It’s very selfish what you did to me as a child. Your self indulgent sexual behaviour taught me to see sex as love and conditioned my mind and body to inappropriate unhealthy pleasure.

It followed me into adult life. There was no crossroad, I was destined to pick up a sex addict or a pedophile, hands down.

Now when I am attracted to someone, I know what he is. It is inevitable.

You have not only committed a heinous crime, you have committed me to a lifetime of trying to reverse what was done to me, a lifetime of torment.

You are an ill individual who professes love and support to manipulate innocent minds.

They say it’s not about sexual pleasure for you, but control. I say yours might be about control but my everlasting automatic response is a reminder of what you did to me. It follows me wherever I go, whatever I do. It is almost part of my DNA.

I see you and your distortion. You can continue to distort the truth to everyone around you but my body keeps the score.

Shame on you and your selfishness, you have stolen my normality.

Your victim (now survivor)

I just wanted to be normal

Growing up I just wanted to be like other people, like anyone but me.

As a toddler I jumped into the lady’s car whose son my mum was babysitting because I wanted to go home to their place. It was better there.

I wanted to be like my cousins whose dad had a high paying job, who took them out places (other than the pub!) and who went to private schools.

I wanted to go to parties like my friends all did, I wanted to have a boyfriend like a normal person would and in my late teens I wanted to go to clubs like everyone else or go out with friends and have fun.

I wanted to escape my reality and I spent so many wasted hours doing that – through fantasy.

I found a man online who turned out to be a sex addict, the result of which got me into recovery and awoke me to my stuffed childhood sexual abuse.

I didn’t know what it was all about back then, I just wanted to get out and be like everybody else.

When I found my sex addict I lived a facade for 20 years. People thought I had it all together – that’s what I wanted, but all the pretending was wearing me down.

Then one day it all came crashing down and my true colours had nowhere else to go but to be on display.

All was not actually well and I had unravelled.

A life of pretending, holding in secrets and wishing I was someone and somewhere else was raw.

I was bitterly unhappy.

That was 9 years ago and now I am discovering who I am, learning to accept and love myself, going against the family system than conveniently uses me as a scapegoat and standing firm in my truth.

There is nobody better than me and I am enough. The journey’s in believing.

Finding Yourself

Finding yourself is not really how it works.

You aren’t a ten dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are.

Finding yourself is actually returning to yourself… An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering of who you were before the world got it’s hands on you.

Source: Emily McDowell

Distorted Reality

Distorted reality – a very influential situation for me and has been all my life.

My parents distorted my reality by making me (the child) believe that my sexual abuse was made up. That was 1978 but the distortion began way before then, when I was lead to believe that the alcoholic didn’t have a drinking problem.

Slowly slowly they chipped away at the block (my mind) until I started to think something was wrong with me.  I thought I was like my schizophrenic grandmother, I had a mental illness and nobody told me otherwise.

I buried what happened to me because I had no way of processing it, no validation, no support and no love and acceptance. I was simply defective.

Move forward 15 years where I met a sex addict.  He told me all sorts of distortions and when I questioned them my thoughts were dismissed as unreasonable. I began to put to him that something was wrong with me and he didn’t argue with that.

Move forward another 15 years where I’m working in a workplace that hushes truth and rewards bad behaviour to pacify employees.

My head is spinning so fast, I don’t understand what is happening here – I question my reality time and time again as I do not believe in myself. Am I sane, why are they not listening to me, something must be wrong with me, why do they not address the problems here….

How do I right this in my mind to stop the spinning. Over and over again it goes until I am overwhelmed with exhaustion and confusion. It is easier to just play the game of distortion and all will be well.

But it won’t be “well”.  it is time to take a stand, to stand up to the manipulator who keeps me in my position using accolades, to stand up to the injustice and distortion by simply walking away and saying “no more”.

I am scared, worried, frightened and beating myself up emotionally – rewind 40 years.


Past Photographs

If I have a feeling I was photographed inappropriately as a child, how can I find out for certain? Where can I search for my photo? How do I do that and what websites do I look at?

I would say this exercise would be arduous plus severely triggering for me – but how else am I to prove for certain I was not only a photographer’s sexual object but an object for millions of child sexual predators?

Any input/experiences with this would be greatly appreciated.

New Years Eve – Another Drama?

Y’know what’s hard and has always been hard? Seeing everyone making plans for New Years Eve. Walking their dogs early, buying up big on food and alcohol, buying nice clothing to wear, their excitement, the crowds, the fireworks and the “Happy New Year” texts at midnight.

Growing up I was never really allowed out to celebrate with everyone else. Everyone was out partying and I was home with my parents listening to it all and feeling left out and alone.

As I got older sure I went out with people to parties or sat with friends but I was never really happy. It was never what it was cracked up to be. I was always miserable because in the back of my mind I was living with a problem, I was living with active sex addiction and it was hard. All I wanted was for it to stop and my life would be better (Step 1 in the 12 Steps to recovery).

For years I lived with emotional pain and suffering, living as mentally ill because I was treated as such and moulding myself into that label.

When living with active sex addiction in my life there was always some sort of drama, an incident which caused me pain and emotional suffering.

There is an enormous amount of New Years Eve baggage for me. I really don’t care for New Years Eve, I’d rather not be reminded of it and as much as I try to have a nice time now (active sex addiction is no longer in my life) I still feel sad, empty and lonely. I’d rather not celebrate it, I’d rather push it to the back of my mind and pretend it’s not there. I cannot wait for it to be over so I can move on with my life.

I can’t say I’ve met many people who feel this way on New Years Eve, perhaps it’s just me and I am truly alone here.

Repressed Anger

Is it really a bad thing that I express my repressed childhood anger towards other people who irritate me?

At least it’s coming out, right? 😀

Cup of Tea Anyone?

I changed the header on my Facebook page to show a picture of a little girl having a tea party with her toys.

I used to love having a tea party with my imaginary friends when I was young. I had a little plastic tea set and I used to put green cordial in it and serve it to my guests.

It’s a fitting picture, very pretty.

A Flick of “the Switch”

Sometimes it is hard to tell if I am in the present or the past. Did I really see what I thought I saw or was it a dream/flashback? When I am in the past I very often don’t know I’m there until “the switch” flicks over to the present. I can feel the switch, it snaps off very quickly, leaving me in clarity and happiness again. 

Today I lay in waiting for the switch to flick off or maybe it was never on in the first place and I am just delusional. 

Not a day to celebrate

I’ve decided I’m not going to give my dad a Father’s Day gift this year and nor am I going to give him a birthday present a few weeks later.

This will be the first time I have ever done this. I won’t be making the phone call and I won’t be acknowledging the two events to him in any way, shape or form.

Why? Because giving a gift to my abuser is like handing a bunch of flowers to someone who just beat the crap out of me.

I am allowed to be angry at the events in my childhood. They should not have occurred. I entrusted my parents to take care of me, to do what’s best for me and they failed me on many levels

There are still many unexplained events in my past. My journey through sexual abuse is still evolving.

I am not ready to see my dad for all the good things he’s done in my life. I’m not ready to separate the man from the abuse and let the past go.

My non compliance with the norm will likely cause an uproar or turmoil for my family of origin – all of them – my dad, mother and two sisters will be aghast. I will become the “bad one”.  My sisters will endure (and take part in) the tirade of remarks about what an ungrateful daughter I am – “of all the things we’ve done for her” etc.

My closest sister is already emotionally detaching from me and there’s nothing I can do about that.

The abuser will slowly chip away at my character , placing ideas in my family’s heads that I am mad, crazy and an ungrateful child. The abuser will slowly but surely turn me into the perpetrator and turn my family against me.

It is important to see it for what it is. This is the nature of the disease of sexual addiction and what sexual abusers do.

I might lose everyone who I grew up with but I must not lose myself and my truth.


I have spent much of my life disconnected from things.

What does that mean? It means feeling numb, without emotion, without opinion, the absence of enjoyment, not really knowing who I am and not feeling connected to my body, needs, wants and desires.

A bit like a living zombie!

I have actually had a few moments where I have felt connected and free. Earlier this year when I made the big decision not to join my family of origin for Christmas Day was one of them. It was my way of standing up and saying that I was no longer going to continue to play the game of denial. I was no longer going to sweep the family secrets under the rug.

My decision saw my connection to self and wonderful carefree feeling last for some weeks but I was subsequently shut down again after an argument that reminded me of abusive treatment in my past. I retreated back into my safe hole.

I’m finding myself curious about feeling like “me” again and I want to experience it more but I do not know how to switch myself back on again.

Perhaps it is something I need to give myself permission to do or perhaps there is another phase in my healing that needs to unravel, I’m not so sure.

I do know that I want to experience more of it. I deserve to experience more of it rather than stay trapped by the abusive experiences of my past.

I no longer want to be a living zombie.

“If your child tells you he or she has been abused, believe it.

If you suspect that your partner, that person who abused you, other family members, or your child’s caretakers are being abusive, take action immediately.

Countless women have been sure they were the only ones to be abused, only to find out years later that their own children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren had become victims as well.”

From The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis.

I’m so tired, you know what I mean?

The brain says “push yourself” or “stop being so lazy” but the body says “rest” and “take a break”.

The brain is very often not satisfied with the extent of work the body has put in for the day. It says “you didn’t get to clean the toilet” or “you didn’t vacuum the house, what a disgrace” and “it was a good day today BUT you didn’t get to wash the dishes”.

See, my brain is often set on “critical parent mode”. What I do will never be good enough for my (critical) parent.

Fighting the critical parent is very tiring. It is like having a mini war inside my head.

Taking time out for myself by just doing nothing is a big “no no” for the critical parent. I am “wasting time” and “my life is slipping away” and my all time favourite “you’ll never get anywhere in life”.

Fighting the critical parent is not the only war going on inside my head either. There is “what is he REALLY doing today” and “who is he REALLY with” and “you’re going to have a busy day at work tomorrow” and “oh, it’s Monday tomorrow, what a drag”. There’s also “you’ll never get through this sexual abuse stuff” and “your family are talking behind your back” and “you’ll never get off this medication”.

With all this brain activity, is it any wonder we get so tired? Find it hard to get out of bed? Can’t pick up the vacuum cleaner or just plain don’t want to go out?

If you know what I’m talking about then lets join forces and cut ourselves some slack.

We have all been through and are going through a lot.  It’s time to show ourselves some compassion and understanding. Wouldn’t we say the same for someone else in our situation? Hell yeah.

Today it is OK to give ourselves permission to do nothing. We are not going to wilt away and die, we are not going to lose that big opportunity and we are not going to eventuate into nothing if we just take a break.

There is a high probability that when I am on my death bed one day I won’t be scolding myself for not vacuuming the house – I’ll be scolding myself for not doing all the things I wanted to accomplish in my life!

Let us comfort our inner child and tell them that a break is OK, they are allowed to rest.

Our inner child is worth it, they ARE important, they ARE precious, they ARE loved.

The guilt of our critical parent will break us if we allow it to.

Today I will do what my inner child wants to do, I will not do any chores.

I will bake, watch some TV and pat my dogs.

The only person that can tell me I’m not allowed is ME.

Watch out for that….

Hey Dad?

I was appalled to read of a statement by the Lawyers for Robert Hughes, former Hey Dad star convicted of child sexual abuse, pleading to the Court for leniency for he had suffered at the hands of negative media attention for “the past month”.

What an insult! Do you really believe that one month in negative media limelight is cause for a reduced sentence and that same constitutes punishment for heinous crimes?

Child sexual abuse has children live with the after effects long after after the event/s have taken place, if not a lifetime.

One month’s negative media attention is no contest and an insult to the survivors of your unacceptable behaviour.

Did the denial of your crimes serve its litigious purpose or have you utterly deceived yourself into thinking that you did nothing wrong?

May you spend your minimum six years in jail reflecting on your pedophilia and working at the core issues that have lead you down this destructive path.

If you exit jail showing awareness of your disease and the willingness to arrest it, only then will I show you understanding. Otherwise, your time spent inside is fruitless.

You have been given a gift by your Higher Power, what you do with that gift is now up to you.

Beating this disease can simply start with two words – “I’m sorry”.  The world is ready to hear it.

Advice Please

“Hi Rapid Cycling,

My name is Mrs X and I have a son with bipolar.

My son is 36 years old and he is so very lonely. He doesn’t have a friend, or a girlfriend and it has been this way for years. He usually visits us, his parents, and beyond that he has a part time job where he tends to work approx 12 hours a week.

The situation our son is in has hurt him deeply and it has caused him to have very low self confidence, is shy and struggles to be motivated in doing much.

We helped our son to buy a home and he has spent the last three years making this home lovely and I now believe he took himself to a place where he could feel comfortable in what he had to encourage a woman and friend to be interested in him.

Our son is a lovely person and it is so hard for him and ourselves to comprehend why no one is interested in him. He has tried to meet people, through us pushing him and has recently been on a dating site, through feeling ready to meet someone and once again had no look at anything he tries.

He has now lost hope and is very depressed and overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do. I am scared he will give up and I am struggling to find a place that could help him feel better socially.

He has been on mood pills for years and I tend to think they make him feel flat. He doesn’t need a counselor, who just writes things down and suggests things he fails to do and I honestly don’t know what will make him feel comfortable with himself.

My son has never had support from anyone (other than ourselves) since he got bipolar 20 years ago and I think it’s shocking this is so. He is one very lonely person and I am so worried about him.

Can you suggest something that gives people like him some joy?

I am so tired of trying all the time to fill his cup up.


Mrs X. “

Reply from Rapid Cycling (to which I have yet to receive a response):

“Hi Mrs X,

I am saddened by your son’s story because this has been happening for such a long time. 
I agree with you 100% about the pills making him feel flat. From my experience, it is also trauma that makes one feel flat or numb. It’s a very hard thing to deal with. 
I can only share with you what I have learned over the past five or so years. 
Firstly, I don’t run the support group any more but I have heard from many people how support and understanding from those in the same boat was so helpful to them. 
Secondly, my experience is that psychiatry will simply medicate someone, listen to them a bit but really do nothing except prescribe more drugs to fix the problems. 
Thirdly, a GOOD counsellor will do wonders. Digging at ones core issues are paramount to move beyond what is causing them pain. In many cases one doesn’t even know what their core problem is. Things to think about are what made your son bipolar in the first place all those years ago and/or what happened to him that caused him much distress. If you care to share that with me I am happy to refer you to an appropriate counsellor who might benefit him.  
I have learned that to go through the pain in lieu of simply medicating it (while using medication to help me through) is the only way to shed the old pain.  I am not suggesting to go off medication but merely to work at one’s core issues using medication to help process the memories. Pro-active solution based counselling is SO helpful.
Fourthly, I can recommend GROW. They have a website (grow.org.au I think). They are a mental health support group that are based around the 12 steps but one has the support of other members who can be in touch in between meetings. GROW are a solution based support group and I believe members discuss their problems in a group setting and receive input from other members on solutions. They then report back at the next meeting as to how they went with their problems. GROW meet at many locations around your area.. 
New ways of thinking (not self defeating ways) should be promoted in GROW but if not, it’s important to change how we think. This is a slow process but paramount to get out of one’s dark hole. 
I have found that poor ways of thinking stem from dysfunctional behaviours carried down through family generations. A prime example is alcoholism that runs through so many generations. Whether one is drinking or not, it is the behaviours that have been learned and carried on. If you have family members with addictions of any type (except smoking), I can refer you on.  This area is where I have delved the most in my own recovery and am well versed in it.
Fifthly, your son should never give up on the need and want to feel normal. If he’s not happy with his meds, his quality of life and his counsellor he needs to make changes for HE IS WORTH IT. 
All too often we think professionals are correct and what they say is gospel. I have learned this not to be so. 
I was diagnosed bipolar and put on all sorts of horrid drugs about 5-6 years ago. I tried to fit the bipolar mould as much as I could but was rediagnosed 2 years later. I was not bipolar after all but lost two years of my life struggling with the side effects of all the medications. 
Your son must want this too, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink 🙂
In summary, a good counsellor and support from others in the same boat who are also wanting to better themselves in how they behave and think are priceless. These two things should go hand in hand.

Again, I am happy to refer you on if you need it. 
Best of luck,

Rapid Cycling.”

Trusting Myself

Question 1 Step 2 of the 12 Steps: Have I looked to the sexaholic to satisfy my God hunger? 
Yes I have. I relied on the actions and words of the addicts in my life to tell me if I was doing the right thing.  If I asked them about my actions towards a situation I would treat their answer as gospel. Generally their answer was negative or revolved around things being “my fault”. 
Until I was 30 years old I thought my alcoholic dad was always right. I NEVER saw his flaws. 
I remember some years ago there was a big argument and my room got trashed. I was so upset I called my A dad and he asked me what I had done to cause it?  I knew at that time I was relying on the wrong person to help me. I saw the dysfunction and how violence, verbal abuse and addiction had become an accepted way of life for me and my family of origin.
If there was an argument/event with someone at work I would expect the addicts close to me to support me but it never happened that way. I ended up feeling worse, lost and lonely.  I don’t think they knew how to listen and support me.  Today I am clear what I need from someone – “I just need you to listen and support me”. 
In relation to not trusting in one’s ability to make the right choices or not knowing at all what to do in situations, I can totally relate to that.  It is like no answer comes to me at all sometimes, there is nothing, it’s empty – I just don’t know what to do.  I understand to an extent why it is that way – I must have “completely” lost my true self as a child. I am certain my caregivers denied me my reality because it suited them both. I had to live the lie along with them because if I didn’t, I would be punished. This is exactly why I must speak up now when faced with evidence of active sexaholism (or with anything really). If I do not, I am continuing the pattern of denial taught to me in childhood and inhibiting my ability to make my own decisions.
I feel I must share a necessary part of my reality here for some reason, a part that does not fit into the above paragraph. Even though I lived the lie my caregivers conditioned me to believe, I was still punished. To this day my mum treats me differently to my siblings. I was (and am) denied a lot of things that my siblings are not. In essence, if I spoke up, I was punished and if I lived the lie, I was punished. 
I have found that the more small decisions I make by myself that affect me, the stronger and more confident I become.Trust in myself is slowly increasing. The choices I’ve made have not always agreed with those around me though and that’s caused me difficulty but I’ve had to stand up and say “no, I’m not comfortable with that” and as a result I’ve been able to grow.
Thanks for listening to me, I greatly appreciate it 🙂

Feeling Inadequate

I think my feelings of inadequacy perpetuated from childhood. The things I did and tried so hard at were never good enough in the eyes of my family and extended family. Their hurtful comments and put downs left me feeling like I was a failure, worthless and not as good as my relatives, who they praised.
By putting someone down was how my family of origin learned to “encourage” someone. I know this because I did the same thing as an adult.  When I became aware of it I realised that it just doesn’t work. If it made me feel inadequate and miserable as a child (and as an adult), then it will surely make others feel inadequate and miserable too!.  Time to change my ways from negative encouragement to positive encouragement and that is what I try to do today.
Last week I left my job of 11 months and am moving onto another job next week. My former boss said great things to me such as “the new girl is not like you R.C” (my brain was saying – I bet she’s not as dysfunctional as me!) and “any time you need a reference, you’ve got it” (my brain was saying – he doesn’t really mean that, if only he knew what goes on behind the scenes!). 
My inner critic in regards to performance will be there for a long time I think because I have lived with negative encouragement (outside and inside)  for almost all of my life.  
I can see my flaws and I am of the dysfunctional belief that they outshine my positives when I am around others.  Perhaps that is because my flaws were always pointed out as a child and my positives were generally overlooked. 
I have often read that the adult child spends a lot of time covering up their true selves from the belief that they are bad.  I could never really relate to that until I was offered my new position. The offer triggered a great fear in me that everyone will see how bad I am,  I will be truly exposed and all my flaws apparent. It was a necessary part of my recovery to uncover that memory/emotion and to debunk an old childhood belief.
It will take some time for me to completely believe positive comments from others in lieu of second guessing them. Nevertheless I can feel a shift forward in my self belief after this incident and that’s some progress on my part.

Can You Hear Me?

I’ve seen it today, I understand now. There’s a repetition in my life – there are many of them.

I spend endless hours chattering away to my dogs, like they can understand me. It fills the hole in my soul – temporarily.

Nobody heard me as a child. As a four year old I told my mum what dad was doing to me but dad exploded and that was the end of that. I was branded a liar, a trouble maker and my mum unconsciously punished me until I left home at 29 years of age. Yes, I understand that to be part of her process, her denial, but it hasn’t helped me one bit.

Now I spend many a wasted hour trying to get heard by people who don’t understand what it’s all about. A pointless, fruitless exercise.

My counsellor can hear me, she can validate me. She can give me a safe place to share, a place where I can begin to contemplate what happened to me and speak my truth.

Slowly slowly my inner child will get heard and my repetitive need for someone to hear my voice will dissipate.

Many people just don’t understand the full ramifications of child sexual abuse. There, I’ve said it – sexual abuse. That’s what it was and that’s what it will always be. Nothing anybody says will make it not so, for my inner child knows the truth. She carries the secret deep within and for now she gives me snippets of details. One day she will be fearless enough to tell me exactly what happened – but only when I’m ready to hear it.

Thanks for listening, I appreciate it like you’ll never know.

The Root Cause

I am feeling lonely and depressed tonight.

