I was desperate to get home. I longed for the comfort of my own surroundings and to be able to come and go as I pleased, without constant supervision, a chaperone, and time restrictions. At this stage in my recovery I wasn't sure if that was weeks or months away. I was caught in time. Frozen in my state of "unknowing". All I knew was that the next big step had arrived. I had overnight leave and I was going to make the most of it.
Just to give it some context, by making the most of it I mean enjoying a cosy night in with my family, not downing jägerbombs until dawn. I wouldn't like to see what a medication and shots cocktail would look like. I'm guessing it wouldn't be pretty. One thing that my psychosis taught me, and there were a staggering amount, was to savour and value the mundane, the everyday, even the down right boring. After experiencing hyper-reality, I realised that plain old reality is a beautiful place to be.
Coming back to Earth after visiting planet Insania is a scary trip. It requires a very slow and steady approach. I had been desperate to get overnight leave and now that I had it, it was a prospect so daunting I was almost prepared to stay on the ward so that I didn't have to face it. It was an existential lurch and it felt deeply unsafe to my fragile psyche. Each of these hurdles to the finish line of normality seemed too high to jump. I had to coach myself over each one. I had to believe I could, take off, and hope that a lagging back foot wouldn't trip me up.
"I just need to get to Pimlico. I have to get to Pimlico. Will they give me overnight leave, because I can only use the flat in Pimlico this week" Pimlico dominated my thoughts and feelings. It was my Mecca, my Nirvana, and my Moscow.
We were very very lucky to have a friend who had a flat there, who said we could stay there anytime in the week, as they were away. We didn't have anywhere else to do an overnight stay in London that could fit me, my husband, my mother-in-law and our baby boy, so it was Pimlico or bust.
I fought so hard for that leave. I knew that, in order for it to be granted, I had to demonstrate that I could take care of Albert overnight, even though I would have the help of my husband on leave. So for the week leading up to ward round I pushed through my very zombie-like state; I forced myself to stand to soothe him in the early hours, even though my legs were numbed, and I prepared bottles while the dressing gown of sedation hung heavy on my shoulders.
The staff could see my struggle. But they could see the effort, the will, and the desire I had to do all of my motherly nigh-time tasks despite the huge obstacles I faced.
I struggled when I was on leave. How could anything live up to the image I'd created in my head? It was freedom and a step closer to home. But it was a home that wasn't mine, in a bed I didn't know, surrounded by things I didn't recognise. It made me feel further from home than ever. If I found this hard, how would I ever get back to my house, with my bed and my things?
I had to pause. To re-evaluate. To congratulate myself on this monumental and minuscule step. We cooked a meal and sat together in front of the tv. There was no negotiation with other patients about what to watch and it was delightful to have a meal that wasn't cooked in a plastic bag. This was all strangely normal. Here we all were together, and there was no-one calling time on visiting hours. I didn't have to hand Albert over to anyone apart from his dad, and I could be beside my husband tonight, all night, for the first time in weeks.
We watched Frozen. We laughed, sang and held each other on the sofa. Tears silently fell down my cheeks as Let It Go blasted out of the speakers and I knew that that was what I needed to do.
Love and lovely boring little things,Mutha Courage x