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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Daily Prompt: Morton’s Fork

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:

If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

To blog or not to blog

Given I’ve been thinking recently of ending the blog, this isn’t a difficult choice at all; I would read other blogs and not write my own.

Being someone who often questions why he continues to write a blog, I’d much rather throw myself into the worlds of others than continue sharing my own. This way, I could keep up to date with news, current affairs, opinions, the occasional naughty photograph and the lives of others without having to worry about creating interesting post ideas, the continual embarrassment of sharing my existence so publicly and whether or not anyone is enjoying what I’ve written.

Granted, for a long time this blog has been my only therapy. It has been there when no-one else was, helped me through difficult and painful experiences and provided solace when all felt lost. But if I didn’t write this blog I could still achieve this release through journals without having to bother anyone with my meandering, soul-searching ramblings.

There is also Twitter, which although far from a safe place, could offer the chance to micro-blog my pain and continue my quest to raise awareness of the things society prefers not to talk about.

So all up, this choice is simple, but the choice over whether I should end the blog in reality is a lot more complicated.

Until I’ve decided, I’ll just continue with the best of both worlds.

 


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The turning point of my life

Yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:
Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?
(Yeah, I’m running late again. Sorry, a virus ate my brain…ok, just kinda messed it up a bit :p)

Over the years I have spoken to many psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and therapists. Some have been decent human beings who have been able to emphasise and help me piece together the shattered remnants of my mind. Others have been arrogant, obnoxious, sociopathic fuckwits whose God Complex rendered them completely unable to even understand what the word empathy meant, let alone show it toward another human being.

But what all the decent ones have had in common is simple, their shared belief that my life would not have taken the direction it took had one incident not happened in early 2007. In fact, I have said many times over the years I’ve been writing this blog, that I consider this moment the turning point of my life.

What actually happened…

Whilst suffering from Glandular Fever, three days after being diagnosed with another serious illness, less than two weeks after I had returned to full-time tertiary education for the first time in five years, five days after she’d asked if she could move in with me because ‘she loved me more than anyone she’d met’ my girlfriend sent me a text message – that came without any conversation, warning or explanation – informing me: ‘not to contact her for 14 days under any circumstances.’

She then listed several ‘demands’ that I would need to make if I wanted her to ‘speak to me again’. These demands amounted to: overcoming Glandular Fever, changing my entire personality, eradicating mental illness, never talk to my friends (or her) about my problems again and understand that her life, stress, issues and problems were the only thing that mattered.

The snowball…

The suddenness of this message, coupled with the stress and pain of my illness(es), meant that: three days later I lost my college course, and with it my chance of university and a career. The isolation had a negative impact on my Glandular Fever recovery and increased my physical pain and suffering. Three weeks later I suffered a complete physical and mental breakdown, I began self-harming on a daily basis, I lost my entire social network (bar one person), all forms of income and every possession I owned. Three months later I was rendered homeless after leaving Melbourne to escape her continual abuse and harassment.

Why she sent the message…

“I didn’t want an emotional situation the day I went back to university,” (Feb 2007)
“I had to teach you that what you did to your [ex-girlfriend] was wrong,” (March 2007);
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to. Why are you shouting at me?” (April 2007);
“People are telling me it was a stupid thing to do. I agree with them. I don’t know why I [sent that message].” (April 2007);
“I still love you,” (May 2007).

What if…

If the text message had never been sent, it is highly likely that: I would never have lost my college course, within weeks I would have made new friends through college, a part-time photography course I had enrolled in would have commenced, I would have recovered from Glandular Fever much, much quicker and the breakdown would never have happened as I wouldn’t have lost everything in my life (the root cause of the breakdown.)

The new connections I had been making online would have happened in reality, in fact I had arranged to meet someone the day she re-appeared fifteen days after sending the message. I would never have lost my income, student finances would have been approved and I would never have had to sell everything I owned. My social network would have been unaffected, I would never have been forced out of my home (thus, even though I don’t like drawing the connection) I would never have been assaulted and raped.

