Friday, September 14, 2012

State of the Nation

Oh hai, hello! Nice to see you! 

One of the problems with blogging when you have a chronic illness that you mostly like to keep secret is that you're reluctant to write and talk when you don't want to spew the blackness forth onto the internet. I know there are other who feel differently, who feel it's part of their social contract to be honest and open and all sharing. But I'm a pretty private person, something hard to reconcile with the notion of blogging, so there you are. It's not like I link to my blog on my social media (apart from a subtle link to it in my twitter profile, something no one ever sees) so the readership of this blog remains all of about 6 of you. 

The implication of the 'not posting when things are hard' rule is that things have been pretty bad. They have been, consistently, for some time now. I essentially had a three month episode between May and July, and have been up and down (or rapid cycling) since early August. This up and down is unusual for my type of Bipolar, although I used to suffer from it a bit in the early days of my recovery (beginning back in June 2010 when I started seeing my specialist and taking the correct medication). And in some ways it's the worst thing for me right now, because I never know what I am going to wake up to. So when I have a good day I feel the need to ride it out for as long as possible. Not playing to a regular pattern is really bad for me, for my sleep, for how I feel, it just sucks.

I'm working a night shift job twice a week to bring in some badly needed money. It's not difficult work, but in order to try and keep on some sort of normal schedule I work through the following day, so Tuesdays and Thursday I am completely shattered by about 4pm. The nights I work I am also unable to take my medication as it has a sedative effect and this isn't ideal, to be skipping days. 

I am not getting through as much work I need to. I am hoping to knock out my first chapter by Tuesday morning, and then I am devoting myself to the second seminar paper that still isn't written (and was due some time back). I am, to my surprise, able to get an extension on the thesis rather than dropping to part time, and the person in charge of granting such an extension is my supervisor, as he is also the Honours co-ordinater. I can get what I need, so I think I will be OK, despite the rising terror levels. 

Now for the good news, and there is some of it. Firstly, writing this blog helped a dear friend of mine feel less alone in some depression they were experiencing and have been suffering from for some time, and that can only be a good thing. 'This thing of ours' is really ugly, and reaching out isn't easy, so we have to find common experience when we can.

The rape paper (my sister HATES that I call it that) that I spoke about a few months ago has gone down very well with the markers. I don't yet know what my mark is for that seminar, but it will be one of the top marks for any Honours student this year, so 20% of my Honours result overall will be very high. It's a good feeling.

I mentioned to my supervisor that I had big plans for that paper, that I hope to develop it ultimately into a journal article. He then prodded me into entering it for a conference next February in another part of Australia. Which is how I have been chosen to speak at my first grown up, academic conference.

Most of you have seen this news already on social networking. This is a really big deal, especially as I am not even yet a postgraduate student. The initial deadline for the conference had passed, so they must have really loved my work to accept it. I have a bet going with the mentor about how many people will show up and he's betting high. It's very exciting, this is a wonderful start to my career and will help enormously when it come time to apply for the big scholarship for my PhD in about two years. Lots of conference activity, and papers being accepted for publishing, really help in getting an Australian Postgraduate Award and in, ultimately, getting positions as associate lecturers or postgraduate fellows. 

This is a very boring post, but I felt the need to check in with you. The news about the conference is very exciting, and I'm hoping to get a few days of productivity out of it. Not least because the monster on my back is demanding attention and an episode is hovering on the edges of my consciousness. 

Yeah, 'this thing of ours' is a bitch. 


  1. Congratulations! That is really amazing news about the conference. What a great reward for all the hard work this year - you've really earned it, especially since you've been battling your illness throughout. So, so happy for you.

  2. Of course the good is always tempered with the bad (in this case "that thing"), but I'm going to cruelly ignore the bad in favor of hoisting the good up on my shoulders and parading around with much fanfare. YOU ARE SO SMART! I know you hate this, I'll stop gushing. But really though, YOU HAVE DONE VERY, VERY WELL. Huzzah!

    Q: have you considered naming the rape paper, ala Frankie et. al?

    1. Now, that is a VERY good question. I must consult with my sister. Won't tell N. though - he was slightly freaked out that I named my thesis.

  3. Hi Moz! You know I think it's super awesome that you're speaking at this conference. I am so proud and excited for you.

    I've been waiting to see you pop up in my reader and I'm sad to see why it's been a while. This "thing" is a horrible weight that too many of us (I call us "my blog ladies") have felt, either on our own shoulders or those of our loved ones. I think the more we can acknowledge it the better, but I completely understand your decision to keep it private. I've made the same decision on my blog too - flowers and grey days don't mix, I don't think. But it's nice to know we can always talk with each other about it.

    1. I am not kidding when I comment (both on your blog and on facebook) that the flower posts you pop up make me feel better, they really do. So thanks for that!

  4. Nothing boring about a conference acceptance! Well done, lady :) xox

  5. I'm proud of you!!! It's awesome what you've accomplished this year! Go you!!! :) xx
    (Catching up).


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