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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Sunday Stealing: Amazing Paperboy Delivers!

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing.

Today we ripped off a blogger named Paul Burgin from the blog Mars Hill. It is 20 questions,  He says he got it from Paul Linford.  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.

paperboy-titlescreen

First Job:

Paperboy. Yep, like that classic video game of yesteryear, I used to cycle around the streets hurling newspapers at mailboxes, through windows and at various family pets. At one point I was doing five different paper-rounds a week, making me the town’s most dedicated distributor of news and current events.

First Real Job:

Huh? My first real job was as a paperboy. For I absolutely did not imagine all those long hours of cycling the streets, sore backsides and cramped shoulders.

First Volunteer Job:

I used to help out at soup kitchens when I was backpacking. I also used to help mental health organisations and partake in charity collections.

First Car:

Does He-Man’s Battleram count?

battleram

Battle vehicle for He-Man! Rolls into combat on four wheels. Front detaches to become a “Sky Sled,” while the back is a “mobile launcher.” Launches projectiles/battering rams by pressing on a spring-loaded lever.

Because if it doesn’t then I’m shitouttaluck as I’ve never owned a car. Heck, because of my pesky illnesses, I don’t even have a licence!

First Record:

Note: in my defense I was a horny teenager! :p

First Sport Played:

Being a child who grew up in the United Kingdom during the 1980s there’s only one possible answer to this. And no, it isn’t (unfortunately) Curling!

When I was but a young boy I joined an after school football group because (a) I wanted to get fitter, (b) I wanted to lose weight, (c) I wanted to make some new friends after moving countries and (d) I loved football. However, the coach decided I wasn’t a good enough footballer and was told not to come back to the group.

Bastard!

First Concert:

I was a latecomer to the world of live music. Although I saw several live bands play (mainly Jazz and Scottish folk) whilst living in Scotland, my first real concert experience was shortly after arriving in Australia, where I saw My Friend the Chocolate Cake and Archie Roach play a joint concert at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne.

It was awesome!

First Country Visited:

Excluding my country of birth (the UK), the first country I visited was the magnificent (and much missed) land of beavers, maple leaves and dungaree wearing women; Canada.

First Kiss:

My first kiss took place on the 30 December 2000 and I’ve written about it approximately 386,000 times (made up statistic) on this blog, most recently last week in a post all about love, lust and lots of kisses! :p

First Speech:

I suffer from severe social anxiety – I don’t do speeches!

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend:

My first girlfriend was Louise, whom I met when I was twenty-two. Our relationship lasted five and a half years, spanned two continents, several major sacrifices and cost me pretty much everything of value. Once upon a time, I wrote her an unsent letter titled: my life would be empty had you never been in it.

First Encounter with a Famous Person:

Twenty-four hours after watching Dead Ringers, I served Jeremy Irons coffee whilst working at a motorway service station in Magor, South Wales.

Yes, I was reduced to a gibbering idiot! It was Jeremy Irons FFS, who wouldn’t be?

First Brush With Death:

This would probably have been during severe mental and physical health issues, including several suicide attempts, throughout 2006 and 2007.

First House/Flat Owned:

I’ve never owned my own house/flat, but the first that meant anything to me was a magnificent apartment I rented in Inverness.

To this day, it’s still my favourite flat I’ve ever had!

First Film Seen at a Cinema:

I’m not sure if it was the first, but one of the earliest I can ever remember was Disney’s The Foxand the Hound.

First Media Appearance (Radio, Newspaper, TV):

During the late 90s and early 2000s I had several letters published in a variety of local and national newspapers. I also had an opinion piece published in 2009.

As for television and radio, I’ve never appeared on either, but I’m umming and ahhing about an invitation I’ve received to appear on a radio show this week.

© ABC Local: Simon Leo Brown

Although, whilst homeless, I did appear in a photograph published on the ABC website…sort of! :p

First Hospital Stay:

I believe this was when I was around six or seven and decided to stand up in the middle of a concrete pipe. For some reasons I thought there was a hole above me, but completely failed to look up and check this fact before forcefully cracking my head open and spraying blood over several small children.

First Book You Remember Reading:

Removing books my parents read to me as a child (The Faraway Tree series, The Famous Five and Roald Dahl), the first book I can remember reading all on my lonesome was ‘Quest for a Kelpie‘. I know there were books before this but this is the one that stands out most in my mind.

First Pet:

A black and white cat whose name was Sparkle. She was awesome, I adored her miss her immensely! :(

First Election You Voted In:

The 1997 General Election; the one where Labor won with a landslide victory (woohoo!), the Conservatives were comprehensively booted out of Scotland (ha!) and the entire country could recite the lyrics to D:Ream’s Things Can Only Get Better.


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Day 08: Love, lust and lots of kisses

It’s been so long since my last kiss I don’t remember how to do it any more. But as my abuser (always the most trustworthy of sources) described my kisses as “atrocious”, “sloppy”, “cringe-worthy” and “worst ever”, perhaps my lack of lips to lock is for the best.

Today, for your amusement, and in no particular order, I present eight of my more memorable kisses.

kiss

“Unless you were born on another planet, have a bizarre hatred of Spider-Man and/or suffer from an allergy to water, you will have re-enacted this scene.”

1. The last time I kissed someone…

The last kiss I received was on 4 February 2009. It was one of those bitter-sweet, over-flowing with emotions kisses that come when you know it’ll be the last time you see someone. The sort of kiss where you lift the woman into your arms, cradle their posterior as they wrap their legs around you and nearly topple to the ground through lack of oxygen as neither of you want it to end. But, of course, it must. So you tear your lips away and utter a pained ‘goodbye’ before watching them walk out of your life, leaving only memories and vanilla lip-gloss to remember they were ever there in the first place.

