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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100 Questions, 100 Answers

This meme has been doing the rounds lately. I’ve seen it pop up on Marci, Mental Health & More, Blahpolar Diaries and Madness, Sparkle & Creative Flair. As I enjoy these questionnaires, mainly because they allow people to get to know me a little better, I thought I would join the party and undertake the task of answering all one hundred questions. So strap yourselves in for an epic task, and don’t forget to enjoy yourselves along the way! :)

100

1.How are you, really?

Feeling pretty flat, depressed and uninspired at the moment, if truth be told. I didn’t get much sleep last night and I can’t decide what to do today.

2. What are you thinking about?

What am I going to do once this questionnaire is over. Do I walk down the street? Do I cook a grilled cheese sandwich? Do I do something naughty?

3.What’s your favourite colour?

Purple. And red. I like purple and red.

4. What’s your favourite food?

Jacket potatoes with cheese and butter. Unbelievably scrumptious and only a little bad for you.

5. What’s your favourite dessert?

I don’t really do desserts, but if you had to twist my arm, perhaps a slice of chocolate cake or two.

6. How old are you?

Physically I’m 36 years old. Emotionally, due to trauma, I’m 28. Mentally, due to homelessness, I’m 76. It’s all manner of confusing, I know!

7. What have you learned today?

That sleep is beautiful.

8. What was your favourite subject in school?

Media studies. By far the most fun I had during my school experience.

9. What do you do?

I’m an unemployed, disability pension receiver. So I don’t really do anything, unfortunately.

10. What are some of your favourite books?

Memory and Dream, The Stornoway Way, Thirteen Reasons Why, Northern Lights: A Poet’s Sources and Quest for a Kelpie.

11. What are some of your favourite movies?

Fight Club, Local Hero, Say Anything, any of the exquisite Studio Ghibli films; especially My Neighbor Totoro and The Descent.

12. What kind of music are you into?

I have a very eclectic musical taste. I like everything from Taylor Swift to Nick Cave to Musical Theater. But I’m particularly fond of the folk, folk/rock, blues and roots genres. Things like Serena Ryder, Josh Ritter, Runrig, Wolfstone, Nick Cave and Hawksley Workman.

13. If you were going to write a book, what would you call it and what would it be about?

My autobiography, which I’ve started working on, is tentatively titled: All that I am, all that I ever was. My first fiction book, which has been written but has become lost, was titled The Ghosts that Haunt Me. It will be rewritten one day!

14. What’s one of the scariest things you’ve ever done?

Get on a plane to fly from the UK to Australia. I hate flying. Truly and utterly hate it. So a twenty-four hour flight was a huge challenge for me!

15. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My blog; it takes tremendous courage to write so openly and honestly, and I’ve always been proud that I was able to find such courage.

16. Are you married?

Alas, I am not. I would love to be. But I’m not.

17. How did you meet your spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend?

Alas, I am currently single. I would love to not be. But I am.

18. Do you think it’s better to get married when you’re young or better to wait a while?

I really don’t think it makes all that much difference. As the answer to my age question above revealed, age is all relative anyway. If you get married when you’re young, all power to you. If it doesn’t happen until you’re 50 or 60, all power to you as well. It really doesn’t matter.

19. Do you have any kids?

Alas, I do not. I would love to. But I don’t.

20. Have you ever thought of adopting?

Actually, I have. I had a conversation with my support worker about this very topic not too long ago. But because I’m a single male, living on the disability pension in a one bedroomed unit, we decided I wouldn’t have much chance of being successful. Despite the fact I would be a loving father.

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(21) Or a centaur.

21. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Happy. But seriously, I always wanted to be a writer. Or a centaur.

22. How did you get into your profession?

I’m not in a profession, or were you not paying attention when you asked me what I did for a living?

23. Would you recommend your profession to other people? Why / Why not?

Like I said, I’m not in a profession. But I wouldn’t recommend being on the disability pension, it’s a pretty uninspiring and mediocre life.

24. What do you do for fun?

I write. I read. I watch movies and television in epic binge sessions. I dream about dancing. I walk. I cycle. And I do naughty things with myself! ;)

25. Do you like traveling?

I used to love traveling. In fact, I spent the better part of 1999/2000 backpacking around Scotland and Canada. Although I would love to travel again, I don’t think I could do the whole backpacking thing again. I like my privacy too much to deal with smelly dorm rooms and snoring behemoths.

26. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?

Antarctica. Or Canada. Or Scotland. I miss Scotland something terrible.

27. Who are some people you’d like to meet someday?

Charles de Lint. Serena Ryder. Tony Abbott (so I can flying bitch slap him!) And a beautiful redhead with a cute posterior who accepts (and loves) me for who I am.

28. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?

If someone can’t handle you at your worst, they don’t deserve to see you at your best.

29. What’s one of your favourite habits you have?

I enjoy smoking, sometimes, although this enjoyment has been on the wane lately. I also enjoy the fact I bite the skin around my nails, even though that sounds pretty disgusting! Oh, and there’s the fact I go on dates with my voices, that’s a habit that I love!

30. What are some things that make you really happy?

Good movies. Inspiring books. Dancing in the rain. Vegemite on toast. Broccoli. The female posterior. And spanking. Spanking makes me happy! :p

31. What are some things that make you really sad?

Bad movies. Uninspiring books. Dancing in the sunshine. Marmite on toast. Onions. My posterior. And self-spanking. Self-spanking makes me sad! :p

32. What are some things that scare you?

Heights, flying, spiders, people, social situations and women. Women scare me more than anything else.

33. Do you like to plan things out in detail or be spontaneous?

I like to plan things out in detail. I’m not a very spontaneous person. I like to know what’s going on and why things are happening. It’s an anxiety thing!

