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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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

Today, the world lost one of its most outstanding human beings. A consummate professional, a brilliant actor and a comedian whose talent was unmatched by any other. Even sadder, it appears that the world lost him through suicide.

In celebration of his life I am republishing an article written by Stayci Taylor that first appeared on The Conversation.

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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

By Stayci Taylor, RMIT University

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Today, Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as an alien”. Williams’ break-out role was as the alien Mork who arrived on earth to observe human behaviour.

Though his long and successful career comprised sold-out tours and feature film leads, including Oscar nominated and winning turns in dramatic roles, I am still not surprised that it is Mork-from-Ork related tributes crowding my Facebook and Twitter feeds today, posted by my shocked and saddened Gen-X peers. I have now lost count of those making some reverse variation on “Mork calling Orson”.

These could be misconstrued as flippant responses to the tragic and untimely end of a complex and creative life. But for many of us, Robin William’s performance in the spin-off Mork and Mindy (1978-82) was our first exposure to this free form style of improvised physical and verbal comedy.

Fonzie’s water ski jump in the fifth season of Happy Days (1974-84) was famously deemed so ludicrous that the term “jump the shark” became television parlance. Specifically, shorthand for those moments when TV shows pushed the content past what their once loyal viewers considered believable.

Undeterred, Happy Days ran for another seven years and, in episode 22 of that same apparently questionable season, introduced an extra-terrestrial craft piloted by a character named Mork. That legend has a shark, not an alien from Ork, derailing the credibility of this popular 70s sit-com is a testament to the performance of then relatively unknown stand-up comedian Robin Williams.

Mork’s attempt to free an egg in the pilot episode (above) might just have been the funniest thing this 9-year-old had ever watched on the small screen.

As with all good fish-out-of-water stories, through Mork’s eyes we were encouraged to develop our own curiosity around human behaviour; which recalls a much earlier carnivalesque tradition whereby, as comedy scholar Frank Krutnik has observed:

the comedian figure’s alienation from or resistance to everyday social codes […] also displays the comedian’s creative dexterity as a performer.

If one function of comedy is to question the status quo, then watching Mork drink through his finger or sit upside down on a chair was an early masterclass in what was possible.

Williams of course went on to carry comedy feature films, many of which we might call “comedian comedies” – what film academic Geoff King defines as those films where:

The name of the comic performer, and the promise of the routine, is usually the main box office draw.

In other words, as engaged as we might be by Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning Vietnam, 1987) or Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), we remain aware we are watching the comic skills and techniques of Williams whom, fittingly in the case of these two examples and others, is often playing a character who is required to “perform” himself.

Good Morning Vietnam. BagoGames

English comedian David Walliams notes in his 2012 memoir Camp David that:

no one wants to be laughed at, and certainly not the comedian. He or she creates comedy to control the laughter at them, and turns it into being laughed with.

As a Mork and Mindy-watching, laugh-seeking child, I recall the same discomfort with unsolicited laughter, and was not comforted by (probably insincere) assurances that adults were laughing with me, not at me. Thus John Keating’s quip (Dead Poets Society, 1989) “we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing near you” some ten years later was both funny and validating.

Whether it came from the pen of screenwriter Tom Schulman or not, it felt to me like Robin Williams telling the truth.

I can only speculate as to what level of responsibility must be felt when the promise of one’s routine is, as aforementioned, “the main box office draw”. But though Mork’s “constant displays of humour [were] not welcome here on Ork” (according to Orson in the pilot episode), those of Williams were most welcome here on Earth.

And will be missed.

If you have depression or feel very low, please seek support immediately. For support in a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. For information about depression and suicide prevention, visit beyondblue, Sane or The Samaritans.

Stayci Taylor does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.


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Still here, still fighting!