2. Homage

Unless you were born on another planet, have a bizarre hatred of Spider-Man and/or suffer from an allergy to water, you will have re-enacted this scene with someone you love. How far you go will depend on how authentic you want the experience to be. Fortunately for me, given I don’t look all that hot in skin-tight spandex, I didn’t have to wear the full costume. I did however have to hang myself upside-down from a wall, in the pouring rain, whilst being blinded by a mask (which she ordered me to wear!)

Sure, I nearly broke my neck, but goddamnit I’d do it all over again for a kiss as spectacular as that! :p

3. What the hell am I doing?

We hadn’t exactly chosen the most romantic of movies for our first ‘date’, so perhaps it was the months of boiling over sexual tension that fuelled Kathy and I’s first kiss minutes after leaving the cinema. On some random Fitzroy street we stopped, stared at each other for a few heartbeats and then, whilst fighting back insane anxiety, I cradled her face, leant forward and kissed her. I was shaking. She mistook my chin for my lips (and she had the gall to say my kisses were ‘sloppy’!) I seized a surreptitious butt squeeze in case I never had the chance again. She nibbled my top lip. Then I lifted her off the ground in one of those ‘what the hell am I doing?’ moments.

Regardless of what Kathy did in the following months, including giving me a complex so severe I doubt I’ll ever kiss ‘confidently’ again, I’ll always cherish this beautiful memory.

4. “You taste like cheese,”

The first time I kissed Samantha was in July 2007. In my post One Night in Adelaide, I described it like this:

Given all that had happened, given all the alcohol flowing through our system, given all those pheromones and chemicals, it wasn’t long before we were lying beside a bush with lips locked firmly together.

Courtesy of her orange flavored lip gloss, the ice-cold air and the vodka she’d been consuming all night; kissing her was like taking a long, slow drink of a perfectly brewed alcoholic beverage. As she pulled back, her eyes lingering in the empty space between us, she whispered “Cheese,” and returned for more.

It was me who came up for air next, cradling her head with my left hand. “Cheese?”

“You taste like cheese,”

“I haven’t eaten cheese for days,”

I went to kiss her again, only to have her pull away with a sudden, drunken laugh. “Fuck, why do you taste like cheese?”

Given I still can’t explain why I tasted like cheese – though I suspect alcohol played a part – it’s a good thing Samantha didn’t have a lactose intolerance. We remained in that state of perpetual kissing for a good half an hour until neither of us was feeling the cold around us.

kissing

“On some random Fitzroy street we stopped, stared at each other for a few heartbeats and, whilst fighting back insane anxiety, I cradled her face, leant forward and kissed her.”

5. “You taste like hash browns,”

The last time I kissed Samantha was in April 2008…but I won’t tell you about it just yet for I’m writing a post about that day and don’t want to spoil the surprises :p

Rest assured, hash browns were indeed involved! But what did we do with them? And do you really want to know? :p

6. German lessons

Normally I’m an exceedingly dutiful employee. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even consider bending the rules or using a position of authority for such illicit gains, but when presented with a woman as beguiling as Annalisa, even the most straight-laced of managers can find themselves doing things they would later never regret.

Six days after arriving in Alice Springs during a period of hypomania, I was, of course, feeling hypersexual. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the rather hot German backpacker Annalisa caught my eye. After hours of flirtatious conversation washed down with copious amounts of the amber liquid, she and I found myself in the only place I had to be private at two in the morning; my office.

Cue hours of exceedingly naughty kissing that would make the current manager want to scrub their office down with hospital grade disinfectant!

7. That’ll show ’em!

Louise and I shared so many incredible kisses that picking out one or two from the tens of thousands we shared is almost impossible. ‘Firsts’  aside (first kiss, first kiss in Australia, first kiss in the shower, first kiss in public, first kiss used to dislodge a rogue piece of spinach etc…) one of the most memorable occurred in early 2001, not long after we met.

I was filming a short film as part of my college course when Louise came wandering to the set to have a peak around. After greeting her with a bashful peck of the lips my cameraman (and fellow film student) urged us to kiss with a little more ‘oomph’. Given we were still in the early days of our relationship I was somewhat nervous when it came to PDAs so hesitated; knowing full well this kiss would be recorded for all eternity and no doubt played for my entire class several (dozen) times.

Louise, however, didn’t hesitate. She grabbed my shirt and yanked me forward, immediately planting a kiss that wouldn’t have looked out-of-place in an R rated movie. Hands were grabbing body parts, teeth were biting lips (and necks), blood was flowing to various body parts and if it lasted a few more milliseconds nudity would have been involved!

Minutes after sending me into a tizzy and steaming up the lens of the camera, Louise broke away from the kiss with a naughty grin, turned to the cameraman, and said “did you get all that, or do we need to go again?”

We did go again, only this time we waited until I returned home several hours later. For obvious reasons! :p

8. The first time I kissed someone…

My first kiss occurred on the 30 December 2000. In a Sunday Stealing post, I described it like this:

I was twenty-two (yeah, I know…it’s all part of the perils of being socially anxious!)

Whilst studying at Inverness College I decided to visit the island of Berneray (in the Outer Hebrides) for a quiet, uneventful New Year. On my first night there a woman named Louise appeared out of the darkness and I was immediately enchanted by her hypnotic eyes, heart-warming smile and excellent posterior.

After a fair amount of flirting throughout the first twenty-four hours we found a drinking game stashed away on the hostel bookshelf and began playing. Somewhat tipsy we took a break and I went outside for a cigarette (at the time I was smoking cherry menthol rolling tobacco with liquorice papers) and she stood there staring at me with a cheeky grin on her face.

