I was always the weird kid in grade school. Awkward both physically and socially I was the kid everyone picked on. It didn't help that my family moved around quite a bit and I always felt like the new kid. By the ninth grade things had gotten better. I wasn't being made fun of, I had friends, I even knew a girl I was sure would go out with me if I asked. Naturally this meant it was time for my family to move.
Suddenly, I was back to square one. I had no friends and didn't know how to make any. I didn't really blame anyone for us moving; I had far too practical an outlook for that. But, that didn't change my situation. I was alone and my sense of alienation soon became overwhelming.
One unfortunate Saturday I started thinking of suicide. I dwelled on the idea all morning and afternoon. The thought of solving all my problems was intoxicating. That's not how things turned out. In a fashion that has never been clear to me, my rage turned outward instead. Instead of simply killing myself, I killed a family member first. I have no doubt that left uninterrupted, I would have killed myself also. But instead, I fled the house; after having plunged a knife into my chest. I soon calmed down and returned; I was taken to a hospital for treatment and then to jail.
I don't consider my alienation an excuse. It's not even all that good an explanation. But, I can't change the past; I have to live with it instead. I mention the murder here simply for context. Without knowing about it, huge chunks of my past make no sense. In particular, the fact that I was there on a criminal commitment explains how I could spend so much time in a state hospital without actually being mentally ill.
Over the years a few acquaintances have known the truth. Once people get to know me it isn't as hard to get them to accept the truth about me as it would be if it were the first thing they knew. I always try to be a nice guy. My shyness sometimes makes me appear aloof and there are times where I appear a condescending jerk; but I'm never mean or hateful. Most importantly, since I'm far more comfortable on the intellectual plane than the physical, I'm almost completely non-violent. People are able to pick up on this and don't feel threatened by me.