Monday, December 31, 2007

World Island

Was watching one of those National Geographic Channel doco's before on Megastructures.

This one was about the construction and development of another artificial "island" resort complex built specifically for the tourist market...the very wealthy tourist market... off the coast of Dubai. Similar to The Palm island resort built at vast expense a few years ago.

Years ago this sort of thing would have excited me no end. I'd have been awed by the scale and complexity and the sheer "genius" behind the concept.

Now my heart is filled with concern and dismay that human beings yet again just do not get it!

We keep pillaging and ripping nature apart all for the sake of providing that which only a very small percentage of the worlds population will be able to actually use.

From the rocks needed to reshape the entire coastline and to create an artificial reef around the structure so that the violent and sudden storm surges don't "wreck" the island sanctuaries inside the circle; to the special marine quality sand that was required to make the islands themselves - how MUCH of nature did the very wealthy Shah have to destroy in order to make this altar to the tourism dollar?

Apparently... it was "only" a mere US Fifteen Billion dollars worth!

How idiotic are we to assume that we can keep doing stuff like this?

The potential of changing all manner of ecosystems, like ocean currents, marine biology, water quality is yet unknown for such strategies....but can we afford NOT to know them?

What IF merely redirecting the force of the oceans power onto the coast of these Arab nations changes the patterns for weather and ocean currents so that we have yet more drought, more cataclysmic monsoonal rains and mud-slides, more erratic and changeable conditions around the world that affect food production and poverty?

What IF taking rocks from one place creates a bewildering array of biological and ecological "conditions" within the place where those rocks had thus far spent aeons, that literally caused the onset of other bewildering B & E conditions like the fall of dominoes?

What IF the world economy crashes in the next decade thereby eliminating or at least significantly reducing that expected influx of money into Dubai's coffers? Who will pay then?

In my youthful naiveté I would have thought this project a wonderful thing. With maturity and wisdom, I am beginning to wonder if mankind will EVER learn that we cannot keep messing with nature just for the sake of it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I confess to being somewhat an accessory-aholic. I'm not sure if women are genetically wired for shoes and handbags but there is something inherently satisfying for me in the facile hunt for these items.

It's "Boxing Day".

In Australia, this day is becoming synonymous with Hyper-Consumerism. It is a day when people swarm by the multitudes to the big name stores to "grab a bargain" with whatever cash they have left over from the pre-Christmas purchasing madness.

It never ceases to amaze me that, for the amount of money expended in the two months lead up to Christmas morning, an equally enormous amount is spent on the day AFTER Christmas day. It's quite a phenomenon!

Of course, the lure of the Boxing Day Sales is to get goods at vastly reduced prices where ever possible! No one is content to pay full price for any item on this is strictly about trying to "Score the bargain".

Today is the first Boxing Day that I've ever attempted venturing out on a shopping "spree".

How much we are conned in this actual consumer process is anyones guess. How the giant corporations can actually afford to sell stock at such "reduced" margins is a little frightening really. There are probably some complicated formulae to do with volume and mass-turnover I guess, that makes it all viable, but still, the fact that they can literally do this stuff like this is still kind of alarming really!

So what does this have to do with shoes?

I could have bought a hundred pairs of shoes today. I could have been enormously proud and pleased to have "scored a heap of bargains" in the process! I didn't. :) Go me! hahaha

I did take notice of an awful lot of shoes instead. Not just shoes on groaning sale tables but shoes on feet. Women's feet in particular. I noticed an enormous array of footwear from ridiculous sky rise 15cm high heels to the equally ridiculous flimsy flip-flops (otherwise known as "thongs" in Aussie jargon).

The range and quality of footwear is as diverse as the people that wear them. It's amazing how people treat their feet!

It was a fun experience really for me. The shops were absolutely bursting with bodies and people, and they all had different shoes on. Some followed current fashion trends but for most, it was obviously about what they felt comfortable in and could wear easily during "The Hunt" for those bargains. Although, I have to confess that wearing vertiginous heels on an escalator seems like shopping for a broken neck!

We did purchase a few things of course. Mostly gifts for others and I bought myself some cool books I am looking forward to reading.

Blind Faith by Ben Elton

Skinny Bitches by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

I'm expecting the last book in that collection to be the one that really challenges my perspective and point of view about a lot of stuff to do with people and relationships! I have high hopes for this read! :) I'll keep you posted. The print is disgustingly small in it though, so bear with me as I slog my way through it.

The Ben Elton one, I'm saving for my plane flight to Germany in Feb 08! *grin*

Addendum: In a cute, synchronous twist. About two hours after posting this, my Daughter and I went to see the new movie "P.S. I love you" at the cinema. Okay movie but I did laugh outright when it featured shoes! You gotta love that! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Safety, Trust, Intimacy (Security).

A lovely bloke in Second life has been a big support this past week as I hid away from the pressures of my current reality and found solace inside my virtual world.

I went seeking company.

The irony is that I can very well seek the company of Real life friends and family here at home. I can visit flesh and blood people in their homes, or places of work and pour out my heart.

I have done that.

I have done plenty of that. I have poured tears and pain onto the shoulders of loved ones, wetting their clothes and causing their brows to furrow in concern and empathy. I have been supported, loved, honoured, protected, encased, endowed and lifted by the real life love of others.

So why would I seek to deny myself some more of that attention and go looking for it in a 3D cartoonesque landscape with impossible constraints in my ability to hug, hold, sob and be caressed out of this personal pain?

Because inside Second Life, the dichotomy between privacy and intimacy is defined and solved... exactly.

