My Mental Health Journey
So here goes…a small window into my story…I grew up a local boy in a small coastal town in Oamaru NZ, trained as a carpenter. I then moved to Melbourne when I was 25 years young and worked across many fields; Retail Management, Finance, Personal Fitness Trainer, Postie, Construction, Bike shop salesmen, and even trained as a part time Army Infantry Soldier. It was in Melbourne that I was diagnosed with Bipolar and Major Depression. Self diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and Major Trauma.
Since then (20 years) I have been hospitalised 20 times due to the severity of my illness, suicide idealisation, suicide attempts, Electro Convulsive Treatment (shock treatment), and medication changes.
I recently moved back to Oamaru in 2018 to be closer to my family, sadly leaving behind my wife of 10 years and our 7 year old boy.
My last psychiatric admission was in Wakari Hospital in Dunedin, for a week back in June 2020.
I also have sever physical injuries after a serious cycling bike crash in Sept 2019 where I flew over the handlebars after a gust of wind made me lose control doing over 70km per hour. I was airlifted to the Melbourne Royal hospital as I had fractured my spine in 5 places, fractured 7 rips on my right side, and shattered my left scapular in 24 pieces. I also crushed my right L5 nerve at the lumber spine level, which runs down my leg to my toes, which are now completely numb.
My lower lumber spine was operated on and fused with two titanium rods and ten screws into my pelvis and vertebrae.
I also had surgery on my scapular with more screws and pins.
In all I spend 3 weeks in the trauma ward, then three weeks in the Royal Melbourne Rehab Hospital, learning to walk, shower, toilet etc. Upon discharge I spent 5 weeks recovering with regular Physio back at Kelly’s and Caleb’s House before I was fit enough to to fly back to NZ.
I’m currently supported by ACC (the Accident Compensation Corporation which is the NZ Crown entity responsible for administering the country’s no-fault injury compensation scheme) as I’m still unfit to work as a Carpenter and unlikely to return to that trade due to the physical requirements needed to fulfil the role. I currently attend 2x a week a community day support group for people with mental illness and have physio 3x a week, including hydro pool therapy. I also see a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
I’m also jogging and riding a MTB around the bay and hills around Dunedin where I now live with a friend. My recovery is going really well.
– But more about my history in later blog though.