Thursday, 2 May 2013

I Shed My Skin And Put My Bones Into Everything.

It's hard to start writing this.

I could start at the exact moment the woman with the long hair spat mashed potato onto my glasses. I could start when I fell into a deep psychosis while walking through New Yorks diamond district the week after my stepfather died in July last year. I could start the day Dave went to his cancer ward while I went to the newborn ward. So much to choose from!

I keep sweeping the shards of the story up into the middle of the room to dispose of them thoughtfully but they just keep coming.

How about I just start with the distinct feeling that I've never actually felt ok?

Almost a month ago I asked my sister Linda to drive up and be with my kids for a while so I could check myself into hospital and have a breakdown please? I was so polite.

She careened up .... and Like Doctors Without Borders, we coined the term "Sisters Without Pity."

I abhor pity.

I went into emergency and within half an hour was scheduled against my will into the hospital because I was a danger to myself. (Probably because I was a danger to myself.)

Talking about mental illness is a slippery eel. If I went into hospital almost a month ago because of a broken leg? Completely legit. But I went into hospital for a broken mind. A broken leg in my broken mind? A broken stigma on my stigmata? There was no bed ready so I had to wait for a day and a half in a small room with no window. I was a patient with no patience. Things turned ugly. I had to apologise to the security guys quite a few times. Everything was perspex so nothing would break and I was FURIOUS.

I trapped my own self in there. Dave came back and took the boys to the beach and my pitiless sister got on with her life. I wonder how people in developing countries get their mental needs met? They're probably too busy thinking about basic things like food and water and shelter.

A Lot Of Things Happened over the course of the past month. (For the record, none of this had anything to do with alcohol or drugs. Just my own head, out to get me. Again.)

I've never felt so scarily low, for such an extended period of time. I unravelled to the end of the string. It was such a relief to not pretend anymore. But then people in my community - both in the real world and online, found out where I was. Mortifying.

Apparently somebody left a comment here stating: "... those poor boys."

Those poor boys? Had the best school holidays. Playing on the beach with their dad and cousins, visiting both grandmothers, going to the park, going to the movies, eating sushi.

Their mum didn't end up hanging from a tree, so no. They're not poor boys at all.

Apparently I have Bipolar II. I read through the symptoms and cannot believe I got to forty-one years old without realising I may have something more seriously wrong with me than just "life being a bit tricky" at times. The words "high-functioning" have been explained to me by a lot of nurses, doctors, and psychiatrists. Probably why I can do things like interview the Prime Minister of Australia in the morning, a prostitute from Kings Cross in the afternoon, then end up on the Project that night talking about rape culture. Then feeling like the most worthless wreck of a human being the next day.


I was officially discharged yesterday. Left my bed a little better than how I found it, with the *cutest* Frankie poster.

All of the people I was in there with ... wow. They're mostly just like you and me. Mostly just doing their best. You would never guess if you walked past them in the street. Life is hard, and for some, it's REALLY hard.

Living in a mental health ward is like living in a Richard Scarry book if he'd dropped some acid before writing it. The nurses all deserve a raise, a holiday, and a massage. They are unbelievable. I could not do what they do - thank GOD they do what they do.

I'm reeling. Realing. Dave is a taking it in his stride but it must have been hard for him. He made me a coffee with cream as soon as we got back home yesterday, while mum was filling the freezer with beautifully cooked food.

I've had a CAT scan, bloods, heart monitor. On a healthy dose of medications. I don't know what's going to happen next, because there's no such thing as happy endings. But there's always chocolate and sex and truth and nurses you adore and laughter. And music. Even in dark times.

This song was in my head the entire time I was in there. An anthem, of sorts. I really love it how you get to the trumpets and you think think the song has ended but it didn't, it kept going.

I shed my skin and put my bones into everything 

At 3 minutes and 10 seconds, I coulda swore it was over. But it kept going.

It just kept going.


PS The woman spat mashed potato at my face in the mental health unit during dinner because she thought I was a Belgian spy. I was so fucked up I began to wonder if I actually WAS a Belgian spy? Maybe this wasn't my real life at all? WHO COULD EVER REALLY KNOW?

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