I often asked myself in my darkest moments why bother carrying on in a world that seemed to exclude me. It had defined me as different – not one of us, not normal. And I firmly believed that that world view wouldn’t change, that I would be forced to lead a life of seclusion other than going to work. I had built mental barriers to the outside world and allowed myself to wallow in delusion. For that is what it was.

Change comes from within, they say, and I was the living embodiment of that. I had two choices: take risks and embrace the world with all the risks that meant, or carry on in my lonely world where I had no real friends, no chance of companionship, no hope. Over time I realised I didn’t want the latter.

So here’s my message: Make today the start of the rest of your life. Don’t say ‘I’ll face the world tomorrow’, because that attitude means postponing change. And I deferred doing something about my life for too long, so don’t repeat my mistakes.