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.


Six regrets from 2013


One of the (many) erroneous life lessons my abuser tried to ‘teach me’ was that we are never – under any circumstances – allowed to have regrets. To her, they were a sign of weakness, an indicator of our fallibility; but this is the very reason I like having regrets; for they are the things that allow us to look back on our life, learn where we went wrong and grow as a result.

In essence, they are what make us human.

Every year, around this time, my mind begins searching back through the previous twelve months for all the mistakes and regrets I’ve made. Not because I’m a masochist who wants to dwell on such failures, but because it allows me the opportunity to grow and become someone better in the year ahead.

So, at the half way point in the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge, here are my six biggest regrets of 2013:

6. Not pushing myself harder when it came to exercising…

In the middle of 2013 I joined a gym for the first time in over seven years, and for the first couple of months that I was a member, I was a regular sight on the treadmills, weight machines and exercise bikes. However, as time pushed on, and I became more and more aware of my grotesque physical appearance, I allowed the body dysmorphia to win and refused to attend the gym. But as the year draws to an end – and I realise the monumental mistake that I made – I am hopeful that the New Year will see me able to push these negative thoughts from my mind and return to the gym on a regular basis.

5. Not putting myself out there in emails, social networking sites and blog comments…

As I have written extensively of in the past – including in a post specifically about it – my social anxiety extends beyond the real world into the cyber realm. When it comes to making myself heard in emails, blog comments or social networking sites, the gremlins spark up and inform me, in no uncertain terms, that I’m an effing failure that no-one in their right mind would want to have any contact with. Unfortunately, given their persistence, they usually win and I remain silent. However, as we approach a New Year, I am determined to give these pesky critters the spanking they deserve; I will not remain silent for another twelve months. I won’t!

4. Not going to the beach during my holiday to Melbourne…

Living, as I do, in the middle of the Australian bush, getting to the ocean is a little difficult for me. So when I travelled to Melbourne in November I fully intended to take some time to head down to the beach and bask on the glorious soft sand with my feet in the cool, Southern ocean. Alas, both time and energy impeded the realization of this goal. So, if I find myself back in Melbourne this year, I will definitely be seeking to make amends for this regret.

3. Not seizing the opportunities I had to cross item (1) from my bucket list…

Looking back, and with all honesty, I had three very good chances throughout 2013 to eliminate this item from my list. And on all three occasions the only thing that prevented me from doing so was money. Not mental health, not anxiety, not lack of confidence…money. As we progress into the New Year, I am more determined than ever to not let anything get between me and the achievement of this goal!

2. Not talking to anyone at the World Hearing Voices Congress…

Okay, so I did talk to some people, namely the rest of the Gateway Community Health contingent. But I didn’t talk to anyone new, despite their being several people I would have loved to talk to in more detail about their voice hearing experiences. With the congress taking place in Greece next year, it’s highly unlikely I will have the opportunity to attend, so I’m at a loss as to how to make up for this mistake; but I’m hoping to find a way, even if it means sending random emails to some of the speakers!

1. Not asking the woman I fancied out on a date…

Every year there is always one woman who steals my heart, one woman who takes control of my mind, one woman whom I lust after with scant regard to personal humility…and 2013 was no exception. I won’t give any names, I won’t even give clues to their identity, but being in her presence filled me with the sort of happiness that wouldn’t look out-of-place in chick-lit. She was intelligent, funny, engaging and compassionate on a level that is rare in today’s fast paced society. She was also completely and utterly out of my league; the sort of woman who would only be interested in a guy like me if I were the last human being on Earth.So, as with every year, I didn’t act on my feelings…and I’m getting tired of it! Next year I hope to at least ask if they’d like to have coffee and/or dinner with me, even if it means a completely humiliating shoot-down!


Previous installments of the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge:

| Day One | Day Two | Day Three |
| Day Four | Day Five |


Other wonderful bloggers participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge:

| Marci, Mental Health and More | Many of Us |
| Looking for Lucy |

If I’ve missed you from the above list, please let me know in the comments field below and I’ll add you as soon as humanly possibly so everyone can read your magnificent responses! :)


The pleasures and perils of writing about family and friends on a mental health blog

For those thinking I’ve bailed on my Mental Health Month Challenge, you’re wrong. At the very top of the PDF outlining the daily prompts for this challenge is a wonderful line that states: ‘you get two “Get Out Of Post Free” Days. Use Wisely!’

Whether I’ve used them wisely over the last two days is yet to be seen as I now have none left. But let’s not worry about this just yet, let us instead focus on today’s prompt…write about how you choose to write about others in your blog (friends, family etc.).

