2018 - Ongoing
It's the third time mum's been admitted to hospital with an episode of her bipolar disorder. I am the only family here that can care for her. Her shame about the illness means no visitors but me and my time as her carer is clouded in sadness, stress and exhaustion.
On the first night of her admission, I noticed the cicadas start to chirp for the first time this summer. This reminds causes a memory to resurface - of mum on our old veranda having a beer. There is a sense of loss at this memory as mum as I know her is gone. She can come back though and for this I feel fortunate.
But this is not a project about a person's struggle with bipolar disorder. What started as a carer's journal has evolved into an overwhelming desire to address the stigma. Because this time, I have encountered two things. One - the utter ignorance and stigmatisation by her own family and two - the misinformation around certain treatments, such as electro convulsive therapy.
With the current royal commission into aged persons care I feel the time is now to contribute.
So I would like to share with the world the experiences of the family, the real person behind the illness and address the toxic and dangerous stigma associated with mental illness and treatments thereof. I have only just begun this journey but the need to be heard is now.