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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Days 08 & 09: All of life’s most important events

After careful consideration, I have decided to join day’s eight and nine of the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge into one post. The prompts ask what age were you diagnosed/at what age do you think your symptoms began and what are some of the important events in your life that may have effected your mental illness(es) for the worse or better.

A few months ago I wrote a post entitled Your Life As You Remember It, which was a chronological timeline of my life; all of the ups, all of the downs and all of the important developmental stages of each of my mental illnesses. It is a fairly comprehensive post that, if you haven’t already read, you should do so if you’d like to get to know me more!

Shortly afterwards, as part of the Mi Recovery course I undertook, I had to draw a timeline of my life’s major events. These hand drawn images were originally posted here, but I’ve decided to repost them today for a number of reasons.

Firstly, they fit perfectly with the prompts for days eight and nine. Secondly, when they were originally posted I reduced their size significantly, so much so that it was impossible to read the hand written text explaining each stage; an error that I have corrected today.

And thirdly, because I’m rather proud of my timeline (especially page 04!) and will take any excuse to showcase it! :p

Title Page | © Addy

Title Page | © Addy

Page 01 | © Addy

Page 01 | © Addy

Page 02 | © Addy

Page 02 | © Addy

Page 03 | © Addy

Page 03 | © Addy

Page 04 | © Addy

Page 04 | © Addy

Page 05 | © Addy

Page 05 | © Addy

Notes
~ Clicking each image will enlarge the photo ~
~ Apologies for the slightly dodgy artwork and photo quality ~
~ Please note that some of the handwritten text has been digitally removed to protect identities ~


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Relapse: Identifying your early warning signs

Although I have been lost to the demons of depression and mental chaos over the last few months, I’ve been doing my utmost to heave my way out of the maelstrom. One of the most enjoyable activities I undertook came at me via the Mi Recovery group I partook in during May/June of this year.

The exercise was part of a week that saw us take a look at relapse (which was kind of ironic considering it was around then when I began to lose control!) and revolves around identifying warning signs of an impending mental apocalypse.

At present, only a few people have seen this (and only one of those in any degree of detail) but considering my elongated absence from this blog, I’ve decided to share it as a way to ‘make up’ for my disappearing act. For even if you don’t find any value or substance in the activity, you may enjoy having a wee giggle at my attempt at “art”!

Creating your timeline…

First of all, choose a metaphor that suits your view of the world (such as an ovulating road or a winding river) to use as a basis for your timeline and then sketch this on a big sheet of paper. Once this has been drawn, mark onto this picture all of the most significant experiences/events/incidents that have shaped you into the magnificent human being you are today.

After all of your major experiences have been documented, make a list along your timeline of all of the resources (people, places, distractions etc.) that you used to get through the difficult times and that energized you through the good times. You may also wish to mark onto this timeline any strengths and/or values you have procured along the way.

Once this has been completed, whether you realize it or not, patterns will have emerged throughout your timeline. Before any period of mental ill-health there will be an array of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that repeat throughout your timeline. These thoughts, feelings and behaviours – more often than not – will be early warning signs of an impending relapse or episode.

You will find that knowing your warning signs is a major weapon in your battle with mental illness. Now that you know what to look out for, you will know when you need to seek help in the future.

My timeline…

Notes
(i) The larger text in various colours are strengths, values and resources that I’ve procured along my journey.
(ii) Yes, there is a glaringly annoying mistake on ‘Page 5’. I was extremely tired when I coloured this page.
(iii) The two blurred words on ‘Page 5’ are names I did not want to revealed publicly.
(iii) The timeline was based on my post ‘Your Life as You Remember It‘, so should you fancy more detailed information about the various stages of my life, you’re welcome to pop over there for a quick read! :)


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Your life as you remember it…

What follows, being a timeline of my life from birth to present, is a post I have been writing for nearly a year. Every time I’ve sat down to finish it I’ve found myself triggered by the memories of various events and incidents I’ve experienced, triggering which led to me being able to complete only a few sentences at a time before retreating to the safety of ‘distraction’.

As I embark on pulling my block back to basics, I felt now was the opportune time to finish this timeline so it could be used as a source of inspiration for future posts, as well as a reference point for myself (and others) to see how incidents are connected and the chain of events that led to my eventual social isolation and mental ill-health.

This, is my journey through life (with plenty of catastrophes along the way!)

My journey through life (with plenty of catastrophes!)

life

~Sometime in late February 1978~
After a romantic candlelit dinner and several glasses of wine, Addy’s parents head to the bedroom…I won’t give any further details, save for saying on this night that glint in his parent’s slightly tipsy eyes became the embryo who became the baby who became the horny teenager who became the passionate man who sits here today!

~28 November 1978~
Addy bursts out of his mother’s womb screaming into the well-lit maternity unit, as a kindly nurse smacks his posterior he tries to get his bearings in this strange new world devoid of comfort, warmth and embryonic fluid. Little did he know what this crazy planet had in store for him…

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