Writing about my family and friends

My family...

My Family…

The lost blog post…

Although I began writing this blog in 2007, I stopped writing it in mid-2008 when I threw my attention toward rebuilding my life in Alice Springs. Being employed after eighteen months of isolation was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and in order to better my chances of success in a ‘normal’ life I had to let my blog go, which became one of the biggest regrets of my life as I would not return to it until late 2009.

After months of living a homeless non-existence I returned to my blog for a series of posts celebrating its two-year anniversary. I wrote posts detailing the continued effect that the abuse I received was having on me, I wrote about my homelessness for the first time and of psychiatric appointments I’d had months earlier.

Although I’ve never really mentioned this before (as it makes me sound completely insane), I have no memory of writing and publishing any of these posts!

When I returned to the blog earlier this year I read through all I’d written and stared in complete disbelief at the atrocious writing I’d committed in my name.

Certainly, the post about Stephanie was wonderful, but the vast majority of these posts are atrocious crimes against writing, even though the information contained within them is true. None more so than a post called Fourteen Beautiful Souls, which is one of the single greatest examples of hypomanic writing that has ever been published on this blog! Thirty-five rambling pages of A4 that chronicle some (but not all) of the most important people in my life.

When I read this despicable post back for the first time I wanted to vomit. Without doubt it is one of the negative highlights of my shameful life and one of my biggest regrets. Although, given I can’t remember writing it, is it right to regret doing it?

Of all the major posts I’ve written over the last five years this is the only post I refuse to re-publish. I still have it, nestled somewhere as a draft in my posts menu, but what I did in that post broke all the rules concerning ‘other people’ that I’d established for myself when beginning this blog in 2007.

The five rules…

1. I will not write about the lives of other people unless they have given me permission to do so.
2. I will only write about other people if it is vital to the topic at hand.
3. I will at all times use a pseudonym when writing about other people.
4. I will be respectful, compassionate and non-abusive when writing about other people.
5. No identifiable photographs. Period!

Since returning to the blogosphere earlier this year I have been careful not to break these rules again when writing about other people, something I will only do when necessary in order to avoid the unintended pain my Fourteen Beautiful Souls post caused.


I had wanted to write about my sister for as long as this blog has been alive. But back in the early days my sister was a regular reader and contributor to this blog and I didn’t want her to read about the effect her illness had on my life. So, not wishing to cause her any pain, I avoided writing about her in detail, choosing only to drop the occasional sliver of information as and when necessary to fill in my back story.

However, earlier this year I realized through conversations with a psychologist that it was important to deal with this hitherto untouched part of my life. So not wishing to break rule (1) I phoned my parents to ask their permission to write about my sister and her illness.

I couldn’t ask Kathryn personally as we haven’t spoken for many years and probably never will again, but if I was going to write about this part of my life, I wanted to be sure to do it right.

Fortunately, my parents understood and with their help filling in forgotten facts, the (as yet unfinished) trilogy of posts dealing with my sister was finally written.

My Sister and Me (1): Childhood
My Sister and Me (2): Anorexia Nervosa

My Family

As for other members of my family, aside from the occasional reference, I have barely written about them in detail. Certainly I have mentioned that some members of my family also suffer from mental health issues but I am cautious not to be too precise or revealing. Not only do I not want to offend people, but it would be unfair for me to discuss their lives on this blog, healthwise or otherwise.

The only other occasion I can recall writing about a member of my family was during the Unsent Letter’s series back in August. Although it was clear that the letter was being written to my nephew, there were no names or personal information given so his identity should only have been recognizable to my family.

Unsent Letter: In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took

But as always when writing about other people, the nervousness was omnipresent throughout the writing, editing and publishing process, never more so than when I’m writing about my (old) friends.


Long-time readers of my blog will be asking one question…why did Sammi not begin to be mentioned until earlier this year?

The answer is two-fold:

1) She was mentioned in past posts, albeit in an indirect manner, as far back as 2007. (She even had a couple of her own posts published on my one-time sister blog Eliminate the Stigma of Mental Illness and wrote many comments across all the blogs I’ve had over the years)

2) Because of the nature of our friendship (which was more complicated than most) she requested that she not be written about until she was comfortable with me sharing our friendship with the wider world.

Due to her untimely passing, Sammi was never able to give me that permission directly. So the decision to write about her (and our complicated friendship) was not taken lightly. I had long wanted to tell the tale of our friendship and ultimately decided that the time was finally right to do so.

As long as I followed rule (4) to the letter!

