Feathery Friday #5

This is a continuation of a series about our road trip.

11th July 2015

Last chance before heading home, so it was wetlands today, always the best option. Jerrabomberra Wetlands, and I highly recommend them!

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View from the bird hide

Had a remarkable experience with a fox! It came out of the bushes while I was standing still and we both just looked at each other and it wasn’t bothered so it ambled away! I got a few shots in, and wow, what a happening!

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In terms of water birds, there were a lot of grebes that I haven’t classified yet, several types of ducks (Pacific Black, Australasian Shoveller, Pink eared, Chestnut Teal) plus swans, coots, swamphens, and moorhens.

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Likely Hoary headed Grebes

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Australasian Shovellers

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Pink eared duck, Chestnut Teal

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Eurasian Coot

I had great views of forest birds: Red Browed Finches, loads of Superb Fairy Wrens, some White Plumed Honeyeaters, a White browed Scrubwren, a Brown Thornbill and Blackbird, plus yet more Yellow Rumped Thornbill…a couple of days ago I’d never seen these birds and now they’re everywhere!!!

Red-browed Finches - don't they look like someone had an accident with the red lipstick?

Flying female Superb Fairy Wren, an oops photo but still looks cool

Brown Thornbill, too dark but perfectly still; a miracle!

White plumed Honeyeater

Then an amazing raptor encounter with a hovering Black Shouldered Kite, then in the car and on the way home.

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There were plenty more raptors on the freeway hovering, cruising, diving but it’s almost never worth stopping, because they are hyper sensitive and fly off before you can stop the car!

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Working girl

[Written 20th August, 2015]

I’m a working girl!!!

Well, a girl with a part time day job anyway.

YAY!!!

It’s become official in my mind; I’m back to where this whole adventure left off!

I’ve come full circle, progressed to that critical point which was always going to define whether I was recovered or not; my working status. Of course this isn’t what really defines life, but it’s been my goal all along to return to work, and I’ve returned to work! Magical moments!

This week is Week Five of restarting my career, and today was the day when I knew I would make it; that this new endeavour was going to work! Lots of smiley faces about that!

It’s week five, but it’s only Day Twelve because I work part time, 3 days one week and 2 days the next; every Thursday and Friday, and every second Wednesday. The alternating Wednesday off is my bonus day. Monday is my essential, flat-out-like-a-lizard-drinking day meaning I mostly sleep, laze around and do not much of anything, and Tuesday varies, mostly set aside for a bike ride though. Saturday varies and Sunday we keep for church.

My twelve work days so far have contained a lot of orientation and hospital-specific training, a Lot of policies, procedures and protocols, and a LOT of hanging out til the next break, grabbing a chair any time there’s anything close to a pause in proceedings, or to dispense a script, or do paperwork; tasks anyone else would stand for.

Standing is proving hard, especially for hours on end! My right heel hurts and shoots arrows when I strike it on my down step, my calves ache, and everything in me is shouting for me to sit down! I’m just not used to being up on my feet all day, and let’s face it, I weigh a few decades more in weight than when I was last doing this gig! Which poses a much greater task for my legs in holding me up! But I’m slowly improving with the standing thing, so hopefully soon it won’t be such a big deal!

Also hopefully soon, I’ll begin losing some weight! But this isn’t my priority right now. Right now it’s about settling into work and managing like every other person to do a day’s work without completely exhausting myself!

Let’s face it, at home I would have previously spent most of my day lying, slouching, sitting and briefly standing/walking for some short task, then sitting down again to catch my breath and stop sweating. I ride once a week, but that’s really sitting with a higher heart rate. I do groceries and chores at the shopping centre, but I do the absolute minimum then sit down again. Etc. Well actually I am trying to do more, but this is what I have been doing over the few months up until now.

So any time I do any extra walking out of my way around the house, at the hospital, etc I know that I’m surviving better. Well, I was patting me on the back until today when the pharmacist I was working with innocently walked me up 3 flights of stairs to the ward, because the lift was slow!! 3 flights of stairs! What was she thinking? I couldn’t speak by the time we got to the top, and I was still sweating half an hour later!  So I’ve dug into the drawer with all the aluminium anti-antiperspirant products again…let’s see if they can’t help me out a bit!

