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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25 Songs, 25 Days: The Old Boys

Day 10: A song by your favourite band

The Old Boys | Runrig (with Paul Mounsey)

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My favourite band of all time is, and always will be, Runrig:

Runrig are a Scottish Celtic rock group formed in Skye, in 1973 under the name ‘The Run Rig Dance Band’. Since its inception, the band’s line-up has included songwriters Rory Macdonald and Calum Macdonald. The current line-up also includes longtime members Malcolm Jones, Iain Bayne, and more recently, Bruce Guthro, and Brian Hurren. To date, the band has released thirteen studio albums, with a number of their songs sung in Scottish Gaelic.

My favourite musician of all time is, and always will be, Paul Mounsey:

Paul Mounsey is a composer, arranger and producer from Scotland. He lived for over 20 years in Brazil. A graduate of Trinity College, London, where he studied with Richard Arnell, he has written for film, television, theatre, advertising and also for the Latin American pop market. He lectured for a short while at Goldsmiths College before moving on as creative director of Play It Again, one of the biggest commercial music houses in Brazil. He has also written articles on various aspects of music. He’s written pop hits for Mexican boy bands, has received commissions for chamber and multimedia works, has lived with and recorded the music of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest, and to date has released five solo albums.

And in 2003, much to my happiness, an album was released combining the talents of both Runrig and Paul Mounsey.

So for today’s song in the 25 Songs, 25 Days Challenge I’ve chosen a song from this album.

A song that is both beautiful and haunting.

Enjoy.


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Journey of the Featherless

Day 08: A song that makes you hopeful

Journey of the Featherless | Cloud Cult

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My home; circa 2010.

One of the most desperate and hopeless periods of my life were the five years I spent homeless. I had no security, no comfort and no love. My days were an endless cycle of survival and time-killing. My nights, a bleak nightmare of little sleep and total discomfort.

In order to survive the nightmare, I would spend my days in the Melbourne City Library. I would read the newspapers, browse the book stacks and listen to CDs on the in-house music system. Sometimes I would listen to music I knew, music that soothed my soul and showered me with waves of contentment. Other times I would take a chance, pulling a CD from the shelf that I had never heard of, just to hear something new, something different.

One such CD was Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) by a group I had never encountered before, Cloud Cult. I was immediately taken by the intricate blend of instruments and canny, clever lyrics. Over time it became a CD I turned to when feeling lost, when feeling hopeless, because I knew it would enliven me to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight. Over time it became an anthem for my homelessness.

I still turn to the CD when feeling lost and overwhelmed. It reminds me of a bleak and disparate period of my life. A period of my life that I thought was going to consume me until, with much assistance, I found the strength to break free of its bonds.

This CD, more than any other, reminds me that hope is the one thing you can never lose, for without it, you are nothing.

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Teaser Tuesday: Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

Anyone can play along with Teaser Tuesdays! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• Be careful not to include spoilers!
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

◊~~~◊~~~◊

Scott Pilgrim vs The World
by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Scott Pilgrim - Teaser Tuesday

◊~~~◊~~~◊

So, what’s everyone else reading at the moment? Go on, give us a tease…


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Hallelujah

Day 08: A song that reminds you of your “first love”.

Hallelujah | Jeff Buckley

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My first visit to Berneray, an island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, occurred in February 2000. After long-terming in a backpacker hostel, myself and two friends decided to do some traveling and opted for the Western Isles. After touring Lewis and Harris we boarded a ferry, crossed the Sound of Harris, and arrived on Berneray shortly after lunch. Almost immediately we were spellbound by the island’s scenery, location and atmosphere. The following morning we sat outside the hostel, on the shore of the island, watching the sun rise over the ocean. We were all speechless, completely hypnotized by the stunning spectacle before us.

Ten months later, after months of traveling Canada and beginning college, I decided I wanted to spend New Year somewhere special. And the only place that came to mind was Berneray. It had lived in my heart throughout the entire year, a memory of happiness, of solace and of contentment. After months of traveling around Canada, making and losing friends and navigating the intricacies of a college education, I needed the joy of Berneray, of that memory with my friends, to see me through into 2001.

So, early in the morning on the 29th December, I set off on the long journey. A train ride, a bus ride, a ferry ride and another bus ride later, I was standing on the shore of Berneray’s east coast, the same spot where I had sat ten months earlier watching a spectacular sunset. I was alone. But I was happy.

Later that night I was busying myself with journal writing when some fellow travelers arrived at the hostel. One was an elderly Englishman. The other, a twentysomething Australian. Almost instantly I was smitten with the Australian’s contagious smile, sparkling eyes and cheeky sense of humor. I didn’t say much, but I introduced myself, told her I was a student and listened intently to stories from her traveling adventure. I found out her name was Louise and that she was on the UK leg of a world-traveling adventure. She had been to Thailand, Europe, Ireland and had decided to come to Scotland to look for work. She had bumped into the Englishman in a hostel in Glasgow and, after being told of the oasis that was Berneray, had been invited to come along for the New Year.

