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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30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge: Day 18

Today’s prompt in the 30 Day Self Harm Awareness Challenge asks
Write a letter to the future (recovered) you.

writing_a_letter

Dear Older Addy,

I’ve never been very good at writing to you. I can write to you from the past, as you’ll only be too aware from the time bending letters you’ve received throughout your life, but I’ve never been very good at writing to you from the future, mainly because I don’t know who I’ll be writing to. Will I be writing to you who found a beautiful, kinky woman to settle down in a happy, loving relationship with? Or will I be writing to you who was consumed by his mental illnesses and lives in self-imposed hermitage? For the sake of this letter I’ve decided to opt for the former. I’m choosing to believe that you were able to overcome your mental illnesses. I’m choosing to believe that you met a wonderful woman who loves you for you are, kinks and all. I’m choosing to believe that you are the father to Amelia and Alexander, two mischievous children who keep both you and your beautiful wife on your toes. I’m choosing to believe that you are happy. That you succeeded in your recovery and have been self harm free for [insert appropriate number of years here].

The reason I have chosen to believe your future is a happy one is because I need something to cling onto. I need to believe there is hope. As you’ll only be too aware my life has been a calamity of catastrophes from the word go. All the chaos that I’ve had to deal with; bipolar, social anxiety, depressive episodes, suicidal ideation, self harm, have left me devoid of hope. Once upon a time I did believe that things would be better for me. That I wouldn’t be as alone, as isolated, as consumed as I currently am. But that was before the great depression of 2014-2015. That was before the darkness gripped my soul and rendered me unable to glimpse any light that may be out there.

I’m sure you’ll remember the great depression I’m currently locked into. The depression that took control of your mind and forced you to endure the most boring, monotonous daily routine that you’ve ever experienced. Days upon weeks upon months of doing nothing but the same, constantly fighting the urge to self harm by lighting up another cigarette, another cancer stick, that will surely come back to bite you in the future. Does it? No, don’t answer that. I know it will. I’m not an idiot. I know my actions will have some bearing on my future, but if I know, if I’m told what will happen, I will further lose the ability to hold onto hope.

And that’s what I need at the moment. Hope. I’ve written about it lately. How I’ve lost my hope. How I don’t believe there is a better future for me. How everything has become too much that even the victories seem pointless. Eight months of being self harm free and I feel nothing but nonchalant. I don’t see it as a positive. I don’t see it as anything other than an empty gesture. I’m resigned to the fact that at some point in the future I will cave, and I will return to my self-harming ways. That’s what I need from you, my fatherly friend, I need you to tell me how you managed to overcome your demons. How you managed to navigate the great depression and become the happy, fun-loving, recovered human being I’ve chosen to believe you’ve become. I need you to give me hope. I need you to give me strength. Because I’m fast running out of it. With every day that passes I lose a little more of it. With every day that passes I become weaker. More inclined to ‘give up’ and stop fighting what I believe to be inevitable.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m asking too much. Maybe I’m being too demanding. You have kids to look after. A wife to keep happy. A life to live. You don’t have time to help out a hopeless soul who has forsaken the belief his life will ever be better than this. But maybe if I ask kindly enough, if I appeal to your empathetic nature, you will find it within your heart to take pity on me. To gift me with the knowledge that I need to rekindle hope in my soul.

Perhaps you could tell me the story of how you met your wife. I’m sure there will be a story. Knowing you it’s not likely to be a simple ‘we bumped into each other in the supermarket’ tale. I’m sure there will be drama and destiny and odd little moments of cherished beauty. Perhaps you could tell me what it felt like to hold Amelia for the first time. I’m sure that was quite something. Knowing you, as you stared into the beautiful eyes of your first-born daughter, you cried. And happily so. Perhaps you could tell me how you succeeded in overcoming your self harm urges. I’m sure that was a lot of work. Knowing you, it required a great deal of determination, inner strength and help from kind, caring souls. Perhaps you could just regale me with tales of your life; your exploits, experiences and endeavors. What do you do now? Are you an inspirational speaker? An author? A filmmaker? Or are you still disabled, struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck, strengthened only by the love you hold for your gorgeous family?

