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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Addy’s Adventures in Melbourne, Part 02

The Yarra River, Melbourne

The Yarra River, Melbourne | © Addy

Yesterday’s jaunt through my recent trip to Melbourne ended with a day of stress, triggers, anxiety and bottoms so spectacular they make you glad to be alive. Today, we pick up on Wednesday 20th November, the first day of the World Hearing Voices Congress.

This was the first time the congress had been held in Australia and, with over 700 people in attendance, was the largest World Hearing Voices Congress so far. It has to be said that, for someone who doesn’t like being around lots of people, the congress was a very stressful, overwhelming and exhausting experience for me. But regardless of these negative issues, I am immensely glad that I attended as being around hundreds of people who accept hearing voices as simply another characteristic of being human, rather than a symptom of illness, was a truly liberating experience.

However, as we pick up my journal entries, one of my people was somewhat miffed by my actions of that day:

20th November 2013, 10:46pm
Room 806, Darling Towers

For the last forty-six minutes Meadhbh has been feral. I mean chomping at the bit, hurling abuse, potty-mouthed feral! The cause? Well, it’s four fold:

1) We didn’t say goodbye to Emilia after the Mad Hatters Party this evening
2) We didn’t really talk to anyone at the Mad Hatters Party this evening
3) We didn’t really talk to anyone at the Congress today
and
4) She’s decided that I should hook up with a woman who was presenting at the Congress. A woman who Meadhbh believed was wearing a “splendiferously awesome green dress” and was the most beautiful creature she’d ever seen.

So her incessant abuse, coupled with another all out stressful day, means I am ending the fifth day on the trot in a stressed out and anxious way. I’m sick of not feeling relaxed. I’m sick of hating myself. I’m sick of not being able to show my awesome self to the world. And it seems Meadhbh is – once again – sick of it too. Right now, I just want to curl up and hide from the universe.

Before I go any further with the journal entries, I feel I should explain what I mean by the Mad Hatters Party. On the evening of the first day of the Congress, a party had been organised at a pub in the city, a pub that (just by chance) held triggering memories for me. To make the party more “fun”, it had been decided that the theme for the evening was Mad Hats (as in Mad Hatter, as in Alice in Wonderland) so everyone who attended had to be wearing a hat of some description. Not being one who can pull of hats, I opted for a fluffy wombat hat that we found in a tourist shop a few minutes before the party, a hat that was dubbed the Warmbat Hat given it was bloody hot to wear!

Thus, it should be fairly obvious which one I am in this image below!

At the Mad Hatters Party

Addy (with some of the Gateway entourage) at the Mad Hatters Party. Alas, we’re all suffering from a severe case of Pixelitus! | © Addy

A photo that further increased my stress and anxiety!

To top off the day, I saw a full body photograph of myself for the first time in years tonight…fuck me am I an ugly, grotesque, lump of an overweight fugly person! (Note: I suffer from body image issues, remember!) So year, feeling really really crap tonight. And I mean really crap. Really, really really crap!

But, like yesterday, I’m going to try to focus on some bright spot(s): Emilia was, as always, super awesome in helping me deal with my stress and anxiety, the congress is really interesting (even though I can’t focus because of the stress) and Shay saw a woman this evening with the bounciest breasts he’s ever seen and wishes this incident to be recorded for posterity.

Methinks it’s gonna be a bad night! :( Grrr!

It was a bad night. Because of the stress I forgot to take my medication, which led to a sleepless, flashback laden night.

21st November 2013, 10:23pm
Room 806, Darling Towers

Because of the continuing stress, I haven’t felt all that good today. I couldn’t focus at the congress, so panels, featured speakers and life stories when in one ear and out the other. Fortunately, to offer an olive branch for last nights feral-ness, Meadhbh kept detailed notes – especially during the talk from the woman she has a crush on, so I’ll use these to catch up with all the learnings when I’m more ‘with it’.

As for bright spot(s)…I did purchase a book at the congress, Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation, that I’m looking forward to reading and…ummm…I’m in my own room again tomorrow night! :D

By the third day of the congress rolled around I was full-on, out-of-my-mind exhausted. Every muscle in my body was aching after days of little sleep and mustering as much concentration as I could. Unfortunately I couldn’t go straight to the hotel to relax as I first had to cycle backwards and forwards around the city to collect my backpacks, a five kilometre round trip that well and truly knackered me out.

22nd November 2013, 6:57pm
Room 217, Flagstaff City Inn

It (literally) feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. However much I like the people I was sharing the accommodation with, being in my own room – with my own bathroom – for the first time in days feels as close to bliss as I fear is possible this week. Well, Doctor Who and Zelda aside!

At this point in time I’m lying in my undies watching ABC2 whilst I try to decide whether to go to the midnight opening of EB Games tonight. My copy is all paid for (yay!) but I’m fearing the event may kill me, given my total lack of energy.

