I’ve wanted to write this for a while now. I’ve even spent a good time working out a catchy cliché opening to capture your attention. Reflecting upon this I can see why I’m still here writing my second sentence. My story is far from cliché, while shared with many similar people, It’s unique, it’s mine.
It’s weird and awkward describing something I’ve come to understand as normal, yet represent it as anything but. I shall try my best.
Well Growing up I was always bullied, I was the weird geeky kid with “good morals”. “Quick punch him, see if he swears”. Being attacked and robbed, jumped and beaten, knives pressed against my skin…not breaking is tough, but I always had one friend who stood by me. we use to talk in private or over the internet. Slowly I watched as everyone around me started to make less sense, they were imagining things that never happened. I swear at times it was like they was playing tricks on me, Disappearing and hiding, always whispering my name. But its fine my friend always spoke to me so I wouldn’t feel fear.
There were times I thought my family hated me, they wouldn’t understand! I wasn’t speaking a different language yet they looked on like I was muttering nothingness. I guess this angered or upset them as I remember a lot of crying growing up. Many heartbreaks and losses. Why was this always happening? Why is everyone so strange? I’m normal! Why do they tell me I’m different? Dangerous? Scary? A liar? A cheat? I looked around for my faithful friend…he’s now shouting at me. Hateful things! Things I won’t repeat here. But I tell you one thing, I felt cold and shaky. Whoa! He’s gone? He was just yelling at me. I remember falling backwards and looking around an empty train station. Wow, its me, I’m not normal am I?
Well the time has come, I’m moving on, I’m moving out of my family home because I need more help, I’m not sure what hurts more, learning that I’m “different”, feeling the stigma or realising my childhood friend was apparently never there. A figment of my imagination. He sure felt real.
I remember the first few weeks in a hostel, it was the hardest; I had to trust a new guy with my sole care, speak to a woman who felt judgmental. Am I being paranoid? Every waking day in the same room, same bed. I thought it would never end. My friend returned and I started to get into a routine, He made sure of this. He made me stop taking medication. He said it’s them, they are trying to control me! What a fool I was. I KNEW HE WASN’T REAL WHAT WAS I DOING! It’s okay… I’m Different remember!
Sitting there, listening to the guy downstairs screaming. Listening to my friend hammering on about the government’s plans…I realised something! If I tried hard enough I could block the horrible sounds of the house, but wait my friends also gone, wow this is a peace I haven’t felt in a while, although it was comforting having him there, it was also daunting, claustrophobic. Enough was enough! WHY SHOULD I BE DIFFERENT! I looked at my draw and saw my pills. I took one. I felt no different! A day passed. I took another. I still feel no different, Weeks passed…
I’m doing well apparently and I got moved into an Apax supported home that I feel was a massive part of my making! Friendly staff, listening without judging. A lovely home full of kind people albeit misunderstood, but lovely none the less. The staff helped us connect as “people”, finally I’m accepted as a person! This feels amazing, I am still scared though. Activities are so helpful especially when connected to people who share your experiences. It’s amazing how feeling like a person makes you feel less different, changes your perspective on life. Taking my pills regularly now. If anything they kept my friend away, his shouting and bringing me down wasn’t missed. But wait… he’s gone but I don’t feel different, no voices…no confusion. It’s clear to me. I’m normal. I was just lost. A lost soul on a ghost ship floating the ocean of life.
Now lacking to mention this before, I had more than that one friend I had a partner, we had our ups and downs, but I now see why! I see what I was like when I wasn’t taking the help offered to me. I learnt how my family wasn’t angry they was scared and worried not of me but for me. Sometimes it takes perspective to realise people weren’t leaving me, I was pushing them away! I love my family and feel a massive connection to them now, taking that further my family now extends to my girlfriend because this year I done the previously thought impossible! I made her my wife! I’m a husband. I went from lonely bullied freak with an “imaginary” friend needing pills to hide the stigma psychosis…to a HUSBAND! To top all this off I have also quit smoking and started my own computer business allowing me to support my new family and guess what, it’s going well!
If I could change anything in my journey it would be this… Nothing.
It made me…I am who I am because I embraced this and grew from it. I had the support and I finally decided to use it. No regrets.
Thank you staff at Apax.
Thank you Family
Thank you my darling wife…
Normal is amazing, because I do it differently and you know what? I make it look good!