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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Starter for Ten: The Grand Final

“Starter for Ten” was a series of posts I named after the classic British Quiz show ‘University Challenge’ which was, alas, brought into ill-repute earlier this year when one of the contestants was revealed to have actually been ineligible to have been on the team. The team which incidentally won the whole competition.

I just decided to use it as a forum to answer some of the questions I receive from time to time through emails from all those lovely groovy (somewhat strange people) who read the blog.

This final time I’ll be answering questions I’ve received over the last week or so, as well as the odd few which have been lurking in my inbox over the last several months.

Alrighty, let’s get started…sixteen questions today. Wow!


1. Why write the blog again for only a short period of time?

This will be answered in the final post in a little more detail but as I’ve failed at a lot of things in life when it came to the blog I wanted to ‘end it’ rather than leave it without a conclusion.

2. Skins, eh? First of all I think you’re a dick for thinking there are better shows out there than ‘The Wire…but, I do enjoy Skins, so to which side of the fence do you fall with the two gangs. Are you a series 1 & 2 groupie or do you prefer series 3?

Series 3.
No question.
No doubt.
No hesitation.

For those of you who don’t know Skins or what the question means, the producers of the show took a huge risk with series 3 by replacing pretty much the entire cast. The show is about a group of teenagers and their (somewhat explicit) shenanigans whilst studying for their A-levels. Series 1 and 2 had a group, and then were replaced with a whole bunch of new kids for series 3.

However much I love some of the group in the first two series – Cassie (obviously), Syd, Michelle, Maxxie (and I do have a thing for Sketch) – there isn’t a single person in series 3 I dislike.

How can you not like JJ, who is just wonderful…and then we have Naomi and Cook. Plus the double whammy of Emily and Katie (ohhhh, Emily), the sublimely wonderful Pandora and the screen dynamite that is Effy.

Yep, no question, the series 3 lot.


4. What happened to http://www.myjourneywithdepression.com?

It, alas, died.

I couldn’t afford the money to keep it going when it was expiring early this year. I tried to resurrect it back in May, but then it was hijacked by some random annoying company who post things about medication, Viagra, increasing the size of your penis, Russian brides and the like…and I’ve never been able to get it back.

I lost a lot of good posts when that happened too :(

However much I love this blog – the original – I will always love the other which was for a time my place on the net.

5. Are the names on this blog real?

No.

Well, the only names on this blog which are real are my own – Andrew, hi – and celebrities.

All those others which get dropped in from time to time are carefully selected pseudonyms which if you don’t know me, you never will know who they are, so there’s no point even trying to work it out. If you do know me personally you should be able to work it out but in which case the pseudonyms are pointless and you know who everyone is anyway! :)

My personal favourite pseudonym is Diane, crackingly bizarre how I got to that one!

6. What’s the CDC?

Ahh, the CDC, memories of the past :)

The CDC stands for the Canadian Dungaree Count.

When I was in Canada I noticed women wearing them every-bloody-where so started a count in my journal as to how many I saw in Canada, as I’d never seen them worn anywhere else in the world. I think it got to something like 142 in three months, which doesn’t sound like much, but how women do you see wearing them these days? Even pregnant women don’t wear them nearly as much.

Bring back the dungaree :p

7. What’s ‘Blink‘, as referenced in your fanatical (are you a stalker by the way?) mention of Carey Mulligan and in so many random places throughout the blog?

Oh, Carey :)


Sorry, slip into dream world at the mention of her…and, no, I am not a stalker. However if she happened to be in the same park, homeless and in need of a blanket and some ‘warmth’ – of course I would offer :p However, as she has appeared alongside some of the sexiest men in the world (Johnny Depp, David Wenham, David Tennant, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Jake Gyllenhaal) I doubt there’s much chance she’ll ever be homeless. Unfortunately.

Blink is one of the finest episodes of Doctor Who’s kick arse third season, and is third in the run of kick arse six episodes which closed the season. It is the Doctor-lite episode of the year (i.e the one where the Doctor is hardly in it) and features the almightily talented Carey in the lead role as the delightful Sally Sparrow.

