Throughout the course of the next 8 months only one thing remained constant inside my damaged body and mind and that was what I think of as the fragment. It was the tiny part of me I spoke of previously, that was me, the real me. The reason this is important is because so much of the outrageous behaviour I displayed came from the fragment. It is hard to describe how I had no control, logical thought or connection to the world around me and yet talk of this part of me that was still there. The only way to explain is that it was a fundamental core of who I was and what was important to me and it inspired impulsive actions which were not based on logic. One example is the numerous hospital escape missions which I undertook. These were based on my love of my home and family and my desperate desire to be back there, the fragment drove this and the logic that being away from hospital and the drugs I needed was dangerous never even came into my thoughts.
During the first few weeks of being ill the fragment was entirely focused on my job, my livelihood and the consequences of losing these.
I loved my job. My job was not just a job, it was also a cause. My role was with an organisation that supported women and children who had experienced domestic abuse and I had a huge passion for this work. Alongside that was a true sense of connection to the other women who were my colleagues. We were a team, a band of sisters, and I loved them. I definitely needed my job to have a sense of identity, I was proud to be smart, respected (hopefully!!), useful and a professional woman. It was who I saw myself as being. I felt keenly the responsibility Nova and I shared for our home and her amazing son, our life together.
When my brain began to melt I was terrified beyond belief of losing all this. I could only think I was going mad, what else could explain the way I was feeling? My absolute fear was of being sectioned and what that might mean for my job. I obsessed about getting back to work and drove Nova pretty much to distraction by insisting I was going back. There was no way on earth that was going to happen but the fragment was determined!
I remember waking one morning during the last week in March and I was back, I was normal. My brain wasn’t in pieces, it was together again and I could think and feel. I sobbed and sobbed into the pillow with remorse for what I had put everyone through. I was so sorry. I told K I would buy him a new game for his xbox as an apology for what had been going on, although luckily he had been away on holiday for this phase. The wee bandit remembered many many months later when I finally came out of hospital and held me to that promise! That wonderful morning of normality didn’t last long and a few hours later the melting feeling came back over me. I remember it started in my lower abdomen and spread over my body until my mind was gone again. I tried so hard to hang on, I remember saying out loud that it wasn’t going to beat me, but it did.
During the last days of March I had a further two appointments with the GP reporting feeling distant and numb and I lost 14lb due to a loss of ability to eat. I began to have feelings of paranoia and by the 28th I was referred to Stratheden Hospital for psychiatric assessment.