If you wondered what it is that PoetsIN do that is so different, here’s it all packaged up in one self explanatory post. Luke is one of our longest serving service users who has suffered with psychosis and self harm, prompted by an imagined force known as Stargazer.
When Luke is in a dark place, he writes it out – something he learned to adopt through our workshops, and has been active in doing for two years now. We then post much of what he writes in our groups and wait for the inevitable supportive words of the community.
When Luke reads those comments, they lift him, reinforcing that he is not alone. This is the essence of what PoetsIN is all about. Community, support, words and eroding isolation.
Here, we share with you Luke’s (trigger warning attached) words on how he has dealt with Stargazer. We have also shared with you some of the comments from community members. The group is safe, supportive and troll-free, you can see why and how it works. Join us.
Stargazer and Luke
A six-year-old child playing at the bottom of the garden all alone was making perfume from the roses freshly picked.
A normal activity for a youngster. Yet there was something profoundly different with this child.
Quiet and haunted eyes searched the shadows looking for any signs of danger. There were many evil things in the world and at this young age, many of these evils had come their way. Far too many.
A quiet and gentle soul tortured by others, was being watched over by what could only be perceived as a guardian angel. Or at least that’s what it felt like.
Humming along to a made-up tune, a voice come to the child. Soft and cautious as not to frighten. It was barely a whisper, but Luke didn’t flinch. The presence felt right and safe.
“My name is Stargazer.”
“Why are you called that?” Asked the child.
“Because I watch from the stars.” Was the reply.
That’s the beginning of a story that takes Luke on an adventure of a lifetime. Something that Luke begged for, for as long as he could remember.
A constant companion Stargazer became. At times only heard, but often was a physical apparition. Stargazer came in the form of a ball of different colours. Surrounded by an aura of ever changing hues.
Before Stargazer came to Luke in a physical sense, he had watched the horrors the kid had to suffer. Beatings, locked away in the dark, even raped. No child should be subjected to such. Stargazer was the avenger and he would help Luke teach those who would cause harm that it would not go unpunished. But the training would be long. No way could a small infant inflict the pain that Stargazer knew was needed. Innocence still ever present.
Stargazer became a regular sight over the next six years or so. It started off with car journeys. Stargazer would zoom along with the car on the motorway, weaving in and out of other vehicles. It was so much fun to watch.
Soon it became a game of what car should blow up. If they cut us up or aggressively overtook us, then Stargazer would suggest ways in which to get them back. At the time it was just that. A game. But by the age of ten things began to change.
Life at home was difficult and at school the bullying started. Luke’s mental health took a turn for the worse and Stargazer was an ever-present entity who was seeking to get revenge on those who were hurting him. Adults were spying on him. Other kids were plotting their next ambush. Paranoia set in –big time.
So Luke began to build a ‘murder box.’ It had a list of ever changing names on it. People who needed to be taught a lesson. Inside the box it contained all that he thought he would need to kill someone. A knife –the choice of weapon- gloves, cable ties, and rope.
He kept the box well-hidden at the back of the wardrobe, but every time he felt in need of comfort –the box and Stargazer would be brought out.
It wasn’t long though before it had been discovered. Luke had written some extensive plans in his journal and his mum had read it. Confronted with the box and journal, Luke just shrugged it off. But his mum was pretty disturbed and got in touch with the school. At the age of 13 Luke was forced into a counseling programme.
This lasted about 18 months, talking but never revealing Stargazer.
Until that is, Ms. Smith came along. Luke developed an unhealthy obsession with this teacher. Still to this day a reason for this isn’t clear, however, it was the catalyst that would change Luke forever.
Stargazer was jealous of Ms. Smith. Probably because Luke spent more time thinking about her than him.
The feelings that Luke had were not reciprocated though. This brought confusion and anger. Stargazer stepped up to the plate as best friend and protector. She needed to be taught a lesson on respect.
So the stalking began.
The slide happened in the blink of an eye. Luke ended up being expelled from school. A death threat to the teacher has taken him to another level. One that would end up having dire consequences.
At the age of 25, Luke was married and living the high life. No one knew the extent of the lie which was the perfectly looking life. After several years of ‘bliss’ the cracks began to show once more. Having spent five or six years free of Stargazers influence, he came back. Not only was he back for good, but his rage and hell-bent on revenge locked Luke in a battle that he knew he’d never win.
It wasn’t until Luke was sectioned in 2008 that anyone really had a clue what was going on. But it felt right to explore the option of outing Stargazer. This, however, did not go the way Luke was hoping. No one really believed in Stargazer, not in the literal sense. “It’s all a figment of your imagination…” He was constantly told. Yet Luke knew different.
How can something be around since his early childhood and be just a hallucination? Not possible! The strong meds Luke was put on did very little apart from slowing down the world.
