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 ~


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Sunday Stealing: 11/11 Questions

Welcome to Sunday Stealing. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes.

Today we ripped off a blogger named Zoe from the blog Mama Geek. She states that she got it from Mummylish. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft’s thieves might take some time.

The 11/11 Questions Meme

The idea of the 11 Questions Meme is that you are given a set of 11 questions to answer…

1. What is your favorite possession?

I can’t decide between two; one that is immensely personal and one that is immensely practical.

The personal possession is a brown leather journal cover that my sister gave me as a present in the late 1990s. It is the only pre-breakdown possession that I still own!

The practical possession is my computer; an ancient, noisy, IBM desktop that was a donation from my counselling organisation shortly after I moved into my unit. It took weeks to get it to work as I needed a copy of Windows XP as it cannot handle anything beyond that but if it weren’t for this computer, lord knows what I would be doing with my time. It is my lifeline to the outside world and without doubt my most required possession.

Now, if only I can stop it crashing every five minutes and get it to load a website quicker than three minutes! :p

2. Do you like to read? If so, which books do you love best?

I love to read! My earliest memory in life is walking solo to the local library in Treharris. I visit my local library with disturbing frequency. I buy way too many books from op shops…sometimes at the expense of food! Without books, without writing, without the immense joy of reading, life would not be worth living.

Over the years I’ve been very vocal about urban fantasy being my favourite genre and over the years I’ve become tired of having to explain this genre to people, so I’m not going to here. If you know what urban fantasy is – yay! If you don’t, here’s the Wikipedia entry :p

But I love anything that has been well written (i.e. not Fifty Shades of Grey), impeccably researched (i.e. not Fifty Shades of Grey), doesn’t resort to grotesque stereotyping (i.e. not Fifty Shades of Grey) and touches my heart in hitherto unexpected ways (i.e. not Fifty Shades of Grey).

3. Do you have any pets?

Unless you count my Adipose, no. Even though pets can be a source of great comfort and therapy for people living in isolation or those with mental health problems, when you’re living in poverty and can barely feed yourself, you just cannot afford one.

But one day, I will have a pet turtle. And his name will be Magnus :p

4. What was your favorite food as a child? Is it the same now?

My parents may disagree, but I remember my favourite food to be jacket potatoes, which I still love; especially with butter and cheese. I also seem to remember loving MacDonalds (which I thankfully haven’t eaten for many, many years) and yorkshire puddings (which I unfortunately haven’t eaten for many, many years!)

One food that I usedto hate (and I mean hate) was pizza. I remember one occasion where my family went out for a birthday meal (possibly my brother) and he wanted to go to Pizza Hut. I point-blank refused and they had to take me to MacDonalds before I sat watching everyone eat their disgusting looking slices of horribleness, content with the fact Chicken McNuggets had happily filled my belly.

The first time I ate pizza was in October 1999 whilst I was long-terming in a backpacker hostel in Inverness…and I’ve loved it ever since!

5. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

It keeps me alive.

Over the months since my return to the blogosphere I’ve been very vocal (and honest) about this blog being a source of therapy as I try to deal with all of the chaos of the last several years. Unlike many bloggers (especially those in Australia) I have no aspirations to become a journalist and thus do not write pseudo-intellectual opinion pieces in the hope someone will notice me.

I write to explore myself, raise awareness of conditions general society like to keep hidden and shatter the stigmas and stereotypes of mental illness and homelessness. The fact my words may give voice to those who have been deemed unworthy of having one is my favourite thing about blogging.

That, and comments make me happy :)

6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Scotland. However much I love Australia (and I do) there is something truly magical about my homeland that cannot be described.

7. What is your favorite number?

I don’t have one. Seriously, I don’t!

8. Which of these things would you find hardest to give up for a year? Chocolate, reading, coffee or smoking?

Seriously? Why would anyone even want to give up reading for a year?

As for chocolate, it’s too expensive a treat for me these days and I have never (ever) liked the evil substance that is coffee.

But as an off/on again smoker, I would find it exceedingly difficult giving up this vice for a year. It is something I know is wrong but it assists in my coping with stress, anxiety, depression and related mental health issues; and without anything (or one) to act as a replacement, it has become a major part of my mental health coping mechanism.

However much I’d like that to be different.

9. If you could make your life into a movie, what would you name it.. and who would you want to play you?

Although this could be seen as obscene self-promotion, I wrote a whole post about this not so long ago that answers both of these questions and a whole lot more!

