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The smoke

People keep saying we're fortunate, and it's not that bad, I'm in Melbourne and we are not near the fires. But, now the smoke has coated our city and my suburb back home, also. My workplace is full of smoke (open plan office) my home is smokey. My airconditioner doesn't have a recirculate function, it just pulls air from outside and spits it back out, (same at work) so my husband keeps turning ours on, "the air has to get in here somehow," is his commentary.

 

Masks and air purifiers are out of stock. I've not worn one, even in the hazardous rated air, which made me almost pass out during the four minute walk to my bus. Legitimately, I was scared. The ventilation on the trains is non existent, and it's worse in there. I have to stand and wait for public transport for on average 80 minutes a day. Sometimes more. 

 

I have no choice but to walk and work through the smoke. My chest is burning, I feel dizzy most of the time. I commute two hours a day, I am stuck in it. But, If I stay at home, I'm sitting in the stagnant, same quality air anyway. It won't be as painful but it's not practical either. 

 

I can't imagine living near the fires, I am hundreds of kilometers away, and it's near unbearable here. 

 

So, I'm getting anxious, have I damaged my lungs? Will I get sick? Am I already sick? Is my dog okay? He seemed drowsy this morning, and wouldn't eat. I arrived to work late after ensuring he was okay. My husband rides his bike to work still, everyone on the street seems relaxed and fine. People walk their dogs, and push prams with babies, commute to work. Everyone else here happily works in the office despite the obvious haze in the indoor air. 

 

Are people just calm as a default? I don't know what to do anymore. 

 

To add to it, I'm late. If I'm pregant, I'll have a mental breakdown, after spending days breathing in poison. I tell myself it's just the stress. I'm sure not possible, but I still have the thought. 

 

Bah!

10 REPLIES 10

Re: The smoke

@2qwerty  Hi 2qwerty try not to worry about it as there is nothing that can be done. Many countries live with this kind of pollution year and year ..... I think we as Australians who are used to our blue skies are truly in shock as to what is occuring in our beautiful country. Stay calm and be kind to yourself and if you are pregnant I am sure your baby will be a beautiful, healthy baby Smiley Happy. Love peaxxx

Re: The smoke

Hi @2qwerty , I think you will be okay.. try not to stress about it too much as its a vicious circle.  Certainly don't exercise outside in the rancid air.  I know its really bad in Melbourne right now.  I'm in NSW and we have had bad to terrible conditions for months.  If you can't get a mask, you can use a damp bandanna to do a similar thing.  A lot of the firefighters do that over the top of the masks as not all the masks are 100% effective.  Maybe you could find something online?  

 

If you can work from home then I would do that.  I think people exposing babies and kids to the air is naiive and stupid.

 

It worries Me that we can get used to the smell after a certain period of time and then it becomes 'normal'.  They are suggesting turning off air conditioning if you can.  In my workplace we can't and haven't been doing that.

Re: The smoke

Sometimes calmness can be denial and sometimes it is the best response to circumstances beyond our control.  For me, it is importnat to register the facts. I live in Melbourne, and was so sad driving to Geelong yesterday.  City life separates us a lot from some country realities.  There is no point getting worked up over it as that will not help at all.  I know people are buying more plants for inside air and planting more vegetables. Me too.

I doubt lungs would be permanently damaged by small exposure.  We are all in this boat together.

Take Care

@2qwerty 

Smiley Happy

Re: The smoke

@2qwertymate, the short term smoke is fine. I'm breathing it in, it's only short term. I do so rationally & I have schizophrenia and BPD. We're lucky to have such good air quality in Melbourne most of the time and lucky to be safe from bushfire now. I'm so sad for the wild life and live stock that have been harmed or killed by the  bushfires. I'm contemplating donating $ from my low income to wild life rescue care.

 

I don't know how your dog is because I'm not a vet. Even if he/she was ill, I'd have to examine your pet in real life to determine if he/she was ok or at risk - a vet told me that. My cat is fine but, from my Mental Health journal, I know that if he doesn't eat like normal, it's just a summer fluctuation & nothing to get anxiety or psychotic symptoms about. If you want to know for sure, you'll have to take your dog to your vet. Yes, I know know full well how that impacts on your work schedule and on your money. Me too. It's expensive, triggery and lost work hours. Up to you.

 

I went to work yesterday and a colleague was working away at her computer & was stressed. I enquired & she has asthma but from the smoke haze had only noticed eye irritation. So she'd bought herself a bottle of eye drops. That's what we have to do. I thankfully don't have asthma or eye irritation but by following my colleague's good example (she doesn't have any mental illness or personality disorder) you can tell that you need to go to the pharmacist & get eye drops or make a dr appointment if you need to, especially if you get asthma. Personally, I have jogged & hiked thru the smoke haze as it doesn't bother me. One or two days of inhaling smoke haze is not a big deal.

 

The pregnancy? You can get an abortion if you wish. It's safe and affordable in all states of Australia. Have you tried the pill? It's much more effective as a contraceptive than condoms. My Dr told me not to trust pregnancy test kits from the chemist, as they are not accurate, & to do a blood test at the Dr's instead, get a referral for an abortion then if need be. I think getting an abortion is far better & morally upright than having an unwanted child whilst plagued by mental illness. Why do I say this? - my mother had me when she was plagued by mental illness and personality disorder and I have always wished I was never born.

