Where ya been?

Where ya been?

13 Oct 2020

First things first, no more trigger warnings. I feel like the worlds gone fucking mad, putting trigger warnings on everything even bloody cat stories.

If you are Triggered by something you read or see. You have not dealt with it and you need to get a therapist, Deal with that shit! Stop living a life where the slightest sideways fart sends you of the deep end.

Also, if you are triggered by what I just wrote. Grow up, mental illness is an asshole not some prissy lets’ hold hands at a tea party bullshit you all keep making it out to be.

Right, where the fuck was I?

In less than a month, a significant milestone in my life will for the 2nd time, roll around. It will mark 2 years since I survived suicide after being so burdened by my own mental illness, I just could not fight the war anymore.

Sure, I could (and have) blamed others for it, Marriage breakdown or people in my life, but I will not, because I cannot, it is just not true.

Fact of the matter is I am sick, and that sickness wanted me dead (still does). It didn’t matter how many drugs I took or how much I tried to bury it under other destructive behaviour it only got worse and lead to one of the most epic mental illness episodes in my 35 years… surprise surprise, the cocaine made me worse…. idiot.

I could continue the story in detail the nitty gritty lead up the manic shit show that everyone has been asking me to tell…. not gonna Happen. It is far too painful for myself and those who love me to relive over and over. So instead, I am going to tell you the sequel… What came next after I tried to kill myself.

Most of you that have followed my blogs since the start of my recovery know about the first year, if you haven’t and don’t, go read my old blogs, don’t be lazy there’s no shortcuts in life read them your damn self. I have been rather quite during this last year being well does not really make for the most exciting reading. So here is the recap. I moved into a stable environment and I got help… lots of it.

I threw myself into therapy. GP, Psychiatrist and psychologist appointments took up nearly all my time. The rest was taken up with the jumping through hoops for Disability Employment services who just couldn’t understand why the heavily sedated man on copious amounts of strong sedative anti psychotics couldn’t make the 9am appointments to keep the payment that kept a roof over his head while he was sick.
I could not function because my medication dose was so much that I literally was barley awake at 10 or 11am. Life was not fun, but it was necessary.  All these things especially the medication and my fantastic psychologist. My Psych figuring out what has been going on in my head, got me where I have never ever been before… recovery. A place where those of us who are mentally ill strive to be but rarely make it, it is not better or cured and at some point I will sell tickets to my epic downfall once again, but it is a well-managed place within us and our illness that gives us some kind of quality of life.  Even the meds have settled in for the long haul and no longer knock me out for 18 out of 24 hours.
My mind is still a dick, I still struggle with suicidal ideation, anxiety (got hospitalised by it not too long ago), depression and mania. For now, the noise is not so loud and my alter identities are pretty locked up so that is a win. I have this clarity I have never had before, my memory is good, I have dreams, fuck I sleep! Oh, how I love sleep. I can think clearly and do great things, my mind is allowing me to work, succeed and for the most part be god damn happy! My life’s on track, well except for one court case coming up, (I am innocent, first time for everything I guess, ill fill you in after court in another blog) but other than that life’s good. Marriage is good and the relationship with my son is better than ever.

Moral of the story kids?

Being mentally ill is fucked, but we can keep it under control, it is fucking hard and we will Stumble and struggle more than most, but we can live a half decent life. We just need do the things that work, no matter how much it seems it is not working in the beginning.

 

Take Responsibility!
Therapy
Medication
Therapy
Routine
Therapy!
Therapy!
Therapy!
Therapy!
Repeat.

And when I say therapy, I do not mean some fluffy bullshit or CBT, I mean some gnarly interpersonal, emotional psychotherapy shit. Stick it out, no matter how much you think it does not work at the start, you are wrong, shut the fuck up and keep going. It takes time sometimes years, but it works. 

Where have I been? 

looking after me, in therapy and living a good life while I can.

My names Ben I am diagnosed Bipolar and personality disorders. I am in recovery; I will always struggle but when I am well managed it is just that bit better… If I can do it, so you can you! What are you waiting for get of your ass, call your GP and take responsibility for your illness, you can thank me with cash deposits later!

