Tag Archives: mood disorder

The Intern

Internships aren’t really big in Australia. There are a few theories about why: Australians’ commitment to fair wages, and the ambiguity under employment law, are probably the leading two reasons. However, three weeks ago I advertised for a volunteer intern, and was receiving quality applications within twelve hours.

Claire has been helping me out with social media for Doing Defies Depression. She is an absolute star! We meet once a week to talk strategy, mutual support and mentoring. I am learning a lot from her, and I hope the feeling’s mutual. I’ll let her use her own words as introduction:


I am very excited to be taking on this internship with Catie, and I look forward to connecting with you all! Allow me to tell you a little about myself…
I have a background in performance including theatre Acting, Screen Acting, Immersive Theatre, Improvised Performance, Puppetry, Hosting, Directing and various other behind the scenes roles.
Since forming a theatre company last year with other creative professionals (TBC Theatre) I found myself managing our online marketing, I enjoy the work so much that I am now studying full time at The University of Melbourne doing a Masters of Marketing Communications.
Mental health has been a huge factor in my life, whether it’s the little devil on my back, weighing me down and swinging me around. Or it feels like the old friend who welcomes me back into the dark corner where I can cry and never leave the house.
The great thing about working as an actor (or one of the great things) is that I was forced to take a good, hard look at who I was deep down and start working with what I had, I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
Personal management, especially when your sinking, is the hardest thing to do. I believe that I am my own hero when I’m lost, and sometimes I need some guidance to give me the strength to be my hero.
This is why I find Doing Defies Depression a very inspiring business, I believe there needs to be an open community of support, so we can find our potential and strength to be our own heroes.
Once again, I look forward to connecting with you through Facebook and Twitter (and soon Instagram!).
Thank you for having me.
– Claire



Filed under Living Well With Depression

Timing is everything

It’s been lovely to vegetate the last couple of days – as one reader commented, it would have been even lovelier had I been able to give myself permission to do so! However, my Monday morning has been super-productive. I’ve completed editing an anthology of short stories and sent it to the publishers (not for your eyes, dear reader; the work of my alter ego), done some study, stocked the fridge for this week, spruced up the house, prepared dinner early so it can be slow-cooked while I’m at the therapist’s office, and sent off mail, including some hand-written letters. Yay!

Wouldn’t life be easy if we were always in control of our timing? If there were no external forces saying “YOU MUST DO THIS NOW!” but instead we could simply do those things which are necessary, when we feel so motivated? I suppose some things may never get done. (If so, did they really need doing?) I suppose some people may never do anything, if their locus of motivation is extrinsic – outside themselves – rather than intrinsic.

I love it when three things align themselves: the need for a task to be done; the opportunity and means to complete it; and a heartfelt desire to see the task finished. Then the work hardly seems like work at all, I become fully immersed in the task, and emerge however long later to find it completed, and beautifully.

Living in a society means we must make concessions to other people’s timetables and agendas. I guess it’s part of the give-and-take of co-existing with other humans *sigh*. It’s difficult when your capacity to do things seems to rely on your mood … especially if you suffer from a mood disorder!

Still, in this moment, I feel happy and content and very, very satisfied with my day so far.

May there be many more like it … in the fullness of time.



Filed under Up

Lazy, depressed or overcompensating?

I feel completely disinclined to do anything except read and, perhaps, eventually watch something. There are some things I had planned to do today; certain of these are done, others lie before my imagination’s eye, reproaching me. Am I being lazy, or is this simply a symptom of my depression? Is this indolent lenience towards myself an overcompensation for all those years when the world asked too much of me?

My maxim is: “The truth lies in the grey zone.” Following this logic, I’m partly lazy, partly depressed, partly overcompensating, and probably partly something else I haven’t considered yet.

I just can’t be bothered. I’ve done the essentials: washing in; house clean; dishes done; husband dropped off at the footy – good lord, I’m sounding like some 50’s housewife, aren’t I?! Still, it is true that all these things needed doing, and they are done, and now I don’t feel like studying or writing or even watching anything serious. I just want fluff: warmth – heater and blanket; sweetness – chocolate or cake; chewing gum for the mind – comedy, sci fi or a rom com. Nothing requiring effort. Nothing difficult. Just fluff.