 

I have read a rare & honest admission on this forum that a member wished she had aborted as the resulting child was so damaged. I applaud that honesty & wish it was a less taboo topic, abortions are fine.

 

Here we go...

 

Here come my peers in a nano-second to dob me in to the moderators...here come the moderators to tell me I can't post and everything I write is against the forum guidelines which were written by forum members themselves who reject me...Like I really need another email from the moderators saying that my post is banned and that the forum guidelines are written by my own peers to which I don't belong.

 

 

Abortion is safe and low cost in Australia. My grandpa, who was a kind, safe and morally upright guy surgeon, urged my mother to abort & offered her the surgery of a safe, competent surgeon colleague at that time. 

Re: The smoke

Hi @2qwerty. How are you going today? And how is your dog doing?

It seems a lot clearer here where I am today maybe with the rain that has come through though I read the air quality is likely to get worse again. It has been really quite confronting I have found. I know lots of people have been finding it tough. Having the physical responses and concerns you are would be extra hard.

Being late can be stressful in itself and I'm sorry to hear it's adding to your worries at the moment (by the sound of it). How would you feel about taking a test? I find that uncertainty and unknowns do my head in with most things and that's definitely one! Home pregnancy tests are pretty accurate in my experience (and many state they are 99% or more).

I hope today is a better day for you 2qwerty.

Re: The smoke

@CheerBear Is it a lot clearer now, it was just Tuesday that was severely difficult to cope with, the morning trip was almost apocalyptic, you could see dirt in the air and breathing was awful. It felt awful. It has moved from hazardous to very poor-poor the past couple days and last night moved back to Good, with a brief smoky period around 2am, but back to feeling a lot better today. It will get worse again tomorrow and onwards, forecast says smoke haze will be back, right now it feels almost normal again. I'm still feeling a little tense from Tuesday, for sure.
I could test, I have some at home, but it feels like a dramatic thing to do now, so far only 2 days late, but it's the first time in nearly a year it's been off course, and my app is screaming at me to confirm the dates and stating in a bold grey icon that I am late. I'll wait til the latest possible natural date it could SURELY show up (35 days, my longest cycle ever) and then i'll test, I really don't think it's possible but the thought crossing my mind just made me more anxious. I have tests sitting at home but I'll put it off a little longer.

Re: The smoke

Hi @BryanaCamp and others in this thread @2qwerty @Appleblossom @Gazza75 @greenpea 
The heavy smoke can have mental and physical health consequences for many who are living far from the areas impacted by bushfires. If this includes you and you're interested in learning more about the health impacts of short-term smoke exposure you may like to look at this information here.

@2qwerty you're also wondering if you might be pregnant and wondering how you would feel if this were so at a time when you're already experiencing heightened anxiety with the fires and the smoke. I'm sorry that's so worrying for you and it's great that you've given voice to those fears and shared them here on the forums.

 @BryanaCamp, conversations about abortion can be fine on the forums. As always, when discussing sensitive topics it's important to be mindful of the fact that others' views may differ from your own and discussion about abortion can cue some really distressing feelings and memories for some. I'm really sorry that your mother was so unwell at the time of your birth and appreciate your honest sharing of some of your own story and opinions. At the same time, it is really clear that a great many people who live with mental health conditions are also parents. Having a mental illness does not make you a bad parent!

I hear your concern about the moderation process and it sounds like you fear correction by your peers. In the same way that you express your opinions quite frankly – it's important for others to feel safe to voice theirs. If any members would like support around this, or other conversations on the forums, you are encouraged to contact the forums team on team@saneforums.org 

Take care all.

Re: The smoke

I agree @2qwerty and found it was awful on Tuesday when I was traveling to work too. Sorry you're still feeling tense.

I don't think it's dramatic to test whenever, especially if you're anxious not knowing, but it sounds like you're really on to it all and have a clear idea of when you'll test if you need/want to. Really hope it goes the way you'd like it to.

Re: The smoke

@BryanaCamp Not wanting to go full metal triggered but it's a bit presumptuous that I'd want an abortion, and mentally ill people are somehow ineligible. I am pro choice, obviously no issue there, but most of my anxiety comes from unknown variables and regret of things I couldn't prevent or take back. That one day of smoke could equal anxiety for years on end if a child is on the way, cause maybe they'll have neurological issues, learning issues, maybe this maybe that, mayeb maybe maybe. When something finally does happen? Must be my fault, I could have fixed this, etc. The idea that I'd have no choice to abort on a total "maybe" scenario, is startling. I don't believe i'd want to, but also I know I am not mentally in the best place either. Also, consider my husbands wishes, also, as I couldn't knowingly go into this and through this without his input. I imagine his opinion would be very different to mine, and that the smoke exposure is irrelevant. My hypothetical decision to possibly not continue could also end my marriage or cause a rift. It's not a cut dry "shes sick in the head, get rid of it" situation. It's quite harsh.

I've used the pill, and ended that a couple years back because it makes me feel even more awful, physically and emotionally. Been there, done that. Got the T shirt and dealt with IBS and severe mood swings for 12 years. If I up the dosage, I get so sick I can't leave my house, if I go lower, I get breakthrough and can't skip cycles. It never cooperates.

It's likely not even a reality I have to deal with, and eventually this will resolve itself, but it's how my anxiety works.

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