Category: Bipolar


My name is Espen Fadness

My name is Espen Fadness and I am a base jumper.

Or at least I would be if I could be.

Just one time (I think).

Although maybe it really would end up being just one time. I am very accident prone, especially with physical activities.

So maybe not.


Stay well strategies for everyone

Stay well strategies:

  • sleep well
  • eat well
  • exercise
  • manage stress
  • spend quality time with family and friends
  • engage in the local community
  • get professional support
  • use alternative therapies
  • work in a supportive workplace
  • have a holiday



How can I go on?

Freddie Mercury was dying of aids when he wrote and sang this song.
He must have wondered how he could go on but he did,
and it was the most creative period in his whole life.

If you have a mental illness or are a carer,
there will be times you won’t know how you can go on. But you will.

There are people who believe in you and they will help to make you strong.
You belong, just as I belong and together we are strong.

How Can I Go On Lyrics

When all the salt is taken from the sea
I stand dethroned, I’m naked and I bleed
But when your finger points so savagely
Is anybody there to believe in me
To hear my plea and take care of me?

How can I go on, from day to day
Who can make me strong in every way
Where can I be safe, where can I belong
In this great big world of sadness
How can I forget those beautiful dreams that we shared
They’re lost and they’re nowhere to be found
How can I go on?

Sometimes I seem to tremble in the dark, I cannot see
When people frighten me
I try to hide myself so far from the crowd
Is anybody there to comfort me
Lord, take care of me

How can I go on (how can I go on)
From day to day (from day to day)
Who can make me strong (who can make me strong)
In every way (in every way)
Where can I be safe (where can I be safe)
Where can I belong (where can I belong)
In this great big world of sadness
(In this great big world of sadness)
How can I forget (how can I forget)
Those beautiful dreams that we shared
(Those beautiful dreams that we shared)
They’re lost and they’re nowhere to be found
How can I go on?

How can I go on? How can I go on? Go on, go on, go on


What is mental health?

Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as a state of well-being in which someone:
– realises his or her own abilities
– can cope with the normal stresses of life
– can work fully and productively
– is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

A healthy person has a healthy mind and is able to:
– think clearly
– solve problems in life
– work productively
– enjoy good relationships with other people
– feel spiritually at ease
– make a contribution to the community.

Mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorder.


The economic value of carers

Play the youtube clip while you are reading the post.

Job Advertisement

A person willing to work all hours of the day, 7 days a week, with no sick days, personal leave or holidays. There is no salary, bonus plan or superannuation. You must be a self-starter and an entrepreneur. You must also be willing to learn the job by trial and error. You must be emotionally involved with the person you are going to work for and be willing to work until you are exhausted. The person you are going to work for may not be able to express any appreciation and may even be abusive to you at times.  Anyone interested in the job, apply immediately.

In 2010 Carers Australia commissioned Access Economics to undertake an Australian study of the economic value of the informal care provided by unpaid family carers for people with disability, mental illness, chronic conditions, terminal illness and the frail aged. That report found that the value of informal care exceeded $40 billion per annum in 2010. This was based on the replacement cost of care of $31 per hour. A huge proportion of this cost was due to demographic ageing, but mental illness significantly contributed to the increasing number of Australians who required and received care. Informal carers (overall) provide over $1.32 billion hours of care each year, and represent a precious economic resource. (The economic value of informal care in 2010, Access economics report for Carers Australia).

As a community we need to appreciate our carers. There are a lot of us out there, and a little validation goes a long way.


Mental Health Matters Awards

I attended the launch of Mental Health Month at NSW Parliament House on Tuesday 1st October.  It was a wonderful occasion and I felt privileged to be invited to attend.

There was a very special atmosphere and the speeches were inspirational, particularly that of the the Governer, Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO.

I received a Certificate of Commendation and Professor Gin Malhi from The CADE Clinic received the Research and Evaluation Award.

Anne & Gin 2










Looking for people who live successfully with bipolar disorder

Opera glassesWhen you have bipolar disorder, there is no such thing as a free ride. When life is good, really good, there is always a price to pay. After I published my book, I had the best time of my life. Ever. Then my doctor became concerned about my increasingly elevated mood. I had been going to bed at 3.00am and getting up at 6.00am and not feeling tired. What was I doing until 3.00am every night? Well, among other things, I was annotating a copy of my book with quotations about art and life. Lots of quotations. In tiny little writing. I thought I would give it to someone as a present – an example of the creativity of a bipolar mind. Great idea?  I thought so, but my doctor didn’t.

