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 10: One confession

The final day of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for one confession.

bike

Many years ago, when I but a wee young thing cycling around the city of Melbourne, my (allegedly) slow cycling speed earned the ire of another cyclist. In my opinion, I didn’t think I was cycling abnormally slowly, I was just merrily trundling along the city street on my way to do a spot of shopping in the CBD. But he was adamant that I wasn’t cycling fast enough, so began yelling at me to “speed up” whilst incessantly ringing his bell and hurling expletives in my general direction. In order to cessate his anger I, on numerous occasions, rode closer to the curb in order to give him ample room to overtake, which he never did.

This flow of abuse carried on until we were both stopped by a red light. This incensed him even more, as he demanded to know why I’d forced him to slam on his brakes and risk running into the back of my ‘crappy little bike’. I pointed out that it was customary to stop at red lights, to which he responded with yet more expletives and rode on through the red light, weaving precariously through the (abruptly stopping) oncoming traffic.

Shaking my head at his idiocy (and insolence) I carried on cycling when the light turned green and tried to put the whole unpleasant event out of my mind. However, the abuse he’d been hurling had triggered my social anxiety and no matter how hard I tried to relax, found it impossible to do so. After a couple of stressful hours perusing the shops I was returning to my bicycle, still frustrated by this man’s actions, when I noticed his bike was chained up a few yards away from me.

What possessed me to do what I did next still escapes me. Normally I’m not the sort of man to allow his anger to overwhelm his actions, nor am I the sort of person to seek revenge for crimes committed against me, but I couldn’t get past the simple fact that this man’s actions had ruined my day. So I glanced around, wandered over to the man’s bike and nonchalantly let down both of his tyres before continuing on my merry way with a mischievous grin on my face.

Now, I’d like it to be known in the telling of this story that I’m not advocating people allow their anger to control their actions. What I did that day was wrong. It was irresponsible, immature, downright childish and just a wee bit naughty.

But boy, was it satisfying! :p

 


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Day 09: Two smileys that describe my life right now

The penultimate day of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge is the hardest so far:
two smileys that describe your life right now!

-1-

Emote___Smiley_by_Sinister_Starfeesh

This first smiley was chosen by Meadhbh as she believes it’s a perfect representation of her and me. I’m the big yellow one having his anxieties and stress soothed by her, the small green one.

-2-

Angry_Mob_by_Sinister_Starfeesh

Whereas the second smiley I’ve chosen is a representation of my current battle with flashbacks and demons from the past; all of whom relentlessly pursue me on a daily basis.


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Day 08: Three turn ons

After yesterday’s turn offs, the eighth day in the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for three turn ons.

dungarees

3. Dungarees

1. Being your authentic self

Over the years I’ve met many people who feel compelled to portray themselves as something they are not. They indulge in numerous mind games, lay claim to passions they do not have and pretend they are someone else entirely, all to gain acceptance from others. But what these people have yet to figure out is that there is nothing more beautiful than allowing your authentic self to shine; inclusive of any faults, flaws and idiosyncracies.

2. The Scottish Accent

Forget your Italian, Irish, Spanish or Flemish, there is no accent in the world more intoxicating, more powerful, more loin stirring than the Scottish accent.

3. Dungarees

I’ve never been able to work out why or when my fascination with dungarees began, but for as long as I can remember I’ve held the humble denim dungaree (or overall) in the highest possible regard. So much so that when I toured across Canada in 2000 I kept a count of every dungaree I saw in the back of my journal. After three months it was into the triple figures, making it unequivocably the dungaree capital of the world!


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Day 07: Four turn offs

The seventh day of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for four turn offs.

selfish

1. Selfishness

There is nothing more annoying to me than a selfish individual. No one person on the planet is more important than any other, so people who act as if they are the soul and centre of the universe turn me off faster than you can hit standby on a television remote.

2. Unfaithfulness

Having been in relationships with two individuals who thought it was okay to cheat on me, I can vouch for how painful and destructive this kind of betrayal can be. Never again will I allow myself to be treated in this manner.

3. Non-existent pubic hair

I understand that there may be some hygienic value in shaving one’s pubic hair, but my personal preference is to sleep with someone who looks like an adult, not a pre-pubescent school-girl.

4. Lingerie

I’ve never been a huge fan of lingerie. Although I can understand the appeal of large volumes of naked flesh, I’ve always been far more attracted to the sexiness of a clothed woman, which is why I’m probably more drawn to classic Hollywood than I am the starlets of today. There’s just something intrinsically glorious about having to peel and reveal layers of clothing instead of having it just sitting in front of you. Which is probably why I hold flannelette PJs in such high regard.


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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?