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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Day 06: Five people who mean a lot to me

The sixth day of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for five people who mean a lot to me.

friendship

(in no particular order)

1. My support worker

After spending many years dealing with my mental health and homelessness on my own, it took a long time for me to build a trusting relationship with my support worker, but now that I have I can’t imagine life without her assistance. It can’t be easy being the support worker to someone as messed up and complex as me, especially given my non-existent self-esteem and distinct lack of any self-belief, but week after week she commits herself to doing all she can to push me into doing everything I can to achieve that most allowed and mythical of mind-states; recovery.

2. My family

It would be impossible to choose any one or two members of my family to put onto this list, so I’m breaking the rules and lumping them all into one entry. Whether it be my mother and father’s regular phone calls, the daily updates of my brother and sister-in-law’s Facebook accounts or the endless soap opera that is my sister’s life, my family have always been there to turn to in times of trouble and distress, and for that, I will always be eternally grateful.

3. Emilia

I first met Emilia through her connection to the Hearing Voices Support Group and her work at Gateway Community Health, the mental health organisation I frequent. Being a peer worker, with a similar history and outlook on life to my own, it is wonderful to have a friend who understands some of the experiences I’ve been through and accepts me for being myself, something very few people throughout my life have ever done.

4. Samantha

Even though she has long since left this world, Samantha’s friendship has always meant the world to me. After a succession of friendships that were decidedly one-sided, it was a pleasant change of pace to be around someone who accepted me in spite of my mental illness(es), occasionally eccentric actions and difficult to be around episodes.

5. The mental health blogging community

For seven and a half years I’ve been part of one of the brightest, most accepting and down-right inspired blogging communities in the world; the mental health blogging community. Without the support of you – my dear readers – this blog would have collapsed and burned a long time ago, so I thank you for putting up with my inner-most thoughts and occasional ramblings. Without your support, I don’t know where I’d be! :)


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Day 05: Six things I wish I’d never done

Day five of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for six things you wish you’d never done.

Melbourne

1. Emigrated to Australia (2002)

1. Emigrated to Australia (2002)

For a long time I’ve realised that one of the biggest mistakes of my life was emigrating to Australia in 2002. Even though I do love this country, it has never really felt like home, and the way the country has treated me – from abusive relationships, various assaults, impossible to break into friendship cliques, cheating girlfriends, false accusations and homelessness – I have long believed that my life would have been a lot better had I not come to this so-called “lucky country”.

2. Declined to study in Canada (2001/2)

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve long regretted turning down the tertiary education offer I received for a photography college in Canada. At the time I believed I was doing the right thing in turning it down to come to Australia, but the simple fact is, I should have gone to Canada. No question.

3. Not been there for Grace (2008)

Until this moment occurred I’d always believed I was a good friend. I thought I was attentive to other people’s needs, I thought I was a reasonably decent person to be around and I thought I was always there for people when they needed me; regardless of what my abuser used to say to the contrary. However, I proved all of her words true when I failed to be there for my friend Grace when she needed me the most – leading to a lifetime of regret, remorse and guilt that I fear I’ll never be able to get over.

4. Trusted my abuser (2006/7)

Given that the repercussions of my abusive relationship have plagued my life for over seven years, I’ve long wished I hadn’t fallen into her trap. In hindsight, I can see the grooming behaviour in the lead up to the relationship. In hindsight, I can see the vicious lies and grandiose manipulations that ensnared me. Over the last several years I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wished I could travel back and change my actions of that year, but alas, changing our decisions is not something we have the luxury of doing. We can only learn from them.

5. Chosen the wrong A-levels (1995)

As with my decision not to study in Canada, my anxiety-laden decision to study Maths, Computing and Media Studies at A-level has been well documented throughout this blog. Everyone (including myself) knew almost instantaneously that I’d chosen the wrong subjects; that I should have studied English Lit and Theatre Studies, but once the decision was made there was no option to change subjects and one of my life’s biggest regrets was set in stone.

6. Lost a USB stick (2010)

In 2010, whilst living on the streets of Melbourne, I had a backpack stolen. A backpack that contained, amongst other things, my passport, clothes and a USB stick containing a copy of my completed novel The Ghosts that Haunt Me. Back then I had little to no idea what eBooks were, let alone that you could self-publish, for if I did I would have put my work out there for all to download and enjoy. Now that I am more knowledgeable in this area, the fact I no longer have a completed copy of my novel frustrates me more than words can say.


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Day 04: Seven things that cross my mind…a lot!

