JOURNAL ENTRY: Friday 24 May 2019

Today I’ve felt like I was firing at about 70% and I’ve only had one cup of black coffee, so maybe taking a little break from the Xbox is paying off.

I’ve spent most of the day writing, but whilst it doesn’t feel like I’ve physically written very much, it’s been both challenging and insightful to process.

I’ve got to the point where I’m comfortable with the section on my later teenage years with Nadia, so I’ve now regressed back to me secondary school days. There were so many opportunities for my life to be a bit more “normal”, but secondary school really was a perfect storm. The series of unfortunate events were:

  1. We had just moved from Northampton to Teddington in May 1990, so I was in the final few weeks of junior school and didn’t know anyone. Life in London was very different to life in Northampton.
  2. I would then start Teddington Secondary School in September 1990, which could have been a beautiful fresh start, except for the fact that my father was also the headmaster. In order to cope with being the “head’s son” I created an alter-EGO persona, which would later be a major contributing factor towards my psychosis.
  3. During this time my dad was having affairs and my mum found out in October 1991 and began divorce proceedings in February 1992. As a result of this, in an attempt to hurt my dad, I begin self sabotaging in the form of acting out in class and my education began to suffer.

The culmination of these evens was that I would develop CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and whilst I had always suffered from anxiety, this period would maximise that condition into hyper-anxiety or hyper-vigilance.

Outside my home I was always fearful that I was going to be attacked by someone who didn’t like my dad, the headmaster. There were probably only a few real instances where I was threatened and was actually in some form of danger, but being subjected to that environment on a daily basis, as an anxiety suffered, was enough to trick me into believing that I was in constant danger and into a state of hyper-vigilance. It’s not a pleasant feeling or experience, particularly as a young child, to be singled out and hated, not because of who you are, but because of who your father is. I hadn’t done anything wrong, so there was nothing that I could do to rectify the situation. I believe this situation also went along way to developing my co-dependency, because I was always wondering what other people were feeling and therefore trying to please them, in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Once my parents marriage began to breakdown, my home no longer felt safe either. If my dad wasn’t also my headteacher, what was going on at home might have been manageable. This is why I consider these three events are contributing to a perfect storm, because it left me with no safe space to escape to. Home wasn’t safe, school wasn’t safe and being outside wasn’t safe. The only safe space I had was in my head, so I developed a hero complex in order to cope.

This is probably a little more than I actually got down on paper today, but it’s good to be able to summarise what I’ve written here, especially the effects they were having on me. I’m also finding this process tiring and that I do hit a wall towards the end of the day and my brain simply says “that’s enough”. It feels important that I am able to sense this and then take action because that hasn’t always been the case. I wouldn’t recognise that I was approaching burnout, so I would soldier on regardless and then wonder why I wasn’t able to engage the following day. This would lead to frustration, because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it, so I would eventually give up. Now I realise that it’s more about the journey, rather than the destination. I enjoying writing and I’m finding it interesting, if not challenging, process all these memories from my past. This is the bit that feels important to me now, it’s not the creation of the end product that’s important. I get that this will eventually materialise, but that it’s the process that matters. I’m also aware that I can only write a few thousand words a day, so there is no way I’m going to manifest a book in 24 hours. This is a marathon, not a sprint and so the whole process is reinforcing a new pattern of behaviour.

As a recovering addict, I used to want everything yesterday, but for me, a major part of the recovery process is developing patience. There are two phrases of wisdom that I choose to keep close to me these days:

  • Progress not perfection
  • Patience with the changes that take time

I’m going to take it very easy over this bank holiday weekend and see if I can get myself back to 80-90% without the need for coffee next week.

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