Archive for blog psychiatric nursing

The Body Blow

Posted in Blogging, books, journals and diaries, mental health with tags , , on October 22, 2014 by leovineknight

he following day, I sat slumped in ‘my’ chair in the day room, thoughts neutralizing one another, clouds gathering, nerves jangling and…..

“Hello, Steve.”
It was Kate, and my heart jumped into my loins.
“Hi, there” I murmured. “Fancy seeing you in a place like this.”
“Well, I told you I was starting the training. I’ve got my first placement on the elderly ward, downstairs.
“Oh…. Still, it was nice of you to look in.”
“Well, I saw your wife at the theatre and she…. she explained that things weren’t exactly…”
“Brilliant?”
“Er…yes.”
“Was she alone at the theatre, by the way?”
“Well…no.”
“So you probably wondered if she’d traded me in for a new model?”
“Well yes, but she explained how she was getting a bit depressed about it all. Apparently, she was trying to cheer herself up on a works outing, but only one other person turned up…… He was a cocky bloke with a very long nose. I didn’t like him much”
“Yeah, I get the picture.”
“I feel really sorry for you Steve. You look dreadful.”
“Well….. never mind about me. What have you been up to?”
“Oh, apart from really enjoying the training I’ve……er…..I’ve got myself engaged.”
(silence)
“Say something Steve.”
“Congratulations, Kate.”
“There’s something else Steve.”
“What, even more wonderful news?”
“Yes…..I …..I don’t really know how to say this. You may have heard about it already. But the night you had your breakdown….you were saying all sorts of horrible things in your sleep. It sounded like you were really angry and you wanted to kill somebody. Then you talked about Cecilia, and how you’d “fixed” her once and for all…..It was awful Steve…..I had to tell somebody.”
“Ah….I wondered what Richard meant in his letter.”
“So you know about it?”
“I can’t remember a thing about that day Kate, apart from seeing you. But Richard wrote to say I was going to be interviewed about Cecilia when I’m better. Now I know why”
“I’m sorry.”
“You’re certainly an idealist, Kate. The book comes before everything else doesn’t it?. ”
(silence)
We prolonged the meeting for another ten or fifteen minutes, exchanging platitudes and slightly uncomfortable looks, before she bid me an unlikely farewell. I looked at her departing hour-glass figure like the man with X-ray eyes, imagining myself taking chances rather than leaving them, seeing my tongue flicking down her spine to the coccyx, feeling the nylon over her knees, drowning gladly in the flesh and blood.
“Hello, Lawrence” she said to the tweedy young doctor wedged in the doorway.
“Hi” he said, waving his hand (although it was still in his pocket), then strutting away, his impression left on the woodwork, his plans in the toilet.
Gazing through the grimy, cracked window which overlooked the car park, I saw Kate and Brad Pitt getting into a nice red and white Mini Cooper (with pepper pack, no doubt). At least she had the grace to look a bit sad.
But only a bit.

Dear John

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, books, journals and diaries, mental health with tags , on September 2, 2014 by leovineknight

The next day I woke up with the larks (two patients were making love in the bathroom, and another was absconding down the alarmed fire escape), and after an early breakfast I set to work writing the most important letter of my life.

Dear Carol,
I don’t want to revisit the problems we’ve had over the last few years, and I certainly don’t want to apportion blame. I remember the good times as well as the bad, and underneath it all, I still love you.
There may be a way out of these problems, and I want you to think carefully about what I’m going to say, for all our sakes. One of the people here has told me about a place not too far away, where families can live and work together in a farming type of community. He says it brings people closer together and restores their sense of value.
Please tell me that you would like to hear more about it. It could make all the difference to our lives. It could be what we really need.
Tell the children I’m thinking about them.
Love
Steve

Putting this in the post, I picked up my incoming mail, dodged the tweedy doctor who seemed to be stuck in the doorway, and returned to my room. I went through the usual invitations that mentally ill people receive from credit card companies, and at the bottom of the pile I found a letter from Carol which must have been have been posted the previous day.

