On Mental Health

Dedicated to a friend (2)

I haven’t been posting regularly on WordPress for quite a few months now. A lot has been happening, and I’ve been swept up in it. A very close friend of mine is still in hospital after being bowled over by her symptoms. She has been fighting them tooth and nail for years, but they seem to have finally won a round, and so she is working on recovery once more.

Psychosis is terrifying in its intensity, and the insidious way in which it creeps into your thought patterns and processes and then works to slowly affect them. It’s like it starts you wondering, slowly and subtlety, about all the things that have ever made you uncertain in your life. And when there’s a lot of fodder for that fire, the flames will burn brightly.

My friend is living with psychosis again, and the two times I have been to see her she has been elsewhere. Her eyes are open and her body is lying next to me, but her mind is being pulled this way and that; she is moving through the pathways of the subconscious and hasn’t been able, so far, to find her way back out into the light of the room.

I know she will eventually. There were a couple of moments where she came back, and I saw her in her eyes, rather than just space and feeling. I showed her a picture of her cat back at her home, and she suddenly came to life and spoke and said “oh, my little Marble!” It was like seeing her pulling back from inside of her head and coming back to the front of her thinking again.

Another time she suddenly looked at me, and said “this is so bloody ridiculous, this is absolutely ridiculous” – and it was her looking at me with an expression of frustration and incredulity. Then she faded away inside herself again.

She meant this illness is ridiculous: mental illness is utterly unimaginable in it’s ridiculous ability to engulf a person and lead them deep inside of their own head. She knows it, and I know it. And I know that when she is better she will say to me, “I was trying so hard to connect what my eyes were showing me, with the words I was hearing, and then with the thoughts that were connected to the words.” I know she will say, “it was like I wasn’t able to continuously relate, to what was happening around me, sometimes I could make sense of it and other times it all became confused with thinking.”

I know that all she’s doing is trying to come back to the room, rather than being trapped inside her head. She will get there, I know she will. It’s just gonna take time. But it’s so very upsetting watching her suffer in this way, so very upsetting holding her hand and knowing that there is no way I can pull her back away from such massively strong opposing forces.

When psychosis takes you; when it engulfs you completely, it is near impossible to come out of it quickly. She has been unwell for about 3 weeks now, but she is making progress and was so much better when I saw her yesterday compared to how she had been 3 days previously.

I am going to go and see her again next week, because, luckily, the new job I am starting has been pushed back whilst the HR team sort out my references. This means I have one more empty week, and will be able to go and see her again then. Which makes me very happy. The weather has been terrible here for the last few days; grey skies and torrential rain have been the norm. But today is sunny and bright, and I am full of hope for more clear skies, and all the good things which are to come.

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2 thoughts on “Dedicated to a friend (2)

  1. Thanks for letting us know what has happened.

    The way you describe her is quite remarkable, the distance between the front and back of her mind. One of my friends is the kind who look awake, but never remember anything. That is far worse, because I know there is no hope for such a person – as there is little hope for the poor psychiatrists who believe such silly ideas.

    You can see hope in her eyes, you know how you can help. I doubt anyone else does.

    Liked by 1 person

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