Up to this point I figured I was just a bad seed, a black sheep. While I tried to maintain some standards of behavior, my conscience was slowly dissipating into the background to be locked away. Petty thievery was just a standard practice to keep the party going. Drugs and alcohol were just a part of life for people in my circle. I hadn’t considered mental illness to be an issue, because I wasn’t as crazy as the neighbor boy’s family or anything like that.
My first stint in Charter hospital changed all that. Soon I had doctors telling me all the things that were wrong with me. I was bi-polar, I was depressed, I had borderline schizophrenia. Take this pill, take that pill, oh have you heard about this new breakthrough medication that will cure all your ails. This was the early nineties, so all sorts of new diagnosis were coming out along with all the new medications to treat them.
I learned all sorts of new things about myself according to psychology. I wasn’t just sad, I was depressed. I wasn’t just angry, I was manic. I wasn’t self medicating, I was an addict. All sorts of reasons or excuses for my behavior. I learned the lingo, what you do and don’t tell your doctor or counselors, how to get certain meds, how to get locked up and how to get released. This wasn’t a punishment, nor was it helpful. I did make new friends that were just as crazy as me, and met all kinds of exciting women. Surprisingly, none of these relationships lasted long.
It was around this time that I began researching alternative religions as well. I read about witchcraft and mythologies, along with different philosophies. I was trying to find my place in the world since religion, or at least Christianity, didn’t suit me. I burned candles in the middle of the night and said prayers to whomever would listen. It seemed nothing could hear me, and I was still alone in the universe. It became evident later on that I may have opened some pathways or at least set the stage mentally for what would come.
I spent the next couple years in and out of Charter hospital as my parents attempted to fix me. I steadily generated a deep resentment towards them for the way my life was going. The blame was most certainly mine for my behavior, but I felt justified given the situations and their intolerance of my choices in life. Things came to a head at the age of seventeen. They knew treatment and psychology wasn’t helping, and I had stopped going to church at this point. We had moved a few miles away and I changed schools, but I quickly decided I just wanted to party, so I dropped out. My parent’s were done, and gave me an ultimatum to straighten up or leave, so I left home.
I stayed with friends on their couches or slept in their cars. I followed the party day by day. My world grew darker and I mirrored that internally. My music taste became darker, my partying grew heavier, I began huffing butane and freon just to get a buzz, and I began losing touch with reality. Hallucinations were becoming more frequent and friends were disappearing. Again I was alone.
I was staying at one friend’s house, sneaking in at night and leaving after his parents went to work in the morning. I was also hanging out with another guy who had just gotten out of prison on parole. He had just gotten a DWI and was looking at going back to prison so he wanted to make a run for Los Angeles. I wanted to go back to California too, so we devised a plan that would provide enough money that we could get there and change our identities. We clued in the friend I was staying with since he had a car, and we set out in the dead of night.
To be continued…