Just knowing some of these stories, just having something to hold onto, would help my current malaise. It’s not enough to choose to believe you are a husband, a father, a friend. I need to know that you are all of these things. I need to know that my future holds something beyond the dark abyss that you are currently lost to.

So please. If you can. Take a moment to send me a letter. Take a moment to regale me with stories of your life. Take a moment to show a hopeless person that there is hope, that there is something to believe in. You’d be doing yourself a huge favour, trust me.

Thank you for listening to my rambling. I know this is incoherent. I know this isn’t the greatest thing you’ve ever written. But the depression has been all-consuming today. Even summoning the strength to write to you is a victory I should be celebrating. So now this letter is done, go and give your scrumptious wife a surreptitious bum squeeze from an insanely jealous younger you.

I’m glad you’re happy, Addy. At least, I hope you are.

Love n hugs,
Younger Addy


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31 Days of Bipolar: Day 15. We can’t predict the future, no matter how hard we try

Day 15: What would you ask your future self if you could?

letter

Dear Older Addy,

You may find this a strange request coming from someone who is you, only younger, but I am writing to seek your advice. And in the grand old tradition of those “choose your own adventure” novels you used to read as a kid, you’re going to have to choose between two sections, for the advice that I seek is dependent on which path your life took.

So if you have been alone for the last twenty years, slowly trying to eek out an existence whilst battling your bipolar, social anxiety and PTSD, read section ONE.

However, if you were able to stabilise your mental illnesses and are currently living in a loving relationship with a woman who doesn’t mind you giving her the occasional surreptitious bum squeeze, read section TWO.

~ ONE ~

Oh.

I’m not quite sure what to say. I was hoping – really, seriously – hoping that you would be skipping this section. I was hoping that you had been able to move past your illnesses and find a way to live a happy, connected, loving life with a woman who loves you and friends who care for you. I was hoping – really, seriously – hoping that there would be surreptitious bum squeezes in your future. But alas. There is not. And me writing these hopes here are probably making you depressed and miserable, so sorry about that, I’m just a little sad, for I hoped – really, seriously – hoped that there was something better in our future. Better than the hell you’ve had to put up with for the last twenty years.

So I guess, without trying to make you even more miserable, I’ll ask my question, which is really quite simple: how did you do it?

How were you able to survive all the pain, all the misery, all the chaos, all the mind-numbing, crippling agony? How were you able to stop the PTSD from consuming you? How were you able to deal with the panic attacks, the anxiety attacks and the endless up-down cycle of bipolar? And how were you able to stop the crippling ramifications of abuse from causing you to kill yourself?

I ask only because I have no idea what to do about any of this. As you know, from your own memory, I’m currently writing this letter whilst lost in the wilderness of mental illness. I am controlled on a daily basis by the incessant mood swings, by the destructive PTSD and crippling social anxiety. Nothing I do seems to have any impact. Nothing I do makes any difference. And I find myself thinking about suicide more and more because I just can’t keep going like this for much longer. So how were you able to stop the pain from consuming you completely. How were you able to live for twenty years in the same endless cycle of pain, misery, loneliness and isolation?

HOW DID YOU DO IT?

I shout only because I need to know and I need to know now. Things are getting too much for me to deal with and I need something, anything, from you to restore my hope, to restore my strength and set me on track to cope with everything that is overwhelming me at the moment. You must have navigated through it otherwise you wouldn’t still be here. You must have found something to assist you in your journey otherwise the pain would have consumed you. And I need you to tell me what that something was, because I am finding it harder and harder to continue in this vein.

How did you do it?

[Breathe]

Okay, I’ll stop being so needy, it isn’t becoming. You’ll either answer my request or you won’t, that’s up to you, but allow me to say before I depart one thing: bravo! Bravo sir, for surviving the endless onslaught of suicidal ideation. Bravo sir, for not allowing your mental illness to consume you. Bravo sir, for not giving in to your pain. Bravo sir, for continuing to be true to yourself, even though life didn’t work out the way we hoped it would.

Stay strong, dear friend, we’ll get through this together.