Let’s look at those feelings for a moment.

Within myself I can feel emptiness, anxiousness, fatigue, pain and numbness like I’m just going through the motions. Tears could break through any moment now.

What could the cause be?

It could relate to my long term use of the antidepressant Efexor XR/Venlafaxine Hydrochloride which is known to cause fatigue, menstrual cycle upsets (that can obviously set off other feelings), anxiety and somnolence among other things.

Or it could be from the trigger I received last week surrounding betrayal and deceit the result of which I have felt numb, empty, dead as a door nail and restless ever since.

It’s very hard to distinguish if I am reacting to a past trauma or suffering from a medicinal side effect given I can tick both boxes.

My bet is on the Efexor XR because of the joint pain and fatigue.

I think it’s time to taper off the Efexor XR so I can finally hit the nail on the head regarding the root cause.

Repeating History

Hiding from me what you do on your computer late at night continues to reinforce the message I received in childhood that I am not safe, things are not as they seem and what I want is of no consequence.

My grief is so deep. I am dirt to you.

You continue to over power me,  to control and win regardless of what I ask of you.

As long as my environment is not safe I will continue to recoil in fear.

I am an adult trapped in childhood trauma and I trust no-one but myself.

Nobody understands…..

Air – I Can’t Breathe!

I figured out today that air from a fan or air conditioner directly blowing on me  triggers an anxiety attack.

This explains why when at a recent meeting I dissociated when the upright fan was continually blowing air my way. It was exactly the same fan we had at home when I was young.

Figuring out why this happens to me is the next piece of the puzzle.

I’m hated in my own home and the sexaholic has to get away from me.

So, if I had to write a personal’s advertisement, what would I say about myself?

“I’m a good kind person with a good heart. I’m giving and genuine, easy-going and down to earth.  I cook, clean, wash clothes and dishes and go to work.

I enjoy watching TV, movies and going to cafe’s. I like walking and talking together, reading, animals, long drives and the beach.

I like cooking traditional Italian meals, drawing, pottery, sewing and beading.  I potter in the garden and love warm weather.

I love walking my dogs, swimming, shopping and surfing the internet.

I am quiet natured and enjoy current music and meditation.

I like going on holidays to the bush and the beach.

I enjoy psychology, catching up with friends, old wares, writing and going to op shops hunting for bargains.”

I think I’m a pretty good person.

How would you write your personal’s ad?

Welcoming Darkness

I have lived with the diseases of sexaholism, codependency and alcoholism for nearly 40 years.

They have broken me many times and brought me to despair.

Sometimes it gets so tiring fighting off these diseases in my life.

They will do what they can to show me I am worthless and useless.

Many times I feel I can’t go on living but my human spirit continues to keep the blood pumping through my veins.

I do not know why I am allowed to wake up and face a new day, why I am not simply taken peacefully in my sleep.

Today I ask the darkness to swallow me up for I do not wish to see tomorrow’s light.

You Matter To Me

When I was a young girl I was rarely allowed to do what I wanted.  I wasn’t asked what I thought or needed, I was simply told how it was going to be.

I often begged, cried and screamed for someone to hear me but nobody ever did.

I robotically did what I was told because if I didn’t, I was punished with beatings and solitude.

My mum said I was a trouble maker, stupid, I’d never get anywhere in life, a child, ignorant, know it all, an idiot and hopeless.

My room became my safe haven, my place to be left alone.  Nobody could get me in there, say bad things to me or order me around. I would sit in my room and create my own world that was safe, loving and full of fun. I was worthy, beautiful and popular in my room.

My self worth was destroyed and I tried to get some love very young in life by firstly offering myself to my father, then later latching on to boys and faking injuries so I’d be noticed.

I grew up as a people pleaser with a inner longing to be heard and considered worthy by someone.

I chose a man who was an only child, who unknowingly re-inforced my lack of worth through his deceit, contol and sex addiction.

I’m a follower and a dreamer (of course), stuck in a cycle destined for misery.

I’m back in my room with a soothing hand stroking my hair.  My soul screams “when will I be important to someone, when will they hear me?”

“It will be OK” says God, “I am here and you matter to me”.

Toxic Friendships

I thought toxic people could not interfere with my serenity but when I look back now I can see the infiltration was a slow process.
My friend was going through a very difficult time with her partner who I had deemed a sexaholic. She was not ready to look at that scenario which I respected.
On numerous occasions throughout the week she would relay to me the toxicity in her life and how she was so depressed, she tried to kill herself, he hit her, he hid money from her and I chose to listen to it.
I tried to hand the decisions back to her so I wasn’t a dumping ground but that was hard for me for I am not skilled in that technique and I am a fixer.
I remember when she first started to externalise her frustrations to me because I looked at her negativity in disbelief. I was past that stage and no longer felt the need to negatively externalise my dirty laundry. My self talk was not raging.
Slowly slowly her negativity crept back into my life until it again became my habit.  I needed it, I had to drop my “stuff” off somewhere, so I joined in.
My friend had bipolar disorder and was quite obsessive and possessive. She would turn up at my doorstep unannounced or her partner would dump her at my place after they’d had an argument letting me deal with her. At one stage she walked straight in my front door without knocking (that was a few months ago and I’m still freaked out by it now!).
Her obsessiveness exacerbated quite quickly during a very stressful time for me work wise. I was not emotionally in a position to cope with her constant texting, emailing, phoning and visits so I chose to politely terminate the friendship.
Surprisingly there was no drama (or comment) from her end but the RELIEF I felt was an eye opener for me. How did I let this person have such control over me? I felt such freedom after finishing the friendship (and still do). I was obviously so suffocated that I didn’t even realise it until it was over.
If I look closely at the friendship, I wanted to fix her. I saw myself as a martyr, the friendship was very unequal.  Whilst I enjoyed her company at the time, I lay in waiting for her to realise what she was dealing with in her partner – perhaps to validate what I believed was happening, I don’t know.
I’m happy that I did not leave her in the lurch without resources. She knew about the 12 Step Program for those affected by sexaholism, my thoughts on her partner and the patterns of her past relationships and family of origin. She HAD choices but I couldn’t make her choose them, I couldn’t save her from the grief of this disease at my own detriment. I was powerless.
My progress is that I have never before this terminated a friendship with honesty. I have never before said how I felt and I have never before said it politely!
Today I am more mindful of the people I become involved with.

Back in Time

How many times have you heard people say “if only I could go back”? Sure thing I’d reply, but only if I knew then what I know now!

I’ve started bumping into people who I haven’t seen for around four years now. They never fail to comment on how well I am looking.

I smile to myself because they knew me back when I was stuffed with prescription drugs and hiding away from the world. There was rarely a smile and I spent most of my time wishing I wasn’t where I was,  in my head or listening to podcasts on bipolar disorder and depression to keep me company.

Bipolar Nation was my lifesaver. Without Captain Joe’s podcasts I don’t know where I’d be.  It seemed as if he was the only one who understood my suffering. His humour and voice were a great comfort to me for two years while I was being treated for bipolar disorder.

(To listen to Captain Joe’s podcasts click HERE).

I used my Ipod to disconnect from the world around me, to cope with my emotional pain and suffering.

Most of my suffering was the result of the side effects of the drugs I was being prescribed.  You see I wasn’t bipolar at all but I made myself fit that label (that’s another story!).

The side effects of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants and benzodiazepines all rolled into one took a toll on my body and I believe they took a toll on my mind too.

I was even prescribed Artane, a drug used to stop the tremors in Parkinson’s Disease sufferers.  Fancy that, a drug to stop the side effects of another drug!

Never do I forget where I’ve been. I am grateful for where I am today but I feel somewhat sad that I don’t have the desire like others to want to go back to my early years.

It is sad that the fond childhood memories I do have do not outshine the negative ones.  The fond memories are not enough to make me wish I could go back in time.

I am so grateful to be where I am today. My past will never leave me but my present and future can only get better.

I give thanks to 12 Step Programs for my new way of living.  They have taught me new problem solving skills which I have been able to share with fellow sufferers of mental illness.

It is my belief that mental illness stems from dysfunction.  What I mean by that is as children we mimic the coping mechanisms of our caregivers.  When our caregivers have unhealthy/dysfunctional coping strategies, we as children learn to manage our difficulties in the same or similar way.  Our parents are our Gods, we trust them and trust that they know best and will tell us the truth and we model our lives on those of our caregivers.

We bring our learned unhealthy coping mechanisms into adulthood. By now they are comfortable and they are all we’ve ever known.

Learning to reverse our old belief systems, our old coping mechanisms and to do things differently and functionally is a long hard journey.

There is only one way to travel a long hard journey and that is forward because like I always say, I’d never go back!

Heavy Burdens

The inner child feels a lot of  pain and confusion today.

There is a nagging urge to make everything better, but how?

She is overwhelmed with everyone’s problems, she cannot cope.

She cannot fix everything, it is all too much.

Heavy chested, she has failed again.

She wants to run away and hide where nobody can find her;  to be free.

She hangs her head, hoping nobody will notice her.

There is something lurking in the shadows of her soul.

A very subtle guilt and shame nags at her insides.

It has nothing to do with today’s complexities.

A deep sorrowful groan is biding it’s time, waiting to surface.

She knows it is for her dad.  She is sorry she made him drink again.

She will try to do better next time.

I Know You Are There

I know you are there;

I search deep within my soul;

To find another clue;

A smell, a piece of clothing, surroundings;

Anything to take me one step further to your face;

My eyes bore into nothingness;

Trying hard to draw a memory from my subconscious;

But I cannot;

Is it true that trauma has stopped me from remembering you, them or it?;

Or am I just clawing at something that is not there?;

It makes sense that you abused me as a child;

My behaviour today reflects the truth;

But my eyes and heart won’t let me see;

God, show me who you are and what you did;

So I can set myself free;

And heal my inner child.

There was a time in my life where I could not feel any hope. I had completely forgotten what hope felt like.  Today I am recognising that hope has returned to me.

I am learning to love in a different way, to love a person for who they are, not what they do.  I am feeling a more deeper, grounded, accepting love. It has been a very slow process however the results are worth the wait.

For too long I put my life on hold waiting for others to save me, change their ways and make me happy.  In my eyes, “they” were the problem.  Now I acknowledge that I am the only one who has the power to change myself.  I have had to step forward regardless of what others do or do not do or my life will keep passing me by.

I am told to get myself out of denial but for today I cannot for I know my patner tries, he works his Program and is at a different place in his recovery than I am.  I continue to carry the full load alone in the hope that one day he will be considerate of me, acknowledge all the things I do and be willing to share the load equally with me as is done in a healthy partnership.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings
the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson.

are you blind?

are you blind?.

Daddy Long Legs

Little Miss Muffet (Art by Tracie76)I was getting ready for bed one evening and right beside my pillow on the wall sat a Daddy Long Legs spider.

I had just come home from a 12 Step meeting so I was calm and content. I first found my thoughts moving to leaving the spider there or gently picking it up with my bare hands and taking it outside for it would do me no harm. When I came to my senses my self talk included words such as “Don’t be so stupid, it’s a spider”, “Get rid of it”, “Flush it”, “Squash it”, “Vacuum it” or “Stick it in a jar”.

My initial kind reaction got me thinking about my childhood and my dad.  My dad was my God, he knew everything, he was always right and I was the apple of his eye. When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I recall my dad showing me a daddy long legs in our bathroom and telling me they won’t hurt me. He proceeded to pick the spider up with his bare hands and take it outside to set it free.

He often did that with bugs, lizards and spiders but the only thing I automatically leave be around my house today is the Daddy Long Legs spider.  All other creatures meet a timely death!

I began to realise how ridiculous my initial reaction to the Daddy Long Legs had been. A spider should be a spider regardless of its size, colour and name.  I am certain if it were a black spider (small or large) resting by my pillow, I would be struck down with fear and would remove it in an instant. Kindness wouldn’t enter into the equation.

It showed me to what extent children adopt the behaviours and thoughts of their parents.

It was now time for me to decide how “I” felt about the Daddy Long Legs. Thirty three years later it was time for me to make a stand and make my own choices in life, figure out my likes and dislikes and who I was inside.

A very small incident but such a good example of how important parenting is.

(I flushed it by the way!).

Follow Me On Facebook

I’ve created a Rapid Cycling Facebook Page. Feel free to stop on by to pick up some healthy tips and tricks to building a better life 🙂

I’ll be sharing things on 12 Step Recovery, Codependency, Sex, Love & Fantasy Addiction, Co-Addiction, Mental Health, Inner Child, Adult Children of Alcoholics and other Dysfunctional Families and some great links to related articles and audios.

I’ll still be writing the bulk of my work here though so if you don’t have a Facebook account, click “sign up” to receive my posts in your inbox.

I look forward to reading all your comments and thank you for stopping by 🙂

Amy Winehouse – Her Pain

I know very little about Amy Winehouse but when I read of her death and reports that she had been a drinker, drug taker and self harmer, I wondered what was causing her so much pain.  So I took the time to take a look at what had been reported on her family of origin over the years.

Amy Winehouse with Daddy's Girl Horseshoe & Naked Lady Tatoo

When Amy was 2 years old,  her father Mitch Winehouse reportedly began having a ‘not so secret’ affair for eight years before leaving the family home to be with his secretary/mistress when Amy was 10.  The Winehouse kids used to call their father’s mistress “Daddy’s work wife”.  I can only imagine the emotional pressure Mitch was under trying to maintain a business and keep two women happy at the same time.

She reportedly took the news of the family separation ‘all in her stride’ and it ‘didn’t seem to affect her’ according to her father yet she suddenly became more independent.

I can only imagine the thoughts in her head would have gone something like this:

  • “Can’t trust anyone anymore, need to look after myself now”;
  • “I’m not good enough”;
  • “I am alone”;
  • “Nobody loves me”;
  • “I’ll be good and he will come back”; and
  • “I need to be strong, mum needs my help”.

Fear of abandonment runs very deep and when you have a father that is not emotionally available to you, you do what it takes to get people to notice and love you.

As an adult, it seems Amy went on to seek out emotionally unavailable men, trying to make right the wrongs of her past yet ended up repeating her childhood like so many of us do.

However I do applaud Mitch Winehouse for publicly admitting his wrongs.  He would not be the first parent to walk around with their head in the sand not realising exactly how their actions affect the lives of their children.

If we had more people in the public eye opening up about their parental errors, the world just might start listening.

Mitch Winehouse, the power is in your hands. Let’s not let Amy’s death be in vain.

There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza dear Liza, there’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza, a hole”.

My grandmother used to sing that children’s song when I was young but little did I know I would have a hole in my bucket (my soul) when I grew up because my caregivers were so focussed on each other and my father’s alcoholism they were emotionally unavailable to me.

As a result I developed coping mechanisms, ways to help me feel loved, wanted and accepted for who I am.  I tried to fill the gaping  hole in my soul  the only way I knew how as a child, by self medicating through fantasy and role-playing.

In essence, I stuck a band aid over my hole when I needed love and comforting.

Band aid’s eventually wear thin and get replaced with new ones, sometimes bigger and stronger.

I still carry my band aid close to my chest but it has served little purpose except to temporarily patch up my underlying problem – pain, loneliness and an inner longing to be loved, accepted and wanted by my family. 

I can scream, rant and rave that life’s not fair but it won’t change the fact that I cannot go back to my childhood to ask my caregivers to meet my un-met needs.

It is now up to me to fill the hole in my soul by reaching out to a power greater than myself to provide me with the love and acceptance denied of me in childhood.

I can do this by reading 12 Step and self-help literature, attending 12 Step meetings, talking to other members and/or attending counselling.

As I watch a few grains of yellow sand fall into my bucket I am reminded of what a slow process this journey is and every now and again the band aid comes away and I am reminded of the deep despair I carry within.

I’m no Picasso!

When I was young I was pretty good at drawing birds and dogs.  My dad used to compliment me all the time.  Today I can’t draw for peanuts!  I try and try to get my talent back but it’s gone.  What the hell is wrong with me?

I Wanna Go Home!

I have no patience yet expect to produce masterpieces.  All I seem to come up with is child like pictures with no definition.  I have so many colours in my head but am unable to express them in an artistic ADULT way.

It’s so frustrating!  I so badly want to be good at something.  I have been desperately trying to find something I’m talented at.  I’m dabbling in all kinds of arts and crafts but where is my brilliance?

Perhaps I am seeking the approval of someone and pushing a lost cause or maybe I desperately want admiration from the outside world?  Am I setting myself up for failure by setting my sights too high (self sabotage)? These are things I need to consider in-depth.

I’m really down on myself today.  I’m having a pity party and I want to go home.  It’s safer at home, there are no meaningful responsibilities there.  Mum and dad will make all the decisions for me, cook and clean and earn the money.  I long for the time when all I have to worry about is taking out the garbage.

I wanna go home, please let me go home!


The information and opinions I have previously posted on the antipsychotic Zeldox (Ziprasidone) (also called Geodon) have been the most popular posts on my blog by far therefore I’ve decided to publish a link to all three posts so searchers can view the maximum amount of information and comments from other users of this drug to aid their research.  It is vital that the side effects and experiences of the users of Zeldox are made available for public viewing to educate users about the good and bad experiences of Zeldox use. 

I was recently reminded of some of the side effects I experienced while taking Zeldox when the usual lump in my throat started to form.  I can almost feel it protruding from the back of my neck.  I am certain that this lump was never present before my Zeldox use and it’s been around 24 months since I’ve been Zeldox free yet the lump in my throat regularly continues to be an ever-present pain in the neck!

I realise that a lump in the throat also referred to a choking or gagging sensation can be attributed to anxiety but my point is that I NEVER suffered such acute anxiety until I starting using Zeldox.

One thing I distinctly remember is when it drew close to the time  my next dose  of Zeldox was scheduled the lump would appear and it became increasingly prevalent UNTIL I swallowed that daily pill.

It would be easy for me to say that around 1.5 hours PRIOR TO  my scheduled Zeldox dose I would start to go into withdrawal.

The lump in my throat and just a general feeling of sickness would become noticeable to me whereupon waiting out the timeframe until my scheduled dose was due would become a constant struggle to ignore what was happening to my body. 

It would be easy to say that the side effects of Zeldox would have been one of the most difficult of medications for me to cope with.  I have heard it said many a time that the strength in mental illness sufferers lies in coping with the side effects of  their medications and for me and Zeldox, this rings true.

The tremors in my hands and legs together with slight head bobbing had me eventually diagnosed with probable tardive diskinesia – a condition arising from long-term anti-psychotic use (I was prescribed various antipsychotics over a two-year period before Zeldox was my final).  My tremors on Zeldox were so bad that I was shaking the whole bed when asleep.  I remember waking up one night thinking there was an earth quake before I realised it was only me! 

Some people have queried how long it took for the drug to leave my system.  Once I stopped the Zeldox the tremors DRAMATICALLY reduced however I still had mild  tremor issues for a good EIGHT MONTHS after ceasing this drug.

The problem with proving that medications cause permanent/long-term side effects in users is very difficult simply because there are not a lot of psychiatrists out there that will stand against the mental health system or each other.  Trying to prove that Zeldox caused my anxiety would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack not to mention the money tree I’d need to grow in the backyard to afford the legal fees.

Regardless, the best thing we can all do as consumers is make the world aware of how medications affect us.  Just because the side effect is not listed on the box, doesn’t mean it’s not a result of the drug you’re taking so please if you’re interested in reading more about Zeldox/Ziprasidone/Geodon then be sure to read my earlier posts on my experiences with the drug and the comments by readers are an ABSOLUTE MUST.

Here are the links to my other posts on my experiences with Zeldox/Geodon (Ziprasidone) for your ready reference:

  1. Zeldox & Anger
  2. Zeldox & After Effects
  3. Zeldox A Worker’s Antipsychotic – TOP POST 46 COMMENTS & CLIMBING
  4. WOW – I hate this drug

I Am Alone

There is nobody here to share my sorrow

There is nobody here to cut the ball and chain of my responsibilities, my chores

To allow me to run and play like a carefree child, to think of happy things and make daisy chains in the sun

When will someone hear my cry?

You walk away and leave me alone to deal with my internal sadness, you desert me

Who is here to soothe my pain, to love me and tell me it will be all right?

Only God, but Dad said God does not exist

So I am alone

I get tired of fighting for acceptance, to be heard, to be understood and to be unconditionally loved

But most of all I get tired of fighting to be considered, to be thought of and cared for

You cannot look at me, you stare away or down at the ground

You no longer care what happens, you are not interested in my words unless they are happy ones

I am an adult yes, but I am still a lonely child

It’s deja vu, its history repeating itself.


I learned very young to deny my reality, to wish and minimise it away because I didn’t know how to deal with what was put in front of me, the pain was too great for a child to bear on her own.

“Mum – is dad drunk again?  No dear, he’s just sick today.  But mum, he’s swaying all over the place, he smells like beer, he’s angry again?  No he’s sick, don’t worry about it, just get to bloody sleep!”

Oh OK then, it’s not how I see it, I must be wrong, I’m all right, there is no problem, I’m safe.

Move forward twenty years.  “Mum, I don’t understand why my boyfriend never has any money.  I pay for everything, he works but I never see a cent of it?  Well dear, he’s probably got a lot of expenses, things must be hard for him, don’t let those things get you down.”