“Could I kiss you?” She said, awaiting a response.

Nervous to the extreme – but desperately wanting to lock lips  – I nodded yes and she took a few steps closer, tossed the cigarette to the ground and threw herself upon me as if suddenly possessed by a voracious kissing demon. After a few uncertain moments she pulled back and looked at me, completely aware my entire body was shaking uncontrollably.

“You’re shaking,” She whispered, rubbing my arms.

“Sorry, it’s…I…well…I’ve never…kissed anyone…before,”

She smiled sweetly and started kissing me again, much more slowly, not caring one bit that I was doing my best vibrator impersonation.

kisses

“As she pulled back, her eyes lingering in the empty space between us, she whispered “Cheese,” and returned for more.”


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Day 07: Cheating on someone is deeper than you think

Cheating-on-someone

Life Lesson #34: If you’re going to make an internet meme, remember to spellcheck!

This is a rather personal topic for me as two out of the three serious girlfriends I’ve had cheated on me.

The second person who cheated on me decided to sleep with someone on Christmas Day while I was busy cooking us dinner. When they returned home they expected me to cheer them up as they felt they’d been ‘used’ by this person. Suffice to say, given I’m way too nice (and was bound by the expectations of my abusive relationship that dictated if I didn’t focus entirely on her, chaos would ensue) I spent the evening trying to make my girlfriend feel better whilst bottling up my anger, hurt and pain. Every Christmas since has been affected by bad memories of this betrayal and is one of the many reasons that I hate the holiday period so much.

However, this pain pales in comparison to that inflicted on me by the first person who cheated on me.

After nearly eighteen months of living together she decided to travel to Europe. As I couldn’t afford to go with her and (for unknown reasons) she was unable to wait for me, I had to move back in with my parents. So for three months I was bombarded with bad memories of my teenage years whilst she gallivanted around Europe; all the while expecting me to book accommodation, send care-packages ‘poste restante’ and research her destinations online.

After a brief return to the UK she left almost immediately for Australia. For several further months I lived in my parents house until (a) my confidence had been reduced to that of my thirteen year old self and (b) I could afford the expense of emigrating to the other side of the world.

Flash-forward three years – three years of intense stress over multiple residency applications, debt, building a life on the other side of the world, trying to deal with being so far from home and constantly being made to feel like a bastard for suspecting she had been sleeping with her ex-boyfriend – and she sits me down and informs me that, shortly after she’d arrived back in Australia, she’d begun a relationship with her ex-boyfriend and had been sleeping with him after all. In fact the relationship had continued for many, many, many months after I had moved to Australia for her.

To say I felt betrayed was an understatement. To say I felt hurt doesn’t even come close. I had sacrificed my family, friends, country of birth and home to move to the other side of the world where the only person I knew was her; all because I loved her and genuinely wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. My girlfriend however, had not been sure. So instead of having a conversation with me, she allowed me to make these drastic changes to my life whilst continually seeing, sleeping with and maintaining a relationship with her previous boyfriend.

Ultimately it wasn’t the affair that caused the end of our relationship, there were other issues bubbling beneath the surface that this revelation set free, but it sent my mind spiralling back into depression and it’s safe to say that the years of lies and betrayal were a major trigger toward my suicide attempt in 2006.

Both of these affairs – in combination with the abuse I received – have rendered me incapable of being in a relationship. I no longer trust anyone (not just women) and the impact to my self-confidence/self-belief these betrayals caused were immense, to the point that I cannot imagine opening up to anyone, ever again. Why would I when all it will bring is such pain, heartache and agony?

I can understand reasons for cheating on someone.

I can accept that in certain circumstances it can bring positives to a relationship.

But personally, based on the damage cheating has wrought on my life, it’s not something I would ever do.


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Hearing Voices: Introducing the people I hear

Over the years I have written extensively about the mood swings of bipolar, the debilitating effects of social anxiety, the nightmares of PTSD and my constant battle with self-harm and suicidal ideation. I have humiliated myself with tales of my body image issues and admitted my failings courtesy of a life living in abject poverty and homelessness.

But only once – once! – in the five years and four months I’ve been writing this blog have I shared any real information regarding one of the most prevalent aspects of my mental health; my voices.

Last week I (finally) summoned the confidence to attend my first Hearing Voices Support Group, the first real step I’ve ever taken toward understanding and accepting this side of my personality. Whereas on Monday, courtesy of the wonderful people who run the social inclusion groups I attend, I spent two hours in a private consultation talking about my voices with someone for the very first time in my life!

So, with the efforts I am making toward understanding the whys, wherefores and complexities of my voices, now feels like the right time to begin sharing this part of my mental health on my blog. Although I will admit to being incredibly nervous about doing so, for reasons I will go into later.

Over the coming weeks (I can’t promise an exact time-table courtesy of my current mood) I will be writing a series of posts dealing with hearing voices, beginning with the most obvious, and polite, post I could write.

For what sort of host would I be if I didn’t introduce you to my voices?

vociestrip

The voices who have come from nowhere

Meadhbh
(aka the first voice I ever heard, aka the one who resembles a Faerie Dominatrix!)

Meadhbh (pronounced as Marie) is in her late teens (approximately 18/19) years old. She speaks with a deliciously sexy breathy voice, a sexiness that isn’t helped by her beautiful Scottish accent that reveals her Isle of Skye heritage. More often than not her anger comes in the words she chooses to use rather than the tone she speaks, but on the occasions she has shouted and scolded, she certainly knows how to vent anger like the best of them.

