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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Death is the only answer

As I’ve been having trouble writing lately, mainly because my stress levels have been so high, I’m experimenting with stream of consciousness writing as a way to overcome my current malaise. As such, this post was written as a Stream of Consciousness on Tuesday 29 September 2015 between 10:09 – 10:33am. Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing.

death

Last night I lay in bed unable to sleep. The demons of my past forcing me to relive the emotional abuse I received from my sociopathic narcissistic cunt of an ex-girlfriend. Words like useless, worthless, repugnant, repulsive, selfish, waste of space, evil, pointless, unlovable reverberated around my mind making sleep an impossible dream. They were all the words my abuser used to use; all the words my abuser specifically chose to control my life, minimize my emotions and render me a quivering, isolated, self-hating freak. That was her intention. That was her goal. To make me hate myself; to render my emotions invalid; to destroy the very essence of my soul. And she succeeded. Last night wasn’t a one-off. It wasn’t an isolated incident. Every night and day for the last eight years, no matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, her voice echoes in my mind, continuing her vicious quest to assault my soul and control my life past, present and future.

For the last six days it has been the same. Night after sleepless night of reliving the abuse I was the recipient of. Night after night of hating myself on a level few could ever conceive of. Night after night of the ghost of my abuser pushing me ever closer toward the precipice of suicide. I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. I’m clinging on to the last minuscule threads of sanity. Even when I wake up, even when I try to distract myself from her cruel, taunting voice, she is still there; still forcing her abuse upon me, still pushing me to rid the world of the repulsiveness that is me. That’s what she wants, you see, it’s what she’s always wanted; my suicide. An act that she believes would save the world from the most evil, selfish, repugnant human being that has ever lived.

And she’s convincing. Last night, as the minutes dragged into hours, I started trying to work out how many pills I would need to take to successfully end my life. I started to plan how best I could slash my wrists to rid the world of the scourge of humanity. I started to concoct elaborate, complicated plans involving a combination of pills, cutting and trains; the end result always being my death, to rid the world of a voice so boring and monotonous it inflicts pain on everyone it talks to. And as the plans formulated in my mind, I started to feel at peace, I started to feel content, for it dawned on me that this is what I want. This is really the only way for me to find happiness.

They say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And I have always hated that saying. My problems are not temporary.

There is no cure for bipolar affective disorder; it is an illness that I will suffer from until the day I die. It will assault me with its mood swings, with its madness, with its intricacies, and it will always, in the end, win.

There is no cure for post traumatic stress disorder; it is an illness that I will suffer from until the day I die. It will assault me with its flashbacks, with its reliving of past trauma, with its heinous nightmares, and it will always, in the end, win.

There is no cure for social anxiety disorder; it is an illness that I will suffer from until the day I die. It will assault me with its panic, with its control, with its neurosis, and it will always, in the end, win.

Sure, there is medication that can help control the symptoms, but there is no medication that will eradicate them completely, they will always control me, always take everything from my life, as they’ve been doing for the last eight years. Eight years. I used to have a life. I used to be happy. I used to have hopes and dreams, passions and friends. But now? There is nothing. There is just me. Continually hated by the world and every human being who populates it. I am nothing, a nobody, a repugnant isolated freak that, as my abuser so relished in informing me, no human being could ever love and/or care about.

It’s no surprise to me that I’ve lost hope for a better, brighter future. Over the last eight years, despite homelessness, despite rape, despite physical assault, isolation, mental illness, trauma and abuse – all of which I have fought on my own – I have worked my cute little arse off to become the person I want so desperately to be. Over the last eight years I’ve helped people whenever and however I can; I’ve replied to thousands of emails from lost souls searching for meaning, and done whatever I could to provide them with the hope they’re looking for; I’ve shared my journey on this blog in the hope it would help people feel less alone; I’ve even helped people actualize their lifelong dreams. Over the last eight years I’ve continued to write even when the world did everything it could to stop me; I’ve sent manuscripts to publishers for consideration; I’ve written for websites on all manner of topics; I’ve even self-published my work online because writing has, since I was a child, been one of my primary passions. Over the last eight years I’ve been there for people when they’ve needed me; I’ve offered support and kindness when they had done little to earn it and I have always put other people’s emotions ahead of my own. Over the last eight years I have clung onto the hope that my life wouldn’t always be so isolated, so painful, so irrelevant. But eight years of hard work, eight years of fighting mental illness, trauma and loneliness, all on my lonesome, has seen that hope evaporate. My abuser was right; there is no hope for me, I will never amount to anything, no-one will ever love me.

