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…

Psychiatric Help 5c – The Doctor is in!

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The human brain.

One of the most impressive yet fragile organs in the body.

It gets us up in the morning, helps us move, make breakfast, choose our undies, let’s us walk and talk and run and eat (and shag). It remembers our friends names, stores our most treasured memories and enables us to work and schedule and plan and hope (and shag). It even gets us through the night, entertaining us with movies and song and dance (and shags to help us nod off in the first place). When we get in trouble it even steps in to protect us, blocking out painful memories with smoke and mirror and repression. Sure this doesn’t always last forever, even the tiniest reference or conversation or smell (or shag) can bring things flooding back. You can’t blame it though, it has a lot to do and nobody – or thing – is perfect.

But what happens when it does go wrong?

If any other organ or body part fails…heart, lungs, legs, arms, eyes, ears, penis, feet, toes, kidney, pancreas, spleen, ovaries, fingers, epidermis…we notice, people can see, people believe.

Yet our brain?

When it goes wrong we can’t see it, no-one can, so it’s harder to believe something is wrong.

In the eyes of many, Mental Illness becomes nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

So where in this big ole jigsaw puzzle of the last couple of years are we, it’s been a random few days of blindingly confused thoughts and mood shifts so I need to remind even myself where I’m up to.

Following the events of Alice and the collapse of my life (again)…
Following the unsuccessful attempts to rebuild in Inverness…
Following the suicide of Stephanie…
Following the appearance of the mysterious {screwyou@}…
Following the increasing isolation I was experiencing…
Following the resurgence of self harm and suicidal thoughts…

It doesn’t take a genius to know I needed to see someone!

I’d been trying to access the MH services since my arrival in Inverness, but nothing came of it until a visit to the GP where I outlined my suicide thoughts. The appointment they made was for the following morning so I spent a restless night keeping things sedated with olanzapine, Planet of the Dead, Skins and 24 and took off to the psych hospital at 8am.

One psychiatrist. One nurse. One student.

The questions flowed thick and fast from all but the student – they’re generally not allowed to talk, just sit there and observe (and occasionally look cute)

Conversation #1
(where I’m in a really bad mood and not really giving all that much information, only one word or short sentence answers, as I tend to do in a ‘low’ mood!)

When did you start feeling suicidal?
Few weeks ago
Do you have a plan?
Tell me about your childhood?
Bullied, self harm, ya know
What about your relationships?
What about ’em?
You said you still love your last girlfriend?
But she…?
So why?
Are you still in touch?
Yes. When she needs me.
What about when you need her?
You blame yourself?
For what?
Things that go wrong?
Yes. I have to.
That’s the only person you can blame
But you said you were emotionally abused
Wasn’t she to blame?
We’ll come back to that. 2007?
What about it?
You had a breakdown, self-harmed then you had a period of euphoria. When?
Have you ever been to Adelaide?
Go, you’ll understand :)
How did it feel?
Like I was an immortal misogynistic God.
Like I could do anything or have anyone I wanted for supper and then oral for dessert
Sex. I like the taste…and the smell.
Oh indeed.
So you had an increase in sexual appetite?
Did you think about protection?
Sex isn’t purely about penetration
How long did this period last for?
A few weeks
Do you remember it all?
No, just fragments
What about your friends, couldn’t they fill in the blanks?
My friend at the time never saw me. No-one I knew did.
And you came down naturally?
Triggered? What was it?
Next question
Triggers are important.
I know they are, I wrote an article on them once. I don’t want to talk about it.
Anything you say is confidential.
Well after I came down I hit a deep depression and then tried to hang myself.
Hang yourself?
In October 2007
Is that the plan now?
Seems as good a way as any
Do you often feel like this?
Mostly, don’t have much I like about life
What do you like about life?

…and etc and onwards and blah blah blah.

