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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31 Days of Bipolar: Day 09. The power of positive thinking

Day 09: Are there any benefits to bipolar for you?

womaninreddress

Samantha was wearing a red dress when I met her in Adelaide. I like red dresses! :p

As with everything in life, there are always good things and bad things. Ice cream tastes delicious (good thing) but has a tendency to increase the size of your waistline (bad thing). Owls are noble, good-looking b’stards (good thing) but have a tendency to freak people out when they turn their head all the way round (bad thing). Paper is a useful material for writing things on (good thing) but has a tendency to cut you in such a way you’ve never felt pain of the like of it before (bad thing). The trick to life is being able to pinpoint the good things amidst the sea of badness that often floods our contemporary life. Some people can do it (good thing) other people only ever focus on the negative (bad thing).

I’m one of the former people. No matter what is happening to me, I am always trying to find the good things out of an experience. With PTSD, however crippling it may be (bad thing), it allows me to remember in detail everything that ever happened to me, so if I was ever to give evidence in court about that particular time in my life I could do so without fail or fear of misremembering (good thing). With social anxiety, however crippling it may be (bad thing), it allows me to be a highly emphatic individual who is deeply caring and considerate toward other individuals (good thing).

Similarly, bipolar affective disorder, however much it is seen as a bad thing by wider society (which it can be), has a wide array of benefits that has the propensity to take the suffering out of things.

For example: if it weren’t for the heady giddiness of a manic phase (bad thing) I would never have met my friend Samantha (good thing). If it weren’t for the madness of my multiple suicide attempts (bad thing) I would never have become as knowledgeable about the subject as I have (good thing). If it weren’t for how sex obsessed I become whilst manic (bad thing) I would never have given as much cunnilingus as I have (good thing). If it weren’t for the self-harm I sometimes indulge in (bad thing) I would never have begun my quest to draw intricate artworks onto my body in red pen (good thing). If it weren’t for the crippling lows of a depressive episode (very bad thing) I would never have started writing this blog (very good thing).

But more than anything, for me, the major benefit of bipolar affective disorder is the state that is known as hypomania. Sure, it’s one step below a manic phase (bad thing) but when I’m hypomanic I’m confident (good thing), productive (good thing), talkative (good thing) and debonair (good thing). My creative juices are at their maximum (good thing). I’m able to focus my energies on meaningful activities (good thing). I can multitask like a demon possessed (good thing). And I’m irresistible to women (good thing) and able to indulge in sexual activities that my social anxiety would otherwise hinder (good thing). In fact, when I’m hypomanic, however exhausting this state can be (bad thing), I’m much more likely to be the Addy I’ve always dreamed of being (good thing), the Addy that I would be proud for people to meet (good thing).

So if you’re someone who always looks at the bad things in life, who always seeks out the negative in everything, who obsessives over what has gone wrong rather than what has gone right, I strongly suggest you do a little bit of work to change your thinking. There is nothing like finding the positive amidst an ocean of terribleness, it enriches your life, it puts a smile on your face and allows you to walk with your head held that little bit higher each day.

And if a bipolar affective disorder suffering, PTSD haunted and social anxiety crippled individual such as myself can do it, anyone can!

So why not try it? :-)


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Ruminations on (possibly) the best month in years!

I’m not travelling very well at the moment. My motivation has evaporated, my brain is foggy and I’ve (once again) been retreating from the world in the hope that isolation will protect me. Exactly what I’m trying to protect myself from is beyond me, but for the last two/three weeks something has been happening to cause my subconscious mind to adopt all manner of protective measures.

In a conversation with my counselor this afternoon, as nothing monumental could be identified as being the singular cause of my current malaise, it was decided that it was an accumulation of everything that’s been happening over the last ten months, culminating three weeks ago with the public speaking venture I undertook occurring the same week as the anniversary of a suicide attempt.

It doesn’t help that in eighteen days I will be heading to Melbourne for the first time since I was homeless there in 2011. Although I should be (and am) excited by this adventure, there is a lot of trepidation about my return to the city I used to call ‘home’ because of the number of possible triggers and negative memories that will flood me whilst there.

What’s compounding this current rough-patch is my inability to ‘ground myself’ in the moment. All of the exercises I’ve used in the past have had little to no effect on me in recent weeks, forcing me to live in a constant heightened state, unable to relax, unable to focus and unable to utilize any of the coping mechanisms I’ve learned over the years.