Last night I lay in bed unable to sleep. Memories of abuse and trauma assaulted my mind and I came to the inevitable conclusion: I am an inconsequential member of the human race. It doesn’t matter what I do, it doesn’t matter how hard I work, it doesn’t matter what I sacrifice or how many people I help. No-one will love me. No-one will care about me. Nothing will ever change. It will just be me, living in abject poverty, devoid of happiness, killing time until the inevitable happens.

Last night I lay in bed unable to sleep. And as the hours drifted by I came to the inevitable conclusion: death is the only answer.


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SOC: The problem with poverty

As I’ve been having trouble writing lately, mainly because my stress levels have been so high, I’m experimenting with stream of consciousness writing as a way to overcome my current malaise. As such, this post was written as a Stream of Consciousness on Sunday 13 September 2015 between 10:15 – 10:33am. Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing.

Ever since I returned from my (much-needed) holiday my neighbour has been exceedingly loud. If he’s not playing duff-duff music at extremely high volumes, he’s shaking the foundations of my unit with his bass heavy television sound system. It’s got so bad, and has such a dramatic effect on my mental health, that I can no longer be in my house. Every day for the last two weeks I have left my unit by 11am and haven’t returned until at least 7pm. Throughout that eight-hour block of time I do nothing. I just sit in a park, or camp out on a bench, and wait aimlessly for time to pass. It’s frustrating. It’s infuriating. It’s a permanent reminder of my homelessness. For during that long five-year period all I did was sit around, waiting for time to tick on.

The whole situation has been a massive blow to my wellbeing. My stress levels, from being forced out of my house, have been exponentially high. My boredom, from being forced to sit on a bench and do nothing, has been off the charts. My anxiety, from being forced to be around other people when all I want to do is hide away, has elevated to a whole new level. To say I am unhappy would be an understatement. For the last three weeks I have been miserable, positively saturnine. All I want to do is be able to relax within my own house, but my neighbour, and his ‘to hell with the rest of the world’ mentality, is making that impossible.

And it’s making life unbearable. Last week, I ruminated on my hatred of Wodonga and how I believe my mental health will never get better as long as I live in this suffocating, gloomy little town. And my neighbour isn’t helping. Is it too much to expect a modicum of serenity within my own walls? Is it really necessary to deafen your neighbours day-in day-out? Sure, every now and then would be okay, but a constant stream of noise with bass so loud it (literally) shakes the walls of my unit? How is this acceptable? How is this decent?

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive. Perhaps I’m being a little finicky. But when my stress levels are so high that I feel a heart attack will shortly befall me; something has to be done. I want – nay, need – to move away. To leave this rotten town behind me and start afresh somewhere more inspiring, somewhere that speaks to my soul and doesn’t drive me into a suicidal stupor every two minutes. I need things around to entertain me; to inspire me; to speak to my soul and enable my brain to flourish. But no matter what angle I look at the problem from, no matter how I approach the dilemma in search of an answer, I can see no respite. Accommodation in Melbourne is simply too expensive. Even the outer suburbs are not cost-effective for my poverty-stricken life. Even alternative accommodation in Wodonga, which would at least get me away from Mr. I Play Deafening Music At All Hours Of The Day And Night, won’t fit into my extremely limited budget.

I am trapped here. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. There is nothing I can do. And that just adds to my already disintegrating mental health. I can’t keep sitting on a bench for eight hours a day, too scared to return to my unit because of the incessant noise that blasts from next door. I can’t keep living with this elevated stress. I can’t keep living in a town that suffocates me; that drives me to madness; that has imprisoned me within it’s soulless walls for the rest of eternity. But I just can’t see the answer.