Things were still spiraling out of control and it seemed like no one cared.
On 31st August 2010, Stargazer sent Luke his final mission. Something that would show the people –the unbelievers- what was real.
A woman Luke had a grievance with was to get a visit. Her last ever one.
Armed with a knife, Luke walked the two miles to her home. No rational thoughts, just the mission. Stargazers encouragement gave Luke comfort. He wasn’t in this alone.
An hour later Luke was handcuffed. Things had not gone to plan and Stargazer had disappeared. For the first time in his life, Luke was alone in his own head.
Sentenced to an indeterminable sentence, Luke faced a potential lifetime in prison. Aggravated burglary with intent to endanger life.
Luke, terrified, was led from dock to a waiting. Taken to prison where his life would be changed forever.
Eight years later -I’m still sat in prison. Stargazer a slowly receding memory. At times I still hear an echo. But the therapy and all the support being given –something people outside of the prison failed to offer –plus a great deal of hard work from me and I’ve got my life back. Coming to prison saved my life and quite possibly someone else’s too.
I now know that Stargazer is a part of me. Not real as in being another person, but real in the sense that I live and breathe and because of that –so does Stargazer. Yet I have learned to be the one in control. Revenge, vengeance, death and destruction, is not how I’ll save myself.
I still have a long journey ahead. Being in prison is really just the beginning. It’s my training ground. I can get things wrong here but pick up and try again. Out there in the big wide world… now that will be the test.
Putting Stargazer to rest is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. For 30 years he has been by my side. But now is the time to say ‘fare thee well…’ I need to create a life for myself now and even though that’s a scary prospect, it’s also one I’m looking forward to. I am lucky to have a great deal of support through family and friends, PoetsIN has been one of my saviours too.
The past two years have had its bumps in the road, but thankfully it’s not too bad.
I’m on my way towards home, wherever that may be. I can’t wait to get there and begin a new adventure. Hopefully psychosis free!
The PoetsIN Community Comments
MN- WOW!! This is both harrowing and amazing. The story itself is compelling and comes from an authentic heart. The writing though is superb, the way you switched from past to present tense created such a huge impact to this wonderful piece. On a different note, you always have our love and support, you are one strong motherfucker Luke.
NH- this brought tears flooding to me, as I can relate how psychosis really is as I too have suffered and been sectioned myself. It can be devastating and demoralising. I’m so glad you have found a road to recovery. There will always be crossroads and bumps on the windy roads of life. A true eye opener for others. I hope your new adventures will be a truly wonderful and pleasant time ahead. Keep on writing, all of us here will guide you as much as we can to stay on that road and not wander off. Take care and much love, peace.
HF- I read this earlier and meant to comment. It’s been quite the journey for our friend, but I’m so happy to see him finally reaching the other side of his pain. It has been, and will continue to be, a long road, but this story here reveals the glimmers of hope shining through. Sending all my love and support his way.
Sts- Squeaky, you are a survivor. You have done so much to help yourself. You are truly on your way home. Continue to share your story to be a great inspiration to others. Never give up!
B- Damn, that was a powerful read. Honest, raw, and intense. But filled with an undefinable sense of hope. Luke, keep growing, fighting, and inspiring, and please never stop writing, your words are gold, and so is your heart.
K- oh, my dear friend… you do know how I so love your writes. Kudos, lovely.
AC- Wow, Luke. This is breathtaking. So very honest and open and something that people NEED to read. You are such a brave human being. It is an honor to read your words, it really is.
I also want to say this, aside from all of the emotional context and the sheer balls it takes to do what you’re doing and share the way you do, this writing is fantastic. You are a WONDERFUL writer.
I don’t get all spiritual and metaphysical and airy on people often, but you truly have a gift. With everything you’ve been through, the stories you have to tell, it’s like you’ve been given a conduit to express in such a graceful, impactful, and damned impressive way. It comes naturally to you, and it’s so obvious when reading this. Just gorgeous all around, Luke. Bravo!
JM- this is an amazing piece, I read but didn’t comment at first because I’m, well, speechless.
F- What a powerful, honest and truly brilliant piece of writing. Thank you so much for sharing and giving us some insight into all you have been through. It is a great lesson in what early trauma can do to us and how we can be helped to work through it and lay it to rest. The best of luck with the rest of your journey and please keep writing as you are very talented. Bravo!
C- this is beyond amazing!!
KB- This is a raw write that shall stay with me for quite some time. Written so beautifully, so wrapped in distant tragedy and uplifting hope. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing so wonderfully well and so painfully honest.
Fs- oh goodness! This touched me deeply. I feel your anguish which you’ve revealed in such a matter of fact way. Your journey has been a hard one, but I’m glad you have found a new destination. May you grow from strength to strength. May you find peace and happiness which you so deserve. You’re truly an inspiration my friend.
