The Sound of Cicadas
It's the third time mum's been admitted to hospital with an episode of her bipolar disorder. With my sister in another country I am the only family here that can care for her which means I become her ‘primary carer’.
My 40th birthday has just passed, Spring is turning into Summer and on the first night of her admission, I noticed the cicadas start to chirp for the first time. This causes a memory to resurface - of mum on our old veranda having a cinzano after sunset. While my mum is only a 30-minute drive away, the sense of loss is heartbreaking.
This series is about the daily life of me as her primary carer, the day-to-day, and just how painful it can all get.
It is a time that is clouded in sadness, stress and exhaustion.
You never quite know when they may get better, what is awaiting you beyond the ward's doors or how to deal with the stigma that this illness - all mental illness in fact - still endures.
By sharing this story I intend to highlight two issues.
That the public system for mental health is neglected and under-funded and second, that mental illness still suffers huge stigmatisation despite being extremely common. 1 in 3 Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life.
My mum is still my mum, if she’s depressed she can’t just ‘snap out of it’ like so many people often say. People with mental illness need support, understanding and adequate treatment.
This is an ongoing series.