Written by 

 

 Ben ⓒ ben.russoniello2020| 

So the scary corona virus has forced you to work at home?

So the scary corona virus has forced you to work at home?

So the scary corona virus has forced you to work at home?

30 Mar 2020

Transitioning to working from home is tough under normal circumstances, let alone the current health crisis that’s smacking us around like we are in the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali. COVID-19s yelling “float like a butterFlu sting like pneumonia, vaccines can’t hit what vaccines can’t see”. But even the greatest of all time lost in a 10 round fight that ended his career.


Change takes time for us to process, our human nature makes us struggle with change. Despite that struggle we are extremely adaptable to situations that are thrust upon us. It may take a few days or a week even more, it doesn’t matter, you will adapt. The hardest part of it all is relaxing our own expectations of what we should be achieving and just allowing our minds the time to process the shift.

Maintaining our mental well-being during what is a truly strange time in the world can be made easier by following a few simple ideas, outlined below, that have been proven by myself, and other professional colleagues of mine for years, working from our home offices. 

Water.

Staying hydrated is the single most important thing we can do for our mind and body no matter where we are and what we are doing. Our brains are made up of 85% water, it helps our brains produce the vital chemicals, neurological transmitters and provides the energy to power our memory processes. When our brains are fully hydrated, we think faster, are more focused and work with greater clarity and creativity. So, keep a water bottle next to your desk and drink up.

Social and human connections.

Maintain your work interactions. During a normal workday you will interact with co-workers, your employer or employees, these interactions need to be maintained. Regular phone, video calls, zoom meetings and emails to discuss work are necessary to maintain normal communications. These communications will continue to make everyone feel part of the team and more importantly a valuable member of that team. These interactions with those we work with can also be an excellent time to strengthen your personal connections with others who are working from home. Asking simple questions like “what’s your home office set up like?” or a simple “how are you going with the transition?” at the end of your business call or email will help satisfy our need for human connection and greatly strengthen our personal relationships.

DON’T WAIT – Take the initiative, especially if you are the boss! Don’t be afraid to initiate these calls and interactions. Be the person that brings co-workers back together and keeps moral up. You are all in this together.

Draw the line between work and home.

Although you are moving your workspace home, it is important to maintain as much normality as possible. Continue to practice your normal morning or before work routines, choosing a set of clothes that will be your work clothes, smart casual would be best. Sorry Sharon leave your pants on. This will help you make the lines between work and home easier to distinguish, similarly changing out of those clothes will help to end the work day and transition back to being home time. That morning shower and getting ready routine is what sets you up and gives you the confidence to handle the transition and to keep your productivity at a level that keeps everyone happy. Not brushing your teeth and working in your Pjs will be a slippery slope to low productivity and depression not to mention gross, brush your teeth folks!

Designate your work Area.

Don’t make your safe place your workspace! Do your best to keep them separated. Spare rooms, dining tables or a desk in the corner of your living room are great options. Make your work space a place you enjoy being at by adding things that make you happy, some flowers, cool stationary or a photo of your normal office that you are already missing so much to remind you it will still be there when all this finally comes to an end. Make it yours but make sure it is a place you can walk away from at the end of the workday to transition back to being home.

Plan your day.

Planning the day and keeping your regular office hours will help keep you on task and make it easier to adjust to the disruption of the change, it will also help you not binge watch Netflix for 3 days leaving you a weeks’ worth of work to be done in 2 days.

And finally……Distractions.

Normally when talking about distractions and working from home we are told to avoid it, minimise it. Steer clear of housework and other non-work related tasks.

In this case that’s going to be damn near impossible for a lot of us. COVID-19 has forced us indoors, this means more than likely the people who live with us are also always home. The kids want your attention, your partner has their movie playing, your room mates are playing music loud in the lounge room to try and keep themselves occupied. Distraction is everywhere, you can’t get a damn thing done, you are frustrated and going insane….