You can see from the above now ingrained minimising and denying my reality is.  I learned to do it from a very young age so come adulthood, I was faced with situations that were harmful to me but minimised and denied what was in front of me through habit.  I continued to protect myself from my reality as I had learned so well to do as a child.

I continue to be skeptical of sexaholism being apparent in my family of origin.  My father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather had affairs during their marriage and my mum’s father had sexual abuse issues with women and children – so what right?  Affairs are normal aren’t they?  Men think of only one thing don’t they?  That’s what my mum told me.  It was just bad luck I picked a sexaholic as a partner wasn’t it?  When dad whispers to my recovering partner he has three women on the go at once and feels like he’s struck gold why do I still not see that he is a sexaholic?  I feel so naive.  Family history and past events are slapping me right in the face but I refuse to accept that evidence.

I think for me to believe it I need for him to admit he is a sexaholic.  I need to hear the whole kit and caboodle.  I need to hear it from the horse’s mouth, I need to hear him say he has a problem and he needs help.  Trouble is, he thinks multiple partners are “gold” so I doubt I’ll be receiving any admissions from him in the near future.

I”ve discussed him attending a 12 Step Program for sexaholics before but he gets so anxious at any suggestion of it.  You see, he too has spent years denying and minimising his reality but with the added factor of alcohol helping to numb his pain.

On writing this post I’ve had a light bulb moment.  In securing my father’s admittance to his sexaholism it’s quite possible I’m looking for someone to blame for me attracting a sexaholic partner later in life and I’m needing my father to validate my reality as I see it.

 I can see I still have a lot of work to do on trusting myself.

Running on Empty

As an adult child of an alcoholic I often feel so alone in this world.  Nobody understands me, nobody gets me, nobody will feel the pain and sadness I feel inside.

Imagine a car stalled in the middle of a major highway and all the other cars whizzing by, not noticing it’s there.  It wants some help, so badly wants to get out of the way of the onslaught of others but it cannot do it alone and it’s driver is not strong enough to push it to safety.  Somehow that car needs to get a message to it’s driver to have courage, to take another step forward, to do things differently and to hold out her hand.

A fellow Program member shared something with me that has been very valuable when I find myself unable to control dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

They said “A normal person wouldn’t put their finger in an electric pencil sharper because they know they will get hurt but people like us do it time and time again”. 

I think of this analogy a lot especially when self harm plays on my mind or when entertaining  the idea that the object/s of my desire will save me, make me their princess, look after me and meet my emotional needs by filling the hole in my soul.  It has stopped me many a time from running to someone who will only cause me heartache and pain, someone I think I can “fix” or physically and emotionally love enough that they will change.  I am guilty of being a heavy fixer of others for a long time.  Fixing takes the focus off “me” and puts it on the other person.  I don’t need to look at my issues and others see me as “a good person” when I am helping them.  Fixing esteems me but I must learn to esteem myself through practising self love.  Sticking my finger in an electric pencil sharpener is not self love and is a disastrous merry-go-round that I must remind myself of on a regular basis. 

My childhood experiences denied me the parental love, acceptance and validation I needed in order to blossom into a healthy adult and as a consequence I’m needing to fill the holes my parents left me with by seeking out relationships with people who are not emotionally available to me but who relate to me on an unconscious level due to their own dysfunctional upbringing.

The electric pencil sharpener analogy also gives me something to compare to and aspire towards.  I want to be like others, I want to be “normal”.   

Someone once told me that the only “normal” I’ll ever find is in my laundry on my washing machine but there are certain behaviors I need to fine tune or rid myself of so I can live a happy functional life – that’s the “normal” I’m aspiring to be.

Living in the Solution

I wanted to post an update on my post below “Repeating my Childhood” because a few wonderful people commented on it for which I’m grateful.

During my “unmanageable” moment I was thinking things such as “Here goes another weekend down the drain”, “I hate my life” , “I’m so weak” and “The sewing machine is broken you won’t reach your goal again – FAILURE”.   I was stuck in the problem and didn’t know how to do things differently.

However one particular comment got me thinking differently  “…action, activity against the pull of inclination….the mind often follows the body”.

I started to urge myself to get up and see if I could fix my sewing machine and to at least try again to reach my weekend goal.  I used self talk such as “You’re not a failure”, “You’re having a pity party – stop feeling sorry for yourself”, “You’re not a child anymore, things are different now” and my favourite “Nobody’s going to save you except YOU”. 

With a burst of tremendous willpower (and Higher Power on my side) not only did I fix my sewing machine I threaded it and wound a new bobbin too (both painstaking arduous tasks for me and hurdles in themselves).  I then went on to half finish my project and I felt so PROUD of myself.  I was on an emotional high, nothing could touch me and I could feel the satisfaction pumping through my veins right through to the next day!

Every once in a while I could feel my negative side trying to overpower my joy.  It was reminding me that I had just had an argument with my dear partner and I was meant to be depressed and suicidal – I was a failure remember and not allowed to be happy!  But I told it to stick it where the sun don’t shine and kept basking in my internal limelight.

It didn’t matter that I didn’t finish the whole project as I could do that next weekend.  What was important to me was that I got up and I did something about my problem.

Sometimes  it’s that one message that stands out from the rest that provides an “Ah ha” moment.

Repeating My Childhood

Just to set the mood for you, I’m in a bit of a state while I’m writing this.

Y’see when I was young my mother always used to tell me I had to go to work rain, hail or shine when I grew up.  She instilled in me a tough work ethic which started with chores around the house and taking on responsibilities at an early age. 

Whilst some of you might think this is a good thing, I think it is to an extent however now in my adult life I find it hard to “play” as my inner child would call it or simply do something fun or for myself.

I have a terrible procrastination problem, a fear of failure so I either don’t start something, half do things or just dream of what I’m going to do when I have time.

I try very hard to at least do a few things every weekend for “me” such as pottering around in my nice garden that took me some time to get up to scratch, doing some recovery reading, walking my dogs or reading part of a novel. 

I never get to do what I’ve been dreaming of doing though.   My trouble is that I need to be tied to the chair when I’m doing “me” things because I feel guilty spending time on what I see as non productive tasks and it doesn’t help when my dear partner (who is going through an addiction recovery process) reinforces my childhood by telling me I need to throw this and that away or there is too much clutter in the house. 

At times my poor body jumps up automatically and rushes to fix what he’s not happy with.  That’s me reverting to my childhood reactions when being told by my parents to do my chores quick smart or you have to work before you can go out to play.

I do my best, I work five days a week while he stays at home and works on himself.  My work around the house is all right in my opinion, the place looks fairly good.  There’s no more clutter than other people’s homes I imagine.  The place is neat and clean, food is on the table every night and the important bills get paid.

It is my understanding that the addict tries to control others in their life because they can’t control their addiction.  They try to sort everyone else out because they can’t look at themselves. 

Well, I’m damn sick of it!  I’m sick of trying to have thick skin or a strong back bone trying to fight someone who tells me things should be this way or that way. 

Sometimes I get so angry I bite back (which we as partners are not meant to do) and an argument ensues.  I end up curling up in a little ball and wishing my life away because nobody hears me, nobody lets me do what I want to do and my things end up getting smashed. 

Such a repetition of childhood and my progress today is that I can see it, I can feel it and I don’t want it in my life.  How to stop it, I don’t know.

I geared myself up all week to do some craft, something for me and I was half way there but now my sewing machine is broken from someone’s frustration and anger, exactly like when dad used to stop me from playing the stereo he made me for my birthday by taking the lead away and telling me it belonged to “him”.

I need to get off this merry-go-round.

Happiness – What is That?

So my little sister’s wedding is over. Thank God is all I have to say about it!

Tonight is the photo viewing night of her big day and honeymoon and I’ve bailed out. That’s OK, I know now I am allowed to. I don’t have to put myself in situations that will trigger me.

What behaviors did I see in myself leading up to the big day? I saw the way I communicated my annoyance with people. I learned from my family of origin that the way to communicate was to ignore, isolate and flash the evil eye at others instead of simply coming out and saying how I felt in a naturally assertive tone.

It was the sniping from the bride to be towards me for no apparent reason (aside from bridal stress?) that triggered my reactions which in turn saw her respond back to me in the same way.

I couldn’t find the strength in me to simply say “please do not speak to me that way” or “I’m not liking your tone right now”.

I used all the strength I could muster on the wedding day not to bomb the event. I wanted to scream “why are you marrying an ACOA, wake up!”.

You see, all the sh*t I’ve been through in my life seemed OK provided that my two younger sisters could learn from it and not repeat the same mistakes as me.

I was working hard to keep the dysfunction from travelling down the family line. I wanted it to stop with ME. Now what has she gone and done? Can she not see what her future holds?  I know the groom well enough to know it’s history repeating itself and there’s stuff all I can do about it except sit back and watch the show. A little part of me hopes that it won’t pan out the same way.

Anyway, to the topic of this post – Happiness, What is That?

As I was walking my dogs around the block tonight the answer came to me. I’ve never seen happiness in my family of origin. I’ve never closely been involved in someone’s wedding before to know what it’s like. Watching my sister was like watching a stranger or a movie. I could not relate to her happiness. I stared at her and thought something is wrong here, who is this girl. I cried at the ceremony but I could not get in touch with what it was that I was crying about.

I am certain my sister turned into someone else in the months leading up to her wedding. I witnessed controlling behavior in her that I’d never seen before (except in myself). I heard her bicker badly about her mother in law (they were so close before the engagement), I saw her strive for everything on the day to be picture perfect (at the expense of others) – right down to her smile and battering eyelashes.

Who was that girl in the white dress? or am I so out of touch with reality I couldn’t recognise my own sister’s true happiness? I’ve known for her 27 years. Damned if I know – when I find the answer I’ll let you know.


I’m off to my little sister’s hens night right now and I feel strange inside.

My mind is distant, not present and I feel empty.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the event as I felt that way when I awoke this morning – although it might.

The whole idea of being around a group of people and males in particular is rattling me a bit because I’m going to have to show who I am. Im not sure I can do that tonight. If I do they might like me and they might ask me out but I don’t want them too – I want them to leave me alone!

My barrier is up, I’m the ice queen, come too close and you’ll feel the lash of my tongue!

I’m going to have to do some swift psychological talking to coax me out of my protective mode.

Why so many problems, why can’t I just be me? I want to be at home with my dogs right now, I’m comfortable there, I can relax and feel comfortable and safe.

Sounds so much more appealing than watching glistening Latin dancers pounce around the room.

Why do hens nights always have to be about sex?

I received an email yesterday and thought I’d share it with you together with my reply:

“Dear X,

My name is X. I am almost certain now that I was born with a mental illness. I was diagnosed when I was thirty-five I am now forty-one.

I realised something was wrong when I was sixteen,and so began my personal war,I have fought with everything I have.But upon reaching the age of thirty-five it became worse, last year I had a nervous break down and at the same time lost my job my partner and my daughter moved to X  ,though my daughter now resides in X  again.They tell me I have a chronic depressive anxiety disorder but to me these are just words,words from doctors who cannot even begin to imagine what I have been through and continue to experience every night and day.There words don’t describe the hallucinations I have when my condition worsens the thousands of nightmares I’ve had since I was a child and continue to have, the living your life-like a frightened animal,the frustration and pain that never seems to leave,the unending list of things I could describe to you.Last year something changed inside me I got so sick I could never have imagined my illness could strike me so hard,I got worse,again.I went somewhere last year and parts of me didn’t come back and I know those parts,whatever they are,are not coming back.I am an alcoholic now,I have trouble going to work,some times I can’t go because the nightmares are so severe it’s like not sleeping at all I can’t go out, when I’m not at work I don’t leave my residence very much only when i have to.I am liked, I have family and friends without them and the fact I have lived with this thing for so long i probably wouldn’t be here.I havn’t slept well for nearly two years the thought of having a girlfriend again is unimaginable to me now,losing the last one,whom i loved with all my heart,to stand back and watch my beautiful girl change from the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known into an abusive blindly selfish hypocrite,along with my illness nearly destroyed me.But I fought it even when I felt I had no fight left in me,I survived something so disgusting within myself,but I don,t know how I did it.

My apologies for rambling on,the reason I contacted you is.I was wondering if you could tell me where i might go to find others like me in X. I live between X  and X .I think sometimes it may help because no one I know has any idea at all,this I have learned.I do realise I don’t do enough to help myself,partly because a part of me has given up and doesn,t care anymore I’m tired and I’m scared and I’m sick of fighting myself and having to hide from the world because I’m different and because I feel like I don’t belong.Would appreciate anything. X. ”


“Hi X,
Sounds like you have a lot of issues from childhood. My thoughts are that most issues we have as adults stem from childhood anyway – especially addictions.
I can suggest that if you are an alcoholic or you have issues with your drinking then you really need to join AA. There you will find a great bunch of people trying to stop their addiction (or their demons) and working on their issues that stem back to childhood. AA is a program that works if you work at it. I am in other 12 Step Programs and my life was always unmanageable and full of depression and anxiety every day until I joined a 12 Step Program and realised where my thought patterns (self-defeating) came from.
If you get your drinking under control you can focus more on your depression and anxiety. Alcohol is a depressant, it will make you worse and will hamper any other drugs from working that you are taking for your mental illnesses. You might also want to get some counselling in conjunction with AA. Find a counsellor or psychologist who understands mental illness and addiction for you are self medicating.
You will always be living in a hole until you decide it’s time to get out.
First things first, go to an AA meeting X – there you will find hope. AA will teach you healthy ways of behaving and dealing with your problems/worries. You can get a sponsor, someone to call when you feel like a drink or simply just feel like hell. 
Good luck with it all, I am confident it will work for you. ”

I was reading some Twelve Step literature yesterday and related to a member’s share about wishing themselves away to another place or wishing they’d never wake up.

I remembered when I was young and had returned home from staying at my grandparents or my aunt’s house that I’d try and wish myself back to where I’d been. I’d dream of being in the room where I slept or being around the people I’d been with. I’d want to be anywhere but at home with my parents.

As an adult I did that too. I often dreamed/fantasized I was in a sanitarium taking a break from all the pain in my life or in hospital where I could just forget what was going on at home and take a break.

My memory made me wonder why as a child I would want to wish myself away from home so often. I must have hated it there so much and that troubles me as an adult today.

You see, I am like many other adult children, I can see some of my past but I can’t feel it. The memories are like a moving picture in my head with no emotion attached. Lack of feeling I believe is why many adult children say their childhood “wasn’t that bad”. They can’t remember the pain, they learned to stuff their feelings down inside themselves to cope, they minimised, denied or dissociated from their feelings/their reality.

There must have been a trigger in my readings last night for after I had finished sharing on Step 1 my partner and I went off to a new hotel that had just opened in our area. We did a little tour of the venue and as I walked into the pokie room I felt immediate anxiety. It was out of the blue, I am certain I was cool, calm and collected prior to entry for I would never had agreed to go out had I felt anxious.

My eyes averted from everyone in the room, my head went down, I felt a fear that someone would recognise me in that room but I had nothing to fear for if anyone did recognise me they would most certainly not be from my childhood nor a threat to me for I was on the opposite side of the city from where I grew up and it was now 26 years later!

The pokie room connected to the sports bar – uh oh! I could see all the men sitting at the table watching the various gambling results on TV, I could smell the beer in the air and I was terrified one of the men would gaze at me. Next stop was the bar – I couldn’t get away, I had to keep walking forward to get out as the hotel was circular.  The smell of beer was revolting and the eyes that looked my way drew a lump to my throat.

I drew a breath of air when we hit the bistro area and decided to sit down and have a cuppa. I was tense but I tried my best to hide it. A woman kept looking at me – did I know her? What was she gawking at! A man with his pants hanging down showing his crack walked past – a reminder of my father’s drunken days. I wanted to yell at him to sober up and pull his finger out!

My Bach Flower Remedy wasn’t working too well and I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough.

I tried to think of other things when I got home that night to calm my anxiety.

I cannot pinpoint the exact problem behind my reaction in the hotel however it is possible it was something to do with when I was bullied as a child. I have determined this because when I walked into the pokie room it was the females I was fearful of being known to, not the males. It was a small group of females who bullied me at school when I was a young teenager and who also lived a few streets from my childhood home. I felt I could not even go out to the shops around the corner from my home because I would be spotted and taunted or beaten up. The fear of being seen by my bullies haunted me for years and still can from time to time. As an adult I looked over my shoulder  for years and even now I still don’t feel safe around the places where I grew up. I can drive through them but hell would freeze over before I got out of the car!

I am now living in the opposite side of the city from my old home.  I feel safe here and I feel safe in the fact that 26 or so years later my face and the faces of my bullies have changed and are most likely not recognisable.

Bullying not only cripples the child but goes on to affect them in adulthood too. I understand there is minimal research into this claim however when I was facilitating an adult mental health support group, a good portion of members had been bullied as children.

Schools have a lot to answer for however I do believe our coping mechanisms begin at home.

Thanks for reading 🙂 

My Life’s on Hold

I was recently thinking about someone who I befriended on Facebook at  my last 12 Step meeting because we were talking about how people (me included) don’t commit to things until the last minute or we say NO “just incase” something bad will happen.

She invited me to her birthday party and she is such a lovely person and I am sure her and I would get on very well and I really wanted to go but I was too scared to commit just incase I would wake up on the morning of her party stressed or depressed or my partner would be in a difficult mood causing me to spiral down and I would have to ring up with my tail between my legs.

I made up a million reasons in my head why I simply could not attend even though I wanted to.

I have realised that “maybe” answers are not living my life.  By holding back “just incase” the day is sabotaged by a depressive or anxiety episode or someone in my life decides to act out or sabotage my day I am stopping myself from moving forward. I am also scared of letting  people down by “changing my mind” IF one of the above scenarios occurs so it is easier for me to make an excuse that I have something else on or half commit to something.

This has been my behaviour for a few years now and it has only been in the last week or so that I have recognised how damaging it can be to my life and moving forward.

My sister wants me to go wedding dress shopping with her over the other side of the city next Saturday but as usual I always tell her “let u know” etc etc as that side of town can cause me a lot of triggers and I never know if I’ll wake up in a confident mood or not.

One day I’ll have to find the courage to take the plunge and make a committment to something and not think the worst will happen.

I have just gotten honest with myself and admitted my problem with committing to things. Identifying the problem is the first step to recovery and realising you are repeating something over and over again is progress even though you have not rid yourself of your unwanted behaviour.

Stay Away from Mentally Ill?

I recently responded to a request for experience strength and hope in dealing with toxic families who have mental illnesses and possible personality disorders. This is what I said:
“I have a fair bit of experience with mental illness as it runs in my family of origin (depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia) plus I have depression and anxiety & mild agoraphobia and was wrongly treated for bipolar disorder for 2 years and my partner has depression and mild anxiety.
I also run a mental illness support group.
Firstly I don’t know how your husband’s family of origin act (if it is manipulative or aggressive for example) but I have found that dealing with people who are manipulative/aggressive,  I need to stay away for my own mental wellbeing. I have dealt with around 4-5 people in 2 years with Borderline Personality Disorder and I swore never to do it again for they have issues with anger and I would often be the butt of it. To me, those types of behaviours can be destructive to my mental wellbeing and I choose to distance myself from people who have personality disorders, especially ones who have not done D.B.T to help them control their emotions.
On the other hand depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and bipolar sufferers are somewhat “normal” and I find it easier to converse with them possibly because I understand how they feel and I can often make allowances for their behaviours if I know they are acting out of character.
My grandmother has schizophrenia and when she is not herself I feed sad for her and my mother helps her to ensure she gets the right medication to make her well again as the effects of her illness are apparent to my mother and her sisters and they accept it as part of life.
My counsellor on the other hand told me stay away from mentally ill people because they can “zap” me of my energy and serenity and are very needy however if I wanted to continue with the support group then I would need to learn to distance myself or not absorb the negative energy mentally ill people can give off. I chose the latter and being a “fixer”, it is very hard not to want to “fix” everyone who is sick and close myself off to their internal pain.
I do have a friend who is very negative when she emails me (she has bad depression/PTSD) and through this Program I learnt to stand back and let her go her on own journey for I was unable to convince her that I had already been there and done that and it became very frustrating for me. Now if she asks me questions I give her honest answers but I let her travel her own mental illness path. I also talk positive to her (and quite often repeat program talk to her) for I feel that is the best way I can keep encouraging her to move forward.
I have learnt that a lot of mental illness sufferers have their illness because of difficult experiences in their childhood and a lot sufferers would benefit greatly from 12 Step Programs. I don’t think it’s their fault (for it’s not mine that I was brought up in an alcoholic home) but understanding where it stems from helps me feel compassion for people who are in the same boat as me.”

Inner Child

As an adult, I’ve held onto a dream that I wanted to have a career that was dog related.

If I could turn back time I’d probably study to become a veterinarian.

I’ve come to the age where I’m realising that I only have one life and I should get into doing the things I really want to do before I hit the casket!

I’ve started a pottery course and am creating some dog and cat bowls by hand and designing and painting various graphics on them etc. I’m into my second term of classes and I’ve come to realise that my work seems rather child like, especially the graphics.

After doing a bit of work in my 12 Step Program I have learnt a little about trying to get in touch with my inner child. Some activities that were suggested in order to accomplish this were doing child like things such as playing with play doh, running under a sprinkler etc etc.