Four days in and I’m still blogging on a daily basis…woohoo!
Today’s prompt asks for seven things that cross my mind, a lot!

homelessness

4. Why don’t people do more to help the homeless?

1. Top of the list would have to be my abusive relationship. I know it’s not healthy reliving the events of that turbulent time, but the flashbacks come so frequently, so fervently, that I have little control over when and how this period crosses my mind.

When I’m not reliving the events in crystal clear HD, I’m ruminating on the whys and wherefores of the time; why did it happen? Why did she target me? Why did my friends not intervene? What did I do to deserve it?

I know I’ll never have the answers to these questions, and I know there is little other people can do to stop the constant flood of memories and emotions this trauma creates, but hopefully I will one day find a way to manage and control the damage the abuse caused. It has, after all, been seven years since the abuse was occurring…which is far too long a period to be lost to such a manipulative, sociopathic creature.

2. Given that it’s been nearly five years since I last saw them, my family cross my mind frequently. Granted, I try to catch up with them as often as possible (usually a phone call every few weeks) but as I’ve never met my niece and nephew, being able to catch up with them in person would be almost like a dream come true. Especially as my niece has recently begun taking her first tentative steps! :)

3. Without wanting to sound crass, women’s bottoms (and other parts) cross my mind a lot. After all, I am a man, and even though I don’t think of sex every six seconds, it has been over fiver years since I got the chance to caress, massage, squeeze, kiss or playfully spank a woman’s bottom. And I miss it! In fact, an end to my unchosen celibacy would probably do me (and my anxieties) the world of good!

4. Why don’t people do more to help the homeless? This is a question that I’ve asked myself so many times over the last few years. On any given day, there are over 100,000 homeless people in Australia, and many millions more around the world. Yet governments persist in doing nothing to help these individuals. When the wait for public housing can be anything up to twelve years (as it is in some parts of Australia) a lot more needs to be done. And fast!

5. Alongside my family, I also spend a lot of time thinking of my old friends. Even though it’s (for the most part) my fault that I am no longer in contact with them, I often wile away the time wondering what became of them and whether or not they were able to build the happy, rewarding lives they (for the most part) deserved.

6. The death of punctuation and grammar is something that crosses my mind whenever I surf the internet. Your instead of you’re, apostrophes placed in random locations (if at all) and the shortening of words such as hate to h8 annoy me on a level that is too complicated to explain.

7. A month ago, an eleven year old boy was cruelly murdered by his father in an incident that shocked Australia. Almost instantaneously it was announced that the father was “suffering from mental health problems”, as if this alone explained (and excused) the senseless crime. However, a few weeks later it was announced that no history of mental illness had been discovered. So why it is that every time a violent crime is committed, mental health is wheeled out as the reason for the crime, even when there is no evidence of mental illness being involved?


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Day 03: Eight ways to win my heart

Day three of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for eight ways to win my heart!

heart

1. Be accepting of my mental illness(es)

In all three of my relationships my mental health problems were seen as weaknesses, aspects of myself that were used to prove I was lazy, worthless, weak, pathetic or not working hard enough. Anyone who accepts me in spite of my illnesses stands an exceedingly good chance of winning my heart!

2. Take the initiative

My social anxiety will often prevent me from doing the things men are supposed to do – such as making the first move – so anyone woman who recognises my shyness and says to herself ‘to hell with it, I want him regardless’ stands a very good chance of winning my heart. But…

3. …don’t push too hard!

For if you come on too strong, I’ll probably end up scampering for the hills!

4. Dress up as Supergirl

I’ve long had a wee fetish over this classic DC comic strip character for quite a number of years, so anyone wishing to win my heart need only don the brightly covered blue and red outfit to succeed! Failing that, Squirrel Girl will work equally as well! :p

5. Use the word ‘undies’ instead of ‘panties’

As mentioned yesterday, the ‘p’ word is my most hated of words, so the use of it will turn me off faster than you can say it.

6. Understand that your needs will always be more important to me than my own needs.

I’m hardwired to put other people first. This has caused problems in the past, notably when I was verbally attacked for putting my girlfriend’s orgasms above my own, so if you’re really intent on winning my heart just remember that I will always be putting your heart (body and soul) above mine.

7. Know your Zygons from your Zarbi!

If you want to win my heart, get to know the good Doctor and his entourage of companions, for there is nothing sexier than a woman who is a Doctor Who fan!

8. Be yourself!

This is probably the most important of them all. I abhor people who pretend to be someone who they’re not in order to be accepted by others. If you’re really keen to win my heart, just be your beautiful, unique and wonderful selves!

zarbi

(7) Know your Zygons from your Zarbi!

