Monday, 16 June 2014

Darkest Before the Dawn

I sprang out of my wheelchair and bolted for the automatic doors. I was dying for fresh air. I was determined to show The Thing that I could fight him. It may have only been one breath of the cold night air, but it was my breath. My tiny victory. At the close of play each day of my psychosis The Thing had definitely won, but I was gaining territory. It was hard to see that when I was surrounded with the wounds and suffering of another defeat, but I was determined to battle to the death.

To put this micro-win into context, I had been trying to get out of the hospital for approximately 12 hours. After a massive episode that lasted nearly and hour and a half prior to this the Crisis Team had been called and it was agreed that I needed to be transferred to a psychiatric ward immediately. I only found out a couple of weeks ago that they had asked my husband if he felt he could care for me at home and he had to say one of the most difficult things he's ever had to: No.

In many ways deciding that the transfer to the Mother and Baby Unit should happen was the easy bit. In my lucid moments I would clearly and desperately state that I knew I was ill and wanted to get better, that I would accept any help that was offered to me, and that I surrendered. Unfortunately, as soon as my mania and paranoia was in full flow I didn't trust anything that was being said to me and I was actively hostile to the help being given. I made severe threats if it ever looked like I wouldn't get what I wanted: even when what I wanted was a cheese sandwich. I couldn't bear not having strict control over every single person in my presence.

I had never felt so powerful and so weak in all my life. I could make demands that were acted on in a moment and yet I couldn't speak a full sentence without having my voice box hijacked by this destructive demon. Everything. Everything had to be on my terms. Well, on the terms of my psychosis. For 4 hours we stood by the door of the hospital with me desperately trying and hideously fearful of leaving.

My husband look terrified. This proud new father had lost his glow, dread filled his eyes and his mouth was tense with anxiety. He took me aside, out of earshot  of the nursing staff, the moonlight put him in the spotlight, and what he said pierced through the hard exterior of the disease and whispered to the me that was drowning deep inside.

"If you don't do this, they will take the decision away from you"

Take the decision away from me. Take the decision away? Take the decision away! Take my son away. Drug me. Put me on an acute ward. Stop me seeing them. 

The threat of being sectioned hung over me like a dangling highwayman. The vision of what could be if I didn't get into the Mother and Baby unit as an informal patient was shockingly real and truly painfully possible. Throughout this whole ordeal my son sits stoically in his little bear snowsuit that swamps his minute frame. Due to my sickness he is losing weight rapidly and needs food and care. All the time I soothe him and tell him not to take any notice of Mummy's silly voices, while I sob within. Desperate to protect and nurture this new human being that needs me. I fight every second to keep us together. To keep my son.

Love and cheese sandwiches,
Mutha Courage x


  1. Wow. I so recognise some of this! Its great you are able to write this. I hope it helps you and others.

  2. May I ask, what do you mean when you said, "the voices". From what I understand the different voices were audibly spoken; not just in your mind, correct? Just trying to truly understand the illness in its' entirety. Thank you!