Love and hugs,
Younger Addy xox

~ TWO ~

Excellent!

Wonderful!

Fantabulous!

You have no idea how happy I am to know that you’re reading these words! To know that you were able to stabilise your mental illnesses and have settled down in a life, a life with a woman who loves you no less, is music to my ears. To know that in my future there is love, support, friendship and kindness. To know that my future isn’t a lonely, miserable cesspit of isolation and trauma is something that fills me with so much happiness it makes my present seem less painful. So knowing this. Knowing that there is something in my future beyond loneliness and pain, my question is simple: how did you do it?

How did you navigate the minefield of trauma? How did you manage to overcome your crippling social anxiety disorder? How were you able to stabilise the bipolar affective disorder? And how – how – were you able to move past the crippling ramifications of abuse and learn to trust again?

I ask only because I have no idea what to do about any of this. As you know, from your own memory, I’m currently writing this letter whilst lost in the wilderness of mental illness. I am controlled on a daily basis by the incessant mood swings, by the destructive PTSD and crippling social anxiety. Nothing I do seems to have any impact. Nothing I do makes any difference. So how did you manage it? What magical, mystical answer revealed itself to you? What is it that I’m not doing at the moment that I need to do in order to achieve the life you have now?

How did you meet the woman in your life? Did it stem from some random incident, or was it something you actively sought out? Did you have to woo her with ridiculous chat-up lines or was it a more organic introduction? Did she have massive stigma about your mental illnesses that you had to whittle down over time, or was she accepting of your conditions from the get go? Did she have to ask for all those surreptitious bum squeezes or were you able to work past your confidence and just give them to her?

HOW DID YOU DO IT?

I shout only because I need to know and I need to know now. I need to start living now, not in twenty years time, surely there must be something – some small piece of information that you can give me, some minor observation that I’ve yet to see, that could help me begin living now. Maybe if you have nothing you could ask that beautiful woman of yours for her input. She must care about you. She must be open to helping someone. I can’t imagine you being with anyone who isn’t open to help, who isn’t open to putting other people first. Please. I beg you. I’m grovelling on hands and knees. I need to know.

How did you do it?

[Breathe]

Okay, I’ll stop being so needy, it isn’t becoming. You’ll either answer my request or you won’t, that’s up to you, but allow me to say before I depart one thing: bravo! Bravo sir, for not allowing your mental illness to consume you completely. Bravo sir,  for finding someone to love. Bravo sir, for being able to stop existing and start living. Bravo sir, for your undeniable strength, determination and passion for living the best life you could.

Now hop away and give that woman of ours a surreptitious bum squeeze from younger you; who knows what it could lead to! ;p

Love and Hugs,
Younger Addy xox


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31 Days of Bipolar: Day 14. Ruminations on friendship

Day 14: What would you say to your younger self if you could?

friendship

Dear Younger Addy,

So where are we? If this letter has been delivered to you at the exact time and date I specified the postal service, you’re currently sitting in a backpacker hostel on the Isle of Skye. You’ve just had an encounter with the SLWCB – don’t worry about screwing up, only Meadhbh will hold it against you – and you’re about to embark on a bicycling adventure to the castle that is known as Eilean Donan. At this precise moment in time you’re just being your shy, elusive self. You’re sitting in your dorm room, nonchalantly writing adult fiction, wishing you weren’t so introverted and anxious so you’d be able to talk to some of the people you’re sharing your space with. And that’s why I’m writing to you; to impart some words of wisdom when it comes to friendship and relationships.

Given that I’m you, I know how much having friends means to you. I also know how mind-shatteringly difficult it is for you to communicate with people. Most of the time you’d rather gouge out your own eyeball with a wooden spoon than settle down to have a conversation with a complete stranger. I know how much your anxiety controls your actions. Preventing you from opening up in case people laugh at you, in case they criticize your words, your actions, your everything. You hate being the center of attention and spend much of your life believing people are going to do their utmost to humiliate you in public for just being you. So you do whatever it takes to protect yourself from such humiliation, even if that means never talking to people, even if that means spending your life alone.