Dear Steve,
Sorry I’ve got to break the news to you this way, but I didn’t have the heart to tell you yesterday. Things have been very difficult between us for years now, and your illness was the last straw. I can’t go on like this and I would like us to spend some time apart. We’ve talked about divorce before, and when you’re better I think we ought to go through with it. I won’t even ask why you were in that girl’s flat that night.
I’ve met a man (Bill) who really cares for me, and who has shown me the things I’ve been missing. He’s been very kind bringing around toys and sweets for the kids while you’ve been away, and they both seem to like him. He’s so honest and open, I just can’t throw the chance away.
You may think I’m being insensitive doing this while you’re in hospital, but Bill says a clean break will probably do you the world of good. He’s so thoughtful, he even asked me if it would be okay for him to send you a ‘get well’ card – you can see why I want him to move in with me. Please say you understand.
Love
Carol
P.S. Don’t worry about the garden. Bill has brought over his new cylinder mower which cuts the lawn in stripes.

Vows

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health with tags , on July 14, 2014 by leovineknight

“Hello, there.”
I swivelled 90 degrees and observed the svelte figure of Carol weaving through the coffee tables towards me. She had clearly spent the morning in the bathroom as usual, with freshly tinted hair, sparkling teeth and the intermingling aromas of shampoo, anti-perspirant and patchouli oil intoxicating all in her wake. But as momentary eye contact was lost, my visceral admiration wavered, and I detected that her bonhomie was far too extravagant for the circumstances. She always performed for new audiences like Betty Grable at a big break audition, effortlessly switching her binary personality from 0 to 1 for maximum effect, but this time something was different. As she sat in front of me ignoring everything I said and beaming sideways at perfect strangers, I noticed an extra special esprit in her manner which I hadn’t seen for many years. After 15 minutes of unreal politeness, awkward vacillation and routine fencing, I looked at the right ear which was turned towards me, and enquired:
“Where are the kids today?”
“Sorry?” she said, pulling her attention away from the pink-shirted charge nurse at the end of the room.
“Where are the kids today” I repeated.
“Oh, one of my friends from work has taken them to see Star Wars XXIV at the Ritz.”
“I see. Is it Andrea?”
“Sorry?” she said, abandoning her non-verbal rapport with a tweedy young doctor in the doorway.
“Has Andrea taken them to the cinema?”
“Oh no. It’s one of the others – nobody you know.”
“It would have been nice to see the kids.”
(Silence).
“It would have been nice to see the kids!” I insisted.
“For goodness sake, there’s no need to shout!” she shouted. “I just thought it would be better if they enjoyed themselves for once. It’s no fun for them in here.”
“I didn’t choose to be in here.”
“Didn’t you?” she sneered. “ Quite a few of your work-mates seem to have been in and out of places like this, just so they could cop out. Why not you?”
“For God’s sake, I had a genuine breakdown! It was because I was having to cope with all that low grade corruption and filth and endless stupidity that I couldn’t take any more.”
“Well, in the end it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s genuine or not. You’re still here.”
“It doesn’t make any difference?”
“No not really. “
“But I was fighting for something that was right and fair. Something less wasteful and less rotten…..”
“If the world’s as mad as you say it is” she interrupted “the only sane thing to do is to adapt to it, otherwise you’ll be driven mad yourself.”
(Silence).
“You’ve always been anti-social Steven. That’s your big problem.”
“Well……. if society means a collection of performing narcissists, mindless bureaucrats, animalistic thugs and shameless freeloaders dancing together over the cliff – yes, I’m very much against it.”
(silence).
“Anyway” she said “I’ve got to meet Bil ….er…my friend at 4 0’clock to pick up the kids.”
“Bill who?” I enquired.
“Look, I can’t explain now” she said “I’ll write soon, but I’m going away for a few days break.”
“Whereabouts?”
“I’ll write soon.”
“Take care then” I said, no longer wanting to hear the truth. “And have a nice time.”
For a few moments she looked shaken and contrite, her eyes shining like mine, shared memories holding us in our seats, but then she was gone. And gone for good (or bad), I could no longer tell the difference. Only the perfume, and the image of her catwalk back remained.

