Hello, my name is Gareth Downs and I have always felt “different”.
Growing up, often floating off in to the clouds, never having specific thoughts but never being present.
From a young age I managed to develop a coping mechanism where I could blank everything around me at the click of my fingers. Take a big gulp and swallow away any gut wrenching feelng I was experiencing. Which helped to drone out any unnerving sights at home growing up.
Going in to my adult years this proved to be a problem where I started gambling. I would lose ridiculous amounts of money but would not care unless I couldnt afford basic necessities, then the worries would last until my belly was full. So from the age of 17 until 28 I struggled with money through betting and my outlandish spending. Money was nothing, I had none, spent loads and never respected it.
I have spent the majority of my life in relationships. I would always find myself just agreeing and going with the flow. I had no identity or self worth. I often felt like a lampost, just standing there empty. plodding along with my day to day life, if i wasnt with a partner or playing rugby I would be in my bedroom, headphones on, drowning out everything outside that door. Thats where I was most comfortable.
I was in a toxic relationship where my partner often would tell me that she thinks I was autistic or atleast on the spectrum. Constantly chipping away at me, saying that there was “something wrong with me”. Because I would only laugh if she does. I was at a very vulnerable state.
I started seeing a counsellor, once I started talking I could not stop. Talking about my problems with other people and not getting to any underlying issues. I left after every session hating and blaming other people than myself.
I finally snapped, I left the horrible bitch.
I went to Amsterdam and had somewhat a spiritual awakening.
The sun was beaming and I was on my own I purchased some dragon slayer truffles and cycled down to Vondel park.
Headphones in, I was shuffling between the beatles blue album and the doors album on repeat.
I lapped the park a good few times feeling merry, weaving in and out of people, I was glowing.
I stopped to take a picture of the most amazing fountain, with piercing green grass and vibrant colourful flowers on the banks.
I layed down and rolled around that one spot for 7 hours.
I had never felt anything like that.
That was real, pure, raw happiness from my toenails to my fringe.
I would close my eyes and I would be looking down on myself laying there with the biggest grin that I have ever had in my life.
For once in my life there was something behind those eyes.
The perfect day.
Back down to earth and the uk, after that.
It wasnt until I became single for an amount of time, I realised that I was unhappy at how I actually turned out. No identity, no ambition, no goals. I hated my job and became even more distant to my closest people. I seen a doctor who forwarded me on to a psychiatrist along with prescribing me some sertraline.
I quit and went to asia for 2 months, which was cut short due to the passing of my amazing nan. I came back and within a week i was twice as bad as I was before.
Absolutely numb, not even unhappy. Just blank.
Over the years I had smoked marijuana here and there but nothing too excesive. I started smoking when I got back to the uk.
One night after smoking a joint, I was in the back of a friends car going home. I felt a pop in my head and there was a sensation of liquid filling up to the level of my eyeballs. That was that, I couldnt move, I didnt know a thing. The boys thought I was winding them up. I couldnt get my head around of what, where, when and the worst of all WHY.
If asked specific questions I could reply but I would double think everything I said, I felt brain dead. I didnt know anything. thats all I could say. staring right through my friend, he refused to take me to my parents house.
I went to my sisters and she drove around with me in the car for 3 hours, I knew where we were driving but at every corner I would be surprised as we turned. I didnt know anything. going up hills that I knew where there I couldnt tell if we were going up or down. My brain was completely empty.
That was it, how could I ever come back from that?
I was way too far gone.
I knew faces but I didnt know why I knew them.
I cant remember much from that night apart from the little detail I can spare.
For weeks and months afterwards, I would be getting these overwhelming “episodes” every few days for a hour or so.
Like I was on a movie set a lot of the time, there was nothing beyond the trees and buildings I was looking at. That specific thought was probably the most prominant. Atleast once a day if not more.
One of the worse was I was driving in work, and the trees and the lines on the floor were moving but the road was still and didnt change. I would often see weird shapes and very realistic things.
The majority of the episodes happened whilst I was driving, I once got over taken by an orange juice carton sat on a petrol generator. Another the road completely turned all yellow.
I would see some people as cartoons.
It was as if whenever I tried to focus or concentrate, my mind would play tricks.I was in Portugal on a stag weekend, the first night I woke up by some bins and had to find the hotel.
The next night i was looking over the balcony and was thinking.
Supposedly people are supposed to pass out before they hit the ground.
I knew that I would not of.
I welcomed it, to me it was the ultimate peace.
I put my headphones on and music brought me back down to earth.
Music has a lot more power than most know.
Thats when I knew I had to do something now.
I was still waiting to see the psychiatrist.
I could not wait any longer, so I paid to go private.
After the one session I was diagnosed with severe anxiety depression and a mild case of psycosis.
My sertraline went up and I was also prescribed quitiapine.
The consultant wanted to see me again, he also asked if I had ever been tested, or questioned about adhd.
After filling some forms and getting my parents to fill some I then taken them to him to examine and within the hour he diagnosed me with adhd, predominantly inatentive type.
I then seen the psychiatrist I was initialy reffered too. They had a completely different conclusion than the other.
I have been on both types of medication for about 10 months now and I have weaned down to the lowest dose on both.
I feel better than I did at my lowest but before this mad couple of years there has always been something underlying
Fed up of the whole chemical approach and the fatigue that comes with it I am stopping both and am going to try a period of microdosing psilocybin, just recommended doses to see what impact it may have on my life. If any.
All of which will be documented on this blog.
I have met some amazing people over this bumpy period.
Finding even one person that you can open completely too, will help you in more ways than you could ever imagine.
I met that human.
To which I probably owe my life.
This is my next chapter.
Well if you have managed to read all this without sleeping, I thank you and would like to invited you in to the community to share your thoughts among others that may be feeling fairly similar to yourself
I want to help others with some insight and gain a community within the weird world of our own minds.
How you can travel around the world up to the moon and back in one afternoon without getting off your settee at nearly 30. Haha