What am I doing, what is the purpose of this bike ride? The main purpose of this trip is to do something healthy that is theraputic for me, gives me direction and is not too expensive.
The secondary reason is to show my wife who I am currently not living with (but love more than ever before), that I love her and am man enough to get out of her way, so that she may face other issues, such as schooling her son, and sorting out if she wants to commit to me, or if she chooses to continue to sit on the fence, and deny my existence.
To give me a purpose I have decided to undertake a study of people and families with a family member or friend that suffer from depression. I have long been a sufferer of depression and was recently diagnosed with Bipolar 2. This has brought me to a turning point in my life. As I move down the road I will evaluate if my treatment from home is warranted, from that I will be able to base my decision on if it is really worth staying with the family I am currently with and if they will or should show me any affection and if I will ever feel comfortable in the home that I have built, and they have chosen to exclude me from.
As I travel down the east coast of Australia I will be travelling through area’s that have recently or during the last few years suffered natural disasters much of it lying between Cairns and Townsville. Through talking to people on the road I intend to find out current attitudes and prejuduces towards identified and unidentified depression sufferers. I also intend to determine what is the range of services and funding communities are aware of and utilising.
I will also be asking questions about their understanding of depression and related illness, what community members see as the cause, and how the community choose to support or critique it.
If I find anybody that has an interesting story that would like to tell that story, I will attempt to transcribe, record or video there story and use this information for further study, pass on to organisations will a greater capacity to utilise it, or if nothing review the material myself as a method of developing material to help other families affected by depression.
At my disposal I have traditional notepads and pens, a Nokia N8 smartphone with capacity to store 16GB on the phone itself and augment this memory with removal mini SD cards with up to 32GB of memory. The phone records audio and HD video formats. It also serves as a conduit to this blog, email and other internet based media.
As well as the smartphone I have also brought along a Sanyo Handycam and a Oregon helmet or bike mounted camera.
Although I have conducted oral histories for the Australian War Memorial and Successful Ageing projects, this will be my first attempt to utilise video for public interviews. Through transcribing, recording and videoing, I will be further reinforcing what I have to do to overcome my own personal dilema and isolation.
I have recently undertaken evaluation at the Black Dog Institute in Randwick NSW where I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2. From this diagnosis my GP will recieve a report which was not compiled in time for my departure on this trip. However the guts of that report suggested that my existing medication of Efexor may be helping me with my depression but accelerating and increasing the propensity of my highs and lows. Therefore the clinicians have suggested that I be put on a drug known as Lamictal (Lamogine) which is traditional used to control epilepsy. The Lamictal medication is phased in at 25mg in the morning and 25mg in the afternoon and gradually increased every two weeks until a satifactory level is seen to reduce or eliminate my bipolar cycle. How will I know? Apparently I will get droughy and when this happens whe back the dosage off. I am currently monitoring my mood swings on a daily mood chart where I record my sleep patterns, any triggers, external events and anything else that may be relevant. When a satisfactory dose of Lamictal is found I will then be weaned gradually off my Eforex. In addition to the Lamictal it is suggested that I also take up to four capsules of Omega 3 daily.
I do not know how long I have been Bipolar, but I suspect it has been a long time. I have been taking medication for depression since I was 25/26, and my long term friends say that highs and lows have always been prominent characteristics of my personality.