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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Bunch of Flowers: On rape and its aftermath…

Prologue: The day to end all days…

On July 7th 2007 I was drugged, physically assaulted and anally raped.

Normally on the anniversary of my rape I hide from it. I lose myself to a bottle of whisky and ‘punish’ myself with self harm. This year, I am trying not to fall back into these unhealthy coping mechanisms. This year, I wanted to talk about my rape, to bring it to the forefront of discussion. It is not a pleasant post, it is not an easy, happy, whimsical post. It is confronting. It is painful. It is everything most people chose not to read. But it is a post I believe needs to be written.

If the subject of rape is a little confronting to you, I don’t apologise. Like mental health, like homelessness, like suicide, self harm and poverty, we need to talk more about rape. For only by confronting the evil that is committed by man can we hope to end the scourge of violence that stalks our streets.

Bunch of Flowers…

zentangleflower“I could tell you ‘bout my weekend. That’s all it was. It’s a party, it’s some downtime, it’s a breather. That blew me apart like a supernova and left me on the bathroom floor. Feeling dirty, trying to scrape myself clean,”

July 2007, Adelaide

Whilst lost to the headiness of a manic episode, I found that the best way to get a woman’s attention was to slap her excellent bottom and await the reaction. Now guys, that is not advice you should follow because the only reaction any self-respecting woman will give to this action is:

a) SLAP!

b) Drink over the head…then SLAP!

c) PUNCH! Drink over the head…then SLAP!…as you try to get up!

But Immortal God Addy didn’t care because the world and everyone in it was his. However, immortality doesn’t exist outside of fiction or the delusions of a psychotic mind. No matter how powerful you feel it’s a short step to leave someone on that bathroom floor, feeling dirty and trying to scrape yourself clean.

Whilst out on the piss one night in pursuit of the feisty fillies who populate that strange South Australian city, I began to feel very strange myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now, that I had been drugged. I don’t know what drug had been slipped into my gin and tonic, maybe Rohypnol, maybe something else. All I know is that it made me feel weird. Confused. Tired. Where before I had been talking and playfully slapping excellent bottoms to my heart’s content, after imbibing the drug, I could barely stand. Staggering about that bar, I recall a man taking me under his wing and leading me out of the bar into the Adelaidian night. His face is forever shrouded by the drug addled haze but he was big, not exactly rippling muscles/at-the-gym-every-day big, but big as in could-do-with-losing-a-few-pounds big.

And for some reason that I have never figured out, he took me from that bar, to a motel, and gave me a bunch of flowers.

When I came to the following morning I was groggy, badly bruised and in a fair amount of pain. I’m used to bruises, I’ve inflicted enough on myself over the years, but these were different. I didn’t inflict these on myself so they were more painful, more invasive. I felt dirty, repulsive, degraded, insulted, weak, angry, shameful, guilty, confused, hollow, guilty, and in pain…I knew men could give other men bunches of flowers, but I had never, not even for a moment, thought that someone would give me a bunch of blood-red, sickly smelling flowers.

The man was nowhere to be seen. There was little evidence in the motel room I was in to indicate anyone had been staying there long-term. No clothes. No toiletries. Nothing. It was just me and the grimness of a seedy hotel. Gathering myself together I left the room and painfully walked back to where I had been staying. As soon as I got there I stripped myself naked, examined my scrapes, cuts and bruises in the mirror and staggered into the shower. I stood – nay, lay on the floor of the shower – for hours, slowly scrubbing my flesh raw, slowly trying to eradicate any evidence of the flowers that had been thrust upon me. It didn’t occur to me at the time to go to the police. It didn’t occur to me that cleaning myself would erase any trace of the man. All I wanted to do at the time was cleanse myself. I was dirty. I was disgusting. I was weak. And with my flesh still raw and dripping wet I took a knife and cut myself to ease the pain (the irony of self harm). But it wasn’t just to ease the pain. It was to punish myself for being weak. For allowing someone to force their bunch of flowers on me without even putting up a fight.

How could I? Whatever drug had been given to me eradicated any fight left in me. And this is something subsequent meetings with psychiatrists, counselors and other health-related professionals have failed to grasp. Why didn’t you fight back? They asked. Why didn’t you do something to stop him?