34. Are you a religious person?

I’m not.

35. If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?

Audrey Hepburn, the Beaumont Children (so I could find out what happened to them) and Vincent Van Gogh.

36. Would you rather live in the country or in the city?

The city; so much more to occupy my cultural and artistic craving mind.

37. What was your life like growing up?

Adolescence was pretty normal. But with my sister’s mental health issues coming to the fore, my teenage years were pretty rough.

38. What were you like in high school?

Quiet. Shy. Introverted. Unpopular. Bullied. They weren’t happy times.

39. Do you have any brothers or sisters? How many?

One brother, older; one sister, younger.

40. What’s your favourite part about today so far?

Nothing exciting has happened today so far. So probably deciding to answer these questions, such is the banality of my life!

audrey hepburn

(35) Audrey Hepburn

41. Who in your life has influenced you the most? How did they do it?

Samantha; she taught me to accept a part of me I had always been afraid of. And Grace; who helped me accept myself for who I am.

42. What’s your favourite joke?

I don’t really do jokes. I’m not that way inclined.

43. Have you ever tried sushi? (Did you like it?)

I’ve never tried it. And I never will.

44. Do you like spicy food?

I’m a simple man with simple tastes. And those tastes don’t include spicy food.

45. How do you like your steak cooked?

I hate steak. I find it abhorrent and disgusting.

46. Do you have a favourite number? Any particular reason why you like that number?

6. I like things happening in sixes. It’s weird, I’ll grant you, but it’s just the way I am.

47. If you were a type of animal, what would you be and why?

I would be a wombat. Cuddly, cute and built like a small tank.

48. What’s one of the strangest things you’ve ever done?

I once screamed out “Kittyfantasticobeaver!” at the top of my voice in a tourism shop in Jasper, Canada. Don’t ask why, it’s too weird!

49. What kind of vacations do you like?

Quiet, inspiring and adventurous. I like hiking and exploring the natural world. I like investigating museums and art galleries. I’m not really the sort of person to spend a fortnight sunbaking on a beach or getting ratarsed in nightclubs; neither of these things hold the slightest interest for me.

50. What are some of your major goals in life?

Recovery from my mental illnesses. To write a book. To have this book published. To get married to a wonderful women and have two beautiful children; although this will most likely never happen, but I still hold onto the dream that one day it will!

51. What are some of your smaller goals in life?

To begin going to the gym on a regular basis. To eat healthier food. To quit smoking. And live through each day.

52. What do you like least about yourself?

How much time do you have? I hate my body, I hate my mind, I hate my emotions, I hate my mental illnesses, I hate pretty much everything about myself.

53. What embarrasses you?

Nothing really. Aside from being in social situations. They always embarrass me as I stress over what people are thinking about me. It’s a social anxiety thing!

54. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

Art gallery curator. I think that would be fun.

55. What’s your earliest memory?

Walking to the library by myself. And I felt so freaking awesome!

56. What’s the best decision you ever made?

To start writing my blog.

57. Who’s your best / closest friend?

Meadhbh; she’s my primary voice and someone who’s been talking to me since I was thirteen. Due to my social isolation, I don’t have any friends in real life, sadly.

58. What do you think people think of you?

I think they think I’m the most selfish, worthless, repulsive piece of human excrement that has ever existed. And I have my abuser to thank for that!

59. What were your grades like in school?

Not bad. Not great. Fairly average really.

60. If you could learn one random skill, what would you learn?

How to dance properly.

introvert

(61) Definitely, and proudly, an introvert.

61. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert. Definitely, and proudly, an introvert.

62. Have you ever taken a personality test? (How did the results turn out?)

Many times. But none of the psychologists/psychiatrists explained the results. Bastards.

63. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Approaching from the front; their eyes. Approaching from the rear; their posterior.

64. Do you think people can control their own destiny?

Yes. We are all in control of our own lives.

65. Do you think all people are equally valuable, or do you think some people in certain situations might be more valuable than others?

Everyone is equally valuable. No human being is worth more than someone else. Doesn’t matter your class, your social standing or how much money you have in the bank. Everyone is equal. Everyone is exactly the same as everyone else. And if you think differently, you’re an idiot.

66. Do you think people are basically bad or basically good?

Basically bad. It’s a social anxiety thing!

67. Do you think morals are universal or relative to the beliefs, traditions, and practices of individuals or groups?

Morals are relative to beliefs, traditions and practices.

68. Do you think God exists?

No.

69. Do you think any kind of afterlife exists?

Yes.

70. Do you vote? Why / Why not? If you do vote, how do you usually vote?

I don’t vote. I’m not allowed to vote in Australia as I’m only a permanent resident, not a citizen, and I’ve become disenfranchised from the UK, so I’m not allowed to vote there either. It’s pretty annoying, as I’d love to be able to vote somewhere!

71. Do you think gay people choose to be gay? Do you think straight people choose to be straight?

Our sexuality is not a choice. Gay people don’t choose to be gay, straight people don’t choose to be straight, BDSM aficionados don’t choose their lifestyle. It is something someone is born with. Something they have no control over. And the more people realise that. The happier people would be.

72. Is torture ever a good option? If no, why not? If yes, when?

No. Torture is never the answer.

73. Would you kill an innocent person if you thought it might mean saving a dozen other people?

I would never kill anyone, regardless of the situation or circumstance.

74. What’s the most money you’ve ever given away?

In one go? A few hundred dollars to charity.

75. What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

Moving to Australia. It is something I deeply regret now, but at the time it made perfect sense.

76. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Moving to Australia. It is something I deeply regret now, but at the time it made perfect sense.

