Partners

This one is for the partners.

My head doesn’t hurt today, so let’s do this.

Without partners, many of us wouldn’t be here today. So many of us owe our partners our lives and our health, however much of that we have.

Who’s we? Could be anyone. I’m referring to myself as someone with mental illness. But it could be anyone with a physical disability, a handicap of any kind, some issue that needs regular treatment and support.

In the background, often silent, are the pillars that we lean on, often heavily, to stay upright.

I don’t think these amazingly supportive people are known and recognised enough. They deserve all kinds of medals, and recognition, and prizes, and awards.

But that’s not why they do it. They simply love us, even in our un-lovableness, and do their best by us and give us the greatest gift ever; someone who will stand by us through it all. That is amazing!

What’s even more amazing? In a lot of cases, they didn’t sign up for this.

They committed to us long before they knew, or we knew for that matter, that we were going to be a burden on them. They could be excused for feeling “I didn’t ask for this, I shouldn’t have to do this, this isn’t fair!”. But that’s not how they react. At least not outwardly, and who would blame them for thinking this inwardly??

They give us love and kindness and support, and that is a beautiful thing! They have such a capacity for longsuffering, even when we are a real trial to them!

Speaking for me, my husband has had to deal with panic attacks, paranoia, depths of depression including being suicidal, not showering for a week, doing nothing around the house, hypochondria, manic episodes, non-existent romantic life, sleeping all the time, having to come home from work to cook, clean, do the washing etc, me not working for 16 months, my absent memory and recall function…I could go on. But this isn’t about me.

This is about him. Sure he occasionally gets frustrated, angry, fed up, feeling overworked and underpaid. I’m not surprised! This is a thankless job! I’m trying to make it more thank-full. And he gets worked up a lot less often than he could!

But without him, I really do often feel like I would surely fail.

He stood by me in the emergency department arguing my case when I was beyond being able to argue anymore. He sat at home for days on suicide watch. He’s been to countless appointments, suffered through my drug side effects, tried to coax me along when I was cranky as anything because I felt lousy!

I’m trying to stand on my own feet more, and I am, a bit. I’m trying to notice the dishes, the washing, the cooking, the cleaning more and do a bit more. Because it means something to him mostly. Also a bit because it makes me feel a little less worse about my uselessness around the house.

I’m back at work, and it’s going well. So I’m contributing to the household a bit more, and feeling a bit more confident in myself.

All things that I do not think I would have achieved by myself. Maybe I would, who knows? No way to find out.

But I do know this. The support, the encouragement, the listening ear, the pep talks from my husband went a long, LONG way to getting me to where I am today.

My GP, my psychologist, my psychiatrist have all commented about what an amazing support he is. I sometimes think my psychiatrist likes to see my husband more than me! Haha!

But seriously, it’s a hard gig when you suddenly have someone on your hands who’s mood is liable to change before you’ve even got a hang of the last mood! In fact

Who is useless with deep depression, sleeping, eating and not showering; who is bouncing off the roof with boundless energy and babbling at 100 mph with mania; who has weird turns of suspicion and paranoia about how the partner is out to get them! This one gets my hubby the most, and afterwards I can completely understand why! After all he has done for me, which is unable to be actually counted up because it’s so vast, for me to turn and say he’s out to get me? That goes like a knife to the heart. Of course it’s not something I even feel, let alone would say on any normal day, but this paranoia has really shown me again who’s boss in my brain, and it isn’t always me!

I’m sure the same applies to many other situations. The question of ‘what would I do without them’? I have another example. A paraplegic man, twice the size and weight of his mother who has cared for him, to the detriment of her physical health, for 40 years!!

How can you thank them enough? How can you ever repay them? How can you ever begin to even out the balance of power?

They don’t ask for thanks, or repayment, and they don’t even consider the balance of power. They just give, and give, and give. What can we do to make it up to them?

I don’t know the answer, but for me it feels like the repayment is getting better and staying better, and getting back to doing my fair share, and giving him a break. How about that? Let’s give that a go.

Of course I’m a lucky one. Not all people can get better. I don’t know the answer in these cases. Maybe it’s one of those challenging things in life that you somehow have to eventually make peace with. Of course I can’t make myself better for life, it will recur at some point, but I can do as much as I can when I can, I guess.

At this point I remember all of the people going it alone.

I feel for you! I don’t say that because you are alone you can’t do it. I think you can. I think maybe you are stronger because you lean on yourself, not anyone else. But I wish that for a little while I could give you the relief of someone to lean on, someone to do the things you feel you can’t, someone to give you a break.

