Monthly Archives: October 2010

>So much to do, so little time.

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There are so many things to do and I have no clues how to do it all.  That’s life in the big city.  There are hermetically sealed crates after hermetically sealed crates to get through (not my idea).  Clothes I’ll never wear ever again, books I can’t throw away, hats for display and hats for wearing, a TV from the dark ages and a monitor from the Cretaceous period.
I’d be happy to take them to a Good Sammy’s bin, but as I’m without private transport, that task is simply beyond me.  Some are easily solved: bin it.  Others not so simple, such as how do I move a 30kg TV when I can’t lift more than 10kg without my back simply collapsing under the strain.
However, I haven’t been idle.  I’ve been preparing for the arrival of my newly found American friend.  It’s meant drawing up an itinerary of activity, booking hotels, hire car, and so on.  I was hoping to book a room at Karri Valley Resort, but the last room was snapped up less than 1 day before I tried to book it, nearly 3 months out!  But that turned out to be a good thing: I found something cheaper in Margaret River, and we will travel through Pemberton to see the Karri forrests – Gloucester Tree & Diamond Tree included – on our way to Walpole’s Treetop Walk, Albany and Esperance.  Besides, Karri Valley will be full of, shudder, children being, well, annoying little children.
Christmas with the folks should be interesting: my American has never had a summer Chrissie, let alone all the delights of cold meats followed by a arvo nap then possibly a swim in the shark infested waters of the Southern Coast of Western Australia.  Not just any old sharks.  White pointers: The Great White shark.  Think Jaws.  But my mind is at ease knowing I’m more likely to die in the hire car during the trip there than be killed by a shark.
I’m quite looking forward to the journey as well as the destinations.  Plus I’m sure my guest will have the experience of a lifetime.  Something that so many of my fellow Westralians take for granted.

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>I have the best friends and family bar none.

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Where to begin?  If you’ve read anything it has a happy ending.  Promise.
I have so many fantastic people to call friends and family and they have been very supportive during a difficult time.  However, it doesn’t end there.  So many people have helped in big and small ways to move me into my new flat, despite the worst efforts of myself and more so a certain government department who is supposed to assist people like me be independent, not co-dependent.
There are so many people to thank.  So many in fact it would be unfair to anyone to list them.  You know who you are.
So in no particular order a big thank you to Russ, Roz, Libby, Mum & Dad, Cath, Geoff, Caryn, Bruce, Ian and many, many more besides.
Thank you.
Normal service shall return shortly.

>Does diagnosis help?

>Sometimes I wonder about labels for the abstract and the concrete.  This may seem a surreptitious way to give the appearance of being busy.  I know better than that.  What better way to look at Mental Health week than to pry into the world of labels.
Since my early teens I struggled yet coped in some shape or form to deal with anxiety, depression and the disassociation I all simutaneously felt often without cause.  Exams made me more anxious than usual, as did the Christmas period for understandable reasons.  There was the apperition of a pattern when really none existed.  How I survived I really can’t say.  It certainly wasn’t mind over matter or will power: survival was by mere chance, and eventually the odds stacked against me.
1st label: acute major depression.
A box of pills and she’ll be right, mate.  See you later (ie not at all).
Later that life… I was back.
2nd label Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
And on we go. 3rd & 4th labels were Chronic Major Depression with Psychotic Features.
Right. So now you think “Uh-oh, that’s all we need: a bloody psycho.”   Psychosis is an unfairly loaded word.  Another will appear shortly, but for now let’s deal with the ‘p’ word.  Psychosis merely means hallucinations and so forth are real.  That’s it.  As much as I love Hitchcock films, real ‘psychos’ don’t randomly murder people.  If really bad, a psychotic person is much, much more likely to hurt themselves rather than other people.
So this time I thought – when my thoughts were ordered – “No biggie, just another episode of depression and the auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) had the upper hand.”   Yes, that was true, however the team stated from scratch.  From both my reporting and my history, some new things were discovered, resulting in a slightly different twist of diagnosis: Schizoaffective Disorder.
Okay, I’m now waving goodbye to all those who now believe I’m a whack job.  Who doesn’t stigmatise schizophrenia? You don’t?  I don’t believe you: to my shame I still have a negative attitude to schizophrenics, and I bet I’ve met far more in my life than you’ll ever knowingly meet.
That aside, I’m not a schizophrenic, I know all the jokes and it’s an awful illness.  Look up  schizoaffective disorder by google, bing or wiki.  The point is in my case I’ve never had mania or hypermania, just “normal” and depressed. I have auditory hallucinations. I’m not generally paranoid. During depression I tend to be very suicidal and require hospitalisation.  Does this new diagnosis change anything?  Not really.  The only change is instead of taking a prescibed anti-psychotic when feeling overwhelmed, I take it twice daily with room to take a little more when I know I’m struggling to be coherrent or my brain is too noisy.  That’s all.
The prognosis isn’t too good.  For example I’m more likely to kill myself than die of natural causes, but – excuse the black humour – I can live with that.  If the current anti-psychotic loses efficacy, the alternative drugs aren’t a barrel of laughs and I’m not sure I could  live with that.  But let’s not cross bridges before the chickens have hatched or get splinters from fitting on the cents.
Diagnosis, like a label, does help.  Without them we don’t know how to handle the contents let alone know what the contents are.  However context is just as important. 

>Noisy Brain Syndrome

>If, by industry, man can do good
Then he should do so
Not to prove that he can
But that he could.

There isn’t a lot now that I can add to my log of “voluntary” incarceration.   Except perhaps to add what Grand Poo-Bar, Mr Hodges, had to offer today. It may not be immediately apparent how I am currently.   That’s mainly due to 25 plus years of lying, good acting and a hefty dose of denial.

What was different about Thurday or Friday?  VWell, my brand new iPhone 4 was stolen.  Not having a phone was inconvenient: what was unbearable was not having Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Gershwin. Beethoven (Symphony 7.2 is sublime) or Tchaikovsky was doing my head in.  Depression is bad enough, auditory hallucinations – the three personalities inside my head but outside – are hard to handle during an episode.

Mr Hodge held my tome of mental health history and noted an antipsychotic drug wasn’t as effective as it should be & that despite of many symptoms being controlled, the depth & the depression have been increasing as well the severity of hallucinations/psychosis.

Instead of calling it schizophrenia, we decided on “Noisey Brain Syndrome”.  As an example of how intrusive this is for this depressive episode, it’s taken 5 hours to get this far plus a fair whack of Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

I’ll find out Monday all the treatment option.  Some from the outset I won’t entertain, like Electro-Convulsive therapy (ECT) or Lithium.  Better Living Through Chemistry.

The biggest shock was how friends, old and new, rallied together to help me: an old iPhone 3G for basic telephony and net access, and an iPod Shuffle for music.  I can’t thank them enough.

I’m not sure how ordered this entry is.  Sometime in the future when I’m better, I’ll read it and know.