77. What do you think would be one of the best steps we could take toward ending poverty around the world?

No idea. I’m not very good when it comes to political issues or coming up with masterplans to end world poverty or destigmatise mental illness. I just do what little I can to raise awareness of the issues I’m interested in. Whether these little things make a difference isn’t for me to say, but I like to think that they help some people, some times.

78. What do you think we could do to best improve the education system?

Pay teachers a helluva lot better than we do now. We expect them to educate and mold the minds of the next generation but we pay them peanuts. It’s disgraceful.

79. In general, what do you think about art?

I love art. I don’t always understand it. But I love it all the same.

80. What are some of your favorite websites?

WordPress, various personal blogs, The Conversation and several naughty sites about something that makes me happy! :)

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(80) The Conversation

81. What’s the biggest turnoff in a man/woman?

Abusive mentality. Having been in one abusive relationship already, I would never, not even for a million dollars, do it again.

82. What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?

I tend not to tell big lies. Just small white lies.

83. What’s something most people don’t know about you?

That I’m actually a decent, kind, caring and compassionate human being.

84. What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?

That I’m actually a decent, kind, caring and compassionate human being.

85. What are some of the first things you do in the morning?

Groan. Get out of bed. Pee. Make a cup of tea. Smoke. Turn on talk radio. Fire up the computer to check for comments on my blog.

86. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?

Amidst a cavalcade of calamity, including physical assault, rape and homelessness, the worst thing that ever happened to me was being the victim of an emotionally abusive relationship. The damage this caused my life was epic in scale and the ramifications are something I’ve never been able to deal with.

87. Do you cry easily?

I used to. But not any more.

88. How do you feel about public speaking?

I hate it. Although I find it exhilarating at the same time.

89. Do you like to talk on the phone?

No. I hate the phone. I despise the phone. In fact, I rarely, if ever, talk on the phone.

90. How many emails do you get each week, roughly?

Spam emails: dozens. Interesting and enlightening emails: none.

91. If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you hope would play you?

David Tennant.

92. What’s one of your favourite questions to ask new friends or to get a conversation going?

I don’t ask questions. I don’t say very much at all. Hence why I don’t have any friends or have any conversations. It’s a social anxiety thing!

93. Would you ever sky dive or bungee jump?

Hell no!

94. Have you ever been in a fist fight?

I’ve never punched someone, but I’ve had someone beat the crap out of me on several occasions. Having middle class hipsters attack you is part and parcel of homeless life, unfortunately.

95. What’s the best prank you’ve ever pulled?

I don’t pull pranks. I’m not all that good at them. Although I did once convince my sister that Xander was going to get his own spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and she hated me when she discovered this wasn’t going to happen.

96. What did you do on your 16th birthday?

I honestly can’t remember. Although it probably involved going for dinner with my family.

97. What do you think is one of the most undervalued professions right now?

Teaching. And pretty much every emergency service.

98. How would you explain your basic life philosophy?

Life is shit. And then you die.

99. Would you rather be hated or forgotten?

I’ve known what it’s like to be forgotten, and it isn’t pleasant. But I would choose that over being hated.

100. If you knew you would die tomorrow, would you feel cheated today?

No. I would probably feel quite happy about my impending fate. It would mean that the pain would be over.


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Should I stay or should I go?

In April 2014, when this crippling depressive episode started, I was sitting at home watching an episode of Monarch of the Glen. Although not the greatest television series of all time, it is one that means the world to me because of its, and my, connection to Scotland. Alongside Hamish Macbeth, it is one of the television series I return to whenever I’m homesick and eager to bask in the glory of Scotland. On this particular occasion though my homesickness overcame me and I said out loud: “I don’t want to be here any more, I want to be there,” whilst pointing at the glory of the Scottish countryside. It is a moment that has stayed with me because it was the moment that I realised I was no longer happy living in Australia.

Monarch of the Glen

Monarch of the Glen: what I was watching when I realised I was no longer happy living in Australia

I first moved to Australia in 2002 for one reason and one reason only; to be with my then girlfriend, Louise. I sacrificed my home (Scotland), my family, my friends, my education and my country of birth (England) to continue a relationship that had begun in the wilds of the Outer Hebridean winter. For a while, things worked out for me in Australia. My mental health was relatively stable, I had a job that (for a brief period) I loved, and my relationship with Louise was secure and loving. But then came 2006; my relationship with Louise faltered and failed, my mental health collapsed and I became deeply unstable, causing me to lose my job. And then came 2007; the loss of everything I owned, the end of my friendships and a complete breakdown in my psychological functioning. Since then, my “life” in Australia has been meaningless.

Certainly, there was a brief period of time in 2008 when things looked like they might work out, but that was a mirage, a mistake of epic proportions, and ever since my life has paid the price; homelessness, isolation and pain on a level most people couldn’t comprehend.

Although a large part of this has been down to my unstable mental health, an equally large part of it is that I know I’m not happy here anymore. I dislike the town in which I live with a venomous passion; there is nothing to do, nowhere to go and I feel as if it has been slowly sucking my soul dry for the last three years now. The unit which I call “home” is unpleasant, noisy and altogether boring. I dislike living here just as much as I dislike the town in which I live. It too, is a succubus attached to my soul, draining me of any passion, excitement and my ability to live. I have also lost any passion I had toward Australia as a country. I no longer enjoy living here. I no longer feel happy about calling myself an honorary Australian. In fact, I feel more disenfranchised and irrelevant than I have at any other point in my life, for it is hard living somewhere that you have no passion for.

As such, ever since I was discharged from hospital back in February, I have been seriously considering leaving Australia and returning to Scotland. But in doing so I would be risking much. I would lose my benefits. I would lose my home. I would, in essence, be homeless again; and I’m not sure I have the energy to rebuild my life from scratch all over again; which is what I would have to do if I returned to the United Kingdom, my home.

