"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong" Joseph Chilton Pearse, American author.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Do Not Disturb - Demons Sleeping (Diary Entries)

July 1997:
We finally set off on the family summer holiday to France.  The children were just about young enough not to be embarrassed in the company of their parents but old enough to appreciate the beautiful sights and sounds of both Paris and the Cote d'Azur.   The holiday was everything you could hope for, blue skies, warm sunshine, good food, Disney rides, the perfect vacation.

It was during the Paris leg of our trip that I began to withdraw into myself and my husband had to increasingly take over the domestic end of things.  The children were having a ball and hopefully didn’t notice the growing  change in my demeanour.  I was no longer preparing the meals (we were staying in an apartment) or rinsing out our small pieces of laundry.  Existing from hour to hour was becoming exhausting.

Finally, one warm sunny afternoon while walking along one of the many beautiful Parisian streets I emotionally collapsed and broke down.  While my husband walked ahead with the children (presumably to prevent them witnessing my distress) I dragged myself along, tears streaming down my face, not caring about the passers-by who by then were probably staring sympathetically at me.   Nothing existed outside of my tortured soul.

Shortly before leaving Paris I had a dream where I was in a long black tunnel, squashed by huge iron claws and feeling the excruciating pain rack every inch of my body.

On my return from France I had a very strong urge to give this dream sequence a physical entity so on waking the following morning I drew my image of the dark tunnel which I named “Birth Tunnel”.

Less than a week back home I had my weekly psychotherapy session with my now late therapist, Alan.   The depression which I had sunk into over the past couple of months had by this time deepened but was now also accompanied by a heightened state of anxiety.

It was during the hour long session that I became quite distressed.   Crying during my sessions was nothing new but this time there was a rawness to my distress that never really existed before.  I cried in despair, shouted, thumped the walls with my fist in anger, then sat shaking, terrified I was going completely mad.  I begged Alan to help me.  He very gently suggested I should be admitted for a short while to a clinic where I could have complete rest away from life’s hectic schedule.  He then phoned my GP and explained to him my fragile state of mind.

Later in the evening my husband phoned Alan to discuss my situation with him.  He wasn’t keen on the idea of me entering a clinic, he didn’t feel it was necessary but Alan explained the necessity for me to have care with possibly short term medication to help calm me and get me through this particularly difficult time.

At around 10.00am the following morning I went to my doctor who arranged my admission to the hospital where, he assured me I would be very comfortable as it was a small private hospital whose decor was more hotel than clinic.   Later, he phoned to say I was expected at around 2.00pm.

I arrived at the single story building around 2.00pm feeling totally lost and confused.......

As a result of the heavy sedation which I received over the first three days (standard procedure) I don’t remember much of my nine day stay.  However, I do intend at some point to document the snippets which have remained with me to try and establish an overall picture of daily life in a psychiatric hospital.

© Ann Brien 2013

Above image:  Me, sometime in 2011