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  • I was tired of being upset, always wanted something I never could get...

    My first loves. My first sex.

    All happened in the midst of treatment for clinical depression. Diagnosed in my teens, and I was in group therapy with a number of equally depressed young men and women.

    Life's the illusion, love is the dream...

    At that point, life was the illusion. All of us were barely hanging on with coping - or not coping - strategies that simply did not fit the world. Love was the dream, a hunger that forced us fleetingly out of the pit of despair. Sex was wild - more animal and more uninhibited than any I have known since. We were animal. Some days, that's all we had. It hurt too much otherwise.

    It was pointless trying to spin these encounters into any convention of normality. Dysfunction was the rule, we only played at being boyfriend or girlfriend. A lifetime's conventional courtship could be squeezed into one hour, ending with us dripping with sweat, too wasted to go on but with every nerve alive and burning.

    Eventually, most of us pulled out. Some did not make it. The suicides I have largely blocked. As a form of a normal life began to shape itself around me, the encounters of those truly crazy days were pushed back into uneasy memories.

    It took decades to fully overcome the depression that plagued me then. Newer generations of anti-depressant drugs made - and still make - a vast difference. I wouldn't say I truly understood love until my mid-thirties. A lot of women came into my world before then. Good times and bad times.

    I could say, I wish some of it had never happened. But that would be to negate to reality of my journey. I am what I today because of what happened then. I can't pretend to be wiser or smarter than anyone else. I can say I am survivor.

    (Lyric quotes (by Pete Shelley) from The Buzzcocks' "Everybody's Happy Nowadays", a song from the soundtrack of those times.)
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