Friday, January 22, 2010


So. This blog is named Sanity Optional. It has been so since its conception on 23rd May, 2005. But right now, sanity is most definitely not optional.

As most regular readers are well aware, I have Bipolar. Well, I think I do. I've never been diagnosed. I have my ups and downs, my ins and outs.I've always managed to ride out the bad periods, and control it (to some extent) with diet, exercise, limted alcohol intake and a good routine. I try to get plenty of sleep, but thats a bit hard. Ever since I as 16 I've woken up at 3.30 am. I'm not sure why. And over the years its been added to by a 1am and a 5am wake up. Its so consistent I could literally set my clock by it.

Anyway. For the past few weeks I've been doing the up-down, round and round thing. Its sucked. to put it minorly. But it all came to a head about a week ago.

For the uninitiated, I work with animals. Its a great job, but it can be quite emotionally challenging at times too. I had a group of animals that were destined to die, and we needed some blood from them. The easiest way to take the quantity of blood we needed, is to anaesthetise the animal, take the blood from the heart, and kill it immediately. No muss, no fuss. And its something I've done lots of times before. Well, this time it failed. For some reason, they would not take to the anaesthetic. Every time I got the needle in, they'd move, or kick, or wriggle. I hated it. No matter what angle I tried, no matter how I held the needle, how I supported the head (so the gas was unobstructed), they moved. I tried aspect in every combination. Still, they moved. This went on for 3 hours. I was a mess by the end of it.

I chucked the worlds biggest tanty. I was screaming and swearing and crying. I ended up yelling at my coworkers to finish the job, and literally running out of the facility. I sat in the change rooms, door shut, lights off, in the corner. I cried, for I don't know how long. Not little weepy bits, but gut wrenching, wracking sobs. I ended up making myself feel sick, so I tried to vomit for about 10 minutes more. To no avail. All I could do was spit up something that tasted like vinegar.

Eventually I got changed into a fresh uniform. I was so wrecked I could no longer bear to wear the other one, even though there was nothing really wrong with it. I slunk back into the facility and apologised to some people that I'd yelled at, and went and hid somewhere quiet, isolated and dark.

Later that day, my boss came to see me, and asked me up to HR. I nearly shat myself, but I did end up crying again. Before I'd even gone anywhere. I headed up and had the talk. You can tell how it would have gone. Basically they asked me how I thought they would be feeling about what happened. I replied (very honestly) that, if it was anything like how I felt, they'd be acutely embarrassed.

*Insert more tears here*

So the next question went along the lines of 'is there something going on?' To which I started with the gut wrenching cries again. If I had've kept breathing, I would have been absolutely hysterical. As it was, we were in an office in the middle of admin and, despite my earlier outburst, I still didn't want everybody knowing I was sick.

I told my boss I had bipolar and it hasn't been playing nice. Both her and the HR lady were great about it. Very supportive. They told me to go home immediately after the interview, and take the next day off if I wanted to.

I ended up going straight to Gloria jeans for a gigantic muffin and a coffee. I dithered about a little, before swinging past the doctors to ask about their mental health care. Its bulk billed (meaning I don't have to pay any of it), but I'd have to get a referral first, and it would be a half hour wait to see a doctor. I declined.

Mum rang me that night. Since she works in the mental health field, she knew what was going on. She was asking me questions about my sleep habits, spending, eating, exercise, routine and thoughts. She ended up deciding that I wasn't a danger to myself, but she's still worried, and has been calling pretty much every night to see how I am.

I did go back to see the doctor on Friday though. Went up to the counter and asked if there was a doctor who would be best to talk to about mental health problems. Tweedle dum and Tweedle dummer just suggested I wait for the next doctor. I wasn't too keen on that idea, since it was a bulk billing medical centre and about half of my experiences with doctors are to get me in, sign the sheet (so they can get paid) and get me out.

I lucked out though. I got a great lady doctor, and told her about what had happened. She asked the same questions that Mum did. We talked about keeping to a routine, eating right, sleeping better etc. She told me to really limit my spending. Apparently thats a big problem with bipolar peeps. And she gave me a mental health crisis line that I can call any time I need to. We discussed the panic attacks I'd been having. And we discussed my sleep patterns too. I asked if she could give me anything to help me sleep, and she said no. She didn't want to prescribe me with anything because she didn't want to be messing with drugs and such, when I was likely to end up on something. She did give me a natural remedy that I could try.

Out to the pharmacy, I asked about that particular remedy. The pharmacist recommended something else, but they didn't have it in stock. I went to another place. That pharmacist (c*nt) said herbal remedies were all a bunch of bollocks, and without treating the underlying problem, nothing would work. Another place, another pharmacist, recommended the same as the first. By this stage I'd spent about an hour just looking at sleep aids, so I had an idea of what to look for, and had already come to that conclusion. I managed to price shop around, and found it for $10 less than most other places.

