The Ensemble

The following information was (and still is, in an earlier form) actually the content of my first post on this blog. However, since it gives so much contextual information, I decided it was worth making it a sort of ‘About’ page, as well as the original ‘About‘ page. This makes it permanently available on the front page of the blog, which is handy for ease of access and further information for those that quite understandably can’t be arsed to go right to the start of the blog and read from there. So here you go.

Obviously for the sake of brevity I am only including the main players here. Should anyone else relevant come up at some future juncture, I will of course out line their role in my life.

A

A is my partner of eight and a half years (as of late 2011). We have lived together since mid-2007. Undoubtedly we have had our problems over the years but ultimately A has been very good to me; emotionally, financially and intellectually.

Before we even met in person (we met online, where we corresponded for nearly a year before finally meeting up), A was aware of my diagnosis of depression. That did not mean he understood it; when I had my most recent episode before this one in mid-2006, he was very much of the view that I should “pull myself together”. I cannot expect him to understand as he has never experienced this; however, as any other sufferers of this illness will know, this is far from a beneficial attitude to take.

However, A has been incredibly supportive throughout my recent breakdown. He indulges my weird idiosyncrasies without fucking me up further. He tries to cheer me up when I am miserable. He listens to my self-analysis, tries to analyse himself where appropriate and just supports where not. He makes me the obligatory-in-the-UK cup of tea for me. He goes out and works five days a fucking week whilst I lie wallowing in my pathetic despair.

A is extremely intelligent and articulate, though would admit to sharing some of my social ineptitude. He is witty, down-to-earth and generally very well regarded by people he meets. Of course there is more than this facade to him – at home he can be easily irritated and rant a lot. But the more this blog progresses, the more you will see this is one of the many things we have in common 🙂

A and I have two cats.

Mum

I am assuming the above-named individual’s relationship to me does not require explanation. I hardly know where to start with her. She is to some extent a typical woman, the kind of which I have alluded to in a slightly disparaging fashion on my ‘About‘ page. She is sensitive and emotional in many ways, but very strong and resilient in others.

She married my so-called father in the early ’60s, and to the best of my knowledge the physical, mental and sexual abuse that she endured at his hands began shortly thereafter. I do often ask myself why she tolerated this unacceptable state of affairs for twenty years, but I wasn’t in the position, so I try not to judge her. She does sometimes lament the fact that there was no such thing as Women’s Aid or domestic violence helplines during (the majority of) her marriage, though I believe she did go to some sort of shelter at one point – and then back to my da.

She divorced him after I was born in the early ’80s, for fear that he may harm me too, whether deliberately or inadvertently whilst in one of his drunken stupors. She did let him see me for a while after their separation and divorce, but he kept (a) not turning up or (b) turning up pissed. So she told him to fuck off and not come back. I don’t think this was necessarily a demand that he never re-entered my life, merely that he would stop having to disappoint me and clean up his act before he did so.

I suppose I subconsciously blamed my mother for my father’s desertion for quite a long time. As a child I was unaware of his true nature, of course – and as such I had this stupid father-daughter idolisation of the cunt. But perhaps I digress – I can say more about my father forthwith.

I was fairly stable during my primary school years and didn’t really give my mother any significant hassle. However, come grammar school and my diagnosis with depression, I think my poor Mum almost lost the will to live along with me. I am fairly sure she believed, at least in part, that I was just an angsty teenager with an attitude. She would lay into me both verbally and physically on the days when I could not get up (and thus go to school). I think she thought my two suicide attempts were attention seeking.

I cannot entirely blame her, of course.

Anyhow, the nature of our relationship is fairly positive at present, and has been since I would say I was about 17 or 18. I do feel she takes things out of context and falsely accuses me of things of which I am not guilty, but I suspect that this is probably related to her own defence mechanisms and is not necessarily something I should take personally. That does not mean I don’t, of course.

She is sometimes guilty of seeing my mental illness in a somewhat simplistic fashion – for example,”you just have to start trusting people” or “why don’t you just think about x differently?” Spot on, mother – I’ll just click my fingers and that’s that then. Problem fucking solved. She also doesn’t get that I won’t talk to her about the things in my head. Partly this is because I don’t really want to talk to anyone about them, as (I presume) that would admit weakness. Part of it is also to protect her; I know she worries about me enough as it is, and I have to wish to add to that by conveying to her that I am clinically mad. Furthermore, so much of the issues relate to the way she was treated that she would end up feeling guilty. Yes, that is irrational, but for whatever reasons I am convinced she would blame herself. So her constant bleating about her wanting me to “let her in” really fucks me off. But generally she tries her best to deal with my insanity and support me in the subtle ways that I will allow her to do.