We all know the experience of telling a stranger our life story! Caught up on buses, trains, in planes, on boats or at large communal gatherings! You meet someone and somehow for whatever reason, you find yourself so drawn to them, you admit past sins, current failings, pain, sorrow; story after story of your past, your present and what you hope for in the future. You feel free to express all this and it even surprises you that you can so easily in front of someone you do not know and expect never to know well unless you exchange addresses and phone numbers of course.

We rarely engage with those same people beyond that first dramatically intimate conversation though. Even when we exchange personal information, it's difficult to justify taking it to the next step... toward the mutual intimacy of repeated friendship. Once we spill our guts on the first meeting, it feels somehow rude to keep up that relationship.

Safety. It's just about safety. Keeping things private and still all the while being able to be intimate.

This is what Second Life does for people. Except with a twist of extraordinary proportions. It's a shift in communication protocol for many.

Second life allows people to remain completely and entirely Anonymous and yet affords them the ability to become completely and entirely Intimate as well. One can speak to strangers, receive virtual hugs, be gently (but virtually) 'held' by another real life person but via a platform where both real life people can keep their identity very very safe.

Trust is synonymous with safety. You cannot trust without being assured that you are kept safe.

Many people who come to second life are looking for more than just an escape from their private first lives. They want CONNECTION AND INTIMACY.

Sometimes seeking that in their first life is a tedious, painful, terrifying process. As my friend Dave Pollard says in this post... people are judged by how they appear. We do it so instinctively in our first life we aren't aware of how much we alienate others from expressing their truth just through our infinitesimal reactions to their overt appearances.

If we don't' feel safe...we rarely if ever trust. If we don't/can't trust...then we rarely if ever achieve the intimacy we so desperately crave.

The twist to Second Life that is so extraordinary is that you can merely add that other person as a "friend" to your friends list. They keep their real life identity intact. You do not ever need to learn where they're from, what they actually do, who they really are; you just have their SL name. You can see if they're online in world (if they choose for you to be able to do that), and you can reconnect easily with them any time its convenient.

You can choose to engage some people in voice and some in text and still others in both forms of communication simultaneously.




No wonder, some people become addicted to it. In Second Life you can be whatever you choose to be. You can hide. You can be "yourself". You can be an essence of the real life "self" you think yourself to be. You can retain and keep your personal identity entirely your own and yet still find enormous affection, warmth, friendship, honesty and incredible depth to the relationships you form inside this world.

Its so much EASIER to be open and share your soul when you know you cannot be judged for your packaging.

It's so much EASIER to relate to others one on one in a peaceful environment of sunshine or starlight when you don't have to wonder if you have food stuck between your teeth or why they just looked distracted when you were telling them about some embarrassing story from your childhood.

Second Life may seem "unrealistic" and may seem to lack "integrity" but that isn't always true. Integrity is a double edged sword. Integrity in real life with real faces, real bodies, real tears and very real, very discomforting habits is much, much harder than finding integrity and subsequently, genuine intimacy, through relationships in this anonymous virtual world.

Once deep trust and intimacy is established, Second Life affords people a way of moving toward more personal connections beyond the virtual environment if they both choose that. It is paced accordingly as people become comfortable with the progression of these new relationships.

Of course, unhealthy, codependent relationships are also found in this virtual world. This is probably the biggest "problem" with such a platform as Second Life. Damaged people of both genders who fall in love too much, too soon with people they assume they have gotten to "know" in world.

Yes! They might know them very well but it's important to keep perspective even so. Second life is fantastic for making new friends but I would never recommend permanent online relationships inside of this world without first acknowledging the move past anonymity to their real life physical identities. After all, nothing can really replace First Life for the Security of enduring, reality-based relationships!

The bloke I spoke to in world this week, gave me the gift of being there for me when I needed a safe place to let go and be "myself" without having to bare it all.

I am so thankful for surprise gifts like these.

Friday, December 21, 2007

sunshine breaks

It's been a surreal week this week.

Tuesday evening saw me absolutely devastated that I had to decide if we could actually make it for our fully booked and paid for flight to Darwin. I decided at that time to hold off and wait.

Wednesday evening saw me alone and afraid and a poofteenth shy of implosion myself. It was only thanks to friends and Second life I was able to wrench my attitude and self from sinking into the "Dark night of the soul".

Thursday dawned, after two days of very minimal sleep, the drapes drawn and the world essentially cut off unless it was absolutely necessary to engage with it.

I was feeling surprisingly very well within myself Thursday. Despite the lack of sleep along with the heavy sense of foreboding and gloom, things felt somehow different. A friend came and helped with a bunch of welfare paperwork I had to get done. The decision about Darwin was still in limbo but at long last I felt very comfortable with the Either/Or arrangements. Good news about some small financial windfalls from our Tax Dept. brightened my outlook considerably.

That afternoon, I went shopping and bought baz a gift for christmas. Something I don't normally do. He's getting an iPod nano (shhhh!). I also sorted some stuff for my forthcoming trip to germany in Feb 08. The paperwork went smoothly at Centrelink.

I was given the most humbling experience of my life in being granted a hamper from our local Christian Emergency Food Centre. We've donated product to this place for years never expecting we'd ever be recipients of the service but it is deemed that we are worthy being small business owners who are currently income-less.

I feel a little bit guilty I guess...after all, I did just spent a weeks worth of grocery money on a frivolous "toy" for my husband but hey? What goes around comes around. It kind of feels a bit like being "paid back" for the years of generosity. I'll not complain. We'll pay it forward soon enough.

