Everything’s the same, everything’s different

The world is a place where everything can feel so nebulous and yet our feet are so firmly on the ground, somedays so heavy they feel gripped by roots, dragging us deep into the earth.

The world is a place where everything can feel so nebulous and yet our feet are so firmly on the ground, somedays so heavy they feel gripped by roots, dragging us deep into the earth. How can two extremes play out at exactly the same time? How can it feel like everything can disappear in an instant and yet onward we tread, as if there is no choice.

Discovering that there is comes from a dark loneliness deep in the woods of our minds, where there are voices and terrifying sounds and not a glimpse of sunlight to guide the way out. I’ve been there, too many times as if once was not enough. The pain of that place is excruciating, like there is a vice around your head and nowhere to run. The news about Robin Williams has rocked so many of us. If someone so talented, so successful, so revered can’t find his way out of that forest what hope is there for the rest of us battling those demons every day? One of the oldest friends of a friend of mine took her own life two weeks ago. A month ago a plane of innocent people was shot out of the sky. At the moment there are innocent people of a religious minority trapped by religious extremists on a mountainside in Iraq.

It goes on and on. What on earth are we to do? Somehow we get up and live another day. We love our kids, we speak with loud voice when things are not just and fair, we make dinner, we eat all the feelings and despite the most of unlikely of odds we keep going. Sometimes doing that is so very hard. But we make that choice.



I am so stuck. I teach a course about blogging for God’s sake, I’ve been blogging for 11 years or some such nonsense but here I sit.

My brain is not playing fair at the moment. To be fair to it I haven’t been taking one of my meds for about a week because of a lack of funds to get meds and time to go and get them. But I’m really feeling it, the manic busyness of my brain all within a tightening vice and spiralling bad thoughts. Just 5mg of one little drug between me and sheer insanity.

The weekend brought the most beautiful surprises with my most beautiful and oldest friend K coming to stay with her husband and their son who’s just started at boarding school. Dinner was lasagne and caesar salad with pavlova for dessert, breakfast bacon and eggs. In between long conversations to catch up on everyone’s news. So the blackness has not consumed all. The weekend shone bright for a moment there and I sucked it into my lungs, buoying my soul.




Every day I wake up with a feeling so oppressive I can hardly breathe. A feeling of not being able to go another day. Just get up I tell myself. You’ll feel better once you’re doing something I tell myself. Every day is just about surviving then every night I exhale in relief that I lasted another day. Before the dread sets in I’m going to have to do it all over again tomorrow.

The drugs don’t work

Subtitle: my failings with meal replacement shakes.

I am the heaviest I’ve been since I was pregnant with Grover SEVEN years ago. I could put the blame on the head meds, one of them is a sure fire vehicle for weight gain. I could put the blame on the thyroid, lazy bastard that it is, or I could own up to the somewhat dubious diet I’ve engaged with this year. Why yes, that would be some jazz hands of junk food appearing behind me.

I think it best we put it down to a mixed entree of medication, biology and life. 2013 has been a real stinker.

One of the things I have tried – and which I tell myself almost daily am going to commit to – is the land of the meal replacement shakes. I’m doing the RapidLoss ones and the “latte” (pffft, please) one doesn’t taste half bad. But I’m just not good at taking them. For starters, I think they would work a treat if I didn’t like food so much.

The main problem is I just forget to make them. Then I eat something, remember I was going to have the shake, have the shake then realise that probably counts for two meals and hooo boy do I feel queasy.

Sometimes I get it the other way around. I have the shake, forget I’ve had the shake (they take a little while before you feel full) so have something else to eat.

I’m the village idiot of the dieting industry.

The corker for me is when I negotiate in.my.mind that I won’t have a shake but I will eat a large packet of potato chips. All made better by drinking vast amounts of water. I have been known to then have the shake in the vein hope it’s effect is retrograde.

My shrink keeps reassuring me that I will lose the weight but at the moment life trumps everything so curiously he’s putting me not topping myself above me not looking like Violet Beauregard.

I’ve decided to cut myself some slack and perhaps 2014 will be the year of the disappearing 20kgs.

Have you tried the shake option? Did it work for you?





Life is hard when you’re in a relentless marathon to outrun your mind.

The mornings are the worst. Waking up and for the most fleeting of moments feeling calm, only for it to be swept up in a net cast in doubt, anxiety and racing thoughts. The knot in my gut starts turning on itself and the decision to get up and try and flee the feelings or to pull myself up into the smallest of balls is a decision too hard to make. A cry will involuntarily well up like the tiniest voice in the wildest of wildernesses.

Thoughts race through my brain on everything from what I’m not doing right (or not at all) with allconsuming food to the process of getting Oscar ready for school through being worried about Chef being in a dead-end job when he’s capable and deserving of so much more to financial terror and everything I haven’t done to ensure the boys will grow up to be successful and happy. These thoughts can’t be pinned down, they jump around, thumping my brain over and over, pre-empting my attempts to wrestle them into a manageable murmur.

I try so hard to calm my mind, telling myself how futile these thoughts are. I am the valedictorian of cognitive therapy techniques and I pull them out, one after the other, frantically trying to rebuild the armour to get through another day.

Life is hard when you’re in a relentless marathon to outrun your mind.

Thoughts of suicide are my shadow, lurking around me. I find it curious there’s no drama around it, just a quiet knowledge that all the stress, all the self hatred, all the feelings of embarrassment, shame and regret about my life could so easily be washed away. There’s a jagged fault line in my mind between this daily dream of death and acting on it. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been able to say “I’m not safe”, where the gash narrows and I can easily step across. I’m not there now but I worry about its possible entrance stage right. But as my shrink says, life trumps everything, even if it’s messy and broken.

More than 2,000 people commit suicide in Australia every year. There are more than 60,000 reported suicide attempts and it’s accepted those figures are an underestimate. More than 20% of all deaths in young men and women are by suicide*.

Today my psychiatrist prescribed lithium to give me a “floor”. I’m quite looking forward to having one of those.





* Figures from the National Mental Health Commission.