I blame myself for my son’s mood disorder


My 10 year old’s mood disorder seems to worsen as he gets older. The problem is, I can’t do very much more than I already am for him ( He’s on mood stabilisers and sees a great psychologist and paediatrician), and so I have to sit and helplessly watch as he suffers with insomnia, depression, self harm and mood swings. I have also more recently tried my hardest to keep my moods in check, and recognise the various moods that I get, so that it doesn’t affect my son as he is incredibly intuitive. However sometimes I feel that the medication I’m on isn’t working, and other times, I skip a dose or two which is a huge misdemeanour.
Mood regulation has always been an issue for me. Perhaps I wasn’t taught that skill as a youngster or perhaps it’s something which comes hand in hand with resilience – another attribute I don’t possess even still as an adult.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have a partner who understands my illness and supports me through everything with unwavering love and kindness, even though she too is fighting her own battle with depression.
I know that I can always tell her my deepest darkest thought, or that I’ve harmed myself in some way, knowing that there won’t be any judgement – just love and care. She also has the same symbiotic link to my son, and often tells him that no matter what happens, he can always tell her what’s going on without judgement. That’s the key to bipolar success – a supportive loved one who knows.

I sometimes think that if I’d been diagnosed with bipolar before I had children, I might not have wanted any for risk of passing it on. That said though, I wouldn’t want to change a thing, as my son is perfect as he is, and we can only try to lessen his pain whilst battling this disease. At least Having a mood disorder myself, I can recognise when he’s up or down and try and help lessen the affect and result of the mood. We have a long journey ahead, and people in his life will have to be educated as he grows up into a teenager and then a man. He is going to possibly need even more backing and support than I have, as I feel that his situation is worse than mine. One thing I know is that I’m going to have to stick around to make sure that he’s okay and not give in to my own times of destruction where I think that it would be easier to end it than to live with the horrible symptoms I get. I cannot give in. My family need me. I also want to make the voice of mental illness heard.

Love and light,

Deb

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Stigma hits again


My 10 year old son has recently been diagnosed with a mood disorder. The psychiatrist wont say that its bi polar yet, despite the signs being clearly there. He is now on mood stabilisers though, which has helped.His symptoms and reactions to antidepressants are the same as mine and he has severe mood swings. He also has chronic OCD and anxiety and depression. He is currently attending a private school, but they are battling to deal with him. We constantly get phone calls to fetch him because he’s gotten aggressive towards other students.He gets overwhelmed quite quickly and lacks resilience, and the teachers don’t know how to neutralise the situation. (At home he is generally fine though).It was even suggested at a meeting that we should move him to a government school because they will be able to get funding to get a teachers assistant in the classroom to help him. Unfortunately though, the Australian Government is now looking at axing 400 teachers aid jobs next year. Wonderful.

My partner phoned a government school this week to chat to the deputy principal about the possibility of enrolling our son there, but she became rather stand offish when she heard about my son’s diagnosis, and suggested another school to my partner. I was rather disgusted.

How can we get help when everyone is hand balling my son on to the next person?

Is anyone out there also experiencing the same treatment?

Our Politicians need to stand up and recognise that some of Australia’s youth need desperate mental assistance, as they will one day be adults, and without that help are at risk of falling between the cracks. I am doing everything as a mother to make sure that my son eventually gets the help that he needs, but it is incredibly difficult when theres only one of you fighting the system at a time.

There is also a long wait list for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and if you take your child to the psychiatric ward at the children’s hospital, they say that there’s nothing that they can do for you. And so you get turned away once again.

There are no hospitals for juvenile mental illness, almost as though the mental health system doesn’t believe that mental illness exists in children.

Perhaps one day someone will open their eyes and help, or perhaps I’ll win the lotto and put it towards getting mental health help in place for our youth, to educate and prepare so that the struggles later on in life aren’t as severe. What a wish..

