As I said S and I became friends. As much as you could become friends with someone when you are both mentally ill. He told me that if you take enough Zopiclone (sleeping tablets) at once that you got high. So I started requesting the meds at night time; tonguing them (not swallowing and keeping them under your tongue when the staff check your mouth), and hiding them inside a CD case in my bedroom. It didn’t take long for us both to have a stash saved up and we took them all together.
I did get high. Again I saw it as a way out of everything. A couple of hours where I wasn’t myself anymore. I started hallucinating and as the hallucinations got worse S sent me to my room to sleep it off. No one suspected a thing.
That was just the first time we got high in the unit. Another time I persuaded a guy I was friends with to bring in alcohol for me. He decanted a bottle of vodka and put it in a 7up bottle. S and I got drunk and again, no one suspected a thing.
We were constantly looking for a way to deceive the staff. For a way to have fun. Of course getting away with it only made us crave it more and each time we wanted it to be better than the last.
I spoke to A on the phone. He had come back to his Mum’s for the Christmas holidays. I persuaded him to get me some pills. He scored for me, put them inside a Christmas card and put it through my Dad’s letterbox. I am extremely ashamed to say that my Dad (none the wiser) had brought that Christmas card into the unit.
My Dad had smuggled in drugs for me.
I saw a change in S that day. He knew about the pills and he knew how they were getting in. He kept hovering around during the visit with my Dad and I was terrified he was going to blow my cover. As soon as Dad left S was practically bouncing off the walls. He literally couldn’t wait to get high. We split the pills between us and took them. It wasn’t my usual ecstasy experience. Without the alcohol and the music and the people who you claim to love so much; the high in a psychiatric unit just isn’t the same. Again I started hallucinating and S sent me to bed.
I later found out that S had drug induced psychosis. He wanted those pills so much because he was on a weekly drug testing programme and they needed to be out of his system in time. He also wanted them because he was a recovering addict.
After a while I was allowed out on leave. Just for one night at first and then it was increased to two. I was, thankfully allowed home for Christmas. I was warned about alcohol. But of course I didn’t listen. I went out on Christmas Eve and got completely smashed. I didn’t take drugs that night. I knew my friends wouldn’t have let me.
I returned to the unit on Boxing Day. This time I smuggled in a razor inside a box of tampons. My belongings were checked to make sure I hadn’t brought in anything I wasn’t allowed to have. Of course they didn’t look inside the tampons and I smirked as I had one up on the staff yet again.
I brought the razor in to self harm with. I had been cutting into my arms and my legs since I was 13. I didn’t use it at first. One night a fight broke out with one of the older patients, myself and another patient. The older patient, K was a complete and utter bitch. She was a vile woman whom everyone hated. She had been an inpatient for most of her life. Rumour had it that she was born in one of the old asylums as her mother was locked away at the time. K spent the rest of her life in and out of various institutions. Thinking about it now I can sort of feel empathetic towards her. It wasn’t her fault she was so horrid. Who even knew what had happened to her during all those admissions? Especially in the early days of her life.
This argument flipped a switch inside me. I had been bottling everything up and this just made me explode. K threw a table at me in the smoking room as the staff burst through the door. I had to be restrained before being locked in my bedroom. I was furious! So I did what I knew best. I got my razor and started hacking away at my leg. It didn’t hurt; it never did. It was a release and as soon as I started to feel calm I tried to clean it up. But there was so much blood everywhere and I couldn’t stop the flow. I was making such a mess of everything.
The staff came round to do checks and saw me. They got in touch with the on call psychiatrist who came immediately to see me and help clean me up. It wasn’t Dr M. It was the Dr who had put me in there. She claimed it clearly wasn’t working for me in there. I said it was just a blip. I told her all about the argument with K. K was renowned for causing trouble and was banned from all the other wards in the unit. Which is how she ended up on mine.
Because of what happened every inch of my belongings were checked and checked again. Of course they didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t have any other contraband. It meant I wasn’t allowed on leave for a while. It also meant I was locked up for New Year. I was 19 years old and should have been out celebrating with my friends. Instead I was spending it with the other patients who were also too ill to leave.
We were allowed one glass of non alcoholic wine to see in the new year. I have never seen anything quite like it! I knew of the placebo effect but I didn’t think it worked when you knew it wasn’t actually alcohol. Everyone was acting drunk. The recovering alcoholics were minesweeping the dregs that others had left behind, while the rest of us were singing and dancing and ignoring the staff. It was absolute carnage. Until they started restraining people.
It was the first day of 2005 and I was in bed by 00:15. I wasn’t sure what this year would bring. I hoped I would make a full recovery. That all this madness would stop. But it didn’t. And the first half of 2005 was the worst time of my life. If you could have even called it a life…