Prince Philip died this week.
The image of the Queen sitting alone, head down, dressed in black, by her late husband’s coffin is heartbreaking. I’m not a big fan or follower of the Royals but what broke my heart is that a woman who has been in a marriage with someone for 73 years just lost that person.
I don’t know if they liked each other anymore, I haven’t even watched The Crown. But that is a LONG time to spend in companionship with someone.
The image made me cry, it made me long for something but for what? I was married, but no more.
A 73 year marriage is never going to happen for me, I doubt I would even want it too. However, my inner romantic sometimes longs for a companion, a lifelong companion to hold hands with throughout all of life’s ups and downs.
I know in reality relationships are hard work and women are usually let down by the men in their lives as they carry the burden of almost everything, the cooking, cleaning, childcare, ‘husband’ care, washing, family admin, loss of identity and so on… yet still, besides this part of me wants someone to grow old with, to die with, to mourn or to be mourned by.
Is it the fairy tales we are fed as young girls? Am I, as I approach 50 still waiting for my Prince?
I’m way too cynical to believe in being rescued by a man, nor would I want to be. The feminist in me is strong, my tolerance for baby men is non-existent yet, still, occasionally I wouldn’t mind having a decent one around.
I love my own company, I need time alone. I don’t do dating apps, no judgement, they are just not for me. I am happy in the garden, with a book, a good film, my friends and animals, the list of things I adore is endless.
So maybe I’m not missing out on anything? Maybe it is just a fairy tale? Maybe it’s just patriarchy telling us that we are not complete without a partner?
I hope the Queen finds peace, it has been a rough few years for the Royals.
It’s already March, how the hell did that happen?
The vaccine is rolling out, the Royals are racist, and misogyny runs riot in MAFS.
Good lord, I need a lie down.
In my own little part of the world, I am restarting my garden after months of neglect.
You see the thing with bipolar is, when you are manic or hypomanic you get a lot done. You start a lot of projects; you can conquer the world. When the high is over, the fall is great and things are discarded, neglected and forgotten. It’s a wild ride I didn’t ask for ticket on but here I am. The garden is a healing place for me, hands in soil, watching things grow, often failing, I enjoy it all. It is where I turn when I need the most healing.
I am also home schooling one child, not hugely successfully but we are doing our best. Mental health comes first in this home, for all of us. My other offspring is starting at a new school today, a resilient warrior she is.
I am finding new ways to simplify my life, and exploring other avenues to bring money in since work is out of the question while I have my eldest home. Writing, surveys, ebay… I’m doing all the things.
I am transforming my little home into a sanctuary, buying more plants, eating better food.
All of it helps.
The depression was real this last time round, the weight of it was overwhelming but I hang in there, drink more coffee, reach out to friends and pray to whomever to get through it all. I’ve made it this far, I can keep going.
Single parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done but also, cliché ahead, the most rewarding. My kids are fucking awesome and our bond is tight. I salute all the single parents out there, especially the mummas. Because let’s face it, we are usually the ones left holding the ball right?
We are the ones with less money, less opportunity, more if not all the responsibility, less or no time to date, (but Jesus, who’d want too) We are called bossy, whingey, hysterical, aggressive for being strong independent women, it’s exhausting.
Inequality is rank and never ending. International Women’s Day just passed and the Australian Governments disregard for women was vulgar and sad, they should hang their heads in shame. Thank god for the Grace Tames of the world. (look her up)
It’s a lot.
So I retreat, back to the soil, the seedlings, I dodge chickens as they run around my feet, the kids collect eggs, pick strawberries and I hold them close.
Off now for another coffee and a maths lesson.
Happy Belated New Year everyone.
I know I’m late to the party but I’ve been hunkering down with the fam, planning a very different looking 2021 and avoiding the chaos.
Covid is still with us, and I guess always will be in some way. Each day greets us with a new border closures, lock downs, mask rules and vaccine updates. All of it makes me weary.
My feed is full of broken people, front liners asking for everyone to follow the rules as they are the ones dealing with the misery of it all and on the flip side too many conspiracy theories that bore me stupid.
