Blog

Creating a new voice.

Creating a new voice.

What happened when compassion replaced clinical objectivity, and creativity replaced compliance.

This post is about the time I was supported to create a new voice, to ‘job-share’ with my scary critical voice. It changed everything.

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The seeds of my recovery: A new community and a little Scotswoman.

The seeds of my recovery: A new community and a little Scotswoman.

In this article I explore how the seeds of my recovery began to take hold after I went to a community-managed mental health service.

For the first time, I found control, hope, meaningful connections, and eventually, life dreams.

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Speaking unspeakable shame.

Speaking unspeakable shame.

Trauma gave me shame, and shame sent me mad. This post explores how unravelling my own shame in a ‘mock trial’ helped me to heal.

Trigger warning: This post explores detailed impacts of child sexual abuse and may be distressing for some people.

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The things I want don’t change when I’m unwell.

The things I want don't change when I'm unwell.

Reflections on the launch of IMHA, Victoria’s new Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service.

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I am the person of whom you speak.

I am the person of whom you speak.

One of the most difficult challenges I’ve had as a mental health consumer advocate is when people deny our lived experience. It drives me nuts. So-called recovered consumers. Last year I came across a person who used the term ‘so-called recovered consumers’. Worryingly, this person had influence in national mental health policy and she directly challenged the credibility and relevance of consumer advocates. She believed that no-one could really recover from ‘serious mental illness’, because that had been the experience of her family members. And so, her logic went, if people with ‘serious mental illness’ can’t really recover, then consumer advocates like me could never have been properly unwell to begin with. We can’t possibly represent the people who most need help. We have no relevance. Having to work with this person made me feel emotionally dizzy. Initially her words hurt me deeply. I cried. And then I got angry […]

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Living with trauma stories in the media

Living with trauma stories in the media

It’s hard to avoid stories about trauma and abuse in the Australian media right now. Between the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse and the royal commission into family violence, a stream of stories are being reported every day. I want to share my own feelings about this, and connect with others who may be feeling similarly. I am heartbroken to hear so many stories of pain – and worse, how often people have had their stories denied and ignored. I am heartened that these stories are coming into the light, and hopeful that we will start to see real, systemic change as a result. I feel validated to realise how many of us have experienced trauma and silencing of that trauma – I feel less alone. I feel triggered as almost every story reminds me of my own pain and all of its consequences over the years. My […]

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Just a cry for help.

Just a cry for help.

In a world where there is so much talk about suicide prevention, I find it hard to understand how so many people still use phrases like ‘it’s just a cry for help’ or ‘she’s just attention-seeking’. This post is a reflection on what we mean when we say these things, and a call for greater understanding and compassion.

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Writing about me without me.

Writing about me without me.

What is written about us in hospital records? Whose version is the truth? Can we find ways to co-create narratives about our lives? This post explores my personal struggles with ‘case notes’ and reflects on better ways to keep records that respect the person.

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The magnetism of madness

The magnetism of madness

Madness can bring a strange comfort. For me it often came with a seductive quality that lured me to relax and fall into the familiar comfort of its waiting arms.

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Just keep typing! A night of madness.

Just keep typing! A night of madness.

What is it like to be in the grips of suicidal despair? How are we treated by the places that are supposed to help? This post shares journal entries from a night of despair, and the next morning.

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