Last week I had a look at the various forms of pottery that my classmates were creating then looked at my child like work and felt a bit embarrassed because I wasn’t making platters or vases (adult like items) but dog and cat bowls with puppy dogs and pussy cats and mice and cheese and painting them in wonderful bright colours that appeal to my eye.

When I was in my teens I used to write letters to my friends and draw and colour in cartoons on them and I thought I was really creative in the work that I did.

Somewhere in adulthood I lost my creativity so perhaps I am unconsciously connecting with my inner child and creating work at a child like level but then again I simply may not have any adult artistic abilities at all!

I’ve been told that a good book to learn about getting in touch with your inner child is John Bradshaw‘s Homecoming – Reclaiming & Championing Your Inner Child which you will be able to purchase from Amazon.

I attest I do revert back to child like behaviours at times, especially when under stress, such as isolating, fantasizing (now love addiction), self harm and my social skills can become less than desirable at times too. I am known to get very jealous of friends who have other friendships aside from me and  I often prefer to be the centre of attention and can end up sabotaging my friendships by being cold because I have formed a grudge against someone about one thing or another.

Through my 12 Step Programs I am learning to be more open and honest in my communication with others as well as looking at my unsavory weaknesses, where they originate from and how to correct them.

If I didn’t have my 12 Step Programs (online and face to face) and a sponsor I think my life would still be up the creek without a paddle!

Gallbladder Attack Cure

This is somewhat off topic I know but I just had to share with the world how I found a way to stop my gallbladder attacks.

I have read and tried a lot of remedies on the internet about how to stop my gallbladder from contracting (an attack) (including knocking myself out with whiskey) and this is the only one that I’ve found that works for me 100%. It prevents a full-blown attack if you can feel one coming on and it stops an attack in its tracks if you are in the midst of one.

Buy yourself some apple cider vinegar and apple juice. I read that freshly squeezed apple juice is the best to use but I purchased apple juice 98% apple concentrate from the supermarket for $1.90 for 2 litres and that works for me every single time.

Put some apple cider vinegar in a glass (as much as you can cope with drinking). I generally put 1/3 of a cup or less and top up with apple juice and drink the lot. Be prepared for a bit of dry reaching. The cider vinegar is not the nicest but it is better than white vinegar. I’ve tried white vinegar and it didn’t work for me.

I’ve had gallbladder attacks for almost 2 years now and my gallbladder is half full of stones. I’m scheduled to have my gallbladder removed at the end of October 2010.

I could have tried the natural remedy suggested by Dr Hulda Clark but I simply could not bear the thought of drinking the olive oil and epsom salts. I was also a little worried what would happen if I had a large stone and it got caught in the duct. If you can bear her gallbladder cleanse then try it and let me know how you go 🙂

I have learnt over time how to predict if I am about to have a gallbladder attack. Hot skin is one of the first signs that something is not quite right. I had hot skin tonight so I decided to drink a quarter of a glass of apple cider vinegar and some apple juice  to fill to half a glass and so far so good. I also burp a lot of can feel a light pressure in the upper abdomen on the left or right side. I was told by my surgeon that having pains on the left side is very rare.

I have also stopped minor gallbladder attacks through relaxation and YES YES YES I have been told that anxiety and gallbladder attacks go hand in hand. I suffer great anxiety and I am hoping that when the gallbladder is removed my anxiety will lessen but my surgeon tells me anxiety and gallstones are unrelated. Everyone whose had gallstones tell me differently.

I stay away from dairy foods, alcohol and cigarettes (a cigarette at night after meals will definitely bring an attack on in the middle of the night!). I also stay away from red meat, seed breads and oily/fried foods.  Pork and gravy are definite no go zones for me! I also drink a glass of apple juice (high concentrate) every day.

There is apparently a link between estrogen dominance and gallstones as mentioned in Jenny Birdsey’s book about natural  progesterone so for women who are having PMT issues and/or gallstone issues you might want to check out www.npan.com.au to see if you have any of the symptoms associated with progesterone deficiency like I most definitely do.

Good luck, try my simple solution – it definitely works for me 100% every time but it only gets rid of the pain not your stones!

Codependency & Loss of Identity

Have you ever heard anyone say they don’t know who they are anymore?

Losing your identity is losing sight of what you like doing, what you think  or what makes you happy for example.

At this time in my life I don’t know who I am or what I like (to an extent) and I don’t know if I ever knew these things.

In a recent 12 Step meeting  a member shared that their favourite colour used to be red because that was their mother’s favourite colour but now they had decided they liked the colour blue and that choice was theirs to own.

It was then that I realised what it meant to really not know who I was.

Going way back to when I was 5 years old, my grandmother asked me what my favourite colour was. I instinctively said it was “purple”. My grandmother happily replied  that purple was my mum’s favourite colour too and I remember feeling pleased with myself because my grandmother was happy with my reply.

For years thereafter I used to say purple was my favourite colour but I don’t think I ever thought very deeply about it until some 32 years later when I found myself staring at a purple jacket in a shop thinking how ugly that colour actually looked and subsequently hearing that member’s share in the 12 Step meeting.

I had been bought up to believe that what I wanted was irrelevant and my thoughts and opinions were of no importance.  I had to do what I was told regardless of whether I liked it or not. Often if I verbalised a different need or opinion I was publicly humiliated and punished by my father.

As an adult, if anyone asks me what I want to do, I instinctively turn it around by saying “whatever you want”  because I am uncomfortable with the focus on me and feel guilty choosing what to do incase the other person is not happy with my choice.

I recall another share where a member relayed that they had got to such a point in their life where they believed they were too useless to change a light globe.

While I can change a light globe, I do recall being shown as an adult the correct way to open and close curtains and being forced to change a dessert spoon for a soup spoon because I had served the wrong spoon with soup.

It is probable that because I was regularly criticised as a child by my parents, as an adult I relied on other people to tell me what I should or should not be doing and got myself into another codependent situation because it was all that I knew.

Now my journey begins in learning to believe it’s perfectly OK to choose green as my favourite colour and change my mind if I want to without feeling guilty about it along with learning to figure out how to trust that my thoughts and opinions are valuable without seeking approval from others.

Apparently it all starts with “self love”.

As they say, easy does it, one day at a time!

My First Codependency Meeting

Went to my very first codependency 12 Step meeting yesterday.

I was very surprised about how much I related to people’s shares and the readings and how much of my behaviour was codependent behaviour.

Who would have thought that the need to come bearing gifts when I visited people was codependent behaviour. Apparently the reasoning behind always needing to bring something with me when I attended someone’s home was about an inner need to be accepted by others for who I am and wanting people to like me.  I had always thought bringing a gift for the host was polite and a wonderful trait I had inherited from my mother!

Here are some of the patterns of codependent behaviour that I identified with:

  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the wellbeing of others;
  • I have difficulty making decisions;
  • I judge everything I think, say or do harshly as never good enough;
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition, praise or gifts;
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs and desires;
  • I value others approval of my thinking, feelings and behaviour over my own;
  • I do not perceive myself as a loveable or worthwhile human being;
  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger;
  • I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same;
  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long;
  • I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own;
  • I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want;
  • I become resentful when others will not let me help them;
  • I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked;
  • I lavish gifts and favours on those I care about; and
  • I have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others.

The people were all very nice and welcoming and they understood how I was on a journey to figure out who I was for they too were on the same journey.

I observed that the majority of members had anxiety, depression and/or agoraphobia. I later asked my counsellor why this was (as I too have had these illnesses for a number of years now) and she said it was as a result of their codependency.

So not only has my upbringing blessed me with behavioural issues I need to rid myself of, it has contributed to my mental illnesses too.

It’s probably fairly likely that if I worked on my codependency issues, I could rid myself of depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

My whole recovery journey is certainly an eye opener and sometimes it is more comfortable putting my head back in the sand but I know that behaviour will only prolong misery.

Sex & Love Addiction Help

As I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and various OCD symptoms such as the need to have things orderly, clean and perfect, I was wondering whether love and sex addiction is classed a form of OCD.

Some experts believe that sexual addiction is literally an addiction, directly analogous to alcohol and drug addictions. Other experts believe that sexual addiction is actually a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and refer to it as sexual compulsivity.

The American Psychiatric Association has proposed that out-of-control sexual appetites be included as a diagnosis in the next edition of the psychiatrists’ bible, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” to be published in 2013.

I located a very helpful article outlining the difference between sexual thoughts and compulsions being an addiction or an obsessive compulsive disorder. It is of course only one person’s view on the subject.

Here’s an extract of the article which summarises the outcome:

It cannot be overemphasized that the sexual obsessions in OCD are the opposite of the usual sexual daydream or fantasy. Normal sexual fantasies are enjoyable and generally harmless. They may consist of wishes or memories of past sexual experiences. However, the sexual ideation in OCD is unpleasant and distressing. The individual with OCD does not want the thought to become real. The idea of acting out the obsession fills the OCD victim with dread. Sexual obsessions in OCD rarely produce sexual arousal because anxiety and arousal cannot occupy the same space. As a result, OCD usually decreases sex drive. OCD sexual obsessions result in guilt, shame, and interfere with ocial functioning or work. Source:

Love Addiction

While I am unable to speak for the sex addict, to my knowledge and experience, love addicts (who can also act out sexually) do not have decreased sexual desire when in the midst of their fantasy or addiction nor do their experiences feel unpleasant or distressing.

I am lead to believe that love addiction stems from unmet childhood needs.  For example, codependent mum is too busy with alcoholic dad to worry about children therefore children use fantasy as a way to meet their unmet needs and as escapism from a difficult family environment.

There are various types of love addicts, here’s a link to help you figure out which one you might be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_addiction

Healing from Sex/Love Addiction

Start by getting a good counsellor who is familiar with sex and love addiction and get involved in a 12 Step Program such as SLAA (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous), SAnon (for love addicts and partners of sex addicts) or SA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) – for the sex addict). You will find the links to these Programs on my home page.  All three Programs have online support forums if you are unable to attend a face to face meeting.

Try reading as much material as you can about your addiction/s. Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody is a book that is highly regarded in the industry as are books on sex and love addiction by Patrick Carnes. Literature by both authors can be purchased from Amazon.com.

I tried for years to figure out what my problem was and I even sought help from the psychiatric industry for my thoughts, only to be medicated with antipsychotics for them and diagnosed with bipolar disorder (I believe my experience is very common).

It took me until I was 38 to realise that my fantasies were not a normal part of life. They used to (and still can) cause me the deepest depression and despair to the point where I wanted to self harm.

Early this year I accompanied my partner to a face to face SLAA meeting where I heard members speak about their experiences with sex and love addiction. Their stories hit me hard but also gave me great relief. They were talking about my life, I was one of them!  Finally I had found an answer to my problem. I was not alone.  My recovery journey began.

Kleptomania is classified as “an irresistable urge to steal”  but people with this disorder are compelled to steal but not limited to, items of insignificant value. Insignificant value meaning pens, paperclips, note pads, paper etc.

Kleptomania is distinguished from shoplifting or ordinary theft,  as shoplifters and thieves generally steal for monetary value, or associated gains and usually display intent or premeditation, while kleptomaniacs are not necessarily contemplating the value of the items they steal or even the theft until they are compelled without motive.

This disorder usually manifests during puberty and, in some cases, may last throughout the person’s life.

I have been thinking about my compulsion or “need” to pinch things and where it eventuated from.

The first time I remember pinching something was when I was about three years old and I put a packet of tic tacs from the green grocer into my tights. My parents found out because they heard the clacking noise and made me take the tic tacs back and say I was sorry. The push to apologise sure didn’t teach me much of a lesson I don’t think!

As my dad used to drink his earnings away and bring back what was left over to mum, I used to see my mum make do with what money she had left to run a household.  Quite often we would visit the Salvation Army for food parcels or clothing and I used to think it was great fun because they would give me a big packet of pizza flavoured chips in the shape of wheels and when I was older I used to love selecting free clothes and shoes. When I write about it now, I feel sad thinking back to those times and what we had to do to make ends meet.

In my mid teens I got involved with a crowd that taught me how to pinch things from department stores and we even entered the back of a night club one day and lifted a bottle of liquor (I was simply a bystander while my friend’s brother went straight for the till so they obviously knew what they were looking for).

I too then started to lift things of no great monetary value from retail stores. I even taught others how to do it as well. It was small time thieving, mainly toys. I got caught a few times but was always let off.

When I started work my store thieving ceased and I was content with whatever small time things I could get my hands on at work which was usually stationery. I am a bit of a stationery nut to this day and I have boxes of pens and erasers and Post it Notes tucked away in my wardrobe.

When I was diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder in 2007, and put on Zeldox towards the end of my treatment, I felt an absolute compulsion to thieve from the supermarket one day. I was drawn towards an electronic item and remember reaching for it with the intent to steal it on my mind but after much thinking decided against it. I will never forget that feeling of sheer compulsion. It was not pre-meditated for I had not stolen for some years (I even stopped pinching the stationery when I found a workplace I loved). 

My supermarket antics on Zeldox were bizarre because I remember the “need” to load my groceries onto the conveyor belt in categories. All the dairy had to be together, all the meat together, all the drinks together etc etc and when I loaded my bags into the trolley, the bags were absolutely NOT allowed to fall over or I would get severely bothered and anxious to the point of an anxiety attack.  Looking back now, my anxiety/OCD must have been rife at that time. This is the time when I began to lift small items from supermarkets again.

My analysis on my long time behaviour would be that given the difficult environment I lived in as a child, I needed acquisitions around me to feel comforted.   Perhaps seeing my mum struggle with making ends meet, I grew to believe that having things was important.  When I was a teenager I would go through all the catalogues and select what I would buy when I grew up and had money.

I have begun lifting from supermarkets again as I am under financial stress and I cannot bear the thought of not being able to “have” what I need or want. Why? because I associate not having what I need or want with my childhood and I don’t want to go back there.

Today I need to keep reminding myself of the lesson that my Higher Power has put before me, namely, that  money does not buy happiness and happiness comes from within. I need to learn to love and respect myself and act in a responsible way when it comes to finances.

Control – My Best Friend!

Annabelle’s comment in my previous post reminded me about my best friend “control” who visits me on a regular basis in various ways, shapes and forms.

Control and I have grown up together but unfortunately friend, it’s time to go. I’m trying to get rid of you but it’s easier said than done. You don’t seem to want to accept that I no longer have a need for you in my life. Although I must admit,  you are there for me in an instant, often without me noticing your presence but since I’ve entered recovery I’ve realised our long-term friendship really needs to be terminated because it’s not a healthy friendship for me. Perhaps we can negotiate visitation rights for the moment because I’m not really sure I want to rid myself of you completely just incase I need to call on your comfort and security when times get tough….

Yep, I grew up in a controlling environment. My father was a full-blown alcoholic long before I was born. He started drinking alcohol at 13 years of age. When I was 17 he became a dry drunk – meaning he no longer drank alcohol but he still had all the bad behaviours of an intoxicated person.

I have heard it said that a person who cannot control their addiction makes up for it by controlling other things in their life. Unfortunately it can turn out to be the people they hold most dear.

My first memory of being controlled is when I was around 6. We were on our way to a holiday destination and stopped for petrol. My dad and I got out of the car and a friend of my dad’s who was following behind us said to me “I couldn’t see you in the car but I knew you would say you wanted to come”. My dad immediately said in a bossy voice “she only comes if I say she comes”.  I remember feeling so ashamed that the lady was nice to me but dad was making it clear to me in front of his friend that he was the boss and I did what I was told without a choice.

My first memory of me controlling others is at primary school, aged 7. I had my little gang that I was the leader of. Two gang members asked me if they could go and get a drink. I told them they were not allowed to but we would all go later.

Years later when I admitted my life had become unmanageable and I started to look at my behaviours, I realised just how out of control my control issues had become.

As part of my codependency I would try to control my partner because he was not doing what I told him he should be doing in order to get his addiction fixed. I would try to force him to open up to me and literally run around after him yelling at him to talk  to me because we had big problems we had to solve. I would try to control using undertones, body language and verbal and physical abuse. He in turn would try and control me which of course I would rebel against given my controlled upbringing.

From what I know and have experienced, I can transfer my control from one situation to another. For instance, if I let go of controlling my partner and how he practices his 12 Step recovery, I will try to control people in my workplace by barking orders or telling them how things should or should not be done. Control is very sneaky insofar as I often do not know it has reared its ugly head in my life until I start to feel tense and evaluate my behaviours and motives for doing things.

Deep down, people who obsessively control are terrified of being vulnerable. They believe they can protect themselves by staying in control of every aspect of their lives, including their relationships. At times I can obsessively clean my house or do my work over and over again until it presents perfect in my eyes. Both ways help me feel my life is orderly and in control. 

Thanks to my 12 Step Program and counselling, I am becoming more aware of my thoughts, feelings and behaviours and when I need to let go of something that I am trying to control.  I need to regularly reinforce that to err is human and I cannot change other people, I can only change myself.’

It never ceases to amaze me about the things journalists come up with in the tabloids let alone the lengths families go to to  save their reputation and that of their loved one who has acted inappropriately.

Matthew Newton, son of Bert Newton – Australian icon. 

Latest article if you are not familiar with the reporting: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/30/2996958.htm

Let’s do a quick summary of Matthew’s father shall we?

Bert Newton – alcoholic, psychiatric ward stay, Electroconvulsive Therapy, caught drink driving on numerous occasions, lost licence, well-known assertion Bert assaults Patti (wife) during drunken rages.

Matthew Newton – Ice and Marijuana (and the like) addict, assaults first girlfriend, quashed case, assaults second girlfriend, psychiatric ward, mental illness, suicide watch.

I’m going to be very blunt here and say that it is blatantly obvious to me that Bert never learnt from his family of origin how to adequately deal with life’s problems therefore he turned to the bottle to suppress his emotions which subsequently ignited his internal rage that he took out on his wife using violence.

Matthew comes into the picture and doesn’t learn a healthy way of dealing with his problems from the male role model in his life (his God, his father). He learns by example to suppress not express his feelings and problems and turns to drugs and alcohol to kill his internal pain. He too (under the influence) takes out his internal rage on the women in his life.

Matthew may have a mental illness but I can bet your bottom dollar it was ignited by his drug use. To blame his actions on his illness is what makes society think all mentally ill people are dangerous. This type of reporting only serves to fuel public stigma, not reduce it.

We see and experience it all so often yet the tabloids continue to gloss over this family like they are “perfect” and have a poor mentally ill child.  When will the world realise that children are products of their upbringing?

Sure, Matthew’s an adult but so am I! We are of similar age. Had I have known back then what I know now I would have literally dived into Alanon a long time ago. There are people in their 50’s and 60’s who still don’t understand why their life has always been “up the creek”.

I feel for Matthew and hope that he finds the strength to get into and continue in a 12 Step recovery program like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous to help him deal with his demons for his failure to do so will spread the dysfunction down the Newton line. 

I have made an oath with myself that my family’s dysfunction stops at me.

Where does yours stop?

Glimpses – is a compilation of uncensored real life experiences with mental illness
Nicci continues to put together a manuscript of personal experiences with mental illness for free distribution to Carers, Consumers, Educators and Clinicians, in hope of increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness and it would benefit greatly from your story. Most contributors indicate it was a very therapeutic exercise writing about their experiences with mental illness.
Glimpses is a free updated version and is distributed electronically quarterly (if new stories have been received). Several Universities use this manuscript as a course resource, it is posted on websites nationally and internationally. So only submit your story if you are happy for it to be distributed and forwarded freely.
Nicci  invites you to submit your Consumer or Carer story on your personal experiences with: – Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anorexia, Post Natal Depression, any other MI. She would especially like some stories from people in their late teens and early 20’s.
The average length of stories so far are 6 to 15 pages. However there are some that are 3-4 pages, minimum accepted (narrow margins, size 12 Arial font, single spacing).
People have told of the lead up to diagnosis, dealing with MH services, medication issues, identifying triggers, working towards recovery and coping strategies. What and how much you want to share is up to you. Use your whole name, first name or a pseudonym, the choice is yours; but please know that your story, however you present it, could make a difference in how the world sees us. See below for contact details.
Glimpses & Minds Unleashed are distributed free of charge and encouraged to be printed, forwarded, added to websites, used as a training resource, as long as excerpts and content of the stories are not changed. If you are not happy for this to happen, your submission cannot be included.
To go on the mailing list or submit your story email: forwalls@xi.com.au

I often receive enquiries about people wanting to submit or read poetry for bipolar disorder sufferers so I thought I’d share details about the publication “Minds Unleashed” compiled by Nicci, an Australian Mental Health Advocate who freely distributes poetry by mental illness sufferers around the world.

Minds Unleashed is distributed in PDF format for free to Carers, Consumers, Educators and Clinicians, in hope of increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness and it would benefit greatly from your poetry.
A free updated version is distributed electronically bi-monthly (if new poems have been received). Several universities and training organisations use this manuscript as a course resource. Minds Unleashed reaches people all over Australia and some other countries. So only submit your poetry if you are happy for it to be distributed and forwarded freely. 

To submit your work please email: forwalls@xi.com.au

After my recent encounter with my benzodiazepines (see my last post), I decided to take the opportunity to reduce my dose while I was still drugged up on them the day after my excessive intake.