By now, I would have graduated from both college and uni – with many people, including myself, believing I could have excelled at both – and be working in a career of my choice, choosing and passion. I would have a home, a social network, a relationship and (possibly) a family. My mental and physical health would never have reached the nadir that they became and I would be happy.

I’m sure of it.

But hey, like she and my friends told me, I deserved it.


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Would you mind if I pretended I was someone else, with courage in love and war.

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:
Take a line from a song that you love or connect with.
Turn that line into the title of your post.

We spend our lives wanting to be someone else, deriding and criticising every aspect of our appearance, personality and heart.

Our bums are too big, our bodies are too fat, our nipples too inverted, our courage too slight, our bank balance too small, our toes too abnormal, our hearts too broken, our mistakes too defining, our lips too thin, our backs too hairy, our fantasies too twisted, our lives never good enough, our days spent trying to earn love, recognition, forgiveness and respect from everyone under the sun (including ourselves).

Yet through all this self-hate and self-criticism we never realise how perfect we are in our entirety.

We are unique. We are beautiful. We are amazing. Every single one of us.

So perhaps we should stop wanting, dreaming, desiring, criticising, hating and pretending to be someone else. Perhaps we should just be who we are and be happy with that person.

For there is no-one else in the world quite like us.

Weak in the Knees, officially my favourite song of all time, from my favourite artist of all time.

 


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Be the change you wish to see in the world

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:
What change, big or small, would you like your blog to make in the world?

When I started writing this blog, my goal was simple:

I am not my mental illness(es); I am so much more than that.

For years, anyone who was aware of my mental health problems saw only the illnesses. Whether it was the “unhappy, negative depressed man”, the “self-hating self-harmer”, the “selfish suicidal idiot” or the “freak with bipolar”, my illnesses were all I was judged on.

I was lazy, selfish, self-absorbed, uncaring, uncompassionate and a waste of space. I was useless, worthless, weak and someone who would never amount to anything. I was suffering from ‘a figment of my imagination’. I was a terrible friend. I was a cancer that sucked the life out of everyone I met. I was better off dead.

I was someone who didn’t understand what hard work was and I would never – ever – amount to anything as a result.

Since then I’ve endured more pain than any human being should in their lifetime. And yet through all the pain, all the sadness, trauma, tragedy and unhappiness I am still standing, I am still breathing, I am still laughing and I am still doing all I can to further my life, inspire others and become the change I want to see in the world…

…and yet I am still judged only on the labels that people have attached to me. Labels that are no longer based solely on mental health, but the added stigmas of homelessness, social isolation, disability, physical health, lack of education and unemployment.

More than anything else in the world I abhor discrimination. I hate (with an intense and fiery passion) anyone who judges someone they do not know based on their health, appearance, colour, creed, religion, nationality, sexual proclivity or any aspect of their personality.

None of this affects who are we and no person on this planet is better than anyone else. No-one has the right to judge others, let alone discriminate against them based on things that most have no real-world experience of.

That’s what I want to change in this world.

I want to shatter the perceptions people have of homelessness, mental health, social isolation and poverty. I want to spank the stigma and start making society understand that people living with these issues are not mere statistics, but unique, beautiful human beings with unique, beautiful hopes and dreams.

And the only way I can do this is to share myself completely the only way I know how.

My writing is raw. I don’t pull any punches, I don’t sugar coat my experiences nor use airy-fairy language.

My writing is challenging. I want people to think after reading my posts. I want them to ask questions over how they see the world.

My writing is personal. It would never win accolades from professional writers, but it’s true to who I am.

My writing is brutally honest, more so than many I’ve come across. Why? Because I’m tired of the lies and masks we’re forced to wear to be accepted.

Writing the way I do is exhausting, emotional, upsetting and at times traumatic. And if I feel the way I do after writing some posts, I can only imagine how it affects other people.

