I grew up in South East London, and my dad grew up in a very poor area of Glasgow. He’s an addict and a narcissist. My mum was brought up in a very middle-class home with doctors for parents, but she has a depressive illness.
So growing up, I was stuck in between these two worlds. My dad would constantly shame me for being middle class, but I would always try to be more like him to gain his approval. They broke up when I was six, and I was so relieved, but my mum was very depressed. Much of my childhood was spent alone in house with my mum asleep. I struggled to make friends growing up, my sister was in care and my brother was an addict.
I’d be picking my brother up from the police station, then sat in the pub with my dad one weekend, and then my mum’s parents would take me to Venice the following weekend – it was world’s apart and although I was lucky, I didn’t know where I fit in.
My mum was diagnosed with Hepatitis C when I was 14 because she used to take heroin when she was much younger, and I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t tell anyone because there is such a stigma around drugs and addiction. We don’t see it as an illness.
I had all of these events happen, and throughout all of it, I just felt really alone, and ugly. I was bullied at school and my way of release was through sex and drug addictions.
I don’t remember my first drink, but I started drinking alone. My mum would always have alcohol in the house, so I would drink and talk to strangers on MSN messenger as I was so lonely. I was very vulnerable.
I started taking drugs when I was 14 – I thought this gave me an identity. By the time I was 15, I was isolated. I was addicted to cigarettes. I moved school but didn’t really go. My mum kicked me out. So I got a job, and I spent all of my money on my addictions. I got pregnant, and I had an abortion. I was in a co-dependent relationship where we both just took lots of drugs together. I became homeless at 17 and started squatting. From the age of 17 to 23 I was homeless, in squats or hostels or on the street.