And that’s the problem with poverty. You have no choice. You eat what you can afford, not what you want to eat. You live where you can afford, not where you want to live. You wear what you can afford, not what you want to wear. You spend your meager life making do with what you have instead of becoming the person you could so easily become. Your life, when you live in poverty, is nothing. It is just something you have to put up with until the sweet release of death comes along to end your suffering.

I am miserable at the moment. I am stressed. I am unhappy. I am sad. I am despondent. I have toyed with suicidal thought and have found myself harboring self-harm urges for the first time in months. All because of my neighbour. All because of my home town. All because I have no choice over what to do with my life.

 


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SOC: How do I live the life I deserve to live?

This post was written as a Stream of Consciousness on Tuesday 8 September 2015 between 9:52 – 10:24am. Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing.

Federation Square Abstract

Before going on holiday, I was apprehensive. Melbourne has been the staging ground of some of the worst, most abhorrent, actions that have ever been inflicted upon me.

It was in Melbourne where I was emotionally abused to the point of suicide and homelessness; emotional abuse that cost me my tertiary education, my income, my social and support network, every possession I’d ever owned and left me a terrified, hollowed out shell of the person I once was; emotional abuse that has caused a lifetime of lost opportunities and trauma of the like I’ve never before, or since, experienced.

It was in Melbourne where I found myself homeless, eking out an existence on the streets of Victoria’s capitol, scrounging for food in bins, begging for loose change on the streets, and doing whatever I could to survive in spite of my new-found station in life as the world’s biggest loser. This too caused untold psychological damage and trauma that I haven’t even begun to deal with.

It was in Melbourne where I was physically assaulted, not once, not twice, but several times. On some occasions I was doing nothing but sitting in a park when a gaggle of alcohol/drug fueled sociopaths set upon me for their own entertainment. On other occasions the assaults were warranted; when I intervened upon seeing a boyfriend beating up his girlfriend, when I refused to hand over money in a run-down boarding house. But whether warranted or not, each assault inflicted emotional damage, each assault traumatized me.

So before going on holiday I was apprehensive. How easily would my traumas be triggered? What emotional pain would I find myself revisiting? How would I control the surge of PTSD symptoms that would inevitably overpower me? How much of my holiday would be lost to the memories of nightmares past?

So colour me surprised when nothing happened. Walking around the Kings Domain, my old ‘home’ throughout my homelessness, brought back memories, but they didn’t come close to overwhelming me as much as I thought they would. Traipsing around my old haunts of Carlton and Fitzroy, major locations throughout my abusive relationship, became more nostalgic than triggering. Even lazing around the city’s alleyways and open spaces, key locations of my various assaults, were more relaxing and subdued than nightmarish or painful. The PTSD that I expected to overwhelm me was only a problem for a brief few hours, brought on by tiredness and exhaustion instead of memories and triggers. And even when the PTSD overwhelmed me, I was able to control it, I was able to occupy my mind with beautiful art or a canister of Cherry Coke, instead of losing myself to the pain of times past.

All of my fears. All of my apprehension. All of my nervousness about Melbourne. Everything I feared proved unnecessary; a complete waste of energy.

My time in Melbourne, rather than being a carefully balanced nightmare of trauma and psychological distress, was a wonderful escape from the terror that (usually) dominates my mind. It was not Melbourne that I should have been afraid of…it was Wodonga.

Since my return two weeks ago, I have been so stressed, so wound up, so overcome with nervous energy, that I’m surprised I haven’t had a heart attack! Not a single minute, not a single second, has seen me as calm, relaxed and happy as I was in Melbourne. I’ve just been well and truly overwhelmed by anxiety, by depression, by PTSD symptoms and the resultant stress that these conditions create.

Hours have been lost to violent, volatile conversations with the ghost of my abuser. There are no triggers in this town of her sociopathic narcissism. There are no reminders of the vile, cruel attacks that she used to direct upon me. But flashbacks, reliving and nightmares have dominated since I returned to this quiet, sleepy little town.

In Melbourne, I was regularly walking past hundreds of people a minute, but not once (not once) did my anxiety present any problems with this. There were no anxiety attacks. There were no panic attacks. There was just me, losing myself into the breathing heart of the city. But since my return, the anxiety has reigned supreme. Within an hour of returning I walked to the supermarket, passed one person, and suffered a crippling panic attack that left me a jittery, bawling wreck on the side of the road. Hundreds of people in Melbourne I could deal with; but one person in Wodonga overwhelmed me.