So that doesn’t bode well as an exercise tolerance test! I guess my cardiac fitness, and my enjoyment of it have still got a long way to go. Last time I was climbing stairs for work, I could manage to not let on I was even breathing more heavily than usual over 2 or 3 flights of stairs. So that may be the next target to work on, once I’m settled in to work.

I’m still trying to spread out my energy levels across the day without coming up short, or skimping too scroogishly! It’s a real art, and I haven’t got it yet. I don’t want to have to go home before 5.15pm because I can’t think straight, or I’m catatonically tired! I also don’t want to have so much energy left over that I’m not doing as much as I could be at work, and having loads of energy at night. I don’t know if you can even plan for such things, I just have to be aware of my staying power and energy levels throughout the day, and adjust my workload or my output if needed.

The first two weeks I did nothing extra before or after work. Obviously I’m lucky to have a very talented and willing husband able to keep the house in some order on those days, and to get me dinner most importantly!

Lately I’m finding it a bit easier to get up in the morning and I’m not so drowsy first thing, and I have a bit of energy left over at the end of the day. Hopefully this trend of improved energy and stamina will continue! In the meantime, I’ll keep my strict bedtime, try not to expect too much from myself at home on work days, and do my best not to over do myself at work! This is always the trap that I have fallen into in the past. I get excited and enthusiastic and forget to pace myself! But I really want this to work, so it’s worth keeping my spirits on a leash.

I have to say, coming back into work after illness, and having disclosed my illness, and the way that I will work with it with pharmacy management makes me feel extremely confident in being able to go to them with any request or problem that I may have. Which is a very powerful and empowering position to be in, from my point of view. A lot of people find the ‘to disclose or not to disclose’ dilemma a very sticky point but I’ve always gone on the disclose side and it has never backfired on me. Of course I have always had a good relationship with my bosses so it has been an easy choice.

People fear being discriminated against, and that’s a reasonable concern. From my point of view, with so much anti-discrimination law out and about these days, it would be a very brave employer who didn’t hire you after you disclosed an illness, injury and disability! Doing that would open them up to being sued, but that’s not how you want to start a new job! Being the one who sued them to get the job! But I think they are more than conscious of not culling you for the finalist list because of something other than a genuine failure to meet selection criteria.

When I became sick in my first job, I found it very easy to go to my managers and tell them I was struggling, and they got me onto the Employee Assistance Program, which is 4 free counselling session with a psychologist. This is available to any employee of public hospitals, which is a fabulous program. So I was able to talk out all the things that were getting me down and she was wonderful in helping me figure out how to go forward, and getting me to see my GP.

For my second job I disclosed my illness on the application form, so there were no secrets and no surprises. And boy was I glad about that when I got too sick to work and spent six months out of my twelve month contract not working! I would have felt like a real deceiver if I hadn’t let them know I was undergoing treatment for depression and then appeared to have a nervous breakdown out of the blue!

For this job there was no need to disclose, because it was obvious that a sixteen month gap meant something out of the ordinary! It wasn’t brought up at interview but when the offer was made, I was given the opportunity to address that gap and I did.

And do you know what the responses have been in those three cases? I recommend the counselling service because I’ve used it myself. I’m a psych pharmacist so I understand what you’re going through. My best friend has mental health problems so I understand.

None of us are above mental health difficulties, whether it be stress, an illness or exhaustion of our own capabilities. We are all prone to mental health problems, but our issues don’t need to define us. I have bipolar, but I’m also a wife, pharmacist, photographer, bird watcher etc etc. Disclosing an illness is only disclosing a part of us, and a part that other people need to see in order to support us better. But we all know, that there is so much more to ourselves than that one part, so let’s let them know and get it over with, and move on to show the rest of our beautiful selves.

So, moving on. I’ve ticked off most off the orientation hurdles; I just need one more which I hope to finish tomorrow then I’m done with orientation, and onto the real job. I say real job, but I couldn’t do my “real” job without all of the training, orientation and PPPs that I’ve been through, so I’m not dismissing them by any means!

But today I was back on the wards, back in my home territory, and…I feel good!

Like I knew I would! And you know what’s coming…time to strut your stuff! James Brown!

Today was the first taste, and it was a sweet, sweet taste! It feels like home, and in some ways it really feels like I never left, which is such a relief and so lovely!