And we need to do something about it now, otherwise you are going to experience a loneliness that you couldn’t possibly comprehend at this point of your life. To give you a glimpse into the future, I am currently running on eight years of being alone, I don’t have any friends, I don’t have any acquaintances, I have no-one and will probably have no-one for the remainder of my life. Sometimes I accept that. Sometimes I believe I don’t deserve to have anyone in my life. Sometimes I think I’ve got what I deserve. That this is my punishment for past indiscretions. But then there are the times I think the opposite; that no-one deserves to not have friends in the life. After all, if serial killers and rapists can have friends – which they do – why can’t I? Because I’ve never done anything in my life even bordering on the nastiness of such crimes. You know that, Andrew, because you are me; only younger, more naive and open to change.

And it is this openness to change that we need to tap into. There is little I can do now to change my life. My anxiety is too entrenched. My PTSD too controlling. It is doubtful I can foster the change that I need to make in order to open up to people and allow them into my life. But you? We can change you. So listen well, my dear friend, and take heed of my words otherwise you will end up as lonely and isolated as I am.

Firstly, in a few weeks time, you are going to decide to long-term at a backpacker hostel in Inverness. This decision will change your life, because it will see several important people enter it. People who will come to mean the world to you; not just in Inverness, but for the remainder of your life. But you will allow your anxiety to control you; you won’t open up to them, you won’t trust them with your inner-most personal intricacies, and you will share almost nothing about your life with them. By doing this you are ruining a major opportunity to make friends. They won’t care that you’re a virgin. They won’t care that you battle anxiety and depression. They won’t care that you’re shy and introverted. These people are good people, they will accept you no matter what, so you need to trust in that and allow yourself to open up to them. It’s going to be hard, I know that, but these people have the potential to be life-long friends, so the more you trust in them, the easier things will be.

This is the fundamental lesson you need to learn. It is your anxiety that is stopping you from opening up. But opening up to people is the only way to make friends, so you need to find ways to overcome your anxiety and allow yourself the opportunity to trust people with who you are. I can’t help you with that. I can only impart advice and tell you what you need to do. But from someone who has been there, someone who has felt the pain you have, I can tell you that it isn’t going to kill you. Quite the opposite. You will feel more alive than ever before when you finally open up to people.

There are going to be opportunities. One person in particular is going to give you opportunities to open up. They are going to ask you questions. They are going to give you moments. They are going to take an interest. So show it back. Answer their questions. Seize every moment. And take an interest in her. It will be worth you while, trust me.

Although it is just a glimmer of a possibility for you right now, in six months time you are going to venture to Canada to continue your backpacking journey. Much like in Inverness, you are going to stay in hostels, and you are going to meet people you like, and who like you in return. The same advice I advised above needs to be heeded; don’t be afraid to open up to these people, don’t be afraid to share your life with them, they are worth it.

It is not going to kill you to share more of your life with these people. And remember, if they have issues with your anxiety, if they can’t deal with your depression, if they hold these things against you, then they are not worth knowing. The people you are to meet are trustworthy. I can speak with the ease of hindsight. These people will not hold your conditions against you. I assure you.

But once you’ve opened up to these people, once you have allowed them entry into your life, you are going to need to do some work. All friendship, no matter how serious or intimate, requires work. No friendships exist without it, for like everything in life, there will be ebbs and flows, and the people you meet whilst traveling are not always going to be around. They will be overseas. They will be away from you. So write to them. Email them. Find the time and energy to phone them. Work on keeping the friendship alive. And don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t worth it; don’t let anyone get in the way of the importance of these friendships.

And they will. I assure you. You’re going to meet people who want you to stop talking to your friends. Who give you ultimatums on who you’re allowed to communicate with. These are the people who you need to jettison from your life, as they are being selfish, they are not caring about you, only themselves. They don’t care that your friendships are important to you. They don’t care what they mean to you. So ignore them and stay in contact!

You’re also going to meet people who you think are friends, but are not. They are lying to you, manipulating your goodwill, and you need to be wary of this. These people don’t deserve to be let in, these people don’t deserve to see the real you lying beneath the shell of anxiety and introversion. They will do their best to convince you they are worthy, but you need to see through the lies for what they are. I could give you names, I could tell you who these people are, but I won’t, for you need to work this out for yourself. I’m just saying it because you need to be cautious about who you let in.

