Have you ever loved someone so much that you feel you could be going mad? Are going out of your mind on days when you cannot see, hear, or be near them? I have. I do and that is why I am here writing this.
‘Write it all down’. My therapist told me. ‘You will find it therapeutic.’ I railed and baulked at this initially but after days and days of boredom; so bad it felt as if my mind and my body had gone numb and shut down, I began. It took me a long time. For a start my brain is so dulled by the medication I am being given. I sat there with the pad and pen in my hand and I had no idea where to start. I couldn’t find letters; let alone words. Everything was jumbled in my head, in my mind. That was on the first day. I became cross and frustrated. When the nicest of the charge nurses, Mandy, came to call me for dinner I shouted at her to go away, and then felt sorry. She smiled at me and encouraged me however and I joined my fellow ‘guests’ at the dining tables. The ward has individual tables set out to make people believe they are dining in a restaurant rather than a loony bin! There are table cloths and crockery. You would have to look closely at the cutlery to see that it is blunt. No chance of sneaking a knife back to your room and surreptitiously undertaking acts of self-harm. The knives here would not go through butter, never mind skin! I sit with Geoff and Louise. Geoff is in his late fifties. He is kind and caring. He was a bank manager until his breakdown. Louise is younger than I am, by around ten years and she is feisty. She is Irish with a lovely brogue, who is lovely to listen to when she is not swearing like a navvy on speed. Today she is having a quiet day. We eat our tasteless food in silence. Across the room Colin a young man in his twenties is ‘kicking off’ as the ward staff would say. He is refusing to eat and is repeating the same thing over and over again. ‘No Lithium for Colin’. I guess this is his way of saying he doesn’t want to take his meds and guess also that there will be mayhem when the trolley comes out after dinner. Mandy is on with Alec a tall, slender, Scotsman with a gentle voice and manner. Louise has a crush on Alec. On her good days she will talk to me incessantly, listing his charms and good qualities. When she is down she will shout and rail that he is a ‘Bastard’ and a ‘Shit’.
What am I doing? I am setting the scene, so that you know how far my life has slipped beyond awfulness. It is hard to imagine that not that long ago I was a functioning individual with a job, a life, a family and friends. Until that is, I met HIM. I think of HIM in capitals always. He is the reason I am here. Although Doctor Hodgson would say that I am the reason not him. I have argued and argued with her, but she is adamant that I need to take responsibility for myself and my actions. HE, as far as she is concerned is not the true reason I find myself here. Doctor Hodgson likes to delve into my childhood, to apportion blame to my erstwhile parents and my poor innocent brother and sister.
‘If they had not done such and such, how would you feel now?’ Seems to be her stock phrase, despite my telling her, and truthfully, I might add, that I love my family and that we have always been close. My sadness at how far I have fallen is mostly to do with feeling their shame. My sad, gentle, but kind father could be blaming himself at this moment in time as could my fey mother. The thought of Ellie feeling that any of it might be her fault horrifies me. No, the blame lies firmly at HIS door.
After dinner and medication we are allowed to do pretty much what we like. The staff always try to engage us in games, such as cards, or Scrabble, or suggest we sit and watch television. There are always arguments about what we watch. Brenda, one of the older ladies is addicted to all the soaps and she simply plonks herself down as near to the television as possible, with the remote control held firmly in her hand. Nobody is man or woman enough to take on Brenda. For a start she weighs around sixteen stone. There is always a huge argument when England are playing football in the evening. There have even been a couple of physical fights. Geoff and I hide when this happens. Gentle Geoff is far more given to Scrabble than football. However on this particular evening nothing much is on to make people feel the need to challenge Brenda so peace reigns. I go back to my room and try once again to start writing down my story.