There are new and different things. I’m at a different hospital with a different clientele and management. I’ve been off the job 16 months so there are new drugs, new formulations and devices, new laws and new guidelines.

There are the new electronically generated discharge prescriptions, which are printed not written, which list the drugs in alphabetical order, automatically remind the doctor to fulfill their legal and PBS requirements, and which are legible! What a win for pharmacists everywhere! They still have other problems but counting our blessings wise, that’s a win.

There are chutes throughout the hospital to send medications, and drug orders, and scripts all over the place, instead of taking a hike. Great!

The pharmacist brings up the drugs of addiction instead of the technician. Could be improved.

Some things to embrace, some things to just do, and some things to save for discussion in a while once I’ve learnt more about the processes. But all part of the excitement of really getting into this job.

When I sat down with a patient to chat about their medications today, time stopped and it’s like the 16 months in between “drinks” (drinks being patients) was a 15 minute tea break. And isn’t that awesome? I think it’s awesome!

I’m back where I belong, in the workplace, at my ideally structured position, loving it!

And that’s just so fabulous to me!

Turns out that those corny Worksafe Victoria return to work ads are right; “more often than not, helping an injured worker return to work sooner is the best medicine”! When you’re in the phase where you can’t possibly imagine waking before 10am, getting dressed is something you last did on Wednesday, you haven’t left the house since…and you spend your “waking” hours doped out and falling asleep, returning to work sooner seems like a bad joke or a hellish reality that you would rather run from than face. And you haven’t run since March!

So being at work at 8.30am, dressed in professional, clean, fitting clothes, feeling emotionally and physically ready for what the day may bring, is truly an amazing miracle that you have to pinch yourself to believe, and you mentally dictate long letters of praise to your psychiatrist who is a genius!

My husband will tell you that the more work I do, the more energy I seem to have, and the more I get done around the house! Which is great for me to hear, and I’m so pleased on his behalf that I am picking up more of the jobs around here. That I’m able to and that I have the energy to do so. There’s definitely something to be said for structure, and for having set days for set tasks. When seven empty days stretch out in front of you and you feel like doing nothing, more often than not you let yourself do nothing. Having less time makes the jobs more urgent because if I don’t get to it today, and then have to work for 3 days, it won’t be done til…and etc.

They say do what you love, and being back today reminds me that I LOVE this job! I also love the people that I work with; this department is such a big, friendly family and that is just so great.

This job has given me some of the motivation that I have been lacking and the more I do and see of it, the more I get excited to get back there tomorrow! Bring it on!

Feathery Friday #4

A continuation of a series about our road trip.

9th July 2015

Our first day in Canberra, and hubby couldn’t look past the renowned Stromlo mountain bike (MTB) park. A disturbing start when we pulled into the carpark and the car next to ours had the driver’s window completely smashed and the car obviously rifled through!

Hubby at Stromlo MTB park

Hubby at Stromlo MTB park

The day was lovely, sun, no breeze and perfect for dawdling around. There were kangaroos everywhere!

Lazy Kangaroo on a lazy sunny morning at Stromlo MTB park

Lazy Kangaroo on a lazy sunny morning at Stromlo MTB park

I had nice views of the Yellow-Rumped Thornbill again, lucky me!

Spot the Yellow Rumped Thornbill singing! Not a clear shot, but I still like it

Spot the Yellow Rumped Thornbill singing! Not a clear shot, but I still like it

Darting around in the bushes, very hard to get clear shots

Darting around in the bushes, very hard to get clear shots

Luckily this one stayed put for long enough to fire some shots

Luckily this one stayed put for long enough to fire some shots

Last one, perfectly in the sun, lucky day

Last one, perfectly in the sun, lucky day

The Superb Fairy Wrens were out, but a bit far away mostly. And I got some super closeups of a couple of Galahs who didn’t see me creeping up.

I love the female Superb Fairy Wrens, they look like Batman!

I love the female Superb Fairy Wrens, they look like Batman!

Gorgeous pink Galah up close!

Gorgeous pink Galah up close!

Pretty boy chomping on grass roots

Pretty boy chomping on grass roots

Then lunch with the extended family and off again to another MTB park for hubby and Mount Ainslie for me.

