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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Back to basics…

Back to Basics

Christina Aguilera | Back to Basics

Don’t worry, this post isn’t about me stripping down and baring my naked body to the world, nor is it about me deciding to release a cover version of the ‘classic’ Christina Aguilera song. Let’s be honest, the world needs neither of those things! This post stems from two conversations I’ve had with Audrey over the last two days.

The first conversation took place at approximately 3am on Friday morning. After waking me up from a particularly bizarre dream, Audrey decided to launch into a 38 minute monologue about her ‘thoughts’ regarding my blog; why she felt I wasn’t writing much anymore, why she believed I no longer feel pride about what I’m writing and a massive list of all the things she believed I should be doing to rectify the situation.

As I sat there in stunned silence – Audrey has always been a staunch opponent of my blog, so why the sudden change to advocate? – I realised that some of what she was saying was true. However, given it was the middle of the night and I was tired, exhausted and desperately in need of at least an hours sleep, I politely asked her if we could talk about this tomorrow. Although she expressed her wish to talk about it now, she agreed to hold off until later in the day but only if we met in the gardens she’d fallen in love with on our way back from the HVSG two weeks ago.

Therefore, the second conversation took place at approximately 3pm on Friday afternoon in the gardens she loves so much. Personally, I don’t really see the appeal. Yes, there is a small pond and yes, there are some awesome (most likely evil) ducks, but given our lack of rain the rest of the ‘gardens’ currently consist of dried out yellow grass that stab into your posterior when you sit down. Although this seemed to bother me far more than it bothered Audrey, who barely raised an eyebrow as she sat her cotton green dress wearing posterior down and suggested I take out my notebook.

After a brief conversation about how my HVSG had gone (more on that tomorrow) she began by reiterating what she had said in the middle of the night; that the reason [my] blog was not producing the same level of output or satisfaction as it once did was down to how far removed it is from what it once was. Several years ago, the central themes of the blog were mental health, discrimination and living with a mental illness. Now, it was about random books, odd posts about nothing and time-wasting.

According to Audrey, the substance that used to impress her so much had been replaced with an uninspired blandness that is neither thought-provoking nor inspirational. Then, whilst looking me dead in the eyes, she said I needed to go back to basics.

To her surprise (and happiness) I agreed with her. In fact, I pointed out something I’d written just last week that proved I’d been thinking along the same lines but didn’t quite know what to do about it.

Being an advocate for mental health, homelessness and sharing such personal (and intimate) details is fraught with danger, stress and potentially triggering material. Without any means to combat such emotions, writing as I once did was potentially dangerous for my current ‘fragile’ mental state.

So she told me (and if her becoming a supporter of my blog surprised me, this absolutely floored me) that she would do what she could to help me deal with whatever negative emotions that arose. Amused by my stunned silence, she began listing ideas she’d been brainstorming for possible future posts. These ideas generated a lengthy (near two-hour) session in which we lay on the grass discussing (and enjoying) how we could get my blog back to something I was proud of again.

In the end, we decided the best way to safely work toward this was to take a two-pronged approach:

(1) To finish and publish the timeline of my life (incorporating all major events that contributed to my mental health) that I’ve been writing for nearly a year.
(2) To undertake the twelve day Try Looking At It Through My Eyes challenge, as created by BoldKevin on Voices of Glass. Something I’ve been meaning to do for months. (I will hopefully be commencing this on Monday!)

By the end of the conversation I was more animated and inspired than I’ve felt in months; something that brought a rare smile to Audrey’s lips. Hopefully this mood that Audrey seems to be in will last a little longer, for she is far more fun to be around when she’s being nice than when she’s being abusive!

I’m also hoping that the inspired frame of  mind I found myself in will continue, for it has been far too long since I’ve felt anything other than morose suicidal exhaustion.

We shall see! :)

~ Please note, all text in orange are direct quotes spoken by Audrey during the conversation ~