One quote I’ve always remembered from the great Methos is “Just because I choose not to fight doesn’t mean I don’t know how.” I may look like someone who, if he slapped an excellent bottom, would produce only the feelings of a feather landing on her flesh – but if I want to, I could leave a lovely hand print or two. I can, only if necessary and/or provoked, defend myself and/or others with a violent Spike-like relish. It’s very un-Addy of me not to. That night however, because of the drug, I was unable to.

Once the bruises and cuts were tended to I sat on the floor for what felt like hours. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to do. I cried, certainly, huge, blubbering, caterwauling, cries that filled the room and left my eyes red raw and cheeks sodden wet. At some point I stopped crying (probably when I had nothing left to release) and decided the only option was to take my mind off things. I slowly walked (because it was still painful to walk) to the nearest internet cafe to take my mind off things. I perused the kimnyk sites, soothing my soul with the passion that burned brightly within it. I looked up self-help sites. I looked up sites about being given bunches of flowers. I checked my email – and almost immediately wished I hadn’t. For Kathy (my ever abusive ex-girlfriend) had decided to launch a fresh attack on me. I was selfish. I was rotten. I was responsible for her stress. I was useless, worthless, nothing. The very last thing I needed at that moment was more attack and abuse. So I severed contact. I deleted my email account so she couldn’t contact me again, changed my phone number, walked to the nearest park and, with everything bubbling to the surface, threw myself into a tree.

When I came to, I decided I should probably go to the hospital. After all, it’s not everyday you knock yourself unconscious after being given a bunch of flowers. I said nothing of the flowers I’d been given. The cuts which accompanied the bruises and welts made it easy: I was just another naughty self harmer. What was the cute nurse gonna do, spank me? She gave me a stern scolding, the contact number of the crisis mental health team and sent me on my way.

On my way home from the hospital I thought about telling people what had happened, but who? Mae was too closely entwined with Kathy’s life, and the last person I wanted to know of this latest event was Kathy. She already thought me weak and repulsive, selfish and rotten. To her, I was nothing. A non entity no human being could ever care about. The simple truth of the matter is, she would have adored the bunch of flowers that had been bestowed on me. She would have seen them as the beautiful payback she believed I deserved for not helping or caring about people enough. Maybe that’s what they were for anyway. A punishment. A life lesson from Him up There. Grace, also, was too close to Kathy. Plus, they were both female. I felt degraded and emasculated enough as it was. My family, nope, not going there. Psychologists, too expensive. Mensline, I tried, but couldn’t. It was like Kathy had said, I was weak and worthless and I was like a cancer, I deserved it and so much more – she had already taught me what to do anyway:

You must always hide your problems and pain from the world. It’s what we must do, always make people happy and never share our problems. Ever.

So I spoke to no-one about what happened. As per usual, I bottled it up, refusing to let anyone in on the pain I was feeling. I returned to my motel, turned on the television (the Rugrats Go Wild movie) and cried myself to sleep. Over the coming days my mania waned. I’ve always cited the bunch of flowers I was given as causing this. My time at my hotel came to an end. I began sleeping in a park in the suburb of North Adelaide. My bruised, beaten body barely finding any comfort on the rough, hard earth. As the days progressed I self harmed as a matter of ritual. I cut. I hit. I burnt. I did whatever I could to stop the emotional pain from overwhelming me. I had never, in my entire life, felt as isolated as I did during those days. From those dark, lonely, pain riddled days, three memories stand out:

1. A night in Ararat that I spent in tears, desperately trying to make sense of the previous few weeks. I needed a hug. I needed a friend. I needed Grace.

2. Sitting on the balcony of the flat which was home for a while in Melbourne, Grace’s number lit up on the screen of my phone. She would be angry that I had gone dark. Angry that I had cancelled my email and changed my phone number. I convinced myself she wouldn’t understand, that she was, after all, on Kathy’s side. Anyway, I couldn’t connect the call. She was about to leave for a six month student-exchange in Mexico and I didn’t want to upset her trip. Like Kathy had drilled into me; you have to make everyone happy, always, and never share your problems under any circumstances.

