Not exactly sure where to start but I’ll probably give a few examples of where it all started to go wrong.
TW: Talks about drug usage, psychotic episodes
I feel it’s important to start this story at the very beginning. I was a 14-year-old boy who was just starting to become curious about the whole drug and rave scene. At this point in life, it just felt right as I was hopelessly rebellious. Flunking school and not aware of the long-term effects of what I was getting into or how it would affect me in later life. I remember smoking cannabis for the first time around this age, I had 6 drags on a joint and felt amazing. Now I don’t want to go into this whole “it’s a gateway drug” thing, I hate that, it’s a lot safer than other substances but it does kind of give a false narrative that you can safely take other substances without any repercussions and boy did I fall for that one. My first Ecstasy was around this time. Back in the old days those were not only expensive, but it was pure uncut pills that were floating around. I remember it vividly, a Pink New Yorker, damn, it was an amazing feeling, the world is a great place suddenly. At this point I had only really had half an Acid and as much Cannabis as my pocket money would allow me to buy.
I feel this is an important point in the story because as a young boy at that age my brain wasn’t fully developed, and I was starting to damage it. I always felt paranoid smoking weed but I always thought that was due to the lifestyle rather than the substance itself and I was wrong. I started getting into Cannabis more and more frequently and by the time I’d went to my first rave in 91 I was also getting into trouble with dealers because I only had a certain amount of money each week and my intake cost more than I was getting. I guess this was adding to the paranoia, a 10 spot to this guy and another 10 spot to another guy, both guys were getting avoided, it all adds up. Kids these days have no idea what they’re getting into, the drug market has changed, drastically, you never quite know what you’re getting these days unless you test and even if you do pills are beyond the 200 MG mark these days which is beyond ridiculous.
16-year-old me was a completely different person. Stupid and taking as much as I could get. I remember we used to hang about around a well-known park around these parts and the older crew all had cars with big sound systems. By the time we are at this stage the purity of pills had gone down, they were totally different, and God knows what they were cut with. So 1 became 2 and two became 3 etc, do you want a gram of whizz with that sir? hurry up and pass the joint mate. The first second you take feels just like the very first pill you took, I was dancing around like an idiot in the complete darkness of a car park in the middle of nowhere, truth is though, I felt amazing.
I stopped pills around the age of 18, haven’t had one since. I was a regular smoker of Cannabis from the age of 14 right to the age of around 23-24. This is where things started to go wrong for me mentally, still young and stupid, running about the streets high all the time. During this period the quality of drugs was poor, this is something I must make abundantly clear to people because now the drugs are completely different, stronger and there is the potential for them to do more damage. Back in the days the average street Cannabis was grade 3 Moroccan, soap bar they called it, remember that? At best, probably around 7% THC, bit of plastic, tastes like diesel sometimes etc etc. Scotland (where I live) has unfortunately long been a dumping ground for poor and generally bad drugs, I remember reading a warning in Mixmag about a batch of pills called Superman’s killing several people in Holland, I guess our guy had a contact who knew the people in Holland as he not only had them but was selling them for 20 quid a pop but was touting them as “the best thing since sliced bread”. The average pill price was probably between 5 and 10 pounds at this point to give you an insight.
Around the age of 23 I had a sneaky suspicion that something wasn’t quite right and went to the doctor for advice. She clocked the fact that I was starting to fall into the abyss right away and gave me a prescription of a drug called Mellaril and referred me to the local MHT. What she didn’t do was tell me I needed to keep taking the pills for a while and stop smoking weed. I didn’t continue with the anti-psychotic because it gave me a rather embarrassing side effect, something that is extremely common with anti-psychotic medicine, even today (food for thought). After about a week I stopped taking the pills and if I recall correctly, I didn’t bother going to see the Psychiatrist which in hindside was a huge mistake.
I remember looking at all friends and something in me told myself “These guys all look like people I know”. To try to explain that further, my friend David suddenly looked like a young Paul McCartney and my friend Scott suddenly looks the spitting image of Russel Brand. This seems to be a common indicator of Psychosis is starting to happen, I know that now, it’s been prevalent in every single one of my episodes.
At 25 I made the choice to go learn something at college, the DWP were on my back as I was claiming JSA from the age of 18 up till this point, it was different back then, you could easily claim and there would be no one checking to see if you searched for a job, every penny I got went on drugs. The next 4-5 years are etched in my mind as probably the darkest period of my life to date.
Just before I signed up to go to college, I had been helping with a PA hire company where I was basically paid with free entry to events and access to Cannabis, everyone loves free Cannabis right?
It was great, not going to lie. Met so many people who I have huge respect for, Ritchie Hawtin the lot. This was my inspiration to get off my arse and go to college, I genuinely thought I would become a sound engineer with this course and had no idea that I would be learning to write my own music which will be a huge part of this story just directly.
If you’ve ever lived the student life, you’ll know that all you do is get high all day, every day. This was a weird time; I was slipping further and further into a psychotic episode all throughout the 3 years I was at college. The 4th year was a big one though because I eventually went to Uni to get me a degree and I also met someone who I shall for the purpose of this story I’ll call “James”. James was a Cannabis dealer who was my first guy to have a constant supply of Skunk. Scotland caught onto the whole grass scene quite late in respect to other countries. I had a whole student loan to spend on Skunk, isn’t that great? Unfortunately for me the answer would be no.