Throughout my week in Melbourne depression never entered the equation. I was happier than I’d been in years. I was skipping down the street, singing songs to myself and, unless I was taking selfies (I never smile in photographs), had a stupid grin plastered to my face. But back in Wodonga? I don’t remember how to smile; I walk around with a glum and gloomy expression on my face because happiness has escaped my soul; replaced with a dark, black, bleakness as I topple on the abyss between life and death.

I never once though of ending my life when I was in Melbourne; but since being back in Wodonga, the suicidal thoughts have returned, overpowering my belief that I’m a decent person and leaving me convinced that this world, and everyone in it, would be better off without me. After all, what do I bring to the world? What magic do I pass on to the lives of others? I’m just nothing. A nobody. This world would be better off without me. That I’m convinced of; when I’m in Wodonga.

And that is the crux of the issue, the life lesson that my holiday in Melbourne taught me; the major problem in my life isn’t my anxiety, isn’t my PTSD, it isn’t my depression, bipolar or suicidal ideation. My major problem in life is Wodonga, this sleepy hamlet where there is nothing to do, nothing to feed my passions and nothing to occupy the cravings of my mind. For me to get better, for me to recover, for me to live the life I deserve to live, I need to leave this place. And I need to leave soon, before the stress-caused heart attack strikes and I am taken from this world forever.

But how?

How does someone living in abject poverty move house?

Yes, I’ve reached the conclusion that I need to leave this suffocating town, but there is no way I can. The money I receive from the government doesn’t  cover my costs as it is. Last week I had to humiliate myself at the food bank as I couldn’t afford to feed myself. Whilst I’m walking around with a hole in the crotch of my jeans so big that I can put my hand through it, but the measly DSP I receive won’t allow for the cost of a new pair. So how do I realise my realisation and leave this unhealthy place when I can’t afford accommodation, can’t afford deposits, can’t afford anything?

The thought of being trapped here stresses me out something rotten, but that’s exactly when I am; trapped. Enslaved within a town that is damaging and detrimental to my mental health because, as I live in abject poverty, I have no choice of where I live or what I do with my life. Life. I don’t have one in Wodonga. I just have pain and trauma. I just have stress and depression. I could have a life somewhere else. Somewhere like Melbourne or London or Glasgow or Edinburgh or Inverness. Somewhere where my heart would be allowed to sing and I could occupy myself with cultural, artistic and inspirational pursuits. Where I could distract myself from the trauma of my life and allow myself to skip and sing and be happy.

But how?

Before going on holiday I was apprehensive. I thought I would be overwhelmed with pain, but instead I was showered with happiness. The pain came when I returned to the town that I hate; the town that, for better or worse, I have been forced through poverty, through lack of choice, to call home.

A town that will continue to suck the life from me until I’m nothing but the empty, worthless, shell of the man I once could have been.

 


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Addy Lake vs Writer’s Block (and the World!)

One of the many downsides of bipolar depression are the crippling bouts of writer’s block that permeate each episode. For the last several days, ever since writing my last substantial post, I have been experiencing said writer’s block. No matter how much I want to write, no matter how brightly my post ideas burn, I just can’t find the words to express my emotions. A post on forgiveness has been sitting in my drafts folder for a week now. A post concerning my anxiety over my impending trip to Melbourne is begging to be written. Yet the moment I sit down to write…nothing. Not a sentence. Not a word. Not even a syllable. Nothing. It’s infuriating. It’s frustrating. And there doesn’t seem anything I can do about it other than ride out the episode and hope it dissipates sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you’ll have to make do with song selections and random streams of consciousness. Like this one.

handandbook

It’s been a rough old week. Last Friday I was incapacitated by an annoying little stomach bug that saw me seek refuge (and comfort) on my couch. I didn’t move from it for days. I just lay there, cocooned under a blanket, watching the good Doctor battle minions and mercenaries. I didn’t eat (wasn’t hungry), I didn’t blog (wasn’t inspired), I didn’t even social media – which I’m becoming frighteningly proficient at. I just lay there, cocooned under a blanket, feeling sorry for myself and wishing that I had the energy to do something, anything, more productive and worthwhile.

