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 08: Love, lust and lots of kisses

It’s been so long since my last kiss I don’t remember how to do it any more. But as my abuser (always the most trustworthy of sources) described my kisses as “atrocious”, “sloppy”, “cringe-worthy” and “worst ever”, perhaps my lack of lips to lock is for the best.

Today, for your amusement, and in no particular order, I present eight of my more memorable kisses.

kiss

“Unless you were born on another planet, have a bizarre hatred of Spider-Man and/or suffer from an allergy to water, you will have re-enacted this scene.”

1. The last time I kissed someone…

The last kiss I received was on 4 February 2009. It was one of those bitter-sweet, over-flowing with emotions kisses that come when you know it’ll be the last time you see someone. The sort of kiss where you lift the woman into your arms, cradle their posterior as they wrap their legs around you and nearly topple to the ground through lack of oxygen as neither of you want it to end. But, of course, it must. So you tear your lips away and utter a pained ‘goodbye’ before watching them walk out of your life, leaving only memories and vanilla lip-gloss to remember they were ever there in the first place.

2. Homage

Unless you were born on another planet, have a bizarre hatred of Spider-Man and/or suffer from an allergy to water, you will have re-enacted this scene with someone you love. How far you go will depend on how authentic you want the experience to be. Fortunately for me, given I don’t look all that hot in skin-tight spandex, I didn’t have to wear the full costume. I did however have to hang myself upside-down from a wall, in the pouring rain, whilst being blinded by a mask (which she ordered me to wear!)

Sure, I nearly broke my neck, but goddamnit I’d do it all over again for a kiss as spectacular as that! :p

3. What the hell am I doing?

We hadn’t exactly chosen the most romantic of movies for our first ‘date’, so perhaps it was the months of boiling over sexual tension that fuelled Kathy and I’s first kiss minutes after leaving the cinema. On some random Fitzroy street we stopped, stared at each other for a few heartbeats and then, whilst fighting back insane anxiety, I cradled her face, leant forward and kissed her. I was shaking. She mistook my chin for my lips (and she had the gall to say my kisses were ‘sloppy’!) I seized a surreptitious butt squeeze in case I never had the chance again. She nibbled my top lip. Then I lifted her off the ground in one of those ‘what the hell am I doing?’ moments.

Regardless of what Kathy did in the following months, including giving me a complex so severe I doubt I’ll ever kiss ‘confidently’ again, I’ll always cherish this beautiful memory.

4. “You taste like cheese,”

The first time I kissed Samantha was in July 2007. In my post One Night in Adelaide, I described it like this:

Given all that had happened, given all the alcohol flowing through our system, given all those pheromones and chemicals, it wasn’t long before we were lying beside a bush with lips locked firmly together.

Courtesy of her orange flavored lip gloss, the ice-cold air and the vodka she’d been consuming all night; kissing her was like taking a long, slow drink of a perfectly brewed alcoholic beverage. As she pulled back, her eyes lingering in the empty space between us, she whispered “Cheese,” and returned for more.

It was me who came up for air next, cradling her head with my left hand. “Cheese?”

“You taste like cheese,”

“I haven’t eaten cheese for days,”

I went to kiss her again, only to have her pull away with a sudden, drunken laugh. “Fuck, why do you taste like cheese?”

Given I still can’t explain why I tasted like cheese – though I suspect alcohol played a part – it’s a good thing Samantha didn’t have a lactose intolerance. We remained in that state of perpetual kissing for a good half an hour until neither of us was feeling the cold around us.

kissing

“On some random Fitzroy street we stopped, stared at each other for a few heartbeats and, whilst fighting back insane anxiety, I cradled her face, leant forward and kissed her.”

5. “You taste like hash browns,”

The last time I kissed Samantha was in April 2008…but I won’t tell you about it just yet for I’m writing a post about that day and don’t want to spoil the surprises :p

Rest assured, hash browns were indeed involved! But what did we do with them? And do you really want to know? :p

6. German lessons

Normally I’m an exceedingly dutiful employee. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even consider bending the rules or using a position of authority for such illicit gains, but when presented with a woman as beguiling as Annalisa, even the most straight-laced of managers can find themselves doing things they would later never regret.

Six days after arriving in Alice Springs during a period of hypomania, I was, of course, feeling hypersexual. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the rather hot German backpacker Annalisa caught my eye. After hours of flirtatious conversation washed down with copious amounts of the amber liquid, she and I found myself in the only place I had to be private at two in the morning; my office.