She looked at my annotated memoir and said it would be a very bad idea. She said I had to act swiftly because I was headed for an inevitable, unavoidable depression that she wouldn’t be able to pull me out of. I cried when she told me that. Buckets. She said my mood was very unstable. She said I shouldn’t go to work the next day, but I needed the money and I was paid as a casual. No work equals no pay. If I did go to work the following day, she said under NO circumstances was I to speak to anyone, especially not to the boss. I suppose I really shouldn’t have just done that recorded radio interview that was going to be on the radio the following Saturday. I didn’t tell her about that.

She prescribed Seroquel. Seroquel takes me to the death zone. The smallest crumb renders me seriously unconscious for 12 hours and the following day I can’t function. The decision to take it is not one I take lightly but I took it and I didn’t go to work the following day. The hypo mania put up a big fight.

Then I fell. It was a bad fall. A very bad fall.

But spring is here and I am back blogging. Things are looking up. I am fine. Well, I think I’m fine. I look fine. Perhaps I am  fine. I don’t know what ‘fine’ is any more. What I do know is that I am really, really proud of the things I have achieved. Sometimes the achievement has been getting out of bed or getting in to bed and staying asleep. Sometimes it has been living with anxiety. Sometimes it has been doing public speaking in spite of how awful I feel. I can always pull myself together to present about bipolar. It’s too important. Sometimes it has been doing something really nice for someone. Mostly it has been living with rapid cycling Bipolar 1 and anxiety, and trying to keep everything together. Which I (mostly ) do. I am very proud of that.

I have met plenty of people who struggle with bipolar just as I do. I want to meet people who have bipolar like me and live in harmony with it. I want to meet people who have stable relationships, untainted by mood swings. I want to meet people who have had trouble with bipolar in their past and now sail in calm(er) waters. Is it you? I am told that you’re out there, the experts insist that you are. I don’t believe them though. I don’t believe you exist. Do you? If you do, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.


Bipolar: one in ten

I spoke to a group of students a few weeks ago about mental health and mental illness. They were just regular students, with (I assume) no greater risk of having mental illnesses than anyone else. I know what the statistics are for various mental illnesses.

Anne Presenting at TAFEThe statistics according to the researchers are:

Bipolar: one in a hundred
Anxiety: one in ten

In this class of 20 there were two students with bipolar disorder and four who have experienced panic attacks.

The statistics in this particular class were:

Bipolar: one in ten
Anxiety: one in five

And they were just the ones who told me. Not scientific data, however, food for thought.

Presentation at TAFE #2Here’s the feedback from the teacher:

Subject: Guest Speaking
Date: 7 August 2013 11:45:19 AM AEST
To: “” <>

Dear Anne,

I wanted to firstly express my thanks to you for giving up your time last night to come and speak to the students. It was an invaluable opportunity for both the students learning and also for myself as the teacher. I will be able to draw on your presentation as we progress through the rest of the course.

I have never seen a class so focussed (apart from the one student who is having issues to sort out at the moment) and listening to every word and piece of wisdom you were able to share. The mix of activities: speaking, reading, video clips and group work were great.

I think we will be continuing to reflect back to what you have shared (remember when Anne said….) to assist us in linking theory to a real life example.

Thank you Anne for coming and sharing your experiences with us.

Best wishes.

Regards …


For what it’s worth

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

Eric Roth


Advice to depressed people

‘It can be hard to sustain a sense of humour during an episode that is really not so funny. It is urgently necessary to do so. The most important thing to remember during a depression is this: you do not get the time back. It is not tacked on at the end of your life to make up for the disaster years. Whatever time is eaten by depression is gone forever. The minutes that are ticking by as you experience the illness are minutes you will not know again. No matter how bad you feel, you have to do everything you can to keep living, even if all you can do for the moment is to breathe, wait it out and occupy the time of waiting as fully as you possibly can. That’s my big piece of advice to depressed people. Hold on to time; don’t wish your life away. Even the minutes when you feel you are going to explode are minutes of your life, and you will never get those minutes again.’

Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon, p. 430

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