I may just chill for a bit and see how I feel after The Name of the Doctor has been watcher! :)

23rd November 2013, 1:51am
Room 217, Flagstaff City Inn

Well, you can probably guess from the time that I did indeed go to the midnight Zelda launch. Although I didn’t really participate, I did get a free Windwaker poster (which just makes me want to play the game even more), a copy of the game (yay!) and the opportunity to perve on several cosplay goddesses and gods. My personal fave was a delightfully cute woman dressed as Marin and a woman who – rather disturbingly – thought dressing as Tingle was a good idea!

From the 45mins I’ve played of the game thus far:

It is beautiful to look at. Seriously good frame-rate, gorgeous design and wonderful resolution.
It plays like a dream.

It’s sooooo nice to drop back into the world that made me a Zelda fan in the first place!

Anyway, bright spot(s) for today included: my own space again, Zelda and meeting Marius Romme (grandfather of the Hearing Voices Movement)

8:53pm

Only ten hours until The Day of the Doctor! :D As part of the fiftieth anniversary the ABC is screening a (pretty dodgy) documentary about the show. It’s all ham-fisted humor, fast edited montages and inappropriate dance music. But, it’s Doctor Who, so I love it! :p

The rest of the day has been rather bland and unexciting. I had a rush of energy this morning that saw me spin around the NGV’s new Melbourne Now exhibition (moments of sublime inspiration but I’m not a fan of contemporary art) before picking up some new undies at Big W before returning to the motel to enjoy the land of Lorule a little more.

After the hectic nature of the last five days it’s been rather wonderful to just kick back and enjoy some quiet ‘me’ time today. So, bright spot(s) for today? I guess the solitude (not the loneliness), exploring old/new Hyrule and anticipating tomorrow’s festivities. :)

Now, in August of last year I shared my things to do before I die list on this blog,and I’m ecstatic that – for the first time in years – I’m able to cross an item from this list, for the sixty-ninth item on this exhaustive list was: live to see the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!

At 6:50am on Sunday 24th November 2013, I tuned in to the worldwide simulcast of the 50th anniversary special: The Day of the Doctor! And it was magnificent! So magnificent in fact that I tuned in to watch it during an encore screening that night. So magnificent that, for the only day I was in Melbourne, I was too psyched to actually write in my journal.

Aside from Doctor Who, the penultimate day in Melbourne saw me visit the NGV International (where I was reminded how obnoxious and self-centered some Melbournians are) before taking a trip to Sexpo with Shay and Meadhbh.

Although I have no problem with sex, people expressing their sexuality or celebrating all things sexual, attending Sexpo on my own – with my somewhat acute anxiety – was a confronting experience that tainted an otherwise enjoyable venture. However, as I wrote last week, my two companions did work together to purchase me a birthday present that I hope one day to get some use out of.

Now, initially I was due to return home on Monday 25th November. However, a vicious panic attack about the train ride home caused me to miss the train and, as a result, forced me to stay an extra night in Melbourne. Something Meadhbh had no issues with considering we had yet – due to my lack of energy – to go to the zoo.

25th November 2013, 8:12pm
Room 217, Flagstaff City Inn

Currently the Zygons are implementing their plan for Earth-domination and the Doctor’s are bickering their hearts out in the Tower of London. Yes, due to my extra night in Melbourne I am able to watch The Day of the Doctor for a third time courtesy of a repeat screening on ABC2! :)

Anyway, for my (hopefully) final day in Melbourne I kept my promise to Meadhbh and went for a mosey around Melbourne Zoo. She was sooooooo excited about the whole thing! Every time we passed an exhibit she would squeal loudly and want to know what was inside. Her favourite animals were: wombats, koalas, platypus, giraffes and turtles. She also loved the pelicans, meerkats and giant tortoises. However, she didn’t like the emus one bit because they scare her something awful!

After this wholly enjoyable excursion I ummed and ahhed about visiting the aquarium (I didn’t) before perusing Fed Square, ACMI and various city landmarks for the final time.

What with the massive panic attack this morning and all this activity I’m now exceedingly exhausted and completely unsure what to do for the rest of the evening. I think I’ll try to get an early night and do lots of grounding in the hope I won’t freak out too much about tomorrow’s train ride. I don’t really want a repeat of today’s attacks! :/

Fortunately, despite a heightened state of anxiety, I was able to board the train and complete the four hour journey back to Wodonga incident free. Since then I have been somewhat out-of-sorts, mostly as a result of exhaustion, but also as a result of ‘what next?’

I’ve spent the better part of twelve months looking forward to both the Melbourne trip and Doctor Who’s anniversary. Now that both are over I’ve been left wondering what I have to look forward to now? Christmas? Yuck! Another year of nothing much happening? More stress and anxiety? Yet more loneliness?

At some point in the near-future I will need to work out something to plan for next year otherwise who knows what chaos will befall me. After all, we all need something to look forward to, don’t we?

Regardless, the time I had in Melbourne, however stressful, was a wonderful holiday and one I’m glad I found the courage to undertake.