Ever since I attended the GT House run camp earlier this year, my mood has been on the decline. In fact, it’s the longest and most debilitating decline in my mental health since the end of my homelessness in 2012. Hence why I haven’t been blogging over the last few months, for there are only so many times you can write “I feel shit”, “Life has no meaning” or “I have nothing to say” without people becoming incredibly bored by your monotonous melancholia.

But the time has come for me to at least make an effort in resurrecting this blog from the depths of despair (and dwindling statistics) by writing upon it once more. And what better place to start than a whirlwind tour of my ‘life’ over the last few months.

Support Worker

My last post noted the fact that I would be losing my support worker due to funding changes with the mental health organisation I frequent. I have now lost my support worker (and with them, my only real chance to communicate with someone face-to-face!) I have registered with two different organisations in an attempt to gain a new support worker and am now in the process of just waiting for them to respond to my referrals. Hopefully I will have a new support worker soon otherwise I fear a lot of my work with my isolation and social anxiety will be undone.

Sleep

This time last year I was lucky to get an hour of sleep a night. This year, and for the last several months, I have become the opposite of the insomniac I once was. Most nights I sleep for at least twelve hours, sometimes as much as fifteen or sixteen, and wake up feeling more tired than I was when I went to sleep. It has been pointed out to me that an increase of sleep often goes hand in hand with depression, which doesn’t surprise me given my mood, but as I miss out on psychosocial rehabilitation groups and other appointments because of this sleep (alarms do nothing to wake me up) I am becoming more and more frustrated with this aspect of my current life.

Monotony

Over the last few months life has taken on an ever-increasing air of monotony. There is little to no deviation in my life or its day-to-day activities. I awake after a lengthy sleep, listen to the radio, go down the road, come home, watch DVDs, (sometimes) cook dinner then go to bed for another lengthy night’s sleep. There is no joy in doing any of this, no excitement or stimulation, it is just the same actions day after day after day – all causing me to question what my life is for.

Self-Harm

Although it is far from the worst it’s ever been, my self-harm has been on the increase over the last few months. It doesn’t surprise me that this is the case given there has always been a link between depression and self-harm for me, but it does scare me the lengths I have gone to in order to get the ‘hit’ that I need from my self-harm activities.

Suicide

As such, it should come as no surprise that I have been considering suicide on an ever-increasing basis over the last few months. My life has such little point or purpose that I fail to see why I should go on living and my isolated nature means few people would miss me if I were to shuffle off this mortal coil. I’m scared that if this depressive episode goes on any longer it will culminate in an attempt at some point in the future, just as other elongated episodes have throughout my life.

The one bright light in the darkness

The only thing that has brought me any pleasure over the last few months came as a gift from my brother, who sent me his Wii U console to borrow so I could play through the only Zelda game I had never played; The Wind Waker. The Zelda series of games have always been a source of great inspiration and excitement for me, so whilst playing through this wondrous game I was able to forget the darkness that surrounded me and focus on the light this video game provided.

And with that my first post in nearly three months comes to a close. It’s not the happy and fluffy post that will lift the heart’s of my readers, nor is it the chirpy and inspiring post that will lift my dwindling statistics, but it is a post none-the-less.

And that is something I have always strived to highlight on this blog. This blog has never been about my journey to recovery from mental illness, it has always been about my journey toward recovery from mental illness. And when you have yet to reach that mythical (but attainable) state of recovery you will face a myriad of pitfalls and trap doors along the way. Right now I’m not in a good place. Far from it.

But I am still here, and still trying to battle through things.

Until next time… xx


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One Day in Glasgow

Glasgow

For Samantha,
the world is a lesser place without you.
xox

Introduction

Ever since writing the post One Night in Adelaide I’ve wanted to write its sequel: One Day in Glasgow, yet every time I sit down to chronicle the events of (what is possibly) the best day of my life, words fail me. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, I do, it’s just that I cannot assemble the words to form coherent, emotional sentences. And this post is an emotional one, at least for me, as it deals with the last time I ever saw my friend Samantha face-to-face.

