Hullo we’re back. There’s been a wee break recently. The reason for this is I’ve been away on holiday and unfortunately Elle is under section just now. I’ve been in regular contact with her and she’s said it’s Ok that I tell you here on the blog. Obviously things can’t be described as ‘fine’ with her just now, but she agrees she’s probably in the best place for how she feels right now. In our contact Elle still retains a good humour and is dealing with things in her usual take things as they come fashion. In our correspondence we discovered that the consultant she is under is actually the same consultant who changed my diagnosis from schizophrenia to Bipolar. His name is doctor Nutal and of course both of us in our own treatment have referred to him as ‘Dr Nut’! It would seem the world of Edinburgh psychiatric types is a small one lol!
Elle has been having real problems with her sleeping pattern. Eventually with treatment she did manage to get a good 7 hours sleep. She told me that all the other patients on the ward were delighted to hear this when she awoke. That really made me smile. It totally reminded me of the comradery that develops when you’re a patient on a psychiatric ward. I’m reminded of an admission of mine when I was one of the iller patients on the ward. I was delusional for a couple of days and prone to wandering around reassuring everybody that everything was going to be fine and wonderful for them in a typical messianic delusional type way. When I did finally come back to earth one day I spotted a group of fellow patients having a game of cards and approached them tentatively. I actually heard one of them quietly say, “Brace yourself folks I think John’s coming to bless us all again.” I explained to them that I had my insight back and apologised if I’d been acting a bit ‘wonky’. Everybody just laughed and welcomed me into the body of the kirk. I remember vividly all the people I spent those couple of weeks with. A couple of them I would see around town after being discharged. I’d like to remember them briefly on here. Just to remind us of the diversity of folk we encounter in the world of psychiatric care. I’ll use made up names.
Helen had very severe depression, yet was a gentle and affable soul who would happily chat away to you. After a week of knowing her she turned up on the ward and absolutely could not remember us knowing each other. The memory was completely gone. I was a bit shocked at first. She explained to me it was because she was receiving Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Apparently it really affects the memory. I asked if this worried her. She told me it was worth it, and a small price to pay for the great relief the treatment brought to her depression.
Alex was an older man suffering really bad anxiety. A very considerate man. He had been a prominent trade union representative during the miners strike. He told me the pressure of the strike had caused him to have a complete nervous breakdown. I suppose his particular ailment was all the worse because it was government sanctioned.
Joe was a chronic alcoholic. Again a great guy to sit and have a chat with. There was absolutely no self pity in regards to his predicament. He told me that at its worse the alcoholism had him drinking alcohol from inside the workings of a car engine. Sometimes Joe would have terrible seizures. These were caused by his withdrawal. These seizures can be deadly. It was what killed Amy Winehouse.
Linda was a very sweet woman who may have also had some kind of learning difficulty. She liked attention and would sometimes ‘stage’ little incidents to make staff come running. These incidents could be very funny to witness as she played them out in such melodramatic/Oscar winning ways. I remember one day seeing her shove a big vase off a shelf so it smashed on the floor, “Oh good lord the vase!’ she exclaimed. I stood up for her and said it was a definite accident. I don’t think anybody believed either of us. Linda used crutches permanently because her legs were badly damaged from two suicide attempts where she had jumped out of windows.
I’ll write more about people like us in my next blog. It would be highly appreciated if people could take a minute to send Elle some words. Much thanks John. x