So, lots to tell.
So far, I’ve met some fellow voice hearers, some other women who have had experiences like mine, seen what happens when someone has a flip out, and done gardening. Odd list of stuff I know.
So I was nervous and ran to my room the night I got there. I felt like there were eyes on me, staring at the new “inmate”, and the voices agreed. I locked myself in and slept fitfully.
The next day was strange. Some of the people in here don’t follow a logical chain of thought, but it is strangely refreshing and interesting to get used to. My friend Rocker (not his real name, I want my new friends to be safe) was one of the first on the scene to talk to me. He sometimes finishes a conversation with you that he has obviously started in his head, but I like that. I do it myself occasionally. He is kind and generous, bringing little treats into the ward like chilli breadsticks and Coke. He also brought in a bubble gun last night. He filled it with hand gel and it broke- we were all amused by that!
Next there’s Sunbeam. She is struggling with addiction and voices, but still managed to talk to me, sharing her dinner with me one day when she couldn’t finish it. From then on she and I have been friends. She is the salt of the earth, a good person throughout. She speaks slowly and moves slower, but she has been so kind to me and calls me babe. I find that endearing.
There’s Rita the coach driver. She has shared experiences with me so we both know where we stand. She has told me if ever I am feeling blue to go and find her. I had a nice afternoon watching ‘On the Buses’ with her, and an evening watching ‘Lewis’.
There’s also Foxglove. She and Sunbeam both picked up on me two evenings ago, pacing the ward at night because the voices wouldn’t let me go to sleep. She has asked me about my voices, and always seems to have time for me. We are relatively new friends but I’m hopeful we will keep adding to our friendship. She likes gardening and is usually able to give me a smile.
There’s Vincent Van Gogh. He is a truly lovely guy, until his voices make him threatening by making him yell, or lash out. Just this morning he was sitting next to me, talking about my voices with me, and telling me the bad dreams I had all night will pass. I feel awful because when I was triggered once, I couldn’t have him pat me on the shoulder to cheer me up- the good news is that when I apologised he was fine with it. He taught me about deep breathing and talked me down from my fright.
There’s a guy who I think I’m going to call Uncle. He reminds me a lot of someone’s trusted uncle, of course, and he always has time to sit with someone and tell them to believe in themself. I often feel a little better for chatting to him- he makes me feel less crazy because he is so calm. I have never seen him lose his temper.
All in all, these are the people I talk to the most. The nurses are all really fantastic. Pixie is in charge of activities, and Auntie let me in the first night I was admitted and fed me cups of cordial to stop me dehydrating. There’s also Ma Ramotswe, who is young and sweet and she has two children she was telling me about. The head night shift nurse is Matron, (even though she isn’t, she just has a great no-nonsense manner about her that somehow reassures) and she helped me last night to sleep. I was pacing and pacing, the voices telling me I brought them on myself and I was making it all up for attention, and she saw my distress and brought me the wonder syrup that helps me sleep and dull the voices.
So far, I have seen most of my family. My sister brought me her favourite minion t-shirt, and painted a picture alongside me. My mum drew me a weird blobby awesome zentangle-type-thing, and I painted it in. My nana has been and so has my southern uncle and gran. The auntie who has been inpatient before is coming today.
This morning, Uncle and I saw a bluetit- he has hung out bird feeders to attract the local birds. The one we saw had a clump of grass in its little beak, and it flew to the basketball net and fluttered down the pole.
“See,” Uncle said, “aren’t they resilient? They make something out of nothing.”
“Yes,” I replied, “they are. It’s a lesson for us all.”