Hindsight is a very useful tool, one which I tend to use extensively. I have found that looking upon the past can reveal an awful lot, including both the good and the bad. Through looking at my childhood, and my childhood experiences, I have learned that although I always thought that I first became ill at the age of 13, that is not the case at all. What I have always believed to be normal behaviour and normal experiences were not, and through hindsight I can see clearly how, when, and why my symptoms manifested in the ways that they did. As I look back upon certain experiences, I can see that they were not a part of what most people would consider to be reality, they were indeed a part of my illness.
To begin, from the view of abuse or trauma, I had a perfectly normal childhood. I had loving parents who stayed together until I reached the age of 16, I was never bullied, and in general always had a good life. Statistically, there was a very small chance of me becoming ill which has always been a huge frustration of mine. I also want to point out that it is important to take into consideration that I do not remember a huge proportion of my childhood due to memory deficits caused by cognitive impairment; therefore some parts of my childhood may be left out as I simply cannot remember them, this if from the perspective of what I can remember.
I first began school at the age of 3, which is what is known as an infant school within the UK, or kindergarten if you’re from the USA. Initially, I despised school. I was used to being alone and it was what I enjoyed. The other children always seemed to be interested in the things that I wasn’t, therefore I would play by myself; which resulted in me spending a lot of time up in my own head. I could never find the connection with others that the other children did, I never understood the friendships and relationships they craved; all I knew was that I needed myself, which is something that I already had.
Since the day I was born, being an introvert has been deeply ingrained within my mind. Socialising and interacting with others was completely alien to me, which is why I initially despised school to such a degree. Due to this, the majority of my childhood was spent in some imaginary world that I had dreamt up; here I had friends, people that were like me. It was the perfect place, as it was the place that I had created, which no one else could enter or harm. I would escape to this place during both school and whilst at home, even when I was around others, I wasn’t there entirely. I have always been very withdrawn and isolated, and I highly doubt that it will ever change.
My childhood was plagued by delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia; yet it all went unnoticed. From the moment which I could think for myself, I believed that my parents were poisoning my food and drinks in a way that would kill me subtly; and although it clearly never happened, I still have this thought whenever someone else is involved in the preparation and cooking of my meals and drinks. Whenever I was around others, I firmly believed that everyone was plotting to kill or torture me in some way; or both. These thoughts have never left me, I simply see everyone and everything as a danger or potential hazard. During these experiences, I would have intrusive thoughts and imagery of these acts taking place upon myself or others, which still happens to this day.
As a child, I would regularly see what I believed to be the ghost of my deceased Godmother; when in fact these apparitions were hallucinations. I remember one particular incident in which me and my friend were exploring a woods on a family friends property, I saw what looked to be a mummified tramp wearing a yellow raincoat; this incident terrified me as I was only around the age of 7 at the time. I do remember hearing things as a child that others couldn’t, however I cannot remember exactly what they were.
Although I will always class myself as being officially ill from the age of 13, it is clear to see that I have been ill for as far back as I can remember.