This is the 50th post on my blog. One or two were images but I’ve sat with the computer in my lap and written in my cyber diary almost fifty times. Let’s be honest, they’re not short posts! I don’t really edit them either, just a quick glance to check I’m not committing any crimes of grammar. So, after more than six months and 49 posts, where am I?
I am excited (then immediately wary) that the shift in me has not gone away. *Furiously knocks on wood* Since that day in the park with the ducks and the sunshine…I feel a sense of possibility. The Future. My Identity.
This is such a relief, after five years or so where at my worst, I believed I would be better off dead. If you have had any kind of experience like this you will know that it is also a little unsettling. What made this happen? Is it real? How long will it last? I imagine myself trying to cup this newness in my hands to keep it, as precious as it is, but like water it seeps through my fingers. How can I make sure I don’t go backwards? I don’t want to lose this emerging feeling of purpose, possibility and even power. Would you?!
Photo credit here
What is responsible for this move forward? Not ‘time passing’, as that in itself is not nearly enough. It is not medication or psychiatric intervention. That only made me sleepy and vulnerable. It is not the process of Workcover/Worksafe…which I noticed in a newspaper today has come under fire for staff bullying and workplace stress amongst themselves. And these are the people deciding my fate? Hmmm…
It is in spite of the insurance company, the legal process, the copious assessments and reports on me. The forced story re-telling. Running into members of the school community, even today at the shops, and feeling right back there in my head. It is in spite of fearing surveillance on the Internet or in real life. That part really makes me feel uncomfortable.
I know what’s making a difference, little by little.
Talking therapy. Supportive, constructive discourse. The only professionals who I feel comfortable with are ones that listen, feed back and help me lessen the emotional load. In my experience, this has not happened with psychiatrists but counsellors.
You’d think I wouldn’t have anything left to say after all the talking but writing here on this blog has really been the greatest factor in my er, improvement. It’s more talking, it’s allowed to be raw and uncomfortable. Sometimes people say something on here and what that means can’t even be described. I don’t know who’s reading this but knowing that someone is allows me to be heard, when I have been fighting for that so hard. Weaving the events into prose lets me feel like I’m kind of reporting on it as I type – which creates a sense of distance for a minute. Creating this blog has introduced me to twitter. There are hundreds of people and organisations on there which I can tap into, browse and express myself about via that medium. When the topic is so personal and taboo, this kind of communication has saved me.
Websites that I have linked on this blog are places I have found inspiration. I looked at edenland after finding Eden on twitter, then Band Back Together and had a play with WordPress themes and ideas. And here we are! I started something which gave me a place of my own again, which means taking power back. And I could talk about the unmentionable. Power back. A place to use my words, do a bit of research…using skills I missed being unable to use in a workplace. Power back.
Photo credit here
With an example right in front of me that I could speak and be heard, contribute to discourse…I was ready for a bit more. My ability to affect change with regards to my own fight is constrained, but I came to realise that I might be able to use my voice to affect change for other people somewhere. It started with a knock at the door. A British woman was talking to people in the area about Plan International. Child sponsorship. For a lot of reasons I would normally say, ‘Thanks but I can’t right now’, but I ended up inviting her in (I was burning the dinner). We talked a lot about what Plan do and the countries they are working in. It is something I had always wanted to do, particularly with a child of my own. I felt sick as I filled out my bank details and I didn’t want to tell anyone that I’d signed up. I thought they’d mock me for ‘falling for it’ or say that your money doesn’t make it to the kids. But the first person I told congratulated me and said that it was a great thing to do. Ha! So I explained a bit about where my sponsor child lives and the challenges he and his family face. I had the power now to make some kind of change for the better and that made my enthusiasm grow.
Then there was a series on SBS called Go Back To Where You Came From. I wanted to watch it because I didn’t see the first series but I had stumbled upon the ‘reunion’ show where the individuals came together to talk about how they had been changed by the experience (or not). You can’t watch that show without being emotionally effected. It was spell binding. Shock and awe, indeed! By the end of the first episode I had signed up with the United Nations Refugee Agency. There are a variety of ways to help financially and I chose a monthly contribution which provides a family with an Emergency Survival Kit; including blankets, mattresses, a cooking stove and soap. I did this because I want to and I feel very strongly about compassion and community. But guess what? More power back. For me.
A bit more research and I’ve signed up with my local Amnesty International committee and Indigenous Reconciliation Working Group. There are email based groups which write letters and address urgent human rights issues. Have a look at the Amnesty website. There are things you can do and petitions to sign in one minute. It even says that on the site. Think you can’t be a part of change? Help someone to be heard? Turns out you can. Power back. Power back. Power back.
Photo credit here
In some ways, what I am trying to do is small. It is not obvious when you see me. Lots of people do it. But for me, I am rebuilding who I am almost from the ground up. That woman needs to not just think about things she wants to do ‘one day’, but attack them with passion as soon as possible. These things are ways I can use my voice – advocate – channel the passion for good rather than possible evil (mental explosion). I’m also a role model for my child and I want him to grow up with a strong sense of community and humanity. And personal power.
I am hoping that this will be the foundation of my future. These things have brought me some joy and purpose that I have been so desperately missing. Maybe with a bit of confidence from this, tackling the next stage of the Workcover process may be just a little easier. Because I can do things. I can participate. So there’s plenty more of that to be done, surely?
Some articles on how helping others is good for your mental health: Win-Win!
- Why ‘Go Back’ is compulsory viewing (unicef.org.au)
- Children’s drawings depict the horror of Syrian conflict (amnesty.org.nz)