By P.D.W. Anderson
Key Themes: Mental Health, Schizophrenia, Life, Journey, Coming of Age
As with many, the journey into Mental struggle, can start way back as you begin navigating your early teenage years. By 15-16 years old, it becomes a case of experimentation, that eventually leads to self-medicating your symptoms. The world you knew as a youth, then school leaver, no longer exists and feels as though it never was. As the walls begin to crumble and the bubble of childhood dissipates, you find yourself lost, confused, alone. What is this place? Where am I supposed to be and what am I supposed to do? You look for answers. There is no guidance, self medicating becomes your only option. Amid a haze of street drugs and strong whiskey you set about destroying all that is left. In a downward spiral of self destruction, combined with self hate, you find yourself on the road to nowhere.
The writing down of thoughts and experiences, began some 2-3 yrs after the admission to a psych ward in 2001. At 20yrs old.
I realised, as soon as I began to put pen to paper, that the explanations I was writing, was slowly beginning to untangle that huge complex of emotion, lost understanding and fear about how I got to this place. What was I supposed to do in relation to my health and in what direction should my life take. Now that it felt increasingly like starting again. I was not the same, I did not resemble myself from old photo’s of a time gone by either but I was young, I was strong, I had time. So I slowly began to form a plan to stay steadfast and walk against the rain. It should be, I hoped, not too long before progress can be made.
About the Author
Born to a large working class family. Money was tight, up bringing was tough love, fun came in exploration and freedom. Pretty much the familiar childhood, most came to expect in a similar situation.
At school progress was good. Promise was shown in sport and academic work. Small symptoms were creeping in during early teenage years but by the last year of High School he began to become withdrawn. Paying more interest to lost thoughts and the constant questioning of his own mind. The result, at just turning 20, became completely unravelled, before the inevitable sectioning, with the diagnosis of Psychosis.
After a stay among the lost, was a year later diagnosed with Schizophrenia, as many of the symptoms still remained prominent. I was, as many are, angry with the decision and I really did not accept this until 2 more years after that day.
It began to dawn, that sharing experiences and the attempt to assure others, that many of their experiences too, in this boat, were completely natural. I believed, that the next approach should be a methodical one. One by using will power and following rules, to use whats around us for beneficial use. We need to take care of our body clock, food intake and routine. We need to slowly develop good habits, that can keep us well and on track, until this new way of living can become familiar enough to in turn, form a safe reality.
I think what has got to be realised, is this is no work of art. There is no competition with Charles Dickens or Roald Dahl for that matter. Just a young man, organising his thoughts, turning himself in the direction he should be going and writing it down for others.
‘ It was funny you know but waking up that first morning, lying in bed on an acute ward, I realised it’s now or never. If I don’t sort it and do this life properly, I am forsaking all reason, all logic and everything I’ve lost will never come back. I mean all things went through my mind but the task at hand was to find my way home. Through all the labyrinths of my mind and hope to be lost only for a little while’