We’ve decided to post some samples of the writing and art featured in Issue One to give you a taste of what’s to come!
During the day, I’m fine. Better than fine. Almost perfect.
But not at night. That’s when it all comes back and I can’t sleep. I’m too confused, too damaged. I toss and turn until the covers are off and the sheets are soaked and my tired body aches too much to toss or turn any more, trying desperately to think of something, anything, anything else, trying not to think, not to remember, not to wonder.
But it comes back anyway. It always does.
Lying there, on my back, staring up into the darkness, I think I see his face above me. I close my eyes but he’s still there, this time clearer, sharper, everything, from his multiple chins to his beak nose and bushy brows more clearly defined. I see him in a hundred different ways and I tell myself what they told me, what I think is the truth. It never happened. All it is is the result of a simple chemical imbalance. A textbook “positive symptom.” I have no reason to fear that memory, because like many others, it is false, made up, imagined.
But one voice tells me what the therapist said, what the doctor said, what the court found. And another tells me that they are lying, they are all lying to me, it was real, or why would I see it every night? And the pictures of him come back, garbled and confused, and my mind races and races until I can no longer follow my own thoughts, no longer tell which voices are my true thoughts and which are wild, paranoid hallucinations. There is no companion, no therapist and no friend with me there in the bitter darkness of the night to help me decide which voices to obey and which to ignore, so I lie there, for as long as I can bear it, and do not move.
My life is one of excess. The chemicals that balance everyone else’s brains are in excess in mine, unbalancing it. Dopamine, which is there a bit in a normal brain, is there all the time in mine, as though I had a constant supply of amphetamines kicking my brain about, making it do strange and frightening things. I can’t make sense of my own thoughts. I don’t know which of the voices in my head are the thoughts of a sane person and which are the hallucinations of a crazy schizophrenic. Inside my head a storm rages but things in the outside world that tear other people apart don’t touch me. Textbook, the physicians say.
I lie there as long as I can bear it, and my weary body struggles to close my eyelids to the world, to get the rest my crazy brain denies it. But there is no relief and I start to feel panic, a hammering in my chest and my temples that soaks my sheets and dries my mouth, and I have to escape, even though it is futile – how do you escape your own madness?
Copyright Naomi Elster April 2013
Copyright Agnieszka Bloch 2013
Agnieszka Bloch is an artist and psychology student. Her drawings focus mainly on experience of
mental health. She took part in a group exhibition in First Fortnight in 2012, and had a solo exhibition in The Bernard Shaw titled “Nosce Te Ipsum- Know Thyself” in February 2012. Themes of her works evolve around experience of alienation but also on acknowledging our inner
psychological states and its influence on our image and self knowledge. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
iPhone in my hand,
Contact list, up and down, scroll scroll
Conversations past and present
Please hear me
I am dying spiritually.
Copyright Faye Tucker 2013
Find more of Faye Tucker’s work at http://fayetucker.wordpress.com/.
This is an extract from Betty’s account of growing up by a psychiatric hospital. In the full piece in the magazine she describes the reforms introduced by Dr Blake and the improvements he made to the lives of the patients at the hospital.
Our house was directly opposite the main gates of St. Dympna’s. When I was a child I could hear the male patients roaring and shouting during the night. I would lie awake in bed, wondering and worrying about the reason for their cries. Why was nothing being done to alleviate their pain or what was causing their suffering? I dreaded hearing them. I’d cover my head with the bedclothes to try to block out the horrendous sounds.
Once I heard the sound of pounding feet on the concrete road. I looked out the window and saw two keepers pursuing and catching up with a man who was evidently a patient. They held him very firmly by each arm and forced him back along the road. The patient was wearing big boots without laces and the metal segs in the heels made sparks fly as he dug in his heels trying to resist. That horrific scene will never leave my memory, much as I have tried to erase it.
Copyright Betty Ryan-O’Gorman 2013.
Unbelievable… just unbelievable
Don’t know how she does it
One day she’s terribly down
The next she does this!!
Looking at ‘The Glassy Diver’
You’d be hard-pressed to believe this is a
Girl suffering from depression
Find more of Brian O’Driscoll’s work at https://www.facebook.com/NiallOStrich/info. Copyright Brian O’Driscoll 2013.
Copyright Sarah Lundy and Moon Ink Design 2013.
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Issue One is available for advance order here and can be collected at the launch or will be posted to you at no extra charge.