Spoke to baz on the phone and it was the first "normal" conversation I've had with him in well over a month. He sounds almost himself again and it was such a pleasure to be able to laugh and enjoy his good humour and wit again after such a long period of "crazy talk". His speech is a bit slurred and he is very heavily medicated right now. Hopefully, we can ease back in time to a place where the meds work at a comfortable and manageable level. I'm pretty much convinced now having lived through this that this is a genuine physiological illness and as such isn't "just" about someone who is simply highly "creative" and a "genius".

Bipolar Disorder in the Mania stage is a beast. An ugly snarling animal caged inside the body of a human being. It takes over their mind and rules their every function tossing reality aside like an empty tin can. It shows no mercy and its only claim to any right for existence is that it makes a person "More" of what they already are. Thing is...when a person is so much "More" than they normally are... they cease to be the people you know and love.

We pray of course that we'll never see the opposite of this Mania in baz though too. Another beast of equally horrible and dangerous proportions. Depression so vast and so encompassing as to rot a person from the heart out.

So anyway, I got all the bookwork done for our business and it felt good to have much of that stuff sorted and dealt with. Even though it was quite late when I finished, I still spent a long while in Second life again, just talking with new friends and it was good. Didn't get to bed until after 0130 this morning though. I was actually quite "wired" after my good day and thought it would be hard to go to bed but I slept well. It was a bit cute that as I went to get into my bed, I discovered our dear son, JD curled up under the blankets with the air conditioner set to the "Overnight Freeze" setting. I made him get up and go to his own bed :)

The decision was made as I got into my bed. My heart told me that the Darwin trip we'd planned wasn't going to happen... this time. I've subsequently postponed the journey to Easter next year. We are disappointed of course but it has proved to be the best decision for everyone in the final analysis.

Sunshine breaks through the seething storm clouds of dismay. I turn my face toward it and bask in the warmth of its golden glow; soaking up its healing light and being reassured that always after rain comes the rainbow of promise.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the small things

Today I am weary.

Today I have hardly begun to attack my mounting To Do List.

Today I am hovering betwixt Heaven and Hell.

Second Life was "Heaven" this morning (...and well into the afternoon). Today I danced and lounged in the company of fine people who cared for me and paid me attention. It was gratifying and edifying and I shall treasure these folk for the rest of my born days for their lovely, gentle, supportive generosity to me this day. Thanks H. Thanks B.

My real life is a kind of amorphous "Hell". I stand on a wobbly platform between having to decide if I can take the kids on our summer holiday to Darwin to be with my sis and her family for Christmas or if we have to can the idea out of necessity just in case Baz is discharged (or discharges himself) from the acute unit within the next week or so. There are no real supports that we know of yet in place to channel his manic energy if that should happen. Technically, he is nowhere near well enough to even leave the acute unit but he is also "borderline" and quite capable of making his own decisions. If he was deemed to be "well" enough to be discharged while we were in Darwin, then where would he go and with whom would he stay. Until one is faced with this, one will never understand the limit to where friends and family boundaries can be stretched. Baz is too fragile, too vulnerable to another bout of extreme mania if he were to be left alone to fend for himself without support of the cloister of the acute unit! He may NOT leave over the course of the next 14 days, but who knows! No one can tell. Hence my dilemma in having to make a decision that impacts so many lives over a "simple" holiday travel plan!

I grieved last night over this. It seems so cut and dried for some people! "If it were MY husband in hospital...I'd not be going to Darwin!" etc etc. It is never what you assume it will be until you actually have to live it. This seemingly "simple" choice isn't so "simple" for all manner of incidental reasons and its been hell having to grapple with being comfortable with the "Either/Or" thing.

We still yet might go! I don't know!

My heart tells me we won't even so.

We shall see.

Beyond that dilemma, I just want to shut the world off. The light globe has blown in my overhead light here in the bedroom where I now spend a lot of my hours with Preciousss here to keep me company.

It's as if the burden of having to "do" is just too great at the moment. I have a bazillion things to get organised in any eventual scenario, but I cannot seem to find the wherewithal or the vigor to actually start anything.

I've hit a wall.

Not quite Depression but something almost near to it. A yearning to retreat, to hide away, to pretend that my life isn't so "horrible" or as ugly as it appears.

Thank God for Second Life. Just when I thought that my avatar 'Mikele' (There! Now you know my name), would never see inworld again, she has found a haven for spiritual and emotional rejuvenation; a sort of virtual hibernation with a social face on it.

It is here I can wallow in self pity or be captivated by the scintillating pleasures of other minds and faces. I can be objective about my personal drama, stand just a little off-stage and direct it some; it takes the edge off the pain.

I sound like a prat! But yes! For me this is hard. Anyone would quietly expect that a wife would just suck it up and endure because she's expected to do be the tough and loving nurturer. I'm not even sure I'm wired for that shit!

It's hard to stay "in love" with ones husband who has a manic mental illness. I am reminded often by counsellors that I "still love the man but not the illness". I'm not sure I even KNOW who the man is under that illness anymore! He has been taken over by some entity with malevolent designs. I don't see baz under the cloak of sickness...not the "real" baz! Where did he go? How long has he been gone? I don't even KNOW the answers to those questions! When did all this happen?

Let's not go the way of the Guilt here! I know all about the Guilt. I'm "supposed" to just "love" him! But how can I? I don't even know him anymore to know how to love him! Is staying here and being with him on actual December 25 going to demonstrate my capacity for "Love" of this man? How the fuck do I know?

So yeah! I am having a all out pity party here. I'm sorry! I'm not brave. I'm not a martyr or a saint or some earth mother sugar goddess with special powers of courage and fortitude. I am selfish and disheartened. And I now swear like a sailor to boot!