Samantha was an incredible woman; intelligent, charming and ravishingly beautiful. She had a mature, almost philosophical outlook on this crazy thing called life, yet despite this maturity there was a delicious immature streak running throughout her soul; equally at ease playing with crayons as she was debating the age-old question of why we’re here.

It was almost impossible to meet Samantha without falling in love with her on some level. She never judged, never held grudges and had an almost super-human ability to draw the best out of people.

But none of this means she was perfect, far from it. Samantha worked too hard; filling almost every moment of her life with a project, scheme or double-shift at work, all of which leaving little time for play or relaxing. And when she did relax, she ventured far too easily into the world of illegal narcotics, with ecstasy and speed being her drugs of choice; a choice that would ultimately spell her untimely end.

But this post is not about her death, nor my reaction to it, that will follow in good time. This post is about my memories of her. It is about the day Samantha took time off from her life to hang out with a slightly overweight, mentally ill man who, according to her journal, made her feel happiness like no-one she’d ever met.

Because it has taken so much to get this post out of my system, I’ve decided on three things:

1) That instead of retelling the events of the day in intimate detail, I will instead focus on extrapolating the principal memories of that day; for in these memories lives the essence of who Samantha was; and it is she that I want you all to meet.

2) I have decided to write each memory in the style that Samantha preferred (and encouraged me) to write in, namely, freewriting. Rather than focus endlessly on each sentence, each punctuation mark and the meaning behind chosen words, I have just allowed each memory to flow from my mind before moving onto the next. Hopefully, by doing this, I will be creating a post that Samantha would be proud of.

3) With Samantha’s preferences still firmly in mind, I have also chosen to tell the tale of our twenty-four hours in Glasgow in a non-linear format. Each of the illustrations below depict one of the memories of my time in that great city. They have not been arranged in any particular order and you are encouraged to dip in and out of the memories in any way you see fit. For as Samantha used to say, rarely in life do things return to us in the exact order that they happened.

Hopefully by choosing to write this post to the above specifications, I will be creating a post that Samantha would not only have enjoyed reading, but one she would be proud to be the inspiration behind.

   
Please note, the items marked with a padlock are password protected.
Should you wish to read these memories, please contact me via email.


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A letter to Samantha, by Meadhbh

The following is a letter written by Meadhbh to Samantha, a dear friend who passed away in 2008. It originally appeared on my now defunct blog “Imaginary Menagerie: My Journey with Hearing Voices” and Meadhbh has asked for it to be re-posted here to mark the anniversary of Samantha’s death.

~♥~

2 July 2013

Dear Samantha,

Two weeks ago, my Andrew took me to a Survivors of Suicide event that was held near to where we live. It was the Winter Solstice and you would have liked it. There was pretty music, fire pits, sexy strong firemen and lots and lots of autumn leaves. They were really pretty yellows, oranges and browns, and very very very crinkly crunchy fun to stomp through. I made Andrew take some home with him which he has put on the wall. One is for Rachel, one is for Stephanie and one is for you. Yours has a wee hole in it which I told him was the hole you have left in our hearts.

I know it’s silly sending you a letter because you don’t know who I am. You wouldn’t have liked me very much because I was very mean back then. But I liked you and I told him how much I liked you and how much I miss you. You made my Andrew smile and back then I didn’t like it when he smiled. I wanted to hurt him. Not in the way he hurt you but in a nasty, bitchy-witch-bitch way. Yeah. You wouldn’t have liked me very much. So we stopped and talked about you and how much we missed you. The way you made him smile. The way you made him laugh. The way you shone a light on all those small stitches that make up the multi-coloured tapestry that is him. He says that a lot because it makes him think of you.

Then I told him that I liked the way you used to eat your MacMuffins. And that the way you said the word tangerine made me giggle. I really really liked the ladybug undies you wore in Glasgow because it made your bum look like it was covered in cutey cute ladybugs but I felt silly telling him that even though I know he was thinking the same thing.