Watching 'The Day of the Doctor'

Watching ‘The Day of the Doctor’ (sorry about the unappealing hairy legs! :p) | © Addy


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Addy’s Adventures in Melbourne, Part 01

Federation Square

Federation Square (aka ‘the first photo I took in Melbourne‘) | © Addy

It’s been a week since I returned from my eight-day venture to Melbourne and I’m still struggling to find my feet. I’m not sure if it was the Hearing Voices Congress, being back in Melbourne or a combination of the two, but my energy levels have flatlined over the last several days. On both Saturday and Sunday I couldn’t rouse myself from bed until nearly midday – which is very uncharacteristic for me – and during the periods I’ve been awake I’ve been so unmotivated to do anything other than sleep that it’s starting to bug me.

So, in attempt to rouse myself from my unfocused stupor, I’ve decided to recant my time in Melbourne by sharing with you some (slightly edited) extracts from the journal I kept during my time there. Beginning with the day before I left:

17th November 2013, 5:41pm
My house, Wodonga

Truth be told, I’m seriously freaking out about the whole Melbourne trip. I’m terrified of the train, uneasy about the accommodation and petrified of the World Hearing Voices Congress. I’m so used to being on my own that I’m not looking forward to sharing my space for three days. I’m anxious that my IBS will flare up. I’m stressed about being back in a city that did nothing but treat me like crap I’m fearful of bumping into old friends (and enemies) and what they may have to say. In fact, I’m starting to think it would be best all round if I just stayed at home and forgot the whole venture.

But knowing me, I’ll go through with it. If only to prove yet another thing to myself that no-one else really cares about.

Fortunately, I did manage to get on the train and I did manage to battle the anxiety and make it to Melbourne.

18th November 2013, 7:44pm
Room 222, Flagstaff City Inn

(Note: after a diatribe concerning my IBS issues and the realisation that I really should speak to a GP about the whole thing I managed to get onto more important, and entertaining, issues!)

In other more important news, I’m fine when I’m in the motel (which is much bigger than I remember) but when I venture out into the wider city I completely freak out. I didn’t stray far this evening, just a quick mosey down Elizabeth, Collins, Swanston and Flinders Street; just a walk down memory lane, overwhelmed with times long past and traumas never healed. I’m still questioning my decision to return to this city. I’m not used to there being so many people around. I’m not used to the traffic and nosie. I’m not used to there being no trees or bushes. I’m just not used to the city anymore. I’m just not used to being the man I once was.

Also, in other news, I’m currently watching television for the first time since 2011. After a boring news update I stumbled upon a repeat of Doctor Who (series 7, Hide); not the greatest episode, I’ll grant you, but it is whetting my appetite for the upcoming celebrations! :)

8:55pm

Bored. Lonely. Lonelier than usual. Not sure why.

Off all the possible emotional states my trip to Melbourne would produce, the loneliness issue was something I wasn’t entirely prepared for. It would be something that would haunt me throughout the remainder of the week and the only explanation I have for it is to do with the memories of my life ‘pre-homeless’.

But whatever the cause, I knew I would have to deal with it. As I would my first ‘full day’ in Melbourne…

19th November 2013, 9:49pm
Room 806, Darling Towers

(Note: the mental health organisation I use kindly covered the cost of accommodation for the duration of the congress, and in order to keep the price affordable, booked shared accommodation for the people attending. For normal people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but for me…it was!)

I am being seriously triggered by this shared accommodation. Ever since checking in at 5pm(ish) I’ve been sweating, monosyllabic, teary and nauseous. It is reminding me so much of the boarding houses I used to stay in. Not fun. In fact, at this moment, I fear my anxiety and stress over the accommodation will override any enjoyment of the congress! :(

To try to get my mind off the anxiety, how about I try to think about something else?

I didn’t do all that much today. After the ride from motel to Southern Cross, I meandered across the city to the NGV. Unfortunately, only a 1/3 of the galleries were open as they’re prepping a major new exhibit that opens on Friday. What irked me (and Audrey) was that McCubbin’s The Pioneer was not on display, thus disallowing us access to our favourite painting. I did however take several photos of other works to share on the blog at some point.

After the gallery, I floated around Melbourne’s shopping precinct before venturing to the NGV International (which was closed, irking Audrey even more) before revisiting my old “home” in the Kings Domain. Aside from minor aesthetic changes (the height of the fence, changes to the toilet block) it hasn’t changed all that much and I was overpowered by memories of darker, more traumatic times, that have remained with me for the rest of the day. No matter how hard I’ve tried to ground myself, I keep slipping back into those distressing “homeless Addy” days. All of which has been feeding into my present triggered state to create a wholly unpleasant sensation.

Because of this tsunami of stress, I didn’t do much after this walk down memory lane. Simply sat around Southern Cross waiting for the rest of the Gateway entourage to arrive. An action that – as should have been expected – fed into the resurfaced memories and served only to remind me even more of my homelessness; sitting, smoking, waiting, smoking, doing nothing, smoking, sitting…etc…actions that, again, further fed into my current malaise.

