From the sublime to the insane, and in the dark again.

"It seemed evident to me that my response to Rachael's doctor's criticisms of 'enabling', had caused her flight. Rachael was interviewed a total of 17 times whilst at Broadmeadows, and everytime I attempted to inquire if this could be relevant, I was unceremoniously rebuffed. And what of doctor GW's claim that Rachael's flight was in response to a change in medication? Did he mislead the doctors at Broadmeadows who rely on his information in aiding their assessment……and if so, why?

Rachael wrote all of her Poetry whilst in Broadmeadows and the preponderance of it was about her mental state and how she felt and what she thinking. She was articulate, a registered nurse and more than capable of communicating her symptoms, yet these smug know-it-all bozos (as it was here that smugness reigned supreme) could not manage to diagnose BPD. 

Here's a clue doctors"

The Bridge

The homecoming

Rachael and I had just arrived home from Broadmeadows when within thirty seconds she had grabbed her keys and made a dash for the door. I blocked the doorway, as she kept trying to force her way by me. In the end, I managed to get her to sit down and made her a pot of tea. (Rachael was testing to see if I really cared about her, her poor self-esteem precluded her from asking and that was the only way she knew how to find out the poor sweetheart.)

What to do now? I had thought more about what was said that may have triggered Rachael's flight to the bridge and did a google search accordingly, with a number of hits found for personality disorders. The first was for Dependent Personality Disorder and upon reading it, there were many similarities with Rachael's symptoms and behaviour, but she was nowhere near as dependent as this suggested, but it was nevertheless encouraging. Next was was Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and it seemed as though I'd stumbled upon the Holy Grail.

It was perceived abandonment fears that clued me in, and so I asked Rachael if she thought that I was intending on leaving her the day she drove to the bridge, and as I did the air in the room was suddenly so thick you could cut it and so overwhelming that there was no mistaking what it was, the air was thick with shame. As tears gushed down my darling girl’s forlorn face I knew it was Rachael's shame that I was feeling, that evoked emotions of such profound sadness and pity as I have ever felt for another human being.

“You are ashamed of yourself aren't you Rach, why sweetheart?”

"When you get to know me you will see how awful I am and leave.”

My poor sweet beautiful darling girl, how she could believe she was worthless was just tragic, and so I cuddled my best friend and told her how in awe I was of her, how she had changed my life, how grateful I was to have met her and that she was the best friend anyone could wish for and the day I leave her would be the day I die. And that was the simple truth.

We spoke for hours that night and Rachael opened up and shared things about herself she had never shared with anyone. For the first time, she had someone she knew she could trust with her most intimate thoughts, feelings and fears, who did not judge her but instead empathised with her, a friend on whom she could rely.

"Having stumbled upon BPD should have been the cause for optimism especially as it was considered treatable. However, the experiences we had had with practitioners up to date warned that progress would be unnecessarily difficult and there was more stress and heartache to come."

A Rose at the Wall                              

Rachael spent a week in Broadmeadows during which time she wrote all the poetry that appears here. She was interviewed seventeen times by doctors and psych nurses and no one picked up her BPD, the most well researched and understood of the personality disorders and the symptoms of which she wrote about whilst she was there in the hospital. 

A Rose at the Wall is about that day on the bridge and the woman who gently coaxed her down "with dulcet even tones, feathery soft like rose petals, no thorns, just the delicate scent of understanding." She was Rachael's Rose on the wall.

There's more to life than going to see the Quack.

When Rach and I were not pulling our hair out and banging our heads against a wall at a doctor's surgery, we would often go for trips into the country or scavenge the inner city op shops and book shops. Rach was into a bit of spiritualism and had a crystal collection and would have a tarot reading every now and then that I would invariably bag her about, mainly due to the dubious mental state of the person doing the readings. Rach loved going art galleries, where she could even tell me about the different brush techniques employed by each artist, something I had always wanted to know :)

Thursday night was snooker night and a bit of horsing around. We'd go around to the local get a bottle of vino Bianco and the running gag was the more Rachael played the worse she got, and it was true. By the end of the night, she couldn’t pot a ball to save her life or do much of anything except laugh.

Other days we could sit in a park for hours just talking and looking at a Rainbow while the Chick Bibby sat at our feet. When we went for a walk Rachael could name just about every tree and plant she passed, I have never met anyone so aware of the world around them and who had a gift for putting their thoughts, feelings and observations into words as she did.


The Greyhound Adoption Program walk days in Abbotsford were a big favourite of Rach's, as she could gasbag till her heart’s content admiring all the Greyhounds and exchanging anecdotes with other owners. Rach had become a self-confessed elitist when it came to Greyhounds, especially Mischka whom she considered the ultimate "Chick Bibby" super model. No other breed of dog was even fit even to poop in the same neighbourhood much less approach her royal bibbyness for risk of losing their heads.