I felt sad when you died. I didn’t know what to do so I took it out on my Andrew. I told him that it was his fault you died and that made him feel sadder. I know it was wrong but I didn’t know what else to do and I’m sorry because you wouldn’t have wanted him to think it was his fault which he has always thought it was. I told him when I told him it was your leaf that I was wrong to blame him but I don’t think he believed me because he misses you so much.

I want him to write about you on his blog but he isn’t writing anything at the moment and I think writing about you makes him sad. I told him to think about your mountaineering ladybugs and how much you made him smile and laugh and feel happy but that just makes him cry. I don’t like it when my Andrew’s sad because he should be happy and you made him happy so I wanted you to know that.

I coloured you a picture the day after the Survivors of Suicide evening. Her name is Fawn and she is a Disney Fairy. The bird is Andrew because Fawn is making him very happy the way that you used to make him very happy. I made your clothes red because I know you liked the colour red. Fawn is a friend of Silvermist, who is a Disney Fairy that looks like me. I like to think we are both fairies and we are both friends who play and laugh and smile together. I hope you like it. :)

I’m not very good at writing letters but I wanted to say all that.

Lots and lots of loving love hugs,
Meadhbh xxxxxx

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Try Looking At It Through My Eyes – Day 11: The Forgiving

Day eleven of the “Try Looking At It Through My Eyes” challenge asks:
Choose one thing in your life that you have done and feel guilty for and write yourself a letter forgiving yourself for that thing.  (PS. You don’t need to name the thing you did unless you feel comfortable doing so.)

forgiveness

Dear Addy,

By now you should be used to getting these letters from me so I’m not even going to bother proving my credentials; you know who I am because I used to be you.

So, where are we now? Parks and blankets, isolation and soup vans? I did tell you homelessness would be soul-destroying, so perhaps now you’ve experienced it you’ll spend a little more time listening to my sage-like advice instead of filing it away in the ‘too hard to deal with’ basket.

I’m not writing today to get you through homelessness. Partly because there’s little I can say that will make you feel better and partly because this is something you have to deal with by yourself. The only person who can help you out of this situation is you, Andrew, so just get to it…and never give up!

The reason I’m writing to you today is far more complicated and important. I’m here to help you forgive yourself for the things you feel guilty for. Now, given that I’m you, I know full well that forgiving yourself is one of the hardest things in the world. You hold onto things. You dwell on every decision. You take responsibility for everything, even for things that you had no control over, and it’s not healthy. In fact, all that’s going to happen if you keep blaming yourself is an early – most likely slow, painful and lonely – death.

Now, I’m not going to focus on the little things you can’t forgive yourself for; things like stealing the milk and chocolate from the convenience store or not asking Natalie out when you were thirteen. By now you already know how futile feeling guilty over these trivial acts actually is. What I’m going to focus on are the big three. And, just so we’re clear, I’m not going to forgive you for them.  I’m going to tell you why you should forgive yourself for them in the hope that you will find forgiveness in yourself.

-●-

#1: Grace

Should you have been there for Grace? Absolutely.

Should you despise your very existence for the rest of time because you weren’t? Possibly.

To be honest, this one is hard for me to justify without resorting to the tried and true excuse of ‘mental illness’. You know as well as I do that if you had been ‘stable’ at that point in your life things would be different. But you weren’t stable, you were hypomanic, you were lost to the ravages of this insufferable mood disorder. Half the time you weren’t even able to look out for yourself, so why exactly do you think you could have been there for other people?

When it comes to this mistake I’m afraid I don’t have any easy answers. You know you did the wrong thing and you’re going to have to live with that. You know you should forgive yourself for it. And I know that there is nothing I can say that will make that happen.

So please, just try to move past it. After all, when it came to Kathy, she did.

