All About Me

Hi,

My name is Cate Reddell.  I am a forty-something woman living in Christchurch, New Zealand.  You’ll find me down the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast of Australia.  I started blogging because I felt I had something to say.  I had already published a book called Infinite Sadness in 2009.  It was an autobiographical account of nearly twenty years of living with chronic mental illness.  I was severely depressed and had anorexia nervosa.  I repeatedly tried to kill and harm myself.  The routine of my life revolved around hospital admissions, and at the time I published the book I suspected that this was going to be my life.

I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve decided that there is something more than infinite sadness and so I want to share my journey of hope with you.

My mental health revolves around labels such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Depression with frequent visits of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders.  That said, labels don’t actually mean much to me apart from a way for me to identify reasons for some of my behaviours, thoughts and feelings.  I am me, I have a mental illness, and to me, that’s what matters.

Mental illness makes achieving mental health harder than usual.  There are extra bridges to cross, there is stigma to face, and there are battles to win.  But it is possible.

The mental illnesses that I have are with me for life (BPD is part of my personality) but I view myself as having mental health when I can manage the symptoms and live the life that is important to me.  Right now, I’m doing that and it makes me happy.  It doesn’t mean that there are no struggles, but it does mean I can enjoy mental health just as much as the next person down the street.

Am I crazy?  Probably.  Is it ‘all in my head’?  Absolutely, that’s where my brain resides.  Is it easy?  No, it’s damn hard, but living this way is so much more fulfilling than the life I barely existed in over years past.

To add to the mix the last couple of years have seen a dramatic decline in my physical health.  In 2010 I was diagnosed with the auto-immune condition Graves’ Disease.  This is currently under control but I am still receiving treatment for it, and it will be an issue for me for the rest of my life.  It was caused by medication I took for my mental illness.  Also I have just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a cruel condition often brought on by auto-immune diseases and severe trauma (think major earthquakes).  It consists of pain, and more pain.  And fatigue.  It’s not nice, and as I am new to this I am still learning about the condition.  Again, it appears it will be with me for life.

So I write about all of these things, as I fight for a return of mental health and  a means of managing my physical issues.  Want to know more?  Start reading.  I hope you enjoy my writing.

Meanwhile it seems important to tell you what sort of person I am.  This quote by Ellen sums me up pretty well.  Actually I haven’t yet found a way of saying it better.  The only thing I would add is that I believe in silliness.  Yes, really.  What I mean is that in spite of everything we need to be able to resort to the silly things in life.  Sometimes laughing is the best thing we can do and I have always appreciated those people I know I can be silly with.  You should try it sometimes.  It’s not about denying or ignoring the pain.  Just taking a break now and then.

Another thing you need to know about me is that I’m a Peace Blogger, a part of a worldwide bloggers movement promoting peace, especially on 4 November each year.  You can find out more about this event here.

And finally a few things you just need to know about me:

  1. My favourite colour is green.
  2. The best way to start the day is with coffee.
  3. I have never learnt how to properly tie shoelaces.  I have tried and tried but it seems completely beyond me.

Again, if you want to know more?  Start reading.

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back.
Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build
on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.” 

 –  Katherine Mansfield

39 responses

  1. Hi Kate, I to am a 40-something gurl, from Angus, Ontario Canada. I have just recently been diagnosed as having Bi-Polar Disorder and Depression/Anxiety. I look forward to reading and following your blog!
    P.S. I found you thru “But, She’s Crazy…”s Blog :)

    • Hi. I’m glad you found my blog, and “But She’s Crazy is great. Look forward to having you follow. I hope it helps you in your journey. I know it’s pretty overwhelming when you first get diagnosed and it’s always good to know others going through a similar journey. :-)

    • We’ll all have Oscars yet. Thank you. Even though Kevin has already tagged me I really value this from you too. It means a lot to have recognition from friends. :-)

  2. Pingback: My ‘Anti-Social Media’ Day | Infinite Sadness… or hope?

  3. HI Cate – greetings from across the ditch (Australia!). :D I’m so glad you kept writing, and exploring life and thought through words. You write so beautifully, and so honestly. I know you’ll help many with these words of yours. Bless xx

  4. Pingback: Cate: Infinite Sadness… or Hope? | Courageous Confessionals

  5. I have had my long term dark period but now I have with lots of faith come through. I hope to win the fight to the upmost. But I had to have faith. I have been through the hospital system in NZ but was glad to be free of it. The stigma is real but I one has to fight and its not fighting flesh. I found solace and good friends amongst the church.