We did little but talk and flirt that first night. Eventually succumbing to our tiredness and slinking off to our respective bedrooms, no doubt to dream about the other. The next morning we got talking again and, after being invited, I accompanied them on a tour around the local landscape, stopping off at a variety of food stores to stock up for the coming days. That night, after returning to the hostel, Louise and I got talking again. We ended up playing a drinking game that had been left at the hostel and, midway through, after excusing myself for a cigarette break, we stood out the front of the hostel. A blanket of stars above us. The gently rolling sound of the surf beside us. It was then when, out of the blue, Louise asked the question that would change my life: “Can I kiss you?”

If Louise hadn’t asked this question there is no way my anxiety riddled mind would have been able to make a move on her, no matter how much I wanted to. And if I hadn’t made a move, if that kiss hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would never have moved to Australia. I would never have managed a backpacker hostel. I would never have met Kathy or Grace or Mae. I would never have had a breakdown. That kiss, that singular moment, changed the course of my life. And, after all the chaos and pain, after everything that has happened to me, if I could go back and change it. To shake some sense into myself. To stop that kiss from ever occurring. There isn’t a part of me that would.

For that kiss led to my first relationship. Within days of meeting, Louise decided to accompany me back to Inverness. She moved into my bedsit and we began a relationship that would last five and a half years. A period of time that, for the most part, was full of happiness and joy. As we sat on the ferry at Lochmaddy, awaiting the crossing to Uig, Louise slipped a CD into her discman and popped an earbud into my ear. She wanted to play me a song, one of her favourites, to start our adventure off on the right note. I had never heard of the artist – Jeff Buckley – before. I had never heard of the song – Hallelujah – before. But I was enchanted from the moment his breath hit the headphones.

Hallelujah would go on to become the most important song in my life. It will forever be a reminder of my first relationship, of my first love, and of how quickly, and unexpectedly, life can change.

 


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C-PTSD

Addy:

Excellent article on C-PTSD. Should be required reading for all! :)

Originally posted on Heathers Helpers:

I wrote a few articles for a site that offers support to people with personality disorders quite awhile ago. I decided to share the information about C-PTSD in here as well. :)

What is C-PTSD?
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of:

  • domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • entrapment or kidnapping.
  • slavery or enforced labour.
  • long term imprisonment and torture
  • repeated violations of personal boundaries.
  • exposure to gaslighting or false accusations.
  • long-term taking care of mentally ill or chronically sick family members.
  • long term exposure to crisis conditions.

When someone has been trapped in a situation and had little or no control at any point, they can carry an intense sense…

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Sunday Stealing: I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly

Well, I’ve been incapacitated over the last couple of days with some sort of stomach bug/virus/assault on my immune system, but I’m not going to let that interfere with my participation of Sunday Stealing. So I’ve doped up on drugs (all legal, over the counter ones) in preparation for this week’s meme, which was kindly swiped from Gabs survey. So settle back and join me on another random adventure! :)

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(2) I do love Scottish terriers, because they’re cute and from Scotland!

1. Have you ever had a pen pal?

Not really. After I moved from Scotland to Wales as a child, I kept in contact with some of my friends, but the communication was sparse and only lasted a few months. It is, after all, incredibly difficult maintaining a relationship over several hundred miles, especially at such a young age. Although it probably doesn’t count as a ‘pen pal’, the long distance relationship I maintained with Louise, whilst she was in Australia and I the UK, involved dozens of letters, care packages and surprise phone calls in order to keep our relationship afloat.

2. What’s your favorite breed of dog?

To be honest I’m more of a cat person, but I do love Scottish terriers, because they’re cute and from Scotland! :)

3. Can money buy happiness?

No. There is no amount of money on the planet, not even a quadrillion billion dollars, that can buy someone happiness. It only buys the illusion of happiness.

4. Do you listen to music when you’re down?

Sometimes. I’m more of a TV/Film person when I’m down. There’s something soothing curling up on the couch to watch my favourite show/movie that never fails to cheer me up. Which is why, over the last few days of my illness, I’ve spent my time blanketed up on the sofa working my way through seasons of Doctor Who.

5.What is one thing you spend way too much money on?

Coca-Cola; my most frustrating and unquenchable of vices.

Although, it should be noted, that up to a couple of weeks ago my answer to this question would have been tobacco. But since giving up I have spent only $14.10 on this product. Something I am eternally happy (and deeply proud) of! :)

Coca-Cola

(5) Coca-Cola; my most frustrating and unquenchable of vices.