Fuck it! Join them, so what if your 15-minute scheduled break turns into an hour of you doing craft with your kids or watching a movie with your partner or dancing and singing at the top of your lungs with your room mates. Spending quality time with the people you love is looking after yourself. Self-care is extremely important and human connection is something that fills our cup and keeps our wellbeing on track. Most importantly that connection be it in person or via technology is important, it is what is going to get us through this uncertain time. Embrace it! love it! work will be there in an hour once you’ve looked after you and connected with those you need to. Now excuse me I’m going to got act like a complete idiot with my wife and son……

Written by:

Ben Russoniello©benrussoniello2020

The month that was July and a little bit of August

The month that was July and a little bit of August

The month that was July and a little bit of August

3 Aug 2019

It was a big month for the grey space organisation culminating in a massive day today, we’ve been working on lots of things in the back ground kicking lots of small goals. A milestone for us was when we went over our final draft of our charity constitution we are almost there! The end of the first era of The Grey Space Organisation is almost over, that period in time so many hopeful organisations and charities never get through. It’s been a wild ride during this time lots of ups and downs big ideas as well as some pretty shitty ones, some set backs that put me flat on my face both external and internal with some of our own mental health issues. We almost gave up more then once but each time we tried something or someone manifested to spur us on, the universe believes in what we are doing and she won’t let us stop.

We got our first member to join Emma, Kate and myself on this adventure to change the way we look at mental health, illness and how we navigate recovery after crisis, Shanna, who’s experience in the peer support field is second to none. Her wealth of knowledge and experience as well as connections within the space will bring a whole new level to our organisation. With Emma and Shanna already off and running with new ideas and with that it means me letting go of the reins of something that I’ve poured my heart, soul and countless tears into just a little bit. But I know I couldn’t be putting these parts of the organisation into better hands.

As well as Shanna coming on board our first 2 major sponsors chucked their hat into the ring, AAM (Australian Asbestos Management) and Sajen Legal. Both leaders in their own industries throwing their weight and their faith behind us. To both of these supporters from the bottom of our hearts thank you, your generosity has blown us away.

We paid it forward! We set up shop at a local cafe, chosen in particular because an act of kindness was shown to one of us there by a stranger who gave a coffee in a time where the shit was actually hitting the fan with my mental health and I was being loaded into an ambulance. So for no other reason then to put smiles on peoples faces we teamed up with the living project and handed out notes of hope and free coffee for an hour, Scotty if you are reading this thank you for letting us take over your cafe for an hour you’re a dead set legend. I met some amazing people in particular a couple on from the shire and one a sunny coast local. This “newsletter” is for you guys because you asked for it and I’ll be carrying it on from now on as a monthly recap of what we get up to. I really hope you get in contact with us in the future you are our kind of people, beautiful souls.

The living project joined us today as well for what was the first of many crossovers we will do with them. We had an absolute blast doing their thing with Tash running around pinning little notes of goodness all of the place. And as Tash and I both don’t know how to shut up, watch this space for a possible mental health podcast that will be raw and real and we will deal with everything from addictions to overbearing parents and how that effects our mental health and how we can deal with it in a healthy way. And there’s guarantees idiocy from us both to make it entertaining.

Connections where made with another foundation run by some amazing carers and as always the amazing Mez, who seems to always show up and support us giving us her knowledge and experience that’s always invaluable and with all of us together we hope will be the start of our hive. Many little bee’s working together to make a big difference. An actual difference in crisis and recovery. The forgotten parts of mental health in our over saturated prevention awareness age.

I am truely blessed to be surrounded by such strong women who are passionate about change within the space. However I do feel so outnumbered and hope as time moves forward more men step up, guys we can’t reach men and help men if those who can do not step up to the plate and lead by example.

 Over the past 6 or 7 months we’ve met a lot of people, we’ve helped a lot of people. We’ve been cut down, had false promises, been told we won’t last, that we will never change the system or that the system works perfect and we don’t know what we are talking about. To all of those people here is a big fuck you! Because people are screaming for change, people are struggling through Crisis and recovery and falling back to crisis quicker then you can say “get stuffed”.

We are here to stay we are here for the people who need it most. We are going to change the way we look at mental health recovery.

We are The Grey Space Organisation!

Written by:

Ben Russoniello | ©benrussoniello 2019

I have so many questions and segregation better not be the answer to any of them.

I have so many questions and segregation better not be the answer to any of them.

I have so many questions and segregation better not be the answer to any of them.

