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…


Leave a comment

Thirteen goals for 2013…six months on!

Almost six months ago to the day, I wrote a post in which I set myself thirteen goals for the year ahead. Today, I thought it might prove fruitful to review how many I’ve succeeded in…and how many more I’ve yet to go!

ADDY’S

goals for 2013

~ in no particular order ~

1. Cross item one from the 101 things I want to do before I die list [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

I’m not really off to a good start, am I? I will be honest that I did have the opportunity to cross this item off back in July, but a combination of my health issues and lack of finances rendered me unable to afford/make the trip to Melbourne.

It is still on the agenda, although it is now looking less likely, with only one possible opportunity left; namely a planned trip to Melbourne in November for the Hearing Voices World Congress (which happens to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who and my birthday!)

Perhaps all this means that fate is conspiring on my side for a change!

2. Return to the Kings Domain so I can scream ‘Fuck you homelessness, I beat your ass!” [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

I still miss it. I still want to go back. I still need to scream those seven words to find some form of closure from that nightmare time of my life…but as I just mentioned, I’ve so far been unable to afford a trip to Melbourne this year, so I’m desperately hoping that November will work in my favour.

DSCN0235

“Fuck you homelessness, I beat your ass!” (Photo of my ‘home’ circa 2010 © Addy)

3. Continue going to the Hearing Voices Support Group on a weekly basis

Okay, I’ll be honest here. I haven’t been every single week. Sometimes health, exhaustion and life have gotten in the way. But I am still attending the group sessions and I’ve begun attending the committee meetings so I’m fairly linked in with the group now…so, I think I’m allowed to cross this off the list at the half way point.

Hopefully you’ll agree…if not, there is a comments field below! ;)

4. Keep working toward obtaining ongoing mental health support

Yep, I’m gonna lop this off the list as well.

I may not have psychiatric support (given my previously acknowledged hatred of the system courtesy of a c**k of a psychiatrist in 2011) but I have kept up regular meetings with my support worker at GT House, as well as a pretty decent attendance record when it comes to the social and self-help groups.

I am also properly medicated (at a decent dosage) for the first time in years and feel that people finally give a damn about me. Which is a wholly strange and un-natural feeling given the complete lack of compassion and support since 2007.

5. Start writing my novel(s) again [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

Given the rollercoaster I’ve been riding over the last six months, I’ve yet to start writing fiction again. I’m still hoping that by the end of the year I will have begun doing so again…hopefully NaNoWriMo will help!

6. Smile more [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

I still rarely smile. Sometimes I think I’ve absolutely forgotten how.

It’s not because I don’t like smiling (I really, really do!) It’s because I don’t really have all that much to smile about. Hopefully if I keep working my arse off, by the end of this year, smiling will seem as natural as frowning does to me now.

I am, however, becoming more aware of the things that make me smile – and always look forward to those moments.

lostyoursmile

7. Stop procrastinating about writing and sending emails [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

I’m still an atrocious emailer. As I said in February, it’s all tied up with my confidence and anxiety, but I’m doing my best.

8. Expand my social networking presence [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

I haven’t used Twitter since I wrote the original version of this post back in February. The whole thing kinda annoys the crap out of me now so it’s doubtful I will be returning unless I suddenly become hypomanic again!

9. Go on a holiday [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

There aren’t enough synonyms for ‘desperate’ to fully capture just how badly I want a holiday. My only real hope now is the aforementioned Melbourne trip this November…as money issues have rendered all my dream destinations unaffordable.

10. Make at least one new friend (in real-life) [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

Although I am trusting a few more people than I was in February – my support worker, a few cyber people (some of whom I’ve met up with in real-life) – I’m still isolated and incredibly lonely most of the time.

Perhaps (hopefully) come New Year’s Eve, I won’t be any more!

11. See at least 6 films in the cinema [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

So far this year I’ve seen The Hobbit and The World’s End…which means I now need to aim for one every month.

Jeepers!

moviesin2013

Films I’d like to see in 2013 (clockwise from left): City of Bones, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, Kick Ass 2, Oz: The Great and the Powerful, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thor: The Dark Worlds, White House Down..to name but a few!

12. Write at least one blog post in every month of the year [IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPLETE! :( ]

Alas, courtesy of my most recent episode and relapse, I have failed to complete this item. Sorry.