Unlike some of my other voices, Meadhbh quite often appears in physical form. She is petite, slender and curvaceous. She has bum length black hair that is frequently streaked with colour (most often red, purple, green and silver). When she appears she is usually always clothed, with a particular love for skirts (often paired with fish-net tights), floor length medieval-esque dresses and intricate corsets (again, paired with fish net tights). Although other times she will be more casually dressed, mooching around in jeans and a T-shirt or teasing me by wearing only underwear (most often decorated with a Celtic knot-work design).

On the rare occasions she’s appeared naked she has revealed: a scar on the back of her right calf, an outie belly button, a fish-shaped birth-mark on the small of her back and several tattoos decorating her belly, breasts, buttocks and back. She also has a small tattoo of a snake curling around the toes of her left foot.

isleofskye

Meadhbh revealed when I was a teenager that she is from the Isle of Skye. When I began backpacking five years later I made a point to visit this island early on in the trip, something she was greatly honored by.

Meadhbh began talking to me when I was thirteen/fourteen. She would most often speak to me when I was alone, whether it was in the evening or throughout the day when I was walking around town, but over the years began accompanying me to school, cinema trips and general excursions around towns and cities.

During these early years she was a voice of great compassion and comfort. When I was self-harming she would encourage me to stop and offer advice on how best I could take care of myself when I wasn’t able to resist. She would regale me with stories of folklore and legend from where she grew up in order to provide distraction from my inner pain (stories I would, years later, discover were actual Scottish folklore that I had never heard before) and frequently tell me to not be so hard on myself when it came to certain aspects of my personality that were proving deeply confusing, such as sexual fantasies, cravings I didn’t understand and (undiagnosed at the time) social anxiety.

When she began talking to me I didn’t realize I was the only person who could hear her. I firmly believed she was real, that she was someone everyone could see and hear. It was only when she began coming to school with me did I realize this wasn’t the case.

In the early 2000s Meadhbh vanished. She no longer appeared to me. She no longer spoke to me. For months I asked myself what I had done to offend her, to cause her to no longer want to talk to me. For months I missed her as you would a friend no longer around and yearned for the conversations we used to share.

Then, seven years later, she returned.

In April 2007, a few months after my breakdown, I was sitting in my room engaging in self-harm. Out of nowhere a very familiar and much missed voice spoke clearly and concisely: “Cut deeper. They all hate you.”

Her accent was the same, the breathiness of her voice identical, but the cheekiness that punctuated her tone all those years earlier had vanished, replaced with a maliciousness that genuinely scared me.

Since that moment she has been a daily visitor. It doesn’t matter where I am, what I’m doing or how busy I am. She will sneak in and begin talking to me; the same maliciousness, the same undercurrent of evil. Every conversation punctuated with insult, negativity and criticism.

Where once she believed I was someone worthy of life, someone who pushed me to realize my potential, she now seems convinced I am weak; that I am someone who deserves to be punished; someone who will ultimately amount to nothing. At times I think she is trying some form of ‘reverse psychology’ but I’m not sure.

One day I hope she’ll realize she’s wrong and return to the playful conversations of yesteryear. For no matter how crazy I sound when I say it, I genuinely miss those conversations and exchanges.

meadhbhlikesthis

A corset similar in colour and style to those I have seen Meadhbh wear, although she tends to wear them with fish-net tights.

Origin: I have no idea where Meadhbh came from. At one point I wondered if she was/is related to my sister, but her age and general attitude work against this. I’ve also questioned ‘personality’ similarities between Meadhbh and a babysitter I had when younger. Perhaps a yearning for a supportive friend during my formative years enabled her to begin visiting me?

Relationship to other voices: Meadhbh prefers to be her own solitary person  and speaks more when she can communicate with me one-to-one. She does however talk with both Audrey and Vanessa, with whom she has formed an uneasy alliance; Meadhbh is the only person capable of putting Shay in his place.

Note: the character Tara (from my Inverness Chronicles) was directly inspired by Meadhbh.

Jessica*
(aka the cryptic one)

Jessica first began talking to me in the early 2000s, not long after I arrived in Australia. She sounds like she is in her mid-thirties but has stubbornly refused to reveal her age throughout the time we’ve been communicating with each other, but then I have never had a ‘conversation’ with Jessica.

When she speaks to me it is always just a single sentence that is completely random and (on face value) meaningless. This sentence is never repeated or explained at any time, merely something that leaves me confused and perplexed.

Examples include:

“The guinea pig burrowed under the igloo to nibble the zudimints,” (August ’05)

“Open the sand to release the fruity odor,” (May ’04)

“Pigglesticks Greftingtude has the answers to the hoonmelins,” (April ’08)

“The stink is no more than the skink could juggle,” (September ’06)

There is no guarantee as to when Jessica decides to speak to me although I usually hear from her 2-3 times per month, at varying times of the day and night.

Origin: I have no idea where Jessica came from. Perhaps one day I’ll work it out.

Relationship to other voices: Jessica never talks to anyone but me.

Shay
(aka the arrogant know it all, aka the mysterious one)

I have absolutely no idea how old Shay is. Over the years, based on the sound of his voice, I’ve posited that he’s in his mid-twenties, but will often speak in a way that makes me thinks he’s much, much older. Although he speaks most frequently with a broad Scottish brogue, he will speak with accents that sound almost put-on, as if he is trying to disguise his heritage in-case I get too close to something.

Unlike my other voices,  Shay doesn’t appear interested in me in any way, shape or form. He doesn’t insult or belittle, he doesn’t lecture or abuse, he merely informs me that what I’m doing is wrong because I’m not doing things the way he would. In every aspect of life, Shay knows best, and anyone who tries to do things differently is a moron.

He is always arrogant, frequently obnoxious, occasionally misogynistic and not as funny as he thinks he is. His arrogance grates (for it is a personality trait I strongly dislike), his obnoxious tone is a source of great frustration as it prevents reasoned debate, his misogyny annoys the crap out of me (and has got me into trouble in the past) and his humour is firmly from the days before political correctness.

