1/3 “Looking back, I suffered from my mental health from my early teens, only that I could never articulate it because I didn’t know what it was. I always felt like the whole village was aware of me and I had this intense fear of people. I thought things would get better after I left school, but my paranoia and anxiety never left. In my teenage years, I started using alcohol as a temporary release. Of course, it made everything even worst. This soon became a spiral of losing hope and not knowing what to do with my life, to the point of being completely disappointed with who I was. I felt lost and hopeless… Then, because of an unexpected inheritance, I decided to leave everything behind and use the money to go travelling, hoping to find myself on the way.
It felt like the opportunity for a new beginning. After eight months of travelling, I arrived in India. There, my paranoia became even more serious when I started using soft drugs. They must have triggered something and I began to hear voices and think that people were coming to get me all the time. The next few years of my life is a blur really. I kept running away from something and trying to find myself, but nothing really worked. The end of that period came when I met Fran. She was on her own journey. She was 18 at the time. She was hitchhiking back from India overland. I remember the first time I saw her she had no shoes. She studied French and philosophy when her hippie father returned after 15 years of not seeing her and told her that the only education she needed is the one from the yogis in India… So, she set off to India from her home in Holland on a bike at the age of 17. I fell in love with her and her story immediately. Because of Fran, I completely stopped taking drugs and I felt that my life was on track at last. Eventually, we returned and bought a farm in the West of Ireland. We were to create an alternative lifestyle and life was going to be perfect. It was going to be the happy ever after. But that rarely happens in real life, right?”