I’ve even considered blowing all my cash on a single room at the motel instead of this shared accommodation…something that is irking all my people as it would leave nothing for fun’n’games.

Speaking of games, one of the major bright spots of the day was pre-ordering my birthday present to myself, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, which is being released this coming Saturday. Months of saving up is only a few days away from paying off! :D

Other bright spots? Well, the only ones I can think of – however sexist and/or misogynistic it may be – has been the quality of women Melbourne has to offer. Whether it be international backpackers sporting cute dungarees or all-powerful business women rocking pencil skirts, it has most certainly been a feast for Shay’s senses (and imagination) today. One woman in particular – one of the all-powerful pencil skirt rocking variety – had the most spectacular posterior I have seen in years! And that includes all celebrities and naughty online websites. Seriously, this was a backside that made you feel glad to be alive! Which, in a day ruled by stress, anxiety and triggered states, is not all that bad a thing! :)

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the World Hearing Voices congress, and as it requires an early start, I think now would be a good time to sign off. Hopefully that parting memory will produce some equally spectacular dreams! :p

What happened during the World Hearing Voices Congress? Which – if any – of my voices became so feral I had to scold them in the middle of Collins Street? What exactly is a Warmbat Hat? And, most importantly, did I have any spectacular-posterior filled dreams?

For the answers to all these questions – and more – tune in tomorrow when Addy’s Adventures in Melbourne continues!

PB190261

Street Art in Uniacke Court, Melbourne | Photograph © Addy


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Addy and the Day of Pure Evil

Something many people have problems with are anniversaries.

Not the happy, fuzzy-bunny-feeling filled anniversaries of marriages, birthdays and first sexual experiences, but the miserable, hell-would-hurt-less filled anniversaries of deaths, traumatic experiences and (I suppose in some cases) marriages, birthdays and first sexual experiences.

Amongst the plethora of ‘bad memory’ days that fill my year (e.g. the day I became homeless, the day of that psychiatrist appointment, the day my sister attempted suicide) there are four dates in particular that are excruciating for me;

  • October 11 (the anniversary of a suicide attempt, aka the day I should have died)
  • July XX (the anniversary of when I was assaulted, aka the day I wanted to die)
  • May 7 (the anniversary of another suicide attempt and the anniversary of Stephanie’s suicide, aka the day I nearly died and the day a friend did)
  • February 26 (the anniversary of the beginning of my breakdown, aka the beginning of the end).

The most astute of you, my dear readers, will have noticed that three days ago was one of these dates.

So if you’re itching to know what calamities (if any) befell me, read on! :p

very bad day

Seven out of Ten (3am-4am)

The day began as most of my days do; being woken from a fitful sleep by a vicious nightmare. On this occasion it was a recurring dream that has been haunting my sleep for several years.

In this dream I am being attacked by the man who assaulted me in Adelaide. We are in the same motel room, we are wearing the same clothes, we are basically reliving the events of that traumatic night. The only difference is Grace and Kathy are sitting on the bed watching the events unfold. Sometimes they are munching on popcorn; sometimes they are sipping glasses of champagne. Other times they are sharing a box of chocolates or recording the events on a video camera. What they always do is ‘score’ the assault upon its completion; a simple ‘out of ten’ rating of the pain inflicted on me.

The scores change from dream to dream but some things remain constant; Kathy always scores less than Grace, they always write their scores using my blood and they rarely give anything more than an eight. Even if he amputates multiple limbs or flagellates me with a strip of barbed wire, the pain he inflicts on me is never ‘good enough’ for the audience.

As per usual when this dream disturbs my sleep, I woke up startled, screaming and gasping for air.

Unlike usual, I woke up with someone else lying in my bed.

Stop peeking, pervert! (4am-5am)

Vanessa knows that this day is her day. For the last five years she has relished in it, using my ‘vulnerability’ to increase her presence both audibly and visually. When I woke up on Tuesday morning she was lying on her side staring at me.

VANESSA: That dream again?
ME: What the fuck do you want?
VANESSA: Your soul, idiot. Did you have that dream again?
ME: You know I did.
VANESSA: Tell me about it.

So I did, just to shut her up, but the problem with Vanessa is that no matter how much information you give her, it’s never enough. After nearly fifteen minutes of interrogation – erasing any hope I would get back to sleep – I began rearranging my blanket so I could make myself more comfortable.

VANESSA: What the fuck? Don’t you dare.
ME: It’s my blanket!
VANESSA: But I’m naked under here.
ME: So? I’ve seen it all before.
VANESSA: But I don’t want you seeing it now. Have some decency, dickhead!
ME: If you don’t want me seeing you naked, why are you naked?
VANESSA: Because I don’t want you seeing me naked, moron!

From there she bombarded me with questions, comments, observations, insults and hopes for the day ahead, including: “It would be beautiful if you sliced your arm open today”, “Please tell me you’re going to kill yourself today” and “But meltdown first, you know, one of those panic attacks that leaves you a cowering, dribbling fetus. Preferably in public!”

