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Making friends living on an Acute psychiatric ward

I remember my first meeting with a mental health charity to collaborate and co-facilitate an anti- Stigma workshop/group that This is what I have been wanting to do for some time and here I am achieving my dreams. When I was back -institutionalized in an Acute ward with Anorexia and Bipolar in 2005. I think that personality trait to help others and organize groups has always been in me.

I was am a nightmare patient.

I always refused bed rest and focused my time on doing things like raffles to raise money for a charity shop connected to the Retreat,in York. I ended up raising over £100 in a matter of days with a BMI of 14.5. so about 41 kilograms. , 90 pounds – I’m nearly 5.8.

In other clinics- I was tube fed and restrained -often by up to four nurses.

That is a whole other story and debate.

I met another man who is/was a barrister and he had a complete breakdown. His wife had been cheating on him. I met an artist who expressed her unarticulated pain by painting. I met a woman who had been fighting Anorexia and OCD all her life and who taught me how to put a Christmas tree up.

I had forgotten.

I didn’t know what life was and what it meant to live.

I met a few ladies, not on my unit -The Acorn unit ( the name pun has not gone over my head). They expressed their pain through cutting and self-harm.

Nobody played games. Although some of us, from time to time would get hold of paracetamol and other shit and overdose to liven the humdrum mundaneness of life in an acute ward. I once got caught out on weigh day with fishing scales attached to my paper gown. The staff was quite taken aback with imaginative ways we would come up with to avoid putting on weight. These girls were hardcore. I met so many people.

I met a girl who terrified me. I could tell she had been in hospitals all her life. Her family could absolve themselves of whatever guilt they felt towards their daughter by puttting her in private clinics and the problem was dusted under the carpet.

I had started the process and recovery of eating again and putting on weight. I couldn’t cope. I developed another way to cope, for at least 4 months my day consisted of:

  • chewing gum

  • making a coffee

  • eating more chewing gum

  • make a cup herbal tea

  • smoke a cig .

I was on this loop for24 hours /7 days a week -for 4 months.

I was driving myself crazy in a way that was unfamiliar to me. The nurses tried to lock me out of the communal kitchens and one night I flipped out when they tried to grab me so I started throwing stuff around.

I wanted them to help me. The girl who initially terrified me came into the kitchen and sat down on the floor with me and held me for over an hour while, I shed tears for everything I can remember.

All the emotions attached to those memories I had pushed aside. None of these people was violent. We were trying to be understood and to understand ourselves.

I met a young girl with schizophrenia -she dressed like a Goth. Always had headphones in her ears. She was trying to silence the voices. She had been coping well up until her Mother passed away and like any normal person she was traumatized by it and her mental health went a bit off balance again. She was trying to make sense that her mother is dead. She was grieving.

One night a new guy arrived on the scene. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He had that charisma of the kind of guy I always seemed to attract. His eyes were full of spark and mischief. A person you would want on your side. We became friends. We spoke a lot. He did a very Titanic thing and drew a picture of me. Fully clothed. I can’t find the picture to load up. He was still going through the DT’s. I will live with my memory of how the picture looked- possibly very trippy. Ha Ha.

Barry was only staying for 10 days before he went to ‘a dry out clinic further up the coast. I don’t know what happened inside me but I didn’t want him to go.

He was a lot older than me but we did everything together.I got him painting again. I know he had just got out of prison but he was so talented. I begged the nurses and psychiatrists to let him stay.

‘Look! Look! how talented he is! He needs help from you’.

Our last night before we parted ways. We sat in the smoking lounge and watched ‘Pulp fiction’. I know this may make some people reading this go .. erm………what?

I lay my head down in his lap and he played with my hair. For me, the act was more like a father gesture. I suspect for Barry it could have been different.

He wrote loads of letters and planned to come to visit me. The nurses censored my post and turned him away.

I often wonder what happened to him.

I get angry that just because he was an in and out of prison for many reasons- he was denied the rehabilitation that I received. He had issues. I am no innocent.

I feel he could not have benefited from a recovery type community setting rather than prison. It’s not my place to say what he did, I don’t want to remember.

It would have ruined the fact that I found feelings inside me. I could laugh again, I could cry. I was real. I felt like a human being and not some freak with Anorexia. Anorexia took second place and I wanted it to always take second place. I felt real.

So back to the Anti-stigma workshop, I am doing. I can’t wait. I have a passion. I have the drive. This is my new chapter. I did have a beautiful picture Barry drew of a dragonfly but I guess moving around a lot means that I have lost other precious memories. I am finally in a position to help other people. I’m not letting this opportunity getaway.

Thoughts about my daddy issues

Happy fathers day. Sorry, I don’t have any shame for wearing my on my sleeve)for the 2 or 3 years of you blocking me, Dad. (I guess it what some would call gumption).
Dissing me, ignoring me.

Yes, I called you a ‘spineless bastard’ cos sometimes you’re just too laid back & let two women rule you. I’m not what you think of me cos every year I’m. going to wish you Happy father’s day./Birthday etc..

You can justify why you don’t speak to me or say I’m a bad egg. I say: Life is short. I didn’t even get to speak with u about when Grandpa B passed away. I just wanted to give you support. As a daughter. Pay my respects but I did it in my own way. I was there for my Nan. I know its hard building on a natural bond( after deciding to forget about me & Lou & moving on to find some happiness in your life). That probably kept you sane
.
but I’ve chased you more than any man I’ve ever known. All I wanted was a tiny piece of you & insight into who you are.

