People very often tell us mentals that we are not defined by our mentalism, that we are not our diagnosis/es. I’m sure a lot of regular readers will know I don’t entirely concur with that; I have lived with mental illness for so long that I consider it as much as part of me as my fingers and toes. I’m completely apathetic about recovery or “getting better” (not that I even believe in it), hoping merely to manage my various string of conditions.
However, mental illness – whilst a significant part of ‘me’ – isn’t all that defines me. In some ways I’m just a bird in her late twenties trying to make her way on in existence. I’m eccentric, idiosyncratic and weird, but no more so than any non-mental person who is eccentric, idiosyncratic and weird. I have interests – mostly erstwhile as of this writing, admittedly, but the potential is there for them to return. I have political, religious and social views. I have a face, a body and hair. I am a real person, not just some random internet writer; what’s more, I am a real person who has more to her than a barrage of psychiatric illnesses.
Adelaide made the comment in my name poll post that she’d love to hear more of my alter-ego, the woman behind the blog. Whilst still retaining my anonymity, I hereby bring you all details on that person.
I suspect this won’t be complete as of yet, so expect future additions. If there’s anything you’d like to see included that isn’t already, leave a comment at the bottom and I’ll add it in due course.
So, in no particular order, I give you the lowdown on me…
What I Look Like
Short and fat, though considerably less fat than I was. Something of my former hourglass figure is beginning to return, after several years of looking like a giant pink apple. My weight has never strongly bothered me, probably because although the flab is kind of grotesque, it’s also protective…but it’s moot now anyway as I simply cannot eat anywhere near as much as I used to.
My hair comes to an inch or two below my shoulders. I can’t tell you its exact colour because I don’t know what it is (it’s been blue, pink, black, brunette, purple, blonde red, auburn, etc etc). The first time I had blonde highlights through it, I went swimming and they went green in the chlorine.
I usually, but not always, wear my hair tied up.
I have grey eyes (with green bits), inherited from my father. My mother often says that grey eyes mean “greedy guts – just like your Dad,” apparently.
I’m about 5′ 3″.
I live with my partner A and our two cats, who are brother and sister. They were two years old in May 2010. The female is mostly a house cat; the male is more adventurous, but still spends a lot of time lying on the back of the living room chairs.
A and I met in April 2003, after having corresponded over the internet for just under a year. He had just moved into the house we now share at the time. The house is small, and we would both like somewhere bigger, but moving isn’t a major priority. It would, of course, be preferable if I were back at work before we did this, but if we can hold on to the current house and rent it out, we could pay the mortgage adequately.
I usually spend a night at my mother’s house. She lives only about 10 miles from A and I, but it is a different NHS trust area, and is therefore where I see my psychiatrist and GP. The reason I have never changed Trusts to A’s is simply because I know I have an excellent GP and I do not want to take the risk that someone in this Trust will not be as good.
Too mental to be at it. Lost my most recent job in October 2009, after a long-term absence.
I essentially ran the logistical side of a busy department in, ironically, a large mental health charity. But the salary and job title did not reflect the responsibility of the role.
Prior to that, I’d worked in a vet’s, various solicitors (as a researcher, PA, legal secretary), a large engineering firm as a secretary when I was doing my undergraduate degree and a number of shops, bars and cafes whilst I was at school.
I have a tested IQ of 148 (just short of Mensa level…bah!), not that you’d know it from my current career status. I have quite a few qualifications, but should have been an Oxbridge PhD candidate, something that my insanity and lack of self-confidence brutally stole from me. Anyhow, I possess a number of GCSEs, A Levels, RSA Text and Word Processing to Stage III, various silly time-filling “qualifications”, a degree (2:1) and a postgraduate course. My favourite subjects at school were English and languages, though this was not reflected in my choice of third-level education subject. I’m not going to say what it was that I studied at university, but it was within the social sciences.
Where I live
In the context of Northern Ireland, I’d broadly be a liberal unionist, I suppose. I was brought up by a liberal-ish unionist mother but had (and still have) a staunchly loyalist extended family (not staunch to the point of being in any dodgy organisations, mind you).
As an atheist, the religious connotations of belonging to one particular ‘side’ or another in the Irish question do not apply to me. I consider myself a unionist largely because of corruption in Irish politics, and mainly because the British economy, even though presently shit, is still considerably better than that in the Republic of Ireland. My vaguely unionist preference has little to do with my actual background, and in fact in many ways I can see benefits in Irish unification.
I am a reluctant Alliance supporter, as I believe that the main parties – the DUP and Sinn Fein – are divisive cunts. The other ‘main’ parties here, the SDLP and the UUP, are OK, but are sadly still predicated around nationalist-unionist politics, rather than ‘real’ issues, and I don’t see why that should be the case. I say I am a reluctant supporter of the Alliance party as I don’t agree with some of attitudes to social issues, but they’re still the least worst option for me.
