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It stems from circumstances, or the way the cookie crumbled?

Here's my life in 5 minutes

1968 - Born in Lancashire, England.

1976 - (8) Suffers physical maternal abandonment.

1976 - His junior school behaviour leads teachers to isolate him inside and outside of class.

1979 - (11) Starts smoking cigarettes.

1982 - (14) Hospitalised in Belgium for acute alcoholic poisoning.

1984 - Enters sixth form.

1985 - Begins smoking cannabis regularly.

1986 - (18) Just before university he inadvertently consumes ~150 magic mushrooms: an "heroic dose".

1989 - (21) Graduates with a 3rd in chemistry.

1989 - Cannabis causes panics. He begins learning classical piano as an alternative life tack.

1990 - He changes job after a year of anxiety and mounting paranoia.

1992 - Bullying causes him to resign again. 20 years later, a CPN explains how some of that bullying had been unreal, specifically, the derogatory remarks he heard in the 3rd person, like "he's a yes man". Rather, they'd been hallucinatory voices.

1992 - (24) He's admitted to a mental hospital, diagnosed schizophrenic, then more accurately, with "psychotic depression".

1992 - On benefits, he volunteers in the Social Therapy department of Winwick hospital.

1993 - He risks that income to study an MSc in computing, then gets a grant!

1994 - (26) Starts seeing Clare who's much older than him and on the course.

1994 - He graduates then wins a commercial programming job. After three days of debilitating mistrust and anxiety, he quits it.

1995 - Clare gets him weekend work piano tuning in a Dickensian like mill, using an electronic gadget.

1995 - He annoys the brilliant albeit elderly piano teacher who works there. As Michael had idolised him, his overly harsh tirade is psychologically annihilating, and puts Michael back in hospital.

1997 - He gets a job, exactly where he did his MSc!

1997 - (29) He passes Grade 8 piano playing with merit!

1998 - Clare once followed Scientology, but many years on Michael thinks she's still into it, and it makes him ill. A third and hopefully final hospital visit results in lifelong Lithium therapy.

1999 - Influenced by C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" and Clare's weekly organ playing at Mass, he becomes a Roman Catholic.

2000 - Idle at work for a decade, his tentative attempts at writing poetry along with much risperidone, become mainstays.

2006 - Clare is in hospital for 7 months fighting septicemia. She wins, but is now permanently wheelchair bound and hearing aid reliant; the latter being due to Amikacin treatment.

2006 - They get married soon after she is discharged to home.

2010 - Redundancy puts Michael into the DWP's ESA Support group. Rich in time, his poetry and English skills greatly improve.

2010 - As a prolific writer, he begins to have poetry published.

2012 - (44) Clare dies. Alone, unemployed, and with little confidence, he's caring for both Lucy, his incontinent elderly dog, and himself, on £500 a month.

2013 - After losing Lucy, he begins walking RSPCA dogs, voluntarily.

2014 - (46) Despite doing a little volunteering, a psychologist suggests he should tackle his avoidance, by trying the local "Monday Night Group" of creative writers. His poetry wins their respect immediately.

2014 - Michelle "winks" at him on, due in part to his dog walking, and ironically, her having five cats!! They rapidly and regularly meet.

2014 - As they're trying for a baby, it's easier still for Michael to proposes. He does so after just three months total.

2015 - (47) In as long again they're wed. Michelle shares some 12-week baby scan pictures on the big day. At 20 weeks it's a tragedy. Rose Megan, their only child, has severe spina bifida. After talking to the leading expert, Rose is born still.

2015 - On the way to Christmas Eve carol singing, Michael is assaulted over a disputed parking bay.

2016 - The assailants are known to the police, so the CPS choose to prosecute. The attack traumatised Michael, but he faces their defense barrister, who wins. The very next day, a routine scan shows Michelle's had a missed miscarriage. It's the first of three such sad events. Michael is experiencing adult night terrors every night.

2018 - After a couple of years, his bursting out of sleep whilst screaming at the top of his voice, subsides. As Michelle is also bipolar, that irony helps her cope with him.

2023 - (55) Life doesn't let up: Michael survives a heart attack and cardiac arrest, not least due to Michelle's cool headed driving to the hospital.

2023 - He is still writing and playing the piano; taking it one day at a time.

The bottom line

For a few weeks after my heart attack, I would spontaneously cry. I'd spent three hours in resus, people die there. A 20 second cardiac arrest causes loss of consciousness. Mine lasted eleven. I gained wisdom that day: I didn't regret my life, but I was suddenly worried how those close to me might cope, if I died first. Sadly, shame was not far behind, because of the overdoses I'd taken. Then in quick succession, something seem to say, "are you listening? I'm not yet done with you", and that prevailed. 

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