For as long as I’ve known, I’ve always shared a special connection with nature, especially water. Nature brings me comfort in ways that people do not. Not many people truly understand this bond. The Aboriginal people did. Nature is an intrinsic part of who they are. The traditional Aboriginal people do not see themselves as owning the land, but rather, the land owns them. They belong to the land and it must be looked after and respected. I feel like I’ve been born in the wrong culture. It breaks my heart to see the way we are destroying our planet… the way nature is treated like a dump. Recently I found out that Australia’s largest energy supply retailer, AGL, wants to build a giant gas terminal and pipeline just along from my favourite beach in Westernport Bay, Balnarring. The pipeline will go all the way to Pakenham, and AGL will be dumping a whole lot of chorine into the water every day. I find myself in terrible grief over this news. I spent my psychology session this week on the floor of the office crying, have had thoughts of suicide, and am spending a lot of time in bed. It is really hard to do anything when I am so sad. I can’t stop thinking about the pollution and devastation AGL will cause. Not many people would understand my reaction. But to help people empathise, I explain it is like losing somebody you’re close to. The beach is a special spot I go to with my dad. I have an animistic and anthropomorphic worldview, which means nature is not just an object to me. I attribute human qualities and life to places like Balnarring Beach. Like people, it has its own personality, not to mention the birds and sea creatures that call it home. This makes it very difficult for me to hurt/exploit nature, and is why I get so upset when people and big companies do. Continue reading “Connection with nature”
I wore a blonde wig
So you wouldn’t recognise me.
So I was a stranger to you.
Why, I don’t know.
With or without the wig,
I am just a stranger now…
As real as a dream
As a ship on the horizon.
As paper chain people,
And as lost
As our childhood innocence
When we found happiness
Rolling down grassy hills
Or collecting cicada shells
Forgetting that we will ever grow old.
Today I joined a group on Facebook called “Clients Harmed by Therapy.” When I first stepped foot in a therapist’s office nine years ago, little did I know my life was going to take a turn for the worst. Little did I know that this thing which was meant to help me would make me want to die. Little did I know that I would spend the next nine years of my life depressed. Therapy became a drug, and its ending a horrific withdrawal. I wish it carried a black box warning. Continue reading “Harmed by therapy”
Depression is like drowning. Every day is a battle to keep your head above water. You must be a superman/woman/person to survive it. To drag yourself to do things, even as small as having a shower or getting dressed. To bounce back from things that go wrong in your day as your reservoirs are already depleted. To endure hours, days, weeks, months and years of torture, a life devoid of pleasure, of hobbies, of connection to other people. You start your days behind as you most likely had no replenishing sleep that night. You try to sleep your day away, but at its worst, you cannot sleep, or wake up bright and early for another day with depression. Depression is like the dementors from Harry Potter sucking away the person and the joy you once had, leaving you an empty shell.
I have battled depression for eight years now. I’m a survivor and a figher. Many times in my life I’ve thought that’s it, I’m a goner, but I’m still here. And I’ve fought to still be here. As bad as my depression is right now, I know I will most likely survive another week. But I do get tired of treading water. There is a part of me that wants to surrender. That is why I find so much peace in the song “Never Let Me Go” by Florence + The Machine.
“And it’s over and I’m going under
But I’m not giving up
I’m just giving in
Oh, slipping underneath
So cold and so sweet
In the arms of the ocean”
This post is going to be a little different to my others. A friend bought me a gratitude journal. I’m thinking of making a post every time I come up with ten things I’m grateful for. Here are my first ten:
- Having plenty of water
- My friends
- Living in a family and a world where being gay isn’t considered a sin
- Not living in an era where there are old mental asylums
- My freedom; not being on a Community Treatment Order
- Traffic lights
- Being born in a country free of war
- Being born in a sex that matches, for the most part, who I am
There is a certain melancholy that greets me as the seasons turn.
It speaks to me softly,
Reminding me of those I have lost,
And those I will lose.
It shows me that little in life is permanent,
Except change itself.
The mental health system often does more damage than good. As I reflect on my own journey, I realise I was actually better before I started seeing therapists. My experience has been a little like losing a beloved parent over and over. This is because my clinicians become attachment figures. As Julie Wetherell writes in her article “Complicated grief therapy as a new treatment approach”, “Attachment figures are people with whom proximity is sought and separation resisted; they provide a “safe haven” of support and reassurance under stress and a “secure base” of support for autonomy and competence that facilitates exploration of the world.” But it is the wrong place to look for closeness because these relationships are fragile. The service is not long-term, the clinician moves jobs, the clinician retires, we can no longer afford therapy… there are plenty of things that can sever the relationship and send us into a very deep, primitive kind of grief. Really these people can only be a tiny part of our lives and relying on them for such large things like safety and security is only going to disappoint us. I am now a shell of the person I once was. The day I started counselling was the day my world started to shrink. I went from being a full time student to part time and finally not studying at all (and not because I had found a job). I was once dux and now I am on social security and in and out of psych hospitals. I used to be an activist and involved in a lot of groups on campus. I now barely see anyone apart from my mum and dad. I’ve lost touch with most of my old friends because I suck at maintaining relationships. Everything that has happened to me is consistent with what happens when we lose an attachment figure. “In acute grief following the loss of an attachment figure, the attachment system is disrupted, often leading to a sense of disbelief, painful emotions, intrusive thoughts of the deceased individual, and inhibition of the exploratory system,” continues Julie. Continue reading “Attachment trauma with therapists”
“And now you are just a stranger with all my secrets.” lauraklinke_art
She swept into my life while I was at my lowest. It was my first time being in a private hospital for my mental health and she was my nurse. I remember being blown away by the level of care shown towards me, which sat at stark contrast to the public hospital I was in a few years back. She told me she felt protective of me like she was my big sister. She was always looking out for me and said that during handover she would ask to hear about me first. Continue reading “Betty”
“The tide recedes, but leaves behind
Bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down but gentle warmth
Still lingers on the land.
The music stops and yet it lingers on
In sweet refrain.
For every joy that passes
Something beautiful remains.”
Martha Vashti Pearson
An excruciating sense of loneliness has followed me all my life. I never had a solid group of friends as I moved schools seven times. I was always the new girl, the outsider, and wherever I went, I was told how much I was hated. I was bullied at nearly every school and this took the same form each time: exclusion. No hands were laid. Sometimes no words were even spoken, I was simply glared at from across the room. We called it “the evil eye”, a glare reserved for the most despicable. Sometimes I wonder whether that is why people’s faces are a blur to me, my mind’s attempt to protect me from seeing such hatred again. Continue reading “I am not alone”