3. The opening and closing scenes of the Doctor Who episode Gridlock, which reminded me even my hero can feel pain:


Over the coming months, the bruising healed and all that was left to indicate a bunch of flowers had been bestowed upon me was the scars cut deep into my brain. But even that was doing it’s utmost to protect me. For reasons unknown to me it blocked out the event and I found myself lost to a deep depression, unable to work out how or why I had fallen into it. Then, as things do when you suffer from mental illness, everything got too much.

October 2007, The Dandenong rainforest.

That wacky day of fun!

By the time I made it to the hospital after my suicide attempt, my brain had finished it’s subconscious act of protection. In order to protect me from the bunch of flowers, my brain had liberally doused my mind with fertilizers and all that was left were the fallen petals around my sweat ravaged bed sheets every morning.

August 2009, Alice Springs.

It was a full year before everything that had happened came flooding back. For some reason – which I believe was triggered by the abuse a friend received – my brain unleashed that bunch of flowers back into full bloom. I’ve never been able to figure out why my brain was so evil. Why it stopped protecting me. The colours, smells and feelings the flowers had provided me came rushing back, affecting everything I had cultivated in my ‘new life’. My job suffered. My relationship with Diane suffered. My friendship with Grace suffered. My mental health, unsurprisingly, suffered. The impact was immense. As I ran from the stream of petals my mind was unleashing, my life collapsed. My medication was tripled. I lost friends. I nearly lost my job. I made stupid decisions that I could never come back from. I tried to tell Diane what was happening, what had happened, but I couldn’t muster the words to describe the pain, so as per usual, I suffered in silence. After all, how could I talk about what had happened to me? Who would believe me? Who, on this earth, would believe that a man can be the recipient of a bunch of flowers? It is, according to the mainstream media, the domain of women. Only they can be given bunches of flowers. Men; we’re meant to be strong, defiant, unrelenting in our masculinity. Silence was the only option – even though it increased my pain and made everything ten times worse, the reality, admitting to what had happened, would have been far worse.

November 2009, Melbourne.

A year after everything came flooding back. A year of wallowing in memory, in pain and in torment, and the bunch of flowers was just another event I had to deal with. Another event that I should never speak of. Until I became lost to homelessness, to delusion and psychosis. Until my mental health collapsed to the point that the only thing I could do was come clean and let people know what had happened to me, which I did, on my trusty blog.

“I’ve got a tattoo, of a bleeding heart and a moon inside a sun. I wear it everywhere, it’s a part of me and how I see everyone,”

Epilogue: Long-standing scars…

Like all traumas, being raped has left long-standing scars. It’s doubtful I’ll ever return to Adelaide, for example. Smells (BO), tastes (gin and tonic), sounds (someone chewing gum) and vision (the river Torrens) all remind me of the trauma that befell me. My trust and intimacy issues have been badly damaged. I can’t have sex. I can’t kiss people. I even struggle to hug them. In fact, any physical contact, especially from men, reminds me of what happened. I can’t deal with people being behind me; so much so that I will stop if someone is approaching and wait for them to pass before continuing. I have recurrent nightmares about what happened that prevent me from sleeping soundly. And I have become a misandrist; a card-carrying hater of all things man and masculine.

To say that being raped is a defining moment of my life would be an understatement. It has defined me as a man (weak, worthless, a walkover) and rendered me unable to love myself in any way, shape or form. Being raped made me hate myself on a level I never thought possible. I have always blamed myself for being raped, even though deep down I know it wasn’t my fault. It was a random moment. Something I had no control over. A man – a sick, twisted, weak man – took it upon himself to drug me, assault me and forcibly rape me. And in the process, destroy me.

Over the years I have tried to talk to people about what happened but few have believed me. They believe I am making it up, that it is the product of my mentally ill mind. But I know it happened. I know what befell me. Psychiatrists laughed at me, counselors downplayed the incident. It was only my first support worker, whom I trusted, that believed me and understood the pain it had caused me. I have never spoken to friends or family about what happened to me. They know, as they read my blog, but I don’t think they fully understand just how much impact the event had on my life. I don’t think anyone can understand that, no matter how concisely I write about it on the blog.

