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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Today, I was walking around West Yorkshire and getting reacquainted with the place, off the back of what little I already knew. I was in Todmorden, and trust me, I’ve never been there and it’s not raining. It was raining like mad there so once I was done, since I had nothing else to do I got the train back to Mytholmroyd where I met up with Just A Good Friend, and had a little wander around my village to see what’s what. Suddenly, huge, roaring grey-to-black clouds appeared as if from nowhere in a very menacing way and I was EXCITED. I’ve seen thunderstorms but this was different – it was HERE, we were in the very EYE of it, within seconds the warm air around us had started to swirl upwards and turn cool, leaves were ripping themselves free of the trees and after seeing several flashes of lightning, we saw this almighty fork of it appear for a full second perhaps, and so instead of being sensible and going home and about our business, we thought actually, why not just GO AND CHASE AFTER IT THIS IS THE RIGHT MOMENT! Sensible people would’ve hidden. I did actually go home after it, because the rain got a bit too much, but whilst chasing the storm we were listening to a re-working of Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum from Carmen, done by Marc Almond. It has this very schizoid way of having two songs being sung alongside eachother, and today made me think of that, in lots of ways. I’m getting cryptic now but there’s nothing cryptic about the poem. Funny, I can be way more obvious in poetry than I can be in life. It’s called Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum. 

we drove your car up to the highest
it was the stormclouds that were steering
                    (it feels like twenty million tom toms)
the rain was pounding with this violence
a bullwhip oiled to stop the snagging
                    (i know there’s twenty million tom toms)
and when we parked we tripped up running
to catch the thunder in its prelude
                    (way down deep inside my bones)
we threw our coats off onto the crags
your whetted hands tug at a waistband
                    (beat out that rhythm on a drum!)
your belt demanded my attention
we used to dream that this would happen
                    (beat out that rhythm on a drum!)
and lightening flashbulbs from the folly
like it was admiring our bodies
                    (and then i get a kind of dream)
i used to fear of getting clothes wet
i had the comforts of the city
                    (and in my dream it kind of seems)
but now am returned to the country
and so am returned back to you
                    (there’s just one heart in all the world)
a victim of your own obsessions
the vicious wasteland of the country
                    (there’s not but one big heart for all the world)
how it dictates the names we call for
we must now walk back with our clothes wet
                    (beat out that rhythm on a drum!)
i guess we’ll both need to take showers
the radio thrumming in our ears
                    (beat out that rhythm on a drum!)

And so, today was the day I packed all of my things up and waited for my ride to come so I could haul it all into the back of a van and be surprised how comparatively, I have very little. I accidentally finished packing almost 4 hours too early so have just been sitting here watching things on the laptop and thinking about this huge step I’m about to make. The idea of it is making me excited and nervous so I took a diazepam, I think they were prescribed for situations like this. 
I keep finding myself on Google maps working out the best walking routes to Heptonstall to see Sylvia Plath’s grave, to bars and cafes in Hebden I’ve been told all about, to see friends in Todmorden, the jobs I might get. The thing that excites / terrifies me about this move is I have no idea where it will take me. Who will I meet? What will my friends be like? Will I make friends? But I felt like this the time i first moved to Manchester, years ago. I knew a change needed to be made because my life was hitting a bit of a low, and I thought I’d have to have a huge change of scenery. I’d always wanted to live in Manchester, so I hurriedly made the arrangements to do so and arrived without much warning. This is how I’m feeling about West Yorks. Life has been a bit hard recently, the break-up (which comes and goes in waves, in terms of grief), the mental health crisis, my poor diet, my decadence – a decadence I used to welcome but now feel awful about every time. I need a quiet life. I need a lack of chaos. I need the most exciting thing in my life to be: “I’d better head off, my last train is at midnight”. I need that Cinderella thing. You never saw Cinderella going out until 3am, drinking shots in some random guy’s penthouse, cadging drinks off gullible single men, and going home to a pile of unopened letters that might have bad news like “YOU OWE A SHITLOAD OF MONEY TO PEOPLE”. 
I’ve taken this metaphor too far and I don’t know where it’s going. Also the valium is kicking in. I think what I’m trying to say all in all is I’m sitting on the bed that has been my bed for 9 months, this bed that I used to lie next to my boyfriend in. This bed that has now seen several people pass through since then, all of them with different names, occupations, purposes. The bed I slump into when I return home in the wee hours alone, drunk. The bed I spent so many hours lying in, beaming wide with pride when I looked at the man sleeping next to me, the bed that subsequently became a place of loneliness and where I refused to climb out of recently, where I rotted into it, an sunk into the mattress for days on end wondering when this whole shit would be over. The walls of the bedroom haven’t changed much, the posters were still the same, but some post-it notes got taken down. They were from my ex, or to him. “I love you” notes and “You are beautiful” notes. This wasn’t the worst place I ever lived and for a long time it was one of the best, but now it’s a nothing to me. The past 9 months never really happened, now. This place feels strange. I’ve scrubbed it of all remnants of me, and of any evidence that he was ever here. There was another boy who’s been visiting, but it would mean so much more to me if he’d never seen this place at all. I want to see him in different places, places where we belong. Maybe once I’m closer to the countryside, things will start to make more sense to me. Who knows. All I know is a change is needed. 