So, to help ground me in this moment, I’ve decided to spend a little time focusing on some of the positive things that will (hopefully) be occurring throughout the month of November.

1. Melbourne

However much I am dreading the (inevitable) avalanche of negative emotions and memories, I am desperately looking forward to my first “holiday” since 2008!

2. Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

On the 23rd November 1963, a television series began airing on UK television that, fifty years later, is a world-wide phenomenon. I have been a fan of this television series for twenty-five years and words cannot describe how excited I am by the forthcoming anniversary special.

dw50

3. Arts and Culture

One of the things I’m most looking forward to doing on my return to Melbourne is to revisit the galleries and museums that populate the city. Although these locations were instrumental to my homeless survival, my love affair with them stretches back over eleven years and I am much looking forward to moseying around their hallowed halls once again.

4. I may get to cross “Item 1” from my list of things to do before I die (!)

There is still a big question mark surrounding this as I still need to overcome the financial obstacle in my way, but if I can make this work in the weeks ahead I’m sure to experience happiness of the like I’ve never before experienced! I’ll keep you posted! :p

5. The ocean

It has been nearly four years since I last saw the ocean. I want to stand on the beach and stare out over the inspirational rolling waves. I want to throw off my shoes and feel the seas power between my toes. During my time in Melbourne, this will be possible! :)

6. Monsters University

As with most films these days, I missed this latest Pixar classic on its cinema release and both Meadhbh and I are looking forward to watching it upon its DVD release on the 12 November.

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7. Federation Square

This architectural wonder has its detractors, but I have loved it since I first visited it way back in 2002. I’ve no doubt that it will be one of the first places I re-visit upon arriving back in Melbourne.

8. Trains

I would never say I was a train-spotter, but ever since journeying the width of Canada by train I’ve loved being on these metallic behemoths. I will be getting to and from Melbourne by train so am gleefully anticipating this part of my trip!

9. Man of Steel

Much like Monsters University above, I missed this movie on its cinema release and am counting down the days for its DVD release next week.

10. The “15 Day Blog Challenge”

Following last month’s 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge I’ve decided that working through another blog challenge would be good for my concentration and focus. As I will be heading to Melbourne on the 18th, I decided a short fifteen day challenge would fit nicely into the time schedule so settled on a challenge I found on the blog Life of Love.

15DayChallenge

I will be commencing this challenge on the 1 November 2013…

11. The Unfinished Blog Challenges

I began the 30 Days of Kink challenge in November 2012 and never finished it. Similarly, I began the Try Looking At It Through My Eyes challenge in May of this year and never finished it. Thus, I have decided to complete the remainder of these challenges over the coming weeks. Fingers crossed! :)

12. Being able to say ‘f*** you homeless, I beat your ass’ in the Kings Domain

This was one of my goals for 2013 and I can pretty much guarantee you that, after walking through Federation Square, I will be heading to my old “home” on the first night I’m in Melbourne.

13. My birthday

Generally, I don’t celebrate my birthday in any way, shape or form…but I’m hoping this year I will be able to get through the day with a smile and giggle rather than a frown and grumble. :)

There is a lot that can go wrong…but as long as I continue to focus on what will go right, it could become one of the best months of recent years and knock my current discombobulated mind on its ass.

But like with everything in life, only time will tell what eventuates! :)


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Coping Skills: The Negative Thought Challenge

In a recent post I shared a “Coping Skills” worksheet that I obtained via Indigo Daya’s website. One of these skills was a ‘thought challenge’, wherein you write down all your negative thoughts and then make a list as to why they may not be true.

Given that I could write a dissertation on why my negative thoughts are all valid criticisms of myself, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to take on this challenge, whatever happens as a result!

negative thoughts 1

Part I: My negative thoughts…

Note: I’m not going to write every negative thought I’ve ever had in my life (otherwise this post would win an award for the longest blog post in the history of the world!) so I’ll focus only on the last twelve hours.