13. To stop being so hard on myself all the time and begin believing how seriously freaking awesome I am! [CURRENTLY INCOMPLETE!]

I’m probably harder on myself now than I was back in February. Whether this is a product of my recent relapse or just because I’m a little older, I don’t know…we’ll just have to see what happens over the next four months! :/

Which means that at the six month mark, I’m two down, ten to go (as one is now impossible to complete!). Blimey, I think I have my work cut out for me…but, with number 13 in mind, if anyone can do it…I can! :)

 


Leave a comment

Working with Voices: Dreams

Previously, in my series completing the Working with Voices: Victim to Victor workbook…
~ Introduction
~

stars

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
~ Louisa May Alcott ~

My life goals…

“Close your eyes and think about what you want to achieve by working though this workbook. Spend at least thirty minutes simply thinking about where you want to be in your life.”

Several weeks ago, during the second week of my Hearing Voices Support Group, we completed this very same exercise. During that group we had considerably less than thirty minutes to think about where we would like to be in life, but I wrote the following dreams:

◊ To feel more connected to myself both physically and mentally
◊ To no longer be afraid of being homeless again
◊ To be able to talk to people without intense anxiety (making me look like a twat!)
◊ To acknowledge my achievements instead of constantly berating them
◊ To feel happiness again
◊ To see my writing published again
◊ Increase my confidence
◊ To no longer be isolated and alone
◊ To have a better relationship with my voices
◊ To love and be loved in return (cheers, Moulin Rouge!)
◊ To believe in myself
◊ To have a pet turtle (whom I shall name Magnus)
◊ To have a family
◊ To no longer be traumatized by abuse
◊ To be able to share my thoughts without fear of judgment, ridicule and humiliation

Now that I have had more time to contemplate, I would like to add the following to that list:

◊ To better manage my insomnia and sleeping patterns
◊ To build a stronger and more varied set of coping skills
◊ To become a functioning and contributing member of society
◊ To find a head space where I am not controlled by fear, negative thought or anxiety

If, in the future, I think of any further dreams I will add them to the above list alongside a notation of when it was added.

My goals for 2013…

“Then ask what would be realistic to achieve in one years’ time.”

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post in which I shared thirteen of my goals for 2013. As it fits neatly into this section of the workbook I have rewritten the thirteen goals, along with any updates of my progress (if there has been any).

1. Cross item one from the 101 things I want to do before I die list
Having narrowly missed out on this a few weeks ago (cheers poverty and anxiety!) this may (and I stress MAY) happen on July 13th…if all goes to plan! :p
2. Return to the Kings Domain so I can scream ‘Fuck you homelessness, I beat your ass!”
As item (1) involves travelling to Melbourne, this may (and I stress MAY) happen on July 14th…if all goes to plan! :p
3. Continue going to the Hearing Voices Support Group on a weekly basis
So far I’ve missed only one group this year and am actually looking forward (!) to attending on Friday after the break for Easter last week! :)
4. Keep working toward obtaining ongoing mental health support
I still haven’t found the courage to see a psychiatrist but I haven’t ruled it out, yet. I will also be doing more therapy focussed groups next term.
5. Start writing my novel(s) again
6. Smile more
7. Stop procrastinating about writing and sending emails
8. Expand my social networking presence
9. Go on a holiday
10. Make at least one new friend (in real-life)
11. See at least 6 films in the cinema
Still only seen the one. So now I have to see five films in eight months. Not looking good! :/
12. Write at least one blog post in every month of the year
January…check, February…check, March…check, April…check! Yep, all going well so far!
13. To stop being so hard on myself all the time and begin believing how seriously freaking awesome I am!
No change yet.

