I have recently set up a web site aimed to provide pet owners with information and products to help other people have a happy life with their pets.
In the summer of 1988 I suffered a breakdown caused by overwork and also personal problems with relationships. To cut a long story short I lost my highly paid job in advertising and was admitted to a mental institution where I was placed on drugs to try and control my anxieties and delusions.
This method only served to increase my anxiety as the drugs gave me side effects that included short term memory loss, motor problems with my muscles and weight gain, all of which were not explained and in my state of mind at the time my confidence sank to absolute zero so that when released to a day hospital it was a daily effort just to get on a bus to the day hospital I had been brainwashed by the drugs and institution so that the outside world was a very scary place.
I am a large man of 15 Stone 6ft tall and yet the bus journey was so anxiety creating that in fine weather I would rather walk 5 miles to the day hospital to avoid the ride.
When not at the day hospital I spent my days at home with my Mother mostly in my bedroom playing games on the computer and only venturing out to collect my benefit once a week from the Post Office, a trip I dreaded every week.
Then I went "online" and found myself in a chat room talking to a man in Illinois USA who had suffered brain injury from a cycling accident and was paralyzed down the whole of one side of his body. He did not let this stop him and last I heard he had a high powered job in Digital Imaging and had bought himself a custom built van so he could drive himself around.
We started to exchange ideas and created web sites and showed each other how to create amazing things utilizing the coding and tools available at that time. The friendship I had with this man (Jay Enloe) gave me confidence and I started to venture into the real world again.
Thanks to my Father I got a job with another advertising company but I found that time had moved on and prospects were virtually nil for getting up the employment ladder. In my time at this company I wanted to give my mother (who stood by me all this time) a holiday in the USA and we went in the autumn of 1991.
We had a great time but unfortunately when I got back I began to get frustrated with my work situation and on top of that I had still no personal relationship although it seemed everyone else was asking my advice on their own relationships.
I had another breakdown and spent a few years in and out of mental institutions and day hospitals until one day I just decided I had had enough and broke free of the comfortable family home and bought a flat in the winter of the millennium year.
I spent a lonely couple of months there sometimes in the darkest nights contemplating ending it all, until one day I thought "I know what I need is some company!" and I went out to a cat rescue center and found Jessie, a tortoiseshell cat so frightened and underweight she reminded me of myself. It took weeks of love and patience to get Jessie to even use the cat flap to go for a pee but once she made the first step there was no stopping her.
She quickly gained weight and confidence and started to make the area around the flat her domain, beating up any other cat or even small dog that came near. I thought at the time that as I had protected her so she was returning the favor. Anyway the upshot of this tale is that thanks to Jessie I started to feel more confident myself and went out most nights to socialize at the local pub, never drinking more than 2 pints as I was still on a certain amount of medication.
It was on one of these nights that I met Elaine who is now my wife and her 3 cats.
We have had four years of marriage now and life has thrown so many things at us including the loss of my Stepson Christopher, threats and vandalism on our previous home due to all I can think is small minded people who are so prejudiced on anyone being slightly different to themselves and through all this I suffered another breakdown. Well it's not surprising when you and your home is under attack, the first dead body you have seen in your life happens to be your stepson, and pressures from work seem to be mounting not dissipating.
Well that's the end of the sad story the moral of this story is that with love and understanding you can get through anything and my way of thanking Jessie is to keep her happy and healthy for the rest of her life and I advise you to do the same for your pets or if you have no pets then do it for your loved ones as I try to do every day of my life.