Mental Health.


If it wasn’t so sad, it would almost be funny.

A blog, all decorated in jellybeans, that began as a somewhere to write about nothing much at all has become a colourful testament to something completely different.

Back when my life was somewhat more normal than it is now, I blogged about living with depression, and the torture of postnatal (postpartum) depression in particular.Then, in January 2011, my much loved husband suffered a violent psychosis and took his own life, by hanging, in front of me.

If you really want to read the whole story… strap in, and start with this post. Then just keep clicking ‘Next Post’, right down the bottom of the page, until things start to look normal again… it may take a while.


I’ve blogged, in detail and to much criticism, about the afternoon my husband hung himself, his time in the ICU, and the horrible balance between sane men and violent suicide that seems to float unseen and unspoken about.

If you want to know why I blogged all those things… I guess this post explains it best. And if you’re wondering how I’m allowed to write all this given the mental health guidelines in the Australian media, I’ve discussed that one with MindFrame, and blogged about that, too.

I blogged the speech I made at my husbands funeral. If you read nothing else here…. read that.

I write a lot about post traumatic stress disorder and grief. I’ve blogged about workplace bullying in the Australian Public Service and I’ve chronicled my own experience with our mental health crisis system.

If you- like me- happen to suffer from debilitating, painful anxiety and panic attacks, please read this post. I wrote it for you.

And if you’ve ever had the thought “People would be better off without me”, you need to read this… I can prove you wrong.

Like this place, or hate it, I’m not really fussed. Take what you will from it, what’s helpful and what’s not.

I’m certainly no expert, and I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have any of the answers. If I did, my husband might still be here.

But read, if you like. It’s my truth, and I’m not ashamed of it, or afraid to share it.

Take what I said, in my speech at Tony’s funeral. Please. Read it, and take it to heart.

Us people, we talk so much about nothing. There is too much silence surrounding mental illness in the world.

You speak.
Immediate help for….
Australia can be found through LifeLine, on 13 11 14, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
New Zealand Lifeline, on 0800 543 354, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
America National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
And in the UK, its the Samaritans- 08457 90 90 90

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

sarebear May 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm


I’ve only recently discovered your site and am blown away. I’ve had some big knocks too in life but as I’m sure you know, experience is all relative.

I just read a comment from a woman who was ready to end her life until she read something you had written. Now that’s a job well done, Lori. You inspire me.

Also. you might not relate to this but I note how many people call you ‘strong’. I get that a lot as well. But I find the term ‘strong’, I don’t know how to describe it really, I’m sure you can do a better job, what is the word, separating? It makes me feel alone. Because what choice is there? There isn’t one. You do what you have to do.

Keep on keeping on. You are a star.


Lori Dwyer May 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Thank you so much SareBear. I know exactly what you mean about the ‘strong’ concept… it’s probably a topic for a whole other blog post!
L xxxx
Lori Dwyer recently posted…Morbid.My Profile


Robert Thorne December 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

I can't even begin to imagine how horrifying and traumatic that must have been. If that happened to me, I'd still be on sessions at the therapy clapham clinic right now.


Amanda August 21, 2012 at 3:48 am

I don't know what to say. I just found this blog and I am so deeply touched. I keep writing and re-writing this comment because… because there are no words. You are incredible. You are so strong. Thank you


Mel Insky July 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Dear Lori,

I hardly know you – though know of your heart breaking situation through this site – fairly soon after you set up this page.

I have always wanted to write to you to express support and thanks for your bravery.. but always felt daunted that the depth of my appreciation just wouldn't come through..
– but today I'm giving it a go. :)

I deeply admire, respect and love you.
You are truly AMAZING.

Yesss…you'll say you have your have flaws… yes..(we all do)..but nevertheless

What you're doing is transforming one of the most horrific situations that can occur, into an amazingly positive, powerful and important catalyst for personal and societal healing.

You inspire me so much, because I've experienced a lifetime of repeated trauma and I'm only alive by force of will, anti-depressants, and the assistance of 3 Archangels (24/7)…

I have been shunned by my family, mistreated by supposed health professionals.. and my trauma and abuse has been minimised, or denied..
In 2009 I nearly died… was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, 2 days later discharged from an ER – even though I could hardly stand upright, let alone walk (from self harm) – and the Mental Health Crisis Worker had been in tears (from hearing a fraction of my abuse).

My mother picked me up from the ER, took me to my flat.. hardly said a word in the car, and didn't contact me for more than 2 months afterwards…

Never has anyone effectively followed up…
What society/people need to understand, is that SILENCE KILLS
(.. that you even got angrliy told to not write on this blog – your feelings and what happened – is proof !)

Since 2009, I've been learning how to ensure that I'm never again at risk of dying.
I have become my own best friend, my own advocate, and the partnership and solidarity I have formed with myself, and for myself, has meant that I'm able to be alive and feel safe because I have promised to take care of 'me'. Therefore whether anyone else does or doesn't love or care for me -I'll be alright anyway.

Achieving this is a daily process, and involves lots of question and answer with myself.
It's sort of like an 'inner marriage'. (I'm single and live alone).
Since that brush with death, I've adopted the policy of "self care, self love, self respect".
Slowly,(through self care), I've gained health and stability, and now I can try to make a difference to those who help where I can.

I know I am not alone in my pain –

…the pervasive silence in our society is despicable, pathetic and dangerous… and you experienced the full force of the denial in the most shocking, horrific way possible…

Dear Lori, what you do, who YOU are.. is a force for Goodness, and Healing… beyond my ability to put into words.