That was an afternoon of chasing tiny little birds all over the place, including Spotted Pardalote, a robin that was too fast to classify, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, White cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, King parrots, Eastern and Crimson rosellas, Noisy Miner and a couple of others that I can’t identify.

Spot the Spotted Pardalote. I think this is a male and female pair

Spot the Spotted Pardalote. I think this is a male and female pair

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White Cheeked Honeyeater, not a beaut shot but not bad

White Cheeked Honeyeater, not a beaut shot but not bad

Grey Fantail up above the world so high

Grey Fantail up above the world so high

King Parrot, just stunning

King Parrot, just stunning

Nada

Hello to all my lovely readers,

I have wrestled over a blog post for today, and tried to get it to work, and lost my way, and sought advice, and…in the end…it just isn’t what I wanted it to be, and I just can’t post it.

I’ve parked it with my many drafts for perhaps another day, but we won’t hold our breath about that!

So there will be no regular Monday post this week. There will be a Friday post that I hope you like, but until the next Monday post, take care!

Danika x

Feathery Friday #3

This is the continuation of a series about a road trip we took in July, 2015.

8th July 2015

Not a great start to the day!

I was awake early, like 4am, after increasing my mood stabilizer dose because of a high mood the week before. I exhausted myself trying to put myself back to sleep, but I did eventually get a bit more sleep. I was happy not to be too doped out when I first woke up, but soon found I was in a generally slow state, speaking and moving slowly, not much energy, sluggish and feeling like I was dragging myself through quicksand. I didn’t do my planned bike ride, because I just didn’t feel up to it. I tested myself to see if it was a day that I could force myself, but it just wan’t going to happen right then. So I admitted defeat on the bike ride, and decided on driving around in the car instead. I had reasonable focus, and my attention seemed to be okay; a check I have to make before I commit to putting my slow self behind the wheel!

My rig...just in case

My rig…just in case

So in terms in the weather, it was the perfect morning. Gorgeous sunshine, freezing cold after a zero overnight temperature, but warmer in the sun and keeping on getting warmer. So change of plan.

The lovely warming sun turned WAY down!

The lovely warming sun turned WAY down!

First, go up to the lookout that loomed just over our cabin part – gorgeous, too much sun for photos, had to dim them all! It was a sun out, over exposure on everything. I haven’t had to deal with such brilliant light before.

Unfiltered sunshine beaming across the bay and over the caravan park where we stayed the night before

Unfiltered sunshine beaming across the bay and over the caravan park where we stayed the night before

I got incidental nice views of a Little Wattle bird eating nectar when I got back to the car from the lookout.

The best shot overall, the gorgeous blue eye and beak dipped into the nectar

The best shot overall, the gorgeous blue eye and beak dipped into the nectar

Fuzzy shot...but is that a tongue I see????

Fuzzy shot…but is that a tongue I see????

Done with eating, all puffed up against the cold in the shade

Done with eating, all puffed up against the cold in the shade

That was a dodgy affair! No signage, a non pathway up over the curb and through some poor person’s garden, hugging their side fence! I was looking over my shoulder the whole time, waiting for someone to come and boot me out! The path has been destroyed by tree roots and is so lumpy that a strained ankle didn’t seem like a stretch! And the last part of the “lookout”! Read: the abrupt ending of the path at a regular school yard fence which is almost falling off the vertical cliff!

Okay so maybe exaggerating the state of the path, but that's the edge of the cliff, right there!

Okay so maybe exaggerating the state of the path, but that’s the edge of the cliff, right there!

Since I had a lot of time to burn, I stayed and photographed two Purple Swamp Hens eating grass roots. The glossy feathers really showed up well in so much sunlight.

Dainty lady picking her way through the grass! (I don't actually know that it is a lady....)

Dainty lady picking her way through the grass! (I don’t actually know that it is a lady….)

Top and tail!

Top and tail!

Oh there you are! How long have you been looking at me?

Oh there you are! How long have you been looking at me?

Another dainty walking with those great long toes for tearing out grass roots

Another dainty walking with those great long toes for tearing out grass roots

Next stop, pharmacy for more meds. Next stop, walk on the beach and impromptu chat with a couple of fellas about whale spotting, the shark attack last week that took a girl, commercial fishing, the water temperature, the latest daily temperatures etc. Nice views of the beach, the bay, the wharf.