After a period of regularity smoking this stuff, it was becoming abundantly clear to other people that something was going wrong with me, which is something that you don’t recognise yourself, I would catch friends making strange faces in reaction to things I had done or my personal hygiene would be lacking etc, all signs that something is drastically wrong. By this time, it’s too late, damage done. Psychosis is unlike anything I have ever experienced, people that have never experienced it will never truly understand it. It feels so right yet in reality it is so wrong, it’s hard to explain but I’ll do my best.
I remember looking at all friends and something in me told myself “These guys all look like people I know”. To try to explain that further, my friend David suddenly looked like a young Paul McCartney and my friend Scott suddenly looks the spitting image of Russel Brand. This seems to be a common indicator of Psychosis is starting to happen, I know that now, it’s been prevalent in every single one of my episodes. Then the delusions start. Those are like a never-ending jigsaw, doesn’t matter how many pieces you stick together there is always one more, everything leads to another thing. That is probably glamourising things but listen to the voice of reason, living with Psychosis is far from fun.
I think you’ve built a picture of my student life by now, so I’ll skip forward to just after Uni. Good news is I got a degree, bad news is I’ve still got money and a connection to Skunk which is something I miss terribly to this day.
Just after leaving Uni things got so bad that even I said enough is enough and I stopped the weed. The timescale of what happens next is a bit of a distant memory, but I reckon I was at least a year to a year and a half clean but as I have already mentioned the damage had already been done and with each day, I was getting worse.
Music plays a big part in my life as you might have guessed but I will say that my relationship with music is a complex story. To this day I still believe that the next part of this story was reality even though logistically it is virtually impossible that this happened, some of it did and this is where reality meets fiction, and the true reality of Psychosis becomes blatantly apparent. I’m sitting in my room playing around with music and I switch on the radio, this is something I don’t normally do, except for the odd dance music thing. As I’m listening the songs being played, I start to notice similarities in something I’ve just wrote on my computer myself and the music that’s being played in the radio show, of course this wasn’t real but even to this day there is something in the back of my mind that say it was. Not only that but it’s as if the DJ who is in the radio seems to be communicating with me in some sort of code that I can only describe as certain words or letters in words seem to sound louder than others (amplitude) and I’m interpreting this as communication. At the same time as all this I’m starting to think that I have uncovered some sort of real conspiracy, and this is where it starts to get complex.
I begin to listen more and more to the radio believing that all the DJs know what is happening to me and are in on “getting revenge”, yea I know! I’m not a big fan of pop music but I was listening to an Eminem song and completely wrongly so thinking that I had written the music for it, and they somehow had stolen it from me, Coldplay, Madonna and other people like the sugar babes all suddenly had somehow stolen music from me. Now I know this is logistically impossible for this to be reality, well unless the illuminati are real (lol) but to the person who is suffering from these kinds of delusions it is very real to them, I honestly cannot stress how important this is if you’re ever dealing with someone who is suffering from Psychosis.
Then the cross over to dance music happened and again same thing, these people have stolen my music! Unlike big pop stars the DJs involved in dance music are easier to get a hold of as they have emails plastered all over the net. I’ve always been into drum and bass as well as other types of dance music so naturally those shows that feature this kind of music on the radio I’m drawn to. Now this is probably one of the most cringeworthy things I have ever done but as I’m listening to Fabio and Grooverider on the radio 1 drum and bass show I start to believe that they’re also in on this getting revenge thing with me. I start to email them, daft things like “it’s me” “I’m heading down to London, will get you outside the BBC”. It’s around this point that my first “trip” to London happens. I managed to scrape enough money together for a flight down to Luton with a few quid left over for cheap hotel and a night in the end where I saw Nookie, Fabio and Bukem, I mean if a guy like Fabio starts to call you don’t let him down right? I was also convinced that Bukem was in on this, in fact by now most of my attention had shifted away from Fabio and Grooverider and switched to Bukem at this point, and I started to approach Nookie asking him “when’s Dan on mate” and other things like this, mega funny looking back on it and highly cringeworthy now that I’ve had time to sit and look at it. Cringing while looking back at the things you did during a psychotic episode is actually part of the disease, probably one of the reasons why there is a high amount of suicides in the people who suffer from it, well just one of the reasons, flashbacks are pretty horrendous, it’s just something you learn to live with, to begin with it’s really hard but if you’re lucky you figure out a way to live with it, you need to be strong, no matter how bad you get just remember there is someone out there who loves you, that one has kept me going till now.
So, standing in the End thinking how to approach Bukem and then he appears and begins to start his set. Casually I walk up to him and present an internet café ticket with my online name written on it, he looks at it and just looks at me with a confused face, hands me the ticket back and continues to mix. That was the end of that then, wasn’t it? Nope. I’m devastated, felt like I’d been let down by an old friend and by now my delusions are of the type that I truly believe I’m going to be a huge star. So back to Scotland I go. At this point I’m carrying around 29 CDs full of all my music files thinking that it's damaging evidence and I’m extremely paranoid about someone getting a hold of them. I’m carrying them all around everywhere I go. On the train back to Scotland I notice someone looking at me with a rather angry look, probably because I was starring at him for ages but I started believing he was a hitman.
When I get back the first thing I do Is start taking notes about what is “happening” and I’m sitting wrecking my head, literally, thinking how am I going to deal with this? I’d been using cracked software, it’s just something that people did back then. I had a spontaneous idea that I could use this to my advantage by phoning up Scotland’s Cyber Crime squad and telling them everything about how I had been downloading pirated software from a website soundstudio.ru and had been hacked by someone who had stolen all my creativity and sold it to other musicians. To be fair to the police they did send two officers out to discuss this with me and they basically told me there was nothing they