Growing up, my mind convinced me that I was in a bad living situation. I grew up with a single mother and the first memory I have of her is her laughing at me as I thought I was drowning in a bathtub (when I was around four or five years old). I remember sitting and splashing around in the tub as she stood by; then I started slipping and my head went under the water. I was crying as my hands couldn't grip the tub to get up and soap got in my eyes. Meanwhile, my mother just stood by and laughed instead of helping me. That was a very traumatizing experience to me at the time. As I grew older, I came to the realization that she wouldn't have actually let me drown, but as a child, that experience left a strong impression on me as my mind convinced me that my mother was not to be trusted. So throughout my childhood, I was paranoid; fearing my own mother. Our relationship suffered as a result, and we went through many conflicts that were unnecessary. At one point, I even managed to convince myself that she was not my biological mother and she was secretly poisoning me to keep me weak. It reached the point where I wouldn't eat until she ate from the same pot first. In reality, I was actually getting weak but not from her cooking (I had a sickness that I never realized was serious). She eventually proved to me that she was my real mother but the damage was already done, as I became introverted and spent most days locked in my room. Looking back, I gave my mother a really hard time; all because my mind was my own worst enemy.
By high school, I was a full-blown introvert but was often forced into situations where I had to socialize. I felt so broken and messed up at that point in my life that I decided to create a new persona for myself in my mind. I would walk around with a different image of myself in my head and that actually worked for a while, as a solution that helped me cope with anxiety. In keeping up with this new persona, I started referring to myself as 'JQ' as a nickname. It's crazy how by me conditioning my mind to believe that I was a different person; it allowed me to be more social, more confident, and less anxious. Over time, my personality almost completely changed, for the worse.
I eventually got mixed up with the wrong group of friends who got me involved with doing drugs. A part of me knew it was wrong but I thought I would be one of those persons that could manage their drug use. But eventually, I lost all control of the situation and lost control of myself. Needless to say, I got hooked and messed up. I couldn't help myself. It wasn't until a very close encounter with death (where I almost got shot) that I finally stopped. That was the moment where I decided to change, and though it took some time, I managed to change for the better. I used what money I had to move away and get a cheap place of my own. I also cut contact with all those 'friends' from my past life, in hopes to start afresh. I managed to get a job at a warehouse, which was great as I didn't have to interact much with other people. After a while, I got a better place and continued to live a quiet, secluded life. Although I felt lonely at times, it was great being reclusive and I thought I was doing better. Until... I got a girlfriend.
This girl just came into my life randomly. And looking back, it has become obvious to me that that was her intention. I was in love with this girl and it seemed like she loved me too. But I eventually found out that she had been using me and stealing from me. In hindsight, I should have known there was something sketchy about her as she never shared her past with me. I didn't really care much about that, as we all have parts of our past that we're ashamed of, though I opened up to her about mine. She ended up using my mental health against me by gas lighting me (making random noises then pretending not to hear anything) and playing games with my memory (misplacing my items). That whole period was mentally exhausting as I thought I was going crazy. And I felt lucky to have this girl by my side to help me get through it; only to find out that she was responsible for all of my problems. I had found out her true colors after coming home early from work one day and caught her taking food from my fridge and putting it in a bag. She tried to convince me that the food she was bagging had expired but I knew for a fact that she was lying. It was like as soon as I saw her in a different light, I managed to connect the dots and figure out her wicked ways. I remember my heart feeling like it had sunk after realizing that she was taking advantage of me. And her stealing my food was probably the least bad thing she did. I was mad and angry with her.
Which brings me to the most haunting night of my life. After I ended things with my girlfriend, I was so distraught that I decided to get high again for the first time in years. I did it to ease the pain. And I did it in the comfort of my own living room. The next thing I remember was waking up in my car parked near to a forest. I was so confused. And the scariest part is that I don’t know what happened or what I did for those hours that I lost. To this day, I have no remembrance of anything that happened that night. Sometimes I wonder if my 'JQ' persona came to life. Sometimes I wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me again. Sometimes I fear myself.
Issues 4 & 5
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