Been there before, will no doubt be there again. They sent me off after alternating my medication (this was when I started the AM/PM olanzapine dosages) and I spent the rest of the morning sitting on Craig Phadrig before heading home to think about the second meeting they had arranged for me – and to divulge myself once again in the rather obvious mystery of “He will knock four times” which I’d kindof already figured out but it’s still a wonderful scene, and hey, Michelle Ryan is kinda hot :p

The second meeting went along much the same lines. Only one person this time, one of the ones who had been in the room the day before. It was in another location, on the other side of town.

The only difference was my mood had swung a little and I was more vocal, uncontrolled in my emotions, somewhat angrier and more inclined to give detail and ramble on tangents I don’t really believe 100% as I do when I go a bit hyper. It’s because my in-built guards are down and I’m not bothered about what I’m saying or what people think of me. Inhibitions, that’s the word I was looking for. They dissipate when I go “up” in my moods…

Conversation #2
(some of the answers I’ll give as links as they’re things I’ve covered previously – plus this is an edited account, a couple of things we talked about are not for public digestion)

So, about your childhood. What stands out the most?
The bullying mainly. Mostly verbal, sometimes physical. I mean c’mon, I was an overweight kid who looked 9 months pregnant, glasses, Scottish accent – at an age when it wasn’t sexy! One time I was thrown up against a wall and kneed in the bollocks for no reason. One time I remember I was called to the front of French class to say something or other and as I was getting up two girls decided to hook something onto my belt and yank my trousers down. That wasn’t embarrassing in the slightest. Then all the name calling and verbal insults, they always hurt the worst. Oh, and Natalie, I remember.
Who was Natalie?
Two people. Well, not really. Well, what I mean is she wasn’t one Natalie with a split personality, but two Natalie’s with the same spelling. One Natalie, we’ll call her Natalie, had problems, the other we’ll call Nats and as far as I know she didn’t have problems, just a really excellent bottom and a slayer smile. It would have been much easier if they’d had different spellings, but that’s the way of the world.
Natalie, what sort of issues?
Anorexia, OCD, it started when she was young
How young?
About 9
That is young
That’s what I said, she was young
How did it affect you?
Hard. I was overweight, as I said, and as I remember it she had it in her mind she could “catch” it from me so we couldn’t touch, be in the same room, speak…it was hard.
And the other Natalie?
She was someone at school
With an excellent bottom?
And a slayer smile…hey, I was a guy even then :) She was the most beautiful girl in school and I had it for her bad. I wanted to talk to her so much, but, I was shy, painfully so, didn’t know how and the bullying all the time. It got impossible to talk to people…which is when I started self-harming, which turned to depression, which turned to social anxiety. I really want to talk to people but I just find it so hard.
Ok. After school, did you go to Uni?
I did not. I probably could have got in somewhere but the self-harm and all, kinda screwed up my GCSEs and I fucked over my A-levels so…I dunno…I kinda knew what I wanted to do but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it because of…well, it’s as if the bullying put me off education. Does that make sense?
You equated education with bullying?
Yes. It took me ages to get the confidence to go to college in Inverness – and then again in Melbourne, the demons were still there both times.
So what happened in Melbourne?
I tried really hard, really fracking hard, ya know. It had been a rough year in 06…
That was the year you and Lucy broke up?
…yes. We tried to make it work but, we couldn’t. It was painful, affected me badly.
Which was partly behind your suicide attempt that year?
Yes, in March, pulled me back into a deep depression and re-ignited self-harm urges. Everything got too much. Anyway. I worked really hard that year to get over everything, get it all sorted and under control. You know what they say, friends are the best medicine and I had friends, had a new relationship, I felt better than ever by the end of the year.
How so?
My confidence, self esteem, belief in what I could do. Everything. I got glandular fever then, which really fucked me up, but i tried to give it my all – all I could anyway.
That can be a rough illness, I had it once. The PFVS got to me quite badly?
Absolutely! Screwed me around that did as well. But hey, for the first time in ages I didn’t feel depressed. I was happy with where I was, where I was going and what was happening. I had a five year plan for the first time in, well, ever.
And then?
CLL, dumped by text, really screwed me up and I had all these assignments, worked my arse off but…
…you lost college, I remember you saying that yesterday.
It was really hard going back, but I had to, stepping stone to uni and all. I’ve never understood what the frack happened that year.
Did she tell you why she ended it?
Not really. The only straight answer to the question as I remember was in April.
That would have given you some form of closure at least…
…if you can call the answer “I don’t know, I didn’t want to, why are you shouting at me?” a solid answer to the question ‘why did you break up with me’ yeah. But I don’t. That to me is bullshit. Sorry, language.
And then the abuse started?
It had always been there in some way or another, when we were together I was more willing to push it aside or let it go…but it went to a whole new level after she broke up with me. I dunno, the way she acted sometimes was as if I’d broken up with her, she just didn’t seem to understand things from my point of view. It fucked me up.
That’s a common issue with people who fall into abuse, not being able to see things from other perspectives than their own.
Yeah, I wrote some articles on it once, did some research.
Did that help?
No. Nothing I’ve done has helped with that.