In summary, she’s a good woman who has been through a lot herself and yet, with the passage of time and greater awareness of my various conditions, tries her best to be supportive. She is retired now, and given my current absence from work, I have taken to going to visit her for two or three nights each week.

V – Father

V is dead, having finally popped his clogs in September 2007. Nevertheless, I feel it’s important to include him as a key player in my life, even though he was absent for the vast majority of it. I was asleep on the sofa at Mum’s house the day the phone call came to announce his demise; she woke me up and urgently intoned, “your Da’s dead!”

My response was, “oh, right”, and then I went back to sleep. Then, between Mum and my oppressive wankstain family I was virtually forced into going to the old bastard’s funeral – but that and the blackly hilarious story about his will are tales for another day.

You will already have developed some understanding of V from the above entry about my mother. Additional misdeeds committed against her included adultery and financially fucking her over.

He was an alcoholic, and whilst I completely understand that this is an illness like any other, I cannot allow his behaviour to be excused on this basis. I have complete admiration for alcoholics or drug addicts who fight against their addictions and ultimately overcome them, but my father was not one of them. The fact of the matter is that he never even tried.

He tried to contact me once when I was about 12 or so. Mum and I had just gone to bed and the phone rang; some drunken tosser kept asking for me by name. I told said tosser that he’d got a wrong number, but of course he hadn’t; he knew it and I knew it. My ma became panicky at my protestations down the phone and tried to take it off me, but at that point I hung up and told her that it was just some bloke who’d got a wrong number. I am not sure if she believed me, but after some reassurance from me she did let the matter drop.

I say he only contacted me once, but that depends on your perception. Three weeks after my 21st birthday, I received a birthday card and £20s worth of Boots vouchers (last of the big spenders) purporting to be from the twat. My reasons for not believing this was actually from him require a bit of context.

1. V suffered from MS and eventually was put into a nursing home. Needless to say this has been a source of much annoyance to me as he lived rent free, got a range of benefits and by all accounts had a nice room and was liked by the staff. But that’s yet another story.

2. V’s brother, Merv, is married to my mother’s sister, Georgie (AKA Aunt of Evil). Georgie and Merv have lived in the USA for decades and my older (double-)cousin was born there. In any event, shortly before my birthday Georgie and Merv were back in Norn Iron and detestably visited V during this time.

I am therefore convinced that the two of them, in conjunction with one (or more) of the nursing home personnel, engineered the stupid birthday card. They have denied this, but I don’t believe them. They subscribe to this ridiculous, unfounded notion that blood is thicker than water; as such, they presumably felt that I should “make peace” with my father.

Perhaps I should have gone to see him, even if only to have told him exactly what I thought. But he was the supposed adult in the situation; surely the responsibility to make contact was his?

Anyway, the foregoing invective does belie one issue about which I am generally loath to discuss, but since this is basically an anonymous blog I will do so. My reluctance to do so is presumably resultant of the fact that I do not want to admit it to myself, but having at least in part done so to C, my former psychologist, why the hell not here? Whilst V was in the home, and around the time of his death, I kept hearing a lot of shit about how piteous a state he was in, yet what a nice man he was. Poor fucking V, isn’t it such a shame, no one in the world wants him or cares about him, yadda yadda yadda. I was mostly infuriated about and resentful of this, which was both an unfair endorsement of V, and an unfair inference about my behaviour towards him.

But part of me also wonders, “what if?” Would I have got on with him? Had he really changed? Had the public persona he portrayed as a charismatic, generous, fun-loving man (even when he was at his most violent) actually permeated his personality entirely? I will never know. Annoyingly, this kind of saddens me. I despise the man and would happily piss on the fucker’s grave, but I suppose I miss the father I wanted to have.

I have an intense fear of abandonment, of which I was not consciously aware until I began therapy with C (see below). Presumably this relates back to V.

Daniel

Daniel is my best friend, though we have been separated by the Irish sea for the past six or so years, as he went to university in Scotland and now works as a very successful business journalist in London.

Daniel is irreverent, funny and a bit crazy (not in the sense of actual insanity like mine, but just random and hilarious). His apparent flippancy belies a much softer soul, though. For instance, he cried when I self-published a series of ridiculous stories we’d written as children for his Christmas present in 2008. Although I seek comfort in him in the form of amusement, he is also quite capable and willing of being serious when the need arises. He is astute in analysing a situation rationally and irrationally and has given me some very prescient advice over the years.

We met at the end of our first year at grammar school, so we would have been 12. Since he left Northern Ireland, we probably haven’t kept in as good touch as we should have, though this has improved of late. Whatever the case, when we meet or talk it’s just like old times. He’s and his partner Craig, a TV researcher, have been together since mid-2010 and make a great couple. I’ve only met Craig a few times, but he has an easy-going, natural charisma and they make a great couple.