The 7th July 2007 will always be forefront in my memory. It is a day of pain. A day of unimaginable torment. It is the day I ceased being Andrew.

~ The quotes from this post were taken from the song “Fortune’s Wheel”, by the always incredible Serena Ryder ~

Note: ‘Bunch of Flowers‘ was written in Nov. 2009. The version that appears in this post is a heavily edited, updated version.


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Ten places that make me feel positive, inspired and happy…

In today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge I take you on a whistle stop tour of some of the places that make me feel positive, inspired and happy. And surprisingly, most of them are in Scotland! :p

~1~
Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel

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~ Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel ~

I have Highlander to thank for this. My obsession with the TV Series during my teenage years was instrumental in my decision to run away from home in 1997. For some reason I needed to visit the location of my fictional hero’s birth. I needed to walk the glen that had featured so prominently in the episode Homeland. When I arrived in Scotland I walked twenty-six miles to Drumnadrochit, on the shores of Loch Ness, before catching a bus to the quaint town of Fort William (see 4). Once in Fort William I hopped on a train for the twenty-minute journey to Glenfinnan. And as the train weaved across the viaduct (made famous in the Harry Potter films) my heart skipped a beat at the most beautiful view I’d ever seen; the glen opened up, all eyes leading toward the loch, and the Highlander statue that stands at its tip. I was instantaneously smitten.

I have returned to Glenfinnan many times in my life. After that first visit it quickly became my favourite place on earth. I loved the serenity of the glen. I loved the beauty of the loch. I loved that it always provided me with such peace and solace. Although it is tinged with sadness (it being the site of a suicide attempt in 2000) it has never failed to bring me positivity, inspiration and happy fuzzy bunny feelings. I cannot speak highly enough of this magical place. It is a location that everyone needs to visit at least once. It is a site of such majesty, such ravishing beauty, it cannot fail to move you.

The following video was made in 2008, during my return to Scotland (and Glenfinnan) after six years in Australia:

~2~
Berneray

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~ The Sound of Harris, Berneray ~

When I first visited Berneray in February 2000, I fell instantly in love with this far-flung island of the Western Isles chain. A tiny island off the coast of North Uist, Berneray is blessed with a rugged beauty that few places on earth can match. Home to otters, a flower covered machair, and miles of unspoilt white beaches, you could lose days of your life exploring this magical, inspiring locale. As I have done over the years. But Berneray means more to me than just another ravishing Scottish Island. It was the place my life changed when I met Louise at New Year 2000, and it was the place where I lost my virginity, one wind-swept New Years day. And ever since that magical moment occurred, I have loved Berneray with an intense passion.

~3~
Inverness

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~ Inverness, Scotland ~

My home in Scotland. My love affair with Inverness began in 1997, when I stopped off there during my ‘runaway’ period. I fell in love with the river Ness, that winds effortlessly through the heart of the city. I fell in love with the islands, a chain of small islets in the middle of the river. I fell in love with the cobbled streets and myriad of independent shops that populated them. I fell in love with Leakeys, the finest bookshop I’ve ever visited. I fell in love with the music that played in pubs and clubs on a nightly basis. I fell in love with Craig Phadrig, a forested hill that dominates the skyline. I fell in love so quickly, so hard, that I began dreaming of this fair city. In 1999, during my backpacking odyssey, it was always my final destination; the city that I had chosen to make my home, and for many years, it was. I attended college in Inverness. I fell in love in Inverness. I lost my soul to Inverness. Even now, tens of thousands of miles on the other side of the world, my heart yearns for that majestic city in the Highlands. One day, I will return. That much I know to be true.

~4~
Fort William

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~ Morning mist over Loch Linnhe, Fort William ~

If Inverness is my wife, Fort William is my mistress. Many times whilst I was living in Inverness I would travel the 66 miles to this quaint little town to spend night after night in its warm, loving embrace. I fell head over heels for its location on the shores of Loch Linnhe, for its arts scene, for its mountain festival, for its proximity to the mighty Ben Nevis and beautiful Glen Nevis. Fort William burns in my heart. It always will.