Throw me into my virtual world and let me forget for the moment what it is to feel like this. It's such a little thing but oh so incredibly safe right now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

if you want to love me...this is how

Be calm with my drama.

Be honest with me about my weaknesses but also gentle in how you tell me of them.

Give me lots of warm attention.

Flirt with me but don't force me to engage sexually just because I tacitly "agree" to the flirtation process.

Show me your clever side. I am inspired by intellect and wit.

Show me your intuitive side. I am enamoured of perceptive wisdom.

Tell me with your words what you admire in me.

Tell me with your touch how much you like the person I am. I am always open for a hug and a warm embrace.

Give me space to let my mind wander vast distances but gently call me back to reality when its time to be real again.

Enjoy my laughter.

Give me a shoulder to cry on when I am stressed and afraid.

Don't be afraid of my tears; I'm more afraid of them than you will ever be.

If you need space to be alone then tell me; Don't leave me wondering if you still want to know me at all.

Help me UN-glue sometimes. I'm so into my doing coherence thing I can get a little too stuck for my own good and everyone elses.

Honour my Faith and my beliefs without scoffing or judging them.

Let me WHINGE sometimes when the pressure is too much. It's how I release the angst...I sound off and will be a bucket of poo about some things ...but just smile and tell me you love me anyway. I WILL get over it - I promise.

Touch me softly, often. Smile at me with your eyes. Caress me and hold me. Love for me is a physical entity all its own.

Talk to me intelligently about any number of new things. Stretch my mind to reach further and discover more. I am energised and sustained by the possibilities.

Let me cook but you don't need to actually like or eat what I cook. Just show you appreciate the effort I made because I love you back. My disappointment that I couldn't feed you won't last but my joy will be profound if you do enjoy what I prepare for the table.

Let me nurture you sometimes. Let me BE that silly "Mother Goose" who frets and fusses after your welfare. It soothes me to honour you this way. It feels like "practical" love.

Let me love you back. Completely, wholly, deeply and as passionately as I want.

See? I told you I was simple!

Monday, December 17, 2007


I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I always have and probably always will. I have no ability whatsoever to hide what I'm really feeling. Oh sure! I can fool those who don't know me but never those who do.

When I love I love whole-heartedly. When I don't love I disengage and step back and become dutiful but distant.

My sis says I am "deep". I think I'm just simple.

One of the current lessons I'm having to learn is to fully engage with my feelings and emotions and live inside of them. In the past, I have tended to do this odd thing where I dramatize and over-inflate minor feelings to grandiose proportions and subjugate and distill big feelings, pushing them down inside where they can't see the light of day.

It's not trickery. It's not perverse as such. It's just I cope better when emotion is a scene from a play. I can act it and savour the dramatic qualities of it allowing myself explore it from a kind of actresses vantage point; a sort of objective sense of it really.

Deep, raw, intense and very real emotion frightens me. I will attempt to disallow anyone to see these real depths. I can detach very well, for the most part, from this intensity of feeling. However, it still shows even so, in my bearing and my demeanor on the outside. Those who know me best can tell there is something going on. I can rarely tell them the whole truth of it though. I play up the small stuff and stifle the big stuff. Or try to anyway.

Blogging has given me a gift in this sense. Here I CAN say the deepest feelings of my being and place them into a coherent framework without having to fear the repercussions of their expression. In here, I get to be artless, honest and worldly, displaying my naive heart for "all the world" to see.

It's like being the actress I have always wanted to be, as well as the producer and the director of my own stage play. Blogging gives me a Carte Blanche script in which I can explore these deep and scary emotions, releasing them so to speak from having to actually live them silently and with constraint.

If I write of the depths of my sadness, it is diffused and softened into something other than profound sadness. If I write of my awe and wonder in something, the process suffuses the sense of that with coherent logic and slight detachment which prevents me from losing touch with reality completely.

Writing is obviously my souls way of dealing with things. It's my own version of the lucid dreaming state where I can push the boundaries of my thinking and explore what it means to be the way I am.

I AM simple though. It doesn't take much to cheer me, to sadden me, to uplift me or to nail me flat. I'm narcissistic, euphemistic, ideological, fantasy-driven, and completely ingenuous. I live for the Ideal Concept of Mind and am a complete dolt when it comes to being "real" about emotions.

They quite simply terrify me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Faith hasn't died in me.

Not yet.

Yesterday when I posted, I was shattered and lonely beyond belief. One of the hardest moments of my life was having to leave Baz behind me as we drove home from visiting him in the acute unit. Last night I sobbed and grieved as if he'd died and I wouldn't ever have him back. I still feel the residual sense of that sadness today although not as acutely.

God seems far away to me even though I still believe he has this all under control and is fulfilling whatever plans he has instituted for our welfare. What we perceive as being a painful experience in our moments is most likely viewed by God as a mere bump or bruise toward some greater goal. It hurts him too but not nearly the same way as it hurts us as he sees the bigger picture.

It's hard talking about my faith though right now. I'm a little confused too. There are options that I have to consider that may seem contradictory to the structure and outward expression of what I believe. There are possibilities that stretch the boundaries of my particular faith but would also make it impossible for me to effectively communicate these to other Christians without being judged as straying from my faith or stepping over to some "dark side" of strange nefarious new age thinking.

I want to consider them though. The goal is Baz's wellness and his health. Beyond that is the Greater Good. Anything that helps fulfill this mission and is in the best interests of everyone filling each one with love and respect is worthy of investigation and pursuit. Even if those things seem to be weird or not really under the strict boundaries of my Christian faith expression as we Lutherans understand those boundaries to be.

