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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25 Songs, 25 Days: Gathering Pieces

Day 04: A song that calms you down

Gathering Pieces | This Is Your Captain Speaking

thisisyourcaptainspeaking

Back in the good old days. The days when I was employed, when I had a regular income, when I had a social network of cherished individuals, when I wasn’t governed by my mental illnesses, I used to spend my days roaming the streets of Melbourne, exploring all sorts of book and music shops. I would trawl the shelves for interesting titles, fascinating blurbs and ingenious covers. Anything that attracted me to the product. Anything that inspired me. And when something spoke to my soul I would purchase it.

One such example occurred one autumn evening when I was browsing the shelves of Polyester Music on Brunswick Street. I was looking for something new, something I had never heard before, and the above album cover sparked my attention. It was simple. Delicate. Beautiful. I didn’t know what type of music it was, I had never heard the band name before or read any review of their product. So I took a chance. I strode up to the counter, handed over my hard-earned money, and carried on my way.

The next day I was rostered off from work. After my girlfriend had risen, performed her morning yoga ritual and left for work, I poured myself a bowl of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and settled down with my new CD. Within minutes I was left speechless. The music was instrumental; the compositions spellbinding. For one whole hour I sat on the floor of my flat, completely transfixed by the musical soundscapes that were assaulting my senses.

When the CD finished I did the only thing I could possibly do. I listened to it again. And again. I was spellbound by the intricate array of instruments and the notes they played. It was, without question, one of the finest CDs I’d ever heard.

As the months passed I returned to this CD whenever my stress levels rose as the music had a calming influence over me. I listened to it when faced with a panic attack. I listened to it on long train journeys. I listened to it as I strolled around a heaving city. And whenever I listened to it, whenever I allowed the music to steal my soul, I was left breathless.

This is Your Captain Speaking; one of the finest, if not the finest, instrumental bands of all time.


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Ten inspirational self-esteem quotes

It’s time you had a time out

Contemporary life can, at times, be somewhat stressful.

We fill our lives with Twitter, Facebook, the need for twenty-four hour a day contact and blogging. There’s traffic congestion, inbox congestion, nasal congestion and artery congestion. The eternal quest to eradicate wrinkles, lines, body hair and blemishes. Does my bum look big in this? Does my cleavage look too small in this? Does my toe look like it has a fungal infection in this? There’s the endless balance between work, home, family, friends and random strangers. Electricity, food, medication, gas, water, rates, taxes…those bloody taxes! Every day of our lives is an endless stream of stress and tension, relieved only when we chance upon some time for sex, cuddles, massages and cunnilingus. But only if we’re lucky enough to have them.

And then there’s physical health, and mental health, and emotional health, and at some point we need to stop.

Breath.

And take a time out.

This week has been such a week for me. I’ve tried to balance the mood swings, the loneliness, the insomnia and anxiety as best I can, all whilst undertaking exercises to increase positive thought and work toward better self-esteem. I’ve sought support (no change yet), completed dozens of forms, argued with Centrelink and found little joy in the long, cold nights.

There have been triggers galore trying to sabotage me, rivers of tears trying to humiliate me and flashbacks aplenty to some of the most traumatic, painful moments of my life. There has been servings of victim guilt, survivor guilt and man guilt mixed liberally with grief, sadness, worry and a pinch of depression with a heavy dollop of isolation.

So today, I am leading by example, and choosing to stop. Because if I don’t, my mental health will collapse and my self-esteem with it.

Although I cannot advise you on how and when you should stop – as you know your life and mind better than I – please take some time to work this out for yourself. I cannot say it strongly enough, but one of the key things with building self-esteem is knowing yourself. Of being aware of your triggers, of your moods and the balance with everything that makes up your life.

When you have the courage to pause and admit you need some time to relax away, to remove the stress and focus on joy, you’re well on your way to better self-esteem.

So for today there are no exercises, no lists, no technical worksheets requiring work and thought. There is only me, telling you to go and do something nice. Run yourself a bath, cuddle with your loved one, eat some ice-cream, go for a walk, pet your dog, phone a friend.

It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it puts a beautiful, calming smile on your beautiful, worthy face.

Inspirational self-esteem quotes