~5~
Orkney Mainland

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~ Me, at the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Mainland (1999) ~

I’ve only been to Orkney twice. Once in 1999 during my backpacking odyssey around Scotland and once in 2001, when I visited it with Louise and her parents. On both occasions I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this fair isle. I fell head over heels for its history, for the neolithic sites, for the serenity of Scapa Flow and its turbulent, tragic history. I fell head over heels for its fishing villages, Viking lineage and treeless landscape. This love was cemented when Louise and I appeared in the Orkney tourist brochure; gleefully smiling away in the shadow of Kirkwall Cathedral. Of all the Scottish islands, this is my favourite. It has always been inspiring. It has always filled me with joy and happiness. I love it. Truthfully and totally.

~6~
The Western Isles

callanish

~ Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis ~

Berneray (see 2) is the jewel in the crown of this archipelago. But it has stiff competition. My first visit to this island chain was in February 2000, when I traveled the length and breadth of it with Deborah and Elle, two friends I met in Inverness. I was overwhelmed by the Callanish Standing Stones. In awe of the mountainous Isle of Harris. And moved by the majesty of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. To this day I regret visiting Barra, the southern most island of the archipelago, but deep down I know that one day I will walk upon its unspoilt beaches. Like the Orkney Mainland, I carry the Western Isles in my heart, and regret living so far away from this magnificent collection of islands.

~7~
London

And so we leave Scotland and travel several hundred miles south, to the greatest city in the world. I have loved London for as long as I can remember. When I was in my late teens I would house-sit for my Aunt and Uncle, traveling the thirty minutes into the heart of the city each day to explore the history, architecture and art it had to offer. I would spend days of my life walking the stone streets of England’s capital, my heart singing with every mile walked. I would visit its plethora of theaters. I would wile away the hours in its shops, stores and shopping arcades. There is nothing you can’t do in London. There is nothing you can’t help but fall in love with. From the mighty river Thames, to the back streets of Soho to the expanse of parkland in the heart of the city. It is a wonderful, inspiring and altogether glorious city that burns in your soul whenever you are apart from it.

~8~
Melbourne

Melbourne

~ Melbourne ~

My home in Australia. For the first ten years that I was in Australia I lived in Melbourne. It’s laneways, coffee shops, wide streets and intricate inner suburbs were my home. And later, it’s parkland, alleys and litter strewn streets, my bed. My homeless period in Melbourne has stained my love of the city to some degree. The memories of this traumatic, brutal life tingeing my memories with sadness and rendering me unable to love the city as much as I once did. I used to be able to spend days exploring the laneways and streets of the city, engaging in the vibrant arts scene and wiling the hours away in its beautiful art galleries and museums. But now when I think of Melbourne I think of curling up on stone concrete for a restless nights sleep. I think of the abuse I received from its residents; words and actions that made me think I was less than human. I think of the pain and trauma that my mind and body went through during those dark, joyless years. But I still love Melbourne. I still miss is. It is, after all, my home in Australia. It always will be.

~9~
Port Fairy

Port Fairy East Beach

~ East Beach, Port Fairy ~

This quaint little fishing village on the southern coast of Victoria, Australia, has always shone in my soul. From my first visit there with my parents in 2004, through to the traumatic breakdown I experienced on my last visit there in 2007, it has always been held with high regard in my mind. I love the wide streets. The expansive beaches. The plethora of outdoor activity. And the annual folk festival that fills the town to bursting. I love how the quiet allowed my soul to sing as I explored the township and fell in love with the inspirational arts scene that runs through the village. I miss Port Fairy. I used to go there often. Two, three times a year I would leave Melbourne to refind myself in this delightful town. But since the breakdown. Since the darkness that clouded my last visit. I don’t think I would ever return. Too much pain. Too many bad memories. But not even to dampen my love for Port Fairy. It will always be one of my favourite places in Australia.

and

~10~
The Wodonga Public Library

This is the only place in Wodonga, the town I currently call home, that I like. I visit it several times a week, losing myself amidst the stacks of books and piles of DVDs, allowing the knowledge and intellect contained within them to wash over me. I cherish how it soothes my troubled soul. I love how it calms my anxiety. I love how it provides me a moment of solace from the usual chaotic nature of my life and illness. I have always loved libraries, ever since I was a child, and Wodonga library will always be one of my favourites. And not just because I have a crush on one of the hot librarians who works there! :p

