I stopped trusting people at the age of six.  I know that’s a weird thing for a six year old to have decided, but life was teaching me not to trust anyone.

I stopped trusting people at the age of six.  I know that’s a weird thing for a six year old to have decided, but life was teaching me not to trust anyone.

I had a pretty abusive step father.  He would flip out, break shit in the house, punch me in the face, tell me I was worthless.  It would happen a lot.  No one cared.  He’d come home and I’d cop it.  It wasn’t just him, it was mum too.  She stabbed me, just below me ribs when I was a little kid, so you can probably tell that shit was just fucked up.

I was getting bullied a lot at school too.  With all of this, no one stepped in to help me.  I was just a kid and no one did anything.

Eventually my grandparents decided my mum wasn’t taking good enough care of me, so they took me away.  That was when I was 11.  I stayed with them until I was 15.  I really screwed up and they had to chuck me out.

I’d fallen in love with a girl and she’d cheated on me.  She was someone I’d decided to trust, but then she betrayed me and I lost it.  I stole my grandma’s car and drove to hers.  She lived in a nearby town about 90 minutes away.  I blew the car up by redlining it.  I didn’t do it on purpose, I just wanted to get to my girl and ask her why.  I was pretty frantic.  Really upset.  Really angry and hurt.  I had to know what I’d done to make her do that to me.

I don’t know why I was so stupid.  I guess it might have been the drugs?  I was on every drug you can name at that time, except for Heroin and Ice. I’d started taking them at 12 just to deal with all the stuff that was in my head.  It was an escape.  It calmed me down.

Because of the bullying at school I also had ‘anger management’ issues.  That’s what the teachers called it when I got so sick of it all I started to fight back. So the drugs helped with that.  They just numbed me so I didn’t care.

Eventually I learned not to let anyone in.  No one can hurt you if you don’t let them in.  If you don’t trust them and if you push them away, they can’t get at you.

I was lonely.  I had friends, but they were drug buddies and that was all they were because that’s all I wanted them to be.  People had stomped all over me my whole life so shutting everyone out was the only thing that made sense.

Anyway, my grandparents kicked me out and I ended up homeless.  I went through foster homes and all that, and was made to see a heap of psychologists.  Nine shrinks in total I think.  It got to the point where I could walk around the idiots because I knew exactly what they were going to ask and I learned to tell them what they wanted to hear.  They didn’t care anyway.  You could see it and feel it.  When are people going to learn that just bumping a person from one head doctor to another doesn’t do anything?  It either fucks you up more or it teaches you to fuck with them.

Even with all of these people supposedly helping me, the bad just kept coming.  I got with another girl, fell in love with her, decided to take a chance on trusting her, and she betrayed me too.

Every time I try something with a chick something goes wrong.  I’ve lost a total of five kids – two abortions and three miscarriages.  And I wanted those kids.  I wanted to get it right like my parents couldn’t.  I want a better relationship with my kids than I had with my parents. I know I can do that.

I want a normal life. It was okay getting into trouble when I was younger.  I even liked it sometimes.  I enjoyed fighting and being a bit of an idiot.  But that’s not what I want anymore.  I don’t want to worry about where my next meal is coming from or how I’m going to afford rent.  I want to prove my step dad wrong and show him I’m not worthless, and I want to have kids and protect them.

I’m getting there.  With the normal life stuff.

I’m still afraid of relationships, but I’m working on that.  Since coming to STREAT I’ve started to learn to let people in.  I’ve seen there are good people out there.  I’ve learned that sometimes, a Youth Worker is worth twenty psychologists because they actually care.  I’ve even made up with my grandparents and I’m not homeless anymore.  My grandma and grand dad have let me move back.

I’ve been off drugs now for a while too.  I still have cravings but I’ve got something to live for now.  I just got a job and it’s going great and I love it.  It’s in hospitality as a chef.

I still have stuff going on.  A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gee. What tipped them off to that? I can’t believe it took that many shrinks to figure out a guy stabbed by his mum, beaten by his stepdad, bullied for years, with a history of drug use was traumatised?

I’ve been having flashbacks for years.  When they happen, and stuff overwhelms me I use these strategies I’ve developed.  I can’t take the antidepressants and stuff they want to give me, because they make me violently ill, so I play loud music to drown out the auditory flash backs, and the moment my mind starts to throw stuff up at me I just jump on it right then and there and force myself to think of something positive.  That’s hard.  It can get me pretty anxious, but it works.  I use all that fight I’ve had my whole life, the fight I used to use to beat people up who pissed me off, to fight this condition and I keep fighting until I win.  I know that I can’t let the flashbacks win, because if they do, I relive it.  Completely.  I feel it.  I even smell it.  I can smell my blood, hear the voices, feel the knife, feel the kids teasing me, feel the same emotions I felt when I was told I’d lost my baby, all of it.  Everything around me disappears and I can’t tell you where I am, because what’s in my mind is so real it’s like I’m there.  I know that sounds stupid, but that’s what it’s like.  It’s like the world melts away and I’m transported to the past.  The memories are more real than wherever I am when an attack happens.

But I’m dealing.  I know I’ve done some stupid stuff, but I’ve learned and I’m making it through and now I’m doing some great stuff and I’m there for other people – like me – who have been through bad shit and need someone.

It makes a difference.  Well, it makes a difference to me.