So long, Manchester. I’ll be back eventually. 

As I write this I am spending my very last night in Manchester, for what I think will be quite some time. I’ve mentioned a few times now that I’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to go and take up in a village in West Yorkshire, a dream I’ve had for lots of years (I can be a very modest dreamer), and a chance to actually do that on my own terms.

I’ve never done this before. I mean sure, I’ve moved house plenty of times, but never quite like this. Finally at 24, I gain a small amount of independence, despite having left home 8 years ago. I don’t know what to expect when I get there – will any of this sunny weather still persist or will I see Yorkshire in the rain and wind – because trust me – that part of the world is the only place I find rain pleasant. I’m looking forward to wild countryside and unmanicured moors. I cannot wait. 

Naturally I’ll be venturing back to Manchester every now and then but not for any length of time. I threw so much love into the city, and so much of myself, and it has given me very little in return. I have made a lot of friends here, and my poetry career has indeed flourished partly because of this city and its amazing literary scene. However, my heart’s been broken here several times, I’ve been very unwell, I’ve been unstable and I’ve been anxious. What I really need is a break, and that’s what this is. A nice, long, break. I’ve got new ventures beginning in my life, new books to write, new journalism to start out on, and dare I say new romances to pursue. 

This post has been relatively short because my tablets are starting to kick in and I need to sleep soon. After all, I have a very busy day ahead of me. 

I will of course keep everyone updated, and post beautiful pictures of where I’ve been and where I am. 

Tonight is my second night away from the nuthouse. Yesterday morning I was officially discharged having made a marked recovery from the sheer terror of what I was going through before I landed there. I look back on the past few weeks and the rapidity of the descent into madness was quite alarming. I don’t recognise that person who I was before going into the facility, she was a very frightened, very vulnerable and very wild young woman. I can’t fully remember the whole process of it all now that it’s over, but all I know is it was frightening and I felt like I was sitting in a car with some mad driver who kept swerving all over the place and crashed into the central reservation, setting the car on fire, leaving me running out on the motorway desperately asking to be helped. And now that I’ve been helped, I’ve come out of it with just a few scratches and the strong will to never get in the car with that person ever again (Ed. this is a prolonged metaphor and also a tired, predictable one. You’re supposed to be a poet. Get your act together.) (Ed. you forgot to put the full stop OUTSIDE of the parentheses). (Ed. that’s better). 

