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.



a hair’s whisker

I read this piece today and I can’t shake it. Firstly, just to get it out of the way, it is a beautifully written piece about a tragedy which shows no judgement, just the sad sad facts.

I think the part of it I struggle with most is how many of us fly that close to being *that* overwhelmed? What’s the difference? That we don’t have a partner checking out as well? That we have friends who won’t accept just being spoken to at the front door, who’ll barge in and throw that load of washing on, wash up the breakfast plates, make you make the call to support services?


Every day I think about killing myself but every day I don’t. The reasons for that are actually quite few and range from the very obvious to the seemingly insignificant.

Being connected, knowing people care about you no matter the state of your brain, your house or your life is so so important. This is more than asking if someone is OK, this is checking in, listening, distracting with inane nonsense and stories to make them laugh because life is messy and sometimes just kicking a clear trail through the debris is enough.



Hello there

A voice coming in from the dark.

It’s been a rough few weeks around these parts. I haven’t written about it because what is there to say? I’ve been battling extreme anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and the lowest ebbs of the deepest sluggish depression I’ve had in a long long time. I had reached a point in my mental health life where I thought anxiety and panic attacks were now my thing. That the “everything is hopeless, I’ve made all the wrong life choices, we’re going to die destitute and alone” type of depression had moved on to some other poor unsuspecting individual. SURPRISE!

I get bored of writing about my mental health because most of you who come here specifically to read about my life have been doing so for years and I fear I’ll be able to hear your eyes rolling when I tell another story about how my life is a hopeless failure.

Some of you are lucky enough to experience it in real life. My morning walking partner Bronwyn deals with enough shit in her own life but gets to hear me whinge and moan about mine for 45 minutes 3 times a week. That she RINGS me if I’m not out the front of my place by 5am is indicative of her own issues. Weirdo.

But those messages, the checking in with me because suddenly I’m very quiet on Facebook and Twitter (I’ve almost forgotten what Twitter even is), the listening to my silence and sadness is what feeds my mantra during these times – just.keep.going. Fall down seven times, rise up eight.

I am lucky enough to have a support network around me of people who know it is enough to just be beside me, reminding me that I will get through this, that this is not my truth but a heinous lying fiend robbing me of light.

I also have a psychiatrist I trust implicitly. Yes, we’ve spent the better part of six months trying to make me feel OK but in the scheme of mental illness that is nothing. Today we start a new plan and I guess, we wait.

pristiq pic



I know the story of how I got to here is all over the shop, back to front, upside down and inside out but sometimes the best way to write it is how it falls and at the moment I feel broken. And scared.

This morning started with the grossest of panic attacks. I woke in a sweat, feeling swallowed by the bed, my wound site feels like a mountain, a pit in my stomach and wave after wave of feeling hopeless and worthless and a fraud and broken. With the occasional dumper of an impenetrable sense of something bad about to happen.  I was brittle and weak, hopeless and scared. Not again, not now, not again, not now. I shake my hands constantly when I’m like this, like the emotion has to come out somewhere.

I fly off a FB message to my Personal Physician Steve who I’m sure LOVED waking up on a Saturday morning to his cousin’s wife freaking out on his FB.

I woke up Chef. Dear GOD that man must be developing a phobia about being woken up by me. I had a shower, went for a walk. The whole way around the block! 500 metres! Goddammit if this is going to beat me.

My left leg feels three times the size of my right and I don’t really have a sense of where it ends. I almost tripped twice and stubbed my big toe once. Apparently this is called peripheral neuropathy. I love how the medical term makes something that’s really fucked sound cool.

Personal Physician Steve and I worked out a plan of action to get me through until my GP visit on Tuesday (we think it’s a drug they introduced for the nerve pain that is interacting with my other head meds and basically hit ground zero this morning). I cried on Chef that I’m broken and scared and this wasn’t how the year was meant to start and we had been travelling so well and I’m so so sorry. He of course, held me close, told me we would so get back to great. That I would not be broken forever and look how much better I am than three weeks ago and that he loved me and that it would all be OK. How did I ever score such a beautiful man?

