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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The day has finally arrived!

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Well, the day has finally arrived. In just a short few hours my support worker will be picking me up to drive me to the train station, where I will board a train that departs for Melbourne, and then…I will be on holiday! For one whole week I will be able to gallivant around Melbourne doing all sorts of exciting, bizarre and wacky things. Art galleries, museums, aquariums…they will all be my oyster! I will get to take random photographs of street art, architecture, the hustle bustle of city life and (of course) the occasional selfie! For seven days I can do whatever I like – or rather, I can do whatever my anxiety and extremely strict budget ($15 a day) allows!

Meadhbh is super excited about the trip. She’s been squealing and babbling for days about all the things we can do in Melbourne. She doesn’t understand the budget may interfere with some of our plans, so there may be a chance she’ll be let down throughout the trip, but it’s nice to have her happy and excited. Audrey, too, is longing to walk the galleries of the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) and check out the numerous laneways that mark Melbourne as the place to be. It’s rare for Audrey to be so excited about something, so it’s nice to know she can get giddy and overwhelmed, instead of being the staunchly stoic person she usually is. Shay, meanwhile, is gagging at the mouth over the sheer number of “quality totty” (his words) that he’ll get to check out (read: perve on) throughout our adventure. Despite his misogyny, it’s wonderful to have him focused on something positive, rather than endlessly pointing out the negatives which is his standard.

Vanessa, however, has been in overdrive. Over the last few days, in the lead up to our holiday, her abuse has been escalating. She’s been quick to point out all the bad things that happened to me in Melbourne, bad things that I will be reminded of as I roam the city and revisit locations from my past. These triggers are things I know she will seize upon; they will cause her to abuse me, to bombard me with critical comments and hurtful words, but I’m hoping my anticipation of her abuse will allow me the strength to ignore it. After all, I’m determined not to have anything (especially Vanessa) ruin my holiday.

Because I don’t have a laptop or smartphone capable of accessing the internet (abject poverty, remember!) it’s doubtful I will be online much over the next several days. I may visit an internet cafe if time (and money) allow, but don’t go expecting many updates or photographs over the next seven days. Know that I will be okay. Know that I will be having a good time. And I promise I’ll update you all on my adventures upon my return. And yes, you can expect a plethora of photographs to decorate your screens when I do have internet access again!

I have a few finishing touches to add to my packing, so will sign off now. Suffice to say, I am exceedingly excited, and can’t wait to board the train!

Wishing you all a happy, safe and healthy week. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do! ;)


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Finally, something to look forward to!

The last time I left Wodonga – the town I reluctantly call home – was in November 2013. I have wanted to leave it again ever since.

You see, I’m not the biggest fan of this rather desolate, uninspiring town. There is nothing to do. Nothing to see. Nothing to become passionate about. There are only a scattering of shops selling the same mundane, unessential items and an arts scene so miniature it barely registers. For a place to mean something to me, it needs to challenge me, it needs to inspire me, it needs to take my passion and multiply it ten fold. London does this. Inverness does this. Vancouver does this. Wodonga does not. All Wodonga does is suffocate me. All this insipid, uneventful town does is squeeze the passion from my soul leaving nothing but a hollowed out husk of nothingness.

So, it is with great relief that I can announce I will be leaving Wodonga.

Alas, not forever.

Just for a holiday.

But it is a holiday I’ve been waiting over eighteen months for, and a holiday that I cannot wait to begin. Last week, after months of trying to make it work, I finally got my finances in order (with a lot of help from my parents) to afford a seven-day break to Melbourne. I leave on the 19th August for seven days of fun and frivolity in the capital of Victoria. For seven whole days I get to explore the city, bathe in its culture, soak up its arts and feed the passion that has gone hungry for far too long.

I will be going to the art galleries. I will be going to the museum. I will be going to the ocean. I will be going to Lord of the Fries! I will be going to a gathering on the 21st that will challenge my social anxiety to its core. I will be doing anything and everything my heart desires; everything that it has wanted to do, but Wodonga has prevented, for the last eighteen months.

I cannot wait!

And I’m not the only one.

Meadhbh has been exceedingly excited ever since I booked the accommodation. She’s been throwing in her two cents worth about what we should be getting up to. She’s eager to spend time looking at the awesome street art that decorates many of Melbourne’s alleys and laneways. She’s keen to window shop all the elegant clothing stores that she knows we can’t afford to buy anything from. And she’s made me promise we’ll go to the aquarium to wave at all the fishes, penguins and turtles.

Audrey too is excited about the impending excursion. She, more than me, feels culturally hungry due to the dearth of options available in Wodonga. She loves art and everything to do with this avenue of life, so she cannot wait to roam the corridors of the NGV again, soaking in all the fantabulous art that is on offer. Shay, is keen to check out all the hipster chicks and professional totty (his words) that populate this international destination. He believes there is far more feminine talent on offer in Melbourne than Wodonga and is eager to perve on as many people as he possibly can. Whilst Vanessa, ever the abusive sociopath, is looking forward to reminding me of all the pain and torment that I’ve experienced in Melbourne throughout my years there.