By around lunch time the day after my previous intake, my brain started to fog under the pressure and stress of work. A foggy brain to me means “time for a benzo” but this time I decided simply to take half a tablet instead of my usual whole 30mg one.

Half seemed to get me through the rest of the afternoon but I then began to experience more brain  fog around 6pm when I was due for my second daily benzo.  I managed to ride through the fog and the lump in my throat and sleep relatively OK that evening.  I forced myself to spend time alone trying to relax and calm my mind. Thankfully I was feeling a little sick from the day before and I’ve noticed when my body is not 100% I tend to not “need” my benzos.

The next day I had to work again but I had my back to normal 9.00am benzo body crave so I decided to take my new half a dose which once again got me through the rest of the day. Luckily at work I am not very busy otherwise I think my tapering off would be a lot harder and most likely not successful.

Come Saturday morning I had to go to the shopping centre as we were out of food! Not the best time to shop usually as every man and his dog are there but I took it upon myself to test my anxiety and new benzo dose in public. I managed to bring my Ipod with me this time so I could drone out the shopping centre chatter and screetching children if  all the noise became too much.

Thankfully as the weather was absolutely ghastly, not many people decided to brave the shopping centre when I was carrying out my re-intergration into society on my new dose so my Ipod was not needed.

I first went to Aldi which was quiet and relaxing and I managed to hang back while the family with the whining children went ahead of me – phew!

Next came a woman, her toddler and the woman’s father constantly chattering to eachother about the products the toddler would or would not like. I mean c’mon….just pick up the products, stick them in your trolley and move on. I don’t need to hear what your baby bunting enjoys and doesn’t enjoy and why, you are stressing the hell out of me! I ended up leaving them behind to analyse the conents of each and every product and its suitability while I got on with my shopping.

It might have been my imagination but every where I turned the same man with his damn trolley was trying to move around me or vice versa. My brain and body language was screaming “get out of my way will ya” and I was beginning to wonder whether he was following me as I kept trying to escape meeting up with him for the whole Aldi journey!

Then came the checkout – all was fine until a man rocks up behind me with a small box of products in his hands glaring at me and my full trolley.  I had already loaded half my groceries on the conveyer and I didn’t feel like allowing him to hop infront of me (the polite Aldi way apparently) so I continued to load the conveyer with my shopping however in doing so, I put myself under pressure to load faster as I felt his presence and glare bearing down on me which forced me to rush and get a little flustered in the process.

Made it to the cashier but as some of you would know, Aldi is a self packing supermarket and the cashiers are fast to scan your items and leave them on the side of their bench for you to pick up and pack. This whole experience is stressful in itself because if you don’t go at the pace of the cashier your items build up on the bench and the person behind you and the cashier have to wait for you to load your trolley!

I should have realised all these things before I shopped at Aldi but it was a lesson in itself to anticipate my obstacles and plan ahead next time in order to to reduce panic/anxiety in public.

As you have probably guessed, I tend to reduce my anxiety by practising the “avoidance” method  in lieu of the “exposure” method.

Probably something I need to work on as avoiding situations that may cause anxiety will not cure me, only stop me from living my life to the fullest.

What’s the point of writing a Blog if I can’t talk about the “hard stuff”? Should I gloss my posts over so they don’t trigger people? Yes, maybe a little but there’s no point in hiding the truth from the world because the world won’t understand where it went wrong if people like me fudge the facts. That’s my theory anyway.

So, I’ve felt like garbage the last couple of days.

My PMS has been up the wall for the last three or so months. I’ve had an internal scan but as usual it showed nothing so I’m going to try some natural progesterone cream.

I’ve read a book called “Natural Progesterone, the World’s Best Kept Secret” by Jenny Birdsey and was absolutely gobsmacked at the list of symptoms a woman can go through that relate to a lack of progesterone.

I would never have thought that my mouth ulcers, itchy eyes, constipation, suicidal ideations, night sweats, confusion, memory loss, cold hands and feet and aching bones can be related to a lack of progesterone!

I’ve had bad memory since December 2008 when I was taken off antipsychotics due to a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder. When my period decides to pay me a visit (which is every fortnight now) my memory gets even worse not to mention the other side effects that come with the lead up to it. I really only get a few normal days before the symptoms start all over again.

It’s been a ghastly experience to say the least but back to the blog topic “suicidal ideations”.

While I was taking various antipsychotics (not all at one time) between 2006 and 2008, I continued to have suicidal ideations but when I look back now, they were worse than ever. It is my belief that the ideations were worsened by the antipsychotic use but proving that is like finding a needle in a hay stack!

During my treatment was overdosing on high doses of valium, Panadol or antidepressants every fortnight and my moods were definitely not stable.

Once I came off the antipsychotics and mood stabilizers and was re-diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I never overdosed again. For the first six months after the re-diagnosis I never felt suicidal and only twice in 2009 did I have ideations.

This year I’ve had them maybe three times. Once earlier on in the year and one last week and one this weekend. The first two were not acted on, the third was.

Unbeknown to anyone, I took 70mg of benzos yesterday. 70mg is not much but before I took them I wanted to take whatever I could stuff down my throat to end the pain. Nothing could make me see sense, I was so depressed I wanted “out”. Everyone was better off without me.

As usual, when the time comes to swallow, a small voice inside me says “you don’t really want to do that, just take a few to knock you out and see how you feel in the morning” so that’s what I did. I woofed down my pills but it didn’t really have much of an effect because most likely my body is so used to previous valium overdoses that 70mg of benzos was not much competition for it.

I paid for it this morning though. I could not focus on my work, I could not retain a lot of information and I looked like sh*t!

The sooner I get this progesterone cream the better and I hope to God it bloody well works because I’m tired of depression being present in my life and I certainly don’t want suicidal ideations anymore.

I’m off to hunt down some chocolate 🙂

One major problem I’ve found when dealing with many people who try their best to hold down employment is their in ability to concentrate/focus on what is required.

I know with me, I used to read line after line after line until I got the information to actually sink into my brain. This kind of ability is very hard to deal with expecially if you are on a deadline to get work done and under  pressure to perform.

It’s very sad we have to resort to these kinds of methods out of desperation to keep our jobs.  I was told to try a high strength iron tablet for tiredness which does work, I take a high strength Fish Oil tablet, Spirulina and Berocca (vitamin B).  I must admit though, in times of desperation and pressure, workers need to rid their brain of fog to perform up to standards and in my opinion, employers do not make enough allowances for employees who are hampered by prescribed medications to keep their mental health functioning.

Unfortunately, very little options are available to boost performance/brain power  for those who are desperate to hold down their employnent or they lose their income, their house, their self esteem and their livelihood.

Over the years I’ve acquired various ideas to alleviate brain fog from medication use. Some of these might not be ethical but I’m going to write about them anyway because I know with me my job was so important to hold down and it was virtually impossible working on 450mg of Efexor XR, various anti-psychotics and being able to process information all of the time not to mention coping with the lack of motivation I felt.

First we have the unethical ways I have colleced over the years that people use to eliminate brain fog:

1. No Doz Plus  This product is a caffeine tablet that is meant to keep you awake and stimulate your cognitive functioning.  The downside of No Doz is it can become addictive. From what I’ve seen of it’s contents, it contains more caffeine than a strong cup of coffee. The caffeine is the substance that gets the brain moving and provides clarity and a buzzing energy aiding performance in the workplace.

2. Go for a very strong coffee (say 50ml or more). If you are like me, I am sensitive to caffeine so am unfortunately unable to drink coffee nor decaffinated for it brings me down to a deep depression.

3. Coke-a-Cola will give you a high/buzz and get you going and thinking logically and help you focus on the tasks at hand. Have you buzzing around the workplace in no time. Try guzzling a can of Coke early morning after a good breakfast but watch for the rotting teeth from consistent use though. Perhaps Diet Coke (no sugar) would be better for the teeth.

4. Red Bull – gives you wings! I’ve tried the small can of Red Bull early mornings and it yes it does give you a brain boost and helps you run run run however if you are susceptible to high amounts of caffeine I would recommend staying away from it. The larger the person the more Red Bull is required to have an affect. I generally go for the larger bottles of Red Bull as they get me through the day a lot longer. One needs to be careful when taking things such as No Doz and Red Bull together incase these drugs  react to any prescription medications you are already taking.

5. Now this is a little bit risky but I’ll share it anyway. I worked with a collegue who used to take 2 No Doz and drink a can of Red Bull every morning before work. She was a high flyer/heavy partier on weekends and needed to be on the ball at all times during work so this combination helped her boost her brain power.  I’ve never tried this so I don’t recommend it unless you are a large person and not susceptible to caffeine.

6. Nurofen or Nurofen Plus – contains codeine. Codeine can be very addictive but it will give you a slight brain buzz and help you focus on your work. There is also Panadeine Forte (only available via prescription) and Asprin Forte (available over the counter) which I have tried  but wow what a brain power boost! Be careful if you are allergic to asprin as it can make you vomit. Nurofen and Nurofen Plus will give you constipation and long term use can cause stomach ulcers/rotting lining and can become addictive so it is to be used in moderation.

7. For a more natural approach try very cold water to wake the brain up. Drink lots of it for energy as water makes ap a major percentage of the brain so keeping your body hydrated is most important for good brain function.

8. Freshly squeezed juices – fruit and/or vegetables are so important for energy. I drank these religiously every morning and night. If you don’t have the motivation to clean your juicer (an arduous job!) then purchase freshly vitamised juices from health food stores. Mix and match your fruit and vegetables to make a healthy juice that will make you feel SO GOOD throughout the day.  Try this website: www.juiceville.com.au for a world of information on juicing goodness, recipes and health and nutrition benefits.

Vitamin C tablets – 1000 mg x 3 or 4 per day – chewable. Not very expensive but I take them just before lunch and I feel a great boost of energy afterwards. Highly recommend them but remember they must be “chewable”.

Any other tips from people to eliminate brain fog please do share them with us.

A change of diet is also most important to keep your cognitive brain function working at its optimum level. See my older posts on foods to boos your mood which are most helpful in helping with brain power and concentration levels.

If you have any other ways you’d like to share about how to keep your brain at optimum performance levels while taking medications for mental illnesses plese do share then here for others to read.

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Tired of Codependency

I’m tired of being a codependent, I’m tired of the same old games/scenarios. They get us nowhere, it pushes us back further into an abyss.

Last night I picked up the book “Facing Love Addiction” by Pia Mellody which my counsellor recommended to me. I was absolutely gobsmacked at the games two codependents play with each other (unknowingly).

Pia writes that couples in healthy relationships are prone to silence and simply being happy in each other’s company where no words are necessary but unhealthy/codependent relationships are susceptible to games such as “bombing” each other to create intense intimacy because codependents cannot cope with silence or unsettling/tense environments.

For example, right now I know my partner is in an irritable mood. There is now silence between us. I feel like storming in to his study and yelling at him to help me around the house with chores. A small part of me wants to do it to control an outcome, to make him see he has to put an effort into working at chores as a team but the larger part of me wants to simply lash out, scream and cry that things are not fair that I have to carry the burden of running the household while he recovers from his addictive cycle.

I have things to recover from too, I have my 12 Step Programs to attend, my hobbies to focus on and my life and wellbeing to look after.

By yelling and screaming to be heard, am I bombing him to bring intensity back into the relationship? To force communication? My Program tells me to wait until the time is right to approach him and speak about how I feel openly and honestly and without blame. The outcome will be more successful if I take a calm approach to it.

It’s a tiring process, a process today that I don’t feel like practising. Instead I prefer to stick my head under the covers and weep and sleep the day through.

Does anyone reading this relate?

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Expectations & Perfectionism

How many times have you had expectations about something or someone, just to turn around and feel disappointed?

Until I started 12 Step Programs, I did not understand what expectations were.

Some examples of my expectations are expecting people to do the same quality of work as me in the workplace, expecting anyone who cleans my house to clean it the way I clean it and expecting people to have the same morals and values as me.

Expectations can lead you down paths of disappointment and hurt.

I cannot say I know all about expectations and I no longer have them but at least today I am aware of them.

For me, expectations have an element of control attached to them. If I find someone is not living up to my expectations I tell them so or I “show” them how things should be done (in my eyes).

I need to allow for mistakes in others and most importantly in myself for I have always strived to be “perfect” and I keep getting told that nobody is perfect. Perfectionism for me most likely stems from being told as a child that I was not good enough, I would never get anywhere in life and for getting in trouble for having bad grades at school. I come from an alcholic home where there was a great deal of control in my family  which is probably why I project that control onto others and expect them to perform as I now do as an adult.

But today I am aware of my control and perfectionism issues and can try and stop myself once I catch myself trying to control others or  trying over and over again to type a perfect letter. A colleague and I were discussing our perfectionism issues in the office the other day. She has similar years experience to me and we call ourselves “old school”. We check our work over and over again for any spelling, grammar or presentation errors before we send it out.  My second boss used to greatly scruitinise my work insofar as he used to always put a full stop at the end of my sentences with a black felt tip pen if I had left one off. Once I put a “draft” stamp upside down on a letter and I got yelled at for being so sloppy. Thinking back now I believe he had perfectionism issues himself.

Note the expectations you have for others and write them down. Listen at how unrealistic they seem when you read them out loud to yourself.

When you place expectations on others you place an extraordinary burden on your relationships. In the end you allow these expectations to hold the key to your happiness.

Do you think you have issues with expectations, perfectionism or control? I’d love to hear about them.

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Phone Phobia

The more I talk to people the more I see that “phone phobia” is a real issue with mental illness sufferers.

It’s probably more on the anxiety end of the scale.

I am definately phone phobic.  I never answer my house phone unless I have pre-arranged a time for someone to ring.

The mobile phone I will answer most times except if the number is a private number. Simply if I don’t know who you are I don’t pick up.

Phone phobia not only happens on a personal basis, it happens at work too.

It’s funny that when the topic of phone phobia was bought up in a support group meeting, how many people could relate to it and realised they were not alone. The majority of people in the room preferred email communication or they would monitor their answering machine before picking up calls. Phone phobia continued over into the office environment too with people preferring to email than telephone.

If I have to call a client I prefer to email instead. I am a heavy emailer at work and always ask clients for their email address. I often feel like I am bothering them if I have to call them about their business issues. I can be more precise in my emails and not flounder or stutter or admit I don’t know the answer to questions. Emailing feels like a safer way of communication for me.

Where does my phone phobia stem from? Mine started when I had various issues with some of my family of origin. My parents have a private phone  number and would call me on my home phone. A family secret was divulged to me by one of my parents but not to the other parent or my siblings. I carried that secret for 12 months before exposing it. During those 12 months I could not face the person whose secret I was carrying. I isolated myself from my family of origin and carrying someone else’s baggage made my mental state worse during that time. To me, my family was not what I thought it was afterall. We had cracks beneath the surface, cracks that were slowly opening up that the facade most common in an alcoholic home had covered for many years.

Things are still a little touchy at times with my family of origin which is why I am still reluctant to pick up the home phone. (Infact my mobile is ringing right this second but I don’t recognise the number so whoever it is can leave a message if they want something as far as I’m concerned. Now they’re ringing the home phone….don’t they ever give up?!).

I had a discussion recently with a partner of a recovering addict who also had “phone phobia”. Behind his phobia was the fear of people thinking he was a failure in his recovery for he had “slipped”. He preferred to isolate himself rather than reach out to his fellow 12 Steppers for help.

It seems fear rules many aspects of our lives.

How do you conquer your fear?

Ever lived your days waiting for the sun to come out or hoping that tomorrow the sun will shine so you can have a GOOD day?

I have and I am doing so this Winter. I’m calling this a mild case of SAD. If the sun ain’t out then I’m hibernating!

My mood drops, my motivation wanes, I’m tired, I’m lethargic and I want to hide under the covers.

When that sun shines I’m super fantastic, I’m out in the garden, I’m planning my day, my week, my life!

I had a very bad case of SAD a few years back. I would dread the sun setting and anticipate it at least 45 minutes prior. I would leave work as early as I could possibly could and sneak out unnoticed just so I could get home and do a few things around the house before the sun went down for the day.

It’s a horrible gut wrenching feeling. Once the sun had gone my depression surfaced and I’d go into hybernation mode.

I don’t think I’m alone in my SAD feelings. Many people are saying to me they can’t wait until Spring arrives or daylight savings kicks in.

Winter is dreary, ghastly and horribly cold and depressing.

Before you tell me to go and buy a sun lamp, don’t want to, costs money and I feel like an idiot sitting under “fake” light.

Six weeks until daylight savings and 3 weeks until Spring. I’m scheduling them in my calendar!

The Illness or the Medication?

The trouble with mental illness and medications is it’s so difficult to figure out whether what you are going through is because of your illness or your medication/s!

I call it the chicken or the egg scenario.

For instance, am I numb from post traumatic stress disorder OR from too much Efexor?

Am I tired because I’ve got depression or because I’m taking Efexor or Zeldox or whatever it might be?

Can I not sleep because I have work on my mind or is it my depression keeping me awake? but wait, perhaps it’s the PMS causing the interrupted sleep?

Am I hyperactive because I drank half a bottle of Coke today or because I’m getting a little bit hypomanic? But wait….I don’t have bipolar disorder so it must be the Coke?

A new invention to detect the type of mental illness suffered is under trial in Australia in the form of an ear probe. I say – PLEASE put it in my ear and tell me what I’ve got!

A lot of people with mental illness over analyse from what I’ve seen. Maybe that’s what I’m doing? I don’t think so. Is there a rule that says I’m not allowed to think about things? I’m not obsessing about it but merely writing about it and sharing my thoughts.

I’m off to eat some food as I should be feeling hungry right now but I’m not. Must be because of my depression or the medication supressing my appetite or simply because I ate lunch an hour later than normal! Might be the weather too….. 😀

Cooking When You’re Ill

We all know that the last thing we want to do is cook when we feel like garbage. I was going to email this recipe to a friend but I thought hey why not share it with the world instead?

My focus has always been on foods to boost your mood and beat depression (see my previous blog entries and Diet tab) but when I absolutely do need to cook a meal I try to do something that is not only relatively healthy but easy.

My cooking style has changed over the years. I’ve gone from following every ounce of a recipe to shoving it all in a bowl (mind measuring), mixing it around and sticking in a pot to cook. I call it Nigella Lawson style!

Cooking when you are not well doesn’t have to be an arduous task at all. Most of us would prefer to buy take away right? There’s only one problem with that – the expansion of our gut!

So, to add a little home cooked spice to your life, give this recipe a go:


  • 8 chicken thighs (preferably free range/hormone free & skin off – we don’t need extra fat do we!). You can use chicken breasts or pieces here if you like;
  • 450g can of apricot halves in nectar or juice;
  • 1 packet of dried french onion soup (45-60g).


  • Chop the chicken roughly into sizes that suit you;
  • Throw them into a casserole dish;
  • Throw on your apricots and a little of the nectar (about 1/2 a cup);
  • Sprinkle the french onion soup mix on top;
  • Give a quick mix around;
  • Put the casserole lid on and microwave on high for 20 minutes (1000 watt oven) (stir half way through cooking).

Serve with some white rice (brown is ideal for depression sufferers). I bought a rice cooker which is great, just shove in a cup of rice in the cooker, fill to the relevant line with water, shut the lid, turn it on and walk away for 20 minutes and your rice is done. No glug, no mixing, just perfect!

You can’t get easier than that.

Can’t Save The World!

I’m back here again after a failed attempt to “save the world” as many people call it.

I started a support group 18 months ago now which is still going but late last  year decided to start an online forum for members in between meetings.

All was going OK except out of 50 people I seemed to be doing the majority of the work. Lots of complaints but not a lot of hands up to do the every day work involved in running a community group.

Threw in the forum towel a number of weeks back now and so glad I did. My decision was based on a number of things but mostly because I never seemed to have any time to do the things I wanted to do. I needed that extra bit of time I had devoted to other people to devote to myself and my own recovery. I had to take the focus off others and put it back on myself. Take a look at my life, my illnesses and how I can improve them.

The world did not drown because I threw in the towel. Everyone is still alive (as far as I know!).

The result: I can’t change other people, I can only share my experiences, strength and hope with them and hope that they take away with them a little something to aid their recovery journey.

There’s no better way to “save the world” than to blog about it, so here I am 🙂 Glad to be back and hope I make at least someone’s mind think outside the square.

Try to consider whether the medication/s you take hamper your wellbeing or prevent you from living a normal life given their side effects. Are the medication side effects apparent in everything you do or do you rarely notice you are taking them? Do they help your mental illness?

I forgot to mention in my post below about coming off Zeldox and experiencing anger.

The anger started pretty much as soon as the drug was out of my system. I must say I had never experienced this type of anger before in my life.  I would virtually “explode” if someone upset me, I would scream at the top of my lungs and I did not give a hoot who heard me, I would throw things and smash things, my partner was stunned to say the least. I would roar and get out of control and my face would pulsate and distort.

I would say my anger issues continued for about 4 months. I knew I had a problem with anger when I hit a stranger in the street for bumping into me. I punched him in the arm because he did not say sorry.

I pushed infront of people in the street, I snapped at people when they were slow or in my way, I targeted those who I saw as vulnerable people as I figured I would be able to get away with  my bad attitude. I also gave shop assistants a very hard time by giving them what I saw as deserved lessons in customer service skills. Often in full public view and earshot too. I did not care who was around me or what they heard when I expressed my anger in public.