If a movie were to made of my life that was pure drama it would tank spectacularly at the box office because (a) no-one wants to watch a severely depressing tale of a suicidal homeless person and how he became that way and (b) it wouldn’t accurately reflect my life.

Any movie about my life would need to include random faeries, an aerial dragon attack, the occasional spanking and sword fights. All but the spanking being things generally not seen in low-budget indie dramas about mental health and homelessness.

Thus, I suggest a new genre: Urfandacows (Urban Fantasy Dark Comedy, with spanking!)

This way, the heavy drama of MH/suicide/homelessness could be told within an urban fantasy world that depicts the continuing disintegration of my mental stability (hallucinations, mania et al!) Think David Lynch directing an episode of How I Met Your Mother that’s been written by the scriptwriters of Black Books and designed by the guys behind The Dark Crystal (with the occasional spanking!)

C’mon, who wouldn’t want to see that? :p

From: My Life in a Movie

10. If you had £20,000  for a shopping spree, what would you buy?

I would donate £5,000 to a mental health charity, donate £5,000 to a homeless charity, give £5,000 to my parents and then spend the rest on: clothing, furniture for my flat, the realisation of item (1) on the bucket list and presents for friends and family.

11. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?

Oooo, a tough question with a variety of answers…

  • The ‘she’s hot so who wouldn’t want to have lunch with her’ answer: Karen Gillan.
  • The ‘he’s bloody talented and I want to learn from him’ answer: Charles de Lint.
  • The ‘sometimes I want to be seen as more intellectual than I probably am’ answer: Laurie Oaks.
  • The ‘I want to make my ex-girlfriend jealous’ answer: David Wenham.
  • The ‘I have so many questions to ask you’ answer: Robin Bowles.
  • The ‘I’m a guy so grotesque gender stereotyping denotes it should be a sportsman’ answer: Ronnie O’Sullivan.
  • The ‘few people have ever heard of them but I highly respect them’ answer: Jane Caro.
  • The ‘perhaps I could convince them to stop acting like kindergarten students’ answer: Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.
  • The ‘just because they’re completely awesome’ answer: David Tennant.
  • The ‘if time machines existed’ answer: Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn

…and then once you have answered them you have to think up 11 questions of your own to ask…

[Insert clever book themed questions title]

  1. What is your all-time favourite book to film adaptation?
  2. What book would you most like to see adapted into a movie or television series?
  3. Over the last few years, the literary industry has been obsessed with wizards, then vampires, now erotica…what would you like the next literary fad to be?
  4. Every copy of every book written before 2000 has been destroyed by an evil supervillain. So what books do we study in schools now?
  5. You have been tasked to write a sequel to a well-known literary classic; what book do you choose and what happens?
  6. What one book have you always wanted to read but haven’t got around to yet? Why this book?
  7. If you could employ an author (living or dead) to write a biography of your life, who would you offer the job to? And why?
  8. In Doctor Who, The Doctor has met (amongst others) William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells and Agatha Christie. What writer would you most like him to meet next?
  9. If you could go out for dinner with one literary character, who would it be?
  10. What books do you enjoy reading to your children (or you are looking forward to sharing with your children?)
  11. What one book do you think everyone should read? And why?

~ YOU CAN READ MY ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS HERE ~

Books - bookcase top shelf

Books – bookcase top shelf (Photo credit: ~ Phil Moore)


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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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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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As part of my plan to archive all of my blogging posts in one place, this evening I began importing the posts I wrote when I originally began writing this blog in 2007. Although I have tidied up the formatting of these posts I have not edited the post’s content in any way, shape or form. A decision made out of my desire to preserve the frame of mind I was in whilst writing those posts (i.e. confused, out of it and insane) as I began my long journey to understanding what had/was happening to me.

These posts are linked under the archive section in the right sidebar (currently October 2007, November 2007 and October 2009) should you wish to read them. Some are embarrassing, some are frightening, others not too bad at all. All are rough around the edges and unfocused…so no change there!

After posting them this evening it occurred to me that I’m not sure how back-dating posts affects people’s feeds or readers. If you did receive a sudden flood of random posts (something I don’t like doing) I do apologise and will look for a way to remedy it when I come to posting the remaining posts over the next few days.

Have a wonderful day everyone :)

 


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This is my fiftieth post since I resumed blogging a short few weeks ago. Inspired from a recent post on the Daily WordPress blog I challenged myself to write a ‘fifty reasons why I blog’ list.

So, pour yourself a glass of mead and pull up a chair, we are about to begin:

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