It was the 15th February. It was the longest day. It was internal warfare, and there were people being caught in the crossfire every minute. I was perpetrator and victim, captor and hostage, violence and peace-fighter. I couldn't understand the simplest of sentences being spoken to me and yet believed I had true understanding of all humanity. I saw how everything in the world fitted together, I knew how to make myself rich and create an entire empire. But all this time I was also starting the fire that would set anything I valued ablaze.
I didn't leave that tiny room for about 14 hours. I must have gone to the toilet, but I really can't remember doing that. I was in the same clothes I'd been in for over 24 hours. I'd only had my son just over a week ago, so my body was still in a massive period of adjustment. We had been travelling for 6 hours in a car and I felt disgusting.
My psychosis was stopping me being able to do the most basic tasks without being distracted or aggressive. My moods were adrift on the stormiest sea and my sense of reality was drowning. No food. No water. No medication. No washing. No changing clothes. No sleep. No release from this living nightmare.
What was making everything so much worse was a belief that had slowly been working its way into my consciousness as my illness was escalating. These people are meant to be looking after me and they're not. They're trying to humiliate me. Harm me. Break me. Kill me.
I was constantly screaming at staff about how they had let me down and weren't welcome in my presence. I wouldn't let them enter my room unless they completed a complicated sequence of knocks and was frequently forbidding them to leave, because of the catastrophic consequences it would cause me if they did. One member of staff remained in my room for hours until an emergency took him away. When he returned I screeched: GET OUT. GET OUT. I don't want to look at you. You have broken my trust. Get out.
My husband didn't fair any better. He was my closet ally. My worst enemy. I remember us being allowed to have food in my room as I couldn't make it to the dining area. I was so angry when the wrong food delivered to me I thrashed around the room, collapsing in the corner. This was yet another tactic of my insanity to stop me getting anything to eat. My husband was desperately trying to encourage me to take a mouthful. Why aren't you helping me? If you want me to eat why don't you make me? I can't do it. Sure enough, one mouthful at a time, he fed me my cold jacket potato and beans.
After hours of threatening all kinds of legal action for a violation of my human rights and many consultations with all kinds of doctors and nurses my husband was called out of the room. This was real crisis time now. The last mediation.
You think that you know each other so well. You're husband and wife. Friends. Lovers. Companions. I'd never seen this version. He had no more composure left. He was frantic, teary eyed, pale. Please. You have to take the medication. Please take it. Just take it.
I'll take it right now.
They're running me a bath. I'll take it in the bath. Tell them to bring it to me.
Action. Everything is happening at what feels like lightning speed. There is a lightness suddenly. Everyone is focused on what to do. I am in the bath. The hot water soothes my sore body. I wash quickly. Visiting time is nearly over and he's already been allowed to stay for longer. I am jubilant. Laughing. I tell Bridget, one of the nurses, to tell him that I'm coming to see him for a date. I'll be all fresh and I'll see him in a few minutes. I'll have taken the medicine. Tell him I'm coming. It's date night. It's Valentines day take two.
I step back into my room. Clean. Exhausted, Hopeful. My husband is not there. He was having constant talks with the medical professionals. I see his bag lying on the side. I see red glitter. My heart swells.
He comes in to get his bag. The time for him to go is here. He sees what I've found, out on the side. This wasn't the Valentine's day either of us had imagined.
"I'm sorry I didn't have time to write anything in it." he says
"That's alright. It means more than the world to me that even with all this going on you found time to get it."
I look into his eyes. A flash of me connects with the love in him. Tears roll down my face. I am lost at sea. In him I see a shore.
And then he has to leave. The longest day must carry on without him. He can come back in the morning. A real terror clutches at me.
He is gone.
I am alone.
With the most beautiful present I've ever received.
An empty Valentine's card with three words on the front...
You & Me.
Love and Olanzapine,
Mutha Courage X