Tuesday 24 April 2007

'Tag'...You're Out?

Tags, labels, stigma. 'Tag', you're out. There are those that I love and have loved that have the audacity to undermine my fragile mental state.
For ten years I have challenged an overwhelming negative environment. I have confronted this environment whilst battling with my own mental illness. Sadly, my input, my advice, has been dismissed. For I am a man who is ill and had a serious drink problem. Those that should have worked with me; worked against me.
The consequences of ignoring my input have been devastating. With my sensitivity, I seem to be suffering the end results with a profound sense of helplessness. I have sacrificed my life for the love of my son. Paradoxically, I am a good father and a bad father. I have overcompensated. I would show the world that I could create a warm and safe environment for my son. It felt like nobody cared.
I am a single father. It has not been easy trying to raise my son and being a virtual recluse. I almost shut myself off from society. I was a victim of the negative 'hype' that told me I was not worthy of imposing myself on the outside world. When enough people put you down, you start to believe that their actions are justified. I grow weary of being hurt. I am a simple man with a complicated life.
Last September, my son started an apprenticeship job. I was so pleased for him, I was so proud of him. Unfortunately, due to the location of his work, he has relied on me to get him to and from his job. That meant me driving 40 miles a day. I continued to put my own life on hold. I wanted him to get an opportunity to get a start in life. I sacrificed my life so he could pass his driving test and then purchase his own car.
When he goes to his mother's on the weekends, anything that occurs there is out of my control. So imagine my surprise when he came back on a Sunday afternoon and announced he had purchased a car. This is a lad who had not even passed his test. I had told him that it was best that he wait until after he passed his test to purchase a car. He is 18 and I know what temptation can be like at that age. I was extremely concerned.
My concerns continued to grow when I discovered that my former spouse and her husband had knowingly allowed him to drive his car on his own. My son, no driving license, no insurance, driving his car around the Staffordshire Moorlands. What were they thinking? My concerns fell upon deaf ears. They were indifferent to me, that pathetic excuse of a man.
Two weeks ago, my son returned on a Sunday afternoon looking very distraught. I asked him what was wrong? He wouldn't answer. Then I asked him, fearing the worst, had he crashed his car? The answer was affirmative and I felt my world collapsing even further. Thankfully, he wasn't hurt.
On that Sunday afternoon, my son had gone off, yet again, for another illegal drive. He lost control of his car and crashed into a farmer's wall. He panicked and ran away. One of the farmer's friends caught up with him. My son was driven back to the farmer's house and the police were called. His car was demolished. So there he was, no car, no driving license, no insurance and in serious trouble. We now await his court case.
I won't go into all the details of the aftermath of this terrible situation. They are very painful. What I will tell you is that the dismissive attitude towards me still prevails. The people who I warned of the potential consequences of such actions are still indifferent to my concerns.
Yet, through all of this, I still pursue the positive possibilities that present themselves to me. I still desperately try to network with the kind and decent people who are becoming part of my life. I resolutely battle the negative environment that attempts to thwart my spirit and my humanity.
I shall perservere. I stand proud in the knowledge that I have done the best I can. My morals, my self-esteem are well and truly intact. However, I know I can't do this on my own anymore. I am painfully lonely and I write this with tears in my eyes.
In my heart, I feel comfort in knowing that my family, so far away in Canada, give me the love and support I yearn. I reach out for the gifts of hope that the good people on here offer me. I celebrate these gifts, for they are priceless.
So 'Tag' you're out. No, never. Those that would pass judgement on me because I am ill; do not understand that my illness is only a small part of whom I am. Stigma? You know where they can stick that.
I thank you for your time. Warm regards, klahanie.

Wednesday 18 April 2007

Mighty Neighbourly

Warm greetings-
Before commencing with this blog, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our fellow blogger and good friend Simon. Over the last few days Simon has been there for me during a very traumatic event in my life. He has taken the time to visit me and listen to my plight. Indeed, he even came and gave me moral support as I attempted to assistant Co-ordinate a Changes meeting. So to you Simon; thank you for your kindness and sincerity. You are a shining example of altruism.

Time to start my blog titled: Mighty Neighbourly.