15 Jun 2019

Bear with me with this one. It’s a strung together collection of thoughts, questions and me grasping at straws cos I have no clue if this feeling I have is stupid or if it’s real and we should be worried. Mental health effects us all black, white, Puerto Rican, Chinese, men, women, children, gay, straight. No one is different in its eyes it simply can’t see race, religion, gender or sexual preference.

Minority races fight to be treated equal

Women fight to be treated equal

LGBTQIA fight to be treated equal

The mentally ill we all want to be treated equal to

So, why the current almost unnoticed segregation of gender, race and sexual preference in mental health awareness. I’m certain that this is unintentional but it Seems to be happening.

I’ve seen LGBTIA groups fight to be equal my entire life but now I have seen media campaigns that prioritise their mental health issues as worse then a straight persons. Sorry but we are all the same when it comes to mental illness.

Men’s mental health in Australia is in a bad way, but what happens while everyone is focusing on men? Do the women in our society get brushed aside? Do we end up with a reversal of the suicide statistics because men’s mental health has seemingly been prioritised over women? I for one do not want the women in my life feeling like they have to promote men’s mental health so much to the men around them that they forget about themselves. I don’t want the women I love and cherish to be left behind in the pursuit of men’s mental health. Sorry men’s mental health is not more important then women’s. We are all the same when it comes to mental illness.

And youth mental health this is super important I agree and teaching our young ones how to manage life and give them the tools to cope with what’s thrown at them is a must, but when funding for mental health services for people over 25 has started to dry up because all the money is being funneled into youth mental heath. Where does that leave the thousands and thousands of people over 25 to go to when there is no funding there? And why if all the funding is going into youth mental health are mental health organisations turning away kids in need?

When it comes to our mental health we are all the same it doesn’t discriminate one little bit. We may have difference experiences or situations that have caused us to have these issues but we most certainly ALL have the issues. Being 22 or 78 shouldn’t make a difference, being indigenous or white Australian shouldn’t make a difference and why the fuck can’t we just be Australians, being male or female shouldn’t make a difference.

We all have challenging things we go through in life, being a black gay man who’s been estranged from his daughter for 14 years because her mother didn’t like the fact you had the guts to be openly gay, has been through hell and back, as well as suffers with mental health issues is pretty tough, but so is being a Caucasian male who went to hell and back, who struggles with being bipolar and is living with a suicidal mind.

Those two examples that’s me and one of my closest friends. We don’t look at each other as a black gay man and a straight white man we don’t compare problems either. We just look at each other as people with problems and we support each other the best possible ways we can. And it works well. We are brothers from different mothers we have different circumstances but the same pain. We are the same.

I think my point is that we need to start looking at each other as humans instead of a class or race or a sexual preference. We need to start bringing some humanity back to the way we treat mental health and more to the point each other.

I often wonder, and those of you reading that understand mental illness should really understand where I’m coming from here. I often wonder when watching a men’s mental health add on tv what the women in our society who are struggling think…..Do they feel forgotten? Do they feel like there’s no one there to help them if they ask because they are being bombarded with mental health ad’s for men, and that’s the services that are there so what’s the point in asking because there’s nothing for me? but I’ll make sure I tell hubby about the ad and make sure he is ok……as men, the women in our lives give us so much and now we are taking them for granted and their mental health is being forgotten.

I’m guilty of this. Maybe this blog is my shame and guilt for taking the women in my life for granted……

Those of us who are mentally ill are all the same, slightly different diagnoses but we all struggle just the same. The same treatments and therapy’s are used to help us. So why are the media campaigns splitting us up. Segregating awareness. Instead of men’s mental health why can’t it be all mental health awareness.

Like I said this blog may not flow the way they normally do but it’s different, the most part of it’s been my thoughts that have gone through my mind over and over for a few weeks now some a little badly strung together maybe to get them out, maybe to see if anyone else agrees with me.

I don’t have the answers, just an unsettled feeling that if we don’t look at people as people then some of us are going to be left behind.

I hope what I’ve said hasn’t been taken the wrong way by anyone. I believe to battle the beast we need to be united. As people.

We need our humanity back…..let’s all just look out for everyone around us.

Let’s hit mental health head on together for humanities sake.

