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I remember myself from the age of four. We were standing near the house of my mother's friend and chatting with her daughter. We were wearing the same caps. Then I actually don't remember much. I knew we had long walks with my mother and father, went fishing and mushrooming, swimming and visiting our datcha, but it's vague. I only know I had a good childhood and I was happy. At five I started to read and my father showed me how to play chess. These two things were always the best in my life.

When I was eight, I went to school. There life wasn't so cheerful. Pupils bullied me. I didn't want to talk to them. Was afraid of teachers too, so I could hardly answer their questions. Only in writing I could do well. I always wrote good essays at school. At home I was studying chess and reading a lot of books. Started from fairy-tales, I soon got to more serious literature, and it was my main joy. I hardly ever socialized. I never had any friends at school. I was just sitting and reading books for hours. I met people in books. I was writing short stories and poems from the age of seven.

I had been going to the art school for seven years. I actually wanted to attend music school, but had no money for instrument. Music was always the most beautiful thing in my life. No one bulled me there, but still I couldn't manage to make any friends. I was always alone, drawing some pictures in my corner. When I was thirteen, my granny, a biology teacher, gave me some books among which was Brehm's Life of Animals. It determined my interest for biology. I started to grow fishes and snails at home, dreaming to create a new gorgeous sort of guppies. At thirteen I started to have notions that God is watching me everywhere and that there’re cameras somewhere in my room.

The problems at school started about at the age of thirteen too. I was so afraid I couldn't go to answer teachers questions in front of the whole class. Pupils laughed at me. When I was at home, I could hardly remember the things we had to learn by heart or paraphrase. I was so afraid to go to school I sometimes went for a walk instead of lessons. I was horrified a teacher might ask me and I couldn't recall anything. Often teachers asked me if I study at home at all. They didn't believe I was tediously preparing for every lesson. Once I got so exhausted by preparing for exams, I felt unable to do anything. I was just sitting on the bed and sorting out some ribbons for hours.

Pupils bullied me or ignored, as I wasn't able to talk to them. And they thought me silly. I got some good grades for subjects I liked most and those that didn't require learning things by heart. When I was fifteen, a chess club was opened in our little town, and I went there to get acquainted to lots of nice and intelligent people and to attend tournaments. Also I continued to write poems. At the age of sixteen I started to have strange notions. I started to have severe insomnia from seventeen, was prescribed meds, but they were too sleepy, and I gave it up. So it became typical of me to go to bed at 3am. At that time I was only good at math, literature, English and biology at school. It restricted my choice for further education. I entered a good university not far from my town to become an English teacher. It saved money too.

 

At university things got a little better. I started to have some kind of memory. I was getting ready for examinations, I learned how to remember things for a day or two. Then everything was erased from my memory. But I managed to pass exams well. Sometimes things got shown when I was passing some psychology tests. I was avoiding public speeches. Teachers suspected something. Sometimes I was not very logical when writing my papers. But that was all. Things changed when I was twenty two. My father got sick with cancer and died in a year. At that time I became paranoid and started to think people were after me on the Internet. I suspected lots of people to chase me. It went on for about three years, till I finally had a psychosis with voices and was sectioned. I had to give up chess from tiredness and memory lapses, and I've not been playing for three years already. Had to give up some good jobs too. Now looking back at all this, I see I might have been ill since childhood and was struggling all the time to be "not worse" than others, though it took all my energy. I couldn't manage to keep sane, but at least I managed to grow into a person. I managed not to do much harm in my life and be intelligent enough. I gained some good friends when I started to take meds. Meds made me socialize more. Life wasn't perfect, but I had some joy, and it's still not over. Pages of my life aren't counted yet.


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