The USA has gone completely mad, well the Pro Trumpers have. When he said, ‘Make America Great Again,’ did he mean send it into absolute chaos and violence?
Does inciting a coup make it great? He has been banned from social media which is very late in coming but at least it finally happened. I’m anxious about inauguration day. Are you? Not long to go now.
Despite the great pile of steaming garbage that has clung to 2021 from the awful 2020, I am full of optimism.
We have had rain instead of fires, my family is healthy; we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, animals running about and are more privileged than many. I am grateful. I am about to start home schooling my eldest and am studying again, I am a forever student.
This year is full of changes, re adjustments and new ways of living. I think it’s going to be ok.
What do you have to be grateful for? Do you have people you can reach out too?
We must look after each other.
Mental Health Matters.
I’m here if you need a chat.
I had my first Covid test this week.
Came down with a cough and a sore throat.
I’ve been careful - masks, hand sanitising, social distancing and really not going out at all except for groceries and occasionally visiting a friend.
Had to isolate completely until I had my results, ran out of cat biscuits… how privileged that that was my biggest concern. I am so lucky, so many others are struggling, so many others are not with the same privilege I enjoy.
The Australian Government has increased the subsidised therapy sessions to 20 a year instead of 10. I hope this helps people struggling with their mental health throughout this pandemic. It will certainly help me.
It will take a long time to recover. I doubt life will ever go back to the way it was pre-covid.
Do we want it too?
People seem to be reassessing what is important in their lives, moving out of cities in mass exoduses to quieter towns. Working from home, focussing on family. Thinking about what they want out of life.
Some people are mad. I get it. There is great suffering.
The planet has been given some reprieve but so many losses. Unbearable to consider.
We need to care for each other more than ever. Do you have someone to talk too?
Sharing a coffee with a friend is my mental health staple.
My results were negative. I am fortunate.
I hope you’re ok.
I’m sending out resumes today. I need to put down some roots. This casual gig is fun but not sustainable. Find the balance between bringing in money and creative expression.
Sometimes they merge but not often enough, Covid put a swift end to that.
Cannot sacrifice one for the other as both are important.
Financial security versus the lifelong urge to spend my days creating. Financial security versus my brain urging me to keep moving, standing still is hazardous.
All my nerves are twitching and I long for the new.
Racing thoughts, grand plans all pulled into line by therapists who work to ground me in my hypomanic moments.
They have quite a job ahead of them. As do I.
Never quite give up on the grand plans but know how to quieten them enough so I can function in my day to day. But always, always lurking.
My resume is a confused, lengthy scattering of jobs. I rarely land.
‘Look at all that experience.’ Jack of all trades, master of none.
I am good at what I do, just need to do it more. I want to earn more, I want to contribute more. I want many things.
Sometimes my energy throws people off, they sense how trapped I can feel. They sense how hard I try to please. Searching for validation. Prove I am capable. I am.
Sometimes the mirror is too strong for them and they walk away. That’s ok. Can’t make everyone happy.
You do you.
I have been fumbling around in the darkness for over month now, maybe two.
I’ve lost count.
I am trying to be patient, waiting for the sun to peek through and lighten things up and yesterday I had a glimpse. The day was warm, the sun was out, I sat beneath it soaking up the rays whilst reading Sarah Wilson’s new book, ‘This One Wild and Precious Life.’
It lifted me up and stoked my curiosity, which made me feel a little better about my world.
In my mind, I trekked with her, sat in the warm pubs eating, drinking and chatting to strangers. I would love to do that right now, but the world is closed.
I am so grateful that Sarah wrote about her bipolar and anxiety in her book, ‘first, we make the beast beautiful,’ and will return to that one after this. She is a wonderful writer, nomad and I find her work so inspiring. I am thankful for her massive contribution to destigmatising mental illness.
Back to my day, eventually the sun went down, my daughter put away her Harry Potter book and I put away mine and the darkness returned. It lurks and swallows you up. That is until the mania comes, or with Bipolar 2 ‘hypomania.’
So what do I do? I drink my coffee, write my words, do some housework, read books, play with the animals, love and nurture my kids and reach out to friends. My instinct is to go further inward but I know that I need to reach out. I need to keep moving so the darkness doesn’t close me in completely. It is a bastard.