I have been cautious about expressing my interest in holistic methods of healing for Baz because it generally causes eyebrows to rise and stern frowns to creep across brows. It's "easier" to speak to non-Christian friends about my wanting to explore paths of healing that are not necessarily "Christian" in their philosophy or ideology.

It hurts to have to be like this. I can see why Paul wrote that no man/women can serve two masters. You're either for one or not. To be a Christian can seem extraordinarily stupid though when it comes to the kind of possibilities one must ignore or pass over just because they are not .... "Christian".

Then again...who says that modern medicine is ethically and wholly "Christian" either? Why would my Christian brothers and sisters applaud this medical, chemical model of wellness as being entirely the "right thing" for Baz and yet be shocked and appalled when I consider other less medical models of wellness that go to the heart of him and help him to explore his current state with minimal chemical intervention?

I'm not giving up my faith. As hard as it is right now for me to embrace it and be comforted by it I can't and I shall not give it up or forsake Christ on the basis that he feels distant in this moment.

He hasn't moved away after all. He is here with me. For the moment, I think perhaps that he is watching me stumble my way through this jungle of emotions, choices and changes in life. I need to grow to walk on my own emotional feet. God is not a crutch for everlasting broken limbs but a friend who sticks with you in sickness and in health. The Spirit brings Confidence which is the sum of experiences survived and challenges met.

Things will change. Just as the earth turns on its axis, my life will change. God will make those changes into opportunities for more changes. Nothing remains the same for very long. Growth is change. Life is about the steady rhythms of change. Baz will change and I will change - our kids will change. Faith will change. Only Christ will remain. He is the axis around which all things revolve.

Hope is believing that these changes will be good no matter how it feels at the time.

Freedom to believe is just that...freedom. Anyone who enforces a code of conduct onto another under some "rule" about what is supposed to be believed in does not understand love or faith.

The simplicity of Christianity is that the ONLY thing worth keeping out of all the human drivel that pads it is that "God so loved the world, He gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not die but have everlasting life".

This is my faith

...and it will do.

everything else is negotiable...even HOW Baz gets well.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

too far away

I was asked to write when things were 'good' and not always write when things are 'bad'.

I'm not yet in that zone.

Things are not very good and nor are they desperately bad.

Right now is not a good moment and in my perverse, narcissistic way I need to channel the force of that 'badness' into these words; as if to extinguish them through the light of awareness.

I am sobbing and God is far away.

The depths of my loneliness seem unfathomable. For all the care, love and concern of my dear friends and family...I still feel hollow and empty of the love I want.

I don't want this! it is too much. Take it away.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Learning to accept the offers of assistance

There is this interesting thing we do here in Australia. When one finds that a friend or associate has fallen on hard times, out of courtesy and concern we offer our assistance but in a very specific sort of way.

We say stuff like "If there's anything I can do to help just ask".

Often, and even I am guilty of this on occasion, we tend to assume that our offer is merely a polite way of saying "I'm here for you and am thinking of you but I don't expect or want you to call me even so".

The one suffering though has a different take on it. "It's nice of you to offer but I will have to do this myself because I can tell you aren't really able to assist me right now".

And so we have this dichotomy of a person being under great duress and being a martyr to everything life has thrown at them and friends and acquaintances stepping back and just "waiting" to be asked for their help if and when it might be required.

I refuse to buy into this social currency.

If someone offers to help me I WILL consider their support as necessary. Right now I have friends who have offered their support in getting our new shop functional. I have accepted their support and assistance, it's one less thing I need to handle.

I have told the Bank Manager to talk directly with our Accountant to get the financial wheels turning on our future. One less thing I have to handle

A friend offered to bring around some supper tonight. I can't be stuffed cooking right absolutely please!

I'm no wuss but at the same time I am not a saint either! I am barely able to withstand the current demands of my To Do list! I do need help to cope with the onslaught of stuff coming at me. I will take whatever help comes my way.

In time...I will pay that help forward to someone else in need.

Right now though, it's time I learn the lessons of humility and gratitude and simple acceptance of what is.

It can however be the toughest life lesson of them all when ones pride and sense of personal power is being wounded and bruised.

I'm not sad about this. There is a level of strange joy in acknowledging when one is powerless to do it all. Humility brings not just grace but also release from too much pride. Pride is a hard task master and a shocking Judge. Times like these when the world seems to fall apart around you just gives Pride the opportunity to take a holiday and get a grip and you are reminded that you are loved for you ARE ...not for what you can do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Today I feel lighter and slightly more cheerful.

One of the better things I've done this past week is to just quietly spend time RESTING here at home.

This morning I've not even really gotten out of bed and its already after midday here. I have gone to get my breakfast, taken phone calls and other such out of bed activities but mostly I have snuggled up here with my laptop and just chilled out a bit.

I talked with my friend Martin for a long while (he's always been good at cheering me up) and I've rounded up and paid some bills online that were pressing on my consciousness. So I have sort of "worked" as well as taken some very much needed and valuable down time too.

In a few minutes I'll have to go get showered and dressed ready to face the rest of my coming day whatever it may hold. There are bank managers to see and so on.

I am slowly getting my piles of notes and bits of paper under control. I have more phone calls to make too.