  • I’m a failure
  • I’m worthless
  • I’m useless
  • I have no passion(s)
  • I’m a waste of space
  • My voice is so boring and monotonous it inflicts pain on everyone I talk to
  • I’m pathetic
  • I’m weak
  • I’m weak because I can’t just ‘get over’ the abuse I received
  • I’m unintelligent
  • I’m the most selfish human being who has ever lived in the history of the world
  • I’m the world’s worst kisser
  • I’m the world’s worst lover
  • I go down on women too much
  • I care too much about my partner orgasming
  • I’m not (sexually) selfish enough
  • I should just die
  • I don’t deserve to be alive
  • My life is pointless
  • I am pointless
  • I’m a terrible writer
  • I’m a terrible blogger
  • I’m a terrible emailer
  • I’m a terrible photographer
  • I’m a terrible everythinger
  • My photography is uninspiring, boring and monotonous
  • I use too many commas!
  • I use too many exclamation marks!!
  • My shoulder hair makes people want to vomit
  • I’m the fattest fattiest fatty who has ever lived
  • My weight is contagious
  • My self-harm is contagious
  • My illness(es) are contagious
  • I’m contagious
  • I’m unlovable
  • I’m evil
  • I’m grotesque
  • I’m insane
  • I’m too depressing
  • I’m too shy
  • I’m too anxious
  • I’m boring
  • I deserve to live alone
  • I deserve to die alone
  • I deserve to live alone and in pain
  • I deserve to die alone and in pain
  • My mind is repulsive
  • My body is repulsive
  • Heck, I’m repulsive
  • I’m a terrible friend
  • I don’t deserve to have any friends
  • No-body likes me
  • Everyone hates me
  • I should just go and eat worms!
  • It’s my fault I was abused
  • I deserved it
  • I deserve to be punished for it
  • I deserve to be punished for all eternity for it
  • My arse is too hairy
  • It’s my fault I was raped
  • I deserved it
  • I deserve to be punished for it
  • I deserve to be punished for all eternity for it
  • My mental illness(es) are a result of my own inability to cope with life’s stressors
  • Hell, my mental illness(es) are a figment of my imagination!
  • Homelessness is all I deserve out of life
  • I don’t like Harry Potter, thus I have no taste
  • My hugs are suffocating
  • I’m talentless
  • I’m a blob
  • I’m the blob!
  • My thoughts mean there is something wrong with me
  • My desires mean there is something wrong with me
  • My dreams mean there is something wrong with me
  • My thoughts/desires/dreams mean I am evil
  • There’s just something wrong with me.
  • I’m lazy
  • I don’t work hard enough
  • I don’t work hard enough to change
  • I don’t sacrifice enough
  • My opinions are invalid and deserve mockery and humiliation

Part II: Why they may not be true…

…and this is why I’m so terrible at thinking positively about myself.

All the bolded thoughts above were said to me by my abuser, those bolded and italicized were said to me frequently. As no-one believed she was doing anything wrong and I was told by many people I ‘deserved’ what she was doing…my mind concluded that they must be true, otherwise, why did I deserve being told them?

Given that the majority of these thoughts had been present prior to the abuse (some I specifically told her about), all the abuse did was make rational the irrational fears my social anxiety causes me to think.

And once a fear has been rendered rational…it’s almost impossible to deny as being untrue.

But, in the spirit of the challenge…

Is my photography really uninspiring, boring and monotonous? Although they never reach triple figures, whenever I post a ‘weekly photo challenge’ post, more often than not I receive dozens of ‘likes’ and twenty odd plus comments. Unless all these people are suffering from mass delusion, there must be something to like about my photography, isn’t there?

Ditto for my writing! People are often telling me how inspiring and enjoyable they find my blog. Plus, would an editor spend weeks helping me polish a short story and then publish it in a nationwide magazine if it was truly bad?

As for not making enough sacrifices, frankly, what THE FUCK?! I sacrificed my home, family, friends, uni course and future plans in order to move to the other side of the world purely because I loved someone. When my abuser was suffering from Glandular Fever I phoned in sick for work several times purely to look after her, in fact, for over a month I become her 24/7 nurse-maid, never once putting myself first throughout that entire period. Before that, I spent three years putting my life on hold for the benefit of my employer and staff, regularly working in excess of 60-80 hour weeks without overtime, cancelling night classes, social events and social groups in order to do so. Even though I live in abject poverty, I still find money for monthly donations to charitable organisations and have frequently done all I can, when I can, to help whomever I can (including complete strangers!) Even when I was homeless I would regularly give other homeless people money, clothes, food and blankets that I couldn’t afford to part with. Does that really sound like someone not willing to sacrifice things for the health, wellbeing and happiness of others?

You could even use the above to argue over the validity of my alleged selfishness…but the fact I wasn’t there for Grace when she needed a friend instantly renders all this evidence ineligible and one hundred percent proves my selfishness.