  6. Hey Cate. I hope that you’re feeling a little better today. I wanted to let you know that Canvas has started the Blog For Mental Health 2013 campaign, and so I (of course) pledged you immediately. Whenever you are feeling up to it, have a look at my post: Blog For Mental Health 2013 Is Here!. I’d love to be able to add your name to our blogroll, and having you on board would just mean a lot to me personally, but you take your time.

    Sending love.
    xoxo

  7. Cate, this is brilliant. Twitter suggested I follow you, that took me here, and I’m jazzed that I am. I’ll be reading with interest what you have to say, as I’m just recently making a hard turn on my mental illness/health road and can see the value of being inspired by other folks on that same road.

    • Hi Sid. Thanks for tracking me down. Now firstly I need to apologise because I was sure I replied to your comment a few hours back, but now I can’t find it. So in case you get to responses, just take it as one of those days! Thanks so much for following me. I hope following my journey will be encouragement for you in your own. I know how nice it is to know you’re not the only one. :-)

  8. Hello Cate,
    Just wanted you to know that I’m out here, reading and in many ways living and feeling much like you. Tried to read your newest post on “When your world turns upside down” but for some reason wasn’t able to get it to load. However, just from that title, I think I know what you’re feeling?, as I’m right there myself at the moment…
    Anyhow, sending you a big cyberhug if you want it. You’re not alone…
    //Cat

    • Hi Cat, It’s completely my fault that you couldn’t get my latest post to load. I had second thoughts on it and felt I hadn’t said what I really wanted to say. I will try again sometime but meanwhile thank you for reading. It’s always nice to knwo there are people ‘out there’. :-)

  9. Hello, there! I’m 22 years old and currently based in Chicago. I’ve struggled with various degrees of depression. I would describe my last, most severe experience with it as being trapped in a vortex of mind games, lies, and self-loath. Personally, I’m unfamiliar with many other types of mental illnesses (e.g. BPD, PTSD); it’s one thing to read about them on WebMD and a whole other thing to hear from someone experiencing these things. Stay strong! Know that you’re encouraging and inspiring a lot of people! I look forward to learning more from your experiences and insights. :) (P.S. I blog about mental health, faith, and life in general.)

    • Hi Karen, Thanks for finding and liking my blog. I totally get what you say that it is hard to have a real understanding of a mental disorder when you don’t have it, although I think I just thank my lucky stars for what I don’t have. It is the great thing about blogging though, that you get to read of real experience rather than simply text-book style sites.

  10. Don’t really know why it took me so long to find and follow you. But, here I am, having come through a post by Ruby at Canvas/Blog for Mental Health. I’m looking forward to your posts.

      • Well, Lindy is a screen thing. I’m Janice Lindegard. I publish Crazy Good Parent (crazygoodparent.com) I also have a personal blog that I have neglected sorely, Snide Reply. Crazy Good is a community/blog for parents who have mental illnesses…like me! Ruby is a peach, so likewise with the friend of her/friend of mine.

      • In that case, hi Janice. :-) I’ve just been over to check out Snide Reply and look forward to if and when you give it your attention. I know how hard it is to balance everything, so please don’t take that as a criticism. It’s not. I’ll go now and check out your other blog. I’m not a parent but it sounds like an excellent resource. :-)

      • Thanks! I have some ideas for Snide. It’s been hard there because I’ve dealt with tons of death in the past six months. Still reeling, I think. It’s much easier over at Crazy Good. I pick a topic for the month and write. I also try to get other people to write for it, too. So, no criticism/offense taken.

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