And as I am no longer constrained by the limitations of a Thursday Thirteen post, I would like to add:

14. To exchange a ‘hug’
Because it’s been far (FAR) too long since I was last hugged!

hugs

As it’s been so long since I hugged anyone I realised some research was necessary if I stand any chance of achieving this goal. I’m not sure if I’m capable of a “flying hug” just yet…perhaps that will be something to work toward in 2014! :p

~ Next ~
Nightmares


2 Comments

Thirteen goals for 2013…

Courtesy of my depressive episode, I spent most of the first month of this year drinking, beating myself up and wishing I was dead. As such I wasn’t able to indulge in the customary ‘goals for the year ahead’ list I normally write. Until now…

ADDY’S

goals for 2013

~ in no particular order ~

1. Cross item one from the 101 things I want to do before I die list

I began writing my ‘goals for the year ahead lists’ when I was fifteen. This item has been on every single one of them! :p

2. Return to the Kings Domain so I can scream ‘Fuck you homelessness, I beat your ass!”

I haven’t been to the Kings Domain since the last night I slept there (21 June 2011).

Of all the ‘homes’ I had during my time on the street this was by far the longest (nearly two years on/off) and thus has become a place that will forever remind me of that brutal period of my life. I haven’t returned to Melbourne since leaving the city in mid-2011, making this my longest period away from Melbourne since arriving in Australia.

I miss it. I want to go back. I need to scream those seven words to find some form of closure from that nightmare time of my life.

DSCN0235

“Fuck you homelessness, I beat your ass!” (Photo of my ‘home’ circa 2010 © Addy)

3. Continue going to the Hearing Voices Support Group on a weekly basis

However difficult I’ve found the groups so far – as readers of my Hearing Voices Support Group series will be aware – I’m determined to keep pushing myself to attend. I need to understand my voices. I need to create better relationships with them. And in all honesty, however anxiety inducing the groups have been, I really do enjoy going to them.

So I’m hoping over the next ten months I will continue to do so…and that sooner rather than later I’ll begin feeling more comfortable being there.

4. Keep working toward obtaining ongoing mental health support

As regular readers of my blog will be aware, I have very little support when it comes to my mental health. In fact, for the last six years I’ve had to deal with severe, complicated and ongoing illnesses all on my lonesome – which is probably why they’ve been devolving on a month-by-month basis.

So, as I’ve been doing, I will continue working toward gaining MH support throughout the remainder of this year.

Hopefully this is one goal I will succeed in.

5. Start writing my novel(s) again

I’ve spoken a lot of my desire to write fiction again. I have the characters, I have the plots, I have the skills…I just don’t have the confidence nor the ability to overcome my MH caused fiction writer’s block. So – somehow – I need to find both of these things and just get my ass writing again.

Or rather my hands writing again, as it would be a little difficult to write using that other body part :p

6. Smile more

I rarely smile. Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten how.

It’s not because I don’t like smiling (I really, really do!) It’s because I don’t really have all that much to smile about. Hopefully if I keep working my arse off, by the end of this year, smiling will seem as natural as frowning does to me now.

lostyoursmile

7. Stop procrastinating about writing and sending emails

I am an atrocious emailer. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s that I keep convincing myself I will be bothering people if I send them an email – when it’s more likely I’m bothering them more by not sending them! Again, it’s all tied up with my confidence and anxiety; like so many of the issues behind the goals I have for this year are.

8. Expand my social networking presence

I don’t use many social networks…Twitter, one that shall remain nameless…but my presence on them is weak at best. I need to communicate on them more. For if I can build my confidence in this area, perhaps I can build it to communicate in real-life as well! :)

9. Go on a holiday

The last ‘holiday’ I went on was in 2008…but that was more ‘therapy’ than holiday as it saw me fighting anxiety and suicidal ideation, kicked out of a B&B and visit a hospital.

I’d love to be able to go somewhere and just chill! Take a hike through the wilderness, climb mountains, spend days photographing all sorts of weird and beautiful images, relax on the beach reading (occasionally) naughty books. You know, the sorts of things that normal people do when they go on holiday!

Dream Destinations: Tasmania, Canada, Scotland, Thailand, New Zealand, Siberia (:p) and/or the Antarctic.

10. Make at least one new friend (in real-life)

However much I love the wonderful friends I’ve made online (you all know who you are!) it would be quite an achievement if I could make a friend in real-life. Someone whom I could hang out with, share drinks and random conversations with, play Strip Mario Kart with (okay, that would have to be a very close friendship :p)

But although my heart continues to believe that everyone deserves a friend…my brain has convinced me I deserve to spend my life alone.

And that’s a hard belief to break free of after six odd years of isolation.

