What happens after all my trauma? My father had died in a fatal trench cave-in at work. His mum died mowing the laws. Massive heart attack. I was very close to her and stayed with all the time on weekends after my father’s death. My mother was an emotional wreck and had no idea how to deal with me and had a number of less than ideal boyfriends. She finally settled with an alcoholic who became my stepfather and offered her twenty years of misery and tears.
Well, my first decision was to leave school at fifteen and go to work. My first job was with my uncle stacking pailings all day in a sawmill. I slept on his couch and he was a kind heart fellow but he and his wife lead a crazy party lifestyle. It includes domestic violence and they had five dependant child too. This was a short-lived experience because I said to myself, ” there must be a better way to make money”?
I heard there were a painting and decorating apprenticeship going on the little country town I lived in. So I went to the local pub and asked the potential employer for the job. I was successful and started my new job as a house painter. I thought this job was a walk in the park in comparison to the sawmill experience! Anyway, I lasted about two years and my life was just a mess still in terms of alcohol abuse overnight stays in jail for drinking underage and confusion about my moods and sometimes hallucinations. I was a very confused and lost young adolescent. The place I lived was beautiful in terms of country life and money was not an issue. Country life in Tasmania is lovely, however, my internal world was a mess and my understanding of life was death and misery.
I was suffering from extreme loss and grief and experienced abuse on so many levels as a young teenager. I will not get into the abuse detail, however verbal and physical was the commonly used and it has left a devastating neurological and physiological puzzle for me at times to piece together. This puzzle about who I thought I was and what I thought life was about lead to some decisions that would stay with me for many years to come.
I left my apprenticeship after two years. I had to get out of Tasmania in my opinion, hypothesising, these people and this place is adding to my confusion and emotional pain. I phoned my unite in Melbourne, my father sister, she did not hesitate in letting me move into her place with her family. I stayed on a top bunk for fifty dollars a week and found a job painting almost immediately with a cousin who lived in Melbourne for two hundred and fifty dollars a week, I was set. I rode my uncles push bike to the cousin’s house about twenty minutes away then get on the back of his motorbike to travel to work. This was not an issue because I saw life as a big adventure and this was just fun and an exciting new life and experience.
I was about eighteen at this stage and I was still wondering what hell I should do. This house was full of alcohol abuse and violence too. My grandfather had a room there. This was my fathers-dad who I was glad to see and very fond of. Three children, four counting me and three adults in a four-bedroom home was fun on so many levels most of the time and the same old story in terms of poor adult behaviour. I was started to think I need to get the fuck away from all these crazy relatives, family friends and anyone I know.
So, the Royal Australian Navy is my next chapter.
You will see how this crazy confused kid navigates through life with mental illness.