It’s Catching

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , on April 1, 2014 by leovineknight

Seeing a staircase, I walked up it and searched around for something familiar I could pin my rather confused senses to. I spotted Richard’s office and pulled open the door, seeing before me a massive wall of bulging filing cabinets totally blocking the way in. From his perch on the top cabinet, Richard looked down on me, and grinned.
“Ah, hello old boy. We’ve finally cracked it. Everything that’s ever happened in this unit in the last fifteen years has been documented on these forms. There’s even a file for how many times staff have farted since their contracts commenced. The inspectors should be absolutely thrilled.”
“Yes, things are well in hand here alright” I agreed, as I carefully pushed over the nearest cabinet and watched the whole lot fall like a house of cards, burying Richard up to his crimson neck.
Taking a coloured divider out of one of the files, I marked it ‘ Waste of Space’ and popped it neatly between Richard’s trembling jaws, pressing the top of his head like a hole-puncher, before closing the door quietly as I left.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough” I said.
More than enough.
And with adrenaline flowing through my veins like rocket fuel, I suddenly realised that I had somehow been given the power to overturn this insane world, and trample its vacuous conventions into the dust. I could turn my thoughts into instantaneous action, impose my will on every situation, and imagine the wildest scenario and see it happen. I was imbued with supernatural strengths and transcendental powers. I even had the ability to make something vaguely sensible happen for once.
http://www.windowsofmadness.co.uk

Skipping

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, mental health with tags , , on March 11, 2014 by leovineknight

The street was like a building site as usual, with people constantly competing to distort their homes with as many horrendous extensions as possible, apparently aiming to swallow up their entire gardens and meet in the middle. In another ten years the place would be like some Fritz Lang megalopolis, with every ‘detached’ house linked by a series of arches and tunnels, and every window within a metre of somebody else’s; the owners glaring at each other like fighting cocks, and their children wondering what ‘green’ used to look like. Everybody in the estate seemed to be basing their lives on a series of glossy magazine articles which helpfully told them what to want, and then led them down the main shopping street with Saturday metronome regularity. On average, each household now had one and a half children, three cars and a permanent skip.

The Dormitory

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, mental health with tags , , on February 24, 2014 by leovineknight

I strode on towards our house, and the drizzle seemed marginally warmer. A firework went off somewhere to my left, reminding me of Bonfire Night two weeks ago, and my thoughts wheeled on to Christmas. ‘Money’ automatically sprang to mind, and I looked across at a nearby £350,000 villa which was just five years old and had already received three new bathrooms and two new kitchens from three different owners. The house was currently owned by two very busy professional people who spent 85% of their time working, sleeping or on holiday, and only 15% of their time actually awake in the house. Spending so little free time in their home, they had to pay a gardener £25 a week to do the lawns, hedges and weeding, a ‘morning’ lady £30 a week to do the washing and ironing, a nanny £150 a week to look after the children, and an odd job man £20 a week to do the small household repairs and walk the dog. Once, in a rash moment, I’d told the owner that for £50 a week I would occupy his house during the evenings and save him the trouble of living there at all.
He thought for a while and smilingly offered me £40.
Yet, it wasn’t a happy marriage (if that’s what you’d call a big business deal on the skids) and tonight I couldn’t help noticing a pterodactyl fastened to someone’s neck in the kitchen. Or that’s what it sounded like.

Infection

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , , on February 18, 2014 by leovineknight

It was really getting too dangerous to walk home at night, and I breathed a sigh of relief when the blue glow faded, and I entered respectable suburbia. The first telephone box was smashed to pieces as usual, and every garden wall had spray paint running along the top like a child’s railway line. Broken conifer branches lay about, while traffic cones had been removed from the nearby road works and redistributed on peoples’ front lawns. It was clear that the hooliganism was growing relentlessly beyond its original borders, and that I needed to calculate how long it would take to reach our cul-de-sac a mile further on. Given that some of our new neighbours managed to communicate by stringing four-letter words into sentences, and their kids made cannibals look like urbane lounge lizards, I estimated about one year to removal time.
At last the rows of brown dog kennels and silver German cars which comprised our estate appeared, and I could smell sanctuary. Like Quasimodo dodging the whips, I broke into a loping gait and made for the furthest reaches of the sprawling mass before me. It wasn’t Enid Blyton or John Constable, but it would do, and as I looked over the roofs towards the outline of an escarpment, and the moors beyond it, I breathed a sigh of relief. Some of my favourite walks lay in that direction, and for a few moments a montage of pleasant memories filled my mind; bike rides with the kids, tea rooms in historic places, quiet strolls in sylvan settings, and collecting shells on breezy beaches. Life wasn’t all bad, and the prospect of a few days off began to thaw my frozen sensibilities and lift my affect. A little freedom was in sight, and I would savour every atom of it.

%d bloggers like this: