I went to the Newcastle forum today for consumers and carers. I have to say, I felt a lot like the odd one out (only recently becoming a DES client, and “only” having mental health issues and not physical, sensory or intellectual difficulties), but that did mean some of the things I DID contribute were a little unique to the group. Like, why the hell would you think it was a good idea to send a girl with mega social anxiety “door knocking” for charity as a work experience gig? Or tell a rather butch chick that she had to learn to wear makeup for interviews (also a bug bear for the Blind woman in the audience – she said sure, I’ll wear nice clothes but like fuck I’ll do eyeshadow!)
It was cool that everyone got a chance to say (or sign) something. There was one woman there with CP and rather unintelligble speech, but she had another woman with her (also with CP) who helped everyone understand what she was saying (THAT was a challenging few periods for the Auslan interpreters!).
So, the NDIS is meant to be rolled out by 2019 or 2010, and the DES is to be fully reviewed by 2018 (ie all the contracts are up for renewal) and they have to find a way to get the two working together, along with employers making those so-called “reasonable adjustments”… Oh then there’s all the stuff in the pre-workforce age range that really needs to be done. Let alone transitions.
This time last year, things were stating to unravel for me.
I’d moved up to Sydney alone.
Started a new job.
And thought I could hack it.
But, maybe that’s not even a great start for the most brazen and mentally healthy of people.
Rather, me, who had only really started to find her feet in Canberra after six years there.
A history of depression, disordered eating, with current psychologist and medications in place.
Gung-ho, I threw myself in head first.
And was lost.
Fitting in isn’t my strong point.
So, while I was clicking with my clients, I was isolating myself at work.
Much more ready to pick why I was the ‘other’.
Noting things like needing to take long lunch breaks.
And getting sick more often.
(surefire signs of mine that I’m running down)
Add to that a drastic increase in (the binge eating of) chocolate and alcohol consumption.
Compensatory behaviours for each….
And generally snarkiness and erratic behaviour.
Things built and built.
And came to a series of crisis points in March this year.
Some involving vodka.
Others involving lies and red wine.
But crises, nonetheless.
Some AMAZING PEOPLE got me through that month,
But I still needed to get out.
A need to withdraw from that chaos.
And surround myself with love and loved ones.
Regain my trust in myself, and others’ trust in me.
Figure out what’s making me tick.
With the help of wonderful family, friends and professional support (psychologist, GP)
I’ve made it to the point where as of this week, I’m back at work 4 days a week!
I know a lot more about what makes me tick.
And while there will always be things that threaten to bring me down
I’m so much better at recognising them now.
I wasn’t okay, and while it took me a long time to admit it, I have learned so much about myself over the past 12 months going through hell, and putting others through hell.
If any of this resonates with you, and you haven’t already, there are so many places and ways to start sorting it out.
What worked for me?
Friends – Rish has been amazingly patient throughout this, and never giving up on me even through all the tears and frustration, no matter how hard I’ve tried to push him away. I’ve stopped doing the wondering where I’d be now without him, wondering when the hell he’ll come to his senses, and am moving forward. (and not Gillard Style). Reconnecting with people I know and trust and love from Newcastle, and continuing some of my online connections in healthier, more productive ways.
Professional Support – Seeing a psychologist, and one who was ready to challenge me and my deep seated beliefs about how it “had to be” and why I feel/felt certain ways. An external person helping me to shed light onto how I work, and through that recognition I’ve gained some skills to head things off early.
Not drinking – Alcohol and I don’t work at the moment. I’m sure I’ll re-learn to drink one or two glasses of wine one day, but a much needed break has helped me learn to enjoy social events sober, and to not spiral downward as I’m prone to do. Doesn’t completely prevent it, but it sure as hell (what??) helps!
Good diet, exercise, looking after myself, taking the right pills at the right time – Back when I first started on medication the effect it had on my mood stability was quite noticeable. I’m not so sure any more what is affecting what, it’s overdue for a review, but I’m grateful for those initial effects! Diet and exercise and both things that go out the window when things get out of kilter for me, and things that need to be super attended to.
Finding meaning – through being an Awesome Aunty, achieving things each day – even if just a walk, or folding the washing, cooking for people, doing things that enjoyed. Allowing myself to be me. Whoever she is. Testing that out. With new people, and old people.
And learning to see when I’m out of my depth.
I’m still working on that one, and I know this rest of the year will bring me more challenges, but I’ve come so far.
So, that’s part of my story.
I’ll probably never share the whole thing.
You all get pieces of me.
What should you do if you’re not okay?
Find someone you trust to tell. If you’re like me, the internet is a great place to start. Beyond Blue have some great information for the internet inclined. 1800 RUOKDAY ( 1800 7865 329 ) will get you through to a number of mental health support lines if you want to talk it out with someone you don’t know.
Your GP. Make an appointment. Write some notes down, so you don’t forget, or you can hand it to them if it is too much once you’re on the spot. If your GP is hard to get into, tell the receptionist that you’re having difficulties with anxiety or depression, and they should be able to get you in with someone, or tell you someone you can see right away.
Run it by someone you know online. Seriously, so many people have been there, and won’t be patronising if you approach for an ear. An ear helps you to weigh your options up.
If you’re feeling suicidal, it’s ok to tell someone you trust or call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 794 991.
I hope you’re okay, but if you’re not, *hug* and please know that there are people that care, and would do more to look out for you if they knew where you were at.