All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 12

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Where do you keep your ‘tools’? (Your room, in a box, disposed of them?)

Over the years, the tools I’ve used to self-harm have been many and varied, all of which ended up being disposed of during whatever ‘no more self-harm’ period I was going through. But after each successive failure, new tools were acquired which were always – to this day – kept in a small box close to my bed.

In addition to the tools of my self-harm, I also keep a variety of medicinal supplies in this box in order to treat myself after each incident of self-harm. This way, I know the whereabouts of everything I may need at all times.

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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 11

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Strangest place (school, park, etc) you’ve ever injured yourself?

I know the prompt only asks for one place, but I’ve decided to share six of the strangest places that I’ve ever injured myself. Why? Just because… :)

1. Once, when I was at school, I stabbed myself in the hand with a sharpened pencil. Fun times!

2. Once, after a prolonged period of public abuse from my abuser, I retired to the bar’s public toilet and used the metallic toilet paper holder to self-harm before returning to the group for more abuse.

3. During my initial foray into homelessness in the winter of 2007, I threw myself so hard into a tree in the middle of a public park that I knocked myself unconscious.

4. When my homelessness was in full-swing I lost count of the number of parks and alleyways that I self-harmed in.

5. When it was too dark for me to self-harm in parks and alleyways, I would often use whatever lighted public space I could find, including Melbourne’s Federation Square.

6. During a particularly stressful appointment with a psychiatrist, I self-harmed in the clinic’s public bathroom, less than ten metres from the room where the psychiatrist was sitting.


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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 10

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
How do you feel about your scars?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I feel fairly ambivalent toward my scars. I neither like them nor dislike them. They are just part of who I am. Some are more visible than others whilst others are probably only visible to me because I know where to look. Given that I also suffer from body image issues, some might think that my scars should be things that I dislike about my body, but there are far more things to despise about myself than a few scars (a bit of shoulder hair, belly and lack of defined muscles immediately spring to mind!)

In fact, when I view my scars I see them as some would see their tattoos; they are reminders of a time/place in my life when I was feeling something specific and had only one option to treat the emotional pain I was feeling. They are markers of significant moments in my life that serve as a reminder of who I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going.


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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

Today, the world lost one of its most outstanding human beings. A consummate professional, a brilliant actor and a comedian whose talent was unmatched by any other. Even sadder, it appears that the world lost him through suicide.

In celebration of his life I am republishing an article written by Stayci Taylor that first appeared on The Conversation.

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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

By Stayci Taylor, RMIT University

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Today, Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as an alien”. Williams’ break-out role was as the alien Mork who arrived on earth to observe human behaviour.

Though his long and successful career comprised sold-out tours and feature film leads, including Oscar nominated and winning turns in dramatic roles, I am still not surprised that it is Mork-from-Ork related tributes crowding my Facebook and Twitter feeds today, posted by my shocked and saddened Gen-X peers. I have now lost count of those making some reverse variation on “Mork calling Orson”.

These could be misconstrued as flippant responses to the tragic and untimely end of a complex and creative life. But for many of us, Robin William’s performance in the spin-off Mork and Mindy (1978-82) was our first exposure to this free form style of improvised physical and verbal comedy.

Fonzie’s water ski jump in the fifth season of Happy Days (1974-84) was famously deemed so ludicrous that the term “jump the shark” became television parlance. Specifically, shorthand for those moments when TV shows pushed the content past what their once loyal viewers considered believable.

Undeterred, Happy Days ran for another seven years and, in episode 22 of that same apparently questionable season, introduced an extra-terrestrial craft piloted by a character named Mork. That legend has a shark, not an alien from Ork, derailing the credibility of this popular 70s sit-com is a testament to the performance of then relatively unknown stand-up comedian Robin Williams.

Mork’s attempt to free an egg in the pilot episode (above) might just have been the funniest thing this 9-year-old had ever watched on the small screen.

As with all good fish-out-of-water stories, through Mork’s eyes we were encouraged to develop our own curiosity around human behaviour; which recalls a much earlier carnivalesque tradition whereby, as comedy scholar Frank Krutnik has observed:

the comedian figure’s alienation from or resistance to everyday social codes […] also displays the comedian’s creative dexterity as a performer.

