Sunday, November 1, 2009

GET IN MY HEAD!

Ok, so I dug out the notes and scribbles I did during my 2 months in hospital. I'm putting them on this blog because it's hard when people ask me what it was like. It was like nothing else I have ever been through. I have where possible (95%) kept true to the original pen to paper incidences but I would rather keep names of people in sensitive places private, the same applies to the names of patients.

I decided to start with this one here, an entry I made a week into my treatment. At the end of it is a little ramble I wrote on the day I was admitted. I'm not making a full post of it because I was clearly under the influence of drugs.

9/9/09

Today marks my first week in St. Pat’s University Hospital. I have just been dubbed ‘Old Spaghetti Hair’ by an old friend and former patient, has a ring to it methinks.

This place is like a halfway house for the dying to live and the living to die, fortunately I can’t put myself in the latter category.

I intend to leave this place with renewed confidence, not in the world, I’m not that doped up, but in myself. The nursing staff are superb, the doctors seem infallable and the food, well, it’s a hospital after all.

I suppose the most comforting thing to know whilst a resident here is that you can leave whenever you want. Admission is voluntary and very carefully documented.

It’s easy to see why some people come here and don’t want to leave. Patients can become institutionalised, a very dangerous prospect. I have heard enought stories and autobiographic monologue to know that when my time is up, I will arise and go.

The living quarters are fine. A bed, a sink, a wardrobe and a desk. What more could I need. The view from the window was perfect, a big green line of coniferous trees, close enough to block out the city. It’s a comfortable place but not at first.

The first thing I learned about mental recovery is physical recovery. Only when you have purged out all the stuff that eats you organs can you begin, and I really mean begin to feel better. Bear in mind this is only my first week. You realise things about your body and mind that you have either denied or were plainly ignorant of.

The nurses and doctors of course, accomodate this. It’s on a parallel with heroin users using methadone to come down. A wonderfully helpful drug called Librium. Sedation is sometimes unfortunately a neccesity. I’m off it now and I’m on to more psychoactive medicine now.

I must admit, when I arrived here first I felt completely and utterly out of place. I was treated the same way as everybody else, put on bedrest in my pyjamas and was on the same dose as people who have had far more extensive substance abuse problems. This I could not comprehend.

Towards the end of the week of detox, things started to get messy, heavy if you will. The reasons other people are in here become clear long before you come to terms with your own demons. Truly, the most frightening experience of my life, so far. I began to have dreams again, only for the fact that they were, and still are, all nightmares, I wouldn’t have noticed.

The nightmares got more grim and grotesque as the week progresses and double doses of sleeping tablets do not quell them. It’s all part of starting to know yourself I reckon. I can’t stress enough how scary they are. Even now, in good spirits, last nights horror scenes are hanging over me, haunting me, inviting me back to paranoia (which, by the way, they have drugs for too).

So far I have almost exclusively met characters with whom I can share almost anything. I’m the youngest on the ward by about twenty years. Conversation becomes the focus of the day. People who I have met here who are by no means philosophers or even brillian minds have spoken some of the most wise words I have ever heard. We all share grief, joy, sorrow, frustration and any emotion you care to name. We’ve gone through the lot as patients, together, without professionals and sometimes they are the best times.

I don’t feel worthless anymore, not nearly to the same extent. I know my friends and I hve some of the best friends anybody could ever hope to have. Although I knew this to be true for a long time, the knowledge was buried deep in my subconscious. The people who have come to see me since I arrived are people that I will always, always have time for. Time, at the very least is my way of saying thank you.

I haven’t had a routine that I can find a sense of achievement from in a long time. A long time depending on what side of life you’re standing on. I’m on the bridge to another platform, not a higher or lower one. I’m crossing back to the other side of the tracks, back to when I was proud of who I was.

Sure I have regrets, one of my regrets I fear will haunt me for as long as I can forsee. Time will tell if I got off lucky on that front. Clinging on to hope is a tough game when you really mean it.

It’s easy to forget who we were in the transition from then to now. I’ve made it this far and yeah, right now, regrets regarded, I have a lot more to give, a hell of a lot more...And this is where the doubt lurks.

Being in here signifies more to me than a pit stop. I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life. Again, bear in mind this is this beginning of my treatment and the result of a life lived well beyond my means, mentally, physically, spiritually and let’s face it, as meaningless as it is, financially. I owe this revalation to a friend I love and hope I haven’t lost.

Living life to its fullest had a different meaning to me two weeks ago, a months ago, three years ago. I’m not hoping for miracles, I’m not asking for forgiveness, I’m just getting ready to find out what I’m capable of. Work starts from the ground up.

As I write this and moreso as I’ve re-read it, it brings with it the uncertainty. The wave of negativity that comes with a life I always assumed I was failing. The doubt, the fear, the heartache and not enough tears.


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5/9/09 (WUI)

I've been here since Wednesday, back to the dorms it would seem. It's Saturday now and in another few weeks I shall be home again.

I don't know if I'm looking forward to it.

I'm feeling better which is the main thing, beginning to focus again. Every time I ran I made things harder, lost a lot of good friends on the way.

Language is the barrier but the barrier can be overwhelmed. It's the people on either side that are the problem. This is not with regards to differences in race or dialect. It is the language, the mouthpiece of communication that binds people non exclusively in a snare of conflict, misunderstanding and grief.

How can one expect to express a symphony of emotion practically on an uneven surface?

The largest used language since the dawn of greed is money. Without currency, money, however you regard its value, you can not deny it shapes the course of the lives of every single object in existence.

Of course good things have been created and evil things destroyed by it, therein lies the paradox of money. Some, quite literally can't live with it, rendering them practically useless. Others at the opposite end of the spectrum, not surprisingly, can't live without it.

Is there a happy medium?

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