Most of the time his emotions are on an even keel, but when he loses it, he really loses it. His temper is incredibly frightening and has the power to stop me in my tracks. When he yells at me like this I feel like I’m a naughty schoolboy standing in front of the Demon Headmaster from Hell…and not in a fun kinky role-play way!

Shay has never appeared to me in physical form, so I have no idea what he looks like physically. Like Jessica, he began communicating with me in the early 2000s and will usually appear once or twice a week. Or whenever he damn well feels like it!

Origin: I have no idea where Shay came from. Perhaps one day I’ll work it out.

Relationship to other voices: Shay is scared of Meadhbh even though he thinks himself superior to her; he thinks Vanessa is far beneath him in terms of intellect and experience so refused to speak to her; whilst he loves antagonizing Audrey whenever and however he can.

Note: the name for the character Shay (from my Inverness Chronicles) was taken, with permission, from my voice.

The voices who were once real people

Note
Two of my voices are real people who I’ve known at various points in my life. I would like to make it clear that they are not ‘inner voices’ reflecting the inner monologue that we all have within us. Like Meadhbh, Jessica and Shay they are very real, very distinct, very individual people who communicate to me at their own accord.

I would like to make it clear (even though I don’t even understand it myself) that the voices who talk to me are not the people I used to know. They are their own unique personalities who communicate with me in very different ways than their real-world counterparts did. The best explanation I can offer is that of Bizarro Superman. Physically, Bizarro is identical to Clark Kent/Superman, but mentally he is a very different being. Just as my voices belong to people who are physically identical to those I knew but act in altogether different ways.

Vanessa**
(aka the easiest voice to work out where and how she came from)

Kathy is twenty-two years old. I know this because she was the first voice that began talking to me who was someone I’d known in real life. She is the most vicious and cruel of my voices, never once having anything positive to say in any way, shape and form. I hear from her daily and she will often come to me in physical form when I am least expecting it.

I cannot write any more on her at this time as she doesn’t like me talking about her. Sorry.

Origin: Vanessa was born from abuse trauma. Pure and simple.

Relationship to other voices: BFFs with Audrey; Vanessa hates Meadhbh with a fiery passion but has formed an uneasy alliance given their shared interest in abusing me; she wants to talk to Shay but he refuses to speak to her as he thinks she is ‘beneath’ him.

Audrey** 

Audrey is twenty years old, speaks with a soft Australian accent and is the most learned of my voices – a compliment that Shay has frequently (and repeatedly) argued against as he believes he is the most educated. Whenever he decides to argue this with Audrey she becomes deeply infuriated (which is often taken out on me) for, like me, she finds it impossible to have rational conversations with Shay.

She began talking to me in late 2007, shortly after I attempted suicide and has communicated with me on a regular basis ever since. Communication that at times proved complicated, for I had several conversations with the ‘real life Audrey’ after ‘my imaginary Audrey’ began talking to me. Thus, it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand how confusing this could become, with two people sharing the same voice and name (one real, one imaginary) talking to you at the exact same time.

Today, Audrey is the most supportive of all of my voices, but favors derogatory communication rather than positive at a rate of about 60/40. This oscillation will never be day-to-day, but throughout each conversation, with her consoling me one minute and berating me the next. This constant shift in mood is often deeply confusing. Just as I start to feel good about talking to her she will launch into an all-out attack that leaves me quivering. Her temper, after all, is on par with Shay’s – something even he won’t argue with as it scares him too!

Origin: I’ve never been able to understand why, of everyone I’ve ever known, Audrey began talking to me. It was debated during my session on Monday that it could possibly stem from guilt and/or my mind’s way of coping with isolation.

Relationship to other voices: BFFs with Vanessa; Audrey is jealous of Meadhbh (but gets on okay); she hates Shay and bickers with him constantly – especially when he is being overly misogynistic.

Are you scared yet?

There are two primary reasons why I have continually put off writing about my voices on this blog:

1) They don’t like me talking about them and become angry when I do so. They also get scared when I talk about them, especially to other people, which in turn makes them feel threatened. This fear manifests with them attacking me in the hope I will submit to their desires. Thus, to keep them happy and placated, I avoid writing/talking about them whenever I can.

2) More than any other aspect of my illness, it makes me look completely and utterly insane! C’mon? I regularly have conversations with people only I (and they) can see and hear. The only part of myself I’m more scared of being made public is my sexual proclivity. In fact, I genuinely contemplated password protecting this post in fear of scaring everyone away! Perhaps I should have done.

In a more subdued conversation with Meadhbh last night, she admitted that her fear stemmed from a belief that I was trying to “erase her from existence” with my sudden movement toward Support Groups and counseling sessions. She even asked me if “she treated me better” would I rethink my current course of action and return to how things used to be.

I tried to explain to her what I tried to explain in the introduction. I’m not making these efforts in order to remove these people from my life, but to understand the whys and wherefores of their existence so that I can have a more fulfilling relationship with them and, in time, myself.

yourejustjealous

* This name has been changed as years after Jessica came to me I met someone with the same name. Yes, it is confusing from time to time.
** These names are pseudonyms of pseudonyms that have previously appeared on this blog so as not to reveal their identity.


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Sunday Stealing: How long have you got?

Sunday Stealing originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. 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.

This week, we have the final part of a three-part meme. (You can can find part one here and part two here!)

