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…


Day 05: Six things I wish I’d never done

Day five of the 10 Day Blogging Challenge asks for six things you wish you’d never done.


1. Emigrated to Australia (2002)

1. Emigrated to Australia (2002)

For a long time I’ve realised that one of the biggest mistakes of my life was emigrating to Australia in 2002. Even though I do love this country, it has never really felt like home, and the way the country has treated me – from abusive relationships, various assaults, impossible to break into friendship cliques, cheating girlfriends, false accusations and homelessness – I have long believed that my life would have been a lot better had I not come to this so-called “lucky country”.

2. Declined to study in Canada (2001/2)

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve long regretted turning down the tertiary education offer I received for a photography college in Canada. At the time I believed I was doing the right thing in turning it down to come to Australia, but the simple fact is, I should have gone to Canada. No question.

3. Not been there for Grace (2008)

Until this moment occurred I’d always believed I was a good friend. I thought I was attentive to other people’s needs, I thought I was a reasonably decent person to be around and I thought I was always there for people when they needed me; regardless of what my abuser used to say to the contrary. However, I proved all of her words true when I failed to be there for my friend Grace when she needed me the most – leading to a lifetime of regret, remorse and guilt that I fear I’ll never be able to get over.

4. Trusted my abuser (2006/7)

Given that the repercussions of my abusive relationship have plagued my life for over seven years, I’ve long wished I hadn’t fallen into her trap. In hindsight, I can see the grooming behaviour in the lead up to the relationship. In hindsight, I can see the vicious lies and grandiose manipulations that ensnared me. Over the last several years I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wished I could travel back and change my actions of that year, but alas, changing our decisions is not something we have the luxury of doing. We can only learn from them.

5. Chosen the wrong A-levels (1995)

As with my decision not to study in Canada, my anxiety-laden decision to study Maths, Computing and Media Studies at A-level has been well documented throughout this blog. Everyone (including myself) knew almost instantaneously that I’d chosen the wrong subjects; that I should have studied English Lit and Theatre Studies, but once the decision was made there was no option to change subjects and one of my life’s biggest regrets was set in stone.

6. Lost a USB stick (2010)

In 2010, whilst living on the streets of Melbourne, I had a backpack stolen. A backpack that contained, amongst other things, my passport, clothes and a USB stick containing a copy of my completed novel The Ghosts that Haunt Me. Back then I had little to no idea what eBooks were, let alone that you could self-publish, for if I did I would have put my work out there for all to download and enjoy. Now that I am more knowledgeable in this area, the fact I no longer have a completed copy of my novel frustrates me more than words can say.

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The turning point of my life

Yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt is:
Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?
(Yeah, I’m running late again. Sorry, a virus ate my brain…ok, just kinda messed it up a bit :p)

Over the years I have spoken to many psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and therapists. Some have been decent human beings who have been able to emphasise and help me piece together the shattered remnants of my mind. Others have been arrogant, obnoxious, sociopathic fuckwits whose God Complex rendered them completely unable to even understand what the word empathy meant, let alone show it toward another human being.

But what all the decent ones have had in common is simple, their shared belief that my life would not have taken the direction it took had one incident not happened in early 2007. In fact, I have said many times over the years I’ve been writing this blog, that I consider this moment the turning point of my life.

What actually happened…

Whilst suffering from Glandular Fever, three days after being diagnosed with another serious illness, less than two weeks after I had returned to full-time tertiary education for the first time in five years, five days after she’d asked if she could move in with me because ‘she loved me more than anyone she’d met’ my girlfriend sent me a text message – that came without any conversation, warning or explanation – informing me: ‘not to contact her for 14 days under any circumstances.’

She then listed several ‘demands’ that I would need to make if I wanted her to ‘speak to me again’. These demands amounted to: overcoming Glandular Fever, changing my entire personality, eradicating mental illness, never talk to my friends (or her) about my problems again and understand that her life, stress, issues and problems were the only thing that mattered.

The snowball…

The suddenness of this message, coupled with the stress and pain of my illness(es), meant that: three days later I lost my college course, and with it my chance of university and a career. The isolation had a negative impact on my Glandular Fever recovery and increased my physical pain and suffering. Three weeks later I suffered a complete physical and mental breakdown, I began self-harming on a daily basis, I lost my entire social network (bar one person), all forms of income and every possession I owned. Three months later I was rendered homeless after leaving Melbourne to escape her continual abuse and harassment.

Why she sent the message…

“I didn’t want an emotional situation the day I went back to university,” (Feb 2007)
“I had to teach you that what you did to your [ex-girlfriend] was wrong,” (March 2007);
“I don’t know. I didn’t want to. Why are you shouting at me?” (April 2007);
“People are telling me it was a stupid thing to do. I agree with them. I don’t know why I [sent that message].” (April 2007);
“I still love you,” (May 2007).

What if…

If the text message had never been sent, it is highly likely that: I would never have lost my college course, within weeks I would have made new friends through college, a part-time photography course I had enrolled in would have commenced, I would have recovered from Glandular Fever much, much quicker and the breakdown would never have happened as I wouldn’t have lost everything in my life (the root cause of the breakdown.)

The new connections I had been making online would have happened in reality, in fact I had arranged to meet someone the day she re-appeared fifteen days after sending the message. I would never have lost my income, student finances would have been approved and I would never have had to sell everything I owned. My social network would have been unaffected, I would never have been forced out of my home (thus, even though I don’t like drawing the connection) I would never have been assaulted and raped.

By now, I would have graduated from both college and uni – with many people, including myself, believing I could have excelled at both – and be working in a career of my choice, choosing and passion. I would have a home, a social network, a relationship and (possibly) a family. My mental and physical health would never have reached the nadir that they became and I would be happy.

I’m sure of it.

But hey, like she and my friends told me, I deserved it.