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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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 18

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Write a letter to the future (recovered) you.

writing_a_letter

Dear Older Addy,

I’ve never been very good at writing to you. I can write to you from the past, as you’ll only be too aware from the time bending letters you’ve received throughout your life, but I’ve never been very good at writing to you from the future, mainly because I don’t know who I’ll be writing to. Will I be writing to you who found a beautiful, kinky woman to settle down in a happy, loving relationship with? Or will I be writing to you who was consumed by his mental illnesses and lives in self-imposed hermitage? For the sake of this letter I’ve decided to opt for the former. I’m choosing to believe that you were able to overcome your mental illnesses. I’m choosing to believe that you met a wonderful woman who loves you for you are, kinks and all. I’m choosing to believe that you are the father to Amelia and Alexander, two mischievous children who keep both you and your beautiful wife on your toes. I’m choosing to believe that you are happy. That you succeeded in your recovery and have been self harm free for [insert appropriate number of years here].

The reason I have chosen to believe your future is a happy one is because I need something to cling onto. I need to believe there is hope. As you’ll only be too aware my life has been a calamity of catastrophes from the word go. All the chaos that I’ve had to deal with; bipolar, social anxiety, depressive episodes, suicidal ideation, self harm, have left me devoid of hope. Once upon a time I did believe that things would be better for me. That I wouldn’t be as alone, as isolated, as consumed as I currently am. But that was before the great depression of 2014-2015. That was before the darkness gripped my soul and rendered me unable to glimpse any light that may be out there.

I’m sure you’ll remember the great depression I’m currently locked into. The depression that took control of your mind and forced you to endure the most boring, monotonous daily routine that you’ve ever experienced. Days upon weeks upon months of doing nothing but the same, constantly fighting the urge to self harm by lighting up another cigarette, another cancer stick, that will surely come back to bite you in the future. Does it? No, don’t answer that. I know it will. I’m not an idiot. I know my actions will have some bearing on my future, but if I know, if I’m told what will happen, I will further lose the ability to hold onto hope.

And that’s what I need at the moment. Hope. I’ve written about it lately. How I’ve lost my hope. How I don’t believe there is a better future for me. How everything has become too much that even the victories seem pointless. Eight months of being self harm free and I feel nothing but nonchalant. I don’t see it as a positive. I don’t see it as anything other than an empty gesture. I’m resigned to the fact that at some point in the future I will cave, and I will return to my self-harming ways. That’s what I need from you, my fatherly friend, I need you to tell me how you managed to overcome your demons. How you managed to navigate the great depression and become the happy, fun-loving, recovered human being I’ve chosen to believe you’ve become. I need you to give me hope. I need you to give me strength. Because I’m fast running out of it. With every day that passes I lose a little more of it. With every day that passes I become weaker. More inclined to ‘give up’ and stop fighting what I believe to be inevitable.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m asking too much. Maybe I’m being too demanding. You have kids to look after. A wife to keep happy. A life to live. You don’t have time to help out a hopeless soul who has forsaken the belief his life will ever be better than this. But maybe if I ask kindly enough, if I appeal to your empathetic nature, you will find it within your heart to take pity on me. To gift me with the knowledge that I need to rekindle hope in my soul.

Perhaps you could tell me the story of how you met your wife. I’m sure there will be a story. Knowing you it’s not likely to be a simple ‘we bumped into each other in the supermarket’ tale. I’m sure there will be drama and destiny and odd little moments of cherished beauty. Perhaps you could tell me what it felt like to hold Amelia for the first time. I’m sure that was quite something. Knowing you, as you stared into the beautiful eyes of your first-born daughter, you cried. And happily so. Perhaps you could tell me how you succeeded in overcoming your self harm urges. I’m sure that was a lot of work. Knowing you, it required a great deal of determination, inner strength and help from kind, caring souls. Perhaps you could just regale me with tales of your life; your exploits, experiences and endeavors. What do you do now? Are you an inspirational speaker? An author? A filmmaker? Or are you still disabled, struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck, strengthened only by the love you hold for your gorgeous family?

Just knowing some of these stories, just having something to hold onto, would help my current malaise. It’s not enough to choose to believe you are a husband, a father, a friend. I need to know that you are all of these things. I need to know that my future holds something beyond the dark abyss that you are currently lost to.

So please. If you can. Take a moment to send me a letter. Take a moment to regale me with stories of your life. Take a moment to show a hopeless person that there is hope, that there is something to believe in. You’d be doing yourself a huge favour, trust me.

Thank you for listening to my rambling. I know this is incoherent. I know this isn’t the greatest thing you’ve ever written. But the depression has been all-consuming today. Even summoning the strength to write to you is a victory I should be celebrating. So now this letter is done, go and give your scrumptious wife a surreptitious bum squeeze from an insanely jealous younger you.

I’m glad you’re happy, Addy. At least, I hope you are.

Love n hugs,
Younger Addy


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31 Days of Bipolar: Day 15. We can’t predict the future, no matter how hard we try

Day 15: What would you ask your future self if you could?

letter

Dear Older Addy,

You may find this a strange request coming from someone who is you, only younger, but I am writing to seek your advice. And in the grand old tradition of those “choose your own adventure” novels you used to read as a kid, you’re going to have to choose between two sections, for the advice that I seek is dependent on which path your life took.

