To give you a better idea of where I am coming from, why I have the interests I have, and so on, it is probably useful to give you a bit of background on my life so far. Please don’t see this as a sob story, I know I have been through an…interesting childhood, but others have had far worse times! I give my story here simply to give context to the posts that will come.
I grew up as an only child to a single mother for the first 12 years of my life, despite having three (half) sisters and a living father. Don’t ask. My mother suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, something which meant very little to me at the time but looking back now I can see how much the behaviours driven by her illness shaped my development and, in many cases, misunderstandings about life and “normal” behaviour. To this day that can lead to interesting situations when I realise, usually with a cold sinking feeling tinged with light humiliation, that certain behaviours that I have always considered “normal” are actually far from it.
During my childhood my mother was sectioned at least once (once that I can clearly remember, although I have a feeling there were earlier times too), and we had regular visits from social workers. Usually they would be knocking on the door and peering through the letterbox and windows as I hid underneath the letterbox and my mother hid in the bedroom. Something that struck me then and stays with me now, is that not once did any of them seem genuinely interested in me and how I felt, only in how they could get me away from my mother. Of course my feelings on this matter were heavily influenced by my mother’s paranoia, however the lack of contact with anyone who was clear about having no agenda left me feeling rather alone.
At the age of 12 I was removed from my mother’s custody and placed in my father’s care – something which required me to not only leave behind my home and established family life, but even the country I had grown up in. John Bowlby would certainly have something to say about destruction of my “secure base”! Despite never being diagnosed with any illness it is my personal belief that my father had a number of issues of his own, which further affected my development.
More recently I have spent the past five years working as a data analyst for a multi-national corporation, but I have given up that career with the intent to start a new one. After being repeatedly treated as expendable and being made to feel horribly undervalued by the company I worked for I decided that I wanted to be doing something better with my life – something where I could come home at the end of the day and think “I’ve helped people today, I’ve left a positive mark on this world. If I die tonight, at least I will have done something good rather than working my a$$ off all day to make fat cats fatter.” Yeah I know, 27 is a bit early for a mid-life crisis! Most guys get a new car, I got a new career!
So that’s where I am now. A head full of mess, and a heart full of…umm…something that doesn’t sound horribly twee and cliché but gets across the idea that I want to help people who have been through the same crap as I have.