And she’s right. However excited I am about visiting Melbourne, however overjoyed I am at being able to spend some time away from Wodonga, it is not going to be easy. I will be bombarded with memories of not only my abusive relationship but also the years I spent homeless, destitute and forgotten on Melbourne’s fair streets. Those memories may overwhelm me at times, so I’m going to have to be careful, to be alert to triggers and potential minefields, but I refuse – stubbornly so – to let this impact on my first holiday in over a year and a half. Melbourne has been bad to me – but for many years, it was good to me. And it is these memories I hope will float to the surface. After all, I need – nay, deserve – to have a good time.

For it’s been far too long since happiness visited me.

Nine sleeps to go…

 


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It’s a girl!

its-a-girlEvery now and again wonderful things happen, things that make us smile, giggle and tingle with excitement.

Yesterday, two such moments occurred. Firstly:

After spending hours doing the housework I decided to take a shower with my new shower gel. Each bottle (according to the blurb) contains 7,927 real mint leaves.

Seriously, if you’ve never showered with real mint leaf laced shower gel…do it!

It’s definitely better than smoking a menthol cigarette and (almost) better than sex! ;)

Secondly, in far more exciting, far less obscure news:

I’m an Uncle again! :D

My new baby niece was born yesterday and by all accounts mother and child are healthy, happy and doing awesome. Hopefully the father is too!

Congratulations to one and all! :)

‘Twas a good day (for a change!) :-D


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Gratitude, excitement and inspiration

Today’s prompt in my Mental Health Month Challenge is:
“write a #ListOf3 things you are thankful for/excited about/inspired by”.

Three things I’m thankful for

Thankful1. My strength

I’ve mentioned this aspect of myself on the blog so many times regular readers will probably not be surprised about its presence on this list. In fact, they will probably be groaning that once again they have to read Addy waxing lyrical about how awesome his inner strength is.

So I won’t. All I will say is that my inner strength is the only aspect of myself (physical, emotional or sexual) that no-one will ever be able to insult, attack, abuse or make me doubt myself over.

2. My home

As I stated in a recent post, without my home I would either be dead or languishing in a deeply unstable state of despair, depression and agony.

Even though I have yet to pull myself out of the mindset of feeling homeless, I am truly thankful for the unit I currently call home as without it I wouldn’t stand a chance of getting my life back on track.

3. My bipolar

An odd one, to be sure, especially in regards to yesterday’s insanity, but over the years I have begun to feel thankful for my bipolar. Unlike my social anxiety – which has brought nothing but pain and destruction to my life – the bipolar has brought some brightness to my life.

My friendship with Sammi would never have eventuated were it not for my bipolar. However brief that connection was, it will always be remembered as a highpoint of my life. In a similar vein, some of my more ‘manic’ actions, however dangerous they were at the time (and intensely embarrassing in hindsight), have gone on to become some of my happiest and most amusing memories.

Also, without wishing to sound clichéd, I firmly believe my bipolar is responsible for my creative gifts; a part of my personality that I cannot imagine living without.

Three things I’m excited about

Excitement

I don’t have three things that I’m excited about. After all I’ve endured through my life I’ve learned that getting excited leads to only one thing; disappointment.

I was excited about my college course and the changes I was making to my life in 2007…and we all know what happened there. Similarly, I was excited by the mental health community finally taking me seriously at the end of last year…until I met my last psychiatrist, and we all know what happened there.

In fact, the only thing I allowed myself to be ‘excited’ over that didn’t turn out to be utterly disappointing shite was meeting up with Sammi in Glasgow ’08.

So yeah, I don’t get excited anymore. Not about birthdays, definitely not about Christmas (more of that at a later date) and certainly – after the let downs of The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 – anything in the entertainment industry.

Three things I’m inspired by

Inspiration

1. Great writing

Whether this is fiction writing (such as Charles de Lint, George Mackay Brown, Roald Dahl or Alexander Trocchi), non-fiction writing (such as Robin Bowles, Susan Faludi, John Hemming or Michael Kaku), television writing (such as Joss Whedon, Mark Schwahn, Carter Bays & Craig Thomas or Jimmy McGovern) or current affairs writing (such as that found on The Drum, Mama Mia, Hoopla or The Conversation), great writing has long been a source of inspiration for me.

Not only does it challenge my understanding and outlook on the world and the wonderful array of people who populate it, but it drives me to work toward my dreams and give back to the world the same level of beauty, hope, excitement and wonder that such writing has given me throughout my life.

2. My old friends

The general perception amongst my old friends is that I’m a worthless, useless, lying, weak, uneducated, untalented, ugly, repulsive piece of evil shit. Or at least that’s how my abuser portrayed the general feeling amongst the people I called friends.

Personally, I believe this is a little extreme (and incorrect).

Thus, I am determined to convince the rest of the world that I’m not (and have never been) as terrible a human being as was decided all those years ago; a determination that I’ve found strangely inspiring over the last several years.

3. The hope that one day there’ll be no such thing as stigma and discrimination against the mentally ill

An odd thing to be inspired by, to be sure, but something that’s long been responsible for my stubborn refusal to give up!

One day, I truly hope that discrimination against the mentally ill, the homeless and those living in poverty will have been eradicated for good. Something that I like to believe my little blog would have helped to achieve.