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day,”
~ A.A. Milne ~

This incapacitation lasted a few days. All through Saturday and Sunday the couch was my only destination. I did force myself to blog on Sunday, I did force myself to social media on Monday, but my heart was in neither. I just didn’t want the illness to overcome me. To be honest, I’m kinda over being sick this year. What with my pancreatitis and cyst taking up most of the first five months of the year, I could do with a substantial period of time that my immune system isn’t being assaulted by nefarious parasitic bacteria. I need a period of time where my energy is overflowing in order to combat this stubborn, unrelenting depression that has been gripping my mind for the last fifteen months.

And principle in my war against this depression is my trip to Melbourne. Over the last few weeks my plans have been coming together and it looks increasingly more likely that it will be going ahead. At this stage I plan to go the week of 21st August, so I can attend the social gathering I’ve been invited to. Not only is this social gathering something that I would love the opportunity to do, but it is something that will challenge my social anxiety head on, and anything that does that is worthwhile in my book. In addition to this social gathering, I’m eager to walk the streets of Melbourne again. I’m desperate to roam the laneways, eat street cuisine and overwhelm my psyche with the hubbub of city life. I want to explore the art galleries, watch the fishes at the aquarium and laze amidst the gardens of the King’s Domain.

It’s been nearly two years since I last left Wodonga. Two years of being suffocated by this sterile, uninspiring town. I crave stimulation. I yearn to have my heart’s desires met. I need my boring monotonous routine to be eradicated, and I can only do that by leaving this boring, monotonous town. I’m not getting my hopes up just yet. I know from past experience that if I do that, they will only be dashed at the last-minute by some hitherto unseen obstacle, but I should know whether my planned trip is possible next week. And if it is. Then prepare to be dazzled by Addy’s dance of excitement!

Aside from stomach bugs and dreaming of Melbourne adventures, life has carried on in much of a muchness. My quit smoking attempt is trundling on. I have smoked cigarettes over the last week, but for the last five days I have been totally smoke free, which is quite exciting. My anxiety, however, has been taking a major hit without nicotine to counteract it. For the last couple of weeks my anxieties have been off the charts, impacting and effecting every aspect of my life. There have been days when I haven’t left the house in fear of what may happen to me in the big bad world. There have been moments of panic at the supermarket; attacks that prevented me from performing fairly mundane and tedious of tasks. I’ve been doing a lot of work with mindfulness to try to combat this increase in anxiety, but to little or no effect. It seems that without cigarettes, my anxiety increases, and I don’t quite know what to do about it.

Meadhbh tells me that, in time, my anxiety will decrease. That it is merely a reaction to being nicotine free. She’s probably right, but only time will tell on that. As per expected she has been a Godsend over the last couple of weeks, egging me on, encouraging me to remain smoke free, playfully chastising me when I slip up but quick to offer an inspirational word or two when I need it most. We’ve been doing a lot of colouring in (using our Van Gogh colouring book) to curb any cravings I may have, which she’s been enjoying, as well as playing lots of Yoshi’s Island and Lego Batman, which entertains and keeps her happy. And as I’ve said before, a happy voice means a happy Addy!

Audrey, too, has been in good spirits lately. She hasn’t been as supportive as Meadhbh with my quit smoking endeavor, but has offered the occasional sage like word of advice. She’s been thrilled by my recent resurgence in reading. Each night, before I go to bed, I will read a few chapters of a book. Over the last several weeks I’ve read ten books, and Audrey has loved every minute of them, even the crappy ones!

Top five books I’ve read over the last several weeks:

1. Scott Pilgrim (Bryan Lee O’Malley)
2. A Fringe of Leaves (Patrick White)
3. Smokeheads (Doug Johnstone)
4. Gone Again (Doug Johnstone)
5. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Thinking (Susan Cain)

Vanessa, meanwhile, is as abusive and obstinate as always. Keen to tell me I’m a failure. Keen to remind me how useless I am. If only she’d cheer the fuck up and stop being such a grumpy, narcissistic bitch, things would be so much better – for both of us.

