Compulsions, alternative healing and the turning point

I had survived a month of this hell. We hurtled into April and nothing improved, it only got worse. I was completely in the grip of this monster, fragment-me was virtually a speck now.

As I raged about the voodoo being performed on me, Nova, increasingly desperate and at a dead end with the conventional medical route, looked to alternatives that might hold the key. I remember going to homeopathic appointments, sitting in my vacant, staring state, hearing the words but lost in the haze of my mind. I was prescribed some homeopathic tablets and I recall the battle Nova had to get me to take these. The instruction was ‘don’t chew them, let them dissolve’…I found this tricky but I tried my best! Friends all over the country were sending me Reiki and my mum and Nova were giving it to me directly. Mum gave me Reiki hand to hand, something she continued through the long months ahead in hospital. It brought me comfort and some peace in the nightmare with no end. Other friends skilled in alternative healing made me tinctures to take. I remember one in particular. It had a label on it which said it was for me and I was to finish it all and then ask for more when the bottle was done. I held on to this little bottle and its label, anything to have some hope. Nova fed me manuka honey and aloe vera, juiced all sorts of carefully researched fruit and veg and added oat tincture to my list of remedies. Some of these I really detested but nothing compares to the nettle soup which came later in the illness! A very dear friend and the woman who had taken me half way through a course in Shamanic practice before I fell ill performed her ceremonies for me and as usual, I held on. I wonder sometimes if this bombardment of healing had something to do with the completeness of my recovery?

On the 5th April I had a psychiatric review and they pushed for my CT scan to be hurried. On the 6th the psychiatric team decided my symptoms were not within their range, they thought there was a physical cause. I was too far gone to know this but at last the doctors could see I wasn’t just going mad. My CT scan was on the 13th and the results came back normal. I only have a vague recollection of going for the CT scan. I remember being in the hospital and speaking to the nurse but Nova tells me that by this point I couldn’t even tell the nurse my own name.

From the onset Nova had been requesting a referral to Neurology and the psychiatrist finally agreed. Nova was then told the referral was not being treated with any urgency and would be possibly ten weeks. TEN WEEKS. I had already survived  weeks in unimaginable torment and I can only imagine what my family had been going through. Another ten weeks of this? Nova made the decision to go private and on 26th April I saw the consultant neurologist at Fernbrae hospital in Dundee.

During the weeks of April all the symptoms I have previously described continued. One that I haven’t described in much detail so far is that of the compulsions. I have talked about how these would be thoughts that would come into my head and I would be compelled to act on them with no rational thought at all. I have several memories of the compulsions, some make me laugh to think of now while others were so traumatic I still find it hard to talk about them.

One compulsive episode that I can now laugh about is the one we call ‘tea and fags’. With this one I had a cup of tea and a cigarette and in a rush of heightened sensation I realised how damn good that tea was and how perfectly the cigarette went with it. I wanted more, I was compelled to have more. I think at one point I had three or four cigarettes in my hand and had drunk my tea like a madwoman and moved on to Nova’s. It went on like this for ages, I was crazed with tea and fags. Eventually Nova had to hide the tobacco as I just wasn’t going to stop.

Another faintly amusing one was the compulsion to throw myself head first into the cat litter tray. Thank the actual lord there was nothing horrendous in it at that particular moment but can you imagine how fragment-me felt?

I also had a compulsion on seeing a yellow and black sticker which we had on our fridge. Suddenly my brain registered yellow and black as signalling danger and, yelling ‘danger, danger’, I hurtled through the living room and flung myself against the wall. I didn’t hurt myself too badly but had a minor artex injury, worse was to come.

This is the memory I find deeply traumatic but I am going to share it with you. I was coming out of the bedroom upstairs and as I stepped out of the door a compulsion rushed into my head. I saw the bannister which runs along the small landing we have at the top of the stairs, the stairs spiral down to the ground floor and there is quite a drop from the landing to the floor below. In a split second my compulsion said ‘I have to go over that’ and in a truly terrifying rush of movement and spinning, fragmented, splintered images in my mind I was over it and falling. It was like being in a tornado, a twister. I felt like I was being spun and thrown round and round. I hit the wall just before I hit the ground. I lay, winded, as Nova came rushing through to see what the noise had been. My whole body hurt with a heavy, dead sort of pain but I could not say what had happened. Nova thought I had slipped on the stairs and fallen down, step by step. She didn’t know until months later, when I was well again, that I had actually thrown myself. I sat up and Nova cleaned up the *artex gouges from my arms and legs. I carried on as before.

At the beginning of May things escalated to a new level. Desperate, Nova called out of hours. The record of the call states:

‘Ongoing viral symptoms for last 7 weeks, advised symptoms psychiatric. Caller (Nova) thinks symptoms neurological. Due for MRI and EG scan next week. Seen recently by private dr. Dr advised patient should have previously been tested for meningitis or encephalitis. Hysterical today. Saying things like ‘I don’t exist’ and ‘I don’t understand’ over and over. Caller states at wits end’.

This was when Nova made the dictophone recording on me. The hysterical screaming and repetitive chanting had been going on for three days without a break.

I was finally admitted to Ninewells on the 3rd May and was soon to reach my turning point.

* The artex in the house is now almost completely gone!! Nice smooth plaster is much better 🙂


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