However, what about the negative thoughts relating to deserving to be abused? Astute readers amongst you will have connected what I was told following the emotionally abusive relationship to these thoughts. I was literally told I deserved it, ergo it must be true. But the rape? No-one told me I deserved to be raped…and I have no logical argument other than ‘guilt’ as to why I think this is true. But think it I do.

So what if I don’t like Harry Potter? There are so many better young adult fictional series (His Dark Materials, The Dark is Rising, Hunger Games, Narnia) than the tale of this young wizard. Or rather, in my opinion there are so many better young adult fictional series! Just because my opinion differs from others does not make me tasteless, it just makes me different. And while we’re at it…I don’t deserve mockery and humiliation for sharing an opinion, no-one does!

Ditto for all the my desires/dreams means there is something wrong with me thoughts. Just because I have cravings, needs and desires that are considered ‘deviant’ and/or ‘weird’ does not mean that they, or I, am wrong. It just means I’m different. Where’s the problem with that?

As for everything else…I’m afraid I can’t come up with reasons why they may not be true.

The simple fact is I have been living a socially isolated life for the last six years (give or take six months), so if I really am a decent person, deserving of friends, company and relationships, someone who doesn’t deserve to live and die alone, why is it that none of the efforts I undertake to create real-life connections work?

It is impossible to live alone for as long I have without believing that this is all you deserve in life.

The same argument can be used for the kissing, hugs and sex negative thoughts. There is a reason why I don’t get to do any of these things…and it can’t just be because of severe abuse trauma rendering me untrusting and fearful of intimacy. Can it?

The simple fact is, for every single item on that list I could come up with at least a dozen individual reasons for why they’re true. These reasons would be backed up by comments multiple people have told me throughout my life.

As I’ve said in the past, the more you are told something, the more you believe that something to be true. When all you’ve had in your life is negativity, insults, criticism, isolation and abuse…how can you possibly believe you’re a good person?

negative thinking 2

Part III: What would I tell a friend who thinks like this…

If any of my friends thought like this I’d put them over my knee and spank some sense into them!

But once I’d been released from prison on assault charges (unless the spanking had been consensual, that is :p) I would sit them down and tell them how unhealthy it was to think like that, how brilliant, beautiful and awesome they are and how these thoughts were the product of low self-esteem, low self-confidence and (possible) mental health and abuse trauma related issues.

I would then ask them what I could do to help them think more realistically about themselves. If that meant surreptitiously sending stories to magazines to prove how awesome a writer they are, let them cry on my shoulder, help them organize counseling to defeat their guilt over abuse and/or just spending time with them doing things that make them feel good, I would, without any hesitation.

In fact, I have done all of those things (and a lot more besides) to help friends defeat their demons in the past!

Part IV: Conclusion

Over the years I have exasperated psychologists, counselors and therapists with my negative thinking. Every time any of them issued compliments, positive reinforcement or adulation, my mind would immediately source from my history of bullying, abuse and criticism several comments that proved they were lying. There have been times when these psychologists, counselors and therapists have told me they can see this process occurring; from the moment they issue the praise to the moment I discard it as an irrelevant lie.

None of them have been able to help me find a way to combat this cycle of thinking.

No matter how hard I try to break free, no matter how many times I tell myself I’m wrong, no matter how often I can see the awesome bastard that I am, the damage from all the bullying, abuse and isolation seems to run too deep to be overcome.

And if you don’t believe me, if you think I’m just being lazy and not working hard enough, go and spend six years on your own, living on the streets, frequently being physically and emotionally abused whilst receiving no praise, positive reinforcement, human contact, touch or compliments…then get back to me and tell me how easy it is to think ‘positively’ about yourself and your life.

However much I would like to think less negative thoughts, it is going to take years of intense work to fix the damage caused by abuse, homelessness and isolation.

But, as with everything, I’ve already begun to work on it. This challenge is part of me moving toward fixing the damage, as are the social and support groups I’m trying to attend, as is this blog and so many other skills, therapies and treatments that I’m currently undertaking.

It would be easier to lose myself to these thoughts, to let them overcome me, but I refuse to let them simply because there is no way in hell I’m going to let my abuser win.

I’m way too freaking awesome to let that happen!

(Even if I don’t believe this most of the time!)


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Exercises to build self-esteem: #3. Personal positive experiences

Send you negative thoughts to the naughty corner!