Path to the beach over the wet cold sand

Path to the beach over the wet cold sand

Tathra Beach looking to the famous Tathra Wharf

Tathra Beach looking to the famous Tathra Wharf

Then up to the top of town to another lookout, this time out to sea. It was a pot shot at seeing a whale, didn’t work but oh well, not to worry. I’ll get there eventually.

Same direction as from Tathra Beach but on the other side of the peninsula

Same direction as from Tathra Beach but on the other side of the peninsula

Back to the meet up to catch up with my hubby who was mountain biking…I was meant to meet him after an hour and a half, but I forgot to check the time when I left! Luckily I got back 5 minutes before he turned up. I’d pulled into the turn off before the one I left him at, which was the Tathra treatment plant.

Lean, mean cycling machine

Lean, mean cycling machine

You’ve heard me rave about the Werribee Treatment Plant. This was about 1 millionth of the size and just your standard water treatment, but I’m very happy with the birds I saw! A lifer in the fun, flirty Jacky Winter and in the show off Yellow Rumped Thornbill! Thrilled with both!

What a portrait shot! I'm pretty happy if I say so myself! The grey tinge at the bottom is a sliver of my car, should have aimed slightly higher but I was using the car for cover so I could get good photos

What a portrait shot! I’m pretty happy if I say so myself! The grey tinge at the bottom is a sliver of my car, should have aimed slightly higher but I was using the car for cover so I could get good photos

And now the back! Perfectly behaved birdie while I was hiding out of sight. After he caught sight of me he played flirt

And now the back! Perfectly behaved birdie while I was hiding out of sight. After he caught sight of me he played flirt

Plus more views of the Little Wattlebird, and views of Grey Shrike-Thrush, another lifer in the Yellow-rumped Thornbill, and four species of duck, grebes, and a Whistling Kite.

GST: Grey Shrike-thrush, a fabulous song bird

GST: Grey Shrike-thrush, a fabulous song bird

Yellow Rumped Thornbill, I thought it was a Yellow Robin but oops its actually a lifer!

Yellow Rumped Thornbill, I thought it was a Yellow Robin but oops its actually a lifer!

The best shot of the week of the YRT, or of anything probably, and I just realised it wasn't a robin!

The best shot of the week of the YRT, or of anything probably, and I just realised it wasn’t a robin!

Chestnut Teal, Pacific Black, Hardhead and Grey Teal ducks at least. Plus Grebes, can't tell which though...

Chestnut Teal, Pacific Black, Hardhead and Grey Teal ducks at least. Plus Grebes, can’t tell which though…

Departure lounge

This week was always going to be a week of goodbyes.

After my sister’s wedding last week (photos to follow!!) my cousin, one of the bridesmaids, flew out to France for an open dated holiday in her favourite country on earth. Having been there before and having good French language skills, she is planning to spend this holiday off the beaten track. We’ll miss her at our weekly gathering point, Grandma’s fabulous Sunday lunch roast and dessert! More for us!

Then of course, my newlywed baby sister and her hubby are flying back to Latvia today! I say back because that’s where he was born and grew up. Their plan is to be there for 4 years because they are both planning to start and finish their undergraduate degrees there. So It’s a big goodbye!

I don’t think that any one of us has grasped it yet, especially Dad who wonders why everyone is asking him if he’s sad to see her go! Not much to wonder at, but he’s fixed himself in the mindset that its exciting and happy to see her marry her love and move off into their new life. We’ll see how long that lasts once she has actually gotten on the plane for 4 years!

Of course the two students may scrape together enough money to come back to Australia, and most of us are planning a visit at some point but it’s still a long time. Mum and Dad and her have been the only ones at home since my brother moved to Melbourne for uni 3.5 years ago, so I think they’ll really notice her absence around the house.

Then my teacher brother-in-law is flying to England for a year on Thursday! How’s that, sister and brother-in-law, plus brother-in-law, flying out in the same week! It makes more sense when you know that the school year starts on the 1st September across the UK and Europe. So for a teacher, and two students, it makes sense to move with a few weeks grace to get settled into accommodation etc. A year isn’t so bad, there’s an end point to look forward to. But it’s so hard to imagine his Mum and Dad without him. He’s also the youngest and it’s been the three of them since his older brother moved away to do his apprenticeship YEARS ago. Not sure how many, but it could be eight or so years. They’ll definitely be looking for him around the house!