#2: Samantha

No matter what you tell yourself, no matter what lies you deceive yourself with, no matter how many times you tell yourself that you could have saved her; Samantha’s death was not your fault! At the time of her death you were 10,000 miles away on the other side of the planet. At no point in those months did she tell you she was depressed, suffering through mental health problems or becoming suicidal. If she had, you know damn well that you would have done something. Sure, you can play the ‘what if’ game from now until doomsday, but even if you had entered into a relationship with her there’s no guarantee that you could have curbed her drug use, which means there’s every chance she would still have taken that ecstasy and still lost her life at a tragically early age.

You did everything you could for Samantha. Not only were you her friend, you helped her achieve a life-long dream, and you witnessed the bliss in her eyes as she achieved it. Even her sister would go on to tell you just how much you meant to Samantha. You were there for her when no-one else was, and that’s certainly something to hold onto.

But the reason you shouldn’t blame yourself for Samantha’s death is simple; you don’t even know if it was suicide. Sure, your mentally-ill ravaged mind has latched onto this explanation as it’s the easiest thing to focus on, but there’s every chance it was simply an accidental overdose; which means there is literally nothing you could have done.

Samantha’s death was a tragedy that will affect you for the rest of your days. But instead of mourning her loss and languishing in her demise, you should celebrate the fact that for a brief moment the two of you were friends. And that is more important than anything.  

#3: Kathy

I am going to say something that you have already heard countless times over. In fact, over the next several years you are going to hear these words so often you’re going to want to smack people for repeatedly saying them to you: the abuse was not your fault; you did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Kathy was a sociopathic narcissist, a master manipulator, a woman so insecure in her own life that she would do anything to illicit control over everyone she came into contact with in order to prove to herself her delusional belief that she was the most perfect human being to have ever walked the earth.

And yes, you fell for your lies, get over it.

You will never know the reason why she chose you to destroy. (And if you’re still harboring any doubts…that is definitely what her goal was!) You loved her; she deliberately annihilated you. You had no idea what she was doing; she always knew what she was doing. So what exactly could you have done differently?

So I say again: the abuse was not your fault; you did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

And I need you to keep repeating that line, every single day, for the rest of your life, otherwise the guilt you feel over the abuse will cause a lot more damage than her vicious treatment of you ever did.

-●-

Although you won’t be able to comprehend this right now, not from the park that you currently call ‘home’, in a few years you will begin something called your ‘recovery journey’. You will spend many days, weeks and months looking back over every decision and action in your life so you can find closure and more toward a healthy, happy future. A large part of this recovery journey will be forgiving yourself for these three, and other, events.

Hopefully, by sending you this letter, the seeds of that forgiveness will have been planted.

So once you’ve read this letter, re-read it if you must, but then tear it up, throw it away, have it for your dinner, do anything to it other than dwell on it. You do far too much of that as it is.

Be kind to yourself, Andrew, life will get better than it is now.

And if you can learn how to forgive yourself, it will get even better, or so people say.

Love and hugs always,

Addy xox

~◊~

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this challenge, you can read them here:

| Day 01 | Day 02 | Day 03 | Day 04 |
| Day 05 | Day 06 | Day 07 | Day 08 |
| Day 09 | Day 10 |


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World Suicide Prevention Day: Dearest Samantha…

“WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY is an opportunity for all sectors of the community – the public, charitable organizations, communities, researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers, volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals – to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the WHO to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
~ International Association for Suicide Prevention ~

Not long before Christmas, 2008, I lost a much-loved and close friend to suicide. Her name was Samantha, and she was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. Never judging, never cajoling, never belittling, she sought to find the best in everyone she came across and help them shine their light on the world. Talking of her – especially of her death – is something the brings me great pain, so much so, that I will frequently and often shy away from doing so.

She would have hated that.

Today, I’ve decided to share with you an unsent letter I’ve written to Samantha; the first step I’ve taken in the long and winding healing process before me. It was written as a stream of consciousness between 8:30am and 8:59am on the 10 September 2013; World Suicide Prevention Day.