I met some really wonderful people, there wasn’t a single person there that I had any sort of dislike for. There were a whole host of different problems and traumas brought into the facility, people had suffered great amounts of violence and assault, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, rape, psychosis, drug addictions, alcoholism, delusion, and above all, disorder. The thing that united us all was that we’d all reached a point where we could no longer cope. Every single one of us in the place were under the care of Crisis Management Home Resolution Team – a very necessary service who treat you as an outpatient when there are no beds available, and who look after you after you’ve left a facility such as that one. I, myself, will need to be weaned off diazepam gently as it had been prescribed to me to take it three times a day, every day, for two weeks. I know it’s going to be a bitch to come off, and I even felt guilty taking it as prescribed. The thing about diazepam is it feels very nice. I don’t know how many of my readers will have taken it, prescribed or otherwise, but it’s normally a drug people illicitly used on a come-down. Prescribed, it stops panic attacks in their tracks, and it’s also used as adjunct therapy with a mood stabiliser or antipsychotic (the latter, in my case) to slow down the racing thoughts that come with a mental health crisis. It works. But taking it felt like I was being given legal permission to get high, so I tried to avoid it unless absolutely necessary, but sometimes I would find myself just taking a half of one, to take the edge off the day. Some days I’d be happy and perky and others I’d feel depressed and anxious. They’re also quite good for slowing down mania, symptoms of which still persisted during my first 5 days of treatment as a resident. Eventually all the drugs started to kick in, and I learnt to slow down. They offered a lot of alternative therapies too, so by the time I left I was equipped with all of these tools to cope on the outside world. I learned to relax, and simple thing like learning to breathe from the diaphragm rather than quick, short breaths from the chest, help. I managed to calm down the beginnings of a panic attack with breathing exercises and the whole thing drifted away. When I got a lift back here, there was no sense of dread. I didn’t feel scared to be here any more, it’s always quite incredible to look back on mental health crises and remember that they actually happened. I get a big episode like this one sort of once every two years. In previous episodes I have hastily started a degree in nursing, planned a new life in Paris, and turned all the mirrors in my house around because I could see the devil in my reflection. That time, I remember getting the bus into town to find any church that was open. All the way there I listened to my iPod. I believed that as the music was going into my ears, my thoughts were being transmitted out of them. Once, there was a story on the news that a murder had been committed nearby and I’d convinced myself I must have done it but somehow forgotten about it. Every time I heard a police siren, I hid. I heard the radio telling me they were coming for me. I heard a persistent voice in my head telling me to hang myself. But all of this I remember as if it happened to someone else, and I was standing there behind this glass wall, banging on it, saying “SLOW DOWN YOU FUCKING IDIOT! YOU’RE GOING OUT OF CONTROL, NOTHING GOOD IS GOING TO HAPPEN IF YOU GO ON LIKE THIS!” 

As I said in previous posts, being that mentally ill feels like a malevolent force has moved into your body and feeds off you like a parasite. When you’re mentally ill, you are disabled. Just because it’s not physical, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Parts of your life are seriously impaired, sometimes even getting a train is terrifying. You have to take medication that will make you fat and sleepy and you may black out from time to time. You have impulses that you cannot control. In a mixed episode, you are both manic and depressed. I think a lot of my family didn’t really notice things were that bad because if you tell your family the same thoughts you describe to your doctor, they’re going to worry. If I’d have said to my mum, or my uncle, or really any of my friends “There’s a voice in my head telling me to run out in front of traffic and even though I knew I wasn’t going to do it, I stood on the pavement as the cars rushed by standing there, telling myself not to do it”. There’s a difference between suicidality and suicide ideation; yes, I was having thoughts of suicide, no, I had no plan whatsoever to act upon them. I want to live a full life, a happy life, I want to be a mad old batty woman with flyaway grey hairs who wears a lot of diaphanous black clothing. I want to have children and raise them without any gender identity and let them choose for themselves. I want to call them things like Crow and Jute. I want to write a lot of books, I want to hastily change career paths several times, I want to get married to the love of my life, divorce him, and then marry the ACTUAL love of my life. I want to have lots of loves of my life. I want to have a dark undercurrent running through me. I want to be enchanted by the idea of chaos magic and start to believe it might be real. I want to become religious for about a year before I lose my faith again. I want to take on fad diets, I want to lose 4 stone and eat 2 back on. I want to date someone famous. I want to be the famous person someone dates. I want to get into tantra and learn how to induce trance. I want to accidentally join a cult. I want to elope. I want to compose string quartets. I want to write a play and have it performed in front of me by real actors, I want to do everything, and I won’t get to do any of those things if I ever become suicidal. I’ve only been suicidal once, and that’s when I was 19, but I was taking a lot of drugs every single day and I was living with an abusive partner. But it is very difficult to verbalise what’s going on in your head, especially when you’ve learnt how to pretend everything is perfectly fine, like I have. I remember receiving phone calls during the crisis from family, and I’d be chatting away like nothing was the matter. I couldn’t tell them, “Mum, I haven’t slept in 3 days straight and now I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should move to London tomorrow because why not” or “Dad, I couldn’t leave the house today because if I did the voice told me something bad was going to happen to you”. So I put up a front. Only those very very close to me (in proximity, I should also add), who had the opportunity to see me over the course of the episode, noticed something was wrong. I had a friend a few weeks ago take me to the Walk In centre and DEMAND I get given tablets, as I had run out and decided I didn’t need them. Another friend took me to hospital and had to calm me down as I started banging on the door and kicking off, hearing voices on the phone that weren’t there and demanding I be seen by “a real doctor”. She sat there and watched as they prodded and poked me and attached things to my body to see if my mental state was anything to do with a deeper physical problem. It wasn’t. I’d just snapped. 