6.Can you honestly say you’re okay right now?

No. I’m sick with some annoying bug, which is increasing my depression, and causing untold damage to my anxiety. Throw in the constant battle I have with PTSD and related trauma issues…and I’m really not okay. In fact, it’s been several years since I would have answered ‘yes’ to this question.

7.What was the last thing you spent money on?

Panadol. I’ve just got back from a short walk to the local pharmacy to stock up on this delightful painkiller. It’s not something I wanted to do. I was quite happy curled up on the couch. But I was in pain, and had used the last of my Panadol last night, so I was forced to acquire new stock.

8.Is your current hair color mostly your natural hair color?

Yes. A dark blonde/hazel coloured concoction. The last time my hair wasn’t its natural colour was in mid-2007, after I dyed it a tragic shade of red whilst lost to the pain and trauma of mental breakdown. To this day I’ve never been able to explain why I chose such a shocking colour to dye my hair, but dye it I did, and looked like a massive tool for a couple of months. Just the ramifications of a mental breakdown, I guess.

9.Who have you texted in the last 24 hours?

No-one. I haven’t sent a text message in months. One of the downsides of living a socially isolated, lonely life! :(

10.Were you in a good mood last night?

No. I was sick and feeling nauseous much of the evening. One of the downsides of a viral infection! :(

Sick-Ecard

(10) No. I was sick and feeling nauseous much of the evening. One of the downsides of a viral infection!

11.Do you have a reason to smile right now?

Not really. As I have explained, I’m not in the best of physical health right now, and few people smile their way through an illness. It’s zapped me of all energy and left me pretty deflated. I’m hoping it’s not going to last for much longer as, after my pancreatitis and cyst earlier this year, I’m pretty over being ill this year. I could do with a few months feeling relatively ‘normal’.

12. How often do you hold back what you want to say?

Always. It’s one of the perils of social anxiety. Rarely do I speak what’s on my mind, rarely do I say what I really want to say. I’m too scared of upsetting people, of creating an (avoidable) confrontational situation, to do such a proactive thing. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t the case, sometimes I wish I could unleash what I really thought, but I can’t see that happening any time in the near future.

13. Do you think that in the end, everything will fall into place?

Up until this year, I did, but I lost hope for a better future sometime around my hospital stay in January/February. I now no longer believe that things will get better. I firmly believe that my life will be this miserable, lonely, socially ostracized nightmare for the rest of time. It’s frustrating, but until I can rediscover my hope, it’s how things have to be.

14.Are you currently looking forward to anything?

The only thing on the horizon that I’m looking forward to is a holiday to Melbourne. It’s not confirmed as yet, but I’m hoping to go the week of 21st August as there’s a gathering I’ve been invited to which would be a wonderful challenge for my anxiety. The rest of the week would be spent re-exploring my old home, visiting galleries and museums and generally enjoying a break from my humdrum, monotonous life. It’s what I need at the moment after such a rough, hope-lost year! :)

15.Do you have any TV shows on DVD?

Yes. To name a few: Eureka (all seasons), Nikita (all seasons), Supernatural (seasons 1-9), Doctor Who (series 1,2,3,4,5,6), Game of Thrones (seasons 1 thru 4), 24 (all seasons), True Blood (all seasons), Twin Peaks (seasons 1 and 2), Parks and Recreation (seasons 1,2,3,4,5,6) and Stargate Universe (seasons 1 and 2). I am a huge lover of the medium of television and have been most of my life. In fact, when they started released TV shows on DVD, my life was made infinitely better. So thank you to all manufacturers of such DVDs; you have made me a blissfully happy man! :)

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(15) Thank you to all manufacturers of [TV Show] DVDs; you have made me a blissfully happy man!

And that’s it for another week. I hope everyone is feeling both physically and mentally better than I am at the moment. We’ll be back to do the whole Sunday Stealing thing at the same time next week! Until then, wishing you all a happy, joyous Sunday! :)


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Sirens

Day 07: A song that reminds you of the past summer

Sirens | My Friend the Chocolate Cake

summerfriends

With my pancreatitis. With feeling sick. With spending much of my past summer lying in a hospital bed. I didn’t listen to much music. What radio I listened to was of the talk variety; soothing voices to settle my troubled, pained soul. Truth be told, I can’t think of one song I listened to, be it an old classic or a contemporary number.

So, to answer today’s prompt, I’ve decided to share a song that reminds me of all summers.

Ever since arriving in Australia I have hated the months of December, January and February. I’ve hated the suffocating, humid heat, despised the endless, balmy nights and abhorred the vast quantities of sweat that pour from my body during this miserable time. And one song, above all others, captures the feel of an abhorrent Australian summer.

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