Your history with bullying wouldn’t have helped either.
Nope. To be told every day that whatever you do, say, think or feel is wrong…fucks you up. I’m sorry about the language by the way.
That’s ok. I want to skip on for a moment, your next relationship was with…(checks notes)
Yes. That was a hard one to get into. I was attracted to her from the word go but, well, trust isn’t exactly my strong suit – especially with my history. Self confidence was shot to fuck, trying to rebuild my life, but I definitely wanted her.
You liked her?
Hell yeah. I was trying so hard to get my life back on track. I wanted to feel good again, especially with my 30th coming up.
Did you have trouble trusting her after the abuse?
Yes. It was hard but I didn’t let it be an issue, not openly because I knew it was my issue and not hers. I didn’t think…well, maybe a little.
Did she ever give you a reason not to trust her?
A few times.
Did she…?
How did that feel?
My first girlfriend cheated on me whilst I was sacrificing everything in my UK life to move to the other side of the world for her and then directly lied to my face about it whilst expecting me to sacrifice friends for her. My second girlfriend lied to me and then emotionally abused me after instigating a situation which shouldn’t have happened had she had the ability of empathy which set about the destruction of my life and then spent months attacking me for not caring about her and her feelings. How do you think it felt?
Sorry. I didn’t mean to get angry, moods a bit, and this is a whole sore point for me. It’s just, I know I made mistakes, we all do, we’re all human, but sometimes I wanna know what I did that was SO wrong, ya know? It just feels that they were all ‘take’ relationships, that’s how it feels, anyway.
What do you mean?
Lucy, she had a four year visa for the UK, stayed for just over half that time. She could’ve worked there for another year and then we could have gone to Australia together, gone to Europe together. I understand why she wanted to go but…sometimes it’s like, was she expecting me to go to Australia? Did she even want me to? And then there was…which opened up a whole barrel of bilbys. Then Kathy, when she had glandular fever I was there for her, always, whenever I could cause I wanted to help her get better, not feel so shit. Then when I have it? I’m not being nasty here but she did fuck all, actually pushed me harder than when I didn’t have it. Then it’s like she knew I had glandular fever…knew about the assignments…what was she seriously expecting to happen when she dumped me like that? Happy bunny feelings and nothing go wrong. You can’t dump someone by text message when they have an illness like that and expect things to end well.
Do you think she did it deliberately?
Sometimes, yes, she’s a smart girl, one of the smartest I’ve ever known…but I’ve never thought her as malicious. Then Diane. She had problems, depression and etc and sometimes I was there for her 24-7; leaving work, having to make up hours, calling in sick, putting her above me and friends whenever she needed me. Full time job, full time carer, mental illness. It was bloody hard. Then when I got down or self harmed or whatever…she was never there for me, then Christmas. I dunno. It just feels that it was always about them and to me a relationship should be two way – give and take for both people. I gave whatever I could but it just feels that emotionally and supportively they gave nothing back. Ya know? I’m venting, sorry.
That’s ok. Let’s move away from the relationships for a bit. After college?
I had my nervous breakdown
And then mania?
A few months later in Adelaide
And your hallucinations?
My imaginary friend? Well, enemy. Well, complete bitch…jeez, I only just got it, that’s funny.
What is?
Nothing, sorry, personal joke.
OK. Then your suicide attempt?
Indeed. Fun day. Barrel of wacky entertainment.
You’ve been through a lot.
Thank you. You don’t know the half of it!
Let’s talk about “now” for a while. You’re living in Kingsmills.
Up near the gold course
What’s it like?
It’s a room in a house, a rooming house. Well, a nursery. Well, a kindergarten. Converted kindergarten.
Two showers, two toilets, sixteen people, can be hard.
One. Small. Not much space.
No TV, lounge, nothing. Just me…in the bedroom…alone…with an empty bed. I have a computer but no internet, tried a wireless drongo thing but no signal in the house.
So what do you do?
Nothing really, watch stuff on the computer, the odd DVD if the drive decides to work. Sit. Stare. Self harm. Don’t have much money so can’t go anywhere. No friends, no social life.
And with no money…
…it’s impossible to do anything. Plus the trust and social anxiety issues makes it impossible anyway. The only people I talk to are my parents…and Diane, when she needs me.
You must be lonely.
That is the understatement of the year.
When was the last time you saw a friend, not family, face to face?
February – just over three months ago
You mentioned Stephanie yesterday?
Yep. Steph. She was cool.
Do you blame yourself?
It wasn’t your fault, you did your best.
In ’07 I was blamed for everything. To put in perspective how much she blamed me for – the September 11 terrorist attacks, if she could have pinned me in New York that day, I would have been responsible – tell someone something enough, they’ll believe it. If I’m to blame for everything in my life and everyone elses then I’m also responsible for everything, and everyone.
It appears to me the emotional abuse has affected your self-esteem quite badly.
Second understatement of the year :)
So what about you?
What about me?
Who looks after you, other than family?
No-one else?
Not now.
And if you’re trying to look out for everyone else when do you find time for you?
They take priority. Kathy used to tell me that I didn’t do enough to care about her, or anyone back then, and that I deserved to lose everything because of it. I did, lose everything. If I try harder with others maybe things will be karmically resolved.
Even at the expense of yourself? Your health, happiness?
If I’d done more for people then, as she said, I wouldn’t have lost everything. I’m not important.

