How did I survive care and prison? I was luckier than the sharp, funny kids I grew up with

After time in a children’s home, then jail, I got a break that helped me turn my life around and become a writer. Shamefully, I am a walking, talking anomaly

My first time at rock bottom came early. I was an infant when my mum fled with me and my brother to a refuge, to escape violence at home. This period of fear was brief, but it left an indelible mark. The chaos and trauma from these years manifested in my flailing limbs during desperate temper tantrums, in which my mum would hear every epithet I could think of while her whole bookcase crashed down our stairs.

For as long as I can remember, I have been told that there is something wrong with me, that I am different, naughty, need help; and that chemicals would make me better, make me good. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the medicalised term for my condition, which proved incompatible with mainstream schools, where pirouetting in maths class like a drunk gymnast was not appreciated.

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