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L: Anytime P x

You may know her as Leanne Robertson

By Pauline FountainPublished 10 months ago Updated 7 months ago 4 min read
[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

A late diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder 1 (Ralid Cycling) is not rare. I was 47. I am now 51.

That is a statement. But of course there is much more to it. It's a fascinating condition. But I could do without it.

Bear with me and you'll appreciate the outcome achieved and maybe even learn a little along the way.

I know I did.

After reading the passage below I ticked every word, literally, and wrote across it ‘YES.’

The first words in his introduction. A brief excerpt from:

Levine, B 2012, Beating Bipolar: how one Therapist tackled his illness and how what he learned could help you, Hay House, California.

‘If you are reading these words, you're affected in some way by Bipolar Disorder. You or someone close to you has experienced the hyper-frenzied highs, paralysing lows, and periods of normalcy. There is the devastation these episodes can wreak in terms of failed relationships, financial disasters, and other ruinous behaviours in your life.

Not that you need a reminder, but when mania takes hold, it can prompt the most indiscriminate and uncharacteristic sexual - and even criminal behaviour, and substance abuse imaginable. Self-criticism, self-control, and the ability to self judge go out the window. You're left with a volatile combination of excessive self-confidence and self-esteem, fuelled by unbridled energy, a lack of inhibition, and too little sleep. During manic episodes, you sense you can take on the world.

Conversely, when depressive episodes take charge, they drag your life into slow motion, robbing you of energy; initiative; and an ability to think, move, and process memory or ideas. This can erode your self-confidence and weigh you down with guilt and despair ... It's too difficult to make and keep friends. Sleep is a preferred companion. And at your lowest of low moments, you may even contemplate or attempt suicide, the tragic choice of last resort.’



My hypomania when younger gave me the confidence and drive to achieve. And I did. But this was interspersed with phases of increasingly longer periods of depression.

Stress events causes a spike up or down. But a run of them tipped me over and out.


When I came back from the abyss and re-established contacted with my Psychiatrist I said, "Richard. I have lost everything. Ross. My family. My friends. You have no idea. I should be in jail or dead.”

And so began a tortuous path towards some semblance of stability.

Three and half years to find a cocktail of medication that supported a longed for chance of wellness.

My mental health team have guided me through the maze. My Psychiatrist. Psychologist and first Community Mental Health Nurse Kerry.

One day Kerry asked me about friends:

K: Do you have any?

P: Jo Jones and Leanne Robertson. (RIP Jo.)


Leanne tracked me down again and within her busy schedule she would sweep me up and take me out for coffee about once a fortnight.

I remember her first words to me when we met again.

L: Bloody hell. You're still you. P it was obvious. You were sick!

But from all our conversations my favourite quote, “To my dying day it will be my greatest regret to have not seen you busking at the back of the Casino!"

Leanne has walked with me and encouraged me along the path to get me here.

L: Ever since Kerry you're changing. Every time I see you you're getting better every day.

Fast forward to now-ish.

L: Hey P. U free for a coffee about 10ish today? No pressure.

P: Yes please. Already at T. Muffin Break. Writing.

L: What's your story about?

P: Ta da! Am up to 8500 words on my ‘Novelette.’ So when 17500 words, it is a ‘Novella.’ Then it flips into a ‘Novel’ category. My working title is ‘Respite.’

The basic plot is about a man battling a period of reactive depression. Struggling with Existential angst. Set over a 10 week period. Location: Adelaide and Victor Harbor.

It has been challenging writing every day for a small amount of time.

I’m researching Existentialism and different Psychotherapy approaches based on Philosophy and Theology. Even if it ends up being of little worth to potential readers I'm really enjoying the process. I know now, I’m writing for myself.


L: I have no idea what u just said but it's going to b a masterpiece. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I can c u writing in your courtyard.


And now I am. My ‘retreat’ is called ‘My home.’

Thankyou Ross, my son, for knowing it was my next step.

Thankyou Shan my friend.

Thankyou to the Brisbane Housing Company Ltd.


But mostly, thank you Leanne.

L: R u happy?

P: Yes :)


I am now 57 and have moved to my new home at Fitzgibbon. A community more conducive to my wellbeing.

Thank you Leanne Robertson for continuing to help me cope, hope and find freedom.

Pauline Fountain. © 2022. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the author.


About the Creator

Pauline Fountain

Writing and photography provide a creative outlet to reflect with meaning on my life.

My mental health? Bipolar 1 (Rapid Cycling), Complex PTSD and Functional Neurological Disorder.

My son’s gentle wisdom furnishes me with the gift of hope.

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Comments (2)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran10 months ago

    I'm so glad Kerry and Leanne helped you out so much! Also, congratulations on Respite! Keep working on it! So glad to see you back here on Vocal!

  • Kendall Defoe 10 months ago

    I really do love this one! Thanks!

Pauline FountainWritten by Pauline Fountain

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