When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

Archive for December, 2016

Tales From the Psych Ward And How I Thought I was Dead

Let me tell you about my delusional manic state when I was convinced I was dead and had moved to the afterlife.

I guess (see previous post) all the suicidal ideation leading up to that episode made me consider death as a blessed state.

I had very little in the way of fluctuating or painful emotions. And the way I saw people was quite strikingly different. How can I explain this? I considered them as all aspects of me. I saw myself as their spiritual mother. That in some way I had given birth to all of them. And I really saw the unity of all of us. That each of us was just one aspect of the godhead…hmm, maybe it was me, or maybe not. That people are not truly individuals, that we are only moved and only beautiful due to the light of the Spirit moving within us.

I was incarcerated in the local mental ward for six weeks in this state. Some of it was a blast! Some of it boring and deeply frustrating. But my manic delusions such as this one largely kept me quiescent and even happy. I felt like the ‘top dog’ in there and cultivated this role by ‘looking after’ everyone there with gifts, affection or a listening ear.

It was far from sunshine and roses all the time. At first I kicked off in a big way, partly due to my fear of being locked up. But seldom was I hostile or aggressive to any of the patients. I always regard them as my fellow-sufferers in that situation and we tend to support each other a great deal as people who are thrown together in adverse circumstances often will.

There was one particular East European woman that I bonded with. She was absolutely hilarious. She would come to my room, she called me her ‘crazy little sister’, I would make her roll ups as she didn’t have the cigarettes that she so enjoyed a lot of the time. She didn’t find the roll ups an adequate replacement but they were better than nothing.

She appeared to have been brought in for an altercation she had with an Asian assistant in a supermarket (Lidl to be precise). She had a somewhat racist/paranoid obsession with what she called ‘crazy little Pakis’ which she was always prepared to expand on to anyone who would listen. Most of her tirades ended with some kind of reference to crazy little Pakis. They were clearly her own personal scapegoat. She didn’t have problems with any other culture or ethnic identity. In fact at one point she fell in love with the Afro Caribbean Ward Manager.

Honestly she was such a hoot and kept many of us laughing and cheerful in there with her massive and outgoing personality.

I’m sorry to say I started kind of ignoring her when she seemed zombified by the meds she was given (or possibly by her own developing depression, can’t be sure). I regret this now. I should have tried to find out what was wrong, instead I kind of ostracized her. Like a kid in a school playground might snub a kid who had previously been their friend.

I know she lives near me and hope I will bump into her again one day as we didn’t swop numbers or anything. I would love to know how she is doing now.

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Suicide Etc

Hey peeps.

Douglas, Solly and I buried Amber in the garden yesterday, in her favourite place by the fence where she used to love to soak up the sun. It’s the end of an era baby girl!

I only shed tears prompted by onions these days and honestly haven’t even felt particularly sad. It helped of course that her decline at age 20 was so obvious, that she clearly had a good life and a peaceful, quick death. She had a sweet nature and fully deserved to receive every kindness from humans that she undoubtedly did. Her purr was legendary.

Richard’s ex wife was kind enough to send me a condolence card which I received this morning. That touched me more than words can say.

While life is good, let me talk about suicide.

I went through a rather depressive phase for several years following the incarceration in prison, then a secure mental hospital, of Maurice my ex. So I guess late 2012 up to my manic episode of summer 2015.

I began to frequent several suicide websites and found one that was fairly private and lesser-known that was devoted to the study of suicide methods.

In here I managed to locate an online source for a substance which is banned from use in this country and most others. I obtained it and (this kind of surprises me even now) began to take small amounts just to numb the everyday pain of existence.

I ended up ordering this same substance three times and even went to attend a drug and alcohol recovery service on the back of my usage of this drug. I might add that I chose to use this service, nobody told me to go there, and that I found it very helpful and supportive and met many wonderful people there. I wished people with mental health problems were similarly catered for in this borough.

It is so strange to me now that I was so desperate as to use this substance ‘recreationally’, as it has a notoriously offensive taste and it’s not as if it’s exactly a good time drug. I was hyper-aware of not becoming addicted so I spaced out my usage. But got through quite a lot of the stuff over a period of maybe one and a half years.

Really I think now I was facing some kind of mid-life crisis. A big part of this is how I felt my body changed around the 50 mark and I no longer felt attractive, in fact I felt largely invisible and as for sex…uh-uh I felt dead from the waist down.

Add in the low-level depression that seemed to be my default setting at this time and you may understand why suicide became something of an obsession.

To this day I continue to use a suicide chatroom and to regularly browse the reddit site Sanctioned Suicide. I have watched countless documentaries on the subject of assisted dying and every other form of suicide. I find it comforting folks! I like to constantly be reminded that we humans are essentially here of our own volition. We face each day and each struggle of our own free will! The out is always there.

I also prefer the company of those who have experienced despair and looked for that ‘out’ themselves. Honestly I will never be able to understand those who never have as they may be unable to understand me.

I like people who have been through the mill. I empathise with those who struggle.

I’m also primarily interested in the work of the more ‘pessimistic’ philosophers and would identify myself as something of an antinatalist though I am not super judgmental of those who choose to have children. I just don’t appreciate the papering over of the gigantic cracks, not to say chasms, of life. I don’t appreciate platitudinous talk of the ‘it gets better’ variety. Far better than offering any kind of ‘quick fix’ is to actually invite the suicidal person to talk about where they’re at. Ask THEM how you can help! But primarily they need to know they are not alone.

This…offering the hand of friendship to a suicidal person…is needless to say far more onerous than offering those knee-jerk platitudes, which literally mean nothing to the person enduring suicidal despair.

Do not dismiss us as mentally ill. Do not judge us as ‘selfish’ and ‘wrong’. We are simply exercising our God?-given right to have autonomy over our life and death.

I know I will be right back there one day. Maybe even in a few months. To be conscious sometimes is just the purest suffering. There’s no other word for it. Every day feels like a curse and there is pleasure and reward in precisely nothing. Pure anhedonia, lack of pleasure in anything, and the sense of this moment being like an eternity will bring the strongest staunchest person to their knees.

Have the humility to know that there but for the Grace of God? go you.

Yes the question marks beside God? are intentional and not a typo. I’m prepared to keep an open mind essentially.