Written by:

Ben Russoniello | ©benrussoniello 2019

where did everyone go?

where did everyone go?

where did everyone go?

16 Mar 2019

Its sad when people lose their lives. A few days ago, a crazed group of terrorists, and make no mistake they are terrorists… They shot 49 people most of them losing their lives. And yes, this loss of life was terrible, I felt pain for such a senseless loss of life and so did the entire world. So many lives lost….

Let’s go a little closer to home, Queensland, the state I live in. The murder rate in Queensland Australia for 2016 to 2017 was 38 murders across both years, 19 a year. 38 Tragic lives lost, the number makes us cringe, each murder on the news makes us sad it doesn’t matter if it was a drug related murder or a domestic violence related death it’s sad and we have an outpouring of support and hope and donations to families to help them through the tough time.

Sad….

That number though is low in comparison to car crash deaths in QLD Alone, 250 people die in motor vehicle accidents every year. 250 sets of families and their friends affected by tragic accidents. Again, we pour out support and donations and we talk about it we have ads on TV telling us to slow down, don’t drink and drive as well as the fatal 5…. All to try and stop the senseless loss of innocent life.

Sad….

One last number. 804.

In Qld in 2017, 804 people died by suicide.

NO ADS.

No out pouring of grief by the community as a whole.

No charity hand outs to the families struggling to come to terms with the loss of their loved one.

In Fact, just the mere mention of Suicide and charity and people run away! I unfortunately just experience this phenomenon myself today. People wanting to help a charity fundraiser until the word suicide is mentioned and they RUN….

Why as a community, do we hide from this topic or run when its mentioned?

Suicide is weak! Suicide is Selfish! Suicide is horrible and graphic!

Suicide is confronting and scary sometimes death by suicide can be graphic and brutal and devastating to families…. But so is a car crash and they show enactments of those on the news and in tv ads to slow down or not drink drive.

Its weak, FAR FROM IT. If you have ever met a person deep into a struggle with suicidal thoughts, you will know they are not weak. We as Suicidal people fight a battle in our minds every day, we fight to live, and we fight fucking hard! Those of us who attempt and those of us who succeed we are not weak we fight till our last breath. We lose battles and attempt, and some lose the war and succeed. BUT WE ARE NOT WEAK, WE ARE BRAVE, AND WE ARE STRONG.

Selfish….” that person who killed themselves was selfish! They didn’t care about their family or friends. They didn’t care about anyone but themselves. Selfish cowards.”

Selfish? NOT EVEN CLOSE! In fact, we as suicidal people think the exact opposite, in our minds we are convinced our families will be happier and better of with out us and the burden we feel we are on them. We are not selfish we are sick, and, in our minds, we are being selfless.

I guess what I am trying to say is why? why are we shunned spoken of in hushed tones or run away from? We are not scary! We are sick you do not run away from cancer, do you? no you throw millions of dollars into finding a cure only not everyone has cancer or will get cancer and some of us will be lucky enough to not even be touched by it in our lifetime. Yet every single person alive will have thoughts of suicide. Half of you reading this just scoffed and called me a dick head. Now stop and look back over your life with what I said in mind….

Now tell me not once in your life have you had a thought of suicide. “it’s all too hard, I can’t do it anymore I wish I was dead…” or “kill me now”. All of you just realised that you have had a suicidal thought at some point in your life. Ok so it was tiny and insignificant in your scheme of things, but it was still a suicidal thought. We all have these thoughts it is just to varying degrees.

I heard a story last week about a lady who lived a perfect happy life who in one week lost both her husband and her son… within a week she spiralled so deeply into depression that all she wanted was to take her life……. she survived.

But it goes to show you that any one of us at any point in time can be affected by suicide be it circumstance or mental illness. So, stop treating us like the plague. Bring us into the open. TALK WITH US, help those affected to feel comfortable enough to speak up and say HEY, HELP ME LIVE! We can save hundreds of lives if we just stop being afraid of a word, if we just stop running away. Suicide is not a dirty word and it needs to be spoken about as a community.

We can make a difference by just not running away standing up and talking about suicide.

Written by:

Ben Russoniello | ©benrussoniello 2019

Pin It on Pinterest