I can not say how my anger issues subsided. I do recall though feeling some relief after joining Alanon (I am a child of an alcoholic) and releasing the burden of carrying other people’s problems on my shoulders gave me some relief. Letting people own their own issues and me taking ownership of mine was a great help to me.

I have noticed that I still do have a little explode button though. When pushed enough it will activate all by itself and leave me with no control over what I say or do. Something I guess in time I will have to combat.


  1. A Worker’s Antipsychotic
  2. Zeldox – Users’ Experiences
  3. Zeldox – After Effects
  4. WOW – I hate this drug

There is absolutely ZILCH information on the net about what people experience AFTER they have finished taking Zeldox.

Of course studies indicate that long term use of this drug can cause tardive diskinesia (long term tremor) and heart issues but apart from that I have found nothing else or no other articles on what consumers are experiencing once they have ceased taking this drug.

I would say I was on Zeldo 180mg for about 6 months. I am possibly suffering from very mild tardive diskinesia (shaking/tremor) as a result as I never had the shakes prior to taking this drug.

I would also say my short term memory is absolutely shot to the ground! For instance, I would go and make a cup of tea, put the tea bag in the cup, pour the water, squeeze the bag, put the bag in the bin, go back to the cup and wonder where the heck the bag has gone!! (I usually leave it in the cup while I drink). That’s when I realised I really have a problem. It’s been 8 months since i’ve gone completely off Zeldox and my memory is no better. Often I can’t focus/concentrate on things.


The worst it has ever been and I believe as a result of Zeldox. I have never ever had anxiety like I have it since I went of Zeldox. When I was 30 I had OCD cleaning and checking and then that all subsided with Effexor XR but since I commenced Zeldox I bite my nails down to the quick once a week (it used to be monthly only), I stress very easily, I get very irritable, I have a lot of phobias and I take valium (as needed) 5mg to combat some of these effects.


I have never ever suffered from this until I started Zeldox. On Zeldox I could not go out at lunch times monday to friday while working in the city as I could not cope with all the people. I could not cope going to shopping centres either, I was so desperate I wanted to order my groceries online or I needed someone to come with me. I started to go at quiet times to combat this problem. Since I went off the Zeldox I have very mild agoraphobia now which entails some issues with going out at lunch times during working hours and difficulties in busy places. In supermarkets, if I see an isle that is very busy or has children in it I will come back to that isle when it is clear.  Children screaming etc can provoke anxiety in me.


I cannot remember precisely when the compulsions to overdose came but I do know that it was upon commencement of an anti-psychotic. I cannot attribute the suicidal idealations and overdoses to Zeldox alone however they were definately present when I was taking Zeldox and definately became compulsive on Zeldox.  As soon as I ceased the Zeldox in Dec 08 all compulsions and idealations ceased. I have not attempted to overdose for 8 months now. Sure I have felt like it “a couple of times” but not every week or so like it was when on the anti psychotics. Definately a contributing factor to my suicidal intentions, I can be sure of that now being 8 months overdose free and not needing or wanting to numb myself from reality nor trying to knock myself out to supress the depression.

Anyway, write more later, very busy right now, just wanted to share with you some of the things that come to mind that I am still suffering from AFTER finishing this drug.

You might also like my other posts on Zeldox:

  1. After Effects – Anger
  2. Zeldox – A Workers Antipsychotic – with 46 comments and climbing!
  3. Zeldox – Users’ Experiences
  4. WOW – I hate this drug

I cannot believe I wrote the last post I wrote in Feb 09.  Reading my content shocks me. It reminds me how terrible mental illness is to experience. I never ever want to go back there. I am not like that anymore and never want to be that way again. It saddens me to see what a state I was in and that so many others can identify with it.

My most popular post has been about Zeldox. There is very little information on the web about it, about what WE experience from this drug not what trials say we WILL experience from taking this drug.  I guess I should start writing about my experiences with it a bit more to help others. The only good thing about this drug were 1) it got me out of bed within 24 hours; and 2) it cleared the fog from my mind from the anti-depressants. After that I went down hill very fast once the dose started to increase. It did not stop my mood swings and I KNOW it increased my suicidal tendencies and overdoses. HOW DO I KNOW? because when I went off the drug those tendencies all but disappeared. Sure sometimes I feel like ending it but in 7 months I have not attempted to ONCE. Hate that drug, ruined me and stole a lot from my life when I was taking it….

Will try to post a few more things that have been happening with me shortly. I have not been to this blog for quite some time and I am suprised at the number of hits it has been receiving while i’ve been absent.

Lots to do and lots to tell you! 🙂

I Need Help

I need help. I reach out to people all the time, they just don’t understand or they don’t want to be involved. Some of my friends and family have deserted me. I have pushed my partner away because I have shut down into my own little world because I can’t deal with the pain of reality. He left for work today and didn’t say good bye. I am as low as one can go and just don’t know who to turn to. I reach out to him to solve our relationship problems but I have put him down so often he is not there for me or cannot be there for me.  It seems if I keep going on like this I will eventually crack. I don’t know what sort of help I am looking for. I do see a psychologist but I find it very hard to implement the ideas he provides me with. I must be looking for a quick fix to alleviate the pain. I’ll be searching for a very long time for that i’m sure.

It’s been a while since i’ve written here but much has happened I can assure you of that.

You will notice I have charted my symptoms at the header of my blog. These are a month and a half’s worth of symptoms which have helped me immensely in the past few weeks.

It all started when I decided to chart my symtoms because I felt my psychiatrist wasn’t listening to me or understood how much I was suffering each day. I found a brochure for my local health centre that did counselling on the cheap so I thought I might give them a call. The health nurse gave me a 40 minute interview over the phone to see if I was eligible for counselling with the Centre. It turned out because I had bipolar disorder it was too complex for them and they referred me onto a GP in my local area who could refer me onto a psychologist and give me a mental health plan so I could receive the rebate from Medicare for my counselling sessions.

I made an appointment with the GP and told him I was not happy with my current psychiatrist because I felt he wasn’t listening to me and I wanted a referral to another one. He referred me to his mate in Brunswick who evaluated me for 50 minutes. I gave him my symptom chart. At the end of the evaluation he would not tell me his diagnosis nor discuss anything further with me except by saying “I think you have a type of bipolar disorder”. He insisted on speaking to my current psychiatrist and relaying his findings to him and suggested I keep with my current psychiatrist who knew my history and who I had been seeing for 2 1/2 years. I tried to squash out some information using my legal training but he was very tight lipped so I left totally confused and despondent.

My current psychiatrist subsequently telephoned me and said he had been contacted by this second psychiatrist and they had both agreed that I should reduce my dose of Zeldox by half to stop the shaking and music in my head. I did as I was told.

Reducing the Zeldox did not help with my shaking and I was still getting suicidal thoughts so I rang my current psychiatrist and told him it was not helping. He said “I can’t help you anymore, you have to check yourself into the hospital and they can assess you further from there”.

So off I went to see the Crisis Assessment Team at Sunshine Hospital where I stayed from 11.30am until 7.15pm that day.

At first I thought they were a bunch of idiots because the psychiatric nurse said to me “I can’t understand why your psychiatrist has sent you here”. I asked him had he rung my psychiatrist and he said his collegue had.  I explained my symptoms and gave him a copy of my symptoms list.

He subsequently returned and conducted a full evaluation of my past history. It was then that he dropped the bombshell “I do not think you have bipolar disorder”.  Freaking hell I thought, these people don’t know what they are talking about, how could it be that I don’t have it but i’ve been treated for it for 2 years. He asked me if I had any “highs” and I said no. From my symptoms list he did not see any evidence of me being psychotic. I told him that apart from the excessive spending incident listed in my symptoms list, I had never been psychotic. This was the basis for his diagnosis of depression and anxiety.

You cannot imagine the relief lifted from my shoulders when I was told that. I have left this post half done sitting in my blog drafts since December. I’ve never had the motivation to finish it until today.

I saw the head psychiatrist who also confirmed that she thought I did not have bipolar disorder. I was told to get off the anti-psychotics and go and see the CAT team psychiatrist in a few days for a full evaluation and find myself a psychologist. That was imperative after hearing my history.

I went and saw him and he also thought I did not have bipolar disorder. He was moving towards a diagnosis of depression and anxiety. He confirmed that I should come off the anti-psychotics and see a psychologist as soon as possible.

During my visit to the hospital and the CAT team psychiatrist I was shaking uncontrollably. I could not stop. I learned later from my psychologist that the CAT team psychiatrist was considering a diagnosis of tardive diskinesia – a shaking disorder associated with the use of anti-psychotics. While I have been off the anti-psychotics since late Dec 08, I still have a slight tremmor which was not in existence before I started taking Zeldox.

I am seeing a new psychiatrist now, he does not think I have bipolar disorder either.

Basically I have been incorrectly treated for bipolar disorder for two years. Had it not been for my symptoms list that I created I believe I would still be none the wiser and I do not know if I would be alive today.

Since coming off the anti-psychotics my everyday symptoms have dramatically reduced however I am still very troubled, angry and depressed. It is however better going through what I went through on Zeldox. I now often withdraw from my surroundings and entertain myself in my own little world.  I have distanced myself from my partner and my relationship is feeling great strain.  I go around with a miserable look on my face and snap at strangers who irritate me. These are all things that were not apparent in my life before I started taking Zeldox.

I believe the incompetence of my former psychiatrist has hampered my recovery and contributed to unnecessary pain and suffering and loss of the good things in life.

Perhaps some of you may think “How could she think she was bipolar when she had no highs or psychotic episodes?”. The answer is that I was a newcomer to bipolar disorder, I knew very little about it and had no experience with the illness. Every symptom I experienced I thought was the illness rather than a side effect of a drug. I was naive and ignorant and believed a diagnosis from a  man with so many years experience in mental health.

I did confront my former psychiatrist in early January 09 about the conflicting diagnosis. He said to me “You don’t have bipolar disorder Lisa, you have depression”.  What really disappointed me the most about his sudden change of mind about my diagnosis was that during one of my former visits to him he told me that just because I had a mental illness it didn’t mean I was slow or in any way incapacitated. I can do what every normal person can do he said. If that were the case, why did he try to pull the wool over my eyes in Jan 09 by saying I did not have bipolar disorder? Because he could and because he thought he could get away with it because I was mentally ill. He really didnt see me as a normal person after all.

After being an outpatient of the hospital for about I week I returned to work and got told i’d been made redundant. I do not believe I was made redundant to cut costs because in a firm of 400 employees, I was told by HR that only three people had been made redundant.  It was a blessing in disguise really because I had always struggled to cope with the pressure associated with the job mixed with the continuing side effects of the anti-psychotics.

Now I have a new job with a lovely firm with no pressure whatsoever. It is a six month temporary contract but it is allowing me to slowly rebuild my life. I am never one to give up and I have reached out so many times to so many people for help but no one has been able to obliterate the pain and emotional turmoil I am going through.

The system has let me down.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

I am seeing a psychiatrist through the public system. He continually tells me I am well now after 15 months. I get so perplexed by his reasonings I decided to write down my moods every day for a month and show him what I go through each day. I refuse to believe I am “well now” and will not give up until I get the message through that I need something to change because I am not normal.

It’s an interesting exercise and I highly recommend it especially because you can get in touch with your own moods and feelings and you can show people exactly what is going on in your life on a day to day basis.


0-3 = mild, 4-6 = moderate, 7-10 = extreme

To view my symptoms click on the “Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder” page in the header of my blog. Let me know what you think.

It’s been interesting to see how my period affects my bipolar symptoms too. I really need to see a specialist in this area as well.

Due to this symptoms list I have made I took the initiative to call my local health centre in the hope of getting some cheap counselling. While they could not counsel me as I had a mental illness they recommended a local doctor to me who could do a mental health plan so I could receive a goverment rebate for psychological services from the psychologist of my choice. 

I went along to the appointment which at my pressuring lasted 45 minutes (he was dying to get me out the door to see his other patients), didn’t get my mental health plan but did get a referral to a new psychiatrist.

Today I rang the new psychiatrist that i’ll be seeing on Friday to find out how long my appointment would last for and I was told 45 minutes to 1 hour. I nearly fell off my seat! My current psychiatrist never sees me for that long. I get 10-15 minutes at the MOST. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll bring along my list of symptoms and hopefully it will allow him to treat me accordingly.

Sharing With You

What a night i’ve had. I’m writing this post in the hope that no one in my family reads it. I’ve made the mistake of telling them my blog address and every now and then they go to it to check out what i’ve been writing. I’ve thought about closing my blog down due to privacy reasons (ie: work knows my blog address, my friends know my blog address and my sisters know my blog address and my partner knows my blog address) but I don’t want to lose my readers and all the hard work i’ve put into getting this thing up and running.

What have I got to be ashamed of right? I’m not ashamed of having bipolar disorder but I am ashamed of what I did last night. I took a plethora of drugs to take away my miserable existence and boy did I regret it the next morning. I was vomitting and felt physically and mentally unwell.

Why did I do it? Because I know my life will end one day, it’s just a question of when. I can’t see myself living past a certain point in life. I can’t see myself getting old and living out my partner. It’s got to the stage where I know it’s coming but I just don’t know what’s going to tip me over the edge. I didn’t even want to take the drugs last night, I just did it, I wanted to make myself sleep, to block out the pain and to get back at my partner for running the trolley into my foot. How ridiculous is that? It takes something so small to tip me off.

You see, I have a problem, I don’t seem to value my life anymore. There is nothing that keeps me here. It used to be my pets and I would worry what they would do without me but now even that doesn’t phase me. I’m sure they will forget me in good time and my partner will give them a good life,  a life they deserve.

My partner asked me why I was sick this morning and I told him I didn’t know, to save him the pain of knowing what I did.

I know I need help but where can I go? My psychiatrist who i think is fantastic only has 10 minutes for me when I see him, the public system is so clogged up there is no adequate time for patients’ real needs.  It’s a “here’s the drugs, take these and see you next time” type of visit. I tried to get a private psychiatrist but he was so booked out he wouldn’t accept me and who wants to pay $120.00 a pop to talk about themselves every few weeks? It puts a strain on the bank balance to say the least.

I’m ashamed, very ashamed that I did what I did, I cringe at the thought of it and want to curl up in a ball and hope that it all goes away.

Around 2,000 Australians die from suicide each year and there is no doubt depression is a major cause. Of those who have killed themselves, many have experienced depression or bipolar disorder. For every person who dies from suicide, at least another 30 people attempt suicide.

Suicide is the major cause of premature death among people with mental illness. Up to ten per cent of people affected by mental illness kill themselves. However many of those who have attempted suicide, or who have seriously thought about killing themselves, will – with medical intervention, counselling, social support and time – go on to live full, productive lives.

Contributing factors
Contributing factors to suicide may include:

  • Depression many people who suicide have experienced depression. This may be the result of another mental illness.
  • Psychosis some people suicide because they are confused as a result of their hallucinations, or because they want to get away from the symptoms.
  • Drugs and alcohol abuse of marijuana, heroin, amphetamines and alcohol is closely related to suicidal behaviour.

Suicide warning signs
The majority of people who suicide give warning signs about their intentions. Some of the warning signs are:

  • Expressions of hopelessness or helplessness.
  • An overwhelming sense of shame or guilt.
  • A dramatic change in personality or appearance, or irrational or bizarre behaviour.
  • Changed eating or sleeping habits.
  • A severe drop in school or work performance.
  • A lack of interest in the future.
  • Written or spoken notice of intention to commit suicide.
  • Giving away possessions and putting their affairs in order.

If you have suicidal thoughts
It is very important to remember that thoughts about harming yourself or suicide are just thoughts. They do not mean you have to actually harm yourself.

There are a number of ways in which you can tackle suicidal thoughts:

  • Tell your doctor or other sympathetic people. If your thoughts are associated with depression, delusions or other symptoms, a change in medication and treatment may help get rid of them.
  • Keep a list of people you can telephone as well as the numbers for Lifeline and similar services. Make an agreement with one or more people that you will call them if you actually plan to attempt suicide.
  • Remember you do not have to act on suicidal thoughts and that they will pass in time.

I’m going on a holiday in a month’s time to the Sunshine Coast and i’ve been looking forward to it immensely. Just to get away from the bitter winter and doom and gloom. I’ve been holding out for my holiday for weeks now knowing full well that when I get back i’ll have nothing to look forward to. That will be a challenge in itself. There’s always christmas but that’s such a depressing time for me. The presents are the most exciting part of Christmas.

Re the above information about having an agreement with one or more people that you can call if you actually plan to commit suicide, I think this is a good idea however it is not one that I practice because I don’t like to bother other people with my problems. You may feel the same as me or you may be lucky enough to have a close relationship with someone who you can trust to call in a time of need. I have a close relationship with a friend who I can call anytime I feel down but she has just had a baby and I don’t want to bother her with my worries as she now has worries of her own.

Life is rather like a tin of sardines – we’re all of us looking for the key.

Bipolar Link to Older Fathers

Children born to older fathers face a greater chance of developing bipolar disorder, according to one of the largest studies linking mental illness with advanced paternal age.

Previous research has connected schizophrenia and autism with older dads, and a Danish study published last year added bipolar disorder to the list.

The new study, led by researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, strengthens the evidence.

The leading theory is that older men’s sperm may be more likely to develop mutations. Even so, the odds of a person becoming bipolar are so low the study’s authors said it shouldn’t dissuade older men from becoming fathers.

Researchers analysed Swedish national registry data from more than 80,000 people, including 13,428 with bipolar disorder who were born between 1932 and 1991.

The risks started increasing around age 40 but were strongest among those 55 and older. Children born to these dads were 37 per cent more likely to develop bipolar disorder than those born to men in their 20s.

They also faced more than double the risk of developing bipolar disorder before age 20. Scientists call that early onset disease, and while they have long known bipolar disorder tends to run in families, early onset disease has been thought to be most strongly linked with genetics.

The age of the mothers didn’t appear to be much of a factor.

While the findings don’t explain what might cause some older men to have bipolar children, it “reinforces the notion that there’s a strong biological component to this,” said Dr Harold Pincus, vice-chair of psychiatry at Columbia University.

Lifetime risks for it have been estimated at roughly 1 per cent to 4 per cent. The study results suggest that having an older father might increase that slightly.

The findings aren’t definitive, but even if the link proves to be real, Pincus noted that still means most people with older fathers won’t ever get bipolar disorder.

Sperm are produced throughout a man’s lifetime, and scientists believe as men age there is a greater chance for mutations that could contribute to disorders in their children.

Advanced paternal age also has been linked with birth defects, and some sperm banks have age limits for donors because of that.

It Seems I’m Crazy After All

While listening to Marilyn Manson today I found myself wondering whether he had any hidden messages in his music and whether people who hear hidden messages in music have a mental illness.

I googled it and found out that backward messages in music (commonly known as Backward Masking) have been a controversy ever since the late 60’s when messages were found backwards on some Beatles albums that hinted Paul McCartney had died. The controversy raged extensively in the late 70’s and early 80’s when religious fundamentalists claimed that Satan possessed the minds of singers causing them to insert messages backwards into albums.

I vaguely remember a case of subliminal messages in music held against Judas Priest. The band was involved in a civil action that alleged they were responsible for the suicide attempts in 1985 of 20-year old James Vance and 19-year old Ray Belknap in USA;. On December 23 1985 Vance and Belknap got intoxicated then went to a playground at a Lutheran church in Reno. Belknap shot himself dying instantly, and Vance followed, but survived with a severely disfigured face. He died three years later after a suicidal overdose of painkillers.

The mens’ parents and their legal team alleged that a subliminal message of “do it” had been included in the Judas Priest song “Better By You Better Than Me”.  They alleged the command in the song triggered the suicide attempt. The case was eventually dismissed.

I am a heavy metal/emo fan and I came across this article printed in the Canberra Times that indicated that teenagers’ taste in music is associated with antisocial behaviour, vulnerability to suicide and drug use.

University of Queensland School of Music senior lecturer Felicity Baker and Kids in Mind Research director William Bor investigated if music could trigger mental health problems among young people.

It came after 16-year-old friends Jodie Gater and Stephanie Gestier committed suicide in Melbourne.

”In the aftermath of the double suicide of two teenage girls in 2007, the media linked the themes of emo music and the girls’ mental state,” Dr Baker said in a paper published in Australasian Psychiatry.

”Emo music short for emotional music typically expresses the outpouring of emotions usually associated with relationship break-ups or other tragic events. But it is not just emo music that has been the subject of scrutiny by the media.

”Rap music, country and heavy metal have also been blamed for antisocial behaviours, including violence, theft, promiscuity and drug use.”

Dr Baker and Dr Bor reviewed the findings from several studies to determine if music could trigger drug use, violence, antisocial behaviour and suicide among young people. ”Preference for heavy metal music and rap music correlate with a range of antisocial and other behaviour,” Dr Baker said.

”While the research does not suggest that music causes such behaviours, it may well be that music preference is indicative of an underlying emotional disturbance or vulnerability. In fact, the research found that those adolescents with antisocial behaviour who listened to heavy metal music felt disconnected, lacked a stable identity, and had low self-esteem.

”Anger, violence and misogyny were especially associated with rap music. Similarly heavy metal music, particularly for girls, was associated with self-harm or suicidal ideation.”