So far this week we have looked at what self-esteem is; the value we place on ourselves and how we see ourselves in general, what low self-esteem is; when we as individuals hold deep-seated negative beliefs about ourselves, and how we can work toward improving these beliefs through altering our perceptions of who we are.

First, by focussing on the things that bring us pleasure (rather than pain) and secondly, on how it isn’t narcissistic to love our individual gifts and talents.

Today, we look at our experiences.

As many people who suffer from low-esteem may relate to, I spend a lot of time living in the negative space of my life. All day, every day, I am constantly reminding myself of all the things I have done wrong; of when I let my friends down, of when I failed to get a publishing deal for my book, of what I did to deserve being abused, of my time living on the streets, of every minor mistake and error I’ve ever committed. Rarely, do I look at the positive experiences I’ve had.

But to increase self-esteem we have to look at these experiences, for endlessly replaying the negative is merely feeding the vicious cycle of self-hatred that is fuelling our low levels of self-esteem. By focussing on the positive times we reprogram our brain to think of these first, relegating the negative into the annals of history to be forgotten.

One way to do this is, when you catch yourself dwelling on a negative, twist it around. For example, using the five examples above:

i) Instead of thinking of when I let my friends down I should think of the far more examples of when I was there for them however I could be.
ii) Instead of thinking of when I failed to get a publishing deal for my book I should think of when I had my short story published or that I had the courage to submit the book to publishers in the first place!
iii) Instead of thinking of what I did to deserve being abused I should be thinking fuck you, I didn’t do bloody anything to deserve such vicious treatment!
iv) Instead of thinking of my time living on the streets I should be thinking of all the things this period taught me about life. And that I survived.
v) Instead of thinking of every minor mistake and error I’ve ever committed I should be thinking of every major moment of brilliance I’ve ever performed!

The only problem is that not only is this very difficult to do, quite often we lacking in self-esteem don’t think about the positive things we’ve done in our lives.

Which is why our exercise today is all about that; our personal positive experiences.

Personal positive experiences…

1. Take out a clean sheet of paper and a pen of your choice.

2. Divide the paper into eight sections: Courage, Kindness, Selflessness, Love, Sacrifice, Wisdom, Happiness, Determination.

3. Under each section write about positive personal experiences that come under that category.

4. You don’t have to limit yourself to one example for each, the more you can think of the better!

5. Keep the paper somewhere handy so that (a) you can read it frequently and (b) you can add to it whenever you fancy.

 

Courage is the anwser

Courage is the answer (Photo credit: SIDΔ)

 

My Personal Experiences…

As with the other exercises this week, I lead by example.

NB: These are just the ones that came to mind, there’s probably more buried deep within me somewhere…I hope!

Courage

In 2012, after an eighteen month absence, I began blogging and tweeting to try to reconnect with the world.

In 2010, I happened upon a man who was assaulting his girlfriend. He claimed she ‘deserved’ to be punched and as a man I should understand that. I didn’t, because as a man, I fervently believe no-onedeserves to be punched in the face by their loved one. Rather than walking on by I stood up for what I believed in and ended up having the shit beaten out of me whilst thinking at least he’s not beating her.

In 2009, I became homeless. If you don’t think this requires courage, I suggest you head out and live on the streets for a week and then get back to me.

In 2009, I sent short stories and novel manuscripts to publishers. Given I am someone who constantly fears people reading his work this was a huge and courageous step for me. Although the novel went nowhere, I did have a short story published, which I’ve always been proud of.

In 2007, I began a blog that opened my entire life up for the world to see.

In 2007, on 11 October I chose life.

In 2007, despite Glandular Fever, anxiety and pre-existing mental health problems, I made a concerted effort to re-enter tertiary education. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 2002, I boarded a plane bound for Australia.

In 1999, I had the courage to follow my heart and begin backpacking.

In 198?, I stood up to schoolyard bullies who were mercilessly picking on my sister.

And it should go without saying…from now, until the day I die, I will be living with bipolar; that requires courage!

Kindness

In 2011, despite homelessness, I felt compelled to donate to the appeals raising money for victims of the Queensland and Victorian floods.

In 2010, I gave a person new to the streets my blanket, some food and the last of my money as they had nothing. The next day I took them to organisations that would help them access housing and services.

In 2009, I tried to help Stephanie through her depression and suicidal thoughts.

In 2006, I spent nearly fifteen hours making a playlist for my friend’s 21st as no-one else was willing to do it. No music, no party!

