Saturday, 30 June 2012

Music and Me

HERE'S the theme tune I was telling you about yesterday. Aparently it was written specially for the film but it sounds to me like a classic piece...
The piano theme that I like so much doesn't come in till 1 minute 20:~~~~~~~


Yesterday I spent ages searching out a best version of Like a Prayer, because the music was going round and round my head. Here we have it:


My favourite singers are Sinéad O'Connor and Barbra Streisand. I think the female voice is far superior to its male counterpart. I even read in the paper that men don't pay attention to women because the female voice is pitched to be interpreted by the male brain as music. Never heard so much cow-shite in my life, but who knows, maybe they have a point?


Don't be swayed by the title, as she points out, this is actually a love song:
And doesn't she look so much better with hair~??!


From 1976 A Star is Born, featuring Kris Kristofferson:

Here is Elton John performing one of his old hits with the defunct boyband Blue. Usually I hate boybands ~ all that phoney heart-grabbing "I just want to get in your knickers" insincerity. Ukkh. But this is a good tune...



Roborovski Hamsters, the Family Conference


Friday, 29 June 2012


THE LADY from the Mental Health Support Needs Assessment Crew called in. She thinks my house is a mess. I call that unpacking!

She said the purpose of everything, which seems to include my living where I presently am, is to establish whether I am capable of independent living at all!!

She asked loads of questions, then said she sees no reason why I shouldn't get their service. (Again.) I'm not sure she knows the again part. That I had a Support Worker named Deshane for a year. Until he just gave up on me. The way all professionals always have done.

Personally I don't see how being very messy equates to extreme mental unbalance, but the Housing and Support Services seem to think so. The Drug Service, on the other hand, were enquiring accusingly as to why I was not in full-time employment already. In fact the methadone clinic's 90 minute interview yesterday was far too probing and I went away feeling stripped bare. Paranoid that they will use the details they have against me.

I have always felt this is nothing more than a plot to leave me hopeless and destitute, back on the street. I don't care how irrational that sounds. time will tell that I'm right.

I met my new drug keyworker yesterday and already I'm uninspired. He chairs one of those groups where junkies come in, talk about drugs for 90 minutes, then go out to score. What else are you going to do after so much drug-talk? Already he's trying to push me into going ~ to be mentally raped in front of a room full of strangers. I had a worker who tried that on before. Tried to integrate our Confidential keywork sessions into meetings with a room full of surly junkies. Just because she happened to be Group Co-ordinator and wanted to save time and effort, because seemingly I was worth none. I'm not letting that happen again.

The Nutter Club (the dual diagnosis group) has been shut down. So there's nowhere I can actually share my point of view. The general groups with names like "Relapse Prevention" are places where platitudes prevail, not truth.

I so cannot wait to get away from this crooked and deceitful system that has me on methadone, a drug three to four times MORE ADDICTIVE THAN HEROIN ever was!

The good news is that I've found a top tune; the piano theme is sublime. This is the theme to the film The Other Boleyn Girl ~ about Anne Boleyn, the second of six wives to King Henry VIII. I saw it today and it's very good, if you're in the mood for historical melodrama.

Wishing a charming weekend to you all ...

Illustrated: Anne Boleyn...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The left-brain, right-brain test.

TAKE A LOOK at the spinning girl. Tell me which way she seems to spin: clockwise or anticlockwise?

Personally I think this is ridiculous. She's OBVIOUSLY spinning in a clockwise direction. Otherwise you must really have something wrong with your brain.

ANYWAY... point being, if you see her turning clockwise, like I do, you're supposedly right-brain dominant. Which means you're all intuitive and superior.

If you see her turning counterclockwise, your left brain is in charge. The left brain controls language, logic and all the things you need not to be a moron.

According to the test on my sidebar, I'm evenly matched between right and left hemisphere dominance.

Which is just as well. The right brain might be oh-so-superior to the prosaic left... but without left-brain functions like language, to explain your radical right-brain insights, where are you now??!


Maybe Next Year

MY METHADONE is back to 25mg a day. They've agreed to reduce by 1mg a week, once I'm stable on 25mg.

My assertation, that I would be "clean in 14 weeks," made almost 14 weeks ago, always seemed too good to be true.

According to the current plan, I should be clean in 25 weeks ~ 6 months.

Which means, Godwilling, that I might be off the dreaded gloop by the start of next year!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

It's a brighter day~ reducing the methadone dose: a plan

IT'S A HOTTER DAY and all. The weather forecast promised temperatures up to 90F today. I don't think it was that hot. But on methadone, you never can tell... I wasn't sweating like a swine today as I took extra methadone and it held me. I'm doing what I had to do before and using extra methadone on top of my script, a little less each day, until my script is holding me. It's so miserable being a junkie: I'm starting to hate it more than I ever loved heroin, and that marks a tipping point. Hopefully ... For drugs no more...