This continued until Audrey woke up and demanded I ‘get my lazy ass out of bed!’.

It was 5am – not exactly the greatest start to the day!

When distractions aren’t distracting! (5am-1pm)

In my recent post about coping skills, I mentioned that ‘distraction’ was my primary method of coping with emotional distress. Whether this is whacking on a DVD, reading my favorite websites or blogs, listening to music, playing Scrabble on the DS, completing jigsaws or just writing blog posts, sooner or later I will become engrossed in my chosen activity and forget about the chaos that drove me there.

On Tuesday, this forgetting didn’t happen. In fact, my mind was so focused on the events of 26 February 2007 that nothing I did provided any relief from the bad memories or consistent badgering from Vanessa. I wasn’t intelligent enough to read Conversation articles, I was too childish for playing on the DS, I was too old to complete jigsaws, I was too untalented and boring to blog. No matter what I tried to do, she slipped in and tore me to shreds, leaving me sitting on the carpet staring at the wall wondering whether I should drink, self-harm or commit suicide. Perhaps all three!

By mid-morning my day was already shaping up to be worse than last years…unless I took affirmative action.

VANESSA (as I grabbed my bike helmet): Where the fuck do you think you’re going?
ME: Out.
VANESSA: But it’s my day.
ME: Not anymore!

‘Distraction’ is worth 14 – or 64 if you use all seven tiles – in Scrabble (1pm-3:30pm)

For the second week in a row I was the only person at the Scrabble group I attend. Vanessa was quick to point out this was because no-one liked me and couldn’t stand being around me. I was quick to tell her to piss-off because she was seriously starting to get on my tits!

I’d originally told the organisation that runs these groups that I wouldn’t be at Scrabble, that I thought I was going to be hiding away as I usually do on these hell-would-hurt-less anniversaries. But as none of my distraction techniques had worked and my self-harm urges had increased I needed to do something to pull my mind from Vanessa and the memories.

For two hours I played Scrabble against the group leader. With Vanessa blathering in my ear it’s no surprise that I made several tactical errors early in the game, all of which amounted to me failing to reach 400 points (I ended with 387) and sending my mind into a tailspin of negative thinking about how useless I was at Scrabble (totally untrue!) Vanessa relished in this thinking and used it to fuel further abuse as I walked around town following the match.

To put the frustration (and annoyance) of this cycle of self-hate into perspective; I had won the game by over a hundred and fifty points and been able to play a seven-letter word during the match – not too shabby, all things considered!

coopers

Coopers and Comfort (3:30pm-7pm)

Within thirty minutes of leaving Scrabble, the cycle of self-criticism I’d become locked in over my failure to reach 400 points, coupled with Vanessa’s constant presence drove me to a local bar. However ashamed I am to admit breaking my three-week plus sobriety, I sat with Vanessa in the corner of the bar and drank through a couple of bottles of my favourite beer; Coopers Pale Ale.

Following this, the shame continued, as I moseyed around town purchasing things willy-nilly in a rare ‘retail therapy/comfort buying’ binge.

After sixty-two minutes I’d spent $112 and become the (not so) proud owner of:

  • A (fourth hand) Wii with seven (fourth hand) games.
  • A hairbrush.
  • Two bottles of white wine.
  • Michael Ondjatte’s XXXXX
  • A block of Rolo chocolate
  • Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (seasons one and two)
  • A bag of Kettle Honey Baked Ham potato chips (my second favorite flavor of chips)

The sheer number of carrier bags I had weighing me down, coupled with Vanessa sitting on my handlebars (what is it with hallucinations deciding to ride on my bike?), led to my cycle home becoming a carefully orchestrated balancing act!

Seriously…filthy…mind…! (7pm-9pm)

Pretty much the moment I got home I cracked open one of the bottles of wine and threw myself onto the couch to slurp it straight from the bottle. By the time I’d drunk half the bottle I’d connected up the Wii and whacked on Lego Batman (one of the seven games I’d got, the others being: Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Metroid: Other M, Link’s Crossbow Training, Mario Kart and EA’s Grand Slam Tennis).

After two levels I had to stop playing; not because I was drunk, not because I wasn’t enjoying myself, not because I felt bad about buying the Wii, but because Audrey was freaking me out with her seriously filthy mind and all the things she wanted Lego Batman to do to her!

I can’t really go into them without password protecting the post, so just think Fifty Shades of Grey meets Harry Potter meets Twin Peaks meets (JG Ballard’s) Crash meets Batman (where does he get those wonderful toys?).

Even I don’t have that dirty a mind…and that’s saying something! :P

The Book of Pure Evil (9pm-11pm)

By this point I’d finished one bottle of wine and was feeling relatively tipsy. I’d lost the ability to focus on the Wii and was being driven nuts by Vanessa’s constant bullshit; so I cooked some coconut rice with tofu and vegetables then whacked on the DVD I’d purchased.

