Socrates’ Story

Forward from where two waves meet

It seems to me that I made a choice of two roads when I was about eleven, though this will deal with about three critical years spent in and near the town where I grew up and from which I had left to be educated. My parents loved each other and, since they had both experienced breakdowns, they gave each other support. From my mother comes my love of literature and psychology.

But at the moment when this narrative occurs I was back in my hometown and facing a raft of problems: heroin, alcohol, the police, poor health and a depression that easily tipped into psychosis. I was exhausted.  On the night when my father died in a care home, I was in police custody and my sister was out there somewhere in the town. I don’t even know who identified his body. Later my sister followed him. I had been evicted from my council home shortly before and immediately fell into the hands of G, a psychopath who could get me to do whatever bidding he desired. It was a period where everything had fallen apart, punctuated with frequent visits to hospital because of pancreatitis. And then the harassment began, a community against me-‘We want you gone. If you are still here at 7, you’ll disappear’.

I slipped into psychosis. There was a fire in my flat from which I narrowly escaped and it seemed as I crawled out on my belly as the door had stuck, that I was watched, Wicker man-like, by a semi-circle of ill-wishers. I was sectioned by the police, lost and without even clothing. Then the first miracle happened. The words of John Clare’s poem ‘I am’ and Yeats’ ‘The Second Coming’ kept coming back. Above all, again and again, the phrase, ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased’. With them came a flood of relief and support. Though I decided to kill myself if the police pressed charges for arson, I felt stronger every day and the psychosis disappeared.

It is much later now and though I am still plagued by memories and paranoia on occasions, the rocky road here has contained miracles: the police charges for arson came to nothing; an officer from the town hall managed to secure me this wonderful safe place in which to live and heal; my care worker here has fought like a terrier for me; I have stopped drinking for six months.

I feel I have transcended the person that I was and this recovery from those days has brought meaning, sense and purpose to my life.

A sad addendum to Socrates’ Story
Socrates finally decided that his two waves would meet in the sea off Charmouth Beach in October 2013. May he rest in peace.