MP- hey tough guy, keep writing! A real insightful piece, great job!
BA- The complex nature of thought combined with a duality of being is forcefully and beautifully exposed in this piece. It is something I have but a small understanding. Now I know more. I see hope and change. Keep at this, write, and share. Thank you for putting this out here for us to see and feel.
Va- you have come a long way and your writings have matured. Giving an insight into your real life is brave, especially when we all know the world is so judgmental. Kudos to you my friend!
ME- oh how I wish I hadn’t have read this… now my own writing inadequacies are even more apparent. Ho hum. Such is life. Totally amazing write by the way.
Ij- Luke, this is a beautifully written, very raw piece. To write so clearly about pain is to face pain straight on. You are strong, and I think you’re learning that on a very deep level. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Cn- Thank you for sharing this to us. There is soul in this great piece of yours. I was glad I took the time to read it. You’re amazing!
AD- I’m new here, and not seen your progression, but for what I’ve read, it’s visually stunning and stunningly written. And shows how much reality and fantasy can collide. If this is a turning point for you, then good luck on your journey!
CB- Words are intoxicating aren’t they. We can find ourselves by finding the right words.
Stargazer pressed Luke into committing murder. Luke didn’t kill though.. But intended to.
The charismatic Stargazer, a friend and mentor, strong and logical in a dark misguided, simple way…existed because of Luke… Stargazer’s thoughts and ideas came from Luke’s brain.. We are all two people… sometimes more… but who the fuck needs a committee right?
I’m not interested in Stargazer, I’m interested in Luke.
Good for you in striving to understand your universe. You are pressing forward and through your writing, your teaching, may help others suffering personality disorders through nature/nurture and depressive illness.
Class piece of writing. It is honest and reflective. Cheers. Onward and upward pal.
Fa- I am interested in Luke too. What do you feel inside now Luke? We as humans are extremely complicated beings. This piece of writing is so strong it utterly fascinated my interest in cause and effect. I have forever wondered why some people can suffer similar circumstances yet react so differently to them. Part of it, I would imagine, is that we are born with different personalities and what happens to us triggers who we are, to an extent at least. Luke, you are an amazing writer. To me, life is about learning, changing our ways of thinking and learning to forgive those who have hurt us in the past. You cannot change the past, you can only change the future. I have made lots of mistakes in my life, have hurt people unnecessarily, and they have also done that to me. The only way in life is to keep walking forwards, acknowledge your past, then let it float down the river. It’s the only way to free your soul from its pain. I defy any one of us anywhere on this planet to have not have made mistakes. I’ve made plenty. What is important is being able to understand your own pain and then is the point that you can begin to forgive and look at life in a new light. Keep going and once more, never stop writing. You will get there.
FB- Well, it’s no secret that I’ve absolutely loved learning about you, your journey, and your struggles through your writing, and have simply loved your writing!! You’ve secured a special place in my heart, and your courage to reveal yourself to us in so many ways is something I truly admire! Each of your pieces are so different, but all of them are compelling works of art, using your personal life as the foundation. You will always be in my heart and mind, and I often think of you when the trivial bumps in my life get me down. You’ve been to hell and back, and you keep driving toward a better emotional and physical life! Tons of love and admiration for you, Luke!! We are all holding your hand on this journey of yours and your triumphs are our triumphs! Love always.
JM- Hits a little close to home, but beautiful. I relate a ton to this.
BM- This is the most raw truth I’ve read.
Mrm- this was an incredibly brave and gut-wrenching piece to write, but I know from having read your work over the last few months how far you’ve come. Keep moving forward, and know that we will support you all the way.
MM- thoroughly enjoyed it. Xx
Nn- This is the most beautifully honest and raw piece. Thank you for letting us share in your journey. You are so incredibly brave.
BT- “coming to prison” per your words, also created a writer with a colorful story. Just as the colorful aura, your brave story of grit and struggle, bring light to the reality and root of the issue. Thank you latent Stargazer, thank you Luke.
JJ- This is a fantastic write and captivating from beginning to end. Well done!
Ca- Luke, I don’t know what to say. This is the third or fourth time that I’ve read your words and every time it’s moved me in a way that I cannot explain. Beautiful, powerful, haunting, this is what I felt from the first line until the end. Reading your words are like having the most intimate conversation with a long distance friend. You are a master behind the pen. If you ever publish a book (and I hope you do) I will surely buy it. As we say in Rastafari, one love and long livity.
Lh- Well what the fuck can I say that hasn’t already been said? Oh yes… you are a badass, motherfucking superhero who leaves me gobsmacked every time. FUCK YES LUKE!! Rock on with your badass self. With love- one of your biggest fans!