Baz has contacted me a couple of times this morning about little things. I suspect he's really a bit lonely for his dear wife and is hooking onto any small detail that provides an opportunity to connect and talk. He's still really difficult to talk to although no where nearly as bad of course. A friend who has been to see him in hospital said that currently their little 5 year old boy has a longer attention span than my dear baz! *giggle*

They have put him on different medications now as well as a sedative. Today he seems much calmer, less frantic/manic. He's slower and a little slurred in his speaking. He is still drinking water like a fish though

He's the "only" one in the unit at hospital with the mania side of bipolar. Most of the people surrounding him are severely depressed. Because he is so hyperactive, he is being a little bit of a disturbance to others in the early hours of the morning so hence the sedative to help him sleep a full 8 hours instead of the 4 to 6 he currently only manages.

He is having some scary nightmares which also may account for his inability to sleep. He may have to do some deep therapy to find the source of those nightmares, and to face them to their conclusion. (My recent dream of the tapir men interestingly had a conclusion which may perhaps account for why its not bothered me like baz's dreams do for him right now)

Today is however, a better day. Yesterday I felt very lost and afraid. Today I feel ...well not overly confident as such...just more cheerful and rested.

Que Sera Sera :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today is a tough day.

I'm struggling within myself to cope with the mounting workload set before me. Not only that I am feeling completely crushed by the possibilities that lay ahead in helping my husband (I think I'll just call him Baz from here on in), towards wellness.

Bi-polar disorder is not an "easy" fix thing. You can't just assume that a pill will solve everything and all will be fine. It's a spectrum disorder of emotion and mind. It's treatable and that's all well and good but there's a fine line from day to day, week to week and month to month about where the "Optimum" level of treatment could lie.

I was prepared today by Baz's General Practitioner to be ready for a "rocky year". It wasn't encouraging but still it was pragmatic too. I'm not being blinded by the "Professionals" here into thinking everything will be completely hunky-dory next year. Of course there is the other likli-hood that things WILL be fine too but idealism isn't my forte today.

I just don't know if I can cope with my family, with the change to our business, and my husband's health issues. I want space, time and some freedom from this overwhelming sense of pressure.

There's so much paperwork to get done before our holiday. The phone bills on the home phone and my mobile phone will be enormous this month. I'm supposed to be "frugal" as we have no income but HOW? It's just crazy!

Depression and sadness are looming just around the corner of my own psyche. Joy and Hope seem distant and un-reachable. They are there of course and I know I'll find them again...probably very soon...but for today, it's hard to see through the clouds of doubt and despair.

Am I being selfish? Inconsiderate? Probably! I'm supposed to suck it up and be the strong one for now. Baz needs me and I need to be there for him for now. It's not that I don't love's just that I don't love the disease in him! There's a difference. I feel smothered and entrapped by it - cloistered and chained.

Those bills still need to be paid though. The kids go to their end of year service tonight and I'm staying home to begin attending to these details. I shall pray after every transaction and cheque written, that replacement funds will continue to come in to meet the next round of payments.

Is this just about 'The Money'? Probably! With Baz not working and not anytime soon, I am terrified of having nothing left come January for my own holiday to germany. Yes! I am THAT selfish in still wanting to go there! In fact I am more determined than ever to get's appearing on the horizon for me like an oasis in a desert of uncertainty and I am crawling towards it determined to drink from the well-spring of peace it potentially offers.

My family and our friends have been nothing less than extraordinary in their love and support. I am being showered by the good-will and generosity, both in spirit and financially of my dear ones. God seriously blessed baz and me with an extraordinary support team. They're His hands to us in our time of need. I am grateful and humbled and I can in no way ever repay these kindnesses.

I have been telling myself today over and over that there are many people doing it tougher and harder than us this Christmas. I feel grateful for small mercies but struggle with this sense of overwhelming distortion of perception and sheer worry about our future.

I just want my husband back.

Monday, December 10, 2007

first tiny steps to wellness

Hubby is on the slow road to recovery now.

he's phoned me a couple of times already from his hospital bed. He's lucid, much calmer than he has been but there is still a long way to go.

I can hear the slurring of his words and he is still flighty and jumpy about things. He demonstrates his anxiety in the details. Today he was anxious about some taxation stuff from 2004! :) It's sort of cute at the moment because he's not here pestering me about it but still, these little concerns that loom so large in his mind will perhaps wear me down over time. Learning what to take on board and what to let go will be my biggest challenge in his recovery.

I'm exhausted! And it's only the beginning of the week.

Today I had more phone-calls, visitors, and appointments than I think I've had all year combined! feels like it.

I'm sitting here right now "avoiding" some basic housework tasks I would like done before I crash into bed for the night. It's only 8pm'ish here and already I could easily just fall into my bed and stay there until morning!

My main objective in the immediate time I have is to organise some income support for my family while we are closed at the shop. God willing and where possible I will make every effort to access the government resources available for situations like ours. I have about 14 days to get this done.

I also need a good full day of going through all our accounts and getting them paid and squared off for the year. Cash flow will be an "issue" what with our holiday in Darwin over the christmas/new year period. Hubby has been looking forward to that holiday so much and so has my sister who lives up there. I intend to get us all there and just BE a family for 10 days without all these responsibilities and expectations looming over our heads.

The art of being in constant readiness for anything right now is highly stressful. I'm usually a very organised person but this past two weeks of massive shift and change has thrown lots of spanners into my usually organised plans. I need TIME and energy without interruption to get a lot of detail stuff sorted out here. I think I will have to literally turn the phones off and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door sometime Wednesday to deal with the paperwork.

Friends are rallying around us. Family are supporting us where and when they can. Professionals in all varieties are offering their assistance in legal and financial, health and welfare. We are being held up by the Everlasting Arms!