Love and light

Deb

When the roles reverse


I have always been the one to crumble. My bipolar would send me spiralling, and off to a psychiatric hospital I’d go. I’d feel numb and shuffle about in my ugg boots to groups and mealtimes. When family or friends visited I’d sit quietly and listen to what they wanted to talk about. I didn’t realise that it was so stressful and upsetting to them. I was in my own safe cocoon, swaddled tightly for my own protection. Totally clueless.
Now the boot is on the other foot. I have a partner in a mental health ward, and the difference is that it’s a locked ward which is far scarier than the hospitals I’ve been to.
Being a carer is hard work and to be quite honest I don’t have the guts to be strong. I visit her and sit bawling my eyes out. I shouldn’t be the one cracking up- no one did around me, but it’s incredibly hard. It’s not about me and I need to learn resilience and to not take it all on board. I’m slipping, but now I understand what loved ones go through when you’re hospitalised. I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow to get an action plan together for coping with this. Being a single mum working full time is adding to it too.there are carers support groups out there, but oh to find the time. In the meantime it’s action plan time with my awesome therapist. I’d take a bullet for her. She’s pulled me through a hell of a lot.
Next plan is a tree change. I’m looking at going to university next year to study psychology. I want to help those who are going through what I’ve been through. I want to pass on the gift of help that my therapist has given to me. These next few weeks are going to be rough, but I’ll get through it. I need strength to survive and laughs to keep me alive.

Light and love
Deb

And our Mental Health System strikes again..


Accolades to our Mental health system once more.Exactly what my last blog (vent) was about.
My partner has just spiralled with a severe bout of depression and suicidality. We’ve waited for a week for her to get a bed at a private psychiatric hospital, but unfortunately no go, as there is a long wait list.(no surprise).
In desperation she presented to the ED at the local government hospital yesterday morning, and had a 2 hour wait in the waiting room before being seen. She was put into a bed in the ED where she was evaluated by the psych team. She was then left to ponder her fate for the rest of the day, curtain around her bed drawn closed, with a nurse checking in on her every few hours if she was lucky. My question is, how can you leave a person alone, unattended when they’ve admitted to being suicidal? In the ED too! So many things in that cubicle one could use to self harm, I don’t even want to think about it.
My partner was then informed this morning that they were trying to get her a bed in the mental health ward. Finally, news. Still no regular checks though. Great job at saving a life.
Late this afternoon, my partner was moved to the mental health ward, and what a different story. They searched her bag and even took her phone charger off her in case she uses it to kill herself. A little too late I say, but thankfully she’s made it to a place where she can get help.
How is it that mental health is not as important in the Emergency department as a broken arm or even gastro. Mental health is not important anywhere. It’s invisible and apparently non life threatening to the world. Every other illness is glamorised and taken seriously, but not this. As my therapist said, mental illness is not sexy and sellable, thus everyone just shoves it under the rug. Why don’t I see pens and little bears in aid of mental health for sale next to the ones for the Leukaemia foundation?of course I am not trying to minimalise cancer and terminal illness, but I would like to bring the plight of mental illness to the same level. Here is where I ask for your help. Be it in Australia or anywhere else in the world, please pass this on, and help those suffering with mental illness find solace, understanding and support.
Love and light.
Deb

A little more help here please….


It’s amazing how fast you begin to relax when you get out of the city for a weekend. Life is so full of work, kids, appointments, and things to do lists that you so easily forget to switch off – even for just 5 precious minutes.
It’s no wonder that mental illness is so rife. Statistics show that 2 thirds of admissions to the Emergency department is mental health related.Even there you can’t get any help sometimes. There is always a wait list for a bed at a private psychiatric hospital, and the demand is high. Then there are emergency mental health helplines that you can call, but often they offer little or no respite at all. Perth is in dire need of a mental health shake up. We need more beds for mental illness at hospitals, with less waiting times and less dismissal on the help lines late on a Friday night, as I once experienced.
Medicare has also now changed the amounts of free visits to your psychologist under the mental health care plan, from 16 a year to 10 a year. Even 16 visits a year isn’t enough.with bipolar I need about 52. To adequately navigate the bipolar 3 way approach, one needs a weekly meeting with a psychologist to help prevent a break down. So now what?
Back to getting away from the city for a couple of days…it’s so nice to have nothing to worry about until tomorrow night. I’m headed out fishing now and maybe will do a few laps in the indoor heated pool at the hotel we’re staying at. Life is good today. I saw a quote this morning that I liked, which I’m signing off with : “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.
Light and love
Deb

