TRIGGER warning – Suicide (Notes from a Psychiatric Unit)
We all woke up to a scorcher. The outside/smokers yard looked something like an all-inclusive Spain holiday set-up with towels aligned and directed towards the sun. Sun tan lotions were spotted all over the ground and chat amongst patients remained light-hearted for much of the afternoon. I’m not one for Sun really, so I played some Piano in the dining room and explored what always feels like a personal, liberating language.
The increase in meds (particularly the Quetiapine from 450mg to 600mg the other day) certainly hit my system hard today as I’ve been feeling sedated for most of the dayThe un-doubtable highlight of my day (if not year!) was seeing my dog tri-coloured sheep dog, Wini Lwyd. I had Wini shortly after coming home from my second psychiatric admission a couple of years back and she flipped my world upside down, in a wonderful way! Today, I felt like a mother who hadn’t seen her baby in four weeks. For as long as I’ve had her, she’s felt like a part of me. A huge part. We have different hobbies, I don’t really take to eating cash or chewing pillows and shoes, but they say opposites attract! She shows her love in a different kind of way, she’ll bring me the post in the morning – half eaten – but still she’ll drop it by my side. Swiftly moving back to today, – today was a big day. Would she remember me? Would she still love me? Would she accept me after 4 weeks apart? They were all questions that I alone, could not answer.
She jumped from the car, licked my face all over, tail wagging fast, mouth slightly open, panting excitedly. She was exactly the same little miracle that I’d left behind in the early hours of 13th of March when I was admitted for the 4th time – bearing no grudges. Her eyes were bright yet gentle and trusting. As far as the actual walk, we did the ‘scenic’ route (well … as scenic as it comes around here, past the NHS Direct Direct building and Eye Clinic and past the main Hospital reception) as my care plan stipulated that I had 30 minutes escorted leave around the grounds.
I cannot fluently put to words how emotional I am writing this now or how emotional I felt walking around the hospital grounds with Wini. For 30 minutes whole, it felt like there was only her and I. Nobody else. I felt so proud and strong.
It felt more than ever that we had a story to live and tell, a story we’d have to live side by side. The love I have for Wini is unequalled. It is an undeniable kind of love; a love created, nurtured and bound by uncompromising trust.
When I close my eyes in this psychiatric unit, I occasionally get caught up in dark flashbacks of cutting, suffocating and other desperate behaviours I’ve used to try to terminate my life. Today with Wini made me stop for a while and think why I do what I do? Days like these make be believe that life is all about stories. If so, I’ll be a part of mine – I’ll ditch the monologue option – and and march paw in hand with Wini.
Diolch Manon am wneud hyn yn bosibl heddiw | A heartfelt thank you to my sister Manon for helping this happen today.
What a wonderful piece of text Malan. It’s a play, a film, and a life of course. Really touched me. Diolch i ti. Siri xxx
Da, Malan. Cofia da ni gyd yma yn darllen pob gair.