It is probably the fate of ppl like me that, where a father rejects his son as an offspring and a person,  for a safe anchor and harbour in life will never exist. When cut adrift emotionally and spiritually from an early age, its left to yourself to determine those anchors and safe harbours. Without moral or cultural references.

Ironically, being the spiritual yet searching vagrant that I am, my anchor is Barb. And I am and I am determined to be, until I draw my last breath, the anchor and safe harbour for my wife and my children. What I never had I am determined that my family will take for granted.

A good, trusted and close friend, responded to an email I sent him along the lines of this note. I sent it in confidence. He said I should share it. He said it would help others.

As always, our great fear is even if we have things under control, the perceptions would be otherwise. I have reservations, but I also have great faith in my friend’s advice that there are others who might benefit from a simple conversation about accepting the process of walking the Black Dog.

If I have learned one thing from my clinical psychiatrist from 2 years of treatment and rebuilding, its OK to talk about this stuff if the people you ask respect your reasons and motivations.

3.5 years ago I hit a brick wall mentally and emotionally and could find no way out. A messy meltdown resulted and my loving family picked me up, and frog-marched me off to a GP, where I began a journey of discovering a lifetime of sadness, grief, anxiety and depression. 2 years with a professional who helped me unlock things from the darkest, dampest trenches of my mind has resulted in my being able to see light above those trenches. I am learning to deal with and do things with that light.

I remember half way through my time with my psych saying "I just want to be normal again" . Her response to me was "What do you consider to be normal?"

So life now is about finding a "new" normal, one that recognises that I will probably always walk with that fabled Black Dog, but with good support, and appropriate medication, it (so far) no longer walks me.

Some will look at me incredulously; in possible disbelief. Quite reasonably. No outwardly visible signs. No strange (or more than usual strange!) behaviour ..... ("Is he making it up?")

The stigma of shame and fear of judgement, being self-indulgent and being considered weak, flawed, often drives us to be adept confidence tricksters. And the fear of under-performing, making excuses and letting people down, drives us even harder.

Part of being in the light now is being able to trust people with your own story of the journey. I am very much more in control of who I am, what I am and what I feel. I am one of the lucky ones. I had a family who loved me and cared about me. I had access to the best of professional help and support. I have the best of friends and working environments.

And the point of this message?

Many others are not so near as blessed and fortunate as me. The scourge of those dark demons in people's heads pervades modern society and is a particular issue for some much younger than me.

Beyond Blue is very much the vanguard at the battlefront. If we are to continue the battle against those dark damp trenches in people's minds and the packs of Black Dogs that roam unleashed amongst us, then Beyond Blue really needs our support.

A group of very caring, enthusiastic and driven people, (led by a person who understands my little journey because she has also survived much more than me), have come together in a community called "Evolution Runners" Yes, they run, regularly :-) Now, so do I. They're raising money for Beyond Blue. So I have joined them in their efforts.

Please forgive my long note, but it is my way of saying that because of the work of organisations like Beyond Blue, I am back on my feet. I am an example of what can happen when things "go right".

My very humble request is to ask you to consider a small donation to

Beyond Blue, not for me but for others who by rights, should have the same opportunities and support that I received. I am now strong enough to say that what happened to me is real, it is an illness, and it can be treated successfully.

Please join me in helping those who are helping those many others who are yet to start that journey into the "new" normal. The link to the Evolution Runners Donation Page is here:

My grateful thanks

As residents of the Central Highlands region we have a rare opportunity to share our aspirations for the region directly into the heart of State Government through the newly formed Regional Partnerships.

As chair of the Central Highlands Regional Partnership, I’m here to tell you that this initiative is  different, and it’s critical that people understand the opportunity we have to genuinely influence how State Government supports priorities in our region.

On November 15, residents from across the region will be gathering in Ballarat for the first Central Highlands regional assembly, and joining us in the conversation will be various Ministers and senior State Government staff, all there to listen to YOUR priorities for YOUR community.

[Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own, and should not be taken in any way to be reflective or endorsed by the Victorian State Government or the Central Highlands Regional Partnership committee in respect of which I have the privilege of being Chair. However you may take it as a sign of my excitement and enthusiasm for this initiative for our regional and rural communities :-) ]

Yesterday, the Victorian Government announced that it's investing $1mil in Digital Plans for all 9 Regional Partnerships. The initiative is an important component of the $45mil Connecting Regional Communities Program announced by the Victorian State Government last year.

Since the mid 90s, the Victorian Government has been the vanguard of State Governments in fighting to close the Digital Divide. Whether it was setting up Televillage initiatives or aggregating telecommunications and broadband services for the benefit of schools and essential services. The Victorian Government has usually been on the front foot. Even at a national level, Victoria has been unafraid of bucking the initiatives when they didn't add up. And in the midst of what was an increasingly frustrating period of inaction and lack of direction at the Federal level in the mid 2000s, many of us were left to do whatever we could with the adhoc and piecemeal iniitiatives that were offered up.

Swing forward to 2009 and the announcement of version 2 of the National Broadband Network. There was finally a recognition of the fact that the telecommunications and broadband infrastructure market had failed the regional and rural areas and there was finally something that local governments and regional and rural communities and businesses could focus on in moving the regions forward. But as always, its one thing to build new infrastructure, its another thing for the regions to leverage it. Many questions came from regional and rural Australia as to w