For those of you not in the know, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is a Canadian comedy-horror TV show that centers on a disparate group of High School students who band together to take on the bloody consequences of the Book of Pure Evil.

Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer; only with a miniscule budget, more blood and a deliciously warped sense of humour!

I don’t know whether it was the strange mood I was in, the alcohol I had consumed or the junk food I was pigging out on, but after half a dozen episodes I was loving the show. Audrey and Vanessa, not so much! Where they thought the acting was “squirmily bad”, the writing “a rip-off of the far superior Buffy” and the humour “totally unfunny, much like everything Canada produces”; I thought the acting improved with each episode, the writing showed moments of inspired genius and the humor was laugh-out loud brilliant on many occasions.

VANESSA: I don’t like it when you laugh on my day.
ME: Do I look like a give a fuck?

todd and the book of pure evil

Threesome (11pm-12am)

It’s unusual for me to head to bed so early but my desire for this day to be over was overwhelming. By eleven ‘o’ clock I was lying in the middle of my bed with Vanessa to my left and Audrey to the right.

And yes, I get the symbolism behind the positioning; whenever Vanessa and Audrey are around they will adopt these positions.

AUDREY: And I could…[censored (trust me, you don’t want to know!)]…and then he would…[censored]…then around that point he’d…[censored]
ME: Wouldn’t you rather fantasize about Christian Bale?
VANESSA: Or Adam West?
ME: Can I fantasize about Anne Hathaway?
VANESSA (singing): There was a time when men were kind…
AUDREY: And when he puts that…[censored]…in my most…[censored]
VANESSA (still singing): …when their voices were soft, and their words inviting..
ME: What do I have to do to get you two to go to sleep?

Perhaps it was the emotional exhaustion, perhaps it was because sleeping with someone is nicer than sleeping alone or perhaps it was the alcohol I’d consumed, but I fell asleep soon after – despite the constant singing/babbling that was occurring around me.

Silence (3am-4am)

Following another recurring nightmare (where I painfully melt into a bubbling pool of blood) I woke up in the early hours of the morning. I didn’t notice at first, but neither Audrey nor Vanessa were present.

The silence was beautiful! :)

Coda

Many of you may look at this day as a failure. I blew my budget on un-necessary crap, broke my three-week long sobriety and spent (virtually) the entire day communicating with visual/audible hallucinations.

But I see things differently.

Direct transcript from my Mood Journal, 26 February 2012:

4:12am
Had that dream again. The one where Grace and Kathy watch as the Adelaidian does whatever he wants to me. The one where they score him out of ten for pain inflicted. Tonight they were both disappointed, Grace gave him 7, Kathy only 5. They want him to work harder next time. No wonder I always wake up screaming and caked in sweat. What the fuck will the neighbours think?

2:56pm
Should be in a great mood today given that I’ve just moved into my own place after years of homelessness, but I’m really not. So I’m self-harming again. Not unsurprising given what today is the anniversary of. Just binged on copious amounts of junk food and alcohol. Feel fat, grotesque, worthless, disgusting and repulsive. Just want to curl up in a ball and die.

9:14pm
Vanessa thinks I’m a repulsive piece of shit that no-one will ever love. Nay, she knows I’m a repulsive piece of shit that no-one will ever love. She’s not wrong. What was it Kathy said? That I will always be alone. That I deserve to always be alone. They were right, all of them, every word they said. Vanessa told me to slit my wrists. Maybe I should.

10:12pm
Can’t focus. Can’t think. Can’t concentrate. Can’t sleep. Want to die. I have a bed. So why am I still sleeping on the floor? Oh yeah, it’s all I deserve.

11:42pm
Pished. Nearly over.

12:03am
Over. Thank fuck.

  • Today I ate: four toblerones, one bag of jelly babies, quarterpounder w/chips, pizza, potato chips (BBQ flavour)
  • Today I drank: three bottles of white wine, one bottle of red wine, six cans of beer, two WKDs.
  • Anxiety/Panic attacks: 7am, 10:30am, 12:12pm, 4:30pm, 7:22pm.
  • Time spent outside the house: Didn’t leave the house

midnaSure, my voices had a greater presence than last year and I spent way more money…but…I had fewer panic/anxiety attacks, I was aware my coping techniques weren’t working so took alternative action, I left the house, I socialized, I cooked a healthy meal, I slept in my bed, I ‘stood up to’ Vanessa on multiple occasions and didn’t self-harm once.

