When things are steady

Yesterday was the busiest day for me in weeks, and I didn’t actually ‘accomplish’ anything that I’d set out for myself.

A friend from Brisbane was in the city, and along with two other mutual friends of ours from Melbourne, we spent the day together. Despite the huge amount of things on offer in Melbourne we ended up doing the very thing that I think Melbourne should probably be most famous for.

‘Brunch’ was an instant requirement. Melbourne Central has a really convenient food hall, so that was where we headed first. I think I’ve had food from most of the food establishments that have set up shop there, but I tried out Oporto. I try to avoid burgers, mostly because unless you go somewhere like Grill’d you have no choice but to have their wheat-full bread buns. I’m not a coeliac, but I’m intolerant and usually I pay for it for the rest of the day but it was a risk I took. (I think I’m paying for it now it’s ‘the next day’ actually, which is unusual, but I suppose that’s just how your body works sometimes.) I actually really enjoyed it, but I could have quite easily just done with the burger rather than the chips and drink I added. Why am I always hooked in by meal deals??

After that we went to look at the Little Library. There were far fewer books than normal, which made me wonder if the school holidays had anything to do with diminishing numbers of books. I wish there were an easy way to count how many books there are there… or maybe I ought to start a book counting project. I love numbers, but without a regular count it’s just figures without any pattern. (Still, it might be fun!)

After that we went for Froyo. This is easily one of my favourite things. I love the stuff, and even though I have the same thing every time (with the singular difference in what kind of yoghurt I choose) I still really enjoyed it. There’s something about strawberries and white chocolate chips that I really love, and despite trying to recreate this at home, there’s something about frozen yogurt that sets it apart from yoghurt out of the fridge. It’s a rather expensive habit, to be honest. I rarely manage to pay under A$10!

We debated for a long time what to do with the rest of our day. The weather wasn’t particularly awesome, and we were hoping to avoid anywhere that was terribly expensive. Walking was quickly knocked off our list of top-ten things to do after finding out what one of our number had kicked a thing and hurt her toe so we went to EB Games. This, was unfortunately, a disappointment. I love the Nintendo Experience in EB Games on Swanston St, mostly because it’s the only place I can get free wifi for my 3DS automatically, which means my gaming experience is vastly improved! We attempted to play on one of the Wii U units they had on display – but the two old Wii controllers severely lacked battery power and with no obvious method of recharging them we were left sitting around discussing the state of our friend’s food, whether one of our friends who was clearly incredibly tired was asleep or not, and occasionally talking about a few games we played and what we liked about them.

Inevitably, our stay didn’t last long.

In the hope of inspiration we took a trip on the Number 35 tram. It’s a free ‘circle’ tram that takes you right the way around the CBD in a loop. We spent a bit of time looking at the map whilst we were on our way and talking about which buildings were which and whether we ought to go to them. Most of the things we’d like to have done involved either a lot of walking, or breaking our vows to boycott certain places (Not naming any names, SeaWorld and MelbourneZoo. Sorry not Sorry.)

We ended up in a coffee shop on Flinders Street an hour later.

It was so nice to be able to spend an entire day with like minded friends, to talk about ridiculous things that we were all interested in, to debate the validity of every single chapter that possibly existed after Naruto 699. (It’s all fake. :\) To talk about games, and jobs, and careers and families with absolutely no pressure.

One of our number left us, and we were joined by a friend of mine that I’ve known for well over 13 years. The fact that I’d known him for 13 years was a point of discussion and two of my friends were quite happy to remind us both how old they’d been at the time we’d started talking. What amused me was the fact that I’d met them all through the same medium. Roleplaying online has been a hobby of mine for well over a decade, and I’m not sure when I’m going to give it up. It always, of course, relates back to writing so I can’t see me giving it up any time soon no matter how much I’ve tried in recent years.

Dinner was a joint affair, at a Japanese Restaurant attached to the QV building. I had ‘gyu don’ or beef with rice, and although it was nice, it was full of other things that weren’t rice and I didn’t REALLY enjoy it which made me sad, and also made me miss Wagamama’s back home.

My two friends from much, much earlier left us after dinner – leaving myself and one of my dearest friends to catch up after what must have been a month. It’s always so good to see him, and I’m going to hate it when I have to leave Australia. We chatted, caught up and he finally asked me about my mood.