Do you think she was right?
She was about everything else.
Emotional abuse can leave bad scars, inside. Do you really believe she was right?
Tell someone something enough they’ll believe it to be true. Criticise, tell them they’re useless and worthless and a bad friend and a waste of space, pour water over their head in a restaurant for stating an opinion – which is gonna make stating an opinion in the future difficult – keep this going for months…what do you think’s gonna happen. It’s had me questioning the essence of “me” for years.
We need to work on that.
Be my guest :)
Guilt is a funny thing, sometimes we blame ourselves – punish ourselves even – for things we have no say in. No control over.
And other times, like Steph…Rachel…and…
…(pause)…sometimes we blame ourselves for things because we screwed up. Period. It was our fault. Therefore the blame is ours, the guilt is ours, and we should have the strength to admit that to ourselves instead of endlessly blaming others.
That’s it. We screw up.
I get the impression there’s something else, is this what we mentioned earlier?

(later in the conversation)

Ok. We’ll need to talk more about that but we’re out of time for today.
Before you go, I’d like you to have a look at this. It was something that came to me yesterday…and I wanted your thoughts.

She went over to a file and produced a piece of paper, which I had – for a brief moment – hoped contained some mystical spell/incantation which would magically cure my ailing mind – but alas – it was just something that made things even more complicated!

Cool, just what I need right about now! :)

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