So those are the scheduled departures. We’ve had the goodbye parties, given them advice, wished them farewell. Everything according to plan and tradition, and everyone has had their part in it.

I want to add one more departure to the list.

This was not a scheduled departure. There was no celebration beforehand where people got together with the person leaving and shook their hand and talked and laughed and got their fill of the person departing that would tide them over til they next met. No advice was given about the next step of the journey about to be traveled by the departing and how to traverse it.

I think that most people involved felt that this was a tragic departure, in the literary sense that tragic means inevitable.

I want to wish my own farewell to RT who departed his life this week. You know when someone starts a sentence and they haven’t finished yet, in fact they’re only in the middle but you know the end is going to be something you don’t like? That’s how I heard about it. There is no other way to hear it, other than someone telling you but the hearing of it is never easy.

Many months of a terrible depression preceded this departure, I heard. A mighty, mighty battle has taken place. That battle involved good friends doing their best, multiple inpatient psychiatric admissions, previous suicide attempts, medications, and more that I don’t know about.

In fact I don’t know this person, only in passing. I would recognise him on the street, we’ve maybe exchanged a dozen words in total in our lifetimes. Every year while I was growing up we would spend 3 Saturdays in October at a farm where our annual Christian convention was held, getting it all ready. Our family was always there, he and his wife were always there. They were the cool, young couple that girls growing up through their teens can admire. That was the full extent of “knowing” him.

But there is this phenomenon I’ve heard spoken about where people can experience grief for someone they don’t know, or have barely met, or celebrities etc that is disproportionate to their relationship with that person. Sometimes it can be as profound and take as emotional a toll as the death of a family member. Like when the news of Elvis having left the building descended on the world. Tears and sobbing from people who “knew” him from a concert, a tape, magazines. It’s valid.

I don’t think that’s what is happening here. I think what is happening is several months ago a mutual acquaintance described to me the suffering this person was experiencing as a result of depression. And it resonated with me very strongly because of my experience with depression. I had amazing support and all the help that I could possible require and there were days when I didn’t think I could survive.

As far as I heard, this person had no one at home, some friends around town and family nowhere near by. I could totally connect with his deep need for support and love and care, and the absence of these needs being met. No amount of psychiatric care can compensate for having a partner, family member, very close friend who “gets” you, who understands your suffering, who can be there for you to help you keep safe, who feeds you with love and care and hope, and reminds you again and again that you can fight this war to a victory and they will help you all the way.

His story just made me want to reach out and say, I feel for you, I’ve been where you’ve been and I know how awful and hard and dark and hopeless it is, and I want you to know that I came through and it is worth the fight. Or something like that.

That’s what I wanted to say. But after his wife left, his whole world crumbled, he had nothing to live for on this earth. Because I think kind honesty is the best way to support someone, I don’t know that I would have been able to say convincingly that it’s all worth it in the end, keep fighting, one day this will be all behind you and be a distant bad dream and you’ll be glad that you fought and won.

When you have nothing to live for on earth, it’s a very hard situation. I had everything to live for, and it was a hard, uphill, difficult road, and still may be in the future. But with nothing to live for, why would you try? Why would you fight for, scrabble for grip to, desperately cling to, and give your all to hang onto life? What for? Giving everything to hold onto life that doesn’t feel worth living, that holds searing pain, awful agony, sorrow, struggle, being alone, without love etc. All that terribly difficult effort while drowning in molasses, and what for? That’s what being suicidal is like.

And so he left us. It was inevitable. It’s sad, because nothing more could be done to hold him here on earth, because he couldn’t find enough to hold him to life. But I strongly feel that now he has peace and rest from so much awfulness. And how blissful will that peace and rest be, after so much difficulty on earth.

I have more thing to say. I believe in God, in Jesus, in eternal life. I’ll write about this point more one day. God’s commandments in the Old Testament were, thou shalt not kill. And I think that would have included ourselves. But the New Testament came in Jesus who has showed his great love and mercy. I believe that although we would want to help someone not to end their ow life, when someone is hurting so much that they can’t handle it anymore, Jesus understands and forgives. He knows what we have gone through and why we have reached such a point of desperation. He offers his help and grace in our lifetime, which is promised to be sufficient for us, but in our agony we can’t see much beyond our hurting self.