Brian

Brian is my oldest friend, and second best friend to Daniel. We met right at the start of our foray into secondary education. Brian and Daniel, although they have a companionable enough sort of relationship, have never been close friends. I suppose they don’t share the same interests really, and thus represent different sides of my personality. Brian is relatively introverted whereas Daniel is, ostensibly at least, more of an extrovert.

Brian claims that he is rubbish at listening, but during my recent breakdown I have found him extremely supportive. He lives close to me, though the poor sod works two jobs and has a girlfriend so it is not always easy to get time to see him.

Daniel is in a long-term relationship with a recent computing graduate who I am convinced also has borderline personality disorder – of the more typical, stereotyped kind – thanks to her sometime volatile outbursts and odd upbringing.

Brian is something of a computer nerd – as am I. Me likes nerds.

Aaron and Deirdre

More Aaron than Deirdre really, as I keep in much more frequent contact with Aaron, but Deirdre deserves a mention too. I group them together as they are both former colleagues – the only two colleagues with whom I have ever kept in touch after leaving a job.

Deirdre is a 40-something woman – one of my few female friends. She is married and has two grown-up children – one of the cool things about her is that her children obviously consider her a mate as well as a mum. They share the same interests and go to rock gigs together. I think this is seriously cool. Deirdre is witty and a bit mad (in the same non-mental way as Daniel). We don’t meet up that frequently – something always seems to come up – but when we do, it is always good craic. My meetings with her almost always include Aaron.

Aaron is a 20 year old gay bloke, also suffering from depression and anxiety, though at the risk of not knowing what I am talking about I don’t think his situation is quite as serious as mine. The poor thing is certainly lonely and has no success in meeting men. This is mainly because he is scared to try – a relatively self-assured exterior to those that do not know him well hides deep-seated introvertism and, dare I say, self-doubt. Nevertheless, he is irreverent and funny, and has been supportive of me during my spectacular fall from semi-sanity.

The Family

I alluded briefly above to Georgie (Aunt of Evil) and Merv, but of course they are not the only members of my extended family. I hardly know my father’s side of the family, apart from Merv, and I am quite happy to keep it that way, as the self-righteous hypocrites at V’s funeral fucked me off intensely.

My mother’s side I do know. She had two brothers though both are now unfortunately deceased. Aside from that, she has three sisters, including Georgie. The other two are Maureen (Aunt of Boredom, or McC will do for her surname) and Maisie (McFaul, Aunt of Oppression). Maureen and her husband – Mark – are alright, if somewhat boring. They are both retired teachers, living a fairly well-to-do lifestyle after very clever property investments from yesteryear.

Maisie and her brood – where the fuck do I even start? Ostensibly she is a lovely, generous woman, but in reality she is intensely manipulative and can be very cruel. She has a multitude of health problems, but perhaps the thing that is most striking about her is her absolute need to have a house-full of talking fucking people. She “likes to have her family [and friends] around her”. She is always delightfully nice to me – too fucking nice I think, how can you be so positive about me all the fucking time? It’s just not natural – but often bullies her daughter Sarah. Not physically, as she cannot physically do much, but she is always complaining about her, shouting at her and criticising her.

For the sake of context, Maisie lives with her husband (Maisie’s husband), her son Kevin, her daughter Sarah and Sarah’s son ScumFan. If she had her way, all of her four children, their spouses, their children and even now their children (as she recently became a great-grandmother) would still live in her house. In a way, all of these people are inexorably tied to that house forever anyway; they all seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time in it. A once said to me that the McFs’ house is like Hotel California: you can check out, but you can never leave. This is about the most truthful statement I have ever heard.

It is possibly worthy of note that it was Maisie’s husband, Paedo, that was responsible for my childhood sexual abuse. He is also mental; he suffers from a form of unspecified psychosis, that manifests mainly as extreme paranoia. Infuriatingly though, when he had his most recent, and most serious, episode, a psychiatrist was out to his house the next day. I waited 11 years for one and when I finally got one I had to fucking go to them! A few years ago, Paedo was sectioned, which from my twisted point of view I suppose is quite funny.

For the record, I don’t hate Paedo. He is just an irrelevance to me. If anything, in some ways I pity the poor, sad bastard because he has to live in that God forsaken house. No wonder he is fucked up.

I never reported his behaviour towards me even though I was concerned about his various grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. But I honestly do feel that it was only me. I did tell A, and Daniel and Mum also know some of the details. Mum thinks I misinterpreted his actions, though to be fair to her she does not know the whole truth. Even what she does know is not particularly open to interpretation in my view, but I have never and don’t think will never push the issue with her. I don’t want her to confront him; I don’t want to ruin the family unit. I don’t really give a fuck about it from my point of view, but my mother loves her family and I do not want them to ostracise her, because I know they would not believe my claims.

