A Secret No Longer

Caleb Chafe
Mad in America
January 29, 2019

I have written my story before (“A Best Kept Secret,” 2016), and sharing it made a profound impact on my life; it allowed me to heal. It gave hope to others, set me free and was the beginning of my journey into finally getting accepted in a world that had once rejected me. As I have gone back and reread the story years later, I have come to realize how much of my story was left out, how much it has changed and how much richer it is now. So I wanted to revisit my story, but this time, I will focus more on the facts of my life and less on the description of my psychosis, the effects of medication and my job. I will begin this story in a very similar way as the last one, at the beginning.

When I was a child I was considered peculiar, I did terribly in school, felt disconnected from many of my classmates, hated my teachers and spent many days sitting in the principal’s office. As I got older I found a group of people who felt the same way I did. We spent most of our school days and afternoons “getting high” in the woods, skateboarding, listening to music and indulging in hallucinogenic substances. It was a subculture that brought me belonging, acceptance and a feeling of connectedness in what at the time I believe was a very ugly world.

As the years progressed my cannabis use turned slowly into cocaine and heroin use. And things started to unravel very quickly. I was arrested at seventeen for a possession of cocaine, where I was tried as an adult and faced jail time. I was let off with probation but I had lost my job as a result, along with my internship at the elementary school. My depression became painful, so I took solace in a recovery group and started a Suboxone program. Shortly into the recovery group I found out that the person running the group was taking an unhealthy interest in me and was in fact a child predator. This only reconfirmed my distrust and hatred of our world.