash in.”

 

Jeremy has already taken the time to uninstall the lock on my bedroom door. I express my gratitude by putting two tablespoons of salt and not two teaspoons of sugar in the coffee I make him. That lock was my only method of keeping myself safe in my darkest days of adolescence.

     As Jeremy tips the coffee down the sink, he sighs. “I need to know that you’re safe. Some parents even take the door away-”

     “Forget it! I’m going to bed, goodnight.”
     As if Jeremy hasn’t done enough, the next morning I wake to sound of Jeremy’s snoring. He went to sleep beside the door so if I decided I needed to go out I had to bump him out of the way. It’s the first time in a long time that a man had slept in my room, though, it was also the first time that the sheets weren’t drenched in wee, which is such a great feeling.

     Deciding I can’t go back to sleep with a chainsaw in my room, I dodge Jeremy. He must be so exhausted because he doesn’t even flinch when I open the door on him. With Mum’s postnatal depression it was essential that she was getting enough sleep to function during the day. So Jeremy decided he would feed the pumped breast milk to a baby that wanted a feeding up to four times a night, before he got up for work at six am. He was the husband Mum wished she’d first had and the dad I wished was my father, though I never tell him that because then I’d have to treat him like a real father.

     My mum’s up with Jayden in the carrier cooking eggs when I come out of my bedroom. “Morning, Curtis,” Mum greets. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get up this early?”

     It’s five o’clock, I don’t usually get up until noon. “I felt . . . brighter this morning.”

     “Good to hear. Have you seen Jeremy because I haven’t seen him since I went to bed?”

     “He’s in my room, on the floor, sleeping.”

     She makes a face. “Did you two have a talk?”

     “Yeah.” I nod, but I figure some things are better left unsaid.

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World Suicide Prevention Day

So today is WSPD (World Suicide Prevention Day). The biggest killer in young people isn’t leukaemia or Muscular Dystrophy, Motor Neuron Disease or even motor vehicle accidents: It’s suicide. I’ve been to pretty dark places in my life, I’ve been completely suicidal a handful of times – and I’ve attempted once. I read a handbook once and it read that: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and that’s exactly what it is. Usually people become suicidal because of an undiagnosed mental illness which can be effectively treated with the right support and medication. I get a little heated when people say they think it’s selfish to kill yourself, because when all you feel is that the world is better without you and that you’re a burden on everyone I can guarantee anyone would consider it a worthy option. Suicide doesn’t discriminate; as doesn’t depression. I was brought up in a family with parents together, earning a solid income. I wasn’t affected with toxic relationships – excluding my brother. I had true friends, a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and food on the table. The only four factors I really had was a bit of school bullying, sensitivity, shyness and genetics – but any depressive knows you don’t need those things to become depressed.

For the parent/caregiver/friend of the individual

The best thing you can do for someone who you suspect is suicidal is ask them straight out, “Do you want to die?” I know it’s forward but my mum always asks, “You’re not going to hurt yourself, are you?” Suicide hurts less than the pain that person is going through and the person feels bad to say yes. It’s like a doctor asking a smoker, “You don’t smoke do you?” I know in my experience that the forward, non-judgmental questions are the ones I said yes to.

If they answer yes, I know it’s really hard to do this but DO NOT FREAK OUT! This’ll just make you sick because once the person is in the dark hole of suicide it’s logistically impossible for them to listen or value your concern. Take them swiftly to the doctor or hospital (whichever is closest) and they’ll decide what needs to happen.

Mum and Dad hated me being in an adolescent psychiatric unit, with cameras everywhere, but I was too sick to care. Don’t feel guilty loved ones it’s not your fault.

For the Individual

If you are considering suicide ask yourself, is this problem really big enough to end your life? I had psychosis the first time I was suicidal and I thought I was responsible for people dying of cancer and world poverty so maybe a better thing to do is to just talk it out with your mum or dad or friend. Tell them why you want to die and if it’s psychosis they’ll understand very quickly that your thinking isn’t in touch with reality.

If you’re thinking of killing yourself for a less pathological reason ask yourself this: Is ___ worth the death penalty?

1. Is failing a semester worth the death penalty?

2. Is my parents divorce worth the death penalty?

3. Is my boyfriend breaking up with me worth the death penalty?

And always remember when you go, your pets will always miss you!

Seeking help is the best bravery a person can have:) Before you act, aim to tell one trusted person about how you’re feeling – you won’t realise how much pain you’ve been holding till you do!

People usually attempt suicide because of a chemical imbalance in the brain, do you really want to kill yourself because of an ENZYME!” – Author unknown

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21

Hey everybody,
In 50 minutes I’m 21 . . . Am I happy about it?

Funnily enough, not much. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough to qualify to be that old. 1) I haven’t been overseas (and the funny thing is I don’t care), 2) I don’t have a partner (this is because all the shy guys don’t go out of their house much . . . like me, 3) everyone (okay that’s an exaggeration, but a FEW people) have started having children . . . I feel so disconnected from society when I look at what I’ve achieved . . . and my achievements are a lot of things that other people wouldn’t care about: “Wow I’ve stayed out of the psychiatric unit for 5 years!” Or, “Now it only takes me 45 minutes to get to sleep as opposed to 2 hours”. I still write fiction, and the prologue of my latest work will be released shortly but ultimately my best achievement is that I’ve learned coping skills to deal with bullying so that I DON’T slice my arm open with school scissors and leave a huge scar that no vitamin E cream will fade.

I guess it’s ironic that my talent is something that only friends can truly appreciate. When I write a story I feel like I’m letting all the sadness go. When I write the story comes alive in my mind and I need nothing else to make me feel better. If and when I find a guy, I’d like him to appreciate my love of writing and who knows . . . maybe he’ll read it:-) Story writing is the only thing in life I haven’t had to work for and I think I’m gonna make the most of it.

Until next time,

That’s all Folks!

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Teetotaling!

I couldn’t tempt anyone with a free movie ticket:( It’s a shame we feel as humans feel so ashamed about abuse, isn’t it? I thought this post could be focused on something like university.

Those who know me know I undertake a nursing degree at university. Although I’m only away from home . . . 3-4 nights a week it’s still hard to see a degree at the end of it all. I’ve had a lot of downs and not a great amount of highs, solely on the fact that I don’t make friends the same way other students do. I’m not the kind of person you’d find laughing with a huge bunch of friends at a nightclub for example. You’re more likely to find me feeding or caring for my blind cat Wilson or spending quality time with my family. I still meet with friends at home but in a quieter atmosphere, less “claustrophobic”.

Maybe if my self-esteem was higher I would venture out more and mingle more. Social phobia sucks, but I’ve come a long way since high school when I used to shy away from any social situation, including class.

I’m a teetotaler, which means that I abstain from drinking alcoholic drinks. Some people may think I’m being a goody-goody but as I have a mental illness I choose not to drink at social events as a taste for alcohol could quickly become an addiction. I also don’t look forward to the after-effects of getting “drunk”. I realise that a little alcohol is a good thing (calms the mood, increases confidence in social situation and red wine has antioxidants)  and a many people don’t drink to the point of toxicity, but it is a choice I made for my mental health.

I’m getting hungry so I’d best be off, but what type of social person are you?

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