When I think about my life, my need to write was either inevitable or the result of everything that went wrong. Quickly to clarify, my life is nowhere near ruined but I have “failed”, rather catastrophically, and that is the core of why I need words in my life.
Both my parents were librarians, so as a child books were everywhere and reading them felt like home. But I had other plans. Science fiction was going to be my science fact and I idealized my coming adulthood, one of robotics and cosmology and sitting at university lectures by the age of sixteen. Despite problems with night terrors as a child I thought that I was the only thing in my way to greatness. I have never felt so betrayed to be right.
Come the age of fourteen; I had the university guide on my bookcase, surrounded by novels depicting amazing fantasies and fantastic adventures. I’d been having problems at school; bullying and increasing sick days were becoming the norm. In a meeting with my year advisor and the school councilor it was advised that maybe I should move from year eight to year eleven and accelerate my learning as a way to combat social issues and my ever present boredom with the level of classes. But this never came to pass.
I can’t remember how many days I made it to year nine but probably less than the number of fingers I could count with. Depression swamped my life, an unnamed illness that sucked my passion and my energy. I became a ghost of myself, a shell worth less than the sum of its parts.
I wasn’t ever going to be scientist. I wasn’t even going to be a human. I was going to be an echo, hiding from the sun and hissing at the world through clamped teeth. Night was my day, weeks turned to months and I began to dream, not of machinery and stars but of words and worlds. My father’s typewriter was a haven, all the ideas rough and crude but tangible and auditory.
After ten months I finally got to see a child psychiatrist who lived three hours from my home; turns out there was only one adolescent psychiatrist in my whole city. The psychiatrist was kind with mad springy hair that made me giggle. After an hour of verbal vomit, I had a new name, rapid cycling bipolar disorder. She recommended I attend a special hospital, with other kids like me.
From there the writing became an obsession, a funnel for my madness. All the mania and depression flowed into the words, racing pervasive words. Whatever I was going to do from here, the words were a representation of my soul.
Ten years have passed. And now I have a story. And I have words. But at the end of the day I have a need for balance. As long as it comes out in Times New Roman, everything is survivable.