mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Socially accepted racism

My two daughters each have a vintage style cabbage patch doll. They like to take them out with us sometimes, last night i saw my pdoc and in the waiting room a woman reached over to me and said “good on you for getting your daughter a brown doll” – i simply smiled instead of getting into it in the doctors waiting room, but afterwards my daughter questioned it. she asked ‘mum, why did that lady say that’ and i told her it’s because she thinks mummy was making a statement about race equality by buying you a doll that is brown. my daughters big blue beautiful eyes looked up at me and said “i never even thought of her as brown, she’s just tasha” – this is because i’m teaching my children not to see colour in the same way that my generation was taught to see colour.

I’m 32, my mother and her husband are somewhat racist, my grandparents were typical australians, they would never discount a person on a one on one basis based on their race, but they did tend to generalize racial groups, which is something rife in australia. When it comes to “boat people” or immigrants, it’s very much us and them. A lot of people think these people are coming to our country and stealing our resources and getting government hand outs, they don’t pause for a moment to think of the situation these people have left behind them and that they deserve to be here, they deserve to live in a place where they are safe and don’t have to worry about militia or where their next meal will come from or any such issues.

The fact of it is, most middle class australians try not to be racist, but it’s hard when the media shows Aboriginals in the light that it does, when the stories that get reported on them are never positive but always relate to alcohol and substance abuse, incest or child molestation. True, in some areas these issues are rife, but it’s not something an entire race has to answer for, just as much as there’s a bunch of gross old white men out there looking at child pornography on their computers every day, as a caucasian person i would never expect to be held accountable for the acts of these men, yet a lot of people view the entire race of Aboriginals as drunk child molesters, it makes my heart sad.

I was in England when the London bombings occurred and suddenly anyone wearing a turban or a hijab was viewed suspiciously. I moved back to Australia not long after the bombings and found the same mentality here, most not even realizing that those wearing a turban are an entirely different religion to those they think they’re hating. I have worked with quite a few Muslims and have found them to be much like anyone else, sure they have different religious holidays but they laughed at jokes like anyone else, cried when they were sad like anyone else, treated me with kindness and if you look at the structure of their religion, it’s actually quite beautiful, much like most religions, their true point isn’t to segregate and alienate but to spread love and generosity amongst people. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of any race/culture/religion, all of them have negative aspects, but perhaps it’s time we look further into the positive aspects and try to respect each others differences for what they are, not a choice to be unlike one another but simply differences.

A school mum recently congratulated me on “letting” my children have play dates with kids from a vietnamese family, i told this woman i had spent time with the parents just like i would with any family before letting my children go to their house, found them to be very nice people, so why wouldn’t i let them have play dates? she responded ‘oh you know, they do things very differently’ to which i told her ‘different isn’t bad, it’s just different’ she hasn’t spoken to me much since then, but in my opinion that’s for the best, if a narrow minded person dislikes you, then you must be doing something right.

 

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Do you feel completely alone and misunderstood?

I think one of the biggest challenges with having a mental illness is that we keep so much locked away. We worry that if we share what’s inside people will ostracize us and quite often, it’s true. I think all of us have had an experience where we’ve had a friend tell us ‘you can tell me anything’ and when we give them a glimpse of what’s going on underneath, they pull away or it overwhelms them.

The fact of it is, if you haven’t been through similar experiences with mental illness, it does freak people out. It does overwhelm people, and it’s not their fault, people want to be good friends and want to know us well because that’s how people bond, but when we have an experience where we put ourselves out there and share with someone who hasn’t necessarily experienced something similar, and it ends up pushing them away, it makes us build walls around us.

I’ve had a few experiences where i’ve had a ‘good’ friend who has sensed something was wrong and has asked me to open up and share, only to back away when i’ve done so. It hurts so much to bear your soul only to feel rejected, and it’s only with a bit of age and experience that i’ve learned that it’s not their fault, people do generally have good intentions but it just isn’t something a person can understand without experiencing it.

My husband doesn’t suffer any manner of mental illness, he’s felt ‘blue’ on occasion, he has mood swings within the ‘normal’ realm of human behaviour, but as far as mental health goes he’s a picture of wellness. He’s quiet, deals with things as they come and doesn’t really have any kind of inner turmoil. It’s taken over ten years for him to understand what goes on with me. he’s the only ‘non mental’ person i trust to tell what’s really going on with me but like i said, it took years for us to get to a place where he really understood my mental illness.

