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Intro to chapter three ‘High as a kite’ from Bi Polar Expedition


Please expect some expletives.

Now, there is a gap here.  Well actually it’s more of a chasm.  This would be your worst nightmare captured on celluloid.  My last memories of that night were of an awful black, dreamlike sensation.  More tablets or an injection I suspect.  The floors and walls seemed to be made of latex.  I walked pitifully into a small dormitory, wearing only my underwear and an over-sized blue and white striped gown.  As I recall this particular scene, I always begin to fill up, fag break I think…

The illness had stripped me of another part of my dignity even though I was by myself.  I don’t remember leaving the room where I was sectioned, or who relieved me of my clothing.  All I needed was a night-cap and a teddy bear and I could have doubled as Andy, bleedin’ Pandy.  I think I caught a glimpse of Looby Lu in the bed opposite, well at least I knew I was I the right place.

When I was conscious again, I found myself sitting in the day room of N2.  A nurse was telling that me a visitor had come to see me.  I had appeared to have been relieved of my Andy Pandy suit and was now dressed in what looked like my own clothes.  I wished I knew who kept doing that – it was most disconcerting. 

Was all this part of an elaborate wind up?  It was pissing me off no end.  Although I was heavily medicated, through my blurred vision, no doubt a side-effect of the drugs, I could just make out somebody walking towards me and waving.  Wouldn’t you know it; it was Bill, smiling from ear to ear.

My first and most obvious question to him was, “How long have I been here?”  His reply did not compute on first hearing.  “Run that by me one more time?”  I said in total dismay.  He repeated his answer.  “For fuck’s sake, that’s not possible surely?”  I felt around my face to discover that I had almost got a fully grown beard.  That would explain this I suppose.  Bill nodded in agreement.  He looked embarrassed, as if it was his fault I was in hospital again.

I chain-smoked for the next hour or so, still coming to terms with the length of time that I had been incarcerated.  Bill informed me that it was the hospitals’ decision not to allow anybody to see me as I was far too high.  I had been unaware of my surroundings to the tune of 408 hours.  What my poor Mum must have gone through.  I couldn’t believe that it had taken that amount of time to get me in a reasonably coherent state again. 

Bill left saying he would visit me again soon.  I sat in a state of confusion for quite sometime, trying without success to piece back together the last 17 days of my life.  Who washed and dressed me?  Where did I sleep, did someone have to feed me?  Ninety-nine point nine percent of those two and a half weeks is still a blank today.  What I can remember I can’t even bear to put down on paper.

And you’d think it couldn’t get any worse – wrong!


General information

After five break-downs I went on to write a book about my experiences, and in 2007 ‘Bi Polar Expedition’ was published. 

It’s a survivor’s account spanning 12 years, and shows how writing has helped to keep my disorder in remission for the last 10 years.  It also shows how humour has its place in recovery, and how occupational therapy played a vital role in my sense of self worth. 

Please pass the link on if you feel it will be of use or interest. 

These groups have recently ordered copies:  

40 UK lending libraries including: Westminster – Blackpool – Tyneside – Liverpool – Dumfries – South Dublin – The British Library.  And last year 500 people took my book out. 

The Depression Alliance – The Manic Depression Fellowship – The Priory – The Mental Health Foundation

Universities: Lancaster – Leeds – London Met – Nottingham – Glamorgan – Kings College London

Reviews on: & (USA) 

Wholesalers: Amazon, Bertrams & Dawson Books

Key themes

Clinical depression – Alcohol abuse – Suicide attempt – E.C.T. – Recoveries – The stigma – Bipolar high episodes – Being sectioned – Looking for work – Medication (including Prozac) – Side-effects (such as Akathisia) – Mental health humour – Life on the wards –  How I became a writer


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