But if I can challenge just one person’s view of the world they live in; if I can alter just one person’s perception that people are more than their illness(es) and circumstances; if I can stop just one person discriminating against another; then I have succeeded in what I wanted to do.

Even if that one person is myself.

 


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I appear to be suffering from Blonguoritis

Today’s WordPress Daily prompt is:
Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

[blong-ger] noun;
Origin: derived from ‘languor’

1. a lack of energy or vitality when it comes to creating and writing blog posts
2. a lack of spirit or interest when it comes to the past time of blogging
3. a state of listlessness; sluggishness in relation to updating one’s personal web log

~ see also ~

[bi-blong-ger] noun;

1. a state of blonguor specifically arising from the mood swings associated with bipolar affective disorder; e.g. their depressive episode has resulted in biblonguor

~ both can lead to ~

[blong-ger-ahy-tis] noun;

Pathology: a prolonged period of writer’s block and lack of energy that affects the ability to create, write sentences, or voice opinion. Normally accompanied with a sensation that the brain no longer functions, a heightened confusion of the blogging platform’s intricate dashboard and a sense of paranoia that one’s blog isn’t good enough, normally leading to long periods of inactivity, curling up under the duvet and overconsumption of ‘Pineapple and Tahitian Lime’ Gelati.

Cure: there is no known cure for Blonguoritis. However, treatment options include:

1. Getting a friend to slap you in the face (or body part of choice)
2. Listening to 1980s power ballads (such as The Final Countdown or Eye of the Tiger)
3. Sexual intercourse
4. Writing prompts (such as the WordPress Daily Prompt, Plinky or a Blog Challenge)
4. All of the above, simultaneously.


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Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits…ahhh, no!

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:
Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.

ME: No.

WORDPRESS MODERATOR: Excuse me?

ME: I said no.

WPMOD: Did you just say no?

ME: I did. No, no and thrice times no.

WPMOD: I would think very carefully about what you’re saying if I were you young man.

ME: I always think carefully about what I’m saying. Every time I write a blog post I think carefully about what I write. Can I use a better word here? A more entendre laden word there? Is there a better pop culture reference I can slot in? Or a more oblique reference that only those who really know me will raise a sly smile over. So when I say no. I really, one hundred percent, mean no.

WPMOD: You do realise if you don’t answer this question, I’ll have to send you to the Principal’s office.

ME: For starters, I’ll have the vegetable spring rolls. For seconds, you’ve just illustrated my point. For thirds, go ahead, ain’t nothing she – or he, given I’m not one for gender bias – can do to make me change my mind.

WPMOD: Addy, your task was simple, you are supposed to write a glowing puff piece about the amazing merits of something that repulses you. So unless you have a reasonable excuse…

ME: …I’m assuming a dog ate my computer is not a reasonable excuse…

WPMOD: …no, it most definitely is not. So unless you have a reasonab…

ME: …what about a dragon?

WPMOD: What?

ME: What if a dragon ate my computer? Or a wombat? Or a feral gerbil?

WPMOD: There’s no such thing as a feral gerbil.

ME: You obviously never met the gerbils we had as pets. They attacked my brother in the middle of the night, you know.

WPMOD: Now you’re just being silly. Until you’ve written your assignment based on today’s topic, you are not leaving that chair.

ME: What if I need to pee?

WPMOD: Then you hold it in.

ME: What if a friend pops around for an uninvited visit?

WPMOD: You’re socially isolated, Addy, there will be no unscheduled visits as you don’t have anyone who will visit you.

ME: How could you possibly know that?

WPMOD: We’re WordPress, Addy. We know everything.

ME: Then you do realise what I’m thinking right now.

WPMOD: Yes. An Orwellian reference? Really? You have nothing better than that.

ME: Anything to keep me from writing today’s assignment.

WPMOD: Why do you always have to make everything so difficult. All you need to do is think about lungbutter, or canine excrement, or octopi…didn’t you say recently you hated Octopi? Why not write an amusing post sarcastically pointing out the merits of eating Octopus?

