The tax man was added to the list of people who I needed to pay attention to at this time of year. Thankfully with my income and no investments he was easy to please. I got my records in order and submitted everything to the accountant in good time this year which is a plus and it also meant I got the piles of paper work that had been accumulating on my desk into some sort of order. It is amazing what you can do when you have to isn’t it?

In April or May an old school friend resurfaced on my social media feed that had been absent for a while. To my distress he had been away for a good reason and one that makes me pull out my soap box to scream the unfair stigma towards it. He had finally been diagnosed with bipolar disorder after reaching rock bottom and loosing just about everything, including his life, to it.

His open honesty about his illness and his determination to lift himself out of its dark depths is inspiring, especially as I have seen the side of suffers who refuse to acknowledge there is a problem. To raise awareness of his condition and in an effort to try to reduce the stigma attached to it he started a Facebook page that took off in popularity at an incredible rate. It is as much about helping him as helping others and its popularity continues to steadily grow on social media.

He invited me to help him as an admin on his page, which I have to admit I have been very slack at over the past couple of months of the year as I didn’t even have time to say I didn’t have time. I got together with him and the others he invited to assist him with his mission to raise awareness of mental health problems in June and took some publicity shots. I really like the one I’ve posted here, the blue healer dog is a representation of Sir Winston Churchill’s black dog that was always biting at his heals. Check out https://www.facebook.com/kickingtheblackdog if you are interested.

My dad’s health declined in July too and he was admitted to hospital after a long wait in the emergency department as his congenital heart disease problem raised it’s ugly head again. Between visiting my best friend and my own emergency I had already spent too much time at the hospital in 2014  but I was back there again. There is something about sitting in a room in the ER for hours on end that makes you re-evaluate life. Dad only stayed over night and at 94 years of age he is doing well to be still living in his own home but none of us have a choice in that, he refuses to live anywhere else. This is of ongoing concern to everyone as my mother is showing the early signs of dementia, she is some 12 years younger than him, and work obligations for those of their children that are still in town make it difficult to check in on them regularly.

I did try to take them on one of my trips with the camera but they declined due to the cold weather in July which was a shame. Instead I printed a couple of the photos I took of the amazing sunset by the river for them.

A clear winter evening sky at a beautiful spot only minutes for the town CBD.
A clear winter evening sky at a beautiful spot only minutes for the town CBD.
A dusty dry winter sunset. Practicing my camera skills in different lighting conditions.
A dusty dry winter sunset. Practicing my camera skills in different lighting conditions.
My friend who is trying hard to come to terms with the black dog nipping at his heals.
My friend who is trying hard to come to terms with the black dog nipping at his heals.
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