A few people I’m aware had been saying to my ex-boyfriend, or at least threatening to, that it was his fault I was in hospital. Now, I find that a bit unreasonable. I cannot imagine bearing the burden of thinking it was solely my responsibility that someone almost got sectioned and went mad. Maybe the break-up triggered it, and maybe the way he went about it might have influenced some of my thoughts of guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness, but at the end of the day I have a brain disorder that probably is the result of a chemical reaction that other people don’t have. So if anyone has been saying that to him, please stop. Remember that once, me and this person were in love, and even though I’m still so distressed by the entire experience, I’ve had time to sit and think and I’ve realised he’s not a shitty person, he just did a shitty thing. 

I looked at my iPod photos recently. They tell an interesting story. It starts out of a picture of a milkshake I had, the last day I ever saw my ex-boyfriend. Then it goes onto a picture of me looking fucking exhausted. Then some pictures of the countryside. Then pictures of me as my mood started to rapidly rise, smoking cigars and drinking whisky in a city apartment, laughing and joking, a picture of some bruising I caused on a man because he asked me to, pictures of me laughing like I’d just heard the funniest joke in the world (when I was manic, for me the funniest joke in the world was this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qK-IwXkrT4 ), pictures of me performing poetry on stage wearing a full length opera cloak, and then suddenly a picture of a paramedic, of bandages, of sticky pads they put on your body to check your heart, a picture of the caging on the window of the door I was left in, a picture of my pupils which had turned to pinheads because of the sedatives they had me under. A picture took by a gentleman of me attempting to sleep by wearing an eye-mask because my eyes wouldn’t physically stay shut for me to sleep. Then, we see pictures of the inside of the facility. The sunshine. The relaxing nature of it all. The sign in the kitchen that said “Don’t worry. everything is going to be okay in the end.”. It’s been an exhausting process and I’m just so grateful I was saved. Last night, for example, an old friend of mine came to visit. We haven’t seen eachother in about 3 years, but our friendship is about 11 years long. We did some drinking, we smoked some cigarettes, and nothing bad happened. Nothing. My brain didn’t swerve out of control, nor did I purposefully buy myself far too much booze. I went asleep when I was tired, I didn’t force myself to stay awake. I was normal. I acted normally. 

You’ve all been very supportive and since I got out I’ve realised that a lot of you are truly beautiful people. I would like to remind everyone that has helped me through this whole nightmare that I haven’t forgotten this, and won’t forget, and should you ever need to call upon me for anything in the future, I will be right there. 

This blog is going to be incoherent, I can tell you that now. I’ve had all of my meds as instructed, about 7 cigarettes in a row, and some very intrusive but necessary therapy in which I outlined any trauma, dip in mental health, symptom, drug use, deviant behaviour, law-breaking activities, drinking habits, sexual habits, unresolved issue, housing situations, abusive experience etc, since I was 11 years old. It’s weird to think how not one thing necessarily precipitates a mental illness, but how all the clues line up and piece together a jigsaw of a really insane woman crying and laughing at the same time, with a bottle wine in one hand and bandages spiralling up the top of the other arms, held together by sparkly stickers and sellotape like the young girl in Virgin Suicides. I guess I have a lot to say today but I don’t know how much sense it’s going to make so I’m just going to start then finish, then hopefully by the time I’m done, it will be time for my daily therapy. 