Those of you who feel this, you are not alone. I’m listening.
I’m feeling for Kanye West right now. I’m feeling for a man who suffers from the same mental health disorder that I do but I have a few, precious people in my life who help me be accountable, who help me through manic episodes and potentially stop me from making some pretty major mistakes.
I’m guessing he doesn’t.
For Kanye, he has the world watching, judging, laughing and pitying him. His most recent manic episode at his rally has been broadcast around the world, it was heartbreaking to see him fall apart without the support he most clearly needs.
It is true that when you are manic you are highly creative, unstoppable, intensely motivated, do lots of crazy stuff, some things great, some not so great and you don’t bother with sleep. If you are Kanye, you run for President. Despite having no qualifications whatsoever, the mania makes you believe that it is possible. He is kind of right too, I mean Trump got elected, we never thought that would have happened.
That is why Kanye calls it his superpower, because sometimes that is exactly what it feels like. But at his rally, we saw a man lost in his mania and pivoting rapidly towards the unbearable slump and depression that follows an intense manic episode. That is the price we pay for these moments of extreme highs, what goes up must come down and come down we do.
When you come down, you realise all the crazy things you did whilst manic and if you’re like me, you panic and cancel things and have immense guilt and fear about all the money wasted, projects started and neglected, people picked up and dumped, major life decisions made and you simply can’t move.
You cry, you have remorse, regret, you literally hate yourself. Until the next high.
I’m not sure what the people around Kanye are doing for him, I can imagine he is very hard to try and help, he is like an out of control freight train. I hope he gets the support he needs; I hope he steps back and takes the time to heal. I hope he cancels his twitter account. I hope he drops out of the Presidential race. I hope he backs out of the spotlight but I highly doubt it.
In the meantime, please understand that Bipolar is a mental illness, not a joke, not a meme.
If you can’t be kind. Step back, you are just being harmful.
How are you going?
It’s been pretty stressful lately hasn’t it? I haven’t been coping so well. I just thought I’d check in with you because I’ve noticed you’re not coping so well either.
The world is pretty fucked up right now and people have lost their livelihoods and worse, their lives. We are all trying to figure things out. I know you’re feeling it too Men. I also know most of you won’t admit it.
There is a lot of pressure on you growing up to behave a certain way. You can’t grow up hearing things like, ‘Be a man,’ ‘grow some balls,’ and ‘boys don’t cry,’ and not have that shit totally ingrained in your brain.
Where does that leave you? In a lot of cases unable to admit or accept that you might need some help, to know that it is ok to say you are not coping and to get some professional support.
You soldier on, you have a drink, you scream at other drivers, you tailgate, you terrorise your spouse, your children, you punch walls, you punch women, you kill women and sometimes yourselves.
Ok let’s back up a second, I know ‘not all men’ but let’s be honest, it’s a fucking lot of you isn’t it?
When you suppress your sadness, it turns to anger, when you suppress your anger it turns to rage, when you try and suppress… no wait, you can’t. You wear it like a badge of honour, you’re the tough guy and everyone else is wrong. Chests puffing up, fists clenched and spit flying from your mouths as you snarl at your target.
I have been in therapy on and off for almost all of my adult life, I have taken medication on and off for most of my adult life. I read and educate myself and talk to others and reach out for support when I need it and offer it in return.
I have been in relationships where counselling has been rejected because, ‘we don’t need it’ or rather ‘he doesn’t need it’.
The men who don’t need counselling:
I have seen them go into rages and frighten the shit out of their children only to apologise later… until the next time. This is abuse. Your children will remember it.
I have seen them call women crazy, hysterical, insane, unfit mothers and sluts, in order to manipulate the courts into giving them what they want.
I have seen them lie about their earnings so they can avoid paying child support.
I have seen them punch other men over parking spots.
I have seen them tailgate, chase, threaten, intimidate other drivers because they don’t like how they drive.
I have seen countless women flee their homes with their children and the clothes on their back to seek shelter in refuges because they know the next punch might be fatal.