One Night in Adelaide (Mature Content)
I will never forget her
What would you change about yourself?

My Friends

Time, my own failings, mental health and the fact I’m a worthless arsehole rendered me isolated many years ago. But even though I no longer have the friends I once did doesn’t mean that I ever stopped caring about the people who once meant the world to me, and in a way still do.

The primary reason I nearly vomited when reading back Fourteen Beautiful Souls was due to the sheer amount of personal information I shared in that post. Not just about who these people were but my own feelings toward them. It was disrespectful, unfair, a massive breakage of trust and something I will deeply regret until the day I die.

It’s true that from time to time these people are mentioned on the blog, some more than most, but I do so only because I need to. Not to hurt them, embarrass them or humiliate them, but because for a long period of time these people were the reason I would get out of bed in the morning.

These people made me into who I was, who I am and who I will be in the future, so in writing about my life’s journey it is important I share how they touched my life.

I would love to write more posts about these people. Posts that celebrate their awesomeness in the manner I have written about Sammi. Tales of backpacking adventures, drunken escapades, heartfelt conversations and moments of pure bliss, pain and regret – but I can’t as I don’t want these people to be (any more than they already are) associated with this weird, confused loner who is but a shadow of the person they once knew.

Unlike Samantha, who will never read what I write about her, there is a chance (albeit minimal) that these other people will.

And I just don’t want to cause them any further pain and embarrassment.

The future…

Talking about mental illness is one of the most personal things you can do. As I said recently, it is not something that should be considered brave and courageous (merely normal), but it is something that should be an individual’s choice.

Stigma and discrimination is just as alive as it’s always been when it comes to mental health, so in addition to not wanting to upset anyone, this factor has always been high in my mind when writing about other people on this blog.

Not just in terms of their own health, but in terms of being associated with my own.

So whenever I write about my friends, my family and other people who have touched my life on this blog, I will continue abiding by the five rules I laid out all those years ago. Rules that I have occasionally broken, but never once out of malice or with intent to cause harm.

...and friends

…and friends

If anyone does remember the Fourteen Beautiful Souls post (hopefully not) and were hurt by its content, I humbly and sincerely apologise.

I am not saying I don’t remember writing it to give myself a convenient excuse or avoid taking responsibility, but because I genuinely have no memory of writing it. It was a mistake, and like all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, one I’ve been (and will continue to be) living with for the remainder of my life.


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Six things I’ve done that I would recommend you never (ever) do

Yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt was:
Tell us about something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do.
(What? I’m running late. Sue me :p)

1. Opt for love over a university course…

Once upon a time I was accepted into a highly regarded university photography course. If I’d taken the course I’d most likely be a world-famous photographer by now, spending my day’s shooting inspiring landscapes and releasing erotic/fetish folios under a pseudonym.

Instead, after chosing love, I’m an (ex) homeless socially-isolated mentally-ill man after the person I emigrated for had a relationship with another man, lied to me for years and never once understood how her actions made me feel in light of the sacrifices I’d made for her.

Yep, don’t even think about it. Choose education.

2. Turn down the chance of realising one of your dreams…

In 1999, my anxiety seized control of my mind and body and pulled me away from realising a life-long dream. To this day, no matter how hard I’ve tried this dream has remained unfulfilled. I hope it won’t stay that way forever…

3. Watch Catwoman

I watched it once…and then wanted to gouge my eyes out with a spoon!

If you really need a Catwoman fix, I recommend Batman Returns or a session playing Lego Batman :)

4. Let a friend down…

I’ve done it. And I lost their friendship forever.

If you value your friendships always be there for those you love, otherwise your regret will eat away at you from the inside like a vicious parasite and leave you an empty, hollow, husk of the person you once were.

5. Attempt suicide…

Overdoses…hanging…wristcutting…jumping…drowning…been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. However bad you feel, however lost you find yourself, however confused you become, however much pain you’re feeling, it will get better.

So if you feel suicidal, seek help. Talk to your friends, call a helpline, tell someone…anyone!

The alternative is not worth thinking about.

6. Streak down a major shopping mall in order to win a kinky bet…

…actually, no. I would whole-heartedly recommend you do this whenever the situation presents itself :p

W00T! Lego Batman!

W00T! Lego Batman! (Photo credit: Carol Browne)

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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!)


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!)


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


Keys. Clothes. Wallet. Soap.


Rice cooker; I couldn’t live without one.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


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!


Winter. It always has been and always will be.


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!


I’d side on the cool camp.


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.


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.


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.


No; see (61) above.


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


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.


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.


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.


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 :)