I am a bit worried about my own self "crashing". My diet has hit a bit of a nosedive of late and I will need to be conscientious of that if I want to maintain my vitality and energy. No more chocolate! Not right now! The unbelievable fatigue today when I got back from buzzing around various appointments totally hit me as I came home to find some lunch. I would have laid down for a nap except the phone wouldn't stop ringing and the knocks at the door wouldn't stop as well.

Friends have dropped in to visit my husband in hospital and have phoned in progress reports. Some have been astounded to hear he's actually "much better" than he was this past couple of weeks! To them he is CRAZY happy!

And now my son is sick too. I'm suspecting it is the Glandular Fever the doctor warned us was possible when JD was sick a few weeks back. Oh dear!

Life is moving at an impossible pace. I need to breathe, to centre, slow down, re-orientate and find whats important and what's not in amongst all these demands.

So okay. I'm whinging now. Time to refocus and just "be". One cannot waste time moaning when there's dishes to wash instead. :)

Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


my husband has been admitted to an acute psychiatric care unit about 2 hours drive away from where we live.

He came home from work this morning and seemed almost lucid if a little irritable. He took the medication the doctor had prescribed him last Tuesday and went off to bed. He slept for no more than about 3 hours.

In that time I was in hourly contact with Psychiatric Emergency Support Services about getting up to the hospital to be assessed for mental illness. He had been very aggressive and irritable this past few days so I was very worried he'd not go quietly.

Praise God, when he got up from his nap he was as compliant as a lamb and came willingly to the hospital.

We sat in a room by ourselves for about 90+ minutes before seeing anyone. In that time my husband chatted to me.

I hardly said a word.

Everything that came out of his mouth was disjointed, incoherent and unsettled. His thinking processes were not rational and yet he seemed so happy and content sitting there with me. He just babbled like a tiny child about as many topics as entered his manic mind in the moment.

I am relieved that I do not have to "manage" him for now. At the same time I am under immense pressure to get a lot ....a LOT... of things organised over the course of the next week or two. The shop has been shut until further notice which means we don't have an income for awhile.

We aim to get my husband on the road to recovery in time for our holiday to Darwin over the Christmas break. We shall see.

I will possibly find out on Tuesday what the situation is with him.

Friends and family have been supportive and responsive in our time of need. We are being loved and I am grateful. Nothing in all the world prepares anyone to go through what I have gone through this past few weeks. All the organisation, the knowledge, the sheer capacity to get out of bed and face each day has been and is sometimes overwhelming.

I am not invinceable but at the same time I am also resilient and pragmatic. We'll live.

Never let yourself feel so alone in the world that you lose focus. Work is not your life. Learn to let go of stuff that hurts you in whatever healthy and appropriate way you can.

Learning to deal with his stress triggers is my husbands biggest challenge this coming year. My challenge is to find joy and hope even when my life is changing on a daily basis.

No guilt, no blame, no having to justify anything. Mental illness is another life cloud that some people are given, just as some are given heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer. You treat it, you deal with it, and you survive. Nothing else matters but love and good humour. Live with this thing and do what you can and never assume you are the only one.

You know... people tend to think that life must be happy and easy in order for it to be considered successful? I'm not so sure. Success isn't measured by how easy you make your life. The people who are successful are those who can balance the good times with the bad and see the positive outcomes in both.

Even if our lives turn to complete shit in the next week or two (I doubt it will)... we will be okay in the long run. It isn't about being completely in control, or doing things in a certain way, or having the right amount of money/time/energy/health, it's about the way we think about stuff, and the way we notice when it all gets too much and can adjust our course to take off the pressure.

There is a lot to do this next few days. I'm praying for clarity and wisdom to manage the details. God willing, whatever I "miss" will sort itself out.

My husband will get well, and he'll be stronger for this experience.

Friday, December 07, 2007

the slow descent into madness

my husband isn't improving.

He is not hyper euphoric anymore though. Now he is garbled, confused and my father and brother have become "The Enemy".

At every opportunity, some diatribe escapes my husbands lips inferring or directly referring to my immediate family members.

Today I was accused of having "Jewish Heritage" because "The Jews..." according to my husbands deranged thinking... "control the safes". But he then follows this with "But, I'm not racist!" and wants to give me a hug or a kiss.

I'm finding it very hard to love him right now.

I know that it is the illness that is creating this rage but it still isn't appropriate or excusable for him to be so horrible towards the people I love. I cannot give him the affection he craves because the viciousness that lies inside of him repels me.

I feel very caught between a rock and a hard place. He is sort of capable of working but at the same time I think the pressure on him at present is too great. He needs to stop and unwind.

The kids seem okay. They are rolling with the flow as kids tend to do. They know their dad is not himself right now. I shall try and instill in them that none of this is in anyway anyones fault. It's an illness, a chemical brain dysfunction; not their dad's, or mine, or especially their fault.

Oh but how hard this is. I seek deliberately every available opportunity to send him away out of the house. The likelihood of him being "weird" or doing something idiotic in public is very high right now, but still...if he's away from me I can stop shaking and relax. I don't have to be strong when he's not here.

I am so frightened of having to sleep next to him tonight. Weekends have been when we are more or less in bed at the same time for most of our married life. During the week I have usually slept alone while he is at work. This past two weeks has seen me crave the working week so that I don't have to be next to my man. How awful!

It's the rage in him I find hardest to bear. The pent up spew of hatred and paranoia that erupts from his mouth. He always was cruel and hard with words when he was/is angry! I have just shut up and said nothing when my husband was/is in full flight, dredging up past wrongs along with current ones with calculating and vicious ardour. It's best to be very quiet when he is angry and say nothing because you are NEVER allowed to win with him! I had my own tactics for quietly putting forward my point of view. Now even these are null and void as he can barely remember what he has said from one moment to the next.