Here is a clip of an awesome scene featuring the awesome quotes “I’m clever and I’m listening and don’t patronise me because people have died and I’m not happy.” and “The angels have the phone box, that’s my favourite, I’ve got that on a T-Shirt,”

Also, in reference to question (5) two of the pseudonyms on the blog came from this episode :)

8. What’s your favourite all time post on the blog?

Men and Mental Health

I don’t really know why but I loved writing it and I still enjoy re-reading it.

9. Are you a complete tosser cause I’ve read bits of this blog and you come across as a right wanker!

I am indeed a complete tosser.
You are right.
Well done.
I hope you are very proud of yourself.

(Geez, never heard that one before)

:-p

10. {screwyou@} are you gonna elaborate?

Yes.
Be patient.
Everything has it’s time, and place.

11. Why was this blog the second worst decision in your life?

Again, be patient.
Of course this is going to be covered. Are you mad? Which hopefully you are, because so am I, and there is something sublimely calming about being mad. Sometimes.

12. You seem to have something against Adelaide. Given I live here and think it’s awesome what the hell do you have against the place?

I have nothing against Adelaide itself – granted I have several bad memories of Adelaide but nothing against the city itself.

I loved the city, in fact, it’s one of my favorite places in Oz, second fave behind Melbourne in fact. An awesomely lovely place and I was just playing with the psychiatrist when I said this.

There are lots of things to do in Adelaide, there’s Hindley Street and it’s myriad of bars and sex shops, a fantastic cinema in North Adelaide and a bevvy of beauties – alas, none of them in dungarees. There’s also some pigs, and a couple of giant balls which makes you think the council are either being a bit arrogant or trying to compensate for something.


Plus, two of the greatest mysteries in Australian history originated in Adelaide, so what’s not to like.

All hail you for living in my second favorite city in Oz :)

13. Do you think you’ll ever attempt suicide again?

Yes.
I’m fairly positive I will one day, which isn’t saying I will right now.
I am actually positive this is how I will eventually die one day…unless I get hit by a bus, or rampaging hippo, or eaten by a ravenous mongoose, or licked to death by a vole…actually, I want to be licked to death by a vole, how awesome would that look on your death certificate!

14. What triggered the end of your manic phase in Adelaide? I wanna know!

What happened in Adelaide is something I have spoken about directly to only four people, ever! One – being the psychiatrist this year, Two – another psychologist (in 2007), who didn’t believe me, The Third – a female friend, who laughed at me and The Fourth – in an email, who attacked me.

I don’t mind talking about mental illness, emotional abuse, my childhood, suicide attempts, my fantasies, kinks and random desires but this…nope. The simple fact is I’m not ready to write that post, I tried this week, and it triggered a very nasty period last weekend. Just as it always has whenever I think of it. I had intended that line to foreshadow the post I was writing, and should have removed it before publishing but it got missed in the short internet time I have these days.

It’s incredibly complicated, has created a myriad of other complications, and is very very raw. It’s something I have never even really attempted to understand, have tried to forget and in no way come to terms with.

But hey – though I may be more Dan Brown or James Patterson than Charles Dickens or John Galsworthy – are you sure I haven’t already? ;)

15. I’m glad you’re finally leaving the blogosphere…please tell me it’s for good this time!

Yes, it is, as I said and will make clear.

I have nothing left to say here, so this blog will be over soon enough.

16. Don’t you ever listen to music which isn’t obscure folk, soundtracks or other garbage?

a) Weak in the Knees is not garbage. I will slap you for saying that!
b) With my current situation I don’t get to listen to nearly as much music as I would like to.
c) And yes, I have a random and insanely odd taste in music, pretty much every genre. Here is an eclectic selection:


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Emotional Abuse – Just FRACK off!

One of the few things I never failed in was my walk from Inverness to Drumnadrochit in September 1997. I’ll always remember how it felt during those last few miles telling myself constantly…the home stretch, not far now.

Which is where we are now. The home stretch; not many pixellated words left now.