The last couple of days have been busy when it comes to external forces. Yesterday, I had a productive session with my psychologist. We discussed and dissected various PTSD treatments and therapies she believes could assist me. We didn’t go into detail on the source of my trauma – that will come in time – but she believes there is hope for me in this area. Which is good. Because I don’t think there is! I also had a good session with my support worker today. We decided to forgo the usual ‘sit in a room and talk’ session and went for a drive to Albury Library Museum instead. She had seen a photography exhibit was on and thought, rightly so, that it would be something I’d be interested in. The photographs – all landscape – were stellar. Some of the best I’ve seen in years. In fact the photographer, Peter Elfes, has skyrocketed onto my list of favourite photographers. So if you’re in the area, you should check it out. And if you are in the area, why not stop by and say hello to little old me? We could have a coffee or something! :)

Wow. 1318 words. Not bad for someone suffering from writer’s block. And whilst we’re back on the subject. Any hints, tips or advice you may have on vanquishing this silent, deadly foe would be greatly appreciated. I never know how to tackle writer’s block and could do with some suggestions!

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wait! Before you toddle off to do whatever it is you wonderful people do, could you spare a moment to vote in my poll?

I’ve been trying to convince my Andrew that it would be a good idea to write to some of the beautiful people he met in Canada. He hasn’t spoken to them for many, many years and I know he misses them terribly so I thought it would be nice for him to write to them. Andrew thinks it wouldn’t be a good idea. He thinks he would be imposing on them and they wouldn’t want to hear from him but I think they miss him in the way he misses them. So I thought that if I created a poll, a simple yes/no/maybe poll it might convince him my idea is the best and he would write to them. What do you think? Should he get back in touch with them or should he just put the past behind him and leave things be? We’d love to know your thoughts! :)

Meadhbh xoxxox

 


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I’m so useless that…

I haven’t been feeling all that great over the last couple of weeks. So I thought I’d try freewrite something to see if getting it out will cleanse the soul a little. Apologies if it’s a little ‘woe is me’. It’s just how I’ve been feeling lately.

lake hume

Lake Hume (where I went for the camp)

Last year, I didn’t want to attend the camp that my mental health organisation organized. I was stressed. I was exhausted. And I wanted a few days to myself in order to recharge my internal batteries. But one of the staff members (unintentionally) manipulated my appeasement mode and I ended up going. As it turned out, I was ultimately happy that I’d gone because I ended up having a wonderful, relaxing time.

So this year, I was looking forward to it. In fact, for many weeks it was the bright spot that kept me going. I was anticipating a few days of relaxation; a few days of chilling with random people; a time to recharge my batteries away from the monotonous hell of Wodonga. So it stands to reason that I ended up having a miserable time; a time that left me emotionally raw, traumatized and desperately in need of a hug!

In fact, the camp was such a hideous time that nearly two weeks later I’m still feeling emotionally delicate, unable to function and filled with a lethargic flatness that is beyond annoying.

My reaction to the camp had nothing to do with how it was organized (which was with a military like precision) or how supportive the staff and other attendees were (which was immensely supportive) but because it served as a stark reminder as to how utterly useless I am at pretty much everything.

  • I’m so useless that I had to sleep in my tent because I’m unable to move past the trauma of my various boarding house experiences in order to sleep in the shared accommodation that everyone else was sleeping in.
  • I’m so useless that in the four days I was there I had three conversations with people who weren’t staff; two of those on the same day.
  • I’m so useless that whenever I was in the presence of a beautiful woman I froze up and became a gibbering, monosyllabic idiot.
  • I’m so useless that I attended only two of the activities because I couldn’t deal with getting on the various buses/boats that were necessary for the remaining activities.
  • I’m so useless that four people felt the need to point out how much weight I’ve put on recently, you know, just in case the guy with body image issues hadn’t already noticed!
  • I’m so useless that I ended up cooking lunch and dinner on all the days I was there, not because I enjoyed it, but because it made me feel a little more useful. And once I’d cooked the food, I was the first person in the kitchen to help with the clean up because – you guessed it – it made me feel that bit more useful.
  • I’m so useless that I have no idea how to relax anymore; hence my need to busy myself with kitchen duties to make me feel less superfluous.
  • I’m so useless that I couldn’t even organize a trivia night without it being filled with errors.
  • I’m so useless that by the third day I was spontaneously bursting into tears as my mind plagued me with suicidal fantasies as punishment for how useless I believe I am.
  • I’m so useless that, as a result of these suicidal fantasies, I had to leave the camp early and return to my home where I could curl up on the couch and weep away from prying eyes.
  • I’m so useless that I couldn’t even remember to pack my phone charger, which means I’ve been without a phone for the last two weeks and will be until I can obtain a replacement.