~ All photos in this post are © Addy Lake ~


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Six of the Best: My self-harm triggers…

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
What are some of your main triggers? Why?

emotionaltriggers

I’ve written extensively of my triggers on this blog, including one post in which I challenged myself to find an emotional trigger for every letter of the alphabet. I personally believe that knowing your triggers is one of the most important tasks you can undertake in your recovery journey. For only by knowing what sets you off, what stimulates those urges and beckons the darkness, can we hope to find ways to appease them.

1. Loneliness

My primary trigger for many of my mental distresses is loneliness. Even thinking about being alone is enough to trigger bouts of depression, mood shifts of bipolar and all manner of self harm activity. Ever since I was a teenager I had a fear of being alone. It was something I never wanted to be. I thrive on people. Being around others fills me with confidence, motivates me, thrills me and generally fills me with all sorts of happy fuzzy bunny feelings. But when I’m alone. When I have no-one in my life. I am filled with a darkness that only self-harm can enlighten. The last eight months of being self-harm free have been a nightmare. I am perpetually alone. No-one to distract me, no-one to enliven me, no-one to stimulate me. As such, I find myself being constantly triggered, but unable to self harm to relieve myself as I wish to remain self harm free.

2. Emotional Abuse/Domestic Violence

Ever since I found myself the victim of an emotionally abusive relationship, anything to do with abuse/domestic violence has triggered me. Overhearing it being talked about in public. Reading about it in a newspaper article. Seeing the hashtag #DV in tweets. Everything and anything to do with abuse has the power to render me completely useless, as it resurfaces all the memories, all the pain and chaos that I went through during those long, abusive months. Many times over the last eight years I’ve found myself self harming to relieve the pain I feel as a result of domestic violence.

3. Rape

My rape occurred on the 7th July 2007; eight years ago tomorrow. Sitting here, today, I have already begun thinking the only way I will get through the day is by self harming. I don’t want to. But the memories that will resurface, the pain that I will be assaulted with, will only be soothed by self harm. It is, without question, the first major challenge of my self harm free period this year. But it isn’t just memories of my rape that trigger me. Like abuse/domestic violence, it is everything to do with the subject. Articles. Personal accounts. Tweets. Facebook posts. TV shows. Anything that features rape has the power to trigger me. It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s everyday. But there is little I can do about it.

4. Crowds of people/People in general

This is to do with my social anxiety. I don’t like massive crowds of people. I don’t like being around people in general. I don’t trust them. I don’t function well around them. They have the power to reduce me to a quivering, unintelligible wreck. Many times over the years that I’ve been self harming I have been triggered to cut after spending prolonged periods of time around others. Even at school, being surrounded by dozens of other people, my peers, was enough to trigger me into self harming when I got home. It was a way to deal with the anxiety. It still is, all these years later.

5. Vanessa

Vanessa; the bane of my existence. Of my four primary voices she is the most abusive, the most vicious, the most damaging. Everything she says is an insult, every comment designed to inflict pain on my person. She encourages me to self harm often. I don’t always succumb to her wishes, but there have been times, many times, when I have. I wish she would stop. I wish she would stop telling me to do it. But she won’t. Like all the other triggers, I just have to install mechanisms to deal with her.

6. Boredom

I like being stimulated. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve never liked sitting around doing nothing. I need to be doing something. Whether that’s writing, reading, playing video games, watching TV, chatting to other people, masturbating (what, I’m an adult, and a passionate socially isolated one at that!), preparing dinner, listening to music, whatever. I need to be doing something. For when I’m not doing something the dark thoughts that populate my mind rise to the fore and I’m forced to self harm in order to appease them. This is a major problem given my current boring, monotonous routine. As essentially I do nothing every day, and in doing nothing, I have found my self harm urges growing with every passing day; threatening the self harm free eight months that I’ve successfully navigated.

