I’ve been absent for a few weeks. I could apologise, but I think it’s been what I’ve needed. I’ve been doing a lot lately – presenting on minimising seclusion and restraint in adolescent inpatient units as part of an ongoing statewide health reform project I’m part of; talking with health professionals about how and why to incorporate consumer participation in service development; attending workshops to begin the journey as part of developing an international online wellbeing centre for young people; attending the Young Minds conference; sitting end of semester exams; working; and my regular volunteering commitments. I’ve also accepted a position as a member of the Suicide Prevention Australia Lived Experience Policy Advisory Committee.
So I suppose my return to this space is a prelude – I intent to resume writing here again – at the moment I have a word document on my desktop titled “things to write about”. Having finished my exams last Thursday, I should hopefully have a little more time – I say little, because I have this week free, then will be away for work for two weeks, before a week back working 12 hour days at university during mid year enrolment period before classes resume.
My mood has not been very good. I am doing my best to disguise it with action, but I feel as though I am starting (starting?) to wear down. There is a lot to deal with at the moment – I am still attempting to find a new psychiatrist; still being constantly contacted by the police and healthcare complaints committee in attempts to speak to me regarding my ex-doctor; struggling big time with lack of sleep, depression, amotivation and apathy. I don’t feel as though the medications I restarted are working – it’s now been over a month since I reached my regular therapeutic level. This scares me – if they are not working (if I admit that they are not working, to a doctor that I don’t have), it will mean another hospitalization to work out what we can do. ECT has been suggested again, which terrifies me, after my previous experiences with it. This relapse into depression has forced me to re-recognise my limits, and revive habits of self care. They may not be having an effect yet, but I’m doing my best to continue them regardless.
I’m holding onto the concept of neuro-linguistic programming and neuroplasticity – that by taking different actions (engaging and contributing) when experiencing negative emotions, I can gradually build new firing pathways in my brain. It’s incredibly difficult. I know I seem (am?) high functioning, but it’s not the internal reality. Maintaining my ‘freedom’ and staying out of hospital might be a bit hopeful, but in the end that’s always what it comes down to – hope. I might be scratching the bottom of the barrel, but I’m still trying.
I have not been writing, I apologise. I’m currently in hospital. There is a lot to say, but I’m not able just yet. I’m increasing my medication, starting yesterday. Migraines, naseau, dizziness, blurred vision, tremors, muscle spasms, hot and cold sweats, (more) sleep disturbances. I’m exhausted already, and this is just the beginning.
I will write more when I can.
Today I am thankful for…
– having my own car
– kisses from lily
– reviving my electric blanket
– chats with my sister lying on my bed
– the block being back on tv
– my psychologist turning the lights out because the brightness hurts my eyes
– quiet hours
– getting paid
– trusting, and being trusted
– tentative planning for a sisterly roadtrip down the great ocean road
– that first cup of tea of the day
– paw paw ointment
– red capsicum & fresh rice noodles
– this sky.
I’ve been away for work since Monday. I work on an island, at a residential camp. A large proportion of the kids we get are from disadvantaged backgrounds – whether that means they’re in out of home care; experiencing behavioural, learning or emotional disorders; in community support programs; or a whole range of other circumstances. It’s a very stressful job which comes with huge responsibilities, reporting back to the Department of Communities. I’m absolutely exhausted at the moment – working sixteen hour days doesn’t agree with me, but I love my job. It rained torrentially from Monday to Thursday, but today was beautiful. Here’s some photos I took this morning.
I love this island. It soothes my soul. All week I’ve been musing, breathing in the salt water and rain, navigating the bush covering the island by moonlight. I’ve been having a hard time relating to people in my life lately. Getting easily frustrated and upset at their actions, finding it difficult to bite my tongue. I know how it is to be disempowered – I spent a long time there. But I’m finding it very hard recently to remember that where people are in their journeys is only a reflection on them. I feel like a horrible person – I should be more sympathetic, I should be kinder, I shouldn’t get upset over the things that I do.
I need to be kinder to myself. I need to reassess what (and who) I can and can’t have in my life if I’m doing what is best for me. I chronically push myself too far, overcommit and give too much of myself to others. I need to remember to look after myself as well, and not emotionally invest so much in others wellbeing.
On a different note, I’m so incredibly lucky to work in such a beautiful place.
Today I am grateful for:
– my incredibly comfortable and warm bed when it’s cold outside
– amazing online resources
– and having access to them
– having friends who text me just to check whether I’ve gotten out of bed
– (and then understand and empathise when I explain how difficult it is)
– feeling less alone
– being able to share opportunities for change with others
– being part of an amazing organisation making real change for young people
– a quote from a young person on a forum we ran on challenging negative thinking tonight – “I’m EXCITED to change my negative thinking”
– pulling some things out of my cupboard to take away to work next week, and the fact that the idea of going to work makes me excited (yes I have a wonderful job)
– my kitten keeping my feet warm
– the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day, and I will try again
Today I am grateful for:
– a week off uni to catch up on assignments
– blue skies yesterday, today and hopefully over the weekend
– five kookaburras on the pool fence this morning
– getting a few hours of decent sleep last night
– delicious cous cous salad for lunch
– getting to catch up with a friend tonight
– preparing to make easter cupcakes for this weekend
– clean sheets
– living so close to the water, & in the midst of the bush
Today I am thankful for:
– My queen bed, and being able to sleep without my feet hanging off the end of the bed
– My amazing friends that I’ve caught up with over the last two days
– Waking up to headbutts from my kitten
– The new carpet in my bedroom
– A blue sky, even if it’s not quite sunny
– Having my laptop repaired and a working phone again
– Driving with the windows down and the go betweens playing
– Raspberry black tea and almonds for breakfast
I arrived home on Monday morning after three months travelling. There is a lot to update about, but not just yet. I hope you are all well and looking after yourselves.