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10 September 2013

Dearest Samantha,

It’s been nearly five years since I last wrote those words. Back then, in those days of hope and courage, writing them filled me with such girlish excitement, for I knew that within hours I’d be reading the words ‘Dearest Addy’ followed by your (usually) bizarrely convoluted yet courageously honest, rambling retort.

But now?

Writing those two words fills me with sadness, for not only do I know there will be no reply, I know you won’t even be reading the words I’m struggling to find. How exactly do you say miss you thank you fuck you in the same letter without sounding like an uncompassionate, unstable jerk? How exactly do I release half a decade of pent-up, unspoken emotion without triggering me into doing the unthinkable? How exactly do I say what needs to be said without alienating my meager readership?

Let me guess, if you were going to reply to that string of questions you’d write some pithy, intellectual quote from some random bugger I’ve never heard of. You know, like the night you told me “If you worry about what other people think, you’ll always be their prisoner.” I guess that quote is as apt for this letter as it was for that random, heart-warming conversation. Like with everything, I overthink it to the point of exhaustion instead of going with my gut and doing or saying what I know in my soul I want to.

Bugger it.

You fucking broke my heart, Samantha, you know that, right? And I’m not just talking a slight crack or a minor fracture. I’m talking exploding it into a million gazillion tiny pieces that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put back together again without the help of the king’s woman.

What the fuck were you thinking? Fucking seriously? You didn’t even talk to me about it and you damn well know that you could’ve done, especially after all the emotional bullshit you dragged out of me. Were you embarrassed? Upset? Pissed off? Angry? Confused? Scared? All those things, probably, considering I’ve been in the position you were many times. And yeah, I know, I never asked for help either. But I never had someone the way that you had me. I would have understood, Samantha, you know that. So why the fuck didn’t you talk to me?

And don’t try to tell me it was accidental. You and I and your sister know that it wasn’t. Sure, I’ve tried to convince myself time and again over the last five years that it was all a big mistake. That you didn’t mean it. That it was just one of those things no-one could have predicted. But that entry, in your journal, the one for your sister…that was a goodbye, Samantha, and there’s only one bloody reason for writing a goodbye under the circumstances you wrote it. And that’s to say goodbye!

You knew you were leaving because you’d planned it. It was suicide, wasn’t it? However much I don’t want to, I already know the answer to that question. Why else have I chosen today of all days to write to you?

With all these fucking f-bombs you probably think I’m angry with you. Well I fucking am. Seriously. I am. You’ve never seen me this angry! Every fucking day for the last four and a half years I’ve been trying to make sense of why you did what you did, why you couldn’t talk to me, or Jess or anyone. Why you felt you had to go through everything all on your own – especially after all that time you spent bitching to me about never seeking help or opening up to anyone. Pot calling the kettle black, maybe? Or just a good ole fashioned dose of do as I say, not as I do.

So yeah, I’m effing fucking angry with you.

But I’m also missing you. Deeply. Absolutely. Unequivocally. Missing you.

I miss the endless conversations and email exchanges. I miss the completely random challenges we set ourselves. I miss the laughter and the tears, the smiles and sore cheeks. I miss you, Samantha, just you.

From the moment we first met in that ramshackle bar in Adelaide. From the moment my hand connected with your posterior. From the moment we lay beneath that tree sheltering each other from the cold. From the moment you messaged me and asked if I was the guy who’d streaked for you. I knew, deep down, that I had someone in my life who understood me completely.

I think – nay, I know – that this was the reason I loved you as completely as I did. Not once, ever, did you judge me. All the mental health shit that was consuming me back then, all the non-existent self-confidence and wishing I would just toddle off and die. You never once criticized me for being weak or wrong or lazy, you just got it. And I’d never really felt that before. I’d never felt anything like it. You weren’t someone who was trying to fix me or control me. You weren’t someone who was trying to mold me into someone you wanted or change me into someone I was never going to be. You listened to me; to my wants, desires, needs and feelings and you just let me be me.