If one function of comedy is to question the status quo, then watching Mork drink through his finger or sit upside down on a chair was an early masterclass in what was possible.

Williams of course went on to carry comedy feature films, many of which we might call “comedian comedies” – what film academic Geoff King defines as those films where:

The name of the comic performer, and the promise of the routine, is usually the main box office draw.

In other words, as engaged as we might be by Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning Vietnam, 1987) or Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), we remain aware we are watching the comic skills and techniques of Williams whom, fittingly in the case of these two examples and others, is often playing a character who is required to “perform” himself.

Good Morning Vietnam. BagoGames

English comedian David Walliams notes in his 2012 memoir Camp David that:

no one wants to be laughed at, and certainly not the comedian. He or she creates comedy to control the laughter at them, and turns it into being laughed with.

As a Mork and Mindy-watching, laugh-seeking child, I recall the same discomfort with unsolicited laughter, and was not comforted by (probably insincere) assurances that adults were laughing with me, not at me. Thus John Keating’s quip (Dead Poets Society, 1989) “we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing near you” some ten years later was both funny and validating.

Whether it came from the pen of screenwriter Tom Schulman or not, it felt to me like Robin Williams telling the truth.

I can only speculate as to what level of responsibility must be felt when the promise of one’s routine is, as aforementioned, “the main box office draw”. But though Mork’s “constant displays of humour [were] not welcome here on Ork” (according to Orson in the pilot episode), those of Williams were most welcome here on Earth.

And will be missed.

If you have depression or feel very low, please seek support immediately. For support in a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. For information about depression and suicide prevention, visit beyondblue, Sane or The Samaritans.

Stayci Taylor does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.


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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 09

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Have you ever taken pictures of your wounds? Discuss.

I personally find photographs of self-harm to be triggering, which is a major reason as to why I’ve never photographed my own self-harm nor posted any images on this blog of other people’s self-harm.

When I began self-harming taking photographs of my wounds was  a big no-go area. Mostly because back in those pre-digital days any photographs taken had to go through a third-party developer and I didn’t want anyone (including strangers) to see what I was doing to myself.

Once digital took over in the naughties, I could easily have taken photographs of what I was doing to myself, but by this point my self-harm routine was pretty much set-in-stone. And it was a routine that didn’t involve photographs because, well, I knew that looking at them would trigger me into wanting to self-harm all over again.

In fact, the only times I’ve been tempted to take photographs of my wounds have been when I’ve carved an intricate pattern or shape into my flesh, not because I wanted to show them to anyone but because I wanted to keep an archival photo of my ‘artwork’. But I never did for the reasons already outlined above.


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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 08

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
What the most supportive thing anyone has said to you about self harm?

This is an impossible prompt for me to answer because I genuinely cannot recall an occasion where someone said something supportive to me in regards to my self-harm. I can recall many occasions where the response was the opposite of supportive; where their words cut so close to the bone I wanted to self-harm all over again, but never a moment where I felt supported in spite of what I was doing to myself.

The closest would probably be when an old friend acknowledged what I was doing to myself and that, if/when I wanted, they would be there for me to talk to, but they did all this without actually using the term self-harm or any variation thereof.

Perhaps one day I will find myself in a situation where someone is supportive. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you all know! :)


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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 07

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
List 10 activities that help you calm down.

- in no particular order -

1. Playing with the contents of my self-harm safety box

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2. Writing

Writing

3. Dancing

Dancing

4. Cuddles/Hugs – not that I get many of these anymore :(

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5. Sex – again, not that I get the chance to indulge in this anymore :(

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6. Being with friends – and once more, not that I get the chance to do this anymore :(

Being with Friends

7. Watching my favourite movies/TV Shows (yay Doctor Who!)

Doctor Who

8. Having a bath (preferably with candles and quiet)

Having a bath

9. Eating favourite foods

Jacket Potato with Cheese

10. Crying

Crying

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