Even though I know of my triggers, I still have tremendous difficulty with them. I am working hard to alleviate them, to find coping mechanisms and skills to stop them triggering self harm or summoning my deepest depression. It’s a learning curve, I guess, that I’m still working through. One day I hope I will get there. One day I hope I will be able to manage each of these six things. It’s just today, is not that day.

What about you? Do you have triggers you find hard to manage? Do you have any tips or tricks to overcome them?

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17 negative stereotypes about bipolar disorder

Addy:

A magnificent article detailing seventeen negative stereotypes of bipolar affective disorder. This one is a must read! :)

Originally posted on blahpolar diaries:

The most frequently used search terms that usher visitors to my blog are: bipolar disorder stereotypes, bipolar stereotypes, negative stereotypes of bipolar disorder, stereotypes about bipolar disorder, negative stereotypes of bipolar, stereotypes of bipolar disorder – and they occur every. single. day. I googled ‘bipolar stereotypes’ and lo and behold, my most visited post ranked first. Nice. Well, nice, but it’s time to expand on that ole thing. Stereotypes breed stigma, which can have terrible (and in some cases even terminal) consequences. Everything gets an ism, dear reader, and the applicable one here is ableism.

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Ten songs that make me happy…

On this first day of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge, it’s all about music, and ten songs that make me happy. Enjoy!

~1~
Applejack | The Triangles
This song used to be played extensively on 3RRR, the radio station my girlfriend used to listen to whilst doing her morning yoga routine. Whenever it came on, a smile crept across my face as it was a beautifully catchy tune that had me grinning from ear to ear. A perfect way to wake up.

~2~
There She Goes My Beautiful World | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Beloved by each of my voices, this song is a masterwork of happy inducing chemicals.

~3~
Holding Out For a Hero | Bonnie Tyler
One of my favourite songs of all time. I used to listen to it frequently whilst writing my novel ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me’ and have an entire scene planned out to it for the movie version of said fictional work. A gloriously upbeat, happy making tune!

~4~
Diva’s Lament | from Spamalot
Never fails to make me laugh. One of my favorite musical numbers of all time.

~5~
Many of Horror | Biffy Clyro
This song reminds me of my friend Samantha, who passed away in December 2008.

~6~
Oops I Did It Again | Britney Spears
My official “Canada Adventure” anthem. I have danced on a podium to this song. I have performed a striptease to this song!

~7~
Hearts of Olden Glory | Runrig
My favourite song from my favourite musical group, and one that will forever remind me of Scotland; that beautiful, rugged land.

~8~
Weak in the Knees | Serena Ryder
My favourite song of all time. Enough said.

~9~
F**kin’ Perfect | P!nk
Everything about this song is perfect. It’s beat. It’s melody. It’s message. A fantastic piece of music.

and

~10~
The Doctor Who Theme | Ron Grainer
The greatest instrumental piece of music of all time. It always heralds fun, adventure and happiness.


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Ten Categories, Ten Entries and Ten Times to Be Happy!

Tomorrow is the anniversary of when I was assaulted and raped in the South Australian city of Adelaide. So it stands to reason that I’m not exactly Mr. Happy Bear at the moment. So when I saw this blog challenge on Dearest Someone this morning I thought the fates had aligned, for it is exactly what I need at the moment. An opportunity to banish the nightmares, to banish the flashbacks, and focus on all that makes me happy. So over the next ten days I’m choosing to celebrate all that makes me happy. Why not join me on the journey! :)

The Master List

happy

Day One: Ten Songs that make you happy

Day Two: Ten Places that make you feel positive, inspired and happy

Day Three: Ten Positive Memories that you never want to let go of

Day Four: Ten Influential People or role models (people you don’t know!!)

Day Five: Ten Books/Movies/Creative works that have ‘changed your life’

Day Six: Ten destinations that you would love to visit

Day Seven: Ten of your favourite historical moments

Day Eight: Ten of your favourite foods (and why!)

Day Nine: Ten of your favourite photos! 

Day Ten: Ten ways to get yourself out of a rut. (To cheer yourself up!)