Anyway, look after your health, be happy, I did ask for money to help with the rent & was down the rabbit hole in 2017. I just couldn’t believe you would think that me and Bee being homeless was an option cos that was where I was headed if I didn’t think creatively. If that is tough love-its brutal & well… I don’t know who you are. Sometimes I think you have died. I shake my thought away & hope I get to see you one last time before you go your way, & I go mine.
Forget the money. I was more interested in your poetry, your acting the character Othello & I wanted to see a bit more of the Dad I started to get to know in 2004.

Yeah, I got ill & I’m obviously not what you expect from a daughter. It’s cool. I’m 38 this year & I’m more curious than angry.

I expect this just reaffirms r that I’ve got more love, curiosity, and respect for you. Okay, a spineless amoeba bastard is a bit low, I was on my ass -my fault or not) Blood in, Blood out, yeah?
You probably won’t see or read this but for what it’s worth, you can’t stop me from doing what I am right and performing my (in so far as I CAN) duty towards you, as your, eldest daughter.

Nah, I don’t give a shit about money & inheritance.  Listen to Alan Watt’s ‘What do you desire?’

Trust me I’ve never fallen for a man for his kerching. Except one but I was not in love and well… I didn’t get to the 5*** hotel in Mexico cos I couldn’t bear sleeping in the same bed as someone I had no chemistry with. TMI?

I heard from a source that this is one of the songs that you used to play on the guitar. I read the love poems when you dated my Mom -way back. Romance isn’t dead it just grew up. Take it easy, Pops.

If this is hanging my “dirty ” laundry’ out then I will say that this a fresh lot of laundry, just out the machine. It smells of. Jasmine & posies. It’s clean.
And me? I’m only a rag n bone hope sapien like the rest of us. I do what I do to get by. Enjoy your day & if it isn’t Father’s day in South Africa (it is here in your Yorkshire).
I can still see the way your eyes crinkle when you laugh & I can hear your laugh in my inner ear (or mind).
HAPPY FATHERS DAY!
I wish I could give you a hug cos I know how close you were to your Dad. And the loss is hard. You have support ( and I will be thinking of you). I still remember how you broke down great Grandad fell ill when I was 12 or summit. I hugged you. And you let me hug you. It made me cry. These are my words.

 

the first man I knew

Aaaaaaaaargh! I have been putting off this post for a while. I mean the one guy that should love me at all costs.

You were the first real man I knew  not some boy but a real man.

I tell myself I have dealt with the indifference. Yet, as soon as I find a way to make contact again. I let all my pride go and open my heart and soul to you. I do it publicly on social media websites. I end up looking pathetic but I don’t care.

I post things like:

I hope you will forgive me  one day so  we can build up a better relationship

or I  tag you hoping you will comment back.

I am looking after your queen. I won’t let you down. 

 I comment on those silly quizzes you do  that pop up on Facebook, like

WHAT NATIONALITY SHOULD YOU BE? –

 ME: You got you look like a Spaniard – haha!  funny I got I should be  American (silence)

New comment from a friend:  I got Portuguese 

You to friend : you look Portuguese

I don’t want anything from you . Okay that is a lie. I only want a bit of your time, a few words once a few years.

She warned me not to go there again. I wasn’t prepared to have my heart  broken again.Well, not broken but pumping with less voracity than before.

I know I wasn’t the most affable of characters all those years back. I mean what did I know at 12, 15 years old? 24 years old ?  Not much.

Yet, that was when you first turned your back on me.

I know I have mental health issues and to you it’s all just,

DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA

 A heads up? It’s not been a fucking picnic or tropical island holiday for me either.

Do you ever think about me?

What do you feel when you look at a picture of me? Do you look at pictures of me?

Are you so distant with everyone?  We’ve been drunk and stoned together and you are a legend at Karaoke . Over the years, I  have seen how you make everyone laugh…

Why don’t you talk to me when I Skype? I know I fall way down the bottom of  the  hierarchy chain of the many  girls in your life.

 To have a slice of your heart…

Well, of what is left to give. Is that what it is? You haven’t got any more heart to give?

I don’t want much… a few words, a phone call – no maybe that is too much..

Okay ,what about a teeny tiny interest in my life on social media perhaps… You live so far away  and it’s my only source of contact.

Why do you reply to other peoples comments on what you post but not mine?

Why don’t you reply to my emails?

I’m  not bad. I’m actually a fucking awesome person. Why can’t the past stay where it is.

Don’t judge me.

I don’t judge you.

I thought I had closed the door on ever having a chance with you again. I opened it again three months ago,, feeling we were in a more equal position. Me being older and you being older – wiser they say..

Never mind, I have  googled the meaning for indifference again and read it out loud,to  remind myself.

I can’t make you love me or want to contact me. I know you are going through hard times – if you must know-

we all do .

Maybe if you decided to chat properly with me I could make you laugh. We may find out we have more in common than you think.

Done with this post.  Finally got it out of my head. I can move on again.

No blame.

Never blame.

I am an adult and I choose to be happy.

I don’t resent you.

I am curious to know you.

am sure if you let me closer, you would find I actually like you and love you- unconditionally.

But it is cool.

You are over there and I am over here.

Living our lives.

Your blood runs through my veins.

 Nothings changed and that is cool too.

Indifference it is then.