First thing I’m sad about is I was thinking a lot about my ex boyfriend yesterday. I couldn’t shake the thought of him out of my head. Suddenly I could hear his voice, I remembered very vividly the times we were happy. But at the same time, I imagined he comes into the kitchen when I’m cooking for him. He would stand around and maybe taste things from a wooden spoon I’d point at his mouth, or I’d go into the living room when he was sitting there and offer him small tastes of whatever I was making. I liked cooking for him, it felt like I was expressing love for him in the best way I knew how (that, and our sex life of course). Yesterday, I could see the images bright as day, and I didn’t cry, but that’s because recently I’ve forgotten how. 

Yesterday I took a walk into town, they trusted me with some petty cash so I could buy food, and – as I’m not a suicide or flight risk – I was trusted to go about my business like a normal human. The walk to and from the shops is quite long, so it took a while. Maybe a 3 and a half mile round trip. Lovely weather, needed it. So I called the Jobcentre when I got back explaining I couldn’t get back to my own suburb to sign on, as I was only allowed out for short bursts of time and rambling miles away is a no no. I was told that because yesterday was my sign-on day, I would have my benefits stopped if I did not go to the nearest Jobcentre and fill out a form. The form takes three working days to process. I asked if I could put a member of staff here at the facility on the phone, they said no, that’s not good enough. I wonder what the protocol is with someone who is in hospital for breaking their leg? Do they crawl to the Jobcentre? Absolutely ridiculous. Thanks again, Government! 😀

Also I found out today that if I’d have turned down treatment at this facility, I’d have been sectioned. You know how I know? The day I got referred here, a psychiatrist and two social workers arrived at my house without an appointment, just told me they’d be there immediately. They also asked me for the contact number of my next of kin. They then politely asked me to take treatment here, and I said yes. I was chatting about that to my therapist today; why did they arrive without an appointment? And why suddenly so many of them? I was told: this is the protocol we have to abide by when someone is detained involuntarily under the mental health act. So thank fuck I consented to treatment. It really humbled me and scared me to learn that. To know, that if I’d said “No, I’ve decided I don’t want to go”, I’d have had to go through the sectioning procedure. It was on the cards, they’d planned it. My cries for help were noticed, and it seems they actually really were looking for beds near me, and really couldn’t find them. 

Which brings me neatly onto my last point. I know a lot of people living with mental illness right now. DISCLAIMER: WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SAY DOES NOT INVALIDATE YOUR EXPERIENCES IN LIFE, YOUR DIAGNOSIS OR YOUR DAILY STRUGGLE. So here goes:

Stop heaping your problems onto me. Normally, I’d listen, but seems that since I got into here, people are finding it an appropriate time to tell me how much worse their lives are. I just narrowly avoided a sectioning, I’m meant to be recovering. I’ve met people in here who have had so many traumas, trauma upon trauma, breakdown after breakdown – this is real, this is the real shit. We’re all at crisis point. We’re all at a stage where we can’t cope. Given that, do you think you could all just give me a little space? Mental illness is hard but my friends have a bit of a habit of seeing me as someone to offload onto because I’m so open and empathetic. However, I can’t take it all on at once and I’m here to get better. So let me, please, because if I come out here and nothing’s changed – I’m getting sectioned. That’s that. 