Understanding & Acceptance is the key


Growing up, I never realised that I was different.
I rebelled. I starved myself, began smoking at 14, fought with my mother about her never reasoning with me or listening to me, and I even called my dad a jerk to his face once (whoops). All of this is probably normal “growing up” behaviour, but for some reason, my mother would not let me out of her sight, unless I was at school, and at home if she had to go out, I’d be locked in my room. She always said that I was up to something even though I never was. My family used to tease me and call me a martian, and at school I had very few friends.
Okay, so maybe I was different. Only now that I’m an adult and have come to terms with my mental illness and sexuality, have I realised that perhaps this is what was going on in my younger days.
I now have a son who is “different ” too and gets bullied at school for it, but I understand and try to help him as much as I can, so that he might not have to go through some of my struggles.
There is a lot more understanding now, and it is even being talked about on television and radio adverts and now even pop songs.
When I had my 8 week stay in hospital for bipolar depression recently, my boss’s boss came in to see me and even brought chocolates! He met my partner too, and didn’t seem to bat an eyelid. I’ve now brought a small picture of my partner, kids and I into work, and put it in a corner on my desk. No one has said anything, and I havent been treated any differently.
Even one of our company’s owners asked me how I was the other day and how good it was to see me back well after my long leave. This has all made me realise that I’m working with some very special, undestanding people and I’m truly grateful.
I think that our younger generation coming through now is going to be more enlightened, sympathetic and understanding. I certainly hope so anyway.
With understanding and acceptance, the world is so much of a nicer place.
Love and light
Deb

How I found out I was gay


I grew up kissing boys and having crushes on guys all the way through school. Looking back now, there wasn’t any female that I thought was hot.
There was even an immediate attraction to my husband the second we met.
We got married( I was young- only 23) and two years later we had a son. Things seemed to change after that though. I felt like he wasn’t giving me the support I needed. When I had my two miscarriages, he totally fobbed them off and I was left alone to grieve.
When my son was 2 I met a woman and we became friends. My husband was out Monday to Thursday nights from 5.30 until 10 doing karate. Kian and I were left alone at home. My friend would come over for dinner some of those nights and we’d sit chatting over glasses of wine for hours. I then realised that I was beginning to feel incredibly attracted to her and would think about her a lot. We became really close but she never knew that I had a crush on her. It scared me but at the same time I felt excited. We moved to Australia when our son was 3 and a half. Being in a new country and not knowing anyone was hard. We got jobs and our son started school. I began to make friends and felt a little less alone. My husband wasn’t interested in me and I began to feel quite unattractive. On the odd occasion I’d meet a woman somewhere and we’d have a deep conversation and it would feel like we’d connected. I’d then sit afterwards and wonder if there’d been an attraction. I’d quickly push it out of my mind because it scared me. My daughter was born in 2008 and I made a new friend. Things still didn’t feel right between my husband and I. I began to develop a crush on my friend and we even talked about it. Then one night it happened. I had just cheated on my husband with a woman. I felt a huge guilt, but was not freaked out by the experience. A few months later we kissed and that was when I knew that I was possibly gay.
I tried as hard as I could in my marriage after that but felt like it was a farce. I admitted to him that I had cheated on him with a woman. He said ” I don’t want to know who, but you’re forgiven”!!!!! He then said he wanted to redo our marriage vows and go on a second honeymoon with the kids. I reluctantly did it and felt really guilty. That was in November 2011. In January I told my husband that I think I’m gay and maybe we should separate. He said do what you need to do, we’ll try it for 6 months. I went out to a club alone one night ( bravely) and a woman approached me and bought me a drink. She took my phone number and told me she lived 950kms away but came to Perth most weekends. We began a long distance relationship and I told my husband that it was over. I know it broke his heart, but he’s never shown it. In September last year my girlfriend moved to perth and we began a life of living together. I now get the support and what I need from her. We have the kids one week and my ex husband( we got a divorce) has them one week. My girlfriend is also an amazing mother to my kids and they even call her mummy. I’m 34 now, and its taken me all that time to realise that it was actually a woman I wanted to be with.