He cannot differentiate between what are essential things to know and inconsequential details that mean nothing. Today he was convinced we needed a particular brand of leather conditioner to "treat" the vinyl footstool before it got "ruined". He was adamant I was wrong when I tried to explain that the stuff was for leather, not for vinyl. He's obsessed with heritage and family, money and permissions right now. These things are concurrent themes through all his manic words. My father and my brother are bearing the brunt of his anger and rage.... thank God from afar! Thus far!

Moment by moment I must just simply be. Flexible and ready for any action that might be required. I have no idea which is the best action for all. I can only hedge my bets and breathe a prayer in faith that I'm leading the best way I can.

Any positive vibes or prayers will be gratefully appreciated.

What to do? What to do? I so hate this having to make these choices! I feel like I'm alone at sea trying to strategically avoid an overly affectionate but unpredictable shark.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

detached one day.... heartbroken the next

yesterday I wrote a lovely emotionally detached discourse on my husbands current state of mind.

today I am no so detached.


This fucking demon in our midst... his inability to be sane and rational... is breaking me in two.

this man I married, whom I love and with whom I built a family and a life is so not WITH me right now!

Sure he's ever so loving...sending me..anonymously... a bunch of 7 blood red roses in a bouquet almost identical to my wedding bouquet... but still I don't want his flowers not now.

I had to drug him with the heavy duty medication this morning and was absolutely adamant that he go back to bed.

In the past 14 days or so he's probably had no more than about 40 hours of solid sleep! He's hyperactive beyond belief.

I'm following behind putting out the spot fires before he sends us broke or friend and family'less.

I glimpsed his caged rage earlier today... vitriol spewed forth with carefully enunciated venom filled words...aimed squarely at my father and my brother! Why? Who knows? But right now they are the "enemy"! I had to shout "ENOUGH" at him to get him to stop!

One minute he is like a lamb but then when he thinks I'm not looking, he is up and about phoning people about odd things. Thankfully my very wise, loving family and friends have twigged almost immediately that all is not well in our home at the moment. The next minute he is the invincible and the hardly-done-by innocent at war with The System..who are apparently out to defraud us of everything!

he is mucking about with cash from our business to the point where he cannot even find the change bag for our daily use at the shop. He is phoning estate agents for who knows what!

This sort of Life can suck...big time! When the wheel turns so fast you are dizzy and made sick from the unexpected jolts as the brakes are applied and then released without warning.

Somewhere inside my husband lies a deeply disturbed and angry man who wants to be a hero but feels powerless to be so.

Inside me right now is a deeply hurt and frightened wife who is being forced to lead where she's never had to lead her family before.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

my husband is not well...

There's a very fine line between blogging ones thoughts and ideas and just airing ones "dirty laundry" for the masses.

This might be construed as one of the latter perhaps.

Thing is, if my husband had broken his leg or arm, I'd be most definitely blogging about it to 1) Have a whinge 2) Debrief my concerns 3) Tell the world of my husband's incapacity to do "much".

My husband hasn't really broken anything anyone can actually see.

He is suffering from rather severe stress-induced anxiety instead. He is manic, unpredictable, euphoric one minute - a veritable "basket-case" the next. He has a lot of suppressed rage, deep depression, is slightly "mad" and has a nasty... NASTY... case of
Foot-in-mouth disease (an Aussie expression for saying the wrong thing at the wrong times) He doesn't sleep much and has had his phone taken away for calling friends and relatives at odd hours of the day or night.

We haven't shut the shop...yet...but it's my call to make if he doesn't stabilize over the next few days on his new medication. We shall see.

Now many people would cringe at me telling the "world" this information. Mental illness and even depression have more or less been a stigma of terrible secrecy. Madness is considered the sufferer's "fault". "They'd be FINE if they'd just pull their socks up, got a grip and got on with things!" et al. And I do think many people - even in this enlightened age - are of the secret opinion that madness is catching! *wry smile*

Patience and temperance on the part of the supporting family members is expected and quietly empathized with but many people are at a complete loss as to how to provide practical support even so.

It's bloody hard work!

The level of personal "control" over ones own emotions and feelings is immense and dangerous. I'm not quite that stalwart. I cry when I need to and if I choose to tell the world that my husband is sick and *I* need support in dealing with it, then so be it. It is my way of coping with it. Go suck lemons if you think this is the wrong approach.

As I mentioned earlier, if he'd 'just' broken his leg, no one would bat an eyelid if I wrote about it here. That he has broken his mind temporarily is no different only that the ignorant and stupid make it so.

Our close friends HAVE been amazing and helpful this past 14 days. They have travelled this road watching their dear friend - my husband - go through an incredible range of emotional turmoil, many heart-wrenching breakdowns to euphoric manic highs with its associated gobbledy-gook way of speaking and relating.

It's a lot of things that has done this to my husband. Yes! He does need to deal with it and get a grip on his life but first he needs to understand his emotional turmoil, dig his way through its mire, discover its roots and exorcise them so he can heal over the old wounds. There is stress, grief, loss, the burden of just too much responsibility and work. He doesn't cope with success well and nor does he cope with anger well. There is a lot of suppressed rage that needs to be allowed to be said safely and released without repercussion.

Currently, we are in intervention mode, with the hopefully short journey through the mine-field of anti-depressants and regular visits to various health professionals. We will get my husband well again.

For now, we will just try to ride this new barrel wave on the sea of life with Grace, Dignity and Good Humour!