One thing that really, really fucked me off about Maisie and her family is that half of the entire billion-strong brood turned up at fucking V’s funeral. They claimed to have been there for Merv’s benefit – thanks to Georgie they are related, and Merv (in their estimation) is a likable man. But what about my mother? Maisie and her family are perfectly well aware of what V did to her. Why were they honouring his death regardless of their affection for his brother? Cunts.

Logistically, I was actually glad to have them there as it meant I had someone other than Georgie and fucking Merv and the other fuckwits from my da’s side of the family to talk to. One of the brood, Maisie’s daughter-in-law and sometime carer, did have the grace to ask me if I minded them attending. But in principle, I was furious, and a year and a half later I still am. Not that I have ever told them any of this, though I have ranted to the other characters listed above. But I do keep the peace with them themselves.

C

C is (or, at least, was) a psychotherapist, a clinical psychologist with the National Health Service, that I saw from February 2009 until the end of August 2010 (63 sessions in total). I had seen a number of therapists of different specialisms over the years, but C was the first one I actually wanted to open up to, even though it was still difficult at times as I had (have) so many defences built up. He was the first one, I think, that ‘got’ me. He (usually) didn’t patronise me yet he did show compassion and understanding.

He is a very intelligent man (presumably his doctorate in clinical psychology affirms this), which was good for me as, without wishing to sound arrogant, I think I need to deal with someone on my intellectual level. I lived in constant fear of my weird relationship with him coming to a close, because I was horribly reliant on him and transferentially obsessed with him. But come to a close it did, grossly prematurely given the complexity of my issues, despite a long and hard fought battle on my part with the management of C’s Trust. As of October 2010, this battle is ongoing, although the focus changed from an attempt to return to C’s care, and instead make sure the Trust pay for private therapy.

C was not really to blame for the cessation of therapy, as he was under a number of financial constraints and pressure from the ‘higher-ups’ to discharge me for reasons on which I am still not entirely clear. Nevertheless, he handled the matter awkwardly and it is with regret that I therefore must report that I eventually came to resent him and regard him with a certain amount of derision. I find it sad that it came to that, as in actuality I liked him – and think he liked me – and had a lot in common with him, and to that end did not want to come to have a negative view of him. Alas. Shit happens.

NewVCB

NewVCB has been my consultant psychiatrist since January 2010. She was preceded by VCB – the Vinegar Cunted Bitch – who, for no real reason, instilled in me a deep fear of psychiatrists. I saw her from May to December 2009, when a shake-up in the Trust’s psychiatric system meant I was moved to NewVCB.

She is much nicer than her predecessor, although can occasionally be vaguely patronising. But I like her and think she genuinely wants the best for me, as exemplified by her own attempts to try and persuade C to continue my psychotherapy with him. Additionally, she was the first person to prescribe me Seroquel/Quetiapine, which has been one of the most effective drugs I have taken in years. I generally see her once every month or two.

Paul

In the immediate aftermath of the cessation of my therapy with C, I approached a voluntary sector body called the Nexus Institute, who operate across Northern Ireland, that offer up to six months’ individual counselling and thereafter group therapy for people who have been raped or sexually abused. I was assessed by a fat, friendly English man called Paul with whom I seemed to connect on some level.

In the wake of my assessment session, I wrote to Nexus asking if I could possibly have my counselling with Paul. This request was generously granted, and I saw Paul from October 2010 until June 2011. The therapy was intense and demanding, but ultimately very effective. Paul and I intellectually challenged each other, but more importantly his insight and therapeutic craft, which like C’s was broadly psychodynamic, helped me a lot psychologically. Perhaps the fact that I liked and respected him, rather than be in a transferential thrall to him, aided in this.

He advised me that I could re-refer myself for another six months of therapy after the first stint ended, and I am therefore hoping that things will recommence in late 2011.

Christine

Christine is my CPN, to whom I was first allocated during an especially bad phase in early 2011. Although I had been mystified as to the role of CPNs, I am now really glad that I was referred to her. She supports me in a non-therapeutic way; she’s someone on whom to offload, and she fosters my creative ‘talents’ as a means towards recovery. If and when I go back to work, or need to re-apply for benefits, I am hopeful that she can help me in these practical ways too. I usually see her once every two or three weeks.

So there you have it. The main cast list in the saga that is my shitty little life. Reading back over the above, I find it interesting that the people I have no problems with are the ones about whom I have written the least. Is this demonstrative of my internal anger with the others? Or do I just analyse too much?

If you are interested in how the multifarious members of my family connect with each other, you can see the family trees here. You’ll need the password.

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