And FINALLY – people who google their symptoms and diagnose themselves? I’ve got no time for you. You’re not busting the stigma, you’re trivialising the experience of those who are really suffering. Just because it’s cool to be mentally disturbed and you think it will add a layer of excitement to your boring life, doesn’t mean it’s okay. Being severely mentally ill is horrible, and I hate it. I don’t want it again. The crisis I’m having now tends to last a few months all in all, and arrives about once every 2 years. It makes me shake and tremble and the meds make me forgetful and fat, I become frantic, impossible, I no longer know who I am. My thoughts and behaviours are external to me, I am no longer me, but a puppet being guided by a dark monster that flings me out across heaths, roads, cityscapes, it tricks me, concerns me, and now, hospitalises me. There’s nothing sexy or cool about being mentally ill, and as my good friend Max once said to me: “Your mental illness is the least interesting thing about you”. I feel for you if you are mentally ill, but right now, I can’t. This also isn’t a game of top trumps. If I talk to you about my experiences I’m needing someone to talk to, not a game of one-upmanship. Whilst we are all in this together, we’re sort of also not. I sympathise and empathise with every sufferer of mental illness but it gets to a point where I find myself closing off mid-conversation with people telling me how hard life is compared to mine when their only complaint is 2 or three days a month of feeling a bit off. In exaggerating your own symptoms or diagnosing yourself based on watching that Stephen Fry documentary or reading Wikipedia, you are not busting the stigma but instead perpetuating it. Using the mask of illness to excuse bad behaviour is not acceptable and the truth is if you were very worried about your health, you’d see a doctor. You’d get wrapped up in the services of psychiatrists, therapy, social workers, crisis team, early intervention, constant trips to A&E. I’m not saying that it should be lik that for you but it is for me. Would you tell someone who has been raped that you once got drunk at a party and consensually had sex with someone but woke up in the morning and didn’t fancy them, and equate that to their experience? Would you complain constantly about your recent yet resolved chest infection to someone with lung cancer, and equate your experience to theirs? No, you wouldn’t, so you shouldn’t with mental illness, either. If you are high-functioning, low-medication, I’m happy for you, I really am. I don’t wish my suffering onto you. But god, stop treating this like a competition because it exhausts me. When you’re mentally ill, you do talk about yourself a lot because if you’re anything like me, you’re constantly under assessment, so you have to learn to be open. Your doctor needs to know every minute detail of your past in order to treat and diagnose you. However, don’t let it be your whole life. I have one friend in particular who has this amazing spin of turning all talk of anything back to herself, how her suffering is far greater than anyone else’s – yet she lives a freer and happier life than me, and functions extremely well. I don’t think it helps me for people like that to be telling me they know what I’m going through, because they don’t. 

This issue has been on my mind a lot recently and I feel I’m being a twat in saying it, but this behaviour has to stop. We’ve all had traumas, and that’s not a competition either. In here, we’ve all been swapping stories, but it feels necessary and relaxed. Nobody is trying to story-top the other, we’re just sharing. That’s how it should be. 

Okay one last point. A few people I know have stayed on mental health wards via the NHS. I know that because i’m in a private facility, it’s fun to joke about how chilled it is here, and it is – but it’s by no means a fun or pleasant experience. I’m still alone in the world in this room, on a lot of meds, I have to spend every day talking about things that make me anxious. I’m having lots of panic attacks. I’m around people who are constantly triggering because they’re as low as I am. This isn’t a holiday I’m on and I would thank some of you to appreciate that.

As I said, this post was incoherent. I have to go now, I’ve got my therapy session. 

I was going to write a really long, vitriolic blog post today about THE GOVERNMENT and PEOPLE and OTHER SHIT but I’ve had such a busy day, as busy as a day can be when you’re meant to be given the luxury of relaxing in an acute mental health facility, but that’s life. Tomorrow I’ll write the post, because I’ve made a point of planning NOTHING tomorrow. No walks, no errands, no people, no effort. Instead, for tonight, I’ve written a short poem. I’m experimenting with new techniques. I haven’t written whilst in here and I wondered if the combination of drugs and detainment and illness and the feeling I have that I’ve stepped outside of myself might have affected my poetry. Seems it has. It’s called Turning Point. 

Change to font size 11 because it looks
way classier than 12. Make each word of
my name a shape; elongate my vowels, like

how people say it suh-PHEE-ah but you’ve
always said it SO-phee-AH. You cling on
to the round sounds that soften and 
announce me.

Oh BOY I’m feeling tight tonight, my ribcage
bones need loos’ning up, I’m starving and 
I’m coiled up short, I’m boxed up for export. 

