It started in the woods.
I’d like to say it started in the forest, because forests are enchanting in all the most wicked ways; but it started in the woods, where kids skulked off for fags and TWOCers burned out their rides and where, bafflingly, you’d get the occasional abandoned fridge-freezer.
I can’t tell you what exactly happened inside my head that February day that finally made the sprockets spring, but they sprang and I pegged it; ran off away from school and into the woods and ran and ran and cried and then slowed, meandered delirious and whimpering and then stopped, sat under a pine tree, and stared, and stared. Stared.
I was just turned 15, a common age for psychiatric illness to first appear. Friends will confirm that I’ve never been a trendsetter.
There was counselling and a psychiatrist and an educational psychologist, and my dad would take me out of school sometimes to go walking in the peaks, or along the coast, or to the London museums. Always a model student before, I took to skiving mornings, afternoons, days. I’m sure now the staff knew but had bigger issues to deal with and besides, no one really had much of a clue what was going on inside my skull. Eventually all the spikes soothed out and I figured I was fine and everyone else figured I was fine, for a little while.
Until I found myself in the woods again, quivering and crying under the trees; no idea what was going on except my head was full of spikes again.
And I was 16 so I could go to the doctor on my own, so I went to the doctor on my own, and I was prescribed Prozac.
So that was that.