I have made an appointment with the psychiatrist for the end of March. It is quite a while away, but I should be ok. I have boot camp going on at the moment, and I'm muchly excited about it. Training with the best trainers I know, and some fantastic people. Its outdoors, and something different each night. So it will keep me quite happy and interested for a bit. The sleep tablets are starting to work. On the first night I skipped the 1am wake up. And just two nights ago, I slept straight through til 5.30. Its not much, but its something. I know I'm likely to be on these for quite a while. I have 10 years of fucked up sleep to retrain my brain from.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Bad day today. Going to docs tomorrow. Need help.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I've had enough. Enough of people, noise, crowds, lonliness, smells. I've had enough. I need a break. So I went away for a weekend. Hightailed it to the mountains.

Straight after work on Friday (yes, I had to work new years day) I headed out to the mountains. I stopped at Katoomba for lunch. Well, I tried to anyway. The place I stopped at had none of the staff turn up, and they were only doing breakfast. After a 25 minute wait for service, I left and stopped further up the road, at Mount Victoria, then headed further afield to my stay at Hampton.

I arrived around 3pm, settled in to read magazines and call people. The room wasn't much. But for $50 a night, it was better than I expected. 2 beds , a bar fridge, a TV, a kettle, a shower and a toilet. And only a very few cockroaches. I picked the bed that was about 2 inches higher, and up against the window. It was like sleeping on a wooden board, and I didn't realise until the morning that I left that the other was softer. Still, it was quiet, and the bed was up against the window, so sleeping was ok.

I spent about an hour on the phone, calling family. Just for a chat. Made myself a coffee and just chilled out.

I went up to the bar for dinner that first night. Selected the seafood basket, with salad instead of chips. I got deep fried calamari rings, a battered and fried crab stick, crumbed and fried prawn cocktails, and fish nuggets (that resembled peni)... you guessed it, Fried. And the salad was simply chopped up iceberg lettuce, toomato and cucumber. Ah well, country food.

I did strike up a conversation with some of the locals, and got some good pointers on places to go to get photos. Which led to this particular beauty the next day.

I spent the night watching TV and doping puzzles in magazines. I had nothing to do, so I did a full body moisturise after my shower. I never do that! I never have the time. And I did face moisturising both morning and night too. Something else I never get to do.

The next day (Saturday) I headed out to the Jenolan Caves. I love this place, but think I've had enough of it to last me a while. I parked up on the furthest car park and went for a walk up the mountain. 5 steps in and I'm huffing and puffing. But I quickly warmed up, and it was so worth it.

Then had to trek all the way back down. Halfway, I got distracted, and went up these.

Which, as it turned out, led over the great gaping maw you saw earlier. You can see the lookout where the photo was taken in this?

Can't see it? Here's a zoomed shot...

Half an hour later I arrived at the bottom of the trek. Sweaty and puffing. Headed into the ticket office and went to purchase my passes for the cave tours. Only to be told that the tour I really, really wanted to do was sold out. *sigh* So I decided to head out to Oberon at the end of the day instead.

This in mind, I did 2 tours of some rather stunning caves, a little bushwalking, had a sandwich, and just chilled out. trust me when I say, this was difficult to limit myself to puttin up just 5 photos here. If you want to check out more, they're on farcebook.

I jumped in the car mid-afternoon and headed out in the direction (I prayed) of Oberon. And, my what a hick town that was. I love country people. Headed to a cafe for a cappuccino in a chipped mug. Did some more puzzles. Went for a wander up the main street, and back down. Went into both supermarkets, bought some chocolate. Walked up the main street, and back down again. Checked out the menu's at the pub and the pizza joint. Walked up the main street, and back down again. Rang my sister. Got her to google restaurants in Oberon, and discovered that the RSL was a little further down the road. The menu there was much better. I ended up picking the lamb cutlets with tomato and onion gravy and seasonal vegetables.

What I got was 2 lamb cutlets, crumbed and deep fried, with a random rasher of bacon draped across them, dropped on top of bacon/cheese mashed potato, and smothered in gravy. The vegetables were peas, carrot and cauliflower, with the tiniest spoonful of gluggy cheese sauce. With a little effort, that could have been an awesome meal! What is it with country people and their need to deep fry shit?

That night I headed back to the motel, settled in with my magazine and watched tv.

Next morning was check out time. Packed my shit, said goodbye to the guys at the hotel, and hit the road. Normally a 2 and a half hour drive, I took 5 and a half to get home. I stopped everywhere I'd ever wanted to. Every place I'd ever gone 'that could be interesting' but kept going past, this time I stopped.

I visited several historic sights, went to a few lookouts of the mountains, had coffee and cake at Katoomba and stopped for lunch at Hazelbrook. At each stop I pulled out my magazine and sat there for at least half an hour after I'd finished eating. On my trawl through Katoomba, I managed to get some really nice shots of the gardens in the rain.

It was lovely, but altogether too short. Now I'm tired, and my soul hurts again.