The problem with keeping all of our issues and turmoil locked away is that we never truly deal with it, we convince ourselves that we are ‘too crazy’ or crazier than everyone else and that sharing what’s going on would only alienate us from others and compound our problems. After being burnt from sharing my issues, I spent many years locking it all away and refusing to let anyone know what was going on beneath the surface, convinced it would just end badly and end friendships. The truth of it is, when we share with others who have had similar experiences, when we relate to others and feel understood by others, it helps more than I can express. We can start to gain the strength to confront our issues when we feel less alone in our pain, and it’s only by confronting our issues and our past and shining a light into all of those dark hidden places, that we will ever gain any kind of true peace. We can take meds and have good patches but when your mental illness is due to or in conjunction with past issues and trauma, you will never be able to move forward without dealing with these issues, and it’s almost impossible to deal with them alone.

So, for anyone feeling alone right now, like no one understands or just that you’re scared to share because you don’t want to be rejected, I urge you to find the ‘right’ person, not necessarily your best friend, not necessarily your neighbour, but you can find someone on wordpress who has been through what you have been through, not exactly perhaps, but something similar enough to gain understanding.

I started this blog a couple of months ago and the progress I have made with my own past and struggles has been more than I’ve made in the past 15 years. It’s amazing to me, I opened up and started being as honest as I could be, decided to put it all out there and literally in two months I have healed more than I have in the past 15 years. It’s all because I’ve been able to connect with others who are like minded and have suffered similar shit to me.

I have received training as a counselor, so if you want an ear and the anonymity of a relative stranger, feel free to email me at mckarliebear@gmail.com – i will reply to any emails i get. If you want advice or just to tell your story, I’m happy to listen and be there for you. It doesn’t have to be me, just find someone who has been through something similar to you and try to share, I can’t tell you how much it will help.

A lot of us think we will never be free of our burdens, but only we can heal ourselves, and it takes hard work and effort and we need to be brave. But the first step is opening up, knocking down some of those walls that we’ve built around ourselves to keep it all out, but by keeping the world out we also keep ourselves locked in, and we wont get anywhere that way. 

So many suicides could have been avoided if people didn’t feel so alone and hopeless in their lives, if they could have had someone say ‘i know exactly how you feel’ and related to them. I am bipolar, only diagnosed a year and a bit ago, until then I was told I suffered depression and anxiety. I was sexually abused as a child, then physically abused by my Mother’s second husband, I was then abandoned by my Mother and spent years abusing alcohol and drugs and partaking in dysfunctional sexual relationships. So if you want to share or talk, then please feel free.

Peace

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A world of me and you

The sun pierces through the blinds, painting railtracks on your skin

I softly nuzzle against you, take a breath and hold you in

Your sweat smells sweet and your body amazing by light

If this were a battle I’d have lost the fight

But angst is not present here I’m at peace by your side

Thoughts of last night flash, of when you were inside

I’m taken back to moments of pure and utter bliss

You mutter in your sleep as though your dreams have gone amiss

I gently stroke your hair and whisper “baby it’s ok”

A smile crosses your lips as though you know what I have to say

I watch you quietly as a mouse your breathing in and out

A surge of love washes over me, the sudden urge to shout

Shout from rooftops or to God above ‘thank you for this man’

Instead I smile quietly and for the day I plan

For I know you’ll be beside me in whatever it is I do

For years it’s been and years to come, a world of me and you

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Break from the pain

There is a word outside of pain

It’s somewhere we can all be sane

Somewhere that we’re understood

Somewhere there’s less bad, more good

It’s not that far away you see

It’s inside of you, inside of me

It’s somewhere in the choices we make

It’s there in the steps we need to take

For those of us with this illness

The demons come out in the stillness

We hide ourselves, far away

We don’t know to who but we still pray

For just a moment of peace

For some kind of release

From the aching inside of us

We can do it with just a little trust

Trust each other and choose the light

It wont just magically be alright

But slowly you will see

A light shining within you and me

We just have to shut it down

Not choose to sit and mope around

I know how scary it can be

When your mind is laced with insanity

But we have more power than we believe

Walk out the door, choose to leace

Just push yourself to do the simple things

You’ll be amazed at what peace it brings

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Misunderstood hand extended

I listen to the rain as it patters on the roof

I watch the droplets falling as I feel cold and aloof

There is a chill in the air and I can see my own breath

I contemplate the big things like God, life and death

I wonder how many people, there are just like me

Treading the line so dubiously between sane and insanity

My skin reacts to the temperature with bumps and hairs on end

I wonder if the broken mind is something one can mend

I notice my breathing changes as I worry for what’s to come

I seem to be getting anxious that all my work will be undone

I spent so many years fighting memories of past

And found and unknown freedom in confronting it at last

But here I sit, cold and grim and stuck in my own mind

I refocus on the rain but again my troubles I find

They silently creep back in, the back door to my brain

And again it leaves me wondering, how far am I from sane?

One thing I have in common, with others just like me

Is that we feel detached from things, we are all lonely

I try to reach out and lend and ear, sometimes the gesture is met with fear

Or simply misunderstood intentions, I don’t do things by normal conventions

If I see another in pain, I reach out a hand to heal

But some seem to want to keep it in, just feel the way they feel

What can I do to change myself and help others around?

