In this part of my life story, we stand at the beginning of a new chapter: my life in Tilburg, The Netherlands. After the complex challenges of my youth, which I described in the previous part, including my experiences with soft drugs, ecstasy, and home issues, I started a new journey in Tilburg. Here, I sought my own identity and independence, trying to find my own way in life.
It all started with a new apartment. After living with my father for about a year, my father and his girlfriend encouraged me to live on my own. I had already learned some basic knowledge about cooking and self-care from my father, so I could manage reasonably well. Therefore, I decided to view an apartment. Since my father had registered me on rental websites during my vocational education, I was immediately at the top of the waiting list. A few weeks later, I was assigned the apartment and moved in, which is quite different from how things are now.
When I moved to Tilburg at the age of 18, I had little experience with living independently, which brought a whole range of challenges. I was not used to being on my own. I had to learn to cook, find a sports routine, and also learn to rest at times. It was extra difficult because I had no friends in Tilburg. It was a time when I had a lot to learn and was often alone. Without friends nearby, it was harder to be independent.
I tried to make new friends by regularly going to a pub in Tilburg, where I eventually even started working. But this was difficult for me, as I was very sensitive to what others thought of me. Although it seemed an advantage that I could drink a lot in the pub, it didn’t really make me happy. At home, I escaped my feelings of loneliness by gaming a lot.
Fortunately, not long after I moved, I met my neighbor, and we clicked almost immediately. He was often found in the gym, just like me. I had been exercising a lot since I was 15, mainly because I was very insecure about my appearance. I tried to feel better about myself through exercising. My neighbor seemed to exercise for similar reasons, though we didn’t talk much about it. We started training together, which greatly motivated both of us. It was nice to have someone who shared the same interest and with whom I could share my passion for fitness.
During this period, I often laughed, but behind that laughter, I hid my real feelings. I wore a kind of mask, with which I hid my unhappiness and loneliness. On the outside, it seemed like everything was going well, but deep inside, I often felt sad and alone. My laughter was a way to hide my true emotions, both from the outside world and from myself. This inner struggle between what I showed and what I really felt was difficult for me.
At home, I tried to escape my feelings by gaming a lot. Gaming helped me to temporarily forget about my problems. But after a while, I also started doing something else to escape my feelings: I smoked weed with my neighbor after exercising. This happened more and more often, and I even started to use weed regularly at home.
At the age of eighteen, I occasionally started using ecstasy at home, often together with my first girlfriend. I did this mainly to try to avoid my real emotions. It was a way to escape from my problems and feelings of loneliness, although I eventually realized that it didn’t offer a real solution.
The partying also increased; almost every month, I visited a hardcore or techno party as a way to escape my feeling of loneliness. On weekends, I often went out looking for an outlet. I went to these parties together with the friends of my stepsister. She was kind enough to include me in her group of friends from Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Unfortunately, they saw the use of various drugs as normal, which didn’t really improve my situation.
And then there were my experiences with school; during my vocational education as an Assistant Accountant, I found the internships the most challenging. The extensive administrative work was difficult for me because I had trouble concentrating for long periods. This became even harder due to the personal problems I had, making it a struggle to stay motivated and focused.
But despite all the challenges, the parties, my insecurities, and drug use, I still managed to obtain my vocational education diploma, and it actually went quite smoothly. This was a huge achievement for me. Obtaining my diploma felt like a confirmation of my abilities. It showed that I am capable of achieving my goals and being successful, regardless of the circumstances. This was an important and positive moment in my life.
After my vocational education, which wasn’t quite what I had expected, I started looking for further studies at the University of Applied Sciences level. I was interested in various study directions, such as Business Administration, Commercial Economics, Business Economics, and International Economics. At the age of 18, it was quite difficult to choose, but I took the time to explore each direction.
My attention was particularly drawn to the Commercial Economics program in the direction of Digital Business Concepts, mainly because of a special focus on the digital aspect in this study. This appealed to me greatly, as I always spent a lot of time behind my computer, both gaming and developing my own game. This digital angle seemed to align well with my skills and interests, making Commercial Economics, Digital Business Concepts quickly rise to the top of my list of potential university of applied sciences studies.
When I finally chose the university of applied sciences study in Commercial Economics, it felt like a breath of fresh air compared to my vocational education experience. The vocational education had not been particularly inspiring for me, but this new university of applied sciences study was fantastic. It gave me a whole new future perspective. My ego and manic feelings increased; I felt almost too good. This upbeat mood and new self-confidence made me increasingly interested in the attention of women. It became a way to escape my problems. The attention I received boosted my self-confidence, but at the same time, I was still wearing a mask. I laughed a lot, but it wasn’t always sincere.
During this period, unfortunately, I did not treat women with the respect they deserved. I mainly saw them as objects of lust and therefore did not interact with them in a respectful manner. Often, I pretended to be highly interested in them, but in reality, I struggled with my own emotions and truly experiencing feelings. This attitude and behavior were unfair to these women.
Then there came a moment in my life when I painfully learned how harmful drugs can be. This realization came after I had a psychosis caused by drug use. One free afternoon, I was at home with a friend from school. We used weed and ecstasy together and also drank some beers. It seemed like an innocent afternoon, but that quickly changed.
My friend put on the movie “Green Street Hooligans,” and somehow, I completely lost touch with reality. I became extremely paranoid. In my confused state, I thought he wanted to stab me and that he and his friends were about to beat me up. Fear dominated everything; I was truly terrified. When my friend finally left, I was so scared that I fled to my father’s house out of fear.
At my father’s house, the psychosis slowly began to fade. My father was shocked when he saw me in that state. At that moment, I couldn’t really comprehend what had happened; I was so confused. But for my father and his girlfriend, it was a shocking event that even led to arguments. It was clearly a severe experience for them, something I didn’t really realize at the time.
This psychosis, as shocking and frightening as it was, unfortunately, was not a turning point for me. Instead of being a lesson about the dangers of drug use, it led me further down the path of narcotics. I saw it as a way to escape my problems and fears. In hindsight, it was a clear warning about the risks and the impact of my actions, both on myself and on the people around me. However, at that time, I couldn’t see the seriousness of the situation and continued to seek refuge in drugs as a way out.
This phase in my life was full of challenges and sometimes wrong choices. My dealing with drugs, the attention from women, and the many parties had deep consequences, both for me and for the people around me. In the next part of my story, I will delve deeper into this turbulent time. I will talk about how I continued to use drugs as a way to escape my problems, and about the frightening psychoses as a result. So stay tuned, because there’s much more I want to share about my disorder.
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