It was 1994. I was a master of science in computing. Potential colleagues with bachelor's degrees in computing would no longer hurl the insult "hacker" at me. My MSc soon led to another programming job, it lasted three days! My stress levels stopped me writing code. I just messed at the keyboard to make it sound like I was working. In fact, persecutory ideas were there from day one.
Therefore, on day four my mother rang in for me and said I was schizophrenic! The boss didn't know what to say, apart from thankfully adding that he'd not sent my P45.
Years ago Clare had professionally sang at Winwick hospital. Another coincidence we shared was that both our pianos came from the same dealership in a Lancashire mill. My father described the owner as a loveable rogue. I doubt he knew what CVs were, and he was both funny and charming. He played piano very well and held two fellowship diplomas in organ playing.
Clare took me back to the mill to see if I might be employable. It turned out that piano tuning had become possible with electronics. If I got the equipment I could have a go. Luckily my dad bought the expensive gadgets, and bizarrely we found an advert for the other tools in the paper. By chance someone had just retired. I soon looked professional with my Accu-Tuner I and its posh case!
In time I became a skilled tuner. I worked at the mill Saturday and Sunday every weekend for two years.
The mental health significance of this surrounds my relationship with an elderly man who taught piano there. He'd made his own makeshift studio in the mill's vastness. As he was both self-taught and extremely advanced on piano I liked and admired him implicitly. Of course I trusted him.
On first meeting, my excitement to try out my new tuning stuff for the very first time, led to selfishness. I disturbed his lesson badly. A few weeks later he disturbed me with a power drill. It was directly behind the wall where I was tuning. I mentioned as a joke, but he read it as a complaint.
It took him one or two minutes of monologue to completely annihilate me. He destroyed my confidence and seriously affected my trust. Many of his words were psychological sounding. He used no expletives and didn't name calling. As he was almost three times my age, I assumed I was wrong and he was right, absolutely regardless of anything. Later in life I realised that doesn't always follow.
I was soon at square one again. I stopped trusting Clare. I'd just stare at the wall and obsess about the bizarre monologue and anything relate. Becoming increasingly psychotic, I was home visited by my GP. Thankfully he thought I wasn't as bad as last time, despite me saying Clare was trying to harm me. Nevertheless I was referred to the Priory for the second time.
After medication and some talking therapies I was better in a few weeks. Life long prophylactic medication would be strongly recommended if I was ill again.
I returned to the mill. "Running away" was not an option, but there was a lot of air to clear. I didn't expect a recurence of what happened, but the teacher and I were now likely to be no more than colleagues in effect.
I had both liked and put my trust in an eccentric seventy year old man. I assumed he was wise would would act accordingly. I made a mistake, but I carried on liking him.