ME: Well. One, I don’t want to. Two, that would be a stupid post for a blog written by a kinky (ex) homeless romantic with mental health problems. Three, I don’t want to. Four, who the frack wants to read a post sarcastically pointing out the merits of eating Octopus? Five, I don’t want to. And six, well I can’t think of one right now but I tend to write lists in sixes, as you should well know.

WPMOD: Yes. We’re aware of your proclivities.

ME: So why don’t we just agree to disagree on this one, you can totter off and freshly press something and I can make a sandwich.

WPMOD: You are the one who set yourself the challenge of answering our prompts. As such you entered into a contract with WordPress and will be subject to recrimination should you fail.

ME: Firstly, I am not contractually obligated to you for anything. Secondly, punish me, see if I care. I’d happily get sent to the principals office. Then, I could stand in front of him and declare I was standing up to my principal for not answering the daily prompt. Granted, it would work better if WordPress could arrange for the deputy to be in the office as well, as then I would be standing up to my principals. Geddit?

WPMOD: Unfortunately, I do.

ME: Meh, it’s late, and I’ve had a long day. You do realise your prompt is keeping me from writing a post I want to write entitled The Pleasures of a Painful Posterior (and other alliterations), don’t you? Which isn’t password protected, by the way, it’s about bicycles.

WPMOD: Well, if you answered the question you could write that absurdly titled post, couldn’t you?

ME: How many times do I have to say it? I. Am. Not. Answering. Your. Prompt. So ground me, spank me, give me lines, arrest me. Do whatever you want for there is nothing that will make me write what you want me to.

WPMOD: I may do all of those things, young man, should you continue to show such obstinace.

ME: Fine. Whatcha gonna do first?

WPMOD: This isn’t supposed to be complicated, Addy. This prompt is supposed to produce fun little posts that make people giggle and laugh…

ME: …exactly!

WPMOD: You don’t want to make people giggle and laugh?

ME: You want to know what repulses me? Sure, I don’t like eating Octopus…or olives, or veal. I don’t like Jeggings, for starters, I look terrible in them, for seconds, why do they even exist? Nor do I like The Frog Song, or reality television, being alone, academic wank, spiders, Alan Jones or, as you so eloquently put it, canine excrement. But I don’t find any of those repulsive. What I do find repulsive is hypocrisy. Arrogance. I find someone who decides that a homeless person is a worthless piece of canine excrement without talking to him – or her, given I’m not one for gender bias – to find out the what, why and wherefores of how he – or she – got there, to be repulsive. I find discrimination, whether it’s against race, gender, skin colour, religion, political opinion, Bond preference, class or health to be beyond repulsive. And don’t, ever, get me started on abuse, abuse sympathising or victim blame mentality.

They are the things I find repulsive, and given you know ‘everything’, as you so kindly pointed out, do you honestly think I’m the sort of person to sacrifice my moral standing to write a puff piece in favour of any of those things? On Addy’s blog today there’s a post talking about how everyone should discriminate against the mentalyl ill because, hey, stigmatizing a health condition is fun! See that woman in the pub, yeah, the one flashing the base of her butt because her shorts are on the tiny side, you should go over to her and pinch her ass. You should fondle her, degrade her, objectify her and generally do whatever you want to her because she’s a woman, and she was put on this planet to be your plaything. Obama was re-elected? W.T.F? What the frack is a black man doing in the white house? In fact, why are black people even allowed to walk freely in society? Same goes for gay people, and overweight people, those lazy bastards.

As for people who have been the victims of abuse? They absolutely deserved everything that happened to them. Of course it’s their fault. Don’t they realise that the abuse happened because they invited it with their clothes, their actions, that they dared to be born with a vagina – or a penis, as I certainly don’t have gender bias when it comes to abuse – and why stop there? Why not launch into a wee diatribe about how the abuse was a good thing, that their nightly nightmares merely make them stronger, that their ongoing pain is simply punishment for being a bad person who deserves to kill themselves.

