I wasn't going 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 founded the advocacy group, Oz Kiwi, 10 years ago, around Easter, on a shoestring budget. I started the Oz Kiwi Facebook page (which I am now blocked from) and built the original website, with a little kiwi roadsign as the original logo. It started as an awareness campaign and it grew fast, with activists trying to take control of it. A power struggle.
It started off as an awareness campaign and became an advocacy non-profit. I am no longer part of Oz Kiwi, nor acknowledged by it. I founded it because I felt vulnerable after finding out that I was on a non-protected Visa (as were hundreds of thousands of others).
Another woman lied that she founded Oz Kiwi, caused a lot of disruption, before starting up a rival organisation then a business piggybacking from her brief time with Oz Kiwi. Which, when I looked up the history, was less than a month longer than me. I got abuse and death threats from her pals for speaking the truth. It was obvious she made sockpuppet accounts, as she deleted the trail of harrassment of me after someone called her out. The reason I spoke up was because another advocate had a mental health crisis and was made into a scapegoat.
There was a pile of drama and false allegations were made this advocate and myself were the same person and had run off with $4,000 of funds raised. One of the reasons I had left is because I didn't want to be part of donations being received with no accountability. No money went into my hands.
I spoke the truth again, recently, correcting the errors (people mistakingly believing this woman started it) and I got more abuse. Public records on social media still exist where she admitted that she didn't start it, plus others where she lied that she did. She challenged me to a live video scrap. That would not be good for my mental health. I did let her know I screenshot her abusive comment that she deleted minutes later.
She wanted to take all the credit, when it was a collaborative effort, with many volunteers. It grew so fast that I have no idea now how many people were involved in all. At least dozens. Thousands if you consider the people who were spreading the word. I had no direct contact with MPs.
I just want the truth and simple recognition. Surely that's not too much to ask. Only a few people know who actually founded it. It's important, as disabled people are often taken advantage of, with someone else taking all the credit for other people's creative efforts. It takes an enormous amount of creative energy and hyperfocus to launch something like this, which resulted in a huge toll to my mental health.
I loathe politics and I don't like working with others because it's stressful.
I didn't get my citizenship, nor did one of the grassroots volunteers who has similar diagnoses. What we did though has potentially helped hundreds of thousands of people. Even though, at one point, I regretted it becaus someone ended up in hospital and Oz Kiwi was being labelled by critics a 'hate-group' (because of activists angering Australians).
I am disbelieved when I say what the true origins of Oz Kiwi is. Told that I must be lying, that I must want to be in the limelight, that if it is true, that I only played a tiny part that didn't really matter, to stop being bitter and to move on. A child lost his mother. How does one move on from that?
What I did learn from this crappy experience was to no longer be afraid to 'own' what I start. I also never collaborated with anyone else again. Until a recent one-off blog post with a long-term autistic advocate. It's the most viewed post on my this blog. I will be blogging in future at Soar Purpose. The reason I am moving over to a blogging under a different banner, is that I want to leave behind 15 years of online advocacy. Advocating as a vulnerable person for vulnerable people (mostly about mental health and disability).
Update: One of the volunteers with Oz Kiwi from early on acknowledged me. Tim knew the complexities of the topic and wrote some articles communicating so others could make sense of it. Also helped Oz Kiwi regain credibility after it was nearly derailed by dominant egos bulldozing over others.
Tim was also chairperson at times (I would see things in the media from time to time).
It means a lot to be acknowledged after being ignored and blocked (and subjected to abuse from someone who tried to control and take full credit for Oz Kiwi early on).
Mental Health crisis
I had a mental health crisis in 2015 after a marriage breakup. I had a breakdown from all the stress, including facing homelessness. My ex moved another woman into the house that was still in my name when I was in hospital. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I went from living in a nice house in a nice suburb, managing an award-winning pet sitting business while being the primary caregiver to my son, to facing homelessness, with no assistance from the Australian government (other than my hospital stay) because of my citizenship status.
I had no choice to return to New Zealand, where I was also officially diagnosed with a severe presentation of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
Struggle to survive
Accident Compensation Corporation, ACC in New Zealand wouldn't have paid for my therapy had the PTSD been 100% from the trauma in Australia. I had childhood trauma in New Zealand which clinicians said made me vulnerable to the trauma in Australia. My PTSD injury is considered to be since childhood but didn't fully express until after the second sexual assault trauma.
It's been a very tough time to improve with my mental health. I didn't receive anything from a two-decade marriage. But the worst part of all is that I have been separated fom my son. I was told by a lawyer I could not take my son with me without my ex's permission, otherwise I could be charged with child abduction under the Hague Convention. I signed over the house so that I could have some (very few, not as many as agreed) visits from my son.