So if you have been alone for the last twenty years, slowly trying to eek out an existence whilst battling your bipolar, social anxiety and PTSD, read section ONE.

However, if you were able to stabilise your mental illnesses and are currently living in a loving relationship with a woman who doesn’t mind you giving her the occasional surreptitious bum squeeze, read section TWO.

~ ONE ~

Oh.

I’m not quite sure what to say. I was hoping – really, seriously – hoping that you would be skipping this section. I was hoping that you had been able to move past your illnesses and find a way to live a happy, connected, loving life with a woman who loves you and friends who care for you. I was hoping – really, seriously – hoping that there would be surreptitious bum squeezes in your future. But alas. There is not. And me writing these hopes here are probably making you depressed and miserable, so sorry about that, I’m just a little sad, for I hoped – really, seriously – hoped that there was something better in our future. Better than the hell you’ve had to put up with for the last twenty years.

So I guess, without trying to make you even more miserable, I’ll ask my question, which is really quite simple: how did you do it?

How were you able to survive all the pain, all the misery, all the chaos, all the mind-numbing, crippling agony? How were you able to stop the PTSD from consuming you? How were you able to deal with the panic attacks, the anxiety attacks and the endless up-down cycle of bipolar? And how were you able to stop the crippling ramifications of abuse from causing you to kill yourself?

I ask only because I have no idea what to do about any of this. As you know, from your own memory, I’m currently writing this letter whilst lost in the wilderness of mental illness. I am controlled on a daily basis by the incessant mood swings, by the destructive PTSD and crippling social anxiety. Nothing I do seems to have any impact. Nothing I do makes any difference. And I find myself thinking about suicide more and more because I just can’t keep going like this for much longer. So how were you able to stop the pain from consuming you completely. How were you able to live for twenty years in the same endless cycle of pain, misery, loneliness and isolation?

HOW DID YOU DO IT?

I shout only because I need to know and I need to know now. Things are getting too much for me to deal with and I need something, anything, from you to restore my hope, to restore my strength and set me on track to cope with everything that is overwhelming me at the moment. You must have navigated through it otherwise you wouldn’t still be here. You must have found something to assist you in your journey otherwise the pain would have consumed you. And I need you to tell me what that something was, because I am finding it harder and harder to continue in this vein.

How did you do it?

[Breathe]

Okay, I’ll stop being so needy, it isn’t becoming. You’ll either answer my request or you won’t, that’s up to you, but allow me to say before I depart one thing: bravo! Bravo sir, for surviving the endless onslaught of suicidal ideation. Bravo sir, for not allowing your mental illness to consume you. Bravo sir, for not giving in to your pain. Bravo sir, for continuing to be true to yourself, even though life didn’t work out the way we hoped it would.

Stay strong, dear friend, we’ll get through this together.

Love and hugs,
Younger Addy xox

~ TWO ~

Excellent!

Wonderful!

Fantabulous!

You have no idea how happy I am to know that you’re reading these words! To know that you were able to stabilise your mental illnesses and have settled down in a life, a life with a woman who loves you no less, is music to my ears. To know that in my future there is love, support, friendship and kindness. To know that my future isn’t a lonely, miserable cesspit of isolation and trauma is something that fills me with so much happiness it makes my present seem less painful. So knowing this. Knowing that there is something in my future beyond loneliness and pain, my question is simple: how did you do it?

How did you navigate the minefield of trauma? How did you manage to overcome your crippling social anxiety disorder? How were you able to stabilise the bipolar affective disorder? And how – how – were you able to move past the crippling ramifications of abuse and learn to trust again?

I ask only because I have no idea what to do about any of this. As you know, from your own memory, I’m currently writing this letter whilst lost in the wilderness of mental illness. I am controlled on a daily basis by the incessant mood swings, by the destructive PTSD and crippling social anxiety. Nothing I do seems to have any impact. Nothing I do makes any difference. So how did you manage it? What magical, mystical answer revealed itself to you? What is it that I’m not doing at the moment that I need to do in order to achieve the life you have now?

How did you meet the woman in your life? Did it stem from some random incident, or was it something you actively sought out? Did you have to woo her with ridiculous chat-up lines or was it a more organic introduction? Did she have massive stigma about your mental illnesses that you had to whittle down over time, or was she accepting of your conditions from the get go? Did she have to ask for all those surreptitious bum squeezes or were you able to work past your confidence and just give them to her?

HOW DID YOU DO IT?

I shout only because I need to know and I need to know now. I need to start living now, not in twenty years time, surely there must be something – some small piece of information that you can give me, some minor observation that I’ve yet to see, that could help me begin living now. Maybe if you have nothing you could ask that beautiful woman of yours for her input. She must care about you. She must be open to helping someone. I can’t imagine you being with anyone who isn’t open to help, who isn’t open to putting other people first. Please. I beg you. I’m grovelling on hands and knees. I need to know.

How did you do it?

[Breathe]

Okay, I’ll stop being so needy, it isn’t becoming. You’ll either answer my request or you won’t, that’s up to you, but allow me to say before I depart one thing: bravo! Bravo sir, for not allowing your mental illness to consume you completely. Bravo sir,  for finding someone to love. Bravo sir, for being able to stop existing and start living. Bravo sir, for your undeniable strength, determination and passion for living the best life you could.

Now hop away and give that woman of ours a surreptitious bum squeeze from younger you; who knows what it could lead to! ;p

Love and Hugs,
Younger Addy xox