Tomorrow I’ll be windmills in the Pennines
on the brow-line of the sandy hills, the
swoosh that slices silence and unsettling

apex. The votes have all been counted and 
the boats are washed up empty. There are no
beds or ships sailing northbound, toward

the diamond stars. Maybe I just missed them. 
The nights have all been empty. Recent lights
are first flash blues; second the white sparks

that shoot from my eyes, then to you. I’ve
heard me start to falter, heard my tongue
Too thick for eloquence. My thoughts all

cherry-plucked from air by vagrant night-haws.
Yet there’s still a speeding motorcycle circling
This mind. It’s hot all night. It breaks my back

and makes me hear your name in song. It
calls out loud like: HEY SWEETHEART. BE MY
BABY DEAR HEART and the howling cats in

season sing TURN BACK NOW like con
legno on the e-string, third position, yes
I’m ACADEMIC when I study you, your

figured bass and Bach chorale, the tune
to A, the crash of plates on kitchen slates, the
microtonal shards arranged in third dimension

decoupage. Or are there four? Or five? Or ten?
It was only a matter of when, when would the outright
Bliss of speeding be reduced to these bald tires?

How useless I’ve become. Hey, look, they’re
back in bloom, you said, arranging sweetpea 
in a posy, twisting lilac stalks. I wish

they’d let you in my room. Because of magic
reasons. I hear you eyeing up my legs, and
I remove each layer. Then the skin, and 

muscles tear right off the bone and I am bare. 
You are here in the bright darkness of 9.
Keeping records of my stay. Tell me your news,

here’s mine: I thought of him all day today. 
Tell me how to quit that, please, distract me
very quickly. I’m feeling very very and by rights

you’re very too. It’s not that you’re not beautiful,
You’re just so beautiful it hurts my feelings. 

This is night three in the loony-bin and I keep forgetting what I did yesterday, or earlier on today, it’s very difficult to keep track. They’ve increased my meds by quite a lot as I mentioned before, and it’s making me slightly forgetful and spacey. 

Today, I was allowed out for a walk around the surrounding areas. I had to sign out and give a time I was going to be back. If I wasn’t back by then, my emergency contact would be called. If that person didn’t know where I was, the police would be called. So I walked around and it quickly dawned on me that I’m staying in a place very near to a house I used to live in. The house is an old tudor mansion of about 12 bedrooms, in a state of absolute disrepair. It’s the oldest building in the city, and is listed. The owner is a mad millionaire who barely chases up rent payments and can’t afford to restore the place to its former glory, so it is overrun with creatives and layabouts, of which I was once one, about 2 years ago. I don’t know why I walked there, but I felt like I had to, in order to catch a glimpse at the old place. I ended up just sitting outside near the gate, and started jotting things down in my notebook. I saw an old housemate walking away from the house down the road to the cash and carry, but he didn’t recognise me. I felt weird there, felt anonymous. As I walked away, I saw a garden with beautiful roses growing in it and I really wanted to pick one and keep it but this is a really run-down part of Manchester, and I thought maybe those roses are the only beautiful thing in that person’s life so I decided against it. Further up the road there’s a railway bridge that used to petrify me. It was about 100 yards away from my house, and for me that was too far away. My agoraphobia was at its worst then, in fact a lot of my mental faculties were failing me at that time. I’d just come out of one relationship and had embarked on an exciting new one with a boy I was always in denial about having a crush on. The end of the previous relationship had been brutal and messy, and my immediate reaction of falling right into this other boy’s arms was so predictable, the ex told me it was going to happen long before I thought it would. That was Summer, 2 years ago, and nothing at all has changed. The only thing that’s changed is that I’m now cool with going under the railway bridge. 

I had hypnotherapy this morning and that was actually not hokum and actually was good. I was aware of my surroundings but had fallen into a little trance; I felt heavy, droopy, but ultimately I felt a part of everything. All anxieties slipped away. Apparently, during the rest of my stay I’ll be taught how to self-hypnotise. 

I also had a visitor today, my Uncle. We had a really nice long natter and I felt hugely supported and happy that I have family this great. The other girls in here don’t have much on the outside, and whilst I don’t feel I do either, i know I’ve got family. 

I haven’t much left to type as i’m getting drowsy from my tablets and need to rest, as I only managed to snatch 3 hours last night and didn’t nap today. 

Will catch up soon.