Yes, I brought a Wii (so 2008!)…but, in the spirit of trying to improve my self-love…I brought a Wii! Methinks that Lego Batman, two Zelda adventures and Mario Kart may prove useful weapons in my increasing arsenal of coping strategies. Especially when all I need to do to stop Audrey criticizing and abusing is to whack on a single game and let her fantasies roam free! :p

All things considered, I’m quite proud of myself this year! :)

 


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Inside the Brown Book: Journal Writing

INTRODUCTION

FOR MY 18TH BIRTHDAY I WAS GIVEN A BROWN LEATHER BOOK SLEEVE. IT HAD ON IT’S FRONT A CELTIC KNOTWORK DESIGN, AND TO THIS DAY HAS BEEN THE BEST PRESENT I EVER RECEIVED. IT HAS HOUSED FOR 8 YEARS MY EVER CHANGING A5 SIZED JOURNALS; JOURNALS WHICH HAVE CAPTURED EVERY SINGLE MOMENT I’VE EXPERIENCED IN THAT TIME.
IN MY FIGHT WITH DEPRESSION JOURNAL WRITING HAS BEEN A CONSTANT HELP AND COMPANION, UNLIKE PEOPLE WHO CAN’T ALWAYS BE THERE, YOUR JOURNAL ALWAYS IS. IN THIS SERIES I’LL SHARE WITH YOU SOME OF THE MOMENTS – BE THEY HAPPY, DEPRESSING, EXCITING OR SCARY – THAT I HAVE SHARED WITH IT.

DISCLAIMER
THE ENTRIES MAY BE EDITED TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO THIRD PARTIES. OTHERWISE THEY WILL BE “AS-IS”.

Extract #1: March 2007

[To set the scene, in early March of 2007 I suffered a nervous breakdown – my journal writing became bleak, desperate and violent. After the following entry I lost the passion I had once had for my journal, and since, have written only 5 entries: two in late April, one in May, and two in June. This entry seemed to seal the fate of my journal writing.]
Wednesday 28th March 2007
My Place
9:04am
I was having a panic attack when I woke up this morning. How? It hasn’t stopped. I can hardly breathe. I’m collapsing. Imploding.
10:17am
I just cut myself. Drew blood. I want to do it again and again. [This was one of the few entries where I ever mentioned actually committing self-harm, if I was able to scan the page you would see my blood, which I let pour onto the page for prosperity.] I’m thinking about hitting myself to cause some bruising. I want to feel someting. Anything! I want to kill myself. I sat in the park last night with a bottle of water in my hand. [Yep, that’s exactly what I wrote – wow, I sat in the park and…I had a bottle of water in my hand – WTF? What I believe I intended to write was that I had been sitting in the park with my pills and the water was there to, if I had gone through with it, wash them down. It just didn’t come out that way]
1:17pm
My mood keeps slipping again. I keep having these angry violent outbursts. I keep wanting to hurt things. I keep wanting to hurt myself. I want the world to feel the pain I am feeling. The anger I’m feeling. The rejection I’m feeling. That’s one of the reasons I want to hurt myself. If I direct it at me, then I’m not directing it at the people I care about. That’s the main thing. My cravings to harm myself are becoming more and more difficult to control. It’s all happening again and I can’t cope any more. Every where I go all I see are the shattered remnants of my life… – [snipped a few bits here I’m afraid] – …let it all slip away and now can’t stop the avalanche. Can’t seem to put the pieces back together. I’m distancing myself from all and everyone I love because I don’t want to drag them down with me. My brain couldn’t take that.
2:22pm
In a short while I am going to go to the stupermarket to buy a sharper knife, the one I’m using just doesn’t seem to do it for me any more. I seem to be in a perpetual state of panic, anxiety and dispair.
[SNIP! Had to cut it there I’m afraid.]

Extract #2: May 2000

[To set the scene, in September 1999 I set off on a backpacking adventure. For several months I lived, worked, breathed, drank and passed out around Scotland. In May 2000 I headed off to explore and scare an entirely new country: Canada! I arrived in Vancouver, where I remained for a few weeks, before beginning a cross-country train odyssey. My first port of call was Jasper.]
Tuesday 30th May 2000
HI Maligne Canyon Hostel
4:27pm
I arrived in Jasper at about 11am (MT) on Saturday morning – weary, stiff, and I have to say a mite constipated after 13 odd-hours on the train. I relieved myself as best I could and then treated myself to a packet of Cameo smokes.
My destination was Whistlers campground, 3km from downtown Jasper, and a nice hike through scenery which has to be said reminds me heavily of parts of Scotland. Rapid rivers, acres of woodland vegetation, snow capped peaks, the odd water-vole, general woodsy stuff.
Eager to meet new people I informed the lady at the desk that yes indeed I was willing to share the camp spot with someone else.
Now this was the first time I’d been camping by myself; it took about an hour, and as I sat back to admire my handiwork with a second cameo I realised the tent was actually beginning to fall down. Another half hour…awesome! During my second admiring moment an Australian stepped up and said,
“Are you the Welsh guy?”
Already he knew too much about about me. “I am,” I responded apprehensively. “Hi, Andrew, how ya doing?”
“[snip – from here on in he will be known as ‘Bob’]” Is all he said his name was at this stage.
He was here to share my site, reducing the cost (groovy) and providing me with peace of mind from rampant bear attacks (at least I’d have someone to fight alongside me). So of course, as I’d erected the tent in the middle of the sight (why?) it had to be moved, and then re-erected, and I watched in astonishment as this Aussie wonder zipped up his tent in a matter of seconds. Stunning. We chatted for a while, regaling this rather amateur traveler with stories of Vietnam, Norway, Africa and his early days in Canada.
Anyway, after this lengthy conversation Bob went to make some phone calls and check out the hostel (which was a few Ks down the road) whilst I meander the forest for a whiles [presumably hunting water-voles, who knows, maybe I just fancied communing].
The campsite itself stood in the mighty shadow of Whistler mountain, with the upper station of the cable car in view within the deeply snow capped peak. It was within this shadow Bob and I sat into the somewhat nippily sunset hours (about 11pm) cooking up a mostly tasteless meal of pasta, tomato, onion and the worst sweetcorn imaginable whilst comparing knives [we are men, we compare our knives, ‘kay!] and partaking in conversation about:

