Making sense of the world as VUCA becomes the norm.

January 2, 2022


What is the meaning or the purpose of life?

What matters most to us each day?

The gift that gives for me has been “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

Having invested a decade of my life trying to find answers post-diagnosis bipolar I have finally found them.

But why should I have to do it all myself?

Is there not a mental health system designed to deliver safe care?

Are there mental health services offering ethically and morally appropriate care?

Is there not a culture in mental health services informed through our human rights?

Sadly none of the above is true.

We are making progress and now with The Australian Productivity Commission’s work into mental health combined with The Victorian Roya Commission into Mental Health and the cross-party Federal Inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention – the case is clear – nothing is ethical, nothing is moral, nothing is informed through human rights, nothing is fit for purpose.

So what have I learned since 2011 and my diagnosis.

I have learned that you will gain no value from trusting mental health services.

The value is in self-discovery.

To navigate the complexities of episodes of psychosis and depression offer insight into the human experience through the lens of:

  • Volatility
  • Uncertainty
  • Chaos
  • Ambiguity

So how did I survive the six-month psychotic episode in 2011?

And how did I survive the relapse in 2016 that lasted 12 months?

And how do I feel about the fact that my then GP and psychiatrists failed me?

And that there was no legal underpinning of any element of my “mental health” treatment?

I have contributed to both the work of The Productivity Commission and The Royal Commission.

It was an exhausting experience.

The Australian Federal and State/ Territory governance framework is a mess with gaps and duplication evidenced by the fact that primary care is a Federal Government responsibility and the mental health services provided through acute and community sectors are primarily a State/ Territory responsibility. But then we have the Primary Healthcare Networks funded by The Federal Government that is aimed at addressing services gaps and the services gaps are in community health which is a State/ Territory responsibility to The Federal Government is now taking on what should be the work of the States and Territories.

The flawed legislative framework underpinning the provision of mental health services along with the weak accountability framework has delivered one of the biggest policy failures I have seen in two decades of auditing Government.

But Australia is not alone in policy incompetence.

New Zealand has a flawed approach to mental health as does The United Kingdom, The United States and many other countries.

So why has this been allowed to happen?

Our politicians have a duty of care towards those who elected them.

I have found that a significant proportion of these individuals either do not understand mental health and mental illness or are not willing to engage in the issues due to stigma, or that they have personal experience and it’s too close to home for them to engage meaningfully in the issue.

Where am I going with this you may ask?

Without the experience of dealing with psychosis and depression I doubt I would have found the knowledge to navigate the healing and recovery journey post-diagnosis. Further I have developed sufficient skill to be able to make sense of volatility, uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity in my external world now I have dealt with in my internal world.

To learn that the root cause of my diagnosis was related to my imbalanced perception of my childhood was enlightening. To explore the family trees of both my mother and father was further evidence that much of my mental illness had been inherited from my ancestors. I was not my role to stigmatise myself and blame myself for what I had experienced. It was my role to heal generations of trauma and chaos that had feed through my ancestral DNA into my inner reality. Having read that we can rewire our brains and our DNA, I saw a path towards a sense of inner calm and happiness.

And that’s what I have achieved.

That’s’ the value of following the science.

Follow your heart not your head.

Trust your gut instinct or intuition when it’s activated; it’s always activated.

Allow your head to follow your heart and your gut and let your head finesse the detail for that is its purpose – to create guided by the heart and the gut – in that order.

It took me 50+ years to wake up to the fact that I was living the wrong life.

I had no idea life could be this good.

That’s the value of following the science.

Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff by Grant Soosalu and Marvin Oka – a must read for 2022 and beyond.