This was to be a signing off.
The Mental Case would have completed a neat little foray into a mental wilderness – a journey from madness into redemption minus his wife and children but plus a rucksack full of self knowledge and spiritual growth. People would read it and gasp. If only, I could get in touch with my inner Mental than I too could have this life of inner freedom and liberate my spirit. This trip up to Town every day wasn’t for me, after all. Let me just untangle myself from marriage, mortgage, ambition and all would be mine. That was the narrative I was telling myself through the time I exited hospital last winter and lived free and wild over the summer.
These were the passages in which I wrote about finding a new self, a new love, a new faith in the universe and a new direction for my life. Who would need a blog as a platform with such lofty plans? But that isn’t how things panned out. You mean you guessed the outcome? I allowed the bipolar express to run away with me and take me careering into the canyon. Or in other words, the whole thing exploded in my face! Once again, the casualties were multiple. Family and ex-wife were damaged as that relationship gets even more impossible to remedy. The new and incredible woman who I thought I had fallen in Forever Love with turned out to be otherwise. God turned out not to live in my heart or head as I firmly believed. I still think He might be out there, just harder to find.
So freedom turned to incarceration. Mental Cases do find themselves sometimes in Mental Hospitals. They are places of astonishing levels of boredom and despair for much of the time.
“ The Hope is that the despair is not lasting for most. . .]
I had a circuit break of six weeks this time. Plenty of time to re-set? Hopefully – new meds, new start?
So it’s back to a grim narrative of loss and damage. The one that we have all read many times before. If you are a Mental then you lose it all and your life goes to mush. I’ll bring things to a close and we can ‘Go Live’ on the site tomorrow. It would be a true one in many ways. I sit here in my solo flat reflecting on the car crash weeks that led up to hospital. Once again I destroyed relationships in person and online. Once again I promoted myself as a figure of wisdom with skills and vision. Connections with family and locals are now frayed and tortuous when I think about my children. Just what have you done, you crazy man?
It is tempting to step away from the keyboard at that juncture. I am just a sick, sick vulnerable middle aged man trying to make sense of the senseless. Just get back to the medication, get back to work and get back to society. It would all be so nice to slot back in. But for the best laid plans…Of Mice and Men was such a favourite at school. I remember writing kind words to my wife when I gave her a copy. “ For my George. And for my Lennie too. x” Naturally, I want a strong connection with those around me. But it’s tough to abandon the bipolar which has become so much part of me.
In hospital, I made some rubbish things. Some dodgy paintings and heart-felt canvas bags for the little girl. But when you are exposed like that you also reach into your creative heart. Well, I do. On the floor, I find something in finding words to lift me. I had visions of printing poems on card and getting them on walls here when my children might one day stay. But they would seem inconsequential and transient. Here, amongst my thoughts, they seem strangely weighty and permanent.
For someone’s daughter:
The top of the shop
For someone’s son, after listening to the cricket on TMS on the ward and reminded of dawns and afternoons and evenings playing cricket and helping with action and body shape as he grappled with bat and ball. Someone, somewhere…
For a son:
Tuffers calls it one radio night
Next day I am bowling soft
Sponge balls with
Straight arm at large bin
Seeking out a magician’s
Gift to you
When we meet again.
Am I using a few words thrown on the page to shamelessly win the hearts of abandoned children? They are not the audience for any local blog. I am showing to myself that love endures. I endure. Bipolar is part of me. I have value beyond my appalling behaviour. I can do stuff. I can still love. And be loved. Can’t I?
What I thought might be an end is just another chapter.
I truly hope the hospital chapters are ended.
But I hope this Mental Case might be good for some thoughtful contributions, just yet.