Around the same time as these first symptoms were developing, the compulsions, electrical current, drop attacks, brain melt and jelly swamp, I was also plagued with insomnia. For weeks I did not sleep for one minute and every night was a long drawn out nightmare filled with the constant electrical current and a jarring, rigid body. I would despair every morning when I heard the birds start to sing and the sun come through the curtains as I knew another night had passed with no rest. My skin was stretched tight over my eyes and I no longer looked like me at all.
It was during the night that I remember one of my most terrifying hallucinations as these became yet another symptom to add to the list. The hallucinations took several forms and this one involved numbers. Imagine in a film when you see a huge hi-tech computer screen on the wall and it is filled with ever changing sequences of numbers, so fast that your eyes can’t keep up, this was my number hallucination but the numbers weren’t on a screen, they were in my head. The numbers flooded my mind and I believed that somehow I had to keep up with them. If I could get a hold on the numbers I would beat this thing that had a grip on me. I really believed that and as the numbers whirred I couldn’t possibly keep up, everything spiralled out of control and I fell into a spinning whirlpool of numbers. I was screaming and screaming. The fear was immense.
As the symptoms all got worse and I got weaker night times became a battleground of a different kind. During the rare times Nova managed to get some sleep, thinking that I was also asleep, my desperation for it all to stop became stronger. Many times I found myself prowling around the house looking for ways to end it all. I tried, through my chaotic thoughts to make a plan. I knew there was medication in the bathroom, some old painkillers from a previous dental trauma and I often went there to find them. I was so ill though that I couldn’t even co-ordinate myself to open the packets let alone physically swallow the pills. I plotted getting my hands on the car keys and escaping to a place where I could jump from a height. Yet another impossibility, there was just no way. And so I paced and plotted and screamed and jarred through night after long long night.
Another hallucination I recall is of my mum coming to visit me. I think at this point I must have been in the mute phase as I remember lying in complete silence as she just sat with me. She left a card and a bunch of daffodils beside me which I only noticed once she had gone. It was Easter. I thought I had died and she had come to visit my grave and lay flowers.
Then there was the incident of the aliens in the garden. One day the drains outside the house had become blocked, a fairly regular occurrence with our old Victorian drains. Instead of the usual emergency insurance call out a friend offered to come and help. She had a set of drain rods and she and Nova set to work unblocking. Evening came and darkness fell and they had to use torches to see. I decided to get out of the bed where I now spent most of my time and for some reason came through to the kitchen. I saw the lights in the garden and instantly became convinced the aliens had landed. I didn’t scream, I just shuffled back to bed feeling slightly more confused than had become normal.
In a previous post I mentioned the first referral to Stratheden for psychiatric assessment and it was during this visit that I had one of my most vivid hallucinations. I remember the assessment and the questions I was asked and I remember agreeing to stay for a period of time in the hospital so they could observe me. Almost as soon as I made this agreement I stood up and made to leave. The Doctor looked surprised as I made my way determinedly out of the consultation room saying I was leaving now. My memory is a bit vague but I know shortly after this I took a bit of a sprint out of the front door of the hospital and was off across the car park. I heard Nova and some of the nurses chasing me and as soon as Nova shouted my name I dropped like a stone to the ground. Once there, on the grass, all hell broke loose in my head. I could see into the earth and there were mad, flickering lights running from my brain deep into the ground. The lights were red and green and blue and flashed like electricity. There was sound too, beeping and crackling, also somehow linked to electricity. It was the most intense feeling and was as if I was being pulled downwards. It wasn’t necessarily unpleasant but it was beyond bizarre. As I lay there a patient from the hospital walked past me and said sympathetically, ‘is it the meds love?’ while another had to be guided away from me as he was becoming distressed to see me on the ground.
I didn’t stay at Stratheden that day, they released me into Nova’s care and there was no confirmed diagnosis. My next trip to Stratheden was just as eventful and brought the first of my great escapes.