Cue hours of exceedingly naughty kissing that would make the current manager want to scrub their office down with hospital grade disinfectant!

7. That’ll show ’em!

Louise and I shared so many incredible kisses that picking out one or two from the tens of thousands we shared is almost impossible. ‘Firsts’  aside (first kiss, first kiss in Australia, first kiss in the shower, first kiss in public, first kiss used to dislodge a rogue piece of spinach etc…) one of the most memorable occurred in early 2001, not long after we met.

I was filming a short film as part of my college course when Louise came wandering to the set to have a peak around. After greeting her with a bashful peck of the lips my cameraman (and fellow film student) urged us to kiss with a little more ‘oomph’. Given we were still in the early days of our relationship I was somewhat nervous when it came to PDAs so hesitated; knowing full well this kiss would be recorded for all eternity and no doubt played for my entire class several (dozen) times.

Louise, however, didn’t hesitate. She grabbed my shirt and yanked me forward, immediately planting a kiss that wouldn’t have looked out-of-place in an R rated movie. Hands were grabbing body parts, teeth were biting lips (and necks), blood was flowing to various body parts and if it lasted a few more milliseconds nudity would have been involved!

Minutes after sending me into a tizzy and steaming up the lens of the camera, Louise broke away from the kiss with a naughty grin, turned to the cameraman, and said “did you get all that, or do we need to go again?”

We did go again, only this time we waited until I returned home several hours later. For obvious reasons! :p

8. The first time I kissed someone…

My first kiss occurred on the 30 December 2000. In a Sunday Stealing post, I described it like this:

I was twenty-two (yeah, I know…it’s all part of the perils of being socially anxious!)

Whilst studying at Inverness College I decided to visit the island of Berneray (in the Outer Hebrides) for a quiet, uneventful New Year. On my first night there a woman named Louise appeared out of the darkness and I was immediately enchanted by her hypnotic eyes, heart-warming smile and excellent posterior.

After a fair amount of flirting throughout the first twenty-four hours we found a drinking game stashed away on the hostel bookshelf and began playing. Somewhat tipsy we took a break and I went outside for a cigarette (at the time I was smoking cherry menthol rolling tobacco with liquorice papers) and she stood there staring at me with a cheeky grin on her face.

“Could I kiss you?” She said, awaiting a response.

Nervous to the extreme – but desperately wanting to lock lips  – I nodded yes and she took a few steps closer, tossed the cigarette to the ground and threw herself upon me as if suddenly possessed by a voracious kissing demon. After a few uncertain moments she pulled back and looked at me, completely aware my entire body was shaking uncontrollably.

“You’re shaking,” She whispered, rubbing my arms.

“Sorry, it’s…I…well…I’ve never…kissed anyone…before,”

She smiled sweetly and started kissing me again, much more slowly, not caring one bit that I was doing my best vibrator impersonation.

kisses

“As she pulled back, her eyes lingering in the empty space between us, she whispered “Cheese,” and returned for more.”


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Day 07: Cheating on someone is deeper than you think

Cheating-on-someone

Life Lesson #34: If you’re going to make an internet meme, remember to spellcheck!

This is a rather personal topic for me as two out of the three serious girlfriends I’ve had cheated on me.

The second person who cheated on me decided to sleep with someone on Christmas Day while I was busy cooking us dinner. When they returned home they expected me to cheer them up as they felt they’d been ‘used’ by this person. Suffice to say, given I’m way too nice (and was bound by the expectations of my abusive relationship that dictated if I didn’t focus entirely on her, chaos would ensue) I spent the evening trying to make my girlfriend feel better whilst bottling up my anger, hurt and pain. Every Christmas since has been affected by bad memories of this betrayal and is one of the many reasons that I hate the holiday period so much.

However, this pain pales in comparison to that inflicted on me by the first person who cheated on me.

After nearly eighteen months of living together she decided to travel to Europe. As I couldn’t afford to go with her and (for unknown reasons) she was unable to wait for me, I had to move back in with my parents. So for three months I was bombarded with bad memories of my teenage years whilst she gallivanted around Europe; all the while expecting me to book accommodation, send care-packages ‘poste restante’ and research her destinations online.