But you did more than that, didn’t you. You knew there were parts of me that I couldn’t understand, which had confused and befuddled me for most of my life, so you chose to help me. You didn’t force it or demand any recompense, you just took time out of your life to help a scared little boy realize that he wasn’t someone to be afraid of, that all the confusion was just another part of me, a part that should be loved and cradled rather than punished or neglected.

And I’m pretty sure I never thanked you for that, until now.

Dammit Samantha, where have you been the last four and a half years? Although, if I were being honest, I’m kinda glad you haven’t been around the last four and a half years because you would hate the ‘man’ I’ve become. So consumed with trauma and pain, heartbreak and isolation, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. The me that tore your ladybug underwear in a frenzy of excitement? The me that karaoked the hell out of Common People? The me that streaked down that bloody cold shopping mall? I can’t find him anymore. And you’d hate that, wouldn’t you?

That’s what you didn’t have to deal with Samantha; all the pain you left behind. You didn’t see Jess cry her heart out for three straight hours. You didn’t see me tear a room apart in a frenzy of grief and loss. You haven’t had to deal with the emptiness and sorrow that you left behind in the souls of the people who loved you – which were far-flung and many, dearest Samantha.

In spite of the anger I still feel (anger that would probably make you giggle, as it always did) I don’t hate you for what you did. I can’t, no matter how much I want to. I know what it feels like to want to die. I know that the only reason you did it was because of the pain you were feeling. Because of the pain that had consumed you past the point of whatever coping mechanisms you had.

For that’s all suicide is, isn’t it Samantha; suicide is what happens when someone’s pain outweighs their coping mechanisms of dealing with that pain. We’ve both been there, but only I crawled out the other side.

I can’t hate you because I miss you so much and one of the main reasons I miss you, is because I never had the opportunity to thank you for all you did for me.

Until now, in my own version of your bizarrely convoluted yet courageously honest, rambling retort! :p

A few months ago, one of my voices wrote a letter to you. You never got the chance to know her because she was something I was always too scared to talk to you about. I know it wouldn’t have made a difference to you if I heard voices, but I was too scared to talk about them to anyone back then. If you get the chance, you should read it, for she misses you too.

In her letter she talks about some of the things she misses about you; your random way of eating MacMuffins, your gorgeous way of pronouncing Tangerine, your ladybug underwear (oh, your ladybug underwear!)…and you know what, however much she lingered on the pain of your death and the senseless loss of your beautiful life, she’s right. I should be focusing more on all the wonderful things about you rather than getting lost in the pain of your death.

I should spend more time remembering what it was like to be curled up beside you as we watched My Neighbour Totoro or spending hours rambling away over a pint or two in some backstreet dive in Glasgow.

Or thinking of the way you leapt up in fright after sitting on that plastic chair in MacDonalds or how you helped me deal with the pain of abuse more succinctly than anyone else I’ve ever met.

Or perhaps I should be thinking of how you always weaved red into your outfits, of your ongoing love/hate relationship with your curls or the way you tried to lick your nose whenever you were excited.

Perhaps I should be thinking of all that could have been had I had the courage to tell you how I really felt about you, instead of beating myself up for remaining stoically silent throughout our time together.

But you knew that already, didn’t you?

I’m not going to say goodbye, because I know I’m going to write to you again. I don’t care that you may never read these words or that people will think I’m weird for wanting to write to someone who has passed on. Like you made me realize all those years ago; I don’t want to be a prisoner anymore, not to them, not to you and certainly not to myself.

I really did love you Samantha. And I think a part of me always will.

Wherever you are, wherever you may be, I hope you’re causing havoc and being as naughty as ever.

With all my heart,
Addy xoxox

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