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“The Story So Far” was the first blog in my RIF’s Life Stories series, and since then I’ve received a ton of positive feedback which I’m grateful for. What I set out to achieve since posting that blog was to talk about me but I’ve yet to achieve that….
Now I’ve debated whether or not I should do this, weighted up the pros and cons, but after reading all the positive feedback I’ve received in the past I’m going to go for it.
My real name is Andrew David Sheriff. I’m 28 years old, I live in Sunderland and I have a learning disorder: Asperger’s Syndrome. Only a few selected people outside my family know about this.
A few years ago, I took part in a documentary about living with a mental illness for a friend in relation to some Uni project he was doing. We were at Seaburn Pier filming some ‘thinking’ shots, you them scenes in documentaries where the interviewer/ interviewee is staring off into the distance looking all reflective and deep in thought. Now when you’re out in public with a camera it’s going to attract attention (You’ve seen those “fuck her in the pussy” videos right?) and that was the case here.
Whiles we were filming, an elderly guy approached the camera crew and asked what we were doing.
“We’re filming a documentary”
“Okay, I see. What’s it about?”
“People living with certain issues like mental health, depression and learning disabilities”
Following the camera’s line of sight, he looked over towards me and pointed: “Oh is he mental?”
That guy had named that tune in one. Brilliant!
I don’t think he was being nasty about it at all. I just think it was a poor choice of words.
I’m certain I’ve got more stuff going on in my head than just that. I decided to take the Goldberg test online. The Goldberg test was developed by the psychiatrist Ivan K. Goldberg to highlight signs and symptoms associated with depression. We’ve seen it in the news and read it in the papers about how crippling depression can be, and when I read those horrible tweets from Katie Hopkins (if you’ve never heard of her then believe me you’re going to despise her) talking about how depression is the “fashionable” thing to have and people need to “get a grip”, no wonder people are ashamed to seek help. So I took the test, honestly answered every question and waited for the results to spring up:
“You are having suicidal thoughts. This is a serious warning sign, and you must seek help quickly. You have the symptoms of depression. These symptoms seem to cause a considerable amount of problems in your everyday life, and it would be advisable to consult a doctor.”
I don’t know how accurate this test is but when you read the sentence “you are having suicidal thoughts” that just about puts you on edge. Pretty much scares the shit out of you.
I’m also convinced that I have Bipolar too. When I read about the symptoms it’s like reading my own autobiography, everything just seems to click with me. Again, I decided to take an online test, and just like before, I answered all the questions as honestly as I could and the results suggested that with a score of 22+ (I got 33) is an overall accuracy of 80% in detecting bipolar disorder.
My communication skills aren’t the greatest, I admit, just because I don’t talk much doesn’t make me an arrogant person. I’m not an arrogant person. I just keep myself to myself because I feel much more comfortable that way.
Now that I’ve told you all of that I’ve just got one question for you….
Am I mental?