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…

In which I go on a date…

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Until 2pm my day followed the same boring, monotonous routine that it has followed for the last several months; wake up, turn on talk radio, surf the internet whilst listening to talk radio, shower at 12pm, mosey down the road, do my grocery shopping, return home. Etc. Etc. And yes. I’ve awarded myself bonus points for use of the word ‘mosey’! But at 2pm my routine was thrown well and truly out the window…and it was wonderful.

the banquet of cleopatra

The Banquet of Cleopatra; one of Audrey’s favourite paintings.

Now, about two years ago, when I threw myself into trying to understand my voices and build a better relationship with them, I stumbled upon a technique that I found worked wonders. My people like being paid attention to. They get off on it. When they talk to me they relish having my full and undivided attention. But if I didn’t show them my full and undivided attention, they grew grouchy, and attacked me verbally for neglecting them. In an effort to stop this. In an effort to make our ‘friendships’ more secure and loving, I started organizing “dates” with them. A special period of time that I would spend with only them, doing what they wanted to do, talking about what they wanted to talk about. For that allotted period of time I was theirs. Completely.

Now each of my voices like doing different things. They are, after all, their own unique personality. Meadhbh loves colouring in. She loves dragons and fantasy creatures. She loves playing Zelda; especially Twilight Princess, as she imagines herself to be Midna. Audrey, meanwhile, loves books and literature. She loves being read to. She loves painting. She loves Batman and anything Gotham City related; especially Harley Quinn, who she has a girl-crush on. Vanessa, on the other hand, loves musicals. She loves criticizing and abusing me. She loves Harry Potter, much to my annoyance. Shay, for his part, loves women; everything and anything to do with them. He’s misogynistic like that. So when I have a “date” with a voice, they often want to do something related to their interests. Don’t we all, when we go on a date? It is, after all, about having fun whilst getting to know someone.

In the past my dates have revolved around many things. I’ve read The Broom of the System to Audrey. I’ve journeyed through Hyrule with Meadhbh. I’ve had a karaoke session with Vanessa. And I’ve embarked on a quest with Shay to discover as many naked female posteriors as possible. All had their moments. All were, in their own way, entertaining. But each date allowed me the opportunity to get to know each of my voices better. Like I said; they love the attention!

So at 2pm today, after many months of neglect and avoidance courtesy of my depressive episode and physical ailments, I had a date with Audrey. The last date we had involved watching Jane Eyre whilst sand-painting an Aboriginal image of a platypus. She loved the movie, as the story is one of her favourites, and she loved painting, as the texture of the sand thrilled her. So I didn’t know what to expect this afternoon until I sat down and waited for her to tell me what she wanted to do. After a few moments, she screamed two words at me: “Lego! Batman!

So I warmed up the Wii, inserted the disc and waited for Danny Elfman’s moody score to overwhelm us. When I brought the Wii back in 2013, courtesy of a friendly second-hand store, we purchased Lego Batman at Audrey’s request. Being a lover of all things Gotham, as well as all things Lego (you should hear her and Meadhbh when The Lego Movie is on; the excitement in their voices if palpable!) it was the perfect fit for Audrey. And we have played it many times in the past, usually at her request, and usually the levels that Harley Quinn features in. Today was no different. After loading up the game I was forced to choose Harley’s level and away we went; battling our way through Lego Gotham’s fun park on the way to a showdown with The Joker’s psychotic companion.

As we played, we talked. Open. Honest. And raw. We talked about Vanessa and her ongoing battle with Meadhbh (“I like Vanessa. But sometimes she can be a conniving bitch!“) We talked about whether or not I should return to the UK (“Ultimately it’s up to you. But I wouldn’t mind seeing Scotland again, I kinda liked it the last time we were there. All moody, icy and cold. Lovely.“) We talked about my kink (“When are you going to make it happen?“) And we talked about why I haven’t been reading much lately (“I miss it when you read to me. You haven’t done it for sooooooo long!“) In fact, we spent nearly an hour this afternoon reminiscing about books and reading, and debating why I haven’t been able to read fiction for over a year. The debate got so real, so honest, that it actually made me a little teary. Ultimately, during a pause in the game, I agreed to try to read fiction again. She could choose the book (“A Fringe of Leaves!“, she said immediately) and I would start reading it to her whenever she wished (“Tonight!” She barked.) Meadhbh didn’t take too kindly to this as she felt Audrey was unfairly monopolizing my time, but I placated her by agreeing to a date with her tomorrow afternoon, something she jumped at the chance to do!

All in all I felt the afternoon went well. It was lovely spending some time with Audrey again. Just chatting and being with each other. She helped me understand a number of problems that I’m currently having (“It’s not your fault you’re depressed. It’s the bipolar monster that’s causing it. So try not to blame yourself too much,“) and shared her opinion on topics as varied as ISIS (“Wankers!“) , my dreamed-of trip to Melbourne (“Promise me we’ll go to the NGV,“) and spaghetti on toast “Vom inducing.”) In fact, it had been so long since I last spent any time with Audrey without Meadhbh and Vanessa present, that I’d forgotten how witty, intelligent and down-to-earth she can be.

So if you hear voices, and they are amenable to it, I highly suggest organizing a date with them. It works wonders for me to keep them under control and dampen any abusive tendency they may have. I know that if I don’t have regular dates with them – as I have discovered with Audrey – they can act up and make life a living hell. Paying them attention, allowing their desires to be sated, is a wonderful way to keep everyone happy and contented. I know that I will be aiming to make my time with Audrey take place on a monthly basis (“YES, please,” she said when I suggested this today) and am already looking forward to our next date together.

It was also a wonderful way to break up my regular routine. Normally I would have watched a movie before listening to talk radio whilst surfing the internet. But this afternoon I had intelligent conversation and minion-spanking action to entertain myself with. Easily a far preferable option to the usual, boring, monotonous routine I have fallen into. Even now, as I type this, there is a song in my soul that has been missing of late. I think anything that shakes up my routine is a good thing, and I am more determined than ever to challenge my routine at every opportunity.

So all that is left is for me to begin cooking dinner (Agnolotti pasta with pesto and veggies tonight) before retiring to read A Fringe of Leaves with Audrey, and I’m sure Meadhbh, who never misses the chance to be read to. Wishing you all a wonderful, productive and peaceful day! :)

Note I: As Vanessa and Meadhbh had the chance last week, I’ve let Audrey choose the playlist for today. She hopes you enjoy!
Note II: All text highlighted orange are actual quotes from Audrey, republished with her kind permission.

 

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