After a brief return to the UK she left almost immediately for Australia. For several further months I lived in my parents house until (a) my confidence had been reduced to that of my thirteen year old self and (b) I could afford the expense of emigrating to the other side of the world.

Flash-forward three years – three years of intense stress over multiple residency applications, debt, building a life on the other side of the world, trying to deal with being so far from home and constantly being made to feel like a bastard for suspecting she had been sleeping with her ex-boyfriend – and she sits me down and informs me that, shortly after she’d arrived back in Australia, she’d begun a relationship with her ex-boyfriend and had been sleeping with him after all. In fact the relationship had continued for many, many, many months after I had moved to Australia for her.

To say I felt betrayed was an understatement. To say I felt hurt doesn’t even come close. I had sacrificed my family, friends, country of birth and home to move to the other side of the world where the only person I knew was her; all because I loved her and genuinely wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. My girlfriend however, had not been sure. So instead of having a conversation with me, she allowed me to make these drastic changes to my life whilst continually seeing, sleeping with and maintaining a relationship with her previous boyfriend.

Ultimately it wasn’t the affair that caused the end of our relationship, there were other issues bubbling beneath the surface that this revelation set free, but it sent my mind spiralling back into depression and it’s safe to say that the years of lies and betrayal were a major trigger toward my suicide attempt in 2006.

Both of these affairs – in combination with the abuse I received – have rendered me incapable of being in a relationship. I no longer trust anyone (not just women) and the impact to my self-confidence/self-belief these betrayals caused were immense, to the point that I cannot imagine opening up to anyone, ever again. Why would I when all it will bring is such pain, heartache and agony?

I can understand reasons for cheating on someone.

I can accept that in certain circumstances it can bring positives to a relationship.

But personally, based on the damage cheating has wrought on my life, it’s not something I would ever do.


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Day 06: The people I like and why I like them…

ilikeyou

I’ve spent four effing days trying to write this blog post! Three effing days of increasing anxiety over (shock horror) admitting that I actually like people! Is that really something I should be so ashamed of? Something I should chastise myself for? Hate myself for? I’m a human being FFS. In fact, regardless of what my voices, abuse trauma and annoying anxiety inform me, I’m a pretty freaking awesome human being!

I’m intelligent, passionate, creative, talented, generous, compassionate. (or so I like to think :p)

I’m a little weird-looking, sure, but ultimately I’m kinda cute. (I wouldn’t dare say hot! :p)

So what if I suffer from mental illness(es) and have a history of homelessness? These just make me a uniquely complex individual and are nothing I should be ashamed of. They’re certainly not things that deserve life-long isolation.

Yet when it comes to admit to the wider world that I meet people and think ‘yeah, you’re  pretty darn awesome, wanna grab a drink sometime?’ I feel as if I’ve just committed the ultimate sin. Contemplating that people like Addy Lake? Are they insane? How could they possibly like such an imbecile? Must be some sort of trap…!

Cue self-sabotage, self-hate and all sorts of things beginning with the ‘self’ prefix!

(Exasperated sigh)

Three days of writing the same explanation about how I can’t admit to who I like in case they read the blog, recognise themselves and formulate a plan of revenge for having me dare to think they’re awesome, interesting, gorgeous, fantabulous human beings I wouldn’t mind getting to know. Three days of wallowing in socially isolated I don’t deserve company bullshit. Three days of frustration that result in this somewhat out-of-character rant!

So, in rebellion of every pore of my being…mainly because I’m exhausted and sick of thinking that the world will collapse if I dare to admit I like people…without revealing who they are, here’s why I like who I like, platonic or otherwise ;)

(deep breath)

There’s someone who works in a local business that I personally think is gorgeous. Even though I’ve barely spoken to them, what little information I’ve gleaned makes me realise how cool they are, especially as they seem to have a bit of a geeky side. Yet I can’t say two goddamn words to them in fear of instigating the apocalypse!

I met someone recently whom I actually sustained a short conversation with. Their sense of humour is kick-ass, they had a great vibe and appear to be  immensely talented. Yet I can’t even message them online let alone imagine a real-life encounter!

I’ve known this person for quite a while and have liked them from day one. Never ‘like’ liked them, but liked them as a truly inspirational, awesome, platonic friend. Yet I can’t communicate with them in any way, shape or form because I was and am an ass.

There’s someone I talk to from time to time who makes me smile and laugh more than most can manage. They’re a beautiful and brilliant person that I think I could become good friends with. Yet, as always, I freak out when it comes to talking to them incase they realise how moronic I am…and in so doing fulfil my self-fulfilling prophecy of life-long isolation.

