Archive | June 2014

Grey clouds and old black dogs


It is June and the grey sky has set over Melbourne once again.

This year I thought it might be different. I am able to appreciate the subtle beauty of Winter: the green of the forest, the warmth of a well earned shower post run on a freezing morning, the simple pleasures of warm tea.

Yet the grey sky has cast its curse on me just like any other Winter. My fitness, my health, my running, my veganism – none of this makes me immune to that old black dog, the faithful companion who loyally sleeps at the foot of my bed every Winter.

Last week I asked to go part time at work. Part of the reason being that I need more time to walk and feed the old black dog.

Two things surprised me last week as a result of this decision – firstly how supportive some people can be – and I mean the ones you least expect. I asked for help and I got it. I didn’t get patronising sympathy I got sincere and useful compassion and empathy.

Secondly, how some people can very quickly judge – and open their mouth and let that judgment out without having a clue. Some of the judging comments I received being:

How will this look on you professionally?

But you don’t have children. You can’t go part time if you don’t have children.

And my favourite:

You’re kidding me!

The point of this blog is not to justify my choices so I won’t respond to those comments, but to point out how a quick judgment with no understanding can be as harmful as pulling a knife on a fellow human being.

Remember that Winter is long for many. There are many old loyal black dogs who return to their owners for the cold grey months. So be kind to one another and remember that judgment only reflects on the judgor (yes i think i made that word up, but you get my point :))


Stuck inside a song



When I was a kid, I remember asking someone (who shall remain nameless) what it felt like to be stoned. I remember her saying it felt like being inside of a song.

I knew that feeling. Doctors will tell you that children can’t develop bipolar – that it’s something you don’t develop until you’re a young adult or late teenager. Well all I know is I was about six at the time and I knew what it felt like to be inside a song.

I’m now 30 and have had two psychiatrists and two psychologists diagnose me with bipolar so there is no disputing that fact now and I will tell you, what it feels like to have bipolar is to feel like you’re inside a song. I mean really inside of it – there is no real world, just the melodies, the layers of sound, the pulsing rhythm of the drums.

For years, I was trapped inside Johnny Cash’s Hurt. Those were not good years for me. I functioned, I got by, but you only had to scratch at my scab and it was ready to bleed, pour, un-contained.

I won’t lie – my longest bout of hyper-mania was an absolute blast. I had a great time. During that 6-12 months I was stuck in a Pat Benatar song – her whole bloody album actually (Greatest Hits :)).

These days life is more complex. Stability is more complex. My song does not contain perilous highs and lows. Instead it’s layer upon layer of sadness, beauty, tragedy and joy. These layers come to create something multifaceted, something I can get lost in. For a long time, I have been stuck inside Karnivool’s Sky Machine.

It is life. It is my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (link to Sky Machine)