Inverness-2008-0021

Inverness, Scotland: my ‘home’

My desire to leave Australia has been so strong, I even had a discussion with my support worker about it, who agreed that I had little to keep me here. I have no friends. I have no family. I have no connection to the land. In fact, the only reason I’m here is because it’s where I’ve ended up. I didn’t even choose to be living in this town, I just ended up here during a particularly unpleasant period of my homelessness. And its hard living somewhere you don’t love. During this conversation with my support worker we wrote a list of pros and cons of staying/returning:

PROS

  • I would be living close to my family
  • I would get to see my niece & nephew for the first time
  • I would be living in Scotland; a country that I am passionate about
  • I would be able to cross off many items of my ‘things to do before I die’ list, as they are related to Scotland
  • Cheese is infinitely better tasting in the UK
  • Free medication
  • Free health care (albeit on the NHS)
  • Good public transport (albeit a trifle expensive)

CONS

  • Benefits situation is complicated. Although I would qualify for job seekers almost immediately I would have to wait two years before applying for disability. And as I’m not stable enough to work or look for work, this could cause problems and potentially leave me income-less.
  • Living with my parents on initial return to UK could prove troublesome as I am so used to living on my own.
  • If things don’t work out with my parents, I would be at risk of being homeless again.
  • Finding accommodation would be difficult, especially on job seekers allowance (which is approx. £60/fortnight)

So at this point in time, the pros of leaving Australia and returning home are winning. So I should go, right? But it’s not as simple as that, because of the risk I would be taking in terms of benefits and accommodation; two areas of life that are at lease stable if I were to remain in Australia, given I have the unit and am a recipient of the Disability Support Pension.

It all comes down to what I mentioned above; do I have the energy to rebuild my life from scratch?

And that’s a question I can’t answer at the moment.

So I’ve decided to turn to you, my wonderful blogging friends. Would you leave somewhere you have no passion for in order to return to where you felt at home? Would you risk homelessness in order to be close to family and friends? Or would you continue living somewhere you dislike, solely because you are the recipient of a reasonable benefit and have somewhere to live?

What would you do in my situation?


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Getting to know me, getting to know all about me… (IV)

Recently, Marci (over at Marci, Mental Health and More) began a series of 100 questions designed to get to know someone better. As I’ve been blogging so infrequently lately I’ve decided to follow her lead and post my own answers to the questions. This way, people who’ve been following my blog for a while can get to know me a little better whilst newbies to my wonderful world can learn a few random things about me.

| Questions 1 – 26 | Questions 27 – 50 | Questions 51 – 75 |

76. Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?

Anyone who’s ever spent any time with me would know I’m not fashionable. I’m much more at home shopping in op-shops than I am perusing the wares of the latest fashionable high street retailer. Plus, I steadfastly refuse to pay multiple hundreds of dollars for one item of clothing, a scenario that saw my abuser launch into an abusive tirade because I stood by my values and refused to pay $190 for a pair of jeans. So off the top of my head, clothing wise, I really couldn’t care less what came back into fashion because I would refuse to acknowledge it anyway.

The only thing that I wish would come back into fashion would be books. I know the world has gone cray cray for the eReader, but I am still very much old school when it comes to reading. I miss browsing bookstores (so many have closed down because of the eReader craze) and I love (absolutely love) holding a book in my hands, smelling the pungent smell of its musty pages, and turning each page as I delve further into the story. Yes, books need to make a comeback. They are so much more than stale text on a screen.

77. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I am an out-and-out proud introvert, always have been. This was another bone of contention for my abuser, for she couldn’t understand my pride in being an introvert. She saw it as a sign of weakness, as a sign that I was a ‘lesser human being’ and as  a sign that I wasn’t masculine enough. She spent large portions of time trying to turn me into an extrovert (something that was never going to happen) and became enraged when her plan to change me was failing; something she blamed me for, as I wasn’t working hard enough, which led to all manner of abusive tantrums. If only she could have realised there is nothing wrong with being an introvert, that rather than being something to feel shame about, it is something to feel pride about.

78. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?

If I had to pick one, I would say my hearing would be the strongest, but I can’t really decide why. Second to that would be touch, which I’m proud of.

79. Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise)

I mentioned in a previous installment of this epic question challenge that I have never been the recipient of a surprise. I also mentioned in the same installment that I have always wanted a surprise party. Perhaps one day I will have people in my life who cares enough to organise one.

80. Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous?

No. Not that it really matters. Unless I was related to Joss Whedon. In which case, of course it would matter! :p

books

(76) Yes, books need to make a comeback.

81. What do you do to keep fit?

I’m not the fittest person on the planet. My depression often prevents me from exercising as much as I would like. But that’s not to say I don’t do anything. I enjoy walking. I love cycling. And I do enjoy going to the gym as it’s a wonderful release for all sorts of inner turmoil and stress. I just can’t afford a gym membership at the moment.

82. Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?

None that spring instantly to mind.

83. If you were ruler of your own country what would be the first law you would introduce?

Better funding for mental health and homelessness organisations. Because, let’s be honest, the way governments deal with these important and life threatening issues is truly shocking and something (anything) needs to be done to show these people more compassion, decency and create a better quality of life.

84. Who was your favorite teacher in school and why?

Miss MacDonald would be up there as one of my favourite teachers. She was one of my first primary school teachers, and the honored recipient of one of my unsent letters. But then there was Ms Bennett, my high school geography teacher, a kind and wonderful soul with a magnificent body to boot. Boy, did I have a crush on her! :p

85. What three things do you think of the most each day?

i. My abusive relationship – thanks PTSD!
ii. My lack of a ‘life’ – thanks anxiety!
iii. My loneliness – thanks PTSD and anxiety!

86. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

“Conversations with this person may be brutally honest. You have been warned!” or the more simple “Caution: Mood Swings abound!”

87. What song would you say best sums you up?

88. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?

On a purely intellectual level, David Fincher, so I could get some pointers on how to be a stunning film director.

On a purely oh-my-gosh level, Jenna Louise Coleman, so I could do my level best to convince her I’m good boyfriend material.

89. Who was your first crush?

My first crush was a girl named Hannah (name has been changed to protect the innocent) when I was but eight years old. She was a magnificent human being who made me laugh and feel all sorts of strange stirrings. My overriding memory of Hannah was when we (for some reason) decided to pretend to be wolves and ended up wrestling in a gigantic pile of mud that was a feature of our hometown at the time. It was messy. It was dirty. It was damned fun. But then she moved a couple of hundred miles away so our playtimes ceased and nothing was to come of our burgeoning relationship.

90. What’s the most interesting thing you can see out of your office or kitchen window?

There is literally nothing interesting out of my kitchen window. All there is, is another block of units and a few cars, one of which hasn’t moved in the three years I’ve been living here, and has become encased in a thick layer of dust and grime. It’s pretty disgusting.

91. On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are?

5. I’m not the funniest human being on the planet. Again, I think my depression has a lot to do with this. It’s hard being funny when the weight of the world is baring down on your shoulders every second of the day. I also think my anxiety has a lot to do with this, as it’s hard being funny when you’re too scared to tell a joke in case people laugh at you. Ironic, I know. When I am funny it is often in the realm of self-deprecation, something which annoyed the hell out of my abuser as she didn’t understand the black, bleak, dry comedy that I have mastered over the years. She was more into knock knock jokes and slapstick. You know, simple schtick.

92. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Alas, in much the same place I’m in now. Living in a town I don’t like. Haunted by an abusive relationship. Unable to form relationships and friendships. Alone. Miserable. Trying desperately to rebuild my life but knowing deep down that no matter what I do, it won’t work. Yay me!

jenna-louise-coleman

(88) On a purely oh-my-gosh level, Jenna Louise Coleman

93. What was your first job?

My first job was as a restaurant assistant at a motorway service station. For those not in the UK, a motorway service station is a large building on the side of a motorway that houses toilets, shops, a restaurant, fast food outlets and other entertaining diversions from a lengthy road-trip. The restaurant was overpriced (they always are) and served cardboard food and bitter coffee. But I did my utmost to service this overpriced cardboard food and bitter coffee with a smile on my face. It was a pretty shocking job that didn’t pay very well, but it did allow me to meet Jeremy Irons, who came in for coffee one evening with his family.

94. If you could join any past or current music group which would you want to join?

Runrig; they’re my favourite group for a reason, and that reason is powerful song writing and intoxicating melodies.

95. How many languages do you speak?

One. Possibly two. And I say possibly because I used to be able to speak French, but it’s been so long since I did, I’m not sure I remember any of it. The only way to know for sure would be to strand me in France (or French-speaking Canada) and see what happens.

96. What is your favorite family holiday tradition?

No family holiday traditions for this family, I’m afraid.

97. Who is the most intelligent person you know?

Grace. For those not in know, Grace was a friend of mine before the breakdown and homelessness destroyed my social network. She is also the woman I let down in 2008 that has provided all sorts of grief and guilt in the intervening years. Her intelligence used to both stun and intimidate me, so much so that talking to her was difficult for me at times, as I’ve never considered myself a truly intelligent man so wasn’t on a level pegging with her.

98. If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?

I have to concur with Marci on this one, and say turtle. Turtles have long been one of my favourite animals, so much so that I’ve always wanted a pet turtle (whom I would name Magnus) so we can hide in our shells together. Failing that, a wombat, because they’re ruddy awesome! :)

99. What is one thing you will never do again?

Eat Brussel Sprouts; for they are truly disgusting and borderline inedible.

100. Who knows you the best?

Eight years of being brutally honest on this blog mean that you, my dear readers, know me best. Whether you like it or not! :p


1 Comment

Getting to know me, getting to know all about me… (III)

Recently, Marci (over at Marci, Mental Health and More) began a series of 100 questions designed to get to know someone better. As I’ve been blogging so infrequently lately I’ve decided to follow her lead and post my own answers to the questions. This way, people who’ve been following my blog for a while can get to know me a little better whilst newbies to my wonderful world can learn a few random things about me.

| Questions 1 – 26 | Questions 27 – 50 |

51. Would you rather trade intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?

Looks fade. They are also incredibly subjective. What is beautiful to one person is ugly to another. For example, I personally think Joe Maganiello isn’t that attractive, but I’m sure many people would disagree. So I would vote for intelligence all the time.

52. How often do you buy clothes?

Rarely. Though I should point out that this isn’t by choice. I would love to be able to buy more clothes, as having only two threadbare T-Shirts is somewhat frustrating. However, I am cursed to live off disability benefits, so after the essentials of rent, food and bills there is virtually no money left – even for charity shop clothing.

53. Have you ever had a secret admirer?

Excuse me while I laugh myself silly. I have it on good (or rather, abusive) authority that I am the ugliest most repulsive person that has ever walked the face of the planet. In fact, according to my abuser, looking at me made her want to vomit. So the likelihood of me having a secret admirer is slim to none, mainly the latter.