11. See at least 6 films in the cinema

This amounts to one every two months – which should be completely and utterly achievable…until you remember I only saw two films in the cinema last year! :/

But I’ve already seen one this year (The Hobbit) so there’s only five to go!

moviesin2013

Films I’d like to see in 2013 (clockwise from left): City of Bones, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Great Gatsby, Iron Man 3, Kick Ass 2, Oz: The Great and the Powerful, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Thor: The Dark Worlds, White House Down..to name but a few!

12. Write at least one blog post in every month of the year

Now I’ve pretty much decided to continue onwards with my blog (detractors and haters be damned!) I would very much like for this year to be the first that has blog posts written in every month. As I nearly failed before I began – with only a few posts in January – we’ll just have to see how I go :)

13. To stop being so hard on myself all the time and begin believing how seriously freaking awesome I am!

Pretty self-explanatory really…now, I just have to start doing it! :)


2 Comments

If you were famous, why would you be famous?

In response to my Ask me Anything post, Pride in Madness posed this question:

If you were famous, why would you be famous?

The Dream…

Other than when I’m a tad manic, I’ve never believed (nor wanted) to write a book that catapults me into the realm of world-wide recognition and reward that J.K Rowling or E.L James inhabit, but I’d be lying to say I haven’t dreamed of writing a much-loved series of novels or an opinion-dividing trilogy of erotic fiction.

Ever since I was a child I’ve dreamed of being a writer, of publishing a book that is as loved as Matilda, as genre-defining as Moonheart or as poetic as Greenvoe. A novel that transports readers to another time and place, that touches their heart in ways they never thought possible and inspires them to follow their dreams no matter what anyone thinks of them.

I’ve dreamed of walking into a bookstore and seeing my name on the spine of a book and hoping that someone – anyone – loves that book in the way I cherish Quest for a Kelpie, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Hotel New Hampshire or Thongs.

If I could choose how I could be famous, being an author would be it, for it’s one of my oldest dreams.

The Reality…

But the reality is it’s unlikely I will ever achieve fame as a writer or, in complete honesty, anything.

If I were to become famous it would most likely be for another reason entirely. Something much quieter, much smaller, than anything most would consider worthy of world-wide fame.

Perhaps it would be for being an advocate for those members of society that the all-powerful middle class has deemed unworthy of having a voice; the mentally ill, the homeless, the poverty-stricken, the victims of abuse (both female and male). Perhaps for being someone who never gave up on his beliefs regardless of the perils he faced along the way. Perhaps for being someone who did whatever he could to help those less fortunate than himself, no matter the cost.

In many respects this fame would be preferred over that of being a writer.

For who wouldn’t want to be famous for helping the lives of others?


5 Comments

Dear Older Me,

Today’s prompt from the WordPress Daily Post blog is: write a letter to yourself in 20 years.

Dear Older Me,

You are probably dead.

Here’s hoping it was quick, painless and didn’t win a Darwin award.

Love and Hugs,

Younger You xx

PS: If you’re not dead:

◊ Give your wife a kiss and a bum squeeze from me. Don’t look at me like that! I’m you remember, only more Hobo-Chic than Silver Fox. There’s not a chance in hell you made it to fifty-three trapped in the same isolation you used to be in. You know as well as I that would have killed you long ago :) Besides, I know how hard you worked to get where you are because I’m the one doing all the hard work – and there’s no chance someone as awesome as us could work so hard and not get a payoff from it!

◊ Are you still writing All that I am, all that I ever was. Please tell me we’re at least in contention for longest running blog in the history of the world? You know that would be freakin’ awesome!

◊ I’m hoping that you told our family tales of yesteryear when you took them on a tour of Scotland. If you didn’t, why not? Seriously. Do you not remember how happy you were back them; gazing out over the loch hunting for Nessie (your kids will love that), hiking through Glen Nevis, taking boat trips to the Isle of Rum, skinny dipping in Loch Shiel? Okay, perhaps save that last one for your wife only, don’t want to scar the children for life! Hell, you better have fulfilled your fantasy of skinny dipping with someone in Loch Shiel…if not, the two of you should go back there this instant and get all nekkid! :p

◊ If I were to time-travel to a bookstore twenty years from now, will I be able to find a copy of The Ghosts That Haunt Me? Because if I do time-travel and I don’t find a copy with our name on it…you and I are going to have a serious conversation, young-at-heart man!

