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As a child,

I went from a resilient, inward, magician type to drowned, depressed and contemplating ways to die. It was as if someone had suddenly turned all the lights off, locked me in, and walked away. One day I woke up and it stopped being OK to go to school or to be around people. The darkness that marked my waking hour meant that my first wish was to die. The family GP had the marvellous idea to put me on a prescribed drug, so for much of my childhood, I was numbed, suppressed and existing through confusion and chaos.

My parents

had decided to embark on a mum vs dad war and I was caught up in the middle.

My dad, as long as I remember had two personalities – one that emerged as a total paranoid obsessive monster and the other was normal. There was military precision in his expectations and we did not dare do anything but abide. Toothpaste, shampoo bottles and many more toiletries were emptied in the sink if they weren’t in the right place or tightly sealed. It was insanely done, so we could witness and be engulfed in confusion and guilt. One day, he would be drawn in beastly silence; others he would joyfully interact. We just couldn’t get it right. He would silence us if a light switch was left on, if we spoke up, if we were just being kids AND if we walked in socks. This in fact became the title of my first memoir, I wrote 7 years ago.

Walking in Socks