“We have nothing to lose – nothing, absolutely nothing – that’s more valuable than our self-respect, our sense of self worth,”

“Emotional abuse can include verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like intimidation, manipulation and refusal to ever be pleased. Emotional abuse is like brainwashing in that it systematically wears away at the victims self confidence, sense of self worth, trust in her perceptions and self concept. Whether it be by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of ‘guidance’ or teaching, the results are similar. Eventually the recipient loses all sense of self and all remnants of personal value.”

Halt.
There’s something there I don’t like.
Let’s give them another chance:

“Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be longer lasting than physical ones. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victims self esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no-one else could want them. They stay in abusive relationships because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.”

What?

Was it impossible for them to type their, them or themselves? I have lost count of the number of times I’ve read articles, opinion pieces, news snippets or whatever where the victim is always feminine and the perpetrator masculine. It’s degrading to both men and women. Now I’m aware that there are more documented incidents of abuse on women, but I am just so tired of men always being painted as the big bad; imbeciles with no emotion or feelings. I mean does it ever occur to people men don’t talk about their emotions because society doesn’t let us?

Men can self harm.
Men can suffer from depression.
Men can feel both emotional and physical pain.
Men can cry.
Men can be upset.
Men can have low self-esteem.
Men can have body issues.
Men can be abused; physically, sexually and emotionally.

Just because we have penises (and the odd hairy back) doesn’t make us immune – and just because women have ovaries (and the odd hairy back) doesn’t make them infallible angels.
It’s sexist to say otherwise.

For a man to be a victim it doesn’t make them weak or not masculine. It means they have emotions, it means that they are human. I’ll stand up for my beliefs more than most do – but I’ll also crumble and cry when I need to. It’s not a case of whether I’m manly, masculine or any of that stereotypical crap propagated by the media and society.

It means I feel.

However the common perception, at least from my experiences, is that if a man is abused he is therefore weak for allowing it to happen to him in the first place. He deserved it. Therefore he is not worthy of a place in society. Sure, some hold the same perception for women, but both are absolutely fracking wrong. No-one deserves to be abused in any way shape or form. They are not weak for allowing it to happen to them.

They are actually stronger than the abusers for surviving the abuse in the first place.

If I was to stand up and say I was raped I would (quite possibly) be called a liar and (most likely) laughed at for allowing it to happen. For not fighting back. But ten percent of all rapes have men as the victim. If I was to stand up and say I was raped I would (quite possibly) be ostracised and judged as unworthy, unmasculine, by the women in my life or society in general.

Me admitting to being emotionally abused is the same.

All abuse is the same and should be treated as such. Whether the victim is male or female…and more needs to be done to raise awareness of abuse in all forms and protect the victim. Too often the abuser gets off Scot-free and gets to live a perfectly normal happy life – whereas the abused has their life destroyed and lives in silent pain for the rest of their days.

“It’s the non-stop, nagging, nit picking voice in your head, telling you that nothing you do will ever be good enough, that you’ve missed all your chances and messed up all your opportunities, that you don’t deserve love, respect and happiness,”

Like I said to the psychiatrist…tell someone something enough, they’ll believe it…which I nicked from Tony Hill in ‘Nocebo’…“Oh c’mon, did it ever occur to you if you tell a little girl over and over again that she is evil she’s gonna believe it!” Ahh, Robson, we love you and you delivered that line so so well :)

The same goes for anyone.