I feel that our mental health and our spiritual health are two disparate things. But they get confused. We don’t confuse our physical health with religion. We don’t expect our faith to help our gout. But our mental health has foggier borders. Our religion can be a help to us in all situations, but it’s not a cure for any illness, and depression isn’t a religious issue; it’s a medical issue.

I say this just to make the point that when someone we know hits the threshold of what they can possibly bear and can no longer suffer their daily life, let’s recognise that they have succumbed to a medical condition that was unable to be sufficiently treated with the medications and therapy that we have available these days. Let us never consider that their faith wasn’t enough, or they lost their religion, or they somehow should have found a way to survive. Suicide isn’t a comment on the sufferers ability, but the disease’s severity.

Farewell, fierce fighter. I recognise how much you fought, and I’m sorry that the disease was too strong for you. You will be missed. But I will remember your story. I won’t forget your bravery.

To all of you in this post, til we meet again.

Freaky Friday

This is a bit of a nothing post.

It’s a crazy thing that happened to me the other day.

I guess it’s not that crazy, but still. It counts as one of those, You’ll never believe what just happened to me, stories.

It’s about dry cleaning. Exciting stuff.

I don’t get things dry cleaned unless they truly cannot be washed or are really precious/irreplaceable.

But I changed over the bed sheets the other day and decided to change the doona as well, seeing as we do have a heavier winter one. The summer one was a bit discoloured all over and had to be dry cleaned so I set out to drop it off to the dry cleaners.

To understand why this story is freaky, I have to explain that the doona travelled around in the car with me for about a week until my husband threw it out and it came back inside. There were several days that I could have gone to the dry cleaner.

Then one day I got as far as the supermarket, did my groceries, then looked at the doona and thought, it looks fine, I don’t need it cleaned after all. Unfortunately that was the light in the store!

So, the next week, I finally got to the dry cleaners! We’re up to about week three now.

So any number of days I could have gone, or I could have not gone at all. And despite the high density population there is only one easily accessible dry cleaners in Box Hill. So there was only one place to go.

This narrowed the chances a bit.

For what?

I was standing at the counter waiting for the lady to write me a ticket.

I was looking around inside the dry cleaners while I waited and saw a dress. Wow, what are the chances, I have that dress! I said to myself in my head. And there it is on the front of the rack. Remember how I bought the last one left in my siza, and had to go to Flinders Street DFO to get it? Remember how I bought it 2 days before that wedding, to match my new bargain price red suede shoes? Good memories.

Still standing waiting. A bit bored, a bit ready to go already. Brain ticking away. Funny about that dress, I’ll have to tell hubby, what a coincidence that it was on the front of the rack when I came by.

Tick, tock, tick, tock. I wonder where I put that dress? I haven’t worn it since, I don’t think. I’m not sure that it still fits, come to think of it. Did I put it with the other non fitting clothes down the end of my wardrobe? Can’t remember, to be honest.

Tick, tock, tick, tick. What is going on? Oh she wants my mobile number. Here it is. Hmm. Now that I think about it, it was really hot at that wedding and my dress was silk. I’m pretty sure I had it dry cleaned. It must be down the end of my wardrobe in a bag. I should tell the lady that I have that exact dress, she’ll get a kick out of that!

Tick. Tock. Hang on a second! Is that my dress?? I can’t remember picking it up! I can’t think of where it is in my whole wardrobe…could that be my dress??

Excuse me, do you mind checking if that is my dress? I have one exactly the same.

Sure, no worries. Actually yes, it’s for you! How did you know?

Well I saw it there and it just occurred to me that I never picked it up!

Yes it’s for you, you brought it in last November, 2014!!

What?? Really? How did I forget to pick it up?? Thank you so much!!

Weird, right? Forgetting is one thing, leaving it at the dry cleaners is one thing. Having them not call me to remind me to collect is one thing, as is them not having thrown it out by now!

But to have it on the front of the rack, one of only two front positions at the date and time that I brought an item that had been ummed and ahhed about so much, just was incredible! If I hadn’t asked that lady on a whim, I might easily have gone away and not collected my dress for another…however long!!