The lyrics 'I get knocked down but I get up again' from the song Tubthumbing by Chumbawamba came to mind after I watched back a video I recorded in 2017 when I was struggling. At that time, my psychiatrist said, 'I'm doing my best to keep you alive right now'.
It was rough. Rapid cycling from mania then crashing into depression. I was unable to drive, unable to prepare a basic meal, unable to work at all. Now I can drive when I am up to it on quieter roads, can work around 8 hours per week, can usually prepare basic meals.
Recently, in a hypomania episode, I prepared a bipolar mania perspectives resource. The reason I call it that, is because I found had records from several different perspectives of a mania episode. Including speaking on camera, writing at the time, psychiatrist notes, artworks, making sense of it later with writing.
The resource can be downloaded as a pdf, below. It will be best viewed on a laptop as a digital file (not printed). My attempt to convert to EPub format didn't work out (images did weird things), so I have copied and pasted the content into this blog post, for a flow on version for those with smaller mobile devices.
I started this blog with a blog post about depression, when I was feeling depressed. Recently, I've been in a hypomania episode and getting some things done for a change. Hypomania is elevated mood that isn't as intense as mania.
With the surge of energy, I made a resource on mania, using records in different formats to show aspects of what it's like. Decided to do this after going through some digital files and I found a mania video from 2017 that I didn't think I'd uploaded yet (but have now, as the final video for Bipolar Courage, even though it's a bit cringe, and an online friend said 'scary' to see me that disinhibited and the opposite of how I usually am).
I wasn't intending to post further on this blog, as I am moving to my other blog on Soar Purpose and I am leaving years of (mostly mental health and disability) advocacy behind, to move forward.
Something huge has been announced, all over the news in New Zealand and Australia past few days. Policy has been changed at government level with negotiation between the two neighbouring countries. Kicked off by the vision and actions of a vulnerable person 10 years ago. Which snowballed to bring about change to help thousands of others. I want to explain in this post the beginnings of how this happened, which has been swept under the carpet.
I learned this evening that there is a direct pathway for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents to become Australian citizens, with less restrictive eligibility requirements. For a reasonable fee, starting July 2023. The fee at time of writing this blog was less that Australian $500 with no complicated and very expensive (thousands of dollars) permanent resident stage first (that many had not pathway to start). There are still elibility criteria but they are much more relaxed than previously.
I throw myself with great passion into projects but inevitably get burnt out. My mental health advocacy as Bipolar Courage is no exception. I have actually been burnt out with it for a long time. This is my last blog post for Bipolar Courage. (Update: I wrote a few more blog posts (there was still some stuff to process).
My first blog post for Bipolar Courage was in 2019, expressing what a depressive episode felt like. Starting a blog was an attempt to distract me from that, when I had setbacks with working on my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. Then I moved onto vlogging.
Technically, my first advocacy vlogs were back in 2017, under a different channel, since deleted. Some of that footage, when I was off meds, is in a playlist on Bipolar Courage.
This post is a collaboration with an advocate in the UK who goes by Shell Spectrum. Shell has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome (same as my son's childhood diagnosis) and has been advocating online about autism as an autistic woman for over 20 years. She started a list with this title and I have modified it slightly and extended it with her permission. Shell and I are the 'bad autistics' neurodiversity 'autistics' warned you about. Although I would rather see myself as a 'number 1 badass' (after all 'BAD1' was written in my medical records for 'bipolar affective disorder type 1).
I am on the autism spectrum myself, with a diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) but I choose to no longer call myself autistic, nor an autist. (Although neurodiversity advocates insist on calling me both). I had more prominent autism spectrum features in childhood (as did my son) than as an adult.
Shell and I am both critical of the neurodiversity movement, an identity politics ideology, that has ripped off medical conditions and watered them down into common traits. Then evangelised, recruited and indoctrinated people who have no clinically significant impairments since childhood. Many have profitted from this racket. Anyone who criticises this cult will be abused by extremists.
I have been writing about my experiences with Accident Compensation Corporation, ACC. ACC paid for my therapy for my mental injury of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. When I then applied for the pittance of lump sum compensation, ACC fought me all the way to court. In this blog post, I want to outline what the review process involved. This outline is not a substitute for legal advice and is to the best of my memory.
Part of me hesitates to write this, as at times I have felt like a 'burden' as a person with permanent disability. Accident Compensation Corporation, ACC, provided me with a breakdown of the costs so far for my mental injury (I requested this information). The figures are in New Zealand dollars, inclusive of GST, and are for the last four and a half years. Nearly NZ$20,000 so far, mostly spent on therapy from a clinical psychologist (still ongoing).
The costs below also include reports from three separate psychiatrists for the purposes of lump sum compensation.
I have been writing some blog posts about my experiences and what I have learnt from going through the whole process from being assessed and treated for my mental injury of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD right through the review and court appeal hearing process for compensation.
In this blog post, I want to focus on the assessment itself. The process is biased right form the start, as Accident Compensation Corporation, ACC, chose the assessor and they spend millions each year on doctors and lawyers to avoid paying out claimants for more complex and potentially expensive injuries.
I am no longer blogging or vlogging as a mental health and disability advocate. The politics of it is too toxic for me.