I talked. Openly. He commented, honestly and I wish I could say that I found accepting his advice easy but it wasn’t. Again, the difference between knowing something intellectually and accepting it as relational to yourself is huge.

One of the biggest things that I feel I need to take away from my chat with him is that Depression is a valid illness. There are such huge differences in the way some people struggle and cope with depression, and I think that hearing about some people with depression who maintain a steady job, relationship and do all kinds of other things makes me feel like I’m a failure for not being able to manage it.

I was very easily able to understand what he was saying to me about trying to hunt for something else to label myself with. I have friends with bipolar and I know, without a doubt that I do not have it, but I questioned myself despite that. I’m terrible with money, and incredibly impulsive about the things I do, buy and say. This is often classed as a trait of bipolar, and an example I used with him yesterday but he suggested that perhaps that’s just a ‘normal’ trait of mine. He’s right, and I think that my impulsiveness goes hand in hand with my compassion. Just today I turned a corner in the local Coles and I saw a man who was bleeding. I didn’t stop to ask myself whether he was a danger, or who he was, or whether he was of sound state of mind – I just went over and instantly asked him if he was okay.

I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the person I am and I know I need to focus far more intensely on the things that I am, and what makes me, me. Rather than looking for something that I need to slot myself into. Yes, I’m impulsive, yes – I use instinct before I use knowledge and wisdom. Yes, I tend to look for the negative before I hunt for positives.

I’m Ollie, with depression. I will never not be.

Advertisements

Finally there.

I’ve been here for just over two weeks now, and it feels like months.

Very fortunately I have a fantastic friend whose parents have been amazing enough to let me take over their spare room.

Melbourne is pretty awesome, and so much has happened that I’m pretty sure I’m going to forget everything in this entry but I wanted to really quickly write up something before the turn of the year!

Finally being here is strange. It’s still really difficult to get my head around the fact that I am quite literally on the other side of the world. I tried to get the water in the sink to swirl so I could see which way it drained but the plug had a slightly raised bit so the water just sort of got sucked through that instead of making a swirly thing.

The biggest, most exciting thing that’s happened so far was meeting my awesome friend Aaron for the first time. It was the most nerve wracking thing, but mostly because I could hardly believe it was actually happening.

After 12 years of knowing each other, and promising I would visit some day, working on a concept for a set of novels together for this long and being in different timezones when suddenly we were both hard working people of the world – there was always that thought that it probably wouldn’t happen.

It was my first full day in Australia, so naturally I had heaps of things to do. Open a bank account, get a mobile phone sim, post some things back home, try and file for medicare. I managed two things before I realised that it was almost 3pm. I didn’t have a way to contact Aaron to tell him where I would be and I didn’t actually know where he worked.

The mad dash was on. First I found somewhere to steal internet from. Thank you, CommBank. Message Aaron on Facebook, find out where to get a mobile phone from.

With only 5 minutes to go I barely managed to explain to the store clerk that I needed a sim only plan, and that the problem was I meeting a friend and I could barely contain myself. As soon as I had a signal, I called and he told me to wait just outside the shop, he knew where I was.

I don’t think I have ever been filled with so many emotions at once, excitement, happiness, fear, anxiety. What if he didn’t look like I thought he would, or what if he thought I was weird, and what if we didn’t get along as well as we always had. Every single person that came round the corner from Optus got a glare because oh my god is it hi– no, damnit where is he? I’m pretty sure people were slightly worried about my health, and I was helpfully informed that the sound I made was akin to a squeak when we finally met.

Needless to say, I won’t forget that in a hurry. I had nothing to worry about. We chatted on the Yarra banks, looked at some geeky shops, had food and went our separate ways. Was awesome.

The most relaxed month I have ever had the pleasure to experience

Draggy is one of my internet people. Only now, she really isn’t I guess??

I’d always promised I would visit, but I never really expected it to be for quite so long, and for the stay to be quite so chilled.

Video games, fighting with the dog, movies, Supernatural, Guardians of the Galaxy, loads of delicious food, trying and failing to ‘play’ with the cat (she doesn’t know how to play, only how to attack).

I managed to relax and chill out so easily, it felt great to get writing again, and not feel pressured into doing anything I didn’t want to. Loved it.

Would so recommend. 5 stars!