Slightly less mad.

Woke up after a night of feverish nightmares in which I thought I had lost Izzy. The American had killed her. I briefly had no idea where I was and why my window was half covered by one orange curtain. Then I remembered. I was back in the bin. I believe Therese Coffey in he brief but groundbreaking tenure as Secretary of State for Health & social care introduced not only a ban on the Oxford Comma, but introduced a pilot It’s Curtains for the NHS initiative where each window has a single curtain. Brilliant.

All of this was with the background of pneumatic drilling and banging right outside my door as Peabody Trust, our landlord, decided to choose to start major renovations while all residents were in the grip of serious trauma.

I attended Dramatherapy which I find intense but helpful, During the relaxation exercise I realised how tense I was round my neck an shoulders. I felt the sensation of an emotional tsunami rising up to sweep me away. I realised the stress and terror of recent times were still stored in my body.

During the group, I was summoned to see the Psychiatrist who seems to have an uncanny knack of choosing when I am in a therapy group, to summon me to ward round. However, I rate him highly as he treats me as a whole person, not just a walking bag of symptoms. I am treated genuinely as a partner in my care and as such, I trust him. This is a first in over 20 years in the ‘the system’. Ward rounds are intimidating as the Psychiatrist is flanked by another doctor and a nurse at the very least and very often a crowd of students. I never refuse to have students present as they need to see practice in action, not just through books & lectures. He made a few adjustments to my meds and advised me to engage with AA while here. A Psychiatrist who understands addiction is a very rare beast.

I returned to the group for the last 20 minutes. We had to choose cards and construct a story based on what we had chosen. I chose mine at random. Mine included a fire scene of destruction, a Ukrainian vinok (flower crown with ribbons, and the other card was a a set of scales with the background blue at the top and yellow at the bottom.

The other patients are a mixed bag as we are all thrown in together. People can be very Ill very demanding and some, I am afraid, seem stuck in a never-ending cycle of destruction then punishment, refusal to be allowed out even accompanied and at worse, forcibly restrained. This is thankfully very rare but when it happens, it is utterly shocking. Most here are highly intelligent and creative. it is a waste not to take heed of our insight.

I could tell right away that there is a serious shortage of staff in the unit. it means staff are brought in from other wards. So are agency staff who have never been to the ward before, and with all that comes a feeling of panic that is palpable. That panic seems to pass on to some of the patients who then start to cause their own individual methods of mayhem. That of course exacerbates the problem. There is a domino effect that seems to be happening most if not every day.

I felt slightly better later in the day and so struggled home to check on Izzy. I had no idea how depleted my energy has become. I have to visit her daily this as her Uncle Tommy who used to look after her died shortly after the second evacuation of the building by terrorist police. I don’t want her usual cat sitter who is a young girl on her gap year after school, in the flat in case the American targets her.

There is a very large mountain to climb to get my sense of self back. The physical bit I can do, but the deep-rooted trauma brought screaming to the surface due to the neighbour being apparently very serious about killing me will take a very long time.

On the positive side. I am no longer alone in my flat shaking in terror. I am in a safe place, putting my shattered self back together and for that I am truly grateful.


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