EXCLUSIVE e book extract from DR PATRIC GAGNE’s new memoir

  • EXCLUSIVE e book extract from DR PATRIC GAGNE’s new e book Sociopath: A Memoir
  • She writes: ‘I grabbed one, stood up and jammed it into the facet of her head. The pencil splintered and a part of it lodged in her neck.’ 

In second grade I stabbed a child within the head with a pencil. Whenever I ask my mom if she remembers, her reply is identical: ‘Vaguely.’

And I consider her. Because a lot about my early childhood is obscure. Some issues, nevertheless, I bear in mind with absolute readability. I knew as early as seven that one thing was off. I didn’t care about issues the best way different youngsters did. Certain feelings – like happiness and anger – got here naturally, if considerably sporadically. 

But social feelings – issues like guilt, empathy, regret and even love – didn’t. Most of the time, I felt nothing. So I did ‘bad’ issues to make the nothingness go away. It was like a compulsion.

Had you requested me again then, I might have described this compulsion as a stress, a form of stress constructing in my head. It was like mercury slowly rising in an old school thermometer.

At first it was barely noticeable, only a blip on my in any other case peaceable cognitive radar. But over time it would get stronger. The quickest method to relieve the stress was to do one thing undeniably mistaken, one thing I knew would completely make anybody else really feel one of many feelings I couldn’t. So that’s what I did.

As a toddler, I didn’t realise there have been different choices. I didn’t know something about emotion or psychology. I didn’t perceive that the human mind has advanced to perform empathetically, or that the stress of dwelling with out pure entry to feeling is believed to be one of many causes of compulsive acts of violence and damaging behaviour.

Gagne aged eight, around the time of the stabbing incident

Gagne aged eight, across the time of the stabbing incident

All I knew was that I favored doing issues that made me really feel one thing, to really feel something. It was higher than nothing.

I’d been taking backpacks from college. I didn’t even need them, and virtually all the time ultimately returned them. When I noticed an unattended backpack, I took it. It didn’t matter the place it was or whose it was, it was the taking that mattered. Doing something I knew wasn’t ‘right’ was how I launched the stress, how I gave myself a jolt to counter my apathy.

After some time, although, it stopped working. Regardless of what number of luggage I took, I may now not generate that jolt. I felt nothing. And the nothingness, I’d began to note, made my urge to do unhealthy issues extra excessive.

This was my way of thinking the final time I ever noticed Syd, considered one of my classmates. We have been on the sidewalk ready to go to highschool when she began whining about visiting my home. 

She’d wished to spend the evening however her dad and mom refused and she blamed me. I used to be glad she wasn’t allowed to go to. My head was hurting. The stress had been steadily growing, but nothing I did appeared to assist. I used to be emotionally disconnected but additionally pressured and considerably disoriented.

It was like I used to be dropping my thoughts, and I simply wished to be alone.

Abruptly, Syd kicked my backpack from the place it sat at my ft, knocking the whole lot to the bottom. ‘You know what?’ she mentioned. ‘I don’t care. Your home sucks, and so do you.’

The tantrum was meaningless, one thing she’d finished to get my consideration like numerous occasions earlier than. But she’d picked the mistaken day to start out a battle. Looking at Syd I knew that I by no means wished to see her once more.

Without a phrase, I leaned down to gather my issues. We carried pencil packing containers again then. Mine was pink with Hello Kitty characters and stuffed with sharpened yellow #2s. I grabbed one, stood up and jammed it into the facet of her head. The pencil splintered and a part of it lodged in her neck. Syd began screaming and the opposite youngsters understandably misplaced it. 

Meanwhile, I used to be in a daze. The stress was gone. But, in contrast to each different time I’d finished one thing unhealthy, my bodily assault on Syd had resulted in one thing totally different – a form of euphoria.

Patric Gagne sits down with Julia Llewellyn Smith in an exclusive interview with YOU Magazine this weekend

Patric Gagne sits down with Julia Llewellyn Smith in an unique interview with YOU Magazine this weekend

I walked away from the scene blissfully comfy. For weeks I’d been partaking in all method of subversive behaviour to make the stress disappear and none of it had labored. But now – with that one violent act – all traces of stress  have been eradicated. Not simply gone however changed with a deep sense of peace. It was like I’d found a quick monitor to tranquillity, one which was equal components efficacy and insanity. 

None of it made sense, however I didn’t care.

I wandered round in a stupor for some time. Then I went house and calmly informed my mum what had occurred.

‘WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND?’ my father wished to know. I used to be sitting on the foot of my mattress later that evening. Both my dad and mom stood earlier than me, demanding solutions. But I didn’t have any.

‘Nothing,’ I mentioned. ‘I don’t know.

I simply did it.’

‘And you’re not sorry?’ Dad was pissed off and irritable. He’d simply returned from one other work journey, and so they’d been combating.

‘Yes! I said I was sorry!’ I exclaimed. I’d even already written Syd an apology letter. So why was everybody nonetheless so mad?

 I hated the best way my mom stared at me that evening

‘But you’re not sorry,’ Mum mentioned quietly. ‘Not really. Not in your heart.’ Then she checked out me as if I used to be a stranger. It paralysed me, that look. It was a glance of hazy recognition, as if to say, ‘There’s one thing off about you. I can’t fairly put my finger on it, however I can really feel it.’

My abdomen lurched as if I’d been punched. I hated the best way my mom stared at me that evening. She’d by no means finished it earlier than, and I wished her to cease. Seeing her take a look at me that manner was like being noticed by somebody who didn’t know me in any respect. Suddenly, I used to be livid with myself for telling the reality. It hadn’t helped anybody ‘understand.’ 

If something, it had made everybody extra confused, together with me. Anxious to make issues proper, I stood up and tried to hug her, however she lifted her hand to cease me.

‘No,’ she mentioned. ‘No.’ She stared at me lengthy and exhausting as soon as extra, after which she left. I watched as Dad adopted her out of my room, their frames changing into smaller as they descended the staircase.

I crawled into mattress and wished I had somebody I may harm, so I may really feel the best way I did after stabbing Syd. Settling for myself, I squeezed a pillow to my chest, digging my nails into my forearm.

‘Be sorry!’ I hissed. I continued to claw at my pores and skin and clench my jaw, prepared regret with all my would possibly.

I can’t bear in mind how lengthy I attempted, solely that I used to be determined and livid as soon as I lastly gave up. Exhausted, I collapsed again into the mattress. I checked out my arm. It was bleeding.

The euphoria I’d felt after stabbing Syd was each disconcerting and tempting. I wished to expertise it once more. I wished to harm once more. Only I didn’t wish to. I used to be confused and scared. I wasn’t certain how issues had gone so mistaken. I simply knew it was all my fault, and I needed to discover a method to make it higher.

  • Read YOU Magazine’s unique interview with DR PATRIC GAGNE this weekend 

Taken from Sociopath: A Memoir by Patric Gagne PhD, to be printed by Bluebird on 11 April, £18.99. To pre-order a duplicate for £16.14 till 21 April, go to or name 020 3176 2937. Free UK supply on orders over £25.