Sunday, 30 May 2010

Saving The Whale

Cactus Kate has written piece in support of legendary blogger Cameron Slater aka Whale Oil.

Cameron has a mental illness and he doesn't hide it. He has blogged extensively about his battle with his insurance company who have cutoff his income protection insurance payments.

Cameron has chronic depression. I don't know Cameron as well as Cactus but I have met him few times, had coffee, chewed the fat. Cameron is a nice guy. As Cactus says he doesn't drink, on the cocktail of drugs he is on you wouldn't want to.

Cameron is clearly depressed and heavily medicated. He is very intelligent, with a wikipedia like knowledge of many topics. He also has the droopy eyelids and facial puffiness that comes with long term use of psychoactive drugs. Cactus says he can be argumentative: whenever I have been with him he is pleasant and rational. There is a world of difference between Cameron Slater and Whale Oil.

Cameron pisses people off. He writes blog posts that on occasions are extremely offensive, even to those who like him. I personally have a problem with his homophobic posts.

I worry about Cameron. I think his campaign to flout name suppression orders and therefore commit contempt of court is stupid. A person with a mental illness ( and a family ) doesn't need any more stress in his life.

I have no idea what Cam's diagnosis is. From what I know about Cameron from my personal conversations with Cam, and talking to his friends, some of the symptoms sound like bipolar affective disorder.

I have read a number of comments in the blogosphere accusing Cameron of being a malingerer. That is ludicrous, why would anyone want to have either chronic depression or bipolar or any other other biological mental illnesses ? Life with is a mental illness is not one you would choose.

I know because I have bipolar affective disorder. It is a real bitch. 15% of people diagnosed with it kill themselves. It destroys marriages, kills careers, breaks up families, obliterates savings. I have had bipolar since I was at intermediate school but was only diagnosed last year at the age of 47.

I know several people with bipolar and everyones story is different. I have people I love so I don't feel comfortable telling my story but here is a story that seems fairly typical of a bipolar life:

If you have been reading bipolar stories you are probably getting used to some common elements like spending sprees and hypersexuality.
I sure hope so because this is still very hard for me to tell people about.

As soon as I started my PhD I discovered online adult chat.

This was far more compelling to me than any PhD research. I was suddenly obsessed with sex yet completely uninterested in my partner. In fact, I was almost always angry about the stupidest things. I fantasized about living alone so that I would have total control over the contents of the fridge and kitchen cupboards.
Any little thing enraged me and my sexual needs were off the chart. Using the need to be online for my PhD research (which conveniently centered on cyberspace) as an excuse, I spent hours having virtual sex with men and women all over the world.

I even travelled internationally to hook up with some of these people, betraying the best partner in the world and squandering thousands of dollars that by rights belonged to both of us.

Out of shame, respect for my ex, and the constraints of good taste I won't go into details, but my sex, spending and travel spree cost me not just a fortune in cash - it cost me my marriage, home and self respect.

Just another train wreck in the many - too many - bipolar stories you can find.

I have no idea of the ins and outs of Cameron's battle with his insurance company but I do know that the challenge Cameron is facing is real, in fact probably a life and death struggle.

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