In the previous blog, I shared how video gaming became my sanctuary during my younger years. It offered me an escape from the sorrow of bullying and my parents’ illnesses. I felt unseen and misunderstood both at home and at school.
The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in my father brought significant changes to our family life. My father, once strong and loving, began to change. Thankfully, our longtime nanny was there, offering love and support through this challenging period.
During this time, my parents made the difficult decision to divorce. Surprisingly, this seemed less impactful compared to other challenges I had faced, such as my father’s illness and the bullying at school, which I detailed in the first two parts of my story. Thus, the divorce felt like a minor bump on an already tumultuous journey. My greater concern was for my mother and her battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Meanwhile, my father moved to Aalst/Waalre in The Netherlands, while I stayed with my mother in Heeze in The Netherlands, in the familiar home where I grew up.
Weekends with my father felt different. I missed gaming immensely. Back in Heeze, I played Call of Duty and Habbo Hotel; those games were my refuge, where I found peace and stress relief. The absence of this at my father’s felt like losing a part of myself. Yet, I enjoyed visiting him, simply because I wanted to see him and spend time together.
Everything that happened affected me deeply. It was a period of great change, and I had to find my way through it. It wasn’t just the divorce, but also adjusting to two different homes, each with its own set of rules and atmosphere.
At my mother’s, there were complex moments. Her manic episodes, like inviting homeless people over for Christmas, were peculiar yet confusing. I also struggled with her new boyfriend from abroad, distrusting his intentions, fearing he was with her for a visa.
In high school, I occasionally strayed onto the wrong path, influenced by a manipulative friend. We started with minor illegal acts, like setting bushes on fire, but gradually escalated to more severe activities, like stealing bikes and setting off fireworks near traffic signs. I knew it was wrong and not what I wanted to do, but my desire to fit in drove me to continue. Being popular was my priority at the time.
During this period, I also experimented with drugs for the first time, around 15 or 16 years old. It began with smoking weed, but soon I tried ecstasy. I was searching for my identity and a sense of belonging. Drug use seemed like a way to find both. I explored various substances, seeking acceptance and a way to feel better about myself, despite the risks and novelty it brought to my life.
Despite the hardships, I managed to complete my high school diploma and pursued further studies at the secondary vocational college level 4. My time at the secondary vocational college was somewhat better, but my drug use increased. I frequented festivals and house parties, where drugs were commonplace. However, a turning point came after seeking help from Yes We Can Clinics, leading me to nearly cease drug use entirely.
But before I reach that point in my tale, there are many more blogs to share. There are countless moments and experiences in my life yet untold. I hope you find my life stories intriguing and perhaps even glean something valuable from them. So, stay tuned, as there’s much more to come in the next chapters of my life’s journey! Hope to see you then!
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