Our first night out was an evening out at ‘Dracula’s’ and Rachael was buzzing the minute we arrived, as she had seen it before and kept saying, “I hope you like it, I hope you like it.” So, I’m carrying on, “I’m not gonna like this, I can tell already it’s gonna be dead boring. The show was hilarious, better than I expected and Rach was so pleased that couldn’t stop talking. “Yes Rach, I really did love it”, Yes, it really was hilarious”, “YES Rach, it was the funniest show I have ever seen in my entire life.” Dear adorable Rachael, if she really liked something, she wanted you to share in it as well.

Saturday night at “The Meadows Greyhound Races”

One of the funniest nights we had was at the local Greyhound races. As Rachael was now a Greyhound aficionado, a trip to the race track at least once a month was mandatory. There was a fixture of eight races at the Meadows of a Saturday evening, and the track itself was recently completed and well set out; it was only a short walk from any one destination to another. It had a bit of a club atmosphere about it as well, not like an exclusive club or anything, it was still Broadmeadows after all. (And yes they should ban Greyhound racing, but what did we know back then, we were just kids?)

Rach and I had worked out a cunning plan, guaranteed to make us big bucks on the night. If everything went as expected, we were going to run one of those get rich seminars and guaranteed to show you how to make a fortune backing the doggies. Exploiting and defrauding unsuspecting peeps in order to make a quick buck, like every good capitalist does.

We had arrived late due to a serious lipstick malfunction and had missed the first race and so were off to a bit of shaky start.

The success of our cunning plan hinged upon Rachael’s professed skill as a Greyhound whisperer par excellence. The plan called for her to head down to the parade yard where the Bibbies were bought out prior to each race and get the low down straight from the doggy’s mouth. Once she had winkled out the winner, I’d bet a staggering twenty big one’s straight up for the win. Too easy, except where has she gone now?

“Rachael, can you cut out the gasbagging and concentrate, there’s not much time left before the race starts” Evenyually Rach motions number five, and so it’s all or nothing now.

And they’re off and racing in Race No two at the Meadows! “Go number five, come on you little bastard, run doggy run, this is fun isn’t ?”

They were so fast and bunched up together that when they passed the finishing line it was hard to tell if number five came last or second last. A quick peruse of the slow-mo replay revealed, yep dead last. Not quite to plan.

“Now Rach, when I said we are going for broke, you didn’t take that literally now did you, it’s just a figure of speech, like break a leg. We’ll put that one down to beginner’s nerves, and you know you can only improve because you can’t do any worse”

Two races later and I think we were really on to something, all we had to do was find a bookmaker that would take bets for last place and we’d be rolling in it.

Rachael was cracking me up, what are the chances of picking three dead last in a row? I don’t even think she was ever a greyhound whisperer to tell the truth, I think she was just picking the Chick Bibbies she thought cutest. That our luck had to change was odds on, no point in changing strategy.....so onward and upward, no looking back!

......and the winner is

The odd thing about odds is that they are not governed by any universal law, otherwise, how could Rachael have selected the next three last place runners in a row, for a grand total of six. I know it sounds like complete bollocks and that I must be exaggerating, but I am not and I was in hysterics by this time, and I thought I’d either die laughing, (because you can die laughing you know, one guy actually died laughing in his sleep) or someone would call the mental health crisis assessment team and have me taken away.

Deep breath and calm down now, just one race to go, I can do this. Think I’ll check out the odds for something to do. So what have we got here, check out number eight, it’s at one hundred and twenty to one? Far out, they’re long odds in an eight starter race, are they expecting it to finish tonight? Imagine if Rachael picks number number eight, she better not if she knows what’s good for me, I hope it’s an ugly dog!

“O.K. Rach, let me guess what number, don’t tell me, its number eight isn’t it?” "Wow, how d’you know that Dave?" I remember getting a piece of paper and writing on it number eight for a win, so I didn’t have to talk to the cashier; I was too scared to talk to anyone, who wants to die laughing at a Greyhound track of all places?

I just wanted you to know (Happy 40th B'day darling girl)   Play

Anyway, we took a seat adjacent the finishing post and I have no idea what we were talking about, I was trying to distract myself worried Rach would say something that would set me off, and it would be the Looney bin. So we are there, sort of talking, with one eye on the race, and praying to the God I know isn’t there to take pity on me anyway.

Before too long the doggies are rounding the bend into the home straight and it's suddenly all surreal, as they seem to be floating in slow motion, and that looks liknumber eighte fun as they float across the finishing line, and look number eight is the winner!

I can still see Rachael's face now,  "that was number eight Dave!” Six last places and we still went home winners, just another day in the life with Rach.