From teenage to young adult years, I experienced some depression and a level of anxiety and compared to later experiences of life, a mild form of paranoia and fear of persecution. I left senior school at 16 without passing one exam but managed to pass the entry requirements into the Royal Marines. I did not last long, about 4 months. The physical side of training I managed with some ease, but there was a lot of bullying towards new recruits and I felt I had gone from one culture of bullying at home to another. And so I left. 

I was always unsettled 'within' as a teenager onto adulthood and feeling I did not belong and was ‘in and out’ of work and moving from one area to another. I never spoke about how I was feeling internally, because I did have the belief it was wrong and pride stopped me from doing so. Although I had friends, I felt alienated and could never fully connect with anyone, a feeling I still have to this day, here in the UK. 

Up until I visited the USSR, life was difficult but I was used to it. I knew my patterns were very different to those around me. Friends had secure work, they were buying and living in there first home. They were getting married. Not that it mattered much but it was a constant reminder I did not fit in or manage to follow what was portrayed as successful in life. 

I was a drifter. 

I had no close family to turn too. I met with them, not often and when we did meet, I did not feel part of the family union; I felt more like an ‘annoying acquaintance’ who was visiting. My father was never around, a ‘part time’ father and we would not see him much. But he did end his days with my mother, when she moved from Essex to Devon, he followed and they lived together for a few years until his death. My relationship with him was never easy. 

Leading up to my trip to Moscow, I had been in employment in Hammersmith for over a year and was living in a shared flat along the Askew Road in Shepherds Bush. But my life changed after my visit to Moscow in 1991 when ‘stress and anxiety’ took its hold. Read-lead up to diagnosis and so on…