And as I write this list I realise that I could keep going with many more examples of how useless I am, but won’t because I’m so useless that I can’t risk typing any more in case I begin to start crying again.

*DEEP BREATH*

The other reason I don’t want to continue writing that list is because I know it’s not helpful. It’s just a chance to whinge about how pointless my life feels from time to time; a chance to unload weeks of negative emotion in the hope that it will allow me to find a way to move onwards and upwards.

But I know what’s been happening to me isn’t just ‘me feeling bad’. A large part of what’s been happening over the last few weeks is down to the medication change-over I’ve been going through. It was running rampant in the days leading up to the camp and continued plaguing me throughout. But it would be easy (and a little simplistic) to blame the woes of that week on medication alone.

The simple fact is I’ve been on my own seven years, doing nothing but surviving, that I have forgotten what it means to relax, I have forgotten how to communicate with people and I do feel useless most of the time.

I know that how I view myself lies at the core of all my mental health issues. And what this camp did was take all my fears, all my failings, all my inadequacies and throw them to the forefront of my existence.

It made me realise how little I’ve actually come since my breakdown in 2007 and how far I still have to go to become the person I so wish to be.


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Well, I was doing okay…

In the lead up to Christmas I  had several conversations with my support worker over how I could keep myself safe during this insidious time of year, there was the thirteen heart-felt tips I prepared for myself (and readers of my blog) and all manner of coping mechanisms in play in case things became bad. Sure, there were missteps, but all in all I was immensely proud of how I’d handled myself over the Christmas period…until three days ago, when everything completely fell apart and I resorted to my alcohol bingeing, self-harming ways.

I’m not sure what caused it exactly. Perhaps it was the disappointment I felt over the Doctor Who Christmas special (Jenna Coleman, a few great scenes and that surprise appearance aside), perhaps it was the fact I completely exhausted myself over the Christmas/Boxing Day double-header, perhaps it was a layover from the emotionally charged weekend before Christmas, perhaps it’s because today is the anniversary of a major event in my life, or perhaps it’s just something that’s going to happen every year at this time and I’m just going to have to get used to it.

Today, I went outside for the first time since Friday and all I saw as I meandered as quickly as possible around the supermarket were families, groups of friends, couples, mothers and children. In fact in the forty-five minutes I was outside the house I was the only single person around. It was beyond depressing. After days of being reminded left, right and center about how wonderful it is to spend this time of year with people you care about, having my isolation thrust in my face was all too much for me today. I ended up ditching my shopping basket and high-tailing it home with my tail between my legs before the panic attack fully took hold.

The frustrating thing is I knew that this was going to happen. That’s why I spent so long preparing for it. That’s why I borrowed a bag full of animated classics from my support worker, that’s why I checked out some distracting TV shows from the library, that’s why I stocked up on comfort food and endeavoured to save Skyloft from catastrophe. I threw so much into surviving this Christmas period without resorting to self-harm and alcohol that now I’ve indulged in both, I’m beyond angry and disappointed with myself.

For three days now I’ve been in a hyper-vigilent state. I’ve been unable to eat, unable to relax, unable to focus for extended periods, unable to concentrate, unable to think on anything other than my loneliness and the fact I let myself (and everyone else) down. And that, whether it’s true or nor, I feel that I’m (more or less) in exactly the same position I was this time last year.

I know I need to do something different tomorrow. I know I need to break the cycle of self-blame and depression I’ve slipped into. I know I need to eat something. I know I need to do something other than wallow in my own loneliness. I just don’t know what. So I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the new dawn brings.