Saying "Thank You." isn't enough…

Much Love to you and yours <3

Mel Insky


Dominique April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Keep talking…it's the best cure all.
I'm so tired of mental illness being seen as anything other than an illness.
We are not nut cases, retards, it's not that we can't cope with life, we're just wired differently.
Thanks to the doctors who helped me get what I need and my happy pills. I'm on them for life…and for "life".


Ali March 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I have just found your blog today and have spent the afternoon reading your story…the Ugly, Speak, Solitude, Soul Cancer among others. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Having just been diagnosed as one of the 1 in 3 people who suffer from a depressive disorder, I am beginning to really understand the stigma attached to mental illness, and the lack of knowledge and understanding about it, and the lack of people that are comfortable speaking about it. It makes it an incredibly isolating disease. And, it shouldn't be that way.
I'm one of the lucky ones (although some days it doesn't feel that way)…I spoke out and I am getting help. But, until two months ago, I never knew Lifeline's number existed…why is it only advertised in doctor's surgeries? Little things like that need to change.

You write so powerfully, with honesty and courage. Thank you so much for sharing and speaking out. You're making a difference.


Gumby Girl March 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Lori I've followed your for nearly 2 years n ow and I found myself coming back to this page about a week ago. It will be two weeks tomorrow since my mum took her life and I keep coming back to your blog and reading your posts of the after, and in a strange way it's making me feel like I'm less alone.

Thank you for blogging about this taboo subject there needs to be more resources out there for people like us that have lost parents or partners to suicide.

thank you,



svasti September 5, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Just another reader coming over from The Age.

My own story is both similar and different to yours. I too, was on the receiving end of a man who seemed to have lost it. An ex-lover, over for dinner and our evening turned from companionable to violent before I knew what was happening.

Only in my case, he didn't kill himself. Instead I was left with PTSD and depression and my own desire for suicide.

Nearly six years later, I'm finally regaining my balance in a very sure-footed way.

I know you can make it through, as horrible as everything has been. Stay true to yourself and your instincts and I know you'll make it.

It just takes time and utter stubbornness, is all.

I'm so sorry for your loss, the trauma and the current upside-down-ness of your life. *hugs*


carolyn September 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hi Lori, I am nearly finished my social work degree and did my first placement in mental health. I also began to question if I should have done nursing instead of SW. however, time will tell. I plan to work in mental health or age care where i am curently working as a personal care worker. At 50 I think I just want to make an impact on sufferers and help with the recoverly process. You should write a book on your experiences as there is only one other done my a Ballarat women. This would help destigmatise hidden mental illness and suicide in our society


Nicole May 21, 2011 at 10:56 am

This comment has been removed by the author.


365daysoftwins April 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Your writing is a great big middle finger to depression in general, and the silent stigma surrounding it specifically. You. are. awesome. Lots of love from Minnesota.

Like trillions of people around the world (a rough estimate), I'm one of those people that suffer from "something". Some days, it's nothing, some days it's a real shit show. I know everything you're writing about, and can't even pretend to understand any of it. I'm looking forward to following.


tonymcfadden April 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm

You're fucking awesome. And I don't say that very often.


K March 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm

You are so brave, I cannot even begin to imagine how challenging life can be for you. Well done for speaking out about mental illness and being so open. I'm not sure words are enough but I wish you happiness and peace.


Marianna Annadanna March 13, 2011 at 1:36 am

Love your honesty. Hang in there.


Trisha March 10, 2011 at 1:09 am

Hi Lori,

I am one of those that you inspired to speak. To stop and realize that actually, I was not okay, but that I did not have to be alone…and that death was not the answer.

I am truly sorry for your tragedy and wish that you did not have to go through the pain that you are experiencing right now.

But I am also grateful to you…you saved my life, literally (specifically that Ugly post)…the day I read it (fortuitously) I was seriously considering ending my life…so thank you.

Thank you and I wish you strength.


Dorothy March 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I'd rather talk and read about this than about anything else. We seem to be living in denial about this stuff. Until a tragedy….


Glowless @ Where’s My Glow March 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

To have experienced all you have in these few short months and still be thinking of others astounds me. You are truly a wonderful and inspiring person x


megastein March 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

I believe that we can stop the stigma surrounding mental illness by talking about it. Talking about the fear, secrecy, shame, and even the absurdity of having depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. I have never commented on one of your blog posts before, but I want to sincerely thank you Lori for your bravery. You are so open and honest about your struggles and it is refreshing to bear witness to what you are going through. Please continue speaking out and telling people about your first handle experiences with mental illness. You are extraordinary and I have tremendous gratitude to you, your friends, and your family for making a space to continue the discussion on our mental health.


Bek Williams March 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

You are an amazing advocate of mental health and its secrecy. I have been treated for severe depression since my 7 year old was newborn! Lots of shit went on and it seems I will forever take my little happy pills. But thats ok – cause they keep me from losing the plot!
But there are many members of my immediate family who dont agree that mental health issues exist, so mostly I live , as you say, in silence!
You rock Lori, please keep your posts raw! I for one can relate to alot of what you say!


CourtneyB March 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I never spoke to my husband about real stuff like this till January, you know the day….
Up till then i just took for granted our happiness…
Now i am more alert, i watch for signs, i ask and ask till he will speak…
Ive told you before and I'll say it again, No one who knows you and cares for you will go on with life in quite the same way…


{Crafty Girls} March 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

Lori, I have no doubt in my mind that you've saved my life. In some way, shape, or form. Saved my husband and children from going through that hell, saved me from making that… mistake.

I have bi polar II, and I'm sure your aware of the impact that has had on my family over the years. I've never REALLY thought about the impact it would have on my family, if I was to take my life, not to that extent or detail. It needed to be said.

I know it's cold comfort for yourself, but I will never forget you, or Tony, not ever. xxxx