And when I had friends I always tried to remember their birthdays and get them a present (however small it may have been!)

Selflessness

In 2010, I turned down accommodation so another homeless person (who appeared worse than I) would have somewhere indoors.

In 2008, I turned down the chance to experience something I’d always wanted to experience as I knew it would impact negatively on a friend.

In 2007, I cancelled an important hospital appointment I’d waited months for because my friend needed emotional support. It was three more months of worry before I was able to get another one, but I’ve never regretted it as my friend was upset.

In 2006, I phoned in sick/opted out of four shifts at work so I could be there for my glandular fever suffering girlfriend. (Note: at the time I was on an extremely low-income and needed all the money I could get, but her health and wellbeing were more important to me.)

In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, I put my own Christmas wishes aside to try to give my backpacking clients the best day possible.

Love

In 2008, I always tried to be there for my girlfriend during her depressive episodes, regardless of my work commitments, regardless of how triggered I became and the subsequent fallout to my mental health as I knew how much worse it would be if she was on her own.

In 2007, I spent eight hours cooking and preparing a three course candlelit meal for my girlfriend before paying my housemates to bugger off for the evening so my girlfriend and I could have some alone time. (Note: she phoned ten minutes before she’d agreed to come over and told me if we didn’t go to the restaurant she wanted to go to she wouldn’t see me that night.)

In 2006/07, I wrote a personalised interactive novella to give my girlfriend as a birthday present (Note: she broke up with me suddenly before I had the chance to give it to her)

In 2006, I organised a surprise day of fun for a friend who was going through a bad-time; we began with the circus, then went ice-skating, a picnic in the park, swimming/sauna/spa/water slides, a theatre trip and then a late dinner in Lygon Street. It cost me a small fortune, but the smile on her face was worth it.

In 2004, I imported an engagement ring from Scotland because I wanted my fiance to have a ring that was unique, special and meaningful.

In 2002, I emigrated to Australia.

In 2002, I lived in my childhood bedroom whilst my girlfriend traveled Europe and returned to Australia eighteen months before her visa for the UK was up, even though it killed me to do so, it was the only way I was able to afford to save for Australia.

In 2001, even though I’d known her for only five days, I let my girlfriend move in with me as she had nowhere else to go.

And I always tried to be there for my partners and friends whenever they had a problem.

Sacrifice

In 2005, I cancelled two adult education courses I wanted to undertake as they clashed with my employment commitments.

In 2002, I sacrificed my family, friends and country of birth to emigrate to Australia without knowing if I would ever see them again.

In 2001/02, I turned down a university course so I could move to Australia to be with the woman I loved.

Wisdom

In 2011 and 2010, I did whatever I could to impart advice to fellow homeless people who were new to the street (e.g. where they could go to get help, how best to keep warm, best places for food etc.)

In 2009, I wrote a newspaper opinion piece containing several pearls of wisdom I’d picked up over the years.

In 2007, I started writing a blog that I hoped would help share the lessons I’d learned with the rest of the world.

Happiness

In 2010, I cuddled a wombat, and thus fulfilled a life long dream!

In 2007, after a lifetime of hard work to get myself into that position, I returned to college.

In 2004, my girlfriend and I were going to get married. (Note: she called the wedding off as she didn’t want to get married until same-sex marriage was legalised. I still think it had more to do with not loving me/not wanting to commit, but what do I know?)

In 2001, I was living in the best flat I’ve ever had.

In 2000, I spent three months traveling Canada.

In 1999 ann 2000, I spent six months traveling in Scotland.

Determination

Umm, really? Refusing to give up…even after giving up! Constantly trying to work toward a better me. Endlessly fighting mental illness with little to non-existent support. Giving stigma the spanking it deserves, regardless of the damage it does to my life. Three years living on the streets. Writing this blog on/off for five years. Challenging myself and the way I think. Never giving up on my dreams. Pushing myself each and every day to get out of bed and keep on going in the hope that someday, preferably before I’m too old to enjoy it, I no longer have to prove how fucking awesome I am to the world, or myself – we’ll all just believe it and eat chocolate cake instead!

Note: At the end of yesterday’s post I indicated that today we would be getting an article about emotional abuse and the effect it had on my self-esteem. After last night’s bout of insomnia and the stream of consciousness that erupted from it, I decided to change tact for today’s self-esteem post. So apologies for anyone who was looking forward to emotional abuse discussion, it will probably be here tomorrow :)