I am unable to work full-time. I have an ongoing mental injury of PTSD, despite treatment for the past 4 years. I also now have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (changed from original diagnosis of depression). I don't have a secure future and I'm not fully independent.
It's been tough. I've been lied about. Some of the lies came back to me, when I was trolled by my ex's flying monkeys. Including someone I used to trust as a friend. I have to say, that I was rather amused at the accusation that I changed my name and returned to New Zealand to escape the Australian government. The Australian government know who I am (they sent me correspondence).
I painted and wrote as part of my processing. Having two art as therapy exhibitions were actually going off on tangents while writing my first semiautobiographical novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. It was an exceptionally challenging project, with cognitive impairments. One of the reasons ACC denied me a piddly compensation payout was because I self-published a book. They spent more on pyschiatrists and lawyers to fight me, than the lump-sum compensation.
Voice truth not justice
One of the things I did on my platform as Bipolar Courage is say the truth of why I have PTSD. I didn't name my ex but got legal threats anyway, to try and silence me. I need to have a voice and I feel I have done this best I could.
Truth is more important to me than justice, although I do have a sense of justice too. Clinicians have finally acknowledged autism spectrum features since childhood. (I was mute as a child, so speaking on video has been very tiring).
I own very little (don't even own the bed I sleep in). My next saving goal is a bed of my own.
I will not be pressing criminal charges for the abuse in Australia. When I took a lawyers advice to take legal action, I was so anxious about not being believed by a judge, that I had the breakdown the day before the hearing, so it was tossed out (as I didn't turn up as I was in hospital).
I have no faith in the justice system. My taking on ACC this year for compensation was to try see what the justice system is like. Even with loads of medical evidence in black-and-white, it was dismissed, as ACC is a billion-dollar superpower that has laws protecting it. I am legally eligible for reassessment.
So what chance do I have with my word against someone else, in a criminal case, with the stress of a trial? The way the court system is set up, the victim/survivor is on trial, and it can be retraumatising for survivors.
I haven't stepped foot back into Australia since I left. My mother picked me up from the psychiatric unit and brought me back. It took me years to make a complaint to the hospital, the same hospital that was in the media for toxic culture and bullying. I received an apology from the clinical director, who said they will look at the way they do things, as what happened to me, should not be allowed to happen to someone else.
Family don't always see eye-to-eye but if it wasn't for my parents reaching out when I was at lower than rock bottom, I wouldn't be here today.
I keep myself busy with meaningful projects such as painting and writing. I self-published a few books based on my experiences and I intend to write at least two more. I anticipate publishing a memoir, Bipolar Courage, about some of the behind-the-scenes during the advocacy journey. The advocacy journey was tough on my mental health, as at times I was mob-bullied by activists.
I have decided my public advoacy journey has come to an end, in April 2023. Nine years on from the second sexual assault trauma at Easter 2014. Denial is a powerful force, as I tried to deny the trauma, until I developed a full presentation of PTSD.
I changed my name legally to survive. I feel it's time for me to move on with my journey, away from (direct) advocacy. To focus on my creative expression (mainly painting and writing) under the banner of Soar Purpose. No longer pigeonholed as bipolar, trauma and mental health. To not discuss anymore all the detail about the trauma and my mental health. To not speak on camera as a vlog anymore. To have some more privacy.
I feel more comfortable behind the camera, not in front of it. I like to take photos and videos of nature. Inspiration for what I might paint one day.
I shed a few tears writing this post. Writing is a form of processing. I will leave up my blog and my vlog for now. Most of what I have created has been destroyed. Not this time.
I also since reconnected with the advocate who also has mental health issues. His were triggered from the stresses related to Oz Kiwi. I am glad he is still alive. I've tried to help him understand he did a good job under the trying circumstances.
I have no idea how many people were involved in Oz Kiwi in total. All played a part, different skills with the collaboration. Some for a short period of time, some longer. Most not recognised.
You all did a great job.
Maybe one day, when the dust has settled and people have forgotten, I might write more about the drama involved with founding and launching Oz Kiwi. Like memoir, from my perspective if those first 6 months.
Xanthe Wyse (former name Miranda), founder of Oz Kiwi.
Find me on Soar Purpose for my creative expression beyond advocacy.
Blog post on Soar Purpose: This Oz Kiwi flew home
Recorded this video in 2022
25/4/2023 07:03:23 pm
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I am no longer blogging or vlogging as a mental health and disability advocate. The politics of it is too toxic for me.