I’ve listened to this song many times over the last few days.
A powerful song from a superb musical talent.


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Quietly freaking out!

A last minute emergency

Usually when I vanish from my blog it’s because some naughty little depression demon has started running riot in my mind…but not this time. The reason I’ve been absent for much of November is because I’ve been in full preparatory mode for my upcoming adventure to Melbourne. I’ve been running back and forth booking accommodation, changing accommodation, sorting out train tickets, making sure I have enough clean clothing to take with me and generally dealing with every minor (and major) emergency that could threaten the awesomeness of the trip.

All in all I haven’t done too badly.

A last-minute change to my train plans was sorted easily, whilst an unexpected hiccup with my accommodation plans was (in my mind) handled with aplomb. In fact, the only thing which has destabilized me is something that no-one could have seen coming.

Earlier today, as I nonchalantly cycled to Albury to procure some new socks, I was forced off the road and into a sign post after a car-passenger opened their door without warning. Nothing too bad, I hear you say, but when you take into account that the collision with the sign post broke my only pair of glasses (which I actually need to see with!) it becomes something a little more urgent.

Unfortunately, five different optometrists were unable to fix my glasses, so unless I can fix them with superglue this evening, vision will be something of a problem during my first holiday in over five years!

Bargaining with my little devils…

Anyway…trying to look on the positive side of things…I am not the only one getting excited (and fearful) of my forthcoming trip. Each of my people have been reacting in their own unique fashion: Meadhbh is gloriously excited by the thought of moseying around her third favourite city again; Audrey is chomping at the bit over the possibility of bumping into her real-life counterpart (which isn’t all that likely, but the possibility is still there); Vanessa is angry about the whole affair and would prefer me to stay at home rather than do something I’m actually looking forward to doing; whilst Shay – being the annoying misogynist he is – is eagerly anticipating the chance to check out a whole city worth of female talent.

However, all of them (bar Meadhbh) are not looking forward to the World Hearing Voices Congress that I will be attending for three days next week. Much like the Hearing Voices Support Group I go to, they would much rather me forget about this element of the holiday and focus on other (more fun for them) things instead.

So, in an attempt to deal with this potentially damaging problem, I’ve struck a bargain with them. We’ve decided that if they behave themselves during the congress, they can each choose one thing for us to do during our time in Melbourne. In spite of many noisy conversations over the last few days they’ve each agreed to behave themselves if they can do the following:

  • Meadhbh has decided she wants to go to the zoo to check out all the cute and fluffy animals.
  • Audrey wants to spend time admiring the art at the National Gallery of Victoria.
  • Vanessa wants to go and see the musical King Kong.
  • Whilst Shay wants to go to a nightclub (!)

I have made it abundantly clear to both Vanessa and Shay that their chosen activities may not be possible due to monetary funds and/or severe anxiety so their choices may change over the coming days, but whatever happens they have each agreed to write a blog post about their ‘treat’ as/when it occurs.

Quietly freaking out!

I’m actually quite proud of myself for striking this bargain and easing their criticism of my attending the congress as it gives me a little more peace and quiet to deal with my own issues over going.

My fears are four fold:

1. I’ve never been to a mental health related conference so I really have no idea what to expect,
2. Over 700 people are registered to attend (and I don’t deal well with large volumes of people)
3. Because Gateway have paid for me to attend I feel obligated to see as many of the talks and/or demonstrations as possible, even if I have been triggered and/or just need a breather to calm down.
and
4. I’m still unsure how I will actually go being back in Melbourne (and all the memories it will entail)

Only time will tell how things pan out with the congress, but right now, I am quietly freaking out about the whole thing.

But aside from these (to be expected) anxieties over the congress and being back in Melbourne after all that happened there, I am looking forward to my holiday. I’m looking forward to meandering around the shops, cycling along the beach front, reading books under a gum tree, enjoying an eclectic choice of foodstuffs and doing as much as possible to chill out and relax.

And I’m soooooooo looking forward to watching the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who…so hopefully by then I will have found a fix for my glasses emergency, otherwise I won’t be able to actually see it!