I was four years old when my dad died – I never knew how until I was older. I had a mum, sister and brother and not long after, a stepdad. At 14 I found out the truth of how my dad died – he had hanged himself – and there were other things that I struggled to deal with. I also found out that my sister had a different dad who was still alive. I didn’t know how to cope. I had counselling and started self harming, I also started drinking and smoking weed – something I was against before. I was put on medication but at home I was too much to handle and I was put into care. Care was really tough. I used to get beaten up a lot especially by one other boy in there. My drug use progressed – I was still smoking weed regularly but now I was taking cocaine, speed, ketamine, pills. I was always running away and getting into trouble with the police. I was really depressed and lost most of my friends as they didn’t know how to cope with me. At 15 I tried crack and heroin but took mainly party drugs for a few years. I got my own flat at 17 and at 18 I was regularly taking ecstasy at weekends. One night it went horribly wrong. As I came up I had a panic attack, after this I started hallucinating badly. It started with my hands melting into the taps and got so bad that someone had to call an ambulance. I was in hospital for two days on a heart monitor and a drip. I was told that if I had taken any more I would have died.
I suffered with panic attacks daily for over a month – so bad I had to have people with me all the time. This has left me with visual disturbances on my hands and other peoples. Basically, I damaged the part of my brain that’s linked to my hands. I have to be careful what I drink as caffeine or sugar can trigger these hallucinations. I haven’t taken E or similar uppers (eg speed) since. I could no longer smoke weed as it would lead to panic attacks and weed makes me worse than any other drug. However, I am an addict so I moved onto crack for a year or so and dabbled with heroin but it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened and my addiction moved onto heroin. I started selling it to fund my own habit and my flat became a drugs den and a real mess.
At 22 I found myself in prison with a four year sentence for selling heroin. I didn’t cope and my mental health was bad. I attempted suicide and was placed on constant watch four times over the two years. I convinced myself that I would never touch heroin again but within two weeks of being released I was drinking heavily and found myself back on heroin again – I put myself into dangerous situations with dangerous people in order to fund my habit. I became so depressed and suicidal – I had given up hope.
I moved to Essex with a man who I later realised was nasty and violent and he made me come off heroin. This continued for about a year when I finally found the courage to run away and I ended up homeless in Essex and by now I was also an alcoholic. I would basically use anything to block out how I felt. I’ve been battling my addictions ever since. I have to take medication for anxiety disorders and to help with the visual disturbances I suffer with. All a result of my misuse. I’ve not touched drugs or alcohol for a while now – it’s got to the point I no longer can but this will be a battle for the rest of my life and it all started with weed, the one that’s supposed to be a harmless drug.