Imagine yourself in this predicament–your mother is in the hospital, and to make matters worse, you have your own personal Hell on Earth to face.
For me, Daniel Stephen Hooley, in October 2003, THAT was my EXACT reality.
Growing up in my hometown of Statesboro, Georgia, near the Georgia coast, you readers could say I had an odd, yet strangely normal childhood.
I was born on December 9, 1984. At about age 3, I was diagnosed by my medical doctor in the Georgia coast with severe Autism, a serious mental illness affecting 1 in 150 kids born in the U.S. today.
From what I’ve been told in recent years, I had the classic case of Autism, yet in spite of that, I remember doing as much regular-kid things I could possibly do–until I was 11 years old, not long after I started my 6th-grade year of academic life, when my then-current teacher thought it would be a great idea to have a group of boys in my class take turns each day holding my penis for me as I tried peeing.
Instead, THAT was just the beginning of my low self-esteem issues–and a practice I later learned was called Physical Restrainment, which is still legal in EVERY U.S. State except Texas.
As if THAT wasn’t Hellish enough, my 7th-grade teacher got me into trouble at school EVERY DAY–9 out of 10 times for nothing.
By age 15, just before ending my Freshman year of High School, I was in an all-but Mental seclusion, having inadvertently ended a high-school crush I’d had since 8th grade over a misunderstanding and taking every little thing too seriously.
The misunderstanding wasn’t all bad, however, as I soon began to develop, the Spring of my 10th grade year of high school, a crush on a female classmate I’d met earlier that year–a decision that turned out to be a BIG mistake.
In the late afternoon hours of May 7, 2003, I learned just weeks shy of my high-school graduation that my then-crush was both seeing (and premaritally fucking) a guy a year older than us–to whom she’s since married and has an infant daughter with.
As if THAT wasn’t bad enough, the week of Halloween that year, my mother was admitted to the local Statesboro hospital–only to be transferred an hour away, to Savannah, where the residing physician had determined that the Statesboro doc had damaged her left foot beyond repair–and was forced to amputate it.
I’m not gonna kid you readers and say that my environment eventually caused my separate diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at age 17, but it certainly DID NOT help matters.
In fact, just 24 hours after a civil court case involving myself and my then-crush (not to mention 6 weeks after winding up hospitalized myself for psychiatric reasons), I TRIED to commit suicide.
HOW?! By hanging my right foot onto the telephone wires.
Flash forward 2 years later, to April 2006–I just completed my 3rd week of college when I met and fell instantly in love with a different girl I’d met in my college.
True, there was an initial error in judgment on my part similar to what I’d gone through growing up, but what made THIS one different was that she eventually forgave me for that error–and in the process, I was able to forgive MYSELF (and others who had treated me poorly growing up) too for EVERYTHING that had gone wrong in my youth.
My point in sharing my story with you is that there IS light at the end of the tunnel and, although I haven’t seen my college crush since leaving the college life behind, I still hold a special place in my heart for her and try to pass along my eternal happiness everywhere I go because of her.