So, here we are again. Right back to where it all started. The original layout, the old photos, those wacky animated gifs…though come to think of it with all the current wooden spoon outrage maybe I should remove the spanking one for fear of promoting abuse! And frack me look at all those words! Blimey, what was I thinking?? Hundreds upon thousands of tiney weeny pizellated letters chronicling over ten years of my life. Nay! My whole life! A life jam packed full of inner pain, exhaustion, stigma, endless fighting, endless judgements, confusion, lies, joy, smiles, laughter and hope.
Ahhh, hope :)
That’s what it all comes down to in the end. All of our lives being endlessly guided by the hope we’ll be liked, loved, accepted, happy. The hope that before we die we’ll be someone to someone. Hope is life, without it, we’re pointless. For hope breeds passion – and without passion, we’re truly dead.
(Well, that’s not bad, only a few paragraphs in and already the old pop culture references hit the screen!)
I decided to write these updates on the 11 October 2009, the two year anniversary of the day I should have died. A day I will never forget. How can you forget a day which saw you nearly take your last breath? What’s made it all so difficult though is trying to work out where to start. How do you look back on two years which you’d hoped would have seen the start of your new life – but in actual fact has found you in an even worse place?
It’s been sometime since I read a lot of these posts, maybe I need to pick out my favourites. A man who has no future always runs to his past (reference number two, different show, just as beautifully written) so where else to start? So newbies, oldies and those who dipped in from time to time let’s review the main piece I wrote all those years ago. So pour yourself a whisky (no “e’s” people!) and learn a wee bit about my life…and there’s no better place to start than where it all started for me. The foundation stone of this whole journey.
My War with Mental Illness
I wrote this before I even considered writing a blog. I’m still proud of it now, just as I was back then. Without it this blog would never have been born…so in hindsight I should probably left it unsaid. There’s also the video version, if you can’t be bothered reading the actual post, or even if you felt like watching it as a companion piece.
The idea for the blog came a few days later in Carlton Gardens. I’d taken one step toward beginning my fight – why not get it all out there? Every sordid detail which I had tried to hide in the hope I would be accepted. For some reason I followed through, so as days became weeks became months, these followed:
(Some) True Confessions of Self-Harmer
Until 2007 no-one knew I had self harmed since my teens. In fact I would be tempted to say no-one had even suspected it I had become so good as hiding it. Self harm is something few people get, and this was a tough one to write. How do you explain to people why you deliberately hurt yourself? I do like this, but it could have been so much better (a sentence which sums up my whole life really)
Social Anxiety Disorder
Unless you suffer from SAD/social phobia it is VERY HARD to understand how debilitating and destructive it is. More than depression, more than self-harm, more than bipolar – this is what destroyed me. I got so close to thrashing it in ’07 (pre breakdown) that I’ve never been able to recover from how close I came.
I remember this for one reasons…probably the most random post title of the whole blog :)
Men and Mental Health
Everyone who has a mental illness will experience a vast amount of stigma at some point in their life – but try being a man and having to deal with the inherent sexism of suffering from a mental illness at the same time. I wrote this post in bed and even though it’s not all that well written, is still a personal favourite of mine.
The “Let’s Talk About Suicide” Series
There were a lot of recurring themes on the blog but only a couple of multi-part posts. This was the first.
Part I…I STILL stand by to this day. Sure it received the finest ever single word comment any post received in the history of the blog (“Pathetic”) but I STILL stand by it.
Part II…VERY hard for me to write, like the self harm posts, few knew in detail of my suicide attempts until now.
Part III…All I remember from writing this are tears. The first time I’d told anyone of Rachel.
Part IV…will be coming this week :)
Let’s Talk About my Nervous Breakdown
This event is why my life will never be what I hoped for. A seismic event from which the ripples ar estill reverberating to this day. It didn’t have to happen, that’s what kicks me in the gut every morning. For ultimately, the breakdown is what led to…
Coming to Terms with Bipolar
…the revelation that I was bipolar. Which made a lot of sense to me but still confuses the hell out of me. (unfortunatel my post detailing my manic phase in Adelaide was lost along with my domain earlier this year)
What Do I mean by Stigma?
Still a great question and is unfortunately something that I have come to realise will never go away :(
“Emotional Abuse” Series
Of all of the posts I wrote throughout this journey these posts – without question – received the biggest reponse, still do. To this day I still receive emails on an almost weekly basis from people writing to thank me for writing it, from people who find themselves in the same painful situation, who don’t know what to do. it is still unfortunately something which doesn’t receive enough attention, and the perceptions that it is not as destructive as other forms of abuse are bullshit! The abuse I suffered is in my mind everyday, my social anxiety feeds of it, and in my mind has destroyed any chance of me having close relationships in the future for the simple reason that I trust no-one. Blimey, I sound like Mulder, but alas, it’s the truth.
They’re the main ones. They’re the core. But it wasn’t what the blog was all about. Sure I suffer from mental illness – bu tthe point of what I was doing was getting across it wasn’t who I was. I was Andrew! All of my loves, passions, desires, kinks and dreams were scattered through the blog for all to digest and discover. From my crushes (Oh Carey, Maggie, how did you become so beautiful? And if you’ve never seen Blink watch it NOW! I mean NOW! Just make sure you come back to finish reading :) to my dungaree fetish (ahh the memories of the CDC, why can’t Aussie’s wear them as much, sure they ain’t fashionable but they’re sure sexy :) to all manner of other things which were oh so obvious if never spoken of directly. Check out the I love list and write your own, or have a gander all over the place to learn more of then non-mental side of me. If you’re brave enough! :)
So as this blog post rattle on in it’s own pointless banality I’m thinking a lot about who I was and how I felt back then. It’s funny the memories which come back somtimes. More than anything remembering how much hope I had back then. How much strength still surged through me. How much I was determined to prove I was worth something more than what I had.
Always back to hope.
Sitting here in Southern Cross waiting room preparing to head back to the park in which I now sleep I know that hope has gone. Eaten away by mental illness, abuse, loneliness and the utter futility of pursuing your dreams. I would have lved to be writing now how I had succeeded in overcoming or at the least controlling the illnesses and pain which plague me. It would have meant she was wrong, that one of the reasons I pulled myself down from that noose had been correct. Alas, my “life” now is worser than it was then, so much so you can’t even call it a life. This is the curse of mental illness.
All I can therefore do is write these updates and conclude my journey as best I can – and hope that at some point the hope I once had will find a way back into my soul :)
So as I prepare to click ‘publish post’ and send even more memories flooding back here are some of the stops we’ll be taking on the journey this week:
– Let’s Talk About Suicide: Part IV…It never gets any easier
– Thirteen Reasons Why
– Bipolar Bear
– BPD WTF?
– Emotional Abuse: Just Frack OFF!
– Social Paralysis Disorder
– Starter for Ten: The Grand Final (email any questions you would like answered by Friday)
The next post: :”My Life, post blog…” will be published later today :)
Plus a few more along the way :)
[oh, and a side note, some of the links are broken as I haven’t had the chance to update and check them all…so sorry if something takes you somewhere it shouldn’t. I don’t mean viruses, I just mean some random dead page or changed page :)]