Finally, there’s someone I met very recently who appears to be pretty awesome and I’d love to get to know them as a friend. Yet…all of the above yets!

(exhale)

Now, after six odd years of being without social contact, how exactly do I re-teach myself how to communicate with people when communicating with people brings on anxiety and panic attacks?

On a related note, aren’t you glad you’re not me! :p

~|~

Ideas? Tips? Advice?
Seriously. Any helpful hints you awesome, inspirational people have on how to communicate with people would be appreciated.


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Day 05: Five things that irritate me about (some) men and women

~ This is a ‘leaving the toilet seat up’ free zone. Seriously, it takes like two seconds! ~

Yeah, I know, I’m a few days late. What with counselling sessions discussing my cacophony of voices, actual conversastions with my cacophony of voice, a rather anxiety infused Munch (I’ll get to that in another post) and three dream laden nights leading to a lack of sleep, I’ve been somewhat busy! :p

But here, better late than never, is day five in the 30 Day Blog Challenge…

Five things that irritate me about (some) women

Audrey Hepburn

(in no particular order)

1. Selective hypocrisy

A quote from The Punch:

“Imagine this new TV advertisement: A gorgeous, shapely young woman is mowing the lawn in the golden summer sunshine. She’s admired by some eager young men who roll a can of Diet Coke down the hill towards her. She stops mowing, and starts drinking the fizzy soft drink.

She gets some of it on her t-shirt so she removes it, revealing a toned midrift and huge rack enclosed in a sexy red bra. She keeps mowing with her top off in soft-focus slow-motion, closely watched by the guys. The soundtrack, of course, is Etta James’ “I just want to make love to you”.

I’ll bet there would be a huge outcry if any soft drink maker dared to make an ad like that these days.

So why does no one care when this exact ad is made starring a muscle-clad man and his tanned, six-pack torso being admired by a gaggle of perving women?”

Couldn’t agree more.

If this advert had been made as hypothesized above it would have been headline news. Dozens of articles would have been published attacking the blatant sexism and misogyny within the advertising sector, calls would be made to have the advert banned for all eternity and women would be (rightly) up in arms over the continual objectification and sexualisation in society.

But hey, it’s a group of women perving on a naked man, so that’s perfectly acceptable.

Nothing hypocritical about this in any way, shape or form.

2. Women who don’t listen to what the men in their lives are saying

Quite often you hear complaints concerning how men don’t listen to what the women in their lives are saying – but you do realize that it happens the other way around as well, don’t you?

And it’s really bloody irritating!

3. The 21st century fad for grown women to make themselves look like pre-pubescent school girls

Why are so many women buying into the ‘no pubic hair=beautiful’ bollocks? For the love of everything and anything you believe in, let the garden’s grow. Pubic hair is awesome. It’s gorgeous. It’s beautiful. Even those little rogue hairs that have decided to venture out to your naval are spectacular :p

I know a woman’s body is her own and she can do with it whatever she pleases, it just irritates me that so much beauty is being tossed into the garbage affixed to sticky wax strips.

4. Women who list ‘has a mental health problem’ as a dealbreaker.

Would you turn down Kurt Cobain? Stephen Fry? Russell Brand? Johnny Depp?

Thought not.

So find a way to move past your prejudices and stop being such a discriminatory ass!

5. There’s nothing less sexy/attractive/beautiful than a man who cries.

Okay, you do realize the blatantly obvious, don’t you? Or do you think you’re sexy/attractive/beautiful when you’re bawling your eyes out? Because let me break it to you gently…you’re not!

Crying is an emotional response, quite often one you can’t control. And there is nothing wrong with a man showing his emotions – in fact it should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Unless he’s crying over the end of Monsters Inc., because that’s just a bit weird ;)

Five things that irritate me about (some) men

johnny-depp

(in no particular order)

1. Manscaping

You’re a man. You’re supposed to have body hair. Stop eliminating it and start embracing it!

2. Being in possession of a vagina does not make someone incapable of stringing sentences together.

There is nothing more irritating than a man who refuses to read books written by female authors.