54. What’s your favorite holiday?

I hate all holidays. I’m not a Scrooge or a miser, just someone who has been forced to protect himself from triggers at all costs, and I find holidays a particularly powerful trigger. They are generally seen to be times of the year that you spend chilling out with friends and family, and having no friends, and with my family on the other side of the world, it is just me. So I tend to try to ‘forget’ holidays as and when they come around, otherwise chaos will ensue.

55. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

I’m not a very daring person. I don’t like rollercoasters, I don’t like extreme sports, people who bungee jump are clearly idiots and those who jump out of planes must have several screws loose. So in answering this question I fear I will make myself look like a boring person. But, reading Shakespearian monologues in public places was pretty daring for a socially anxious person, as was travelling the breadth of Canada with very little money. Some would say walking up to a random woman and slapping her on the backside is a pretty daring thing to do (although others would, rightly, shower me with scorn for partaking in such a misogynistic act!) whilst others would (hopefully) agree with me when I settle on homelessness being the most daring (albeit unintentional) thing I’ve ever done.

56. What was the last thing you recorded on TV?

As I don’t receive television reception, it’s a fairly safe bet to say I don’t record anything on TV, otherwise I would just be recording a blank screen. My television is used exclusively for DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, nothing more.

57. What was the last book you read?

Justice Denied, by Robin Bowles. It is a true crime book concerning the disappearance and murder of a two-year old boy in Australia. Enthralling.

justice denied

(57) Enthralling

58. What’s your favorite type of foreign food?

I am a man of simple tastes, so the food I eat is generally simple and non-adventurous. I don’t have a taste for Chinese, Japanese or other national food stuffs. In fact, the only non-British type food I eat is Thai, and that’s predominantly coconut rice, tofu and vegetables. It may make me look simple, but that’s just how it is.

59. Are you a clean or messy person?

I tend to be a bit of both, depending on my mood. If I’m in the upside of a bipolar cycle I’m immaculate, because I’m cleaning all the time. But if I’m in the low-end of the cycle, I’m beyond messy, as I have neither the motivation or energy to do any cleaning.

60. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

Ahhhh, an excuse to share a link to one of my favourite posts: My life in a movie, in which I ruminate on what a movie of my life would be like. So why not go and read, it’s mightily entertaining. But as for the actual question, I would choose David Tennant to play me. A masterful, brilliant actor of tremendous depth.

david tennant

(60) David Tennant, a masterful, brilliant actor of tremendous depth.

61. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

If it takes me longer than five minutes to get ready there is something seriously wrong with me. Which at times, there is, as depression will often prevent me from getting out of bed, let alone getting myself ready to face the day!

62. What kitchen appliance do you use every day?

Kettle; I’m British, and as such, I like my tea! :)

63. What’s your favorite fast food chain?

The only fast food I will eat is Subway, because I love the Italian Herbs and Cheese bread and the old english cheese. I despise all other fast food outlets and will only eat at them when I am severely depressed and in a vicious ‘self-punishment’ mentality .

64. What’s your favorite family recipe?

Apple crumble; delicious!

65. Do you love or hate rollercoasters?

I hate rollercoasters. My life has too many ups and downs as it is, why would I want any more?

66. What’s your favorite family tradition?

I honestly cannot think of a single tradition my family has. When I was a kid, it always used to be the annual family gathering at Christmas, where food was consumed in vast quantities before merriment was had over board games and quizzes. Good times.

67. What is your favorite childhood memory?

The aforementioned Christmas gatherings would be up there as some of my favourite childhood memories, as would pretending to be wolves and playing in a big pile of mud with my first crush, playing Zelda on the SNES with Meadhbh offering backup, and performing as one of the ugly sisters in a primary school pantomime.

68. What’s your favorite movie?

Fight Club; a masterwork of direction, writing, acting and cinematography. Pure brilliance from beginning to end.

69. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? How did you find out?

I have absolutely no idea. That’s how much Santa used to mean to me! :p

70. Is your glass half full or half empty?

Always half empty. It’s depressing, but then, so is life.

71. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of love?

Emigrated to the other side of the world, sacrificing my family, friends, home and country of birth in the process. All for a woman I would later discover was having an affair and didn’t want me to emigrate in the first place. Fun times.

fight club

(68) Fight Club, pure brilliance from beginning to end.

72. What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?

i. My favourite book, Quest for a Kelpie.
ii. A journal (one with an attached pen to write with).
iii. A swiss army knife.

73. What was your favorite subject in school?

I used to love Media Studies. In fact, it was one of the few subjects I ever used to look forward to. I also used to enjoy English, especially the creative writing and Shakespeare studying aspects of the subject. So why I didn’t do English for A-level is a question only my social anxiety can answer!

74. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

As I said above, I’m a very simple man, with very simple tastes. As such, I am not adventurous when it comes to eating. So I shall say jam.

75. Do you collect anything?

DVDs/Blu-Rays; as I said yesterday, film and television is one of my passions so it stands to reason I indulge in it from time to time. I also have a large collection of miscellaneous kink related paraphernalia that I’m mightily proud of, but I can’t go into that outside of a password protected post! :p


2 Comments

Getting to know me, getting to know all about me… (II)

Recently, Marci (over at Marci, Mental Health and More) began a series of 100 questions designed to get to know someone better. As I’ve been blogging so infrequently lately I’ve decided to follow her lead and post my own answers to the questions. This way, people who’ve been following my blog for a while can get to know me a little better whilst newbies to my wonderful world can learn a few random things about me.

| Questions 1 – 26 |

27. Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?

Given that no-one has ever surprised me in my life, with anything, I can’t say for sure whether I like surprises or not. I like the idea of them, and to have a surprise birthday party has been on my bucket list for years, but I’m not sure how my anxiety would cope with surprise. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to answer definitively either way.