Oh, but all sarcastically, of course. Just to give people a wee giggle.

WPMOD: I think you’re taking this a wee bit too seriously.

ME: I probably am. But, like the word hate, repulse is a strong word for me. I use it only to describe the things I am vehemently opposed to. And they are all things I would never – even if you grounded me for a decade, beat my ass raw, made me write a billion gazillion lines or put me in prison for the rest of my natural life – never, write anything positive about in any way, shape or form. Even sarcastically. Because all someone would need to do is highlight, CTRL+C, CTRL+V, delete the ‘this is all sarcastic’ line and they turn me into someone I would never be.

WPMOD: Who would do something like that?

ME: Who would tell someone who’d had a breakdown to kill themselves because their voice was so boring and monotonous it inflicted pain on everyone they talked to? Who would tell someone they deserved the months of emotional abuse they’d received that had destroyed their life? Who would tell someone that the rape they experienced sounded like a bit of fun? The world is full of shitty people, doing and saying shitty things, in order to get whatever they want in life and to hell with everyone else.

Personally, I want to focus on the awesome people. Sure, I want my blog to be entertaining, but I also want to make people think, to challenge them and their perceptions. And writing a puff piece about lungbutter is only going to make people think I’ve lost my mind, and I’m a hard enough person to like as it is.

WPMOD: You do tend to ramble on a bit.

ME: Yes, yes I do.

WPMOD: You have no idea how to end this post, do you?

ME: No, no I don’t.

WPMOD: Well, to help you out, I will let you off this once. But any further refusal to answer the prompts will result in immediate punishment. And you know what that means, don’t you?

ME: A password protected post?

WPMOD: Exactly. And we don’t want that now, do we Addy.

ME: I dunno. Sounds kinda fun if you ask me.

WPMOD (Shaking head): Good night, Addy.

ME: Goodnight, WordPress. Until tomorrow.


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Six things I’ve done that I would recommend you never (ever) do

Yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt was:
Tell us about something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do.
(What? I’m running late. Sue me :p)

1. Opt for love over a university course…

Once upon a time I was accepted into a highly regarded university photography course. If I’d taken the course I’d most likely be a world-famous photographer by now, spending my day’s shooting inspiring landscapes and releasing erotic/fetish folios under a pseudonym.

Instead, after chosing love, I’m an (ex) homeless socially-isolated mentally-ill man after the person I emigrated for had a relationship with another man, lied to me for years and never once understood how her actions made me feel in light of the sacrifices I’d made for her.

Yep, don’t even think about it. Choose education.

2. Turn down the chance of realising one of your dreams…

In 1999, my anxiety seized control of my mind and body and pulled me away from realising a life-long dream. To this day, no matter how hard I’ve tried this dream has remained unfulfilled. I hope it won’t stay that way forever…

3. Watch Catwoman

I watched it once…and then wanted to gouge my eyes out with a spoon!

If you really need a Catwoman fix, I recommend Batman Returns or a session playing Lego Batman :)

4. Let a friend down…

I’ve done it. And I lost their friendship forever.

If you value your friendships always be there for those you love, otherwise your regret will eat away at you from the inside like a vicious parasite and leave you an empty, hollow, husk of the person you once were.

5. Attempt suicide…

Overdoses…hanging…wristcutting…jumping…drowning…been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. However bad you feel, however lost you find yourself, however confused you become, however much pain you’re feeling, it will get better.

So if you feel suicidal, seek help. Talk to your friends, call a helpline, tell someone…anyone!

The alternative is not worth thinking about.

6. Streak down a major shopping mall in order to win a kinky bet…

…actually, no. I would whole-heartedly recommend you do this whenever the situation presents itself :p

W00T! Lego Batman!

W00T! Lego Batman! (Photo credit: Carol Browne)