It begins with justice, it begins when I was 8 years old, that's when my manic depression was manifested, it was manifested due to trauma. When I was an 8 year old boy I was a gentle soul, all little boys want to be heroes and stuff right? I would pray to god that I want to be a hero and stuff. I'd read about heroes in my comic books, I was a very bookish lad. One day my dad promised me that he would take me to the park and play on the swings but my dad was late from work that day and when he got home he was like 'nah I can't take you to the park kid, maybe next weekend'. I got frustrated so I went to the park anyway, the little rebel I was and there I was, and this was just after sunset and I was on the swings playing on my own and this was like a Sunday. Sunday all the other kids had gone home. Then I heard this scream. This scream was quite low at first, but then I heard it again and the curious nature in me wanted to follow the scream. I saw it as a sense of adventure and that's when things get real dark, behind the foliage, on the other side I saw a woman getting beaten up by this man,which I later realised that it was her ex boyfriend and I witnessed her death right in front of me. From an 8 year old, that situation that I was in, I didn't know what I was looking at, what was I looking at? I froze, apart of me wanted to help her you know because that's what the heroes in my books would do they would go save her, but I froze in that moment. I froze and she looked at my direction and then all I could do was run off afterwards. I ran off as fast as I could until I bumped into these elderly people who saw me panicking and frantic and of course I showed them directions of what happened and I never really got the help I needed after that. From that day on my innocence, my manic depression manifested that day without me realising. The police and that tried to get me all the help I needed to deal with the trauma but it was never adequate you know. It was more like, he'll just get used to it sort of thing you know. So I had to deal with it, go to school, live with that memory, nightmares, eventually over time I repressed the memories. I repressed the hell out of it. And I just tried to do what all kids do you know, just play on games, read my books but it impacted me, meaning I couldn't build relationships with people. I could really talk to my family because they just wanted to forget about the whole incident. So I was bullied for being isolated. Then when I got to high school that's when shit really hit the fan.
I was always a curious child, some would say mad. But I was profusely bullied in school. Not just because I was different of my likes and dislikes it was mainly also racism had a large part to play in it. For the first three years of my school was complete hell being brutally being a victim of racism inside and outside being abused, outside even from my external family members aswell. My depression was building over the years. When I was about 15 a group of white lads cornered me in the shower room and they stripped me bare naked. They turned the shower on and for some reason another guy stole some flour from food tech and threw it over me and said now you're a white boy. There were only a few asians in our school. No one helped. The headteacher told me to shake the other guys hand. He told me to shake the hands of the people who had just humiliated and degraded me. This had a massive impact on my mental illness at the time. I remember one day it was a Saturday, I remember going to the train station, that was the first time I was having suicidal thoughts. I was 15. On the Monday a few days later a kid approached me in school whilst I was reading a book. He made a joke about me, he said 'move Monkey,ooh oohh ahh ahh' That's when I lost it. All the depression that was pent up at the time and I didn't realise it just came out. It's like if you keep tormenting a caged animal, eventually the animal is going to come out and he's going to be blinded with rage. I attacked him. All the bullying stopped after that. I had a best friend. His name was Benny. He was the first person in my life to take his own life. He was gay and his family never accepted it. I didn't care about his homosexuality I loved him regardless. That broke me. After Benny died I became a recluse, but then I met this woman in a bus stop. I was all covered in mud and she was carrying a basket of daisies. She asked me why I was covered in mud and I explained that I was climbing a hill and I fell, she laughed and called me an idiot, she asked me my name and I said the most stupid thing in the world 'I am the most interesting man in your life. so cheesy. I ran off. I was completely embarrassed. A few months later I bumped into her, I hoped she wouldn't remember me but she recognised me. We built a friendship. I gave her a nickname Daisy. She had bipolar and cancer. We could talk about anything. I didn't want to lose her. She changed me, she taught me how to live. see the thing is some people don't understand how to look after someone with a mental illness, they don't have the mental and emotional capacity and I get that. I looked after her right up until she died. That's when my manic depression officially took hold of me. I didn't know where to get help. Eventually I became an alcoholic. I worked hard to beat my addiction. I was also in debt. But then I had to take control, take charge of my life. I read 'Art of War' and used all the lessons that I took from it and paid my debt off in a year and the depression was hitting me hard but I had to keep pushing. Then one day I got sectioned. Everything got the better of me and I went to a bridge to jump off it. I was talked out of it. My experience of being sectioned was an eye opener. The first time I've seen so many people with mental illnesses all in one area. Some had bipolar, some schizophrenia some had anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder. Some had taken so many pills they became like zombies. I met some real good people. I was put on Anti- depressants, but the anti- depressants didn't work for me. They were called Seretonin. I was there for a couple of weeks. It was like a prison. Barbed wire fences, no doubt people had tried to escape before, doors that only open with a specialised key. This was when I had my first psychotic breakdown.
Eventually I was let out. I didn't get much help. I decided to find help myself. I went travelling and met a guy called Abel. He mentored me. He taught me that in life you have to learn to look after yourself, you have to learn how to survive, become dependent on your own thoughts and sometimes for you to control stressful situations you need to be thrust into tough situations. He helped make me physically and mentally strong. I was also a fisherman and one time there was a storm and I fell overboard. The other guys threw over a rope. I took control of the situation and I started swimming. It taught me how to survive in a literal storm. Here's the thing ,you can't surf in a wave if you don't know how to swim in your own thoughts first. Since then I started running marathons. I have run 17 marathons. I put myself in difficult situations to confront my demons. And during the Ultra marathon I had a realisation of how far I've actually come. I kept running because of the message and if we're not honest about who we are and our vulnerabilities, I mean really tell our story, that's how we break the stigma.
What advice would I give someone who is seeking support with Manic Depression? Everyone has their own journey when it comes to mental illnesses all I can tell you is to acknowledge your own illness, acknowledge yourself as a person and take a step back. Learn to walk your own path. Know yourself and know your enemy. Just before we end I will say this - Idealism keeps the dream alive and realism pays the bills right? Until we learn to balance the two realism should always be a priority, what that means is take care of your health and your wellbeing first. Please feel free to follow me @Waywardnaz I'll be honest, before you follow me, my posts are never going to be sugar coated, I'm going to say it how it is, be real about it. I don't believe you should sugar coat stories. Surround yourself with Generals in your circles and you will always be uplifted. Naz
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If you feel that you are experiencing any of what Nazim has spoken about please seek help from your nearest GP. There are also other sources which provide help and advice for example:
Mind 0300 123 3011
Rethink 0300 5000 927
Support Line 01708 765200
Also if you feel that you have an experience with regards to mental health that you believe others could relate to then please get in touch.