Dr Baker said more research was needed to determine whether music preferences of those with mental health issues differed markedly from the general adolescent population.

I’ve been a fan of heavy metal music for many years and thinking back now I associated it with a release of emotions and a way to express my defiance in life’s situations, not with self harm or suicidal ideation. Come to think of it I was a bit promiscuous and theiving in my teenage years too.

I can understand why researchers found that heavy metal music indicates an underlying emotional disturbance or vulnerability but I can’t understand why it’s so important to research the connection. After all, the research did find that the music does not cause drug use, violence, antisocial behaviour and suicide among young people. You will never get rid of heavy metal music. Surely taxpayer’s money could be used more effectively like providing more mental health services to the population.

Smile For Life

I really hate it when people say I should smile more.

For those who don’t know me, I have a serious demeanour. I don’t remember always having this demeanour but certainly over the past few years I have come to notice it more and more. It could be a result of my bipolar disorder or it could be just the way I am.

I often feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and this is reflected through my face and body language.

I get really annoyed when people take it upon themselves to offer friendly advice like “smile a little more”, “don’t be so serious” and the classic “you always look so sour” or “hello happy”.

I accept my demeanour and know it’s hard to change so why can’t other people? Don’t they realise that I have things bothering me or sometimes I am happy but my demeanour doesn’t reflect this? It’s just that when I am thinking or my face is relaxed I look very serious.

I don’t make friends easily. The majority of my friends are from my partner’s side of the fence. It’s been a few years since i’ve met someone on the train or bus. I am shy to approach people. It’s been 8 months at work and still I haven’t fostered any close relationships.

Good friends say they don’t notice that I don’t smile often but others like my partner (who still can’t come to terms with it) and my old bosses offer that friendly advice on how to improve myself.

I feel like telling them to shove it!

Do I Look Bipolar?

I know it’s been a while since i’ve blogged on here. It’s been hard to get the motivation up and hard to think of new topics all the time to write about to keep readers interested.

One thing I worry about is whether I look bipolar to other people. I think I can tell when someone has a mental illness. People say to me that they would never have picked I have bipolar disorder. I think that if you have a mental illness it is easier to recognise others with a mental illness.

I had a friend who had some sort of psychotic illness (I never asked her what it was) and I knew from the moment I met her that she had a mental illness. Her pupils were always dialated and she had a particular stare about her, one I could recognise in myself sometimes. I think we recognise certain traits in a mentally ill person that exist in ourselves.

So I worry that people can tell I have bipolar disorder or depression. I worry that they will notice my slight tremmor or how I stumble over particular words and I worry that they will notice that I take a tablet at the same time every day. I don’t want normal people to judge me and think i’m crazy or an unstable person.

Often we think we can do normal things like normal people like studying full time or taking on an important role in a job. When we attempt to do these things we end up struggling through and tipping off an episode as a result.

I strive so hard to be normal. I am always evaluating my feelings throughout the day and asking myself do I have anxiety, depression, am I happy, do I feel normal? It’s  probably normal for people with a mental illness to do this.

I don’t know about anyone else but my bipolar disorder is a big part of my life. i feel the effects of it every day. I’ve only just realised how lonely it can be not having someone to share something that is a big part of your life or having someone who understands how you are feeling. Luckily we have online communities that we can connect with and see that there are others out there who are suffering just like us.

Mood Diary

The Mood Diary is a tool you can use every day. It can help track your mood, medications and important things that happen to you. If you fill it out daily, it can help you and your psychiatrist/doctor better understand your bipolar disorder. The Mood Diary can help you understand yourself and notice what affects you.

Print out a copy of the sheet and place it where you can use it every day.

Click the link to access the diary and see instructions on how to use the Mood Diary. Adobe PDF Reader required.


French Connection Honeyeater Tshirt (Geisha Flower)

French Connection Honeyeater Tshirt (Geisha Flower)

I allowed myself some retail therapy today.  I visited shops like Esprit, Witchery, Bardot, Sportsgirl, French Connection. Kookai, Miss Sixty, Grab, Dangerfield and Rogues.  All the colours for the approaching spring season leapt out at me and I desperately wanted to wear one of those little green or pink crop cardi’s that are in fashion now.

The trouble with all these stores is that they don’t make extra large sizes. Everything I tried on made me look frumpy because i’ve put on 10 kilos from taking Effexor XR. My stomach was bulging out like I was pregnant (I was offered a seat on the train once from a woman who mistakenly thought I was pregnant!). People who gain weight can have poor self esteem too and I know mine has plummetted since my weight gain.

I tried on top after top and none hid my bulging stomach. I eventually settled on a lovely cream honeyeater tshirt from French Connection which was flowing and flattering and which cost me an arm and a leg but hey I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and had to have it and it covered my curves (see pic).

Weight gain in antidepressants is common. Experts say that for up to 25% of people, most antidepressant medications including the popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drugs like Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil and Zoloft,  can cause weight gain of 10 pounds or more.

I know that when I took Zoloft I lost all my weight and returned to my original size 8-10. Unfortunately every time I take Zoloft I end up crashing as the drug doesn’t suit me.

But SSRIs aren’t the only class of antidepressants that may have weight gain as a side effect. Other antidepressant medications including tricylics (like Elavil and Tofranil) and MAO inhibitors (drugs like Parnate and Nardil), may also cause people to gain weight with both long term and short term use.

There are a number of theories as to why antidepressants lead to weight gain, and both appetite and metabolism may be affected. 

There are people who swear that they are not eating any more, but still gaining weight (like me), so that tells us there is some kind of metabolic influence going on; and there are people that are not only more hungry and eating more, but that the antidepressants are encouraging a carbohydrate craving, so we know appetite also plays a role.

Antidepressants may also simply help us to rediscover pleasure in our life , including food.

Some antidepressants can actually cause weight loss. Why oh why doesn’t that happen to me?

Nutrition Beats Mental Illness

I’ve decided to go and see an nutritionist.  While googling “depression and nutrition” I came across these case histories that I wanted to share with you.

Liz started suffering from depression at the age of 14. By the time she was 17 she had become extremely anxious, fearful and depressed and was hearing voices. She was put on three drugs – Sulpiride and Depixol injections, plus Kemadrin to offset the side-effects of the other drugs. The drugs somewhat sedated her but she continued to suffer from extreme depression and anxiety and continued to hear voices in her head. She also had psychotherapy but neither this, nor the drugs made any real difference.

She consulted a nutrition counsellor who identified chronic nutritional deficiencies and an excessive level of histamine, an neurotransmitter that affects the brain. Within six months she was no longer depressed, and rarely heard voices or became anxious. She came off all medication and continued to improve. She is now perfectly healthy and happy and recently gave birth to a baby girl. She experienced no post-natal depression.


Since she was 11, Sara’s life had been a nightmare of mental and physical suffering. Her history included chronic insomnia, episodic loss of reality, attempted suicide by hanging, amnesia, partial seizures, nausea, vomiting and loss of periods. Her knees were so painful (X-rays showed poor cartilages) and her mind so disperceptive that she walked slowly with her feed wide apart like a peasant following a hand plough drawn by tired oxen. Psychiatrists at three different hospitals gave the dubious waste-basket labels of ‘schizophrenia’, ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ and ‘schizophrenia with convulsive disorder’. At times her left side went into spasms with foot clawed and fist doubled up. Both arm and leg had a wild flaying motion. Restraints were needed at these times. Psychotherapy was ineffective and most tranquillisers accentuated the muscle symptoms. She tested positive for pyroluria and was given B6 and zinc.

Urinary kryptopyrrole was at times as high as 1000mcg%, the normal range being less than 15. She was diagnosed as B6 and zinc deficient and treatment was started. Over three months her knees became normal, the depression subsided, as did the seizures, her periods returned, the nausea vanished and so did the abdominal pain. She has had no recurrence of her grave illness, finished college and now works in New York. She takes zinc and B6 daily. When under stress of any kind, she increases her intake of vitamin B6.


David swas diagnosed as suffering from chizophrenia at the age of 20, having suffered from acute depression, paranoia and extreme mental confusion. He was also seeing and hearing things. He was put on the drug Stelazine which calmed him down, but he felt disoriented and couldn’t go back to college or relate with friends and family in a normal way. He went to see a nutrition counsellor who identified that he was chronically deficient in vitamin B6 and zinc and had glucose intolerance. Within days of adding B6 and zinc supplements, changing his diet and avoiding sugar, coffee and alcohol he became symptom free. He was able to stop taking Stelazine and is now doing very well at University without any recurrence of his previous mental health problems.


Janet was diagnosed with manic depression at the age of 15. At times she would become completely hyperactive and manic, and at other times become completely depressed. She was put on three drugs – Lithium, Tegretol and Zirtek. These helped control the severity of her manic phases, but she was still frequently depressed and anxious. Two years later she consulted a nutrition counsellor who found she was deficient in many nutrients, especially zinc, and allergic to wheat. As soon as her nutrient deficiencies were corrected and she stopped eating wheat her health rapidly improved. She was able to stop all medication and, provided she stays off wheat, no longer gets depressed. She is now doing her final degree exams and continues to feel good and achieve well. However, if she has any wheat, even inadvertently in a sauce, she becomes depressed, confused, forgetful and anxious for 3 to 4 days. Her manic phases, however, have never returned.

Even if I can reduce my symptoms of depression by half by changing my diet i’d be pleased as punch. I’ve got to try after i’ve had such good results changing my diet after reading Super Foods To Boost Your Mood Foods That Fight Depression.

Will keep you posted.

Source: The Black Dog Institute

Foods That Fight Depression

Hello Lisa

You don’t know what tremendous satisfaction it gives me to hear your story. Having changed my own food patterns for the better and knowing that, yes I really can, change the way I feel – to then write a book and read the results you are having makes it feel worth all the work.

Many thanks for sharing your story…
Alexandra Massey

It’s been one week since i’ve changed my diet and I feel great. I have to admit I was skeptical at first when I bought the book Super Foods to Boost Your mood, Foods that Fight Depression for a measley $5.00AU but figured if there were foods out there that could change my mood then i’d give it a shot.

The first thing i’ve noticed is that I feel more relaxed. Usually at night when I go to bed I feel tense and have rocking movements of the trunk of the body caused by the medications I am on. These have been reduced by half to three quarters.

I wanted to change the foods that I eat because I was feeling tired and lethargic all the time, especially around 2pm after my lunch break at work. The fatigue would last for an hour and I would become depressed and not want to work. It was really starting to bother me as it was starting to become a pattern and I was desperate to get rid of the feeling. I am happy to report that my fatigue has been reduced by half since i’ve changed my eating patterns. Mornings were always hard for me too. I’d feel tired and lethargic and very grumpy. Now I just eat a few nuts and I get a great energy burst.

Here’s some of the tips from the book to help you out:

  • Banana – stress busting qualities;
  • Kiwi – boost of vitamin C – good for fighting fatigue (I take a vitamin C tablet 250mg two in the morning and two at lunch time);
  • Mandarin – good for fighting irritability;
  • Melon – contains stress busting magnesium;
  • Parsley – contains potent and nutrimental goodness which helps combat depression and stress;
  • Broccoli contains more vitamin C than an orange which boosts the immune system and helps with chronic fatigue. It has as much calcium as a glass of milk, which can help relieve mood swings;
  • The best nuts for depression are Brazils, Peanuts, Hazel Nuts, Cashew Nuts;
  • The best nuts for stress are Almonds, Pecans and Brazil Nuts;
  • The best nuts for chronic fatigue are Brazil Nuts, Pecans and Walnuts;
  • All berries contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing and help us to feel physically and emotionally better;
  • Blueberries – their age defying antioxidants have been linked with boosts in memory. The anti ageing function is so effective for depression;
  • The omega 3 in oily fish helps beat depression. Try salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, tuna and sardines. Also try almonds, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds and advocados;
  • A salad and pasta meal is really good for promoting sleep as pasta is high in carbs which increase serotonin and will give you a mild sleepy feeling. Bananas will boost your melatonin, the hormone that aids sleep;
  • Trytophan – foods rich in this amino acid help boost the body’s uptake of serotonin. High trytophan foods are soy products, seafood, turkey, whole grains, beans, rice houmous, lentils, hazelnuts, peanuts, eggs, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • Switch from white to brown products and you could immediately elevate your energy levels and boost your mood. Try brown rice, wholegrain bread and wholemeal/wholegrain pasta;
  • Decrease your intake of dairy fats to start feeling less fatigued and depressed.  Try pecorino remano cheese (made from sheep’s milk), goats cheese, almond cream, fruit sorbets instead of icecream and rice and soya milk;

My food intake per day consists of porridge in the morning, walnuts, hazel nuts, craisins, pepitas and blueberries in the mid morning for a snack, houmous and crudites and a whole wheat sandwich with tuna for lunch followed by kiwi fruit, apple and strawberries and more nuts for an afternoon snack. I have eliminated chocolate and junk food from my diet and feel so much better for it.

If you are interested in the book it’s called Super Foods to Boost Your Mood Foods that Fight Depression by Alexandra Massey. If you Google it you will find plenty of places that sell it.

What is Normal?

Some people think that bipolar disorder doesn’t dictate who they are as a person. I often find this hard to believe because almost everything I do, think or say is affected by the illness.

I even regulate my personality through medication. The type of medication I take determines my personality traits. For instance, when I take Zeldox 60mg I have an agressive personality but if I take Zeldox 160mg my personality is passive and I am a much nicer, kinder person. I base a drug’s benefit for me on the type of personality it projects in me. If I took no medication i’d be a raging agressive lunatic, unable to function in the real world. This has lead to me not knowing who I am anymore. Which is the real me? What was it like to be the real me before I got sick? What are my real personality traits? Sure I have morals and beliefs that one could say are not affected by the disorder but what i’d give to have a real personality, one not regulated by drugs.

What is it like to be an everyday person without a mental illness? Its been so long since I was normal i’ve forgotten what its like to have a normal brain and body. Or was I ever normal? What’s it like to go shopping with your sister and not feel aggravated at the crowds or want to challenge every person that gets in your way? What’s it like to go to work and not feel down or not feel like you have to read and re-read things over and over again for content to sink in? What’s it like not to slur your words or talk too fast for people to keep up with you, to stutter and blunder over words like a child beginning to talk?

Some say bipolar disorder is a gift. I could never fathom that. I am pessimstic by nature (or by illness) and I say bipolar disorder is a curse.

Sure i’ve been creative with bipolar disorder but not for a long while. Writing doesn’t come naturally to me so I have to cut and paste from google and research my topics before I blog. I long for that creative streak to return where I can write a book, paint well, read something once only and digest its every component or have an abundance of ideas flow from my mind.

What I would give to have some normalicy in my life. Can someone please tell me what it’s like to be normal?

Researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute are set to conduct a world first trial into the link between prenatal vitamin D levels and schizophrenia.

Funded by the NHMRC and led by QBI’s Dr Darryl Eyles, a team of four researchers will study blood spots taken from newborn babies who have gone on to develop schizophrenia in early adulthood.

“Undeniably, low maternal vitamin D affects the way the brain develops,” Dr Eyles said.

“Over the past four years we’ve been able to show that low vitamin D intake in animals during pregnancy results in offspring with brain abnormalities similar to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.”

The next step is to test the hypothesis on humans.

By analysing the blood spots of new born babies, the team will be able to tell the baby’s vitamin D levels at the time of birth.

This type of study is possible because of a biobank located at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen where the they have not only stored newborn blood spots since 1981, but kept ongoing medical records for each sample.

“This is a true test of the hypothesis,” Dr Eyles said.

“The Danes are only able to give us 1.6 microlitres of plasma so we’ve had to come up with a method of determining the vitamin D levels in that tiny amount of blood.

It is expected that the analysis will commence in September.

“If we establish the link in this huge patient cohort, we will be able to show that having low maternal vitamin D does not necessarily mean a child is going to develop schizophrenia but, if a child has a particularly vulnerable genome, the low maternal vitamin D may be the environmental trigger,” Dr Eyles said.

“It’s the combination of gene and environment which triggers the disease.”

Schizophrenia affects approximately one percent of the world’s population.

My parents came to my house for lunch yesterday. I was looking forward to seeing them as it had been a few months since we last got together.

Having listened to a podcast earlier on in the week by Captain Joe of Bipolar Nation on bipolar disorder and how visitors can disrupt your illness and home life by invading your personal space, I found I could not relate to him because I had never felt that way.

I am known to be a bit of an obsessive compulsive cleaner. I didn’t notice it at first but the OCD subtley returned to my life yesterday morning after a 12 month break from it.  I wiped the benches and floors with disinfectant a few times over and made sure everything was neat and tidy. I cleaned the couches and did the dusting and cleaned the carpets.  While my parents were relaxing at the table I was anxiously cleaning the floors and making sure the kitchen was neat and orderly. I couldn’t stop myself.

Each one of us has our own “personal space,” an invisible area around our body that, when penetrated by others, makes us feel uncomfortable and even afraid. The boundaries around our personal space expand or contract depending on the relationships we have with people.

I know this sounds ridiculous but for a few years now I have avoided the last drop of water from the shower because I have told myself that if the drop falls on me I will have bad luck that day. Also, lately at the supermarket I have found myself arranging the shopping bags neatly and upright in the trolley and if they fall down I get very anxious the stressed.I also have to lay my groceries out in categories on the supermarket conveyer belt.

After my parents left I could identify with Captain Joe’s remarks and figured he was probably right in saying that those with bipolar disorder who allow visitors into their own personal space open themselves up to unwanted stress and anxiety. They can get stressed about the person coming to their home and want to make sure things are orderly and tidy and they worry about what the person is going to think if their home is a mess.

A little about OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder involving two elements: obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions are repetitive unwanted thoughts that make you feel anxious. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours and rituals.

With OCD you feel that as if you have to complete these rituals or behaviours otherwise something bad will happen (hence the shower situation). Performing the compulsions can reduce the anxiety you feel with OCD.

With OCD you might realise that your thoughts are irrational, but the obsessions and compulsions are hard to resist.

What are the Symptoms of OCD?

With OCD you experience some obsessive thoughts and compulsions. However, the intensity and frequency can vary, and it’s not uncommon for it to be worse when you are particularly stressed (e.g exam time, relationship problems or now as we know – when someone comes to your home).

Examples of obsessions include

  • Fear of contamination or dirt
  • Fear of harming yourself or others
  • Intrusive sexual thoughts
  • Fear of illness
  • Religious or moral issues

Common compulsions may be:

  • Cleaning or putting things in a particular order
  • Washing
  • Counting
  • Hoarding
  • Touching/repeating

Managing OCD

There are many things you can do to manage OCD. Some are:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Theraphy
  • Medication
  • Support groups
  • Write in a journal
  • Exercise
  • Play video games
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Hypnosis


The cause of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is still unknown, although it is thought to be the result of lower levels of serotonin in the brain. Lower levels of serotonin have also been found in people who suffer from depression, thus, the close correlation between depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is very common. Generally people who suffer from depression may also suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and vice versa.

Helping a Depressed Person

I remember when I had a relapse of bipolar disorder about five months ago that I didn’t get a lot of support when I needed it most. My partner found it very difficult to cope with my endless sleeping and lack of enthusiasm towards life. I remember having to psych myself up for half an hour just to go to the supermarket. To do basic things like cooking and cleaning was torture. Now I don’t even think about those things and I am so thankful for every good day I have had since my relapse.

You play an important role in helping your loved or friend one get through this difficult period in their life. There are many ways to help:

  • Remind the depressed person to keep their appointments with their doctor or psychiatrist and take prescribed medication. Depressed people are often tempted to stop their medication as soon as they begin to feel better. It is very important for them to keep taking their medication as directed. This will help prevent a relapse of the depression, or the return of symptoms.
  • Encourage the depressed person to seek help from their doctor or psychiatrist if they are not feeling any better on their prescribed medication.
  • Listen and provide support. Be patient, understanding, and encouraging. Don’t dismiss the depressed person’s negative feelings—point out realities and offer hope instead.
  • Take care of the “little things.” A depressed person may need help just keeping up with tasks like doing the laundry, cooking or caring for a pet.
  • Remember that depression is a medical condition. Try to encourage the depressed person to develop healthy habits such as sleeping at regular times, eating balanced, nutritious meals, and taking a daily walk or some form of exercise.
  • Make suggestions. Urge the depressed person to postpone major life decisions, such as changing jobs, getting married or divorced, or moving until their depression has lifted.
  • Learn everything you can about depression. Read websites, brochures and books.
  • Suicide threats are to be taken seriously. Keep in mind that it is not true that a person who talks about suicide will not attempt it. Those who attempt suicide often threaten to do so as a way of asking for help.
  • Try not to leave the depressed person alone for long periods of time.
  • Don’t take your frustration out on the depressed person. This can make them feel worse.
  • Be positive around the depressed person. Postive energy can be addictive. Avoid putting pressure on the depressed person to recover.
  • Be careful to avoid lecturing the depressed person about what they should do to recover.
  • Take care of yourself. You may find yourself feeling sad, angry, frustrated, or helpless when caring for a depressed person. Talking with a friend or counselor can help you deal with those feelings. Doing something nice for yourself while taking care of a loved one can also help.