When I'm not sure what time it is, I reckon I can rely on the 'Neighbourhood Watch.'
Neighbours. Come on, admit it, some of you are now humming that tune from that Australian Soap Opera. You know the one, where the acting in it gives you new appreciation for the performing skills of the 'Thunderbirds.'
I am most fortunate to live in a peaceful and friendly neighbourhood. My son and I are surrounded by quite the collection of cheerful cosmopolitan characters. My next door neighbour is an Irish dude with a Spanish girlfriend. The neighbours below me are from Birmingham. (the city in England not the one in Alabama) So that leaves me, the guy with a somewhat mixed-up accent and my son, also, with a somewhat mixed-up accent. I'm thinking that maybe we should walk around with subtitles flashing across our fronts. That way we could minimise conversation confusion. (hey..with today's technology..you never know..)
It's not always an ideal situation in this neighbourhood. A few days ago I ventured out to give my car a thoroughly good cleaning. Once finished, I stood back and admired my gleaming 'mid-life chrisis' mobile. Fast-forward 24 hours. What has happened to my car? It had now taken on the appearance reminiscent of my car in Vancouver back in 1980. Had Mount St. Helens erupted again and the prevailing winds dumped ash on my car in Leek?
Well no, not really. One of my neighbours had decided to do a trial run of Bonfire Night 7 months early. Excess foliage plus matches equals unwanted inconvenience. The consequences of their actions had turned my shiny blue car into a dull grey car. Oh well, bless 'em, they did apologise. However their hosepipe to my car would have been a good plan. Still a guy can dream eh?
This peaceful neighbourhood hasn't always been this way. I shall tell you about the battle my son and I commenced 5 years ago in another blog.
Today I salute my good neighbours. "Hi Gary, how are you? Would you like a cup of coffee?" I reply:"Thank you my friend...that's mighty neighbourly of you."
I thank you for your time. Kind regards adanac67.

Sunday 8 April 2007

'Stand-Up' for Mental Health

My sincerest apologies to Monty Python, the cast and crew of 'The Life of Brian' and especially Eric Idle.
There have been times in my life that I sang a slightly different version of that much-loved song from Life of Brian. It goes like this: "Always look on the shite side of life...." So overwhelmed by negativity I even twisted the intentions of folks who said to me: "Have a nice day!" Have a nice day? What! Don't tell me what kind of day to have.
These days, I mostly have fun. The thoughts that race through my head, which I sometimes verbalise, usually have positive results. It is so encouraging to go into a shop and see the beaming faces of the staff. I seem to have this ability to make people laugh. ("it's that guy with the funny accent..wonder what he is going to do this time?") I believe I have the potential to be more 'off-the-wall' than the legendary 'Humpty Dumpty.'
Here's a typical situation in my daily life. There I am patiently queuing at the check-out. When it comes to my turn, I place my card in the machine and await the next question. "Would you like cash back sir?" I reply:"That's very kind of you, I think I'll shop here more often!" The smile on their face (well usually) makes my alternative thinking seem all worthwhile.
So you can imagine my surprise when I moved to Britain and was told you need a Televsion Licence. T.V. Licence? So I phoned up the folks that issue the licence. I expressed my numerous worries. I told them I hadn't passed a test and wanted to obtain a provisonal T.V. Licence. So many concerns. Would I need an 'L' sticker on my T.V. screen? As a 'learner watcher', would that mean somebody would have to sit beside me to make sure I understood the rules of the T.V. Licence Test? The lady at the licencing laughed during the entire phonecall. I am proud to say that I passed the test.
I love the situation comedy that is my life. I eagerly await someone telling me that they find great pleasure in racing pigeons. I know I shall ask them: "Racing pigeons? Who wins then? You or the pigeons? ( I guess I thought of that because of all the time I spend cooped up). The next time somebody here asks me about my holiday in Canada. "So how did you find Vancouver?" I shall tell them: "I didn't find Vancouver...I left that up to the pilot."
So I have a fantastic time having a laugh with folks. Too heck with the 'shite' side of life. No more being 'under the moon'. Now it's Fred Flinstone meets Homer Simpson..."Yabba Dabba...Doh!"
I 'stand-up' for Mental Health. Like that old saying goes..'Laughter is the best medicine.'
Kind regards adanac67 ( a guy who always wanted to live in a place named after an onion..so I moved to Leek).

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Living Colour

Greetings friends-
Canada Day, July 1st, 1966, just before noon. With great excitement and anticipation I had ventured to the electrical department of Woodwards in Vancouver. A 12 year old child waiting for a wondrous event that would occur as the clock struck 12.
Several of us gathered around the various television sets. Then that magical moment we had waited for become a glorious reality. The screens went from black and white and were now enriched with colour. All those wonderful colours, the colours of the rainbow, right before our eyes. It was no longer a question of black and white for a whole new world of colour was ours to behold.
During times of deep depression, the 'television set' in my mind has reverted to 'black and white.' Sadly, I could not see the 'colour' within me and my eyes only perceived a 'black and white' world. This was a world where all the positives of a more colourful life were blocked by the relentless onslaught of a dark and dull depression.
It has taken me over 40 years to retune my inner television back to colour. Yes, their are times when some of my programmes are still in black and white. They can be most informative as they challenge me. They challenge me to defy my black and white world and embrace the rainbow.
So I look at it like this. After the rain and the dark clouds comes the sunshine and the rainbow. I allow myself to be immersed in colour. Life is not just about black and white. Life is about all the colourful opportunities presented to us.
That was a wonderful day way back in 1966. The announcer said "The following show is brought to you in living colour." I am mostly 'living colour' and that fills me with hope in my pursuit of a more positive and colourful life. Thank you my friends, please stay tuned.
Kind regards adanac67.