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Sunday Stealing: Mash Up Meme

It’s Sunday. So once again it’s time for Sunday Stealing.
This week’s meme has been happily swiped from My Random Randomness. Enjoy! :)

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(1) Oh, how depression stops me from cleaning…

1. What’s overdue for a good cleaning?

Depression is my friend. We are intimately connected and have been since I was thirteen years old. Depression stops me from doing many things; for example, socializing, laughing, smiling, feeling contented, enjoying strawberry jam on toast and cleaning. Oh, how depression stops me from cleaning. When the shadow of darkness clouds my soul, the last thing I want to do is clean. Thus, my kitchen, nay, my entire house, needs a damn good clean.

2. What’s overdue for some kind of professional examination, service, maintenance, or upkeep? 

Me. It’s been a while since I last had a professional examination or general maintenance. I could do with a long soak in a hot bath, followed by a deep tissue massage, followed by all manner of things to make my skin glow and my soul sing. But alas, I doubt it will happen in the near future. :(

3. Who’s overdue for a phone call or letter to you? 

Given my mental health, I live a socially isolated, lonely life. I have few friends to speak of and even fewer that I keep in regular contact with. Perhaps some of my Canadian friends, whom I met whilst traveling that fair, wide land, would appreciate a letter to update them on my actions since we last spoke. But I fear that letter would never be sent, for I have no idea where they now live, so would have nowhere to send it.

Pink

(4) Maybe an appearance by P!nk for an impromptu concert…

4. What’s overdue for an appearance in your neighborhood? 

Anything. My neighborhood is a miserable, boring, melancholy place. Nothing of note ever happens in this town. So it would be wonderful if something was to happen. Maybe an appearance by P!nk for an impromptu concert, or a visit from the Sword-fighting Appreciation Society of Australia, would liven up my neck of the woods. We can but dream.

5. Who’s overdue for a good comeuppance? 

Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, and general buffoon.

6. What’s a gross food you like anyway?

I was thinking last night, as I casually dined on spaghetti on toast, that this foodstuff is kinda weird. It’s very slimy, very wormy, and not very delectable on the texture scale. But all the same, I enjoyed slipping it down my throat.

7. Who’s an unlikable person you like anyway?

I can’t think of a single person whom I like that I would consider unlikable. unlikable people, like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Paris Hilton, are people I have little to no time for. In fact, I only have time for decent, wonderful people, like David Tennant, Vanessa Hudgens or Karen Gillan.

8. What’s an unpleasant task you enjoy performing anyway?

Vacuuming. I love vacuuming and don’t understand why people dislike this household chore with as much passion as they do.

9. What’s a dumb song you enjoy anyway?

10. What’s a lousy restaurant you frequent anyway?

There are no restaurants I frequent on a regular basis. In fact, it’s been over eighteen months since I last dined out. Due to my mental health I live on a disability pension, and unfortunately, paying someone else to cook for me is just not within my budget!

11. What’s your favourite Sci-fi film/program etc?

Film: (one of the few films I would rate as a masterpiece of cinema!)

Television program: (as if you couldn’t guess, given yesterday’s post!)

12. Have you ever had a proper Tarot reading?

I have not. The closest I’ve come was getting my fortune told in the middle of Rundle Mall when I was manic in Adelaide. She told me in six weeks things would change, and six weeks later, my mania ceased. So maybe there’s something to all this psychic mumbo-jumbo.

13. Have you ever used the phrase “back in my time” to someone younger than you?

No. Like I said, I live a socially isolated, lonely life. And that includes people who are younger than me!

14. Have you ever done something really unbelievable, only to have no one around to see it?

I fell off the treadmill whilst at the gym the other day. That was pretty unbelievable. But given the tittering of laughter and applause that rippled round the gym, people did in fact see that wondrous moment. I guess the closest I can think of to achieving something unbelievable that no-one witnessed was writing my novel, which was lost when my backpack was stolen during my homeless experience. Thus, it is the great unread novel.

15. If you were famous would you want a statue or a building names after you?

I would much rather have a building named after me. Perhaps an art gallery, museum or library. People have told me I’m not a very attractive fellow (and by people, I mean the sociopathic narcissist who abused me for several months) so I don’t think I would be all that pretty a statue. It might scare the kiddies. And that wouldn’t be a good thing!

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