If you think these men don’t exist, you’re wrong. Back in the mid-2000s I recommended a book by author A.L Kennedy to a male friend. By the time he was mid-way through the book his comments were “loving it” and “what a brilliant writer this guy is”. When I corrected his use of gender he immediately stopped reading the book and was annoyed I’d ‘entrapped’ him into reading such ‘female-centric’ garbage.

Seriously.

Get over your pathetic misogyny and start realizing how magnificent the work of female writers can be.

Why not start with: Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Isobelle Carmody, Helen Garner, A.L Kennedy, Nicola Barker, Ali Smith, Toni Morrison, Ursula K. Le Guin, Susan Cooper, Margaret Atwood, Mary Shelley, Zadie Smith, Leigh Redhead, Robin Bowles, Diana Wynne Jones, Arundhati Roy, Maya Angelou, Angela Carter, Jeanette Winterson or Marisha Pessl – to name but twenty-three off the top of my head!

3. Admitting your mistakes doesn’t make you less of a man – it makes you more of a man.

You’re not a God who has decided to take a vacation on this most random of planets. You’re a human being. And as a human being you make mistakes. You do things wrong. You fuck up. Frequently!

So be a goddamn man and admit to them – apologise for them – and learn from them.

It’s not that difficult.

4. Men who list ‘has a mental health problem’ as a dealbreaker.

Would you say no to Audrey Hepburn? Sarah McLachlan? Catherine Zeta Jones? Angelina Jolie?

Thought not.

So find a way to move past your prejudices and stop being such a discriminatory ass!

5. Misogyny

Seriously, invent a time machine and travel back to the dark ages where you belong. Oh, I forgot, you’re too busy blaming women for all the problems in your life to do anything that even remotely resembles hard work!

So I guess we’re stuck with you until someone (most likely a woman) invents such a machine.

Is there anything about either gender that really gets on your goat?
Feel free to vent/moan/whinge in the comments field below :)

Next: The person I like and why I like them


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Day 04: What I wear to bed…

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting a couple of ‘dodgy’ questions at some point during this challenge.

But what do I wear to bed?

Seriously?

Exactly how am I supposed to turn this question into an interesting and insightful blog post?

I can’t.

So I’ll just say I wear pyjama bottoms and a T-shirt and then try to distract you all from the lack of substance with a photograph of a corgi in a onesie :p

corgi_pyjamas

Awwwwww…cute :p

Tomorrow: Five things that irritate me about the opposite/same sex


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Day 03: What kind of person are you attracted to?

celebrity crushes_1-tileIn all honesty, I’ve always disliked questions like this; purely because there is no one type of person that I’m attracted to.

Casting a cursory glance over some of the celebrities I crush on (Karen Gillan, Vanessa Hudgens, Helen Mirren, Anjli Mohindra, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Lenora Crichlow) reveals a range of ages, colours and nationalities. Even comparing the women I’ve been in relationships with – and those whom I could have been in relationships with – reveal very few physical similarities.

In fact, the only thing they all have in common, is the only thing that attracts me to someone; their ‘energy’.

So however ‘new age’ that answer may sound, and however much it may make everyone groan, it’s really the only one I have.

When I first met Louise on that windswept Hebridean Island, I loved that she was shamelessly wearing every item of clothing she possessed to combat a cold she wasn’t used to. Many would have been too embarrassed or insecure to do such a thing, but not her. I loved that, hours after having met, upon hearing me sigh ‘fuck me’ under my breath (as an expression of exhaustion and my desire to retire to bed) she responded with a whispered ‘yes, please’; completely (and naughtily) aware I would hear her.

It was a similar confident, self-assured intelligence that drew me toward Kathy, Diane, Annie and Rachel. All are/were woman who knew exactly who they were and steadfastly defended their opinions and beliefs.

For example, Samantha, unlike me, had pushed past the insecurities of her sexual proclivity and embraced it. She didn’t care about what other people thought, whether they considered her ‘evil’, ‘repulsive’ or ‘an enemy to feminists’. She cared only about being true to herself and the desires that burned within her.

So if you came here hoping I would be waxing lyrical over my love of a woman’s eyes, writing reams of text describing my passion for the female posterior or concocting some fantasized wish list for my ‘perfect’ (i.e. doesn’t exist) woman, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

The simple truth is, all the women I’ve been attracted to – be it on a platonic or sexual level – have all been strong, intelligent, driven human beings. Women who refuse to be bound by the sexist demands of society and are not afraid to fight for all they believe in. The sort of women that men’s rights extremists (MREs) seem to be so afraid of.