Should you be so tempted, you can also find five further ways to win my heart here!

 


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Day 02: Nine things about myself

The second day of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks an old favourite: nine things about yourself!

Quantum Leap

Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell in Quantum Leap

1. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve held a secret wish that one day I would invent a time machine that would allow me to replicate the adventures of Sam Beckett; quantum leaping through space and time putting right what once went wrong. Only recently have I begun to realise that it’s unlikely I’ll ever achieve this dream!

2. I’ve recently been given permission from my landlord to own a cat. Even though I have yet to acquire one, I have already decided her name shall be Midna, in homage to the great Legend of Zelda video game character! :)

3. In two weeks I will realise a life-long dream; when, during a week-long camp for participants of the mental health organisation I frequent, I will deliver a brain-busting trivia quiz to all assembled.

4. My least favourite word of all time is ‘panties’. Ick. It makes my skin crawl just typing it!

5. My second favourite word of all time is ‘discombobulated’, because saying it makes me smile! :)

6. I’ve recently had my medication changed, as such my support worker and GP are on high alert in case I begin to suffer from any paranoia, delusions or psychosis in the interim period. So far, I’ve experienced only paranoia.

7. Sometimes I miss sleeping in the tent I slept in during the last months of my homelessness. So much so that I’m looking forward to sleeping in it again when I embark on the aforementioned MH camp in a couple of weeks.

8. To this day, I regret not attending the free Runrig concert that was held on 31st December 1999 in Inverness, for I fear it will be the only opportunity in my life to hear this band perform live.

9. My favourite painting of all time is Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer (1904).

Frederick_McCubbin__The_pioneer

The Pioneer | Frederick McCubbin

Including this post, over the course of this blog I have managed to come up with 137 facts about me…surely that has to be some sort of record? If you missed any of the other facts, you can catch up on them here:


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Day 01: Ten things I want to say to ten different people

Well, the stitches are out of my thumb and it appears to be healing well, albeit with some slightly disturbing yellowy discharge that I’m told is nothing to worry about. It’s still too tender to actually type with but as each day passes I become more accustomed to using my left hand sans thumb, so much so that I no longer feel it’s a good enough reason not to blog. And as I’m tired of my mood dictating my blogging schedule, I’ve decided to grasp the elk by the horns and dive into a blogging challenge to help inspire my mood and get me blogging on a more full-time basis again.

The challenge I’ve selected is a ten day blogging challenge I came across on The Colourful Eyes and it kicks off with a prompt that asks for ten things you want to say to ten different people right now!

ella-hooper

Ella Hooper; star of Australian music quiz show ‘Spicks and Specks’

01. Shaun Micallef: You, sir, are a genius!

02. To My (Ex) Abuser: What did I ever do to you to make you want to destroy my entire effing life?

03. Ella Hooper: You are magnificent on Spicks and Specks and watching you each week makes me realise how delectable you really are. So if you ever find yourself short of company and/or have a thing for drop-dead cute socially anxious (ex) homeless men with ravishing beards and a (slightly) kinky outlook on life, feel free to drop me a line! :)

04. Meadhbh: If you play Katy Perry‘s Roar one more time today I’m likely to do something random (and violent), such as destroy my computer to stop you from playing it. So please give it a rest for a little while…okay? :)

05. To Relatives Who Shall Remain Nameless: I’m sorry I haven’t got around to responding to your Facebook message yet. I’m completely useless when it comes to things like email and social networks. I promise I;ll reply by the end of the week! :)

06. To my GP: Were you lying when you said the slightly disturbing yellowy discharge was nothing to worry about? Because my mind keeps telling me there is nothing normal about slightly disturbing yellowy discharge!

07. Shay: Yes, that random women in the street today did indeed have a delicious backside. You don’t have to keep going on…and on…and on…and on…and on about it!

08. To People Who Make Psychiatric Medication: Are you all completely insane? You do realise that people who suffer from mental health problems often have incredibly low self-esteem, don’t you? So why keep making medication that has weight gain as a major side-effect? Or are you all just sadistic bastards that don’t care about other human beings’ lives?  

09. To Someone Who Shall Remain Anonymous: Would it be ok if I were to randomly email you to see how you were? I only ask because me support worker has been trying to convince me to do it for over a year and I keep telling her it would be a bad idea.

10. To Someone Else Who Shall Remain Anonymous: Would you like to have a coffee with me sometime?