Methadone is still a drug, though. And more addictive than heroin! Every day on methadone is still a day of addiction, even though I might barely feel the stuff in my system.

I need to think carefully about what I'm going to say to the drugs doctor tomorrow as I still want my dose reduced as fast as humanly possible. That is: as fast as humanly possible without feeling any withdrawals at all. (There is no reason why an addict should not be weaned off opiates completely painlessly ~ provided the dose is tapered gradually enough.)

So I might remain on methadone for quite a while yet.

First I have to eliminate the need for any extra on top of my 20mg daily dose. Then I need to stabilize on 20mg a day. I would hope to have achieved this within 3 weeks of today, if not sooner.

After that I'm asking the clinic what they think about reducing me by 1mg per week. If they're not going to be flexible enough to allow that, I'll take a 5mg reduction and add the 1mg at a time mini-steps (19-18-17-16) myself bought on the street.

It's a sad indictment that a system set up to help you can end up being far less helpful than it should; but that's life...

I know because I'm a "new" client (even though I'm actually coming back to them after a year with no break in prescribing) that they will probably insist on supervised consumption, where you are forced to drink a tot full of green syrup in a shop full of people like some sort of common criminal ~ but that's the way it goes these days.

As I've said before, my one single aim in life is to get OFF methadone and to live ~ even if only for one day ~ without mind and body chained to this pernicious addiction. I don't even know if that's possible for me.

Yes, I have lived without a heroin/methadone habit. It's not as if I was born drug-dependent (unlike some people I know). I never got addicted to heroin until I was 28. I'm 40 now. But the 28 years pre-habit were hardly what you'd call a "life"; more an existence. So maybe I can go back to existing without hard opiates...

Whether or not I can live a full, clean life without depending however slightly, however intermittently, on any drugs at all ~ that is another matter.


UK Prison scandal: drug-free inmates put on methadone (Daily Telegraph)


This tune keeps going round my head... took me a while even to realize what it was. Sung by Barbra Streisand, it's from the film Yentl:

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sweating Like A Swine: Methadone Problems

IT'S a boiling hot day and thanks to methadone I've been sweating like a swine. Or perspiring like a pig, if you prefer.

I'm reading a really good book: Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir. It's the true story of Lady Jane Grey, great niece of King Henry VIII and cousin to Edward VI and Elizabeth I who ended up in the Tower of London to be executed as a traitress in the days when being Catholic or Protestant could lose you your head when the wrong person was in power.

I've just been down the druggieclinic purely to get the time of Thursday's doctor's appointment in writing. I'm freaking out about some hiccup keeping me in limbo between the two services for weeks on end. After I fell foul of foreign-accented clerical staff and went all the way to the hospital for nothing this morning, when my rebooked appointment was actually on July 26th, I decided to leave nothing to chance.

Nobody who promised to write me proof of address (apart from my mother) actually has done. But I've been in luck thanks to unexpected correspondence from the Gas Board, the Council and The Support Worker Service. So I've now FIVE proofs of address. Surely that is enough for everyone..?

On Friday afternoon someone is coming from the mental health support team (which is an independent charity and not alligned to the psychiatrist I don't have) to oversee my "needs". So I might hopefully finally see the free bus pass I was promised a year and a half ago!

My methadone is in crisis. Ever since the 25-20mg drop it hasn't held me properly so I've been using on top, then feeling lousy when I try to go "clean". I might have to ask the doctor to put me up 5mg. Which feels like the biggest cave-in on my part. But otherwise I find myself drinking extra methadone bought on the street. And/or relying on heroin. And a person on methadone should never "rely" on heroin. That reliance is precisely what methadone is "supposed" to end! So what should I do? I don't know. I'm face-down in the dog-muck yet again. I just want this nightmare to end...

The new methadone doctor's appointment can't come soon enough. I never thought I could or would feel at home in a methadone clinic, but having been exiled to the London Borough of Crudsville for that awful year, I now see home is where the heart is ~ and my heart is here. (I'm in the methadone clinic's gardens as we speak.) Here hopefully to stay. (Barring other ****-ups...)

I even bumped into my old druggieworker who had left to have a baby. Her baby is now two and she says I have changed beyond all recognition although my voice remains the same (that is how she recognized me).

Changed beyond recognition...?



I know this from the Reactivate 2 rave compilation, though I do remember it being played at one party I was at... The sample is from Shakespeare's King Lear:

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Pancake Politics

THIS is how methadone makes me feel: flat as a pancake. I woke at 4am cold and hot at the same time. Nikki Bedi's kindly voice was soothing, but not as soothing as the methadone I drank to take the fever away.