But in much the same respect as keeping in contact with your traveling friends, you need to understand that once you have let someone in, you’re going to need to work on the friendship. You will need to stay in touch; don’t let them always call you, seize the initiative and contact them. Make sure you are there for them when they need someone; for remember, a friendship is not defined by the happy times you share, but by the times you share when things are shit. And don’t allow your mental illness to convince you that the friendship isn’t deserved; no-one deserves to be alone.

For if you don’t heed these words, then you are going to end up like me; alone, forgotten and unloved. And I know you don’t want that.

Hopefully these words will have given you something to think about. Hopefully these words have not scared you further into your shell. Together, Andrew, we can work on your anxiety and create the social network of caring, wonderful individuals you deserve to have in your life. Together, we can achieve the impossible; you just have to want it enough.

Love and hugs,
Older Addy xox


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Unsent Letter #8: You won’t remember me

In late 2012 I decided to write a series of unsent letters to people from my past. Rather than choose the person myself, I wrote 100 names onto 100 scraps of paper and placed them in a hat. Each day, I drew a name from the hat and then freewrote that person a letter. In order to break my current melancholic mood – and a particularly nasty bout of writer’s block – I’ve decided to revisit this idea and pluck a few more names from the hat, beginning today with a letter to someone who crossed my path only once, for a mere twenty seconds.

13 March 2014

Dear FLWTCB

If I know anything, I know one thing; you won’t remember me. But I will always remember you.

I will always remember your shoulder length brunette hair dancing in the wind. I will always remember your deep blue eyes piercing the darkness of an autumnal Scottish evening. I will always remember the smile that lit up your face as our eyes met that blustery, blissful evening. And I will always remember the wiggle of your cute bottom as you walked down the platform to vanish from my life forever.

Ours was the briefest of moments, no more than twenty seconds out of the millions of minutes of our lives, yet a moment that I will remember always; for you were the first woman – the first stranger – that I had ever had the courage to look in the eye and smile at.

It was September 1997 when our paths crossed. You wouldn’t have known that I was a runaway, that I had fled my familial home in search of myself. You wouldn’t have known that I’d spent the day roaming the wilds around Loch Shiel, soaking in the atmosphere of the most beautiful location I’d ever visited. You wouldn’t have known that social anxiety was wreaking havoc on my life, rendering me unable to look people in the eye. And you certainly wouldn’t have known the momentous nature of the smile I gave you.

All you would have known is that an overweight man, flushed with bliss, overflowing with ecstasy, caught your eye on a desolate train platform and smiled at you. And you graced him the gift of smiling back; a smile that has remained with him through all the passing years.

A smile that proved to him that he could make eye contact with strangers; that he could smile at people without suffering an anxiety attack; that he may not be quite as ugly and repulsive as he believed himself to be.

Whenever I have doubted myself in the intervening seventeen years, whenever I have questioned whether or not I could (or should) smile at strangers, I have thought of you. A woman who didn’t fling abuse because I deigned to look in her direction, a woman who didn’t recoil in horror at my presence, a woman who graced me the gift of happiness, even  though you knew not who or why I was.

So, my dear FLWTCB, even though I don’t know your name, even though it’s unlikely you’ll be able to decipher the cryptic moniker I have given you, should you ever read these words and recognise yourself, I just wish to thank you for making that mere boy feel a joy unlike anything he’d experienced before.

For giving me a moment that, however brief, will remain with me until the day I die.

With love and thanks,
Addy xxx

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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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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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3 Letters to three different people…

Given I recently wrote a series of unsent letters and felt I needed to creatively unwind after a &*$%^*$ stressful day, I hope my deviation from today’s task isn’t too disappointing. Instead of three letters, here are three postcards to three different people:

~ IF YOU’RE HAVING TROUBLE READING THE TEXT, CLICKING THE IMAGE SHOULD DISPLAY AN ENLARGED VIEW ~

Tomorrow: 2 Languages I know (or would like to know)