I checked in to FB hoping some of you beautiful people had posted some witty, silly things to make me laugh through tears, the best of emotions. Jane had posted this. Just this. It’s Australia Day here, a day growing increasingly uncomfortable in our skin – someone wrote an article somewhere saying most countries celebrate the day they were freed of colonial rule and yet we celebrate the day it started. Growing up is hard.

So valium (when my back went from debilitating and excruciatingly painful to holy crap Personal Physician Steve sent me a text saying “No reiki guru shakra chiro iridologist would be able to do anything for you … when it comes to the serious shit western medicine is the way to go”. He’s right), knowing I’m loved and knowing such big battles have been fought makes me know its worth it to keep fighting the demons, no matter their size.


Onward folks, onward.


The gloaming

She wakes as the sun comes up and thinks, ‘maybe it’s gone’. Then tries to roll over the the pain ricochets through her, sometimes starting from the right butt cheek, sometimes shooting from the ankle. It’s a cruel trick her mind plays on her every single morning. Two panadeine forte are cracked, swallowed and then she waits. It normally takes 15, sometimes 20 minutes before she can feel the codeine coursing her veins, sinking her body deeper into the matress.

She fights the calling to close her eyes, knowing if she doesn’t get up now the pain will be excruciating as opposed to horrible. The first few steps to the shower are always good. Hard hot water streams onto her rump in a daily futile exercise to relax muscles so tight her right leg feels a foot shorter than her left. Getting dry is a ridiculous game of crouching to dry her legs and thinking that’s a good stretch only to have agonising spasms as she stands. Then there is the undies game, she tries the good leg first some days, the dodgy leg others. It doesn’t matter. It always ends badly with collapsing on the bed and an internal pep talk to get them on. ‘


The first hour is the worst. You are not dying. Nothing is going to break or snap. Take a deep breath. And another one. You can do this. It’s just nerve pain, brain, it’s OK, just a pinched nerve. Breath. But none of it makes any difference. Once that first hour is done then standing is normally ok. Sitting on anything other than a hard chair with a towel folded in three is untenable. Lying down is deadly only for the fact she eventually has to get up and endure that first hour all over again. Curiously, all she wants to do is lie down.

Meanwhile the household comes to life. Breakfasts, washing on, delegations to unpack the dishwasher, fights to umpire, questions to answer. Just breath.

The pain pre-occupies, like water coursing along a riverbed, filling every twist and turn, finding a path between every pebble of her life, every thought in her head. It makes her snap and cross. Each question, request, conversation adding another weight on the pain load she is already bearing. It stops her from paying attention so she drops things, cuts or burns herself when cooking and basically forgets all the things she’d normally consider. There’s a wicked burn on her bingo wing from the pretty lanterns she bought for the Christmas day tablescape that pains as it brushes against her body. She sees it as a welcome distraction from the leg.

She’s been living with back pain since June and the sciatica since September. Maybe October? There’s been chiro and physio, training and visits to the GP. There’s been talk of steroid injections and resounding medical advice against it. “Let’s just ramp up your pain relief,” is the current approach along with chiro.

But then the anxiety starts to fester. So much codeine, the occasional half an endone when she knows the tightness is in another realm. She tries a day without codeine and ends it completely paralysed, locked halfway between getting up and lying down. Unable to put any weight on her leg and incapable of finding any position where the pain does not shoot up and down her entire right side like a puck in a pinball machine. Involuntarily gasps of pain, tears, locked in a twisted position holding on to the end of the lounge until the neurofen plus and a whole endone kick in. It’s a long 20 minutes.


As summer in Sydney gets serious, she can feel herself slipping. The mental war begin waged against the physical pain has been ambushed. The air is heavy with heat and humidity. Cicadas whir incessantly competing with the hum of the fan as the soundtrack to the season as she feels herself sliding into a gloaming, neither night nor day, here nor there, present or absent. Just existing. Knowing it will pass, it will get better, just not today.