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Rachael’s Story continued …

Hi there,

I have been dealing with many forms of mental health for more than half of my life.

After my very near non-existent future, a new doctor and a ‘mental breakdown’ (which was in-fact a Psychotic Episode with suicidal idealism), I was finally correctly diagnosed and treated. Obviously treatment took time to do its job and I was in a terribly dark place; it was of some comfort to know I wasn’t ‘going crazy’, that people finally understood me and life would get better! I could not physically or mentally cope being the person I had become, and suicide became a major consideration I grappled with daily. Following my near fatal severely Traumatic Brain Injury, a coma, brain bleeds etc in 2008; my mental health worsened. Months of rehabilitation in hospital learning to walk, talk and think how to be the ‘old me’ was tiring, humiliating and stressful; I was however “making fantastic progress”.

When time for my ‘release’ back into daily life/the community came, it eventually became too much. I didn’t know how to escape this person I evolved into, I didn’t want her in my ‘new life’ and she was hard to get along with! Some-how (a singular want of not being responsible for the torture of my two beautiful children) I woke and got up each day.

MANY years later I relocated to Australia with a partner. Then last year…after months of suicidal thoughts again suffocating me, consuming me: I was admitted to hospital in a coma (which lasted a month), having rampant Septicaemia, Pneumonia, Osteomylotis, Kidney and Lung Failure, Caudia Equina Syndrome, an Epidural Abscess Infection around and compressing my Spinal Cord, along with my Spine and Vertebrae breaking down.

Months later I learned apparently because of the weeks prior to my admission and the level of Septicaemia, I was delirious with infection; hence the Suicidal Idealism.

After my month long coma, learning Specialists gave me a less than one per cent chance of survival and my Mother in N.Z being told to prepare funeral arrangements, I am alive and LIVING! NUMEROUS hours of surgery, Mental Health Service workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Support Workers and more have seen my ‘recovery’. That doesn’t mean ‘I’m cured’, it means I now have a wonderful support network, correct medication, an accurate diagnosis (Bipolar, Major Depression, OCD and Anxiety Disorders) and a genuine desire to succeed.

Months after my release from hospital ‘life’ was dark again! Upon a visit to my Spinal Injuries Specialist and my Mental Health Team, they recognised I required immediate intervention and organised my reintroduction with my lifelong passion of horses!

Now (a bit over) a year after my release from the Spinal Injuries Unit I am actively involved in Riding for Disabled at Arundel Park RDA; on top of that I am organising my campaign to compete at the World Equestrian Games in Canada in 2018! Life is good! I can’t thank the MANY people ‘behind the scenes’ who have seen me at my worst, that haven’t given up on me when I had, and have continued to love me when I was un-lovable!

Rach X

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PIR is a Federally funded program. Other consortia members include Gold Coast Health and Mental Health Association QLD