I could understand this if I’d just worked a 60 hour week or was physically ill. Neither of those apply. Well, I guess it has been a very emotional week, what with the anxiety and then the relief of having my insurance claim finally approved (though not yet paid out, hasten the day!).

I’m leaning towards overcompensation. For so many years, so much was demanded of me, and I was given so little in return – well, unless you count institutional abuse. That, I received in bucketfuls, received and absorbed, until I was broken.

I was broken, and now I am being fixed. Like a freighter returning to its correct course, the pilot is oversteering – it’s necessary to break the inertia of the past and establish a new way of being. Once back on track, the pilot can steer the plain, straight course, neither over- or under-compensating, but navigating in the goldilocks zone.

So, I’ve talked myself around: I’m not going to force myself to do anything I don’t feel inclined to do. What I am, is sufficient for this afternoon. I have another two hours and twenty minutes alone in the house; just time for a fun movie and some nibbles.

What did I fight for, fight through the brokenness, if not to enjoy moments like these?

I'm not sure why I feel a barometer is an appropriate illustration for this post; perhaps because I feel my life shifting, the pressures changing?

I’m not sure why I feel a barometer is an appropriate illustration for this post; perhaps because I feel my life shifting, the pressures changing?



Filed under Up

Lying Fallow

A field is ‘lying fallow’ when it’s deliberately left uncropped for a season; it’s allowed a time of rest to regenerate. It’s a time when the field is not expected to produce anything. If you like, the ‘work’ for that field at that time is to simply rest, and be, and let nature do its work.

I’ve been lying fallow for the last couple of days. The week’s been a veritable zigzag of emotions: high anxiety; despair; relief; disbelief; joy, and then an understandable state of numbness which disinclined me from doing anything productive (though I have reached Level 12 of SkyTopia 2, if you’re interested).

Everyone needs fallow days, and those of us who live with mood disorders need them at least as much, if not more. This morning, as I type, I can almost feel my brain chemistry settling back into its normal balance (or imbalance!) which is just so reassuring. If needed, I would have taken more ‘fallow’ days, but it looks like that may not be necessary.

Is this weekend going to be a time of lying fallow for you?

xx DB

Jul to Dec 2010 002


Filed under Up


Resumption of play after lunch on the first day of the Boxing Day test, 2011

Resumption of play after lunch on the first day of the Boxing Day test, 2011

I do love my test cricket. It’s the only sport I really follow (apart from Aussie Rules, via osmosis from the dearly beloved). I felt I needed a soothing image this evening after a stressful day, so pulled up this picture of play resuming after lunch on Boxing Day, 2011.

Why was today stressful? Well, I called the insurance company at 9:04am, spoke to the woman handling my claim, and she said she’d call back at midday. I emailed at around 3:45pm and finally spoke to her about an hour later. There is still no definitive answer, but my claim has progressed to the next level. The process of completing a major insurance claim seems a bit like playing Candy Crush – these levels are endless!

I had high hopes of today, and I certainly did get a lot done, but it was all “busy work” – not the creative stuff I’d really been wanting to get my hands into. Well, apart from planting out some bulbs 🙂 That was possibly the highlight of the day. Most of my energy went into managing my anxiety, and that was a truly full-time job.

Did I have a successful day? Yes, I did. In terms of output, in terms of crossing items off my dream list, I fell short; but as my major challenge today was dealing with my anxiety and stress related to this insurance claim, I’d say I aced it.

However, putting that much energy into managing anxiety takes its toll, and I am totally exhausted. I may not even make it through Masterchef tonight! I suspect it may be one of those nights where, despite medication, I can’t fall asleep.

This is where memories of test cricket at the MCG on Boxing Day can come in handy. Ball after ball bowled as the sun beats down, the rhythm of the overs, the excitement of a wicket falling; the hijinx of Bay 13 and the odd pitch invasion to incite mild outrage among the true believers. I can feel the heat seeping into my bones, hear the murmur of cricket on the radio …




Filed under Out