So partners.

Thank them today.

They are amazing, their role in improving our health is immeasurable, and most of all they do it out of love and don’t begrudge us the effort and time and strength that it costs them.

I can only aspire to be such a selfless, loving, caring, forgiving, understanding, giving and undemanding person towards others! Well that list certainly gives me a lot to work on!

Nesting

I have to say that in all the years I’ve been alive, I’ve never put some much attention towards the world around me, particularly nature, until this year. I’ve always loved nature, but I guess I didn’t have the time, or the attention before. I’ve spent a LOT of my life rushing and I regret that; so now I’m trying to deliberately slow down and enjoy what I have.

This year, I’ve had the time. I haven’t had much energetic time, much enthusiastic time, much motivated time but what I’ve had I’ve used, pretty well I think. Bird watching and photography are almost the only things that will get me excited on a down day – that’s a pretty powerful thing!

Taking notice has led to a weird phenomenon of me finding new things around me that were always there, but I wasn’t looking. I’m so glad that now I’m looking because the reward is great!

Here’s a series that has given me great pleasure this spring – enjoy!

eucalypt, Looks like my kind of throw together nest...not sure that its being used now

Looks like my kind of throw together nest…not sure that its being used now

This was found deep in the thickets around Blond Bay game reserve so it must have been made by birds, but its so neat! Also looks a bit off kilter!

This was found deep in the thickets around Blond Bay game reserve so it must have been made by birds, but its so neat! Also looks a bit off kilter!

Pair of Willy Wagtails have built a perfect little mud nest and take turns to guard it

Pair of Willy Wagtails have built a perfect little mud nest and take turns to guard it

Welcome Swallow building up a new nest, although why they don't use the other one is baffling

Welcome Swallow building up a new nest, although why they don’t use the other one is baffling

The first nest which looks fine from the outside, but they've moved on to build a new one

The first nest which looks fine from the outside, but they’ve moved on to build a new one

Not sure what kind of bird made this but it looks well built

Not sure what kind of bird made this but it looks well built

A Tawny Frogmouth sitting on a nest very securely located on a broad eucalypt branch

A Tawny Frogmouth sitting on a nest very securely located on a broad eucalypt branch

They tell me this tiny nest belongs to a tiny bird...again can't remember which but something like a Striated Thornbill

They tell me this tiny nest belongs to a tiny bird…again can’t remember which but something like a Striated Thornbill

I can't remember what kind of bird I saw coming out of here - either a Magpie, a Pied Currawong or a Little Raven

I can’t remember what kind of bird I saw coming out of here – either a Magpie, a Pied Currawong or a Little Raven. It flew straight at me as I was trying to get a photo, which distracted me a little! Not deliberately I think

Cape Barren goose with a ground nest inside the safety of Serendip Sanctuary

Cape Barren goose with a ground nest inside the safety of Serendip Sanctuary

A Willy Wagtail built his nest near this busy weekend cafe...and spent the day dancing all around the area - pretty pretty

A Willy Wagtail built his nest near this busy cafe…and spent the day dancing all around the area – pretty pretty

Hope this doesn't hurt your eyes! I'm thinking maybe Swallows make a habit of building multiple nests...I can't figure out which one they're actually using! Incidentally...this is directly over a wedding car!

Hope this blurry photo doesn’t hurt your eyes! I’m thinking maybe Swallows make a habit of building multiple nests…I can’t figure out which one they’re actually using! Incidentally…this is directly over a wedding car!

I think this is a Magpie nest - although I wasn't swooped the Magpie was chattering away

I think this is a Magpie nest – although I wasn’t swooped, the Magpie was chattering away

This is the first time I've seen a Magpie-Lark nest. I was looking at it when they flew back...one onto the nest and one surveying from nearby

This is the first time I’ve seen a Magpie-Lark nest. I was looking at it when they flew back…one onto the nest and one surveying from nearby

This is a fun one, well to me anyways! So far I’ve gotten relatively close to a Magpie nest on three occasions and never been swooped. Maybe its beginners luck…I’ve been swooped by Noisy Miners, pigeons, Welcome Swallows, Magpie-Larks and Willy Wagtails so maybe the Magpies took pity on me!

And this is the Magpie nest high up with the other of the pair sitting on it

And this is the Magpie nest high up with one of the pair sitting on it

Poor quality to boot, but if you peer through the sticks to the far tree, you can see one of the Magpie pair standing watch over the goings on

Poor quality to boot, but if you peer through the sticks to the far tree, you can see one of the Magpie pair standing watch over the goings on