Child
Adult
Male
Female

The more you attack someone the more you criticise, the more you abuse – the more damage you are doing to the most fragile organ of the body. It changes processes, patterns, thoughts, affects the inner working of the synapses and lobes. Like I’ve said before there is a difference between criticism and criticism…but you know, it’s all bullshit. I can sit here waxing lyrical about emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, but what’s the fucking point? No-one believes the victim. Especially the male, he’s just a useless, worthless, weak willed, good for nothing fuckwit who should just go kill himself. Women are perfect little angels who never do anything wrong. They can sleep with whoever they want, whenever they want and bugger how their boyfriends might feel. They can be fully aware their boyfriends have serious illness and assignments to write but still see absolutely nothing wrong in dumping someone by text message. They’ve got a broken heart cause they dumped their boyfriend, yep, it’s up to him to fix it. He’s not ‘caring’ enough – yep – have a go at him because you should always care for someone who ends a relationship and friendship with no warning or explanation by text message. Attack everything your ex-boyfriend has ever done, said, felt or thought – even if it’s exactly what you’ve asked him to do. NO problem. Nothing wrong there. He’s a man, he’s supposed to just take it. He has no feelings or emotion. Never tell him why the relationship ended? Expect him to sacrifice friends? Manipulate his friends away from him? That’s how it should be. Blame him for everything he’s ever done in his life. Fine. Blame him for everything that’s gone wrong in your life, even when he hasn’t had contact for weeks, again, fine! Remind him in detail of every mistake he has ever made ever. Over and over again? No worries. If a man were to do any of that… Yeah, none of this is gonna have any bloody ramifications, just because I’m a man! Fuck. Fuck!! FUCK!!!

You see this is the problem with emotional abuse.

It!

Never!

Fucking!

Goes!

Away!

Ever!

“The victim of emotional abuse isn’t always aware of just how much pain and danger he or she is really experiencing,”

The emotional abuse – in reality – ended in July 2007 when I severed contact with my ex. I had to change my phone number, cancel my email account (losing 18 months of emails in the process) and for a period even sever contact with friends whom I missed dearly in order to limit the potential contact. It had been one of the most fucked up weeks of my life (well, since February 2007); mania, feeling like I was God, streaking in public, singing Song for Ten

in a casino complete with dance routine improvised on the spot, severe self harm. The last thing I needed was more arrogant self-grandiose bullshit by email, especially in tandem with the other event of that week. You see this was also the week I was triggered out of the manic phase and the last thing I needed was more abuse. Like I said in an earlier post – the timing of that email was second only to the text message of February 2007 in terms of destruction caused.

The emotional abuse – mentally – has never ended. Whether I’ve been in Melbourne, Caldicot, Cardiff, London, Inverness, Fort William, Drumnadrochit, Alice Springs, Sydney, Perth, Albury, Cootanumbra…there is always something to remind me. Places, people, faces, songs, smells, clothes, conversations, words, grunts. It doesn’t take much to force that fragile organ to remind you of something. It doesn’t even need a trigger, not really, the words are there, branded into my mind like some twisted Overlander Restaurant gimmick or fetishists dream.

The illnesses I endure feed off them; bipolar, self harm, hallucinations (they all love it)…all of them!

Almost every waking minute all those words, sentences and intent pulsate and surge through my mind. Little quells them. Self harm does, for a while, but I think only a lobotomy – or death – will rid me of these internal scars completely.

Sure this may make me weak. I don’t care any more.

Harden the fuck up! as the Aussies say Don’t let it get to you. Prove how strong you are.

Ummmm, I think I already have. What I went through in early ’07 would have killed most people. You hear about people who kill themselves because they lost a job, lost a relationship, had an argument, lost a gerbil, were a bit stressed at work, got a cold. All tragedies. I’ve lost everything, multiple times, but I’m still here.

“We have nothing to lose – nothing, absolutely nothing – that’s more valuable than our self respect, our sense of self worth,”

The abuse I received took these from me.

I didn’t want it to.

I’ve fought hard for this not to be the case.

As I said to the psychiatrist…it’s had me questioning the essence of “me” for years…I started writing the blog to help find it again; sharing my soul which I refused to believe was selfish, uncaring, wrong, repulsive, like a cancer, but as the words which cut me deep continue to bleed. Me, Addy, Andrew, continues to bleed with it. Eventually he’ll be gone, and a mere shell will remain. I know this to be true. It’s not what I want. I loved Addy, in many ways I still love Andrew, but unless I can find a way to heal the wounds, he’ll be gone.

Dead.

Not physically, I’m not talking about that.

But emotionally; because death, ultimately, occurs when the soul is destroyed.

A few months ago I coined a new phrase for myself. All of the shit that’s happened to me, all of the depression, self harm, loss, to me came about from shyness, which became social anxiety disorder, which – with the emotional abuse – become something a teensy bit different…