There is one awesome thing about hearing voices that I rarely talk about. Certainly, their incessant nagging, criticising and me-me-me mentality can become exceedingly annoying, but when it comes to birthdays it means extra presents for little-ole me! :p
Today – on my thirty-fifth birthday – Meadhbh, Audrey and Shay all surprised me with gifts that I wasn’t expecting (to which you can thank dissociation!) And, for the first time in quite a number of years, I received actual wrapped presents from people outside of my direct family.
The first present I received was from Meadhbh. She was so excited about giving it to me she woke me up at 4am just so she could be the first person to give me a present this year! She did say she would have woken me earlier, but because of how tired I’ve been since Melbourne, wanted to let me sleep in a little on this most auspicious of days.
Her present was a DVD box set of the television series Skins, a show that has lived in my heart since it saved my life back in 2009 and one I’ve wanted to watch again for quite a number of years. Apparently she’s been squirreling money away for months (again, courtesy of a spot of disconnection/dissociation) so she could buy it for me, so although I didn’t appreciate being roused so early, I more than appreciated the gift she got me. :)
The next present I received was from Audrey; a deliciously dog-eared copy of Still Life With Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. I first read it when I was visiting Jasper in 2000 and have wanted to read it again ever since!
Following these wonderfully thoughtful presents, I met a couple of people I know through my mental health organisation for a drink. Little did I know they had come prepared, and after my caramel slice had been delivered to the table, they whisked it away so they could pop in a candle and serenade me with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday; officially the first time this has been sung to me since my 21st birthday party back in 1999!
Then came more presents! One of the people I met up with, a friend who is heavily involved in the hearing voices movement, purchased me a quartet of beautiful gifts: a funky wooden box (which is purple!) containing four healing stones, a beautiful Bergamot Lavender scented pure soy wax candle, an awesomely colourful worry doll and a beautiful hand-made journal that I’m so looking forward to writing in! :D
The other person present at this birthday gathering was my support worker, who gave me a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates (that I’ve been nibbling on as I write this post!) and a card inscribed:
Be proud of all you achieved this year! You are an inspiration!
I’m not so sure about being an inspiration, but I am sure that the act of receiving presents (even those from my people) is so unfamiliar to me now that I don’t know what to do. Sure, I whole-heartedly thanked the gift-givers for their wonderfully thoughtful, beautiful presents, but I was paranoid that these thanks came across as un-genuine.
Throughout each of the proceedings my discomfort was noticeable, perhaps because everyone gets a wee bit anxious over someone giving them a present, or perhaps because I’m so used to hating my life that I can’t handle it when people decide that my life is worth celebrating.
Regardless, the gift giving continued later in the evening when Shay presented me with his present. Meadhbh was quick to point out that she had assisted him in choosing it (recognisable by the chosen colour scheme) which marked another, more subtle gift; the first time ever that these two voices have worked together toward a common goal.
Alas, this present is a little ‘personal’ so I have had to password protect it from innocent eyes, but anyone with the password can click here to discover what my two naughtiest of voices decided to give me this year!
All of these wonderful gifts, coupled with phone calls from my parents and a friend, meant that my birthday this year wasn’t as horrible and soul-destroying as it usually is. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I can actually say I quite enjoyed my birthday! :)
Who knows? Next year, I may even organise a party for myself! ;)