41. WHAT ARE YOUR NICKNAMES?

I’ve had numerous nicknames throughout my long and varied lifetimes. When I was at primary school, they consisted mainly of insults: Fatso, Fatty, Blubberbutt, Four Eyes and Recorder Girl. In secondary school, I became: Haggis (a reference to my Scottish accent) and then Zakey (I don’t know), Mad Zakey (because I was apparently insane), Captain N, The Gamesmaster (because I was a video game geek) and Brainiac (a reference to the fact people thought I was too intelligent, not the Kryptonian Brain InterActive Construct).

Between leaving secondary school and emigrating to Melbourne I don’t remember anyone loving me (or hating me) enough to bestow a nickname on me until 2006. My first girlfriend was never one for ‘pet names’ but my second girlfriend began referring to me as Addy because Andy sounded ‘wanky’ and sometimes Andrew was just too long. It was the first time in my life I’d been given a nickname out of affection rather than insult and even though it was from she who ultimately abused me to annihilation, the nickname has stuck.

Over the years I’ve given myself numerous online nicknames, including: werepez, silent_gwyllion, sleepylizard, straythoughts, naughtyaddy and Otmuawcope (Officially the most useless and worthless c**t on planet earth; needless to say this was after my emotionally abusive relationship and it’s rarely used these days!)

42. WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE?

I do not drive. If I did drive, it would be a motorcycle, with a side car.

43. BEST DATE YOU’VE EVER BEEN ON? (IF MARRIED, before your present spouse)

Three immediately come to mind:

1. My first “date” with Louise; when we went to a fancy restaurant, spent the whole evening flirting and then returned home for…well, you all have imaginations, so perhaps now’s the time to start exercising them!
2. My first with Kathy; Kenny, cuddles and nerve-wracking first kisses.
3. A day I spent with Kathy on Sandringham beach, followed by a sunset on Brighton Beach, followed by fish and chips in St Kilda, followed by us making love for the first time. One of the happiest and most beautiful days of my life.

44. WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?

Water (that tasted a bit salty) came out of my eyes. I made some weird gasping, wailing noises that were altogether embarrassing and (at times) disturbing and had an overwhelming need for a hug.

But instead I sat on the floor until I could cry no longer and then ate ice-cream whilst watching Spider-Man 3.

45. LONGEST SHIFT YOU HAVE WORKED AT A JOB? WHAT WAS THE JOB?

Many years ago I was working in a backpacker hostel in Melbourne. Although I loved the job and was immensely passionate about the hostel and its staff, I was undervalued, woefully underpaid and treated appalling by head office. Throughout the years year I regularly worked 60-80 weeks (no overtime) and more double shifts than I could shake a stick at.

The most memorable being when I started work at 7am and worked through til 7pm. Upon finding out the night porter was unable to come in I had a short break before returning at 11pm to work through until 7:30am whereupon I immediately opened reception and continued working until 7pm. Four hours break in 36 hours is seriously (seriously) not enough!

46. FAVORITE MOVIE?

I abhor this question on a base level. It’s not conceivably possible for me to choose one out of the millions of films I’ve watched throughout my life, no true cinephile could. However: Fight Club, It’s a Wonderful Life, Local Hero, Say Anything and Twelve Angry Men are all magnificent, as are all those listed here and in the list of movies that have defined my life.

47. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SANG IN PUBLIC? WHAT DID YOU SING?

I used to sing drunkenly in public with unashamed abandon, but these days not so much. The last time I terrified people with my atrocious singing voice was with a drunken rendition of Pulp’s Common People when I was in Glasgow with Sammi.

48. WHAT WAS YOUR LAST FIGHT ABOUT?

I had a fight with one of my hallucinations at 2am this morning. It was about one of my regrets.

49. WHAT STUFF DO YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT?

Keys. Clothes. Wallet. Soap.

50. FAVORITE ITEM OF TECHNOLOGY?

Rice cooker; I couldn’t live without one.

51. FAVORITE WEB SITE?

I mentioned several of my current favourite blogs here and I’ll throw in Mind of Mine, You are Doing That Wrong and Broken Light.

As for websites – as opposed to blogs – my love for the trifecta of Mamamia, The Drum and The Conversation is well-known.

And I shall avoid listing the naughty sites I adore, however tempted I may be to throw them out there :p

52. DO YOU SMOKE?

It is one of three principal crutches I use to control my mental illness(es), so yes, I do. From as far back as I can remember you can tell  my mood based on how much I’m smoking. For example, if I’m not smoking anything, I’m the frigging definition of awesomeness. Whilst if I’m chain-smoking my way to an early grave, I’m severly depressed and borderline suicidal.

Funny how no-one ever worked this out, it’s not exactly complicated.

53. IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, HAVE LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS WORKED?

I thought they did.

During the long-distance chapter of my relationship with Louise we would contact each other regularly. Phone calls, letters and the occasional present. Also, I would arrange random ‘cyber-dates’ for us to enjoy (e.g. I found an online tour of Monet’s garden which we went for a stroll through whilst chatting) as well as other odds and ends to keep us intimate and connected.

Unfortunately, whilst I was trying to keep our relationship alive, she had begun a relationship with her ex-boyfriend. I found out later that during some of the conversations and ‘dates’ we’d been on, he had been a third wheel sitting in her flat waiting for us to finish so he could have his way with the woman I loved.

So maybe they don’t work and I was just being a gullible fool.

54. DO YOU BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY?

I think there is an element of truth to it, but I dislike how true-believers revert everyone to base stereotypes (i.e all Scorpios are like this, all Librans act like that) and then use these stereotypes to decide the people they have in their life. To me, individuals are just that, individual, and pigeon holing people based on their star-sign is simply another way to tag someone with yet another stereotypical label.

55. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON WHO CALLED YOU?

My dad, on Friday, after seeing the post about my benefit troubles.

