By Tom Brown
Often I staggered as if drunk. I was working too hard with little rest and lost conciousness twice of exhaustion. I awoke with a terrible fright in cold fear every morning. It felt I was wearing a crash helmet all the time. Then it felt I couldn't breathe I had chest pain and fear of dying.
At work there was no compassion nor understanding. Some colleagues deliberately made things worse. With treatment there was rapid improvement but was very soon undone. So there were hospitalisations. My work was in jeopardy.
Even though at this stage most of the more serious mental illnesses cannot taken away or stopped, with medical intervention people do recover and even drastically.
One hears easily that psychiatric illness cannot be cured that medicine can only treat symptoms but without healing. It is not logical and it is not true. Any illness manifests in symptoms if the symptoms are removed then so has the illness. There's also no sense and no reason to accept imposed imaginary forms of limitations, of society or family or yourself, and to abandon hopes and expectations and all ambition.
Queen of the slipstream …
Alone in a strange and unfriendly city. Almost always at my flat it was just me. I read a lot of classic literature and I was working most of the time– right through the quiet still nights. Especially there was a theoretical investigation on pulsar spin and glitches. I completed my thesis while there and submitted it. A year later was the defence which went off well.
People at university weren't interested in the research never mind understood any of it. I'd been hoping to get involved in the international KAT and SKA radio array-telescope projects. At work fortunately though I had many friends and I got along very well with the young people– students. There were quite a few other friends too but none in my own academic department.
I prefer not to keep company with drink-a-brothers. Loneliness is just a constant longing, that murderous black dog is much worse.
I've always been very fond of young people I've never had children of my own. There was a dark young woman she had the most lovely warm brown eyes, soft and kind with a drop of admiration and a drop of longing. And then sometimes she would just look at you with expressionless dull dim eyes. I thought that if I could show her how beautiful her eyes were then maybe she would stop doing whatever it was that she was doing.
Patients were sharing rooms in mine there was too a well known local business man. Wealthy and well respected in the community. This elderly man was being sneaked cigarettes by some of the other patients. The nursing staff did not know of this. He was not allowed to smoke at all he had a serious lung ailment. That's now friends for you.
That night he started reciting the Catechisms from memory, Psalm 23 and the Lord's Prayer over over, unceasing over and over for hours. It kept me awake until late that night when he started calming down and lied down. I was wondering about this business, and awake still. Then softly I started hearing him plead in whispers and beg and softly plead for breath. He couldn't get air.
I knew I had to call the sister. They had him on oxygen and the whole night it was one big commotion.
He lived. I asked the nursing staff what was going on. Apparently he'd been admitted with religious mania. Indeed, he was saved. He would have died if it wasn't for his religious mania. I would not have heard him if I was sleeping, and the others were all asleep.
Also so, surely, to be in love and to be loved in turn has got nothing to do with mental illness.