I know there has to be a way, a solution to be found

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Come my friend

Hello my friend come sit by me

And tell me of your story

I want to know all about it

So go on, let it out

We all seem to move in silence

Troubled by past pain and violence

The things that happen when we’re small

Follow us till we’ve grown big and tall

The seeds were planted long ago

Years later does the damage show

 

So come my friend, sit by me

I truly want to know your story

Horrors bury themselves so deep

That slowly out they tend to creep

We think that we are crazier than most

Haunted by past events like a ghost

But if we share with one another

We can share the same arbor

You don’t have to be alone in pain

More than you realize, we are the same

 

So come my friend, I really care

Come sit by me and really share

Maybe we can find some peace

Maybe the loneliness will finally cease

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Mathematics by Hollie McNish

A very clever spoken word about immigration and the attitudes towards it.

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run for the hills……she’s bipolar

i seriously questioned whether to include that information in my first blog yesterday, but as i said there, if i’m going to blog i’m going to do it as honestly as i can, and it’s a big part of what and who i am. the stigma associated with being bipolar is fairly huge, i was only diagnosed a year or so ago, up until then i was told i had depression and anxiety and was often medicated accordingly. i’ve been on and off medication since i was 15 years old, being that my brain hadn’t finished growing i think it was a mistake but i had little choice in the matter, i was becoming too difficult to deal with so my mother put me on meds.

if you search the word “bipolar” on twitter, you’ll find a string of teenagers saying things like ‘today’s weather is totes bipolar, wish it would make up it’s mind’ or ‘my mum is so bipolar, she’s like angry and then ok all the time’ or even ‘my computer is being so bipolar’ – the misconceptions are staggering. a lot of people claim to be understanding of the condition but still believe that a person can “snap out of it” if they really wanted to, that they’re a bit depressed and if they really wanted to be better they need to get off their arse and try. because the world thinks like this, a lot of bipolar sufferers end up with a planet of guilt on their shoulders because we feel like we’re letting the side down, that we SHOULD be able to just snap out of it and choose to be better, choose to be happy, choose something other than pain and misery. the fact of it is, there is no choice. when you are at your darkest, every moment hurts so much that your only choice is to either keep breathing, or not, and sometimes the energy it takes to just keep breathing is all you have in you.

i had a friend call me yesterday in tears, she is also bipolar and has moved back in with her family and the situation is not good. they are frustrated with her staying in bed for days and not eating and keep telling her to choose to be better, and i honestly understand this frustration, if i saw a loved one in such a state i would want to help and if i couldn’t help i would be frustrated, but imposing on her that she has a choice is compounding the problem so much that she just isn’t coping, and as much as friend’s want to help, they get freaked out when you’re at your lowest and can’t get it together. so i’m the person she calls when she’s at her lowest, because at the end of the day she knows that i wont judge her and that i know what it’s like to be down and feel like i can’t get back up again, and it makes me feel good to be that person for her, to pull her through the mud, she’s a beautiful and kind person and i’m thankful she knows to use me when she needs to but ultimately, she needs understanding from the people around her every day, people need to understand that yes, sometimes when we are down we do have some control over our mood and can pick ourselves up, but sometimes, at the very lowest points, we just need love and patience and support.

my partner doesn’t necessarily understand what i go through but he knows the most important bits, that when i’m down that low it’s not my fault, it’s something that’s happening TO me, not something i’m choosing or not just laziness. he knows that any opportunity for a moment of happiness is one that i grab with both hands and don’t let go of, so in that respect i’m so lucky, having his support gives me a platform to pull myself up onto. he understands depression, most people do i suppose as most people have experienced at least some form of it, and i believe that slowly but surely, there is greater acceptance of depression and anxiety within society, hopefully one day soonish bipolar will gain the same understanding.

there are a handful of folks that do just want a pity party, and it’s up to you to figure out what is genuine and what’s not, but if you have someone in your life that suffers from bipolar or severe depression, try giving them a little space but letting them know you’re there if they need you, it’s pretty simple but often all a person needs to start to feel better. we all need support, as much as some of us deny it, and a little understanding goes a long way.

i grew up with a lot of misunderstanding and guilt, my family is deeply passive aggressive and backhanded, two faced as it were. so as an adult i clarify almost everything i find myself wondering about, and this puts a lot of people off. i think a lot of people assume that i’m looking for a fight or drama but it’s in fact the opposite, i’m clarifying openly because i DON’T want drama or a fight, if i think something might be wrong i just ask straight out, and this works against most of the social parameters currently in place and probably puts a lot of people off side, but i’m hoping in writing my blogs people will start to better understand that i’m just a person trying my best, that i’m a bit left of center but always trying my best.

 

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