56. WHAT WAS THE LAST TEXT MESSAGE YOU RECEIVED?

Centrelink, on Friday, after I had spent all day resolving my benefit troubles. Four text messages in two seconds, a little excessive if you ask me!

57. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW?

The only pair of jeans I own, a red shirt, green boxers, black socks. Nothing exciting or special, I’m afraid; clothes are way out of my budget!

58. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?

Winter. It always has been and always will be.

59. BEST THING ABOUT WINTER?

I love the crispness in the air, the bite in the wind, the fact you can snuggle with your lover in front of a log fire before performing all sorts of naughty to warm each other up. I love the short days and the long nights. I love the rain and the snow. I love the wind. I love Christmas…but then, I haven’t had a winter Christmas for ten years now!

60. DO YOU THINK WTIT IS COOL OR OVERRATED?

I’d side on the cool camp.

61. WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND?

Yesterday, I paid rent, walked around town for approximately twenty-seven minutes before retreating home to suffer through a litany of panic, anxiety, bad memories, writers block and other annoying, crappy mental health stuff I have to endure from time to time.

Today, I’m going to try to write a blog post, reply to comments and hope all that haunted me yesterday decide not to bother today as I don’t feel like another day of unfocused panic and anxiety. But we shall see. Also, eat something, because I haven’t eaten anything for days.

62. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Friend. Husband. Father. It’s all I’ve ever really wanted to be. Sure, writer, film-maker and photographer are things I would like to do with my life, but these three things (that most take for granted) have been my dream for as long as I can remember.

63. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?

How long have you got?

Allowing my anxiety to rule my A-Level choices; being too shy to ask Kathryn out on a date in High School; bottling out of my planned meeting with Miss Beatrix; Annie; choosing love over education in 2001; allowing my mental health to rule my decision-making powers in 2006; not being strong enough to stop the emotional abusive; or the sexual-assault in 2007; not understanding how unstable I was when I tried to return to ‘life’ in 2008 and watching the Halle Berry starring Catwoman in its entirety, are all things that come to mind.

But my biggest regret would be a toss-up between: not doing enough to help Steph, coming to Australia in 2002 (I should have gone to Canada) and not being there for Grace in 2008. All are things I’ve never forgiven myself for and, no matter what anyone says, don’t think I ever will.

64. ARE YOU SMILING? WHY?

No; see (61) above.

65. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD IT BE?

Excuse the self-promotion, but I answered this question in my 4 places I would like to visit post on Thursday.

66. DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?

I do not. Music is not something I’ve ever really had a talent for – aside from the recorder, but who can’t play the recorder.

67. DO YOU WISH YOU COULD SEE ANYONE IN PARTICULAR RIGHT NOW?

Yes. I’ve been missing Sammi a lot this week, partly because of my Fifty Shades of Addy post, partly because she’s just crept back into my mind. There are also other people I would love to see again and most readers of the blog would know who these people are. Two have, once again, been mentioned in this post.

68. LAST THING YOU WATCHED ON YOUTUBE?

When I was writing my language post yesterday I couldn’t help but think of this scene (Yes, Niles, that’s just what we need, a fourth language!) so I had to track it down to give it a watch.

69. WHY DIDN”T YOU DECIDED TO TAKE OVER STEALING?

However much I was tempted to, my fluctuating moods and inconsistent internet access convinced me it was not a good idea. Perhaps if I was more stable I would have done, but I’d rather it be taken over by someone who can give it the time, love and affection it deserves :)


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Fifty Shades of Addy: The evolution of a spanking fetish…

UPDATE: 11 July 2015

When I first wrote this post on 2 October 2012 I had no option but to password protect it. Family members read my blog, friends read my blog, and I was ashamed – no, terrified – of such people finding out the intricacies of my internal psyche. Three years later and I am not so ashamed. I have grown and evolved as a person. Although I don’t want my family to read this post (and they won’t if I ask them nicely!) I am no longer scared of how other people may perceive it. That is why I have decided to lift the password protection. If people know my deepest, darkest secret, so what? It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is nothing I should hate myself because of. As Samantha used to say, it is simply one small thread in the multicoloured tapestry that is me.

So strap yourselves in for a journey through the kinkier recesses of my mind. A journey fraught with self-doubt, self-hatred and immense, unwavering passion. A journey that will, undoubtedly, warm the very cockles of your heart posterior.

Note: Meadhbh has convinced me to lift the password protection on this (epic) post with one proviso: family members are politely asked to read no further. Thank you! :)

Continue reading


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15 Things I love to do…

1. Writing

This is something I’ve loved doing since I was a wee bairn stealing pens from pre-school chums in order to write about a grasshopper searching for a the perfect bucket. Whether I’m writing fiction, non-fiction, random journal entries, streams of consciousness, mind vomits or lists I’m not caring about how good a writer I am, I’m just relishing in the opportunity to do something that I love. Something that brings me joy, hope and happiness.

2. The Legend of Zelda

Ever since I inserted the A Link to the Past cartridge into my Super Nintendo Entertainment system I knew I was about to commence a life-long relationship with a funny looking prat in green and the accident prone Princess he always has to save. Link’s Awakening saw me in heaven, Ocarina of Time saw me visit nirvana, Majora’s Mask saw take a tour of Tir-Nan-Og. No matter what the Zelda game is (Ages, Seasons, Spirit Tracks, Hourglass) whilst I’m playing it my mind is on nothing else other than my love of this series and my long-held dream that one day we’ll get an installment where Zelda has to rescue Link because, let’s be honest, girls are allowed to kick-ass too and not just be portrayed as kidnapped prone victims.