I've just been in Sainsbury's and blown £20 on two bags of shopping. Most of it was pasta. I thought pasta was meant to be cheap...? Poverty food and all that.

Our useless government has successfully swept media attention this morning away from tax loopholes for the rich (there was a massive hoo-har last week about comedian Jimmy Carr paying taxes of 1% on £3 million plus earnings (good for him!))

Now they're threatening to cut off Housing Benefit from the under 25s. meaning, in the worst cases, that the young sick and unemployed who happen not to live in the same town as their parents (if their parents will even take them in ~ I don't think my mother would) will end up homeless on the streets. Just like I did.

My biggest fear as a sick twentysomething not on drugs living miles from my family was homelessness. And when I was on drugs and still sick that fear became truth. It didn't bother me as much as you might think, as I figured homelessness was all I deserved.

I only have a place to live now by hook and by crook. I don't feel I deserve it at all. I have long known the government's agenda was to put me homelss and destitute back on the streets. You can take that to be paranoia: think what you like. And before any of you assume this is just a left-wing sour grapes manifesto: consider this ~ if I were tied down and forced to vote (which I never would do voluntarily) I would vote Conservative over Labour any day. The reason? Low taxes for the rich. Apart from multicoloured streetlights, world-beating skyscrapers and fast trains, the death penalty and automatic heroin prescription for the addicted, that is the only political view I hold!

So now I'm off back home with a suitcase full of fresh and dry pasta, baked beans, bread and lemonade. I hope the electricity (which I now pay) doesn't give out before I do...

Sunday, 24 June 2012

This is what I really look like ...


EVERY so often I get comments querying why I don't post up pictures of myself... The simple answer is that I'm far too shy. Plus I don't know how to hook up a camera phone to get shots out of into the computer...

After much diligent searching my friend Pinky and I have, however, managed to locate a lookey-likey self-portrait. Pinky says this one bears a stunning similarity, except the model in the photo is too ugly...

THIS is how I look when I'm feeling high:~~~~~~~

Because I don't feel high ALL the time, I'd better give you an image of myself when I'm irritable, boring, down, depressed and destitute. Pinky says this one's nowhere near as repulsive as the reality ...

MY APOLOGIES if this gives you nightmares.

NOW, ANONYMOUS ... don't you see why I never posted this before...?...?!?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Furriest Roborovskis

Furry Friday on Saturday

ROBOROVSKI HAMSTERS are the cutest rodents in the world!

Beady-eyed ...

And very tiny ...

Highly social ...

See how miniature a fully-grown robo is in relation to a human hand...

Once tamed, they enjoy posing ...

Going for a ramble under the egg-box...

After a hard day exploring the monkey-nuts...

The baby robos fall into deepest sleep...

... And back home to Mummy and Daddy...

Last but not least...
Here are my three late hammies: Bashful, Itchy and Spherical in their one and only starring role on film...
Aren't they pretty..!
Here are some roborovski hamsters in the wild in northern China...

Friday, 22 June 2012

New Doctor!

I GOT A NEW DOCTOR just now. The kindly receptionist didn't glance too hard at my expired passport. If she noticed that it was 18 months out of date she didn't say anything. I had to write schizoaffective on the form because that is supposed to be a "serious illness". Where they ask for family illnesses I gave none, in case I ever want private health insurance. This will stop the insurers bumping the premiums up. (You have to think of these things.)

I have to come and see a nurse next Wednesday. Tuesday is the "turning into a woman" breast tissue scandal consultant. Thursday is the new methadone clinical evaluation. So it's doctors galore.

The new "surgery" (do they ever perform operations on site? Frankly the place does not look sterile enough ...) only asked for one proof of address, so my Mum's fake letter about training courses never had its moment. The old doctors were really strict, which was what made me so para. They even quibbled a bank statement for being too ancient ~ it was two and a half months old! The methadone clinic want two proofs of address, so failing any mail delivery my Mum's fakery will shine in all its glory then.

There's a bus strike in London today, which means I have a choice: ride four stops by train to get my methadone. Cost: £4.40 return. Or walk there. Some buses are running but they terminate early giving the worst of both worlds: a bus fare and a long walk...

Last night I still couldn't sleep properly. I started feeling over-excited again and chain-smoked in bed. Every few minutes I seemed to wake back up to continue smoking. I know this is no recipe for guaranteed unconsciousness, but I long ago learned not to worry about poor sleep. Not worrying entails never "trying". You can't "try" and sleep anyhow. So I end up pottering about all night. Or smoking in bed while listening to radio phone-ins ...

And when I had to get up this morning I was in a very bad mood indeed!

Of course after six am I did sleep a bit. But I was still awake before the alarm went off at 8, and then I didn't want to get up. So I slept between 8am and midday. Which is all very unhealthy, I suppose. But there you go.