 

Tomorrow: What I wear to bed?
(where we’ll find out if I can turn such a simple question into an interesting and insightful post!)


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Day 02: How have I changed in the past two years?

change

Where I was in early 2011…

“In spite of the pride I was taking in my writing, the ‘life’ I was living was continuing to destroy my mental health. I missed conversations with friends, trivia quizzes and pub nights. I missed walking the streets lost in conversation and being needed and wanted by people who cared.

All I had were the power games, endless bitching, stolen food, sudden explosions of violence, constant verbal abuse and continual drug and alcohol problems that plague all boarding houses. After the events and assaults of 2010, I kept completely to myself but, as I expected, I began to lose control. My hallucinations returned in force and my screaming fits in the night started up again (as pointed out by fellow housemates.)

Eventually, these issues overpowered me, and I was once again sent hurtling into the abyss of inaction and unstable mental ill-health. As my moods cycled rapidly, and with no support from anyone, I began blacking out again. Entire days and weeks lost to the darkness of my mind until, one day, I found myself back on the streets.

Unable to deal with the city I lived for a time in a park close to the boarding house, before tiring of this area and returning to the park that had served me well during my nights in the motel in the year before.

For weeks I lived up and down the Merri Creek corridor, visiting the city only rarely (once a week mainly) to stock up on food van sandwiches and bread to feed me throughout the week. My days were spent reading newspapers, scribbling artwork (around this time I took to using my skin as a canvas with a red pen to try to curtail the increasing self-harm) and talking to rogue possums and the occasional pigeon.

With the amount of rejection I had received from mental health and homeless services over the years I was adamant I would never return to them. I was tired of rejection. I was tired of being spoken down to. I was tired of being treated as a statistic; a meaningless non-entity who didn’t deserve to be alive.”

From ‘Reflections on Being Homeless, Part 6’ (written June 2012)

Where I am now…

The most obvious change that has occurred in the last two years is that I am no longer homeless. In a few weeks I’ll celebrate the one year anniversary of finding a place to live after years on the street.

Although I still feel disconnected from this ‘home’, I am eternally grateful I was able to muster the strength to keep fighting through those long, painful nights, for I know without this unit I would most likely be dead.

Another major change has been my return to the blogosphere. After ‘ending’ the blog in late 2009 I’d not expected to return. Even though my blogging is sporadic at best (both in terms of quality and frequency of posting) having it back in my life means the world to me.

This blog has also connected me to other wonderful bloggers, all of whom have become friends, whom I hope will understand my silence over the last several weeks as being a product of my illness and not my dislike of them; for they are all awesome people whom I think of often.

The third major change is the effort I’ve been making to reconnect to society after being ostracized from it for so long. The groups I began late last year have recently recommenced, and in addition to pool and scrabble, I have taken on an additional two groups in order to keep working toward a better version of myself.

On Mondays I partake in an “Acting” group, which is less about showing the world my kick-ass Macbeth or Ugly Sister performances and more about connecting with one’s voice in order to increase one’s self-confidence and abilities. I have only attended one group so far this term, so will update you as I go.

Whilst, on Fridays, I will be attending a Hearing Voices Support Group. By the time you read this I’ll have (hopefully) gone to my first session, but as this post is being written in advance and scheduled, I haven’t gone yet, so will update you on this a little later :p

The ongoing hope of these groups is to build my confidence, make some social connections (possibly some friends?) and begin to combat the destructive negative self-opinion my abuser created all those years ago.

As for more internal changes, this is where I become frustrated. Despite my efforts, my mental health has remained on par with 2011 and (in some respects) has worsened.

My hallucinations are more frequent and volatile, my mood swings are becoming increasingly more difficult to deal with (hence my recent return to alcohol), my social anxiety and isolation are also more severe than they were and, due to the shocking psychiatrists I have seen, any hope of support from the mental health community has been destroyed by my complete lack of faith in the system.

So although several advancements have been made – especially in where I live and my efforts to become socially included – the continuing disintegration of my mental health is what’s preventing noticeable change from occurring.

However, I’ve known for a long time I’m always far too hard on myself…so instead of punishing myself for not working hard enough, perhaps I should – for once – pat myself on the bum for the tremendous effort I have made over the last two years!

After all, two years ago I genuinely believed I didn’t deserve to be alive.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Tomorrow: What kind of person are you attracted to?