3. Pub Trivia

One of my strongest memories of 2002 is undertaking a music based pub trivia night with my girlfriend and parents. My father – being the music guru that he is – helped us thrash the competition into submission that night. In 2006, after leaving my job because of mental health issues, I requested a trivia night as a staff leaving do. This single suggestion kick starting the only period of my life where I was able to be part of a pub trivia team, until my ex-girlfriend raised her emotionally abusive campaign and rendered me unable to attend. Cue late night text messages rubbing in the fact I was friendless, uselss and unloved.

4. Helping Others

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: awareness raising campaigns are only good to a point! Sure, feel good about writing “I do it on the back of a warthog” or “Purple with pink spots”, but what are you really doing? You’re not even mentioning what you’re raising awareness of, let alone completely alienating a gender that can also suffer from breast cancer. The same goes for abuse (signing the white ribbon pledge is one thing, standing by that pledge in the real world is something else entirely), putting up with your boyfriend’s mo every year is one thing, supporting him if he actually suffers from depression is something esle entirely), ditto for homelessness, suicide, sexism and every other issue that is out there today. Actually helping someone floods you with a feeling of such wonderment you’ll start to think it’s better than sex.

5. Self-Education

As has been well documented on this blog I was never lucky enough to go into tertiary education. And yes, there is an element of luck in this. I certainly have the intelligence for uni – but a succession of health, financial, abuse, employment and geographical problems always sabotaged my attempts. As such I have had to work on educating myself however, and whenever, I can. Whether this is reading textbooks and non-fictional tomes I obtain from libraries and/or charity shops or turning to the higher end journalism websites, I keep trying to push myself in every area of my life. And I love doing it!

6. DVD Marathons

Although not quite as high-end as reading educational text-books, I have a passion for television stretching back way before undertaking media studies at A-Level. There is little quite as exciting for me than sitting down with a season box set and absorbing it in marathon sessions of episodes. When I’m watching these shows it’s not just the plots I’m intereted in, but the production, the direction, the writing, everything that has come together to make that show what it is, is being studied in intimate detail by my mind. Should you fancy a DVD marathon yourself, may I suggest: Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Carnivale, Breaking Bad, One Tree Hill, Chuck, Doctor Who, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Frasier or Community as perfect places to start.

7. Blogging

Yeah, okay. My blog is hardly the most well-read on the internet, but if you’re blogging purely for noteriety may I suggest you do something else; run naked through the CBD, perhaps, or audition for a reality television show. I blog because I love writing, because I love the medium of blogging, that I can tell my story, my way. Sometimes this will mean writing a fictional blog by a fictional author, or undertaking a present for my parents, or endlessly writing about every facet of my life in oversharing posts of embarrassing detail. Whatever blog I begin I love, and if I don’t, then I stop writing that blog. Because life’s too short to do something you don’t love.

8. Reading

Again, this is something I’ve loved doing since I was a child helping to stop smugglers or visiting the Land of Slaps at the top of a magic tree. Although I become frustrated from time to time considering how closely linked my ability to read and my mental health are, it never stops me loving books or the beautiful feeling that overcomes me when I become emotionally connected with a new cast of characters or, simply, an author’s distinctive style. My current record is 29 books in one month. One day, I hope to make it to thirty!

9.Re-watch love/hate movies

Some movies I love (Fight Club, Roman Holiday, Tucker and Dale vs Evil), some movies I hate (Sixth Sense, Psycho [the remake], The Birds) and some movies I love/hate in equal measure. It is these moveis I love re-watching as my mind wrestles over the conflicting emotions in the hope that one day love or hate will win out. These include: X-Men 2, Donnie Darko, The Dark Knight Rises and, of course, the oft-mentioned Secretary.

10. Cleaning

As mentioned yesterday, there is something altother calming and therapeutic about cleaning. Sure, I’m not always in the mood to do it, occasionally get distracted by other things and sometimes do an appalling job, but whenever I’m cleaning I’m loving what I’m doing. My personal favourite tasks are vacuuming, dusting and deep cleaning.

11. Creating

An old friend once told me that even though I lacked the talent to write, I was never lacking in ideas of things to write about. She was, as always, annoyingly dead on. I’m completley aware my writing isn’t – and never will be – as brilliant as those I admire but my brain overflows with so many ideas I generally don’t care. The whole process of creating, from designing story threads to birthing characters, to weaving together multiple storylines into cohesive story arcs spanning four decades, is something that I love and cherish in every way shape and form. In all honesty, if I’d spent as much time writing the Chronicles as I have planning them out, I’d have written all twenty one of them by now!

12. Hugging

Okay, so there are other things I could write here – kissing, sexual intercourse, cunnilingus – but up in the same echelons of these wondrerous acts is the simple hug. Whether it’s greeting a much loved old friend or snuggling up beside the woman I love, hugging is one of the most brilliant things in the world and I love every second of it. Although, one day I hope to remember what a hug actually feels like, it’s one of those things that’s a little difficult to do on your own.

13. Doctor Who

Ever since I was grounded for watching The Greatest Show in the Galaxy against my parents wishes I’ve been a Doctor Who fan. In the realm of entertainment there is nothing quite like the overflow of emotion I get before, during and after watching an episode I’ve never seen before. The only thing that comes close is this picture depicting the various regenerations of my hero as if he were an owl.

14. Dancing

Though I don’t really get the chance any more to indulge in this activity (like hugging, it’s not something that’s all that fun done solo) the pleasure I get from dancing will never diminish. And like hugging, one day I hope to get the chance to tango the night away once more.


15. Camping

Some hate it with a fiery passion usually reserved for Collingwood and/or Andrew Bolt. Even the five months I spent calling a tent ‘home’ will never diminish the joy I receive from crawling out into the dew soaked morning with wilderness all around and a sense of freedom that you just never receive from B&Bs, hotels and backpacker hostels.

 

Tomorrow: 14 Books I would like to read…