For the avoidance of doubt, I have nothing other than contempt and condemnation for all paramilitary groups and do not believe in any sort of romanticism related to the Troubles. Over 3,000 people are needlessly dead, with thousands more traumatised, injured or bereaved.
If I lived in Britain, I’d probably be a right-Labour or left-Conservative. Actually, scratch both of those; in reality I’d probably vote for the Lib Dems, the least worst option. In the Republic of Ireland, I’d probably support Fine Gael. In the USA I’d definitely be a Democrat and, in fact, I’d probably be on the left side of that party.
I am very strongly a feminist, which is not equal to being a misandrist. I would hope that the fact that I generally get on better with men than women would demonstrate that.
I’m not in favour of a giant European superstate, but I think that parties that want to pull us out of Europe altogether should fuck right off. The EU is, for the most part, a good thing.
Here is my political compass:
I was raised as a Presbyterian, but although I believed in God as a child I always questioned things, as lot of Christian – and especially Presbyterian – doctrine didn’t make sense to me.
Long story short, I stopped going to church when I was about 9 or 10, believing that if I had any faith left, it didn’t have to be confined to a building with other people. Over time I came to believe that the existence of a God was highly unlikely. Technically I am an agnostic, as I believe the existence or otherwise of a God is unprovable. However, I identify more as an atheist as I believe strongly there is no real likelihood of a God.
I am not a Richard Dawkins-esque militant atheist; in fact, I consider the man’s fundamentalism to be on an atheistic par to the Christian fundamentalism that he so fervently rejects. I am tolerant and wholly accepting of all belief systems – as long as they are tolerant of my lack of one. Unfortunately this often seems to rule out the denomination from which I originally ‘came’.
Views on Social Issues
Strongly pro-gay rights. As stated above, strongly a feminist. Pro-choice vis a vis abortion. Anti-benefit fraud, but believe Daily Mail types are very unfair towards claimants; we’re not all scroungers. On the organ donor register. Vehemently anti-discrimination. Anti-death penalty, mainly as I think it’s unlikely one can ever prove the defendant’s guilt 100% definitively. Otherwise fairly right-of-centre on crime, though I am not close-minded about the issue and don’t believe that all crimes are black and white. Believe IVF should not be available on the NHS – why not adopt? Very much for animal rights. Supportive of both human and animal charities – except those that have poor employment conditions or those that waste donors’ money. Anti-censorship except where demonstrable and serious harm is caused. Uncertain on whether or not drugs and prostitution should be legalised – I don’t think either should be encouraged, obviously, but do see the argument that legalisation may lead to improved regulation and therefore safety. Obviously I try my best to be a strong advocate regarding mental health problems!
I have a little green five door hatchback that I call Disraeli. I love him beyond description.
I wouldn’t change him fo the world; however, my ultimate dream car is an Aston Martin DB9 *salivates and dies* I would have it as well as Disraeli. Must start entering the Euro Millions, eh?
I generally don’t do anything, largely due to lethargy caused by mentalism and medication. I enjoy swimming, pubs, dining out, theatre, gigs, reading, writing, gaming, computing, occasionally cinema and sometimes (read: often) just lying about with the V+ box playing.
I watch relatively little, preferring instead to concentrate on DVDs and whatnot. My favourite series of all time is Babylon 5, though I also love Twin Peaks, The Wire, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, 24, Sherlock, Life of Mars / Ashes to Ashes, non-Russell T Davies episodes of Doctor Who as well as classic British comedies (Yes ((Prime)) Minister, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, The New Statesman) and any well-made, non-sensationalist documentaries and current affairs programmes.
I watch very few. My favourites of all time are A Clockwork Orange and The Matrix, though I also like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Capote, The Lord of the Rings Triology, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Crying Game.
I have to be honest and say that my current breakdown has been hard on me in terms of reading, as my concentration span is incredibly low. I hate this as I’ve always loved reading, and credit it for a substantial amount of my intellect. My favourite books are A Clockwork Orange, The Adrian Mole Diaries, The Day of the Triffids and The Gormenghast Triology.
Queen is my absolute favourite band ever. I generally love most classic and hard rock – Metallica, Meat Loaf, G n R, AC/DC, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith – though I also like gothic rock (Nightwish, Within Temptation, Sirenia, Tristenia, Kingfisher Sky) and some newer rock bands (such as Green Day). I also like some classical and orchestral scores and nerdy computing music a la SLAY Radio.
I love the PS3 and X-Box. We have a Wii, though aside from the Wii Fit games, there is little that I find remarkable on it. My favourite games in the world are the GTA and Saints’ Row series. I also enjoy(ed) Manhunt, Fable, Final Fantasy and plenty of others. I loved my Commodore 64 when I was a kid and to that end still have a nostalgic affection for the games from it, such as Flimbo’s Quest.
I basically don’t care. If it fits and doesn’t look completely awful, then it is probably fine by me. I do, however, have a penchant for black and purple.