28. In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read?

Out of those four options, I would have to choose watching a movie. I was a fan of television and film long before I began studying the genre through media studies and my film production college course, so watching a movie isn’t just about mindless entertainment, but an educational activity that keeps my brain ticking over as I study everything from cinematography to the director’s choice of music.

29. Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?

I’ve never been a beach bum. I like the beach, I do, but my body image issues prevents me from truly enjoying it. I also hate – and I mean hateswimming in the ocean. And although I wouldn’t mind checking out the various volcanoes and landscapes of Hawaii, I believe I would be much happier amidst the cold and rugged terrain of Alaska.

30. Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?

Yesterday I mentioned my work ethic and how rewarding and fulfilling I find employment, so this question is a no brainer. However nice it would be to have few money worries courtesy of a lottery win, I would be much happier working in my perfect job (which would be in the creative industry, such as writer or film-maker) than loitering around all day feeling the need to conform to champagne drinking stereotypes.

31. Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?

Shay wants me to say Vanessa Hudgens, because she looks spankolicious in a bikini. Meadhbh wants me to say Link, from The Legend of Zelda video game series, but he’s fictional so I don’t think he counts. Personally, if I would be allowed to resurrect someone from the dead, I would choose my once friend Samantha, mainly because we would be able to fill our time nattering away and indulging in glorious mutual passions.

Vanessa Hudgens (2)

(31) Vanessa Hudgens, because she looks spankolicious in a bikini

32. If money was no object, what would you do all day?

Write. But if writer’s block was an issue, I’d think about writing.

33. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

Oooooo, this is a tough question as there are many years and moments I would like to experience. For example, 1966, in order to discover what happened to the Beaumont Children; 2001, in order to discover what happened to Peter Falconio on that dark stretch of highway; 1745, to experience the euphoria and determination of the ’45 uprising. But if I had to pick one year and one year only, I would choose 3000BCE, to witness the construction of the stone circle at Callanish in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

34. How would your friends describe you?

Vanessa is telling me moronic, useless, worthless and a waste of space. But she’s my most abusive voice and will take any and all opportunities to disparage me. Outside of her ‘suggestions’, I don’t really have any friends, so I have no idea how fictional people would describe me. If I had to guess – or rather, if I had to pick how I’d like to be described – it would be: passionate, strong, determined, inspirational and unique. If only.

35. What are your hobbies?

Film and television; writing; blogging; photography; reading; cycling; my kink; and dancing. Though I don’t dance much anymore, unfortunately.

36. What is the best gift you have been given?

A brown leather journal cover with a Celtic knotwork design that my sister gave me when I was a teenager. Twenty years later, I still have it with me, in fact it’s one of the only objects of my past that survived my homeless ordeal.

37. What is the worst gift you have received?

A (quite) hideous cardigan that my aunt and uncle gave me for Christmas one year. It didn’t suit me at all, but I felt obliged to wear it all day so as not to offend them.

Callanish Standing Stones

(33) I would choose 3000BCE, to witness the construction of the stone circle at Callanish

38. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

My computer. It’s my primary coping mechanism and I don’t know what I’d do without it. But, it’s on its last legs, and I fear it will die very soon. So I may be finding out what I’d do without it any day now!

39. List two pet peeves.

People who can’t fathom the difference between your and you’re. And chewing gum. I seriously can’t handle people chewing gum.

40. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Although it pains me to say, I will probably be just as lonely and isolated as I am today. My health will probably have worsened, to the point of total instability and I will no doubt be living somewhere that I hate as I won’t be able to afford to move somewhere that I love. Yep, I’m an optimist! :p

41. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

One. Being reliant on a state pension, which is not that generous an amount of money, I can’t afford to buy shoes unless I sacrifice some food or bill payments. Thus, I will wear the pair I have until they’re pretty much dead. It’s annoying, but it’s the only thing I can reasonably afford to do.

42. If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?

Invisibility; heat vision; X-ray vision and flight. I’d be like Superman, only with the power to turn invisible. Freakin’ awesome!

43. What would you do if you won the lottery?

Firstly I would donate large swathes of money to charitable organisations, primarily those focussing on homelessness, mental health and cancer. Secondly, I would gift large swathes of money to various members of my immediate family so they could share in my good fortune and live happier lives And thirdly, I would purchase a small cottage in Inverness where I would live happily for the rest of my days.

44. What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.)

Ummmm, since when was a car a form of public transport? Okay, I guess a taxi would count, but still. My favourite is the humble train. I love trains. I love travelling on trains. I am happy on trains. So the train it is. For the record, my least favourite is the aeroplane, which is just a hideous way to travel.

45. What’s your favorite zoo animal?

The common wombat. I love wombats. Wombats rock! :D

Wombat

(45) The common wombat. I love wombats. Wombats rock!

46. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?

Oooooo, another tough question. In my life, it would be to go back to when I was teenager (Quantum Leap style) and ask my high school crush out. I believe that had I done this I would not have had the same issues with confidence and anxiety that I have today, so it would have a knock-on effect in changing my mental health and overall quality of life.

If I was changing something not related to me, it would be to stop the invention of the mobile phone – which I believe to be one of the worst inventions of the modern world. Sure, it has benefits in terms of contacting emergency services, but our reliance on mobiles have rendered us contactable 24 hours a day (who needs to be contacted 24 hours a day!?) and turned us into inwardly obsessed borderline narcissists incapable of maintaining any face to face social contact.

47. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

i. Samantha, because I miss her dreadfully and believe her to be one of the most magical and interesting people I’ve met.

ii. Audrey Hepburn, because she’s divine.

iii. Alfred Hitchcock, because he was a film-making genius and I would love to quiz him on all things film-related.

iv. Charles de Lint, because he is so creative and talented, plus his storytelling prowess would enliven the table.

49. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep (and why)?

When I was manic in 2007, I can honestly not remember sleeping for approximately two weeks. I’m sure I must have slept at some point during this time, otherwise death would have ensued, but I don’t recall doing so at all.

50. What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in?

This would be the Rialto Tower in Melbourne, Australia. I hate heights so truly hated being up there, but at least I can say I did it.


3 Comments

Getting to know me, getting to know all about me… (I)

 

Recently, Marci (over at Marci, Mental Health and More) began a series of 100 questions designed to get to know someone better. As I’ve been blogging so infrequently lately I’ve decided to follow her lead and post my own answers to the questions. This way, people who’ve been following my blog for a while can get to know me a little better whilst newbies to my wonderful world can learn a few random things about me.

1. Who is your hero?

My fictional hero is The Doctor, from the magnificent television series that is Doctor Who. Many times when I am faced with a difficult and ultimately challenging decision I will ask myself ‘what would The Doctor do?’ before making my decision. Outside of the realm of fiction, my hero in the real world is a woman who works at the mental health organisation I occasionally frequent. She is a bright star in an otherwise dark world and is easily the most inspiring human being I’ve ever met.

2. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Without any hesitation, my answer would be Scotland. It is the greatest country on Earth and I miss it on a daily basis.

3. What is your biggest fear?

I am living my biggest fear, and have been living it for the last eight years; loneliness.

4. What is your favorite family vacation?

My favourite family vacation would probably be Jersey 1989; which was spent chilling out at a Pontins Holiday Camp, watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and generally eating sausage, eggs and chips on an almost daily basis. Good times.

5. What would you change about yourself if you could?

I wish I was less anxious. Ever since I developed social anxiety as a teenager it has ruled and governed virtually every aspect of my life. It has effected my educational career, friendships, my relationship with my body, every relationship I’ve been in and random day-to-day events. I hate it. I truly and utterly hate it. Yet no matter what I do. No matter what help I seek. No matter what treatment I undertake. Nothing seems to have any effect in reducing this most destructive of mental illnesses.

Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness. Scotland. © Addy

Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness. Scotland.

6. What really makes you angry?

Selfishness. Arrogance. Narcissism. And abuse. If you choose to abuse someone, you are nothing to me.

7. What motivates you to work hard?

I like doing something well, no matter if it’s working at a backpacked hostel or writing a blog. I am determined to do the best that I can. Thus, what motivates me is my own work ethic, my own determination and my own self-belief.

8. What is your favorite thing about your career?

Alas, I don’t have a career. So I can’t really answer this question as I don’t have a favourite thing about being a disabled unemployed person.

9. What is your biggest complaint about your job?

Again, I don’t have a job, sorry.

10. What is your proudest accomplishment?

This blog. It doesn’t sound like much but – even though my abuser did her best to destroy my pride in this blog – I’ve always been proud of what I’ve accomplished on these pages over the last eight years.

11. What is your child’s proudest accomplishment?

Alas, I don’t have any children. Thanks for rubbing that in!

12. What is your favorite book to read?

Quest for a Kelpie; a magnificent book for young adults set in eighteenth century Scotland. A masterwork.

13. What makes you laugh the most?

My friends always used to make me laugh, but since being socially isolated, very little makes me laugh these days. In fact, the only times I do chuckle are when I’m watching comedies on DVD, with Parks and Recreation my go-to option.

14. What was the last movie you went to? What did you think? 

The last movie I saw in the cinema was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, in January 2014…and I thought it was quite brilliant, easily the best of The Hobbit trilogy. The last movie I saw on DVD (as anxiety prevents me from visiting the cinema any more) was Big Hero 6…which I thought was, quite frankly, crap.

15. What did you want to be when you were small?

A writer. Although I accepted a long time ago I’ll never become one.

16. What does your child want to be when he/she grows up?

Again, I don’t have any children. You really like rubbing that in, don’t you!

17. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? 

I would love to spend a day hanging out, talking to and generally having a spot of fun with my friends. But I don’t have any, so I can’t.

18. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?

The only sport I like to watch and play is snooker. I’m terrible at it, but I still enjoy it.

19. Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? 

Given that I hate cars and horses are a trigger for my abusive relationship, I’d rather ride a bike. Which I do, quite happily, quite frequently.

20. What would you sing at Karaoke night?

I have two songs I would love to karaoke: Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Meatloaf) and Holding Out For a Hero (Bonnie Tyler)

21. What two radio stations do you listen to in the car the most?

I am rarely in a car, so I don’t listen to the radio there. I often listen to the radio at home, primarily 2AY (local station with talk-back and music) and Radio National (a national station with lots of documentaries and news reports)

22. Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?

Vacuum the house. I love vacuuming the house. It’s such a mindful and relaxing activity.

23. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

Cooking. I used to be a rather good cook (courtesy of training from Louise, my first girlfriend) but since being homeless I have lost a lot of these skills. Most likely because I don’t have access to a fully stocked kitchen and that I can’t afford decent, fresh ingredients.

24. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jacket potatoes with butter, cheese and a little sprinkling of cracked black pepper. Mmmmmm. Scrumptious! :)

Jacket Potato with Cheese

Jacket Potato with Cheese

25. Who is your favorite author?

Ever since I read Memory and Dream back in 2001, my favourite author has been Charles de Lint; a magnificent writer of Urban Fantasy, my favourite genre.

26. Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?

My nickname at school was (when not a series of insults) Zakey…I have no idea why. I have always hated Andy, which riles me up no end. In fact, the only nickname I’ve ever related to is Addy – which, ironically enough – was given to be by my abuser. It’s the only good thing she ever did for me.