I have been gas lit, manipulated, controlled, hit and abused. By men. But still, you don’t need counselling.
Destroy the Joint counts the number of women killed in Australia by the men in their lives, the number keeps going up and up. It’s a national emergency but it’s just women right?
So nothing is done.
‘She drove him to it,’ ‘She wore the wrong clothes,’ ‘She was asking for it,’ ‘No doesn’t mean no,’ ‘She pushed him first,’ ‘She should have kept her mouth shut,’ ‘If I can’t have her no one can,’ ‘She can’t have the kids either, no one can.’
Men, if this pisses you off and you’re mad at me you need to step back and think about it. How do your mates talk about women? How do they talk about their exes? Is she a ‘psycho bitch?’ I’ll bet he says she is.
It is time for you to sort your motherfucking shit out. Go to the counsellor, get a mental health care plan, take medication if you need it. Talk to your mates. Make it ok to have feelings. It isn’t weak. It takes courage to admit you have a problem and you will gain nothing but respect from the worthy people in your life when you step up and say, ‘I need help.’
Your children don’t want to be afraid of you. They need to feel safe.
Your spouse deserves to be treated with respect and to not be killed.
If you can’t drive without going into a rage. Sort that shit out and don’t have the kids in the car with you until you do. In fact don’t drive until you get your act together. Because you might kill someone.
Treat your mother with respect, treat your ex with respect. Even if you dislike each other, don’t say that shit in front of your kids. Your children are watching. You are modelling for your son how to treat women; you are modelling for your daughter how she should expect to be treated. Step up and do your damn job properly.
Stop the tantrums, stop being immature. Grow the fuck up and that’s means being accountable for your emotions.
Let me clarify:
It is never ok to:
Manipulate, gaslight, abuse, threaten, intimidate, assault, kill anyone ever. Have tantrums, frighten women and children, be aggressive and controlling. Especially not your kids and not the women in your life.
It is ok too:
Respect, nurture, them and yourself. To admit you need help and to get it.
It’s pretty straight forward stuff. Hold yourself and your mates accountable.
Do you get it?
So, I ask again.
How are you going? Do you need some help?
Watch Billie Eilish’s short film.
I fucking loved it.
Check it out here.
That is all.
I have to say I had never heard of this version of the ever popular Monopoly until recently when the TVC started making the rounds again on social media. If you missed it, here it is.
The idea of this game from what I believe, (I have not played it) is to empower girls and women. Female players get more money from the bank than men to start with and collect more than their male opponents as they pass go. You don’t buy property but rather inventions made or co made by women (conveniently excluding the disregarded original inventor of Monopoly, Elizabeth Magie.)
This is the complete opposite of what happens in the workplace and women are asking for equal pay for equal work, not more money than our male counterparts. I think it’s pretty lame to suggest that for women to get ahead or to remain ahead if treated with equality, we would require head starts.
But it gets worse.
According to Megan Garber (who has actually played the silly game) in her article,
“I played Ms Monopoly so you don’t have to.”
“We dutifully follow the directions: Roll the dice, move forward, buy, pay, repeat. Andrew lands on Community Chest. This is what his card says: “You see the newest superhero movie with a female lead, and it’s awesome! COLLECT $50. If you’re a man, COLLECT $100.”
He gets rewarded for sitting through a super hero movie with a female lead? I’m already confused.
Mixed messaging much?
And you gotta love the perky Ms Monopoly thrusting a hip out on the centre of the board, is she sassy? Defiant? Quirky? Independent? Is that what a successful ‘Ms’ looks like?
I’m in two minds, I wonder if I would buy it for my daughter if it interested her. The gimmick of it might intrigue her for 2 minutes then it would offer no more value than the original game.
The thing is, women don’t start out with more money than men, we get paid less and a lot of women end up with little or no super. Things are better than they once were but we are not there yet.
I think I would rather she picks up a book, like the awesome Rebel Girls series to learn about women and their accomplishments. Not given some bullshit drivel which seems to patronisingly “support” women’s accomplishments.
What do you think?
Bipolar 2 Ramblings. Mental Health Advocacy.