So, what exactly could my mini-hook actually be used for?
Fishing for really small fish? Grabbing and dragging a bear by the jaw, perhaps? Or maybe just pulling out tent pegs.

The actual merit of the duck-n-cover-bear-escape
tactic; I mean how exactly is dropping into a foetal position and crapping yourself going to scare off a Grizzly?[snip – the conversation just got embarrassingly weird after this.]

As the evening progressed this bizarro talk reached even greater depths, so our thoughts turned to alcohol and a quick call to the local liquor delivery service saw us receive 12 cans of luke-warm beer and a startling Starburst addiction.

Perhaps fuelled by the beer, or maybe even the Starbursts, I suddenly found myself becoming my fictional character Andy Richards [why? to this day I have no idea] I had a relationship with Natalie and was studying Photography at college. It should be made perfectly clear that this pretense was then kept up the entire time I was with Bob – five days of pretending to be someone that exists only in my mind, trying to remember all the details so as not to be caught out of the lie. It was however quite fun, because even though I do like myself, sometimes it is really nice not being Addy the virgin.)

So we’re into Sunday now. I crawl out my tent after a rather surprisingly good sleep (which included a [oh frack me SNIP SNIP SNIP SNIP SNIP that dream stays exactly where it is!] which was admittedly rather pleasant) and the first thing I saw was a squirrel standing not 2 feet from my tent’s awning just staring at me, almost smiling. it was a nice start to the day. Bob and I decided to hike to the Valley of the 5 lakes today.

After fifteen minutes of walking a coyote was spotted, scared away by a cyclist, so we ate cheese rolls and observed what I only presume to be chipmunks play (really small bastards, very fast and cute) before carrying on through steeper terrain to the said lakes. All of which were water of crystal blue, so clear you’d think that the water in Scotland was actually oil, which it mostly is I guess) female elk were spotted [how did I know they were female?] and then in a wonderfully bizarre scenario I was meandering along the path, look up, and a 5 feet away BAM a rather large antlered angry-looking elk right in our way!

Having read the warning information (stay back, don’t go near, move slowly) we did the only thing we knew we should: whip out our cameras and like true little tourists, snap away!

[SNIP – blimey, this entry is long! – several pages later]

…I sit by the river now, lost in a haze of memory from the last few days and feeling completely serene. After Van, it’s sooo good to be back in a rural area.
[SNIP – and just because it’s proof I am absolutely insane and should be avoided at all costs – the following entry is on the next page]
Friday 2nd June 2000
11:33pm [I really think this was meant to be ‘am’, but it was written as ‘pm’]
Jasper Municipal Library, Jasper
Scene #1
Int. Jasper Tourist Office. (Wed 31st May 2000)
In walks this dishevelled traveller, hair and beard all akimbo, jacket tied round his waist and jumper slung over his weighted day-pack. (Maybe) he had been smoking something, other than a cameo. He approaches the desk and a lady, a young looking thirty-something, smiles appropriately, trying to ignore his odour filled clothing and sweat dripping brow
TRAV – Excuse me, a friend of mine worked in town once. Is there an establishment with lobster in the name around?
GIRL – Lobster?
TRAV – Yes. Lobster.
GIRL – Well…(thinks)…there is the Loggers Lounge.
TRAV – That’s the one.
GIRL – But you said lobster.
TRAV – Indeed I did. (There is a pause, a rather uncomfortable one.) Is that? (He points over her shoulder)
GIRL – (annoyed) What?
TRAV – It is.
GIRL – Are you okay sir?
TRAV – It’s Kittyfantasticobeaver! Kittyfantasticobeaver we love you!
(The girl looks around giving the traveller enough time to bid a hasty exit, never to be seen again within those four walls)
[SNIP – I really have to end it there, not only was my Canadian journey one of the best times of my life, but my time in Jasper was simply magic on a level I have only experienced a few times in my life. There was ISH, Canada, the proper end of the millennium & it’s following months…times where I felt whole, complete and utterly in control (for the most part) and they are the times I like to remember when feeling somewhat shitty – they remind me of how awesome I can be!]