I don’t wear jewelery with great frequency, but have ear and nose piercings. I hate yellow gold, but like silver, white gold and platinum. They have to be genuine though – not because I’m some sort of jewellery snob; I’m simply allergic to non-precious metals.
I am supposed to wear glasses for reading, driving and close work such as computing, but I tend to forget to do so and more often than not, the damn things end up lost.
Alright, but not brilliant. As discussed above I am overweight, though I am progressing to a lower level of obesity. I suffer (and I really, really mean ‘suffer’) from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’m also afflicted with semi-regular migraines (or they might even be cluster headaches, my GP isn’t 100% certain), which is hateful in the extreme. I also have eczema in my ear canals and a mild version of dyshidrosis on my feet and, to a lesser extent, my hands. I have various “everyday” allergies for which I am medicated, and am also allergic to latex and (as noted above) non-precious metals.
I would say squeezing spots, picking the skin murdered by eczema out of my ears and picking the skin and cuticles around my my nails. Except that I can now go around blaming all these habits on self-harm – specifically, dermatillomania. Yay!
I don’t smoke anymore (I quit in January 2007), so I suppose binge eating and sometimes purging would count. I can also be a bit of a heavy drinker, but in fairness I almost exclusively reserve that for weekends.
There’s too many to list, but let’s see. Car insurance, personal injury lawyer and cash-for-gold ads. Confusing schizophrenia with DID. Double negatives and poor grammar in general. Solicitors and estate agents. Poor mental health care a la the NHS. Animal cruelty. Spides. The Daily Mail.
Well-Known People That Piss Me Off
Again, there’s too many to list, but here’s a few off the top of my head…
Bono. George W Bush. Russell Brand. Sarah Palin. Simon Cowell. Peter Jones. Donald Trump. Nigel Farage. Natasha Kaplinsky. Harriet Harman. The Duke of Edinburgh. Glenn Beck. Robert Peston. Jonathan Ross. Tom Cruise. Esther Rantzen. Gordon Brown. Nick Robinson. John Prescott. Jeremy Kyle. Nick Griffin. Jamie Oliver. Chris Moyles. Fred Phelps. Basically all politicans in Stormont.
I’m sure I’ll be adding to this as more twats come to mind.
Strong tea with a dash of milk. Well-made strong coffee. Certain lagers. Certain ciders. Shiraz, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon. Calypso coffee. Coke.
Indian cuisine is by far my favourite. Hmmm…Lamb Madras. Such a thing of gustatory beauty. I also like Mexican, some Chinese, some Italian, some Thai, a little Japanese – as well as your usual Westernised stuff such as chicken, steaks and good ol’ fish ‘n’ chips.
I dream of going to Australia, New Zealand and parts of the Far East such as Malaysia. However, in terms of places I have already been, my favourites were Turkey, San Francisco and Canada.
I always wanted to be a criminal profiler, though I did flirt with the idea of being a forensic pathologist when I was about four or five. I would also have given almost anything to have been an astronomer / astrophysicist, but alas I was really bad at Maths at school. I do maintain a strong armchair interest in astronomy, however.
Since both of those are now all but impossible, let’s go with something only probably impossible – something in the background in politics – something like a researcher, speech-writer or advisor. Either that or a professional writer, not that my concentration span would ever allow that.
Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.
I always struggle with this. Probably either The Prophet’s Song or The Show Must Go On by Queen, but there are so many.
Probably the perennial A Night at the Opera by Queen, but I also loved Queen II. Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell series was hard to beat too.
From the letters of H P Lovecraft:
Anything savouring of quiet and tameness is maddeningly abhorrent to me — not in actual life, for that I wish as placid as possible; but in thought, which is my more vivid life.
Black, purple and deep blood-red.
I don’t play any, unless you count the occasional trip to the gym or swimming pool. Enjoy watching football (“soccer” to the Yanks amongst you) and sometimes international rugby, in which I support Newcastle United and (obviously) Ireland, respectively.
To go into space and look back at the Earth. To unravel all the mysteries of the universe. To be able to fully understand the ramifications of the concept of infinity, without it sending me to the asylum (not, frankly, that it would take much). To see genuine societal equality for women and minority groups. To live a contented life, with a decent career.
My feet are a size five or six depending on the footwear in question. Suicidal ideation excepted, I would like to die of a massive heart attack in my sleep. I use a light box to combat the effects of seasonal-affective disorder. I would literally die (yes, literally) without my iPhone, though I’m certainly not an Apple apologist (and it’s not because of the ‘phone’ bit, as I despise talking on the phone). I have always been attracted (both physically and in terms of personality) to nerds, geeks and other weirdos. I ‘did’ the goth thing when I was in my teens, though still quite like the idea of that lifestyle. I don’t see the point of GCSE Maths when it fails to educate you on real-life mathematical issues such as taxation or pensions. I have a lava lamp. I won a large and elaborate mirror in a raffle once. I used to have a mouse (as in an actual living animal, not a computer peripheral) named ‘Freezing’. I’m an only child and glad of it.