When the depressed person recovers they will thank you for being a kind and understanding friend to them. To have someone who understands and supports them is so beneficial to a depressed person it aids them in their recovery.

Depression & Alcohol

Alcohol abuse and depression can be a deadly mix.

Often, a person with depression will also have alcoholism, and vice versa. In fact, 30 to 50 percent of people with alcoholism, at any given time, are also suffering from major depression. Family history of depression or alcoholism puts a person at greater risk for developing either illness.

While alcohol often causes a good mood at first, it is a depression causing drug.

Alcoholism may cause a relapse in people with depression. The depressive symptoms from alcohol are greater when a person first stops drinking. People recovering from alcoholism who have a history of depression should be carefully monitored during the early stages of withdrawal.

When a person suffers from major depression and abuses alcohol, he has a much higher risk of attempting and succeeding at suicide. Other facts:

  • Alcohol abuse can exaggerate depression and increase impulsiveness;
  • Alcohol is often detected in suicide methods involving driving a car or overdosing;
  • Alcohol impairs judgment, which explains its association with painful suicide methods.

Major depression and alcohol abuse are the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorders in people who attempt suicide.

Recent studies also indicate that not only can the behavior of drinking parents bring about early childhood bouts of depression, but can effect the cognitive skills and IQ’s of their children.

Studies comparing children of alcoholics with nonchildren of alcoholics also have found that parental alcoholism is linked to a number of psychological disorders in children.

The results of several studies have shown that children from alcoholic families report higher levels of depression and anxiety and exhibit more symptoms of generalized stress (i.e., low self-esteem) than do children from nonalcoholic families

In considering children of alcoholics, it is important to remember that, although there is a genetic component to the vulnerability to alcoholism, children of alcoholic issues are not related primarily to alcoholism itself but to the social and psychological dysfunction that may result from growing up in an alcoholic home.

I am a child of an alcoholic parent. While I have two sisters, they never grew up with an alcholic parent as the age difference between us is 10 -12 years and the drinking had ceased by the time I was 18. Alcoholism can also occur from social pressure to drink. Pressure is on young people to drink to be popular and pressure can present itself in the workforce as well. I went for a job interview in a large legal firm and was told that going down to the pub every Friday night was part of their social culture and everyone was expected to go.

There are a number of ways in which alcohol and depression may be linked. 
  • Stressful life events can precipitate both alcohol problems and depression.  Over the last decade new research has shed light on the way alcohol affects the brain, and in the ways in which the brain is affected in depression. It is now known that some of the systems that are involved in producing the symptoms of low mood, anxiety, poor sleep and reduced appetite in depression are also affected by alcohol.

  • People with alcohol problems report more incidences of neglect and poor parenting as children than those without. These factors may also increase the risk of developing depression.        

Because of the risk of suicide, if you are or someone you care about is suffering from major depression and abusing alcohol it is critical that you seek prompt medical attention.

If you just can’t stop drinking, or can’t keep it to a safe level, you can get help from:your doctor, voluntary agencies that specialise in alcohol problems and self help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or AlAnon and Alateen.


Hallucinations may occur in any of the senses: auditory (for example, hearing voices or music), gustatory (for example, unpleasant tastes), olfactory (for example, unpleasant smells), somatic (for example, a feeling of “electricity”), tactile (for example, a sensation of being touched, or “skin crawling” sensations), visual (for example, flashes of light, colors or images).

Delusions (fixed, false, irrational or illogical beliefs) and hallucinations can sometimes occur when someone is experiencing an acute manic episode. They can also occur during a severe episode of melancholic depression in people with Bipolar Disorder, with delusions being a much more common occurrence than hallucinations. These symptoms are commonly referred to as ‘psychotic’ symptoms and when they occur with other manic symptoms (as outlined above) it indicates that the person has a Bipolar I Disorder. Psychotic symptoms are not seen in hypomania, the key defining mood state of Bipolar II Disorder.

Contrary to the information above taken from the Black Dog Institute, I have experienced hallucinations and heard voices and I have bipolar II disorder.

My first hallucination was the feeling that a ghost went right through me while I was lying in bed. I felt that I was in their bed and this thing wanted me to get out of their way. I froze and they just went right through me. Maybe it was a ghostly experience and not a hallucination at all but since that time strange occurrences have been happening in the house. I’ve heard my name being called (and my partner has heard it too). I became to think that this particular bedroom was haunted by a ghost because strange things were occuring in it. My sister heard rustling in the cupboard one night (we had no mice), I put a newspaper on the bed and it totally disappeared when I returned. I searched all over the house and it could not be found.

My most serious hallucination was when I was travelling in a train to work and I thought the train was going underground to hell and I remember feeling the train going in slow motion in a downward spiral. I used to look for the devil on the train a lot after that experience. Ridiculous I know, and I am not even religious.

I’ve heard voices too. I picked up the telephone at work one day to check a voicemail and I could have sworn someone said the word “bitch” to me. I played that  message over and over again just to see if it was true. Of course I never heard it again.

During these times I don’t recall being in a state of hypomania (commonly associated with bipolar II disorder) so either I have been misdiagnosed or I present certain symptoms of schizophrenia as well as bipolar II disorder.  Beats me, a question for the psychiatrist no doubt. Will keep you posted.

I recently had coffee with two people affilliated with a major lending institution. They are involved in reposessing houses.

I myself work in mortgagee sales and  the conversation ventured into the attitude of borrowers who are in the process of having their house reposessed.

What shocked and saddened me were the remarks made by these representatives of this major lending institution.

They laughed at the fact that Mr X had been threatening to kill himself for 6 months and they skited that he’s never going to do it as he hasn’t got the guts. They called Mrs X “a nutter” for scrawling obsence messages about the bank on the walls of her home because they repossessed her house. They boasted about Mr X hanging himself in the garage of his own home.

I was apalled and utterly disgusted at their attitudes but could not speak up as I was supposed to be sucking eggs. Not only did they degrade mental illness and the utter hoplessness and depression these people must feel but they offended me being a sufferer of a mental illness.

It goes to show the hardened attitude our banks have developed towards the everyday borrower. I imagine they become immune to the feelings of others after some time in the business and must develop a hardened outer shell otherwise they’ll become too involved in their work. Or maybe they’re just a pack of inconsiderate bastards.

Is it too much to ask that our banks show a little more compassion and understanding for the current economic climate and how it affects the everyday person?

I’m just glad that my attitude will never stoop so low as to laugh at someone who has a mental illness and there are people like me in the business who can sympathise with homeowners and the hardships they are facing trying to support their mortgage.

It was after this conversation that I began to question why I am in the line of work I am in.

Well Sibling Syndrome

The devastating effects of mental illness have been well documented in films, books, and academia. But until recently there has been little said about the sisters and brothers of the mentally ill. Now researchers are starting to look at what they’re calling the “well-sibling” syndrome.

“As hard as parents may try, and they do, to meet the needs of their well siblings,” says Dianne Marsh, a Psychologist of the University of Pittsburg. “time and energy are simply finite. And so siblings often feel like the forgotten family members. Everyone else’s problems are more important than theirs.”

Marsh conducted one of the first studies of well siblings of the mentally ill and wrote about it in her book, Troubled Journey. Her co-author, Rex Dickens, himself the brother of three mentally ill siblings, says that over time, sisters and brothers of the mentally ill become frozen souls.

“You sort of shut down, emotionally, in part of your life,” says Dickens, “and that carries over to other areas. You can’t trust, you can’t feel, you can’t talk. There’s a core that gets frozen in time, maybe to be dealt with later, but it never does get dealt with.”

Marsh and Dickens found that well siblings have higher rates of depression than the general public.

Other siblings worry they might “catch” what their brother or sister has. Clea Simon is a Boston journalist who wrote the memoir, Madhouse: Growing up the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings. Both of her older siblings were struck with schizophrenia when she was only 6.

“When you see your brother or sister grow up and change from your brother and sister to something scary and weird and alien,” says Simon, “you just think that’s what happens. You think that when you hit 16, you’re allowed to date, and drive, and then you’re hospitalized.”

Simon often witnessed, or became the target of, her siblings’ violent outbursts, which is why she, and many other well siblings, believe they may now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder – a collection of debilitating symptoms from flashbacks to nightmares.

And while all families are different, most siblings seem to be affected at least by survivor’s guilt Why was my sister or brother afflicted? Why not me?

“And as they mature and they go on to careers and relationships and families,” says Marsh, “over and over again we heard that it is with a sense of loss for their sibling who may not be able to move on.”

As siblings age, there are practical concerns beyond the existential ones. In one clinical survey, 94 percent of well siblings reported a pervasive worry that they will have to care for a mentally ill brother or sister when their parents no longer can. And that worry is not an idle one.

Read about the lives of Olivia Stanas who has bipolar disorder and her siblings Rose & Audrey and the affect the illness has on Rose, Audrey and her family or the lives of Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn Spiro where Pam has Schizophrenia and is looked after by Carolyn by clicking HERE.

Bipolar Poetry

Writing poetry can be very therapeutic for those with a mental illness.

Poetry can allow you to tell without telling, to process difficult feelings and emotions, to help you or the reader understand complicated situations, to take layers of complicated life’s experiences and put meaning into them and to process and resolve trauma.

Bipolar Poetry is an online website dedicated to poetry written by those with Bipolar Disorder. The website was started by a psychiatrist whose patients found therapy in writing poetry.

I have submitted a poem to Bipolar Poetry. You can submit your poetry to Bipolar Poetry by clicking HERE or write to me and I will publish your poetry on my blog.

Why Do People Suicide

Most of the time people who suicide are very sick with depression or one of the other types of depressive illnesses, which occur when the chemicals in a person’s brain get out of balance or become disrupted.

Healthy people do not suicide. A person who has depression does not think like a typical person who is feeling good. Their illness prevents them from being able to look forward to anything. They can only think about now and have lost the ability to imagine into the future. Many times they don’t realise they are suffering from a treatable illness and they feel they can’t be helped. Seeking help may not even enter their mind. They do not think of the people around them, family or friends, because of their illness. They are consumed with emotional and physical pain that becomes unbearable. They don’t see any way out. They feel hopeless and helpless. They don’t want to die but its the only way they feel their pain will end. It is a non-rational choice.

Getting depression is involuntary, no one asks for it, just like people don’t ask to get cancer. Depression is a treatable illness and people can feel good again.

Depression plus alcohol or drug use, can be lethal. Many times people will try to alleviate the symptoms of their illness by drinking or using drugs. Alcohol and/or drugs will make the illness worse. There is an increased risk for suicide because alchol and drugs decrease judgement and increase impulsivity.

I very rarely drink alcohol because it is a depressant. I find that if I drink alcohol, the very next morning I feel depressed.

I never take drugs either. A friend of mine uses cannabis to alleviate her bipolar disorder. Cannabis does not actually alleviate mental illness, it makes it worse. There is evidence that cannabis use causes psychosis and the mere breathing in of cannabis smoke is enough to affect the passive smoker who can experience a “high” from the smoke. Traces of cannabis can be found in body fluids as a result of passive cannabis smoking however little is known about the short or long term effects of passive cannabis smoking. I have been a passive cannabis smoker in my younger years. Had I known then what I know now I would never have let myself be susceptible to the possible dangers of passive cannabis smoking.

You may know someone who has just lost a loved one and your first thought upon hearing the news is probably going to be “Oh no, how tragic, poor so and so”.

Your second thought will probably be that you must go to them, to comfort them and help them. Your third thought would be “What am I going to say”.

Many people let their third thought prevent them from going to see the bereaved person. They don’t know what to say so put off saying anything or conveniently don’t get around to it.

The first thing you need to know when that thought “What am I going to say” enters your  mind  is that no one, least of all the bereaved person, expects you to know what to say.

If you go to the person to offer help and comfort all they need is for you to acknowledge their loss, and offer what support or comfort you can. A simple honestly felt “I’m sorry” is enough to acknowledge the loss. Even saying “I don’t know what to say” will have the same effect. A hug also says so much that cannot be put into words.

The worst thing you can do is to say nothing. It will probably seem to the bereaved that you are denying the existence of their loved one if you say nothing, or that you do not care that they have lost a big part of their life, past, present and future. They may also find that their own feelings are not considered if you say nothing. They may think “Can’t they see i’m hurting and I need them to show they care”.

Sending a card is a good idea, especially if you live a distance away. Many people have commented how much they appreciated that people have sent a card, or note or letter of condolence, and they are usually kept and re-read from time to time.

Listen. There is nothing more frustrating for a bereaved person than having someone ask you how you are and when you start to tell them their eyes glaze over. This is one reason why most bereaved people eventually just say they are OK. They don’t know if you really want to know or are just being polite.

Maintaining contact with other people is especially important during the sress filled months after a loved one’s suicide. Friends and relatives may feel uncomfortable and unable to offer consolation. Take the initiative to talk about the suicide and ask for their help, it will also help them.

The survivors of any death need comfort, support and trusted listeners with whom they can discuss their grief. The stigma of suicide and shame, guilt and blame that people feel can isolate suicide survivors in their grief.

Remember, just because you don’t know what to say is no excuse for offering your condolences to the bereaved. A mere “Sorry for your loss” or “How are you keeping” can show the bereaved you care and the memory of their loved one is not lost.

adapted from www.inspirit.com.au

After Suicide

When someone ends their own life, it brings the life of one human being to a sad end. The act of suicide also creates another group of people, those left behind. These are people who loved and cared about the person who passed away, who continue to do so, and who must now become part of a psychological and social experience of surviving.

It is important for the community to hear the voices of those left behind to fear the worst, find the body, be told by the police, go to the morgue, organise and attend the funeral, attend the inquest, grieve and to continue with life. The shroud of silence serves no one.

The ending of one’s life by choice, despite our knowledge that for many suicide deaths the person is in a world of blackness, despair, depression, anxiety, pain and futility, appears to the community as something to be judged and condemned. Not only is the person who died labelled and stigmatised, but also those around them are often tainted with the brush of a condemned and stigmatised act. As a consequence, the act of suicide itself is rendered invisible by the community and too painful to speak about. Equally, the experiences of those left behind are made invisible, unable to be acknowledged, unable to be supported and unable to be addressed by the community.

Death by suicide is a reality of our society. People will continue to die through suicide and their loved ones will continue to be left behind. Death by suicide will continue to be a complex experience. Our ignoring it is as a human phenomenon only acts to render the experience invisible, to stigmatise those who die and to isolate those left behind to grieve and struggle in silence.

De-stigmatise society’s views by talking about suicide, supporting those who are left behind with a simple “how are you coping” and talking about the person who has passed away instead of burying their memory.

So confirms my belief, researchers have found evidence that schoolyard bullying in adolescence contributes to anxiety and depression in early adulthood.

I was bullied at high school, year 9 infact. A good friend shall we call her Nicole had asked if she could hang out with me and my friend as her usual friend was away ill. I said “No”. It was a joke but she took it seriously and it was to be my downfall for many months thereafter. Those months felt like years to me.

Nicole’s friend, shall we call her Jenny, started out by pushing me around the schoolyard and calling me names. The bullying developed into ostracising me from other friends, trying to pick a fight with me, trying to steal my boyfriend, hunting me down after school and following me all the way home.

My grades plummeted and I started skipping school and going to the local park. I didn’t go to school for two weeks and the school rang my parents and that’s how they found out. My parents had no option but to move me to another school as I wasn’t going back to my old school again.

My old school didn’t intervene to try to stop the bullying at any time. Times were different then and they never had bullying policies and education about bullies in place at schools like they do now.

Jenny followed me to my new school by paying me visits in the school yard with Nicole and waiting for me at the bus stop in the mornings. I couldn’t get rid of her. I wasn’t safe anywhere.

I found out later that she was having problems at home with her father beating her and she lost most of her friends at high school after she stole Nicole’s boyfriend right from under her nose.

That was 20 years ago and still I won’t frequent my old haunts now even though she doesn’t live nearby anymore. I wont even live over the side of the city where I went to school. it affects me to this day and I rarely talk about it. It was so damaging to my self esteem and personality and i’d be struck down with utter fear if I ever met Jenny on the streets now.

My school time best friend was bullied most of her school life and ended up having a mental breakdown after it which of course still affects her to this day.

If a child tries to punch someone or kick someone there’s evidence of them doing it but when it comes to teasing and ridiculing its a lot harder to prove.

Bullies are strong psychologically and get a great deal of peer support, victims suffer from symptoms of psychological distress that are not necessarily observable. Victims have feelings of depression and social anxiety and loneliness, quiet signs of distress.

Research suggests that bullies have the lowest levels of depression, social anxiety, and loneliness. They also have a high “social standing.” But even though they appear to be “popular” with their fellow students, this popularity is actually a manifestation of fear in which children feel that they have no choice but to treat the bullies respectfully.

Many people believe bullying as a normal part of childhood but it’s certainly not acceptable. This isn’t a normal experience and we need to do something about it to stop our youngsters experiencing depression and anxiety in their early adult years from being bullied in the school yard.

Management read my blog. I was the highest internet user during business hours so they tracked what I was doing and came across my blog.

Apart from me feeling totally violated, they were very supportive. I have had two bad experiences with telling employers about my illness (see my post Working Full Time with a Mental Illness for more info and tips on how to cope with mental illness in the workplace).

They contacted Beyond Blue for advice before speaking to me about their concerns about my mental health. No doubt after reading my latest suicide post they became worried about my state of mind.

Needless to say, my state of mind was and is fine at this very time and I write this blog to help other people and show them that their feelings are normal and shared by others and that they are not alone.

Work asked me if there was anything they could do for me like refer me onto a psychiatrist or psychologist, better improve my workspace, said that mental illness in the workplace is very common, more common than I realise and that I should not be ashamed of my illness.

It was a more friendly chat, one on one from person to person rather than from management to me.

I took them up on their offer to better improve my workspace by admitting that the winter months were becoming a little dreary for me stuck in a cubicle with no windows and I had begun to feel the effects of no natural light. They offered to replace my cubicle walls with see through plastic so i can see out the large windows in other people’s offices which I readily accepted.

I am working in a large company now whereas my previous employers were all small business operators. Perhaps this has something to do with how management views mental illness in the workplace. I imagine that large companies can be a little more accommodating and understanding because they have the personnel skills to deal with a vast number of issues.

Even though you think you may know your employer and are very close to your employer, it is not necessarily so that your employer will be supportive of you and your mental illness. Always tread with caution when revealing your illness to any employer because your illness is your business and you don’t have to tell anyone about it if you don’t want to.

Survivors of Suicide

Writing about suicide seems to bring an influx of people to my blog, it’s great in that respect but sad in another.

I am currently reading a book called “If Only – Personal Stories of Loss Through Suicide” edited by Belinda Woolley. It is a collection of deeply personal stories from people who have lost a family member or loved one through suicide. These stories tell of the tragic loss of children, partners, parents and siblings and relate the difficulties and struggles experienced as well as the profound pain and despair that may be encountered in grief.

All of the contributors write from the heart, motivated by a desire to show that it is possible to pull your life together after a suicide, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that the pain does lessen in time, that life can become meaningful and productive again.

I had hoped that the book would jolt me into understanding suicide from a loved one’s point of view and stop me from overdosing. The stories are sad and some bring me to tears because the way the suicider’s symptoms are described are so true to how I have felt and how many suiciders I imagine feel too.

One particular story caught my attention, it was a story of Bill who died in July, 2000. Bill and his wife Belinda were soul mates and Bill tragically hung himself due to the downfall of his business after allegations of misconduct which were false. Belinda went to a counselling session at the Coroner’s Office and was told they had research on why people kill themselves based on others who had tried to take their lives but had been stopped at the last moment.

Imagine feeling totally burdenend by some sort of decision process, whether it be to sell the house, quit your job and so on. When the decision is finally made the relief is enormous and a sense of peace calms the turmoil. So it is with those who decide to take their lives. They felt inner peace knowing they had reached this decision.

As to whether suiciders feel pain, the counsellor likened it to someone who wanted to drown. The suicider would want the water to fill their lungs and so would not be fighting against it, as one would be if they were trying to save themselves.

Bill had given numerous signs that he intended to take his life. For instance he would disappear for all hours and have the police out looking for him only to be just around the corner sitting in his car “thinking”. He reassured everyone that he was Ok and he would never do anything to harm himself. It seems to me that Bill did not want to burden anyone with his inner turmoil nor upset his then pregnant wife.

Belinda grappled with the notion of how could he have done it when they loved eachother so much. When someone is in that state of mind they become completely self-absorbed. They see the world only from their perspective, and their only goal is to end their pain. They actually go into a state, just before they take their lives where all thoughts are blocked except the one that is the focus for them at that moment, to find peace.

Belinda went on to have a baby daughter and surrounded herself with Bill’s photos and possessions. Bill lives on through his daughter. Belinda now respects Bill’s decision to end his life and sees him totally at peace.

The biggest question left behind after suicide is “why?”. The words that seem to be used are “if only”. If only i’d seen the signs, if only i’d come home earlier, if only i’d picked up any sign then things could be different. There are so many “if only’s” and that is why the book is called what it is.

Whether this book makes a difference to my life, time will tell. It’s worth a read just to see how those around you would be affected by your suicide. It has made me contact my local hospital to volunteer in their mental health department. I will keep you posted in that regard. Also got some great suicide related links which I have posted in my blogroll for you to refer to.