◊ If you haven’t already, you need to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made in the past against those you love. They wouldn’t want you holding onto that guilt forever. Well, not all of them, anyway.

◊ Are your kids close to P&K’s kids? I’m seriously hoping that they are. If not, get to it!

◊ Please, please, for the love of all those mystical things in the shadows, tell me you never became homeless again? If you did, then we’re really gonna have that serious conversation!

◊ If you haven’t crossed at least 50% from your bucket list you’re going to have to promise me you’ll dedicate the next twelve months of your life to succeeding in that goal.

◊ If you haven’t crossed off item one – WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? DO IT NOW!

◊ And c’mon, am I not allowed to fantasize about giving future Mrs. Addy (or did you take her name…I bet you did, didn’t you?) a wee squeeze on her beautiful posterior? She probably secretly loves it. No way someone would have married you if they didn’t like the occasional surreptitious bum squeeze when you give them a passionate kiss :p

PPS: Rejoice! You finally wrote a PS longer than the body of the letter!

PPPS: In all seriousness, I hope that when you read this letter you will look back on the last twenty years of your life and be kind to yourself. Remember, but don’t dwell, on all the dark places you visited. Remember all those times when you wanted to give up, when you lived completely alone, when you had to fight the daily ‘getting out of bed’ battle, when your home was a park in Inner Melbourne.

And as you remember all those times, look around you; at your wife, at your children, at your home, at all the wonderful things in your life, and just let yourself have one moment, just one moment when (out of earshot of the kids) you stand up and proclaim “I fucking did it!”

Because you really are awesome, Mr. Used to be Addy til you took your wife’s name!

But hey, you don’t need me telling you that. You’ve known it all along.

You just didn’t believe it until now. :)


5 Comments

7 Wants…

A while ago I had a conversation about what I’d do if I had the Disability Support Pension approved.

After a few moments of thought I informed him I’d pay some rent, sort out some overdue bills, stock up food cupboards and buy some new clothes. They were quite surprised I didn’t say games console, Blu-Ray player, iPhone or blow the whole lot on a DVD collection.

Sensing my unease, they informed me that a moment of altruism after all I’ve been through is something no-one would blame me for (middle class web commentators aside, of course!) but after all I’ve experienced, I’m not sure I can be altruistic any more.

1. A bookshelf

My book collection isn’t spectacular. I have a few, picked up from charity shops and library sales, but it lacks the diversity and brilliance of my collection from years ago. The books I have are currently propped up on the kitchen counter gathering breadcrumbs, rogue cooking debris and make me feel like I live in a warehouse.

Hence my desire for a bookshelf :)

2. A haircut

I haven’t been able to afford a haircut since May 2010. There are no words to capture the mess that is my hair at the moment. So if I get the DSP approved and I can overcome my anxiety of hairdressers I will be getting it cut almost immediately!

3. A Digital SLR

Is this being too altruistic? It’s certainly more expensive than a bookshelf and it’s not exactly an essential item like a haircut.

Or is it? Back in the days that I owned a camera I would often venture out on all day photo-shoots when consumed with anxiety or stress. Just walking around the suburbs, towns or glens snapping off photograph after photograph filled my heart with joy and relaxed my soul.

It’s not just a hobby or aspiring profession for me; it’s therapy.

4. A new wardrobe

As I’ve previously written I can buy new clothes once a year. If I don’t get the DSP my next clothes shopping trip will be in January. To say I’m tired of wearing the same grotty, fast disintegrating clothes I’ve been wearing for the last ten months would be an understatement!

How am I supposed to feel good about myself when I don’t feel good about what I’m wearing?

5. A holiday

Massively altruistic. But I could really, really do with a couple of weeks kicking back and thinking only of relaxation and adventure.

6. Friend(s)

Do I even need to say this? I love all my blogging friends (hugs to you all) but it would so wonderful to have a friend in real life :)

but most of all

7. To meet my nephew (and forthcoming niece)

My nephew is now two years old and I have yet to meet him. My niece will be born early next year.

Perhaps I could combine items 5 and 6 and take a jaunt to see them both at the same time…yeah, right!But it’s nice to dream :)