In this story: Anxiety / Mental health /

"Relationships have been the only things that have given meaning to my life"

“What makes me most happy is travelling and meeting different people.  I seem to make friends more easily when I am abroad.  I hope to travel to Slovenia this summer to meet a woman with whom I fell in love last year, but I will need to save money, which is difficult on benefits and a long-distance relationship is difficult.

As a teenager, I had to stay in the Adolescent Unit of Stratheden Hospital in Fife and was kept there for two and a half years.  The longer I stayed there, the more and more depressed I became. At the age of 17, I wrote a book about my experiences there, entitled, “The Madhouse of Love”

Due to my education having been disrupted, I have never had a good job, although I was quite clever at school, and have had to survive by doing unskilled jobs, interspersed with periods of unemployment.

In 2006, I returned to Holland, where I had worked before, but things didn’t work out and I ended up almost starving in a tent outside Amsterdam. I managed to get back to Edinburgh, where I became homeless.  I stayed at the Salvation Army Hostel for about nine months before finding a flat from the council in sheltered housing.

My life has been very up and down recently, and, at times, I have been severely depressed.  I am generally very isolated for most of the time and that has led to severe anxiety and depression.  There have been times when I have been nearly suicidal.

Relationships have been the only things that have given meaning to my life, apart from artistic activities and travelling.

If I could achieve anything in life, it would be to be recognised as a writer and a musician.

The only thing that gives me hope for the future is the possibility that I still might be able form a relationship.”

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