Illustrated: smoking in bed, the glamorous version... My old doctor looked just like this, only he wore fewer clothes... The practice nurse looked like this, but not quite as fusty ...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

I didn't want to post this. But here you go ...

Please bear with the negative attitude; I was feeling very down when I wrote this earlier today ...

THE COUNCIL gave me official signed proof of address today ~ a tenancy contract.

I fell asleep on the couch with The Deer Hunter playing. There's no TV here until I get the Sky dish plumbed in so I'm reduced to DAB digital radio and DVDs.

I woke up about ten times overnight. Eventually I turned on a talk radio show and that sent me out like a light. Which might say more about BBC London than my sleep habits...

The council had given me an appointment for 10am ~ far too early. I trudged down feeling miserable and sick. I had hoped the walk might help my bad mood, but it did no good at all. As for my proof of address crisis, I've come to terms with the worst: that I won't be able to prove who I am or where I live and so will be stuck in limbo for weeks. Sorry to be negativistic but that's how I feel.

I've come down to earth with a bump and now feel sad, miserable, guilty, run down, sick and tired. That's probably just normality. Reality. A return to my actual shitty ordinary self. I never got used to it before. Maybe I should ditch the medication and just learn to live with it. I have after all been living with it for years. I just wouldn't have taken seriously the idea that I was hypomanic last week (would just have thought I was in a good mood and couldn't sleep) ~ wouldn't have realized I was bipolar. I never realized I was bipolar until the manic high had gone so far I felt like I was on drugs when I was on nothing at all. This is quite a common mental state but it's full mania, not hypomania and means you're seriously mentally ill. Paradoxically it was when I started hearing voices loud and distinctive (as opposed to the murmurings of years past) that I actually realized I had gone "mad" ... Well you all know the rest of the story. I've had these problems for years but didn't take them seriously because of the drugs. I had always assumed that if I could only pull myself together, clean up and put some effort into life, I'd eventually turn out OK. I still thought I'd get a bit derpessed from time to time. I've always been prone to depression. But I never believed the friend who told me I was bipolar more than a decade before I had any formal diagnosis. I mean, we all have ups and downs, don't we...?

I'm not taking the quetiapine (Seroquel). It doesn't seem to work that well. I had to stop taking it in order to be clear-headed enough and awake enough to be able to move house.

So now I don't know what to do. The housing office keep asking about my support worker: do I have one, when am I going to see him. As if it's a matter of urgency. Deshane has not been in touch THIS YEAR. Like most professionals he probably found me warm and intelligent and engaging and thought that equalled an easy case. When my troubles turn out to be at least as deep-rooted and pervasive as everyone else's (why else would I NEED a Support Worker? ~ he gives up on me. Just like all the rest.

Why the housing office think I need such support so urgently, I'm not sure. I thought I came across as pretty "normal". Then again my friend Pinky ~ yes it is as in Pinky and Perky, only Perky committed suicide in 2010 ~ accurately discerned that I was hypomanic when I just thought I was high on life. Then again hypomania IS being high on life as a stage of bipolar disorder ~ that's what it means "below mania". For years I never genuinely believed I ever suffered even from depression, long considering the medical word to be a mere excuse for a bad case of the "can't be bothereds".

Then I got diagnosed "schizoaffective" and looked up what schizophrenia actually was, and found out that low-grade depression, a failure to engage with life and a "can't be bothered" attitude are a major part of the condition. Whereas ordinary bipolar clears up between episodes, schizoaffective leaves you with residual symptoms. Also the severe episodes can be more extreme than plain bipolar. Which is why, when I was really ill, I started getting signs of catatonia on top of the mood syndrome.

But I'm not catatonic now. Just exhausted. I'm going to bed now. (This was written in the early afternoon.)

One good thing about feeling this sick (and I really did feel bad when I wrote those words) is that I can justify going to bed during the day. That's what sick people do ~ lie in bed. And I feel very sick indeed ...


Yet another self-absorbed, feeling sorry for myself post, I know... I didn't want to post this. But then I thought "well it shows the kind of crap I wallow in some days" and my blog is meant to be a diary of what a loser I am, so here you have it ...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Sleep No More

FINALLY, after six o'clock this morning, I slept and slept deeply all morning past two in the afternoon. I had nine missed phone calls. In the end I had to get up purely to struggle up the road to the methadone chemist. It's barely worth the bus fares considering I could buy my dose on the street for £2 a day. But I didn't want to discharge myself from the old clinic before the handover to the new one is complete. This could make life even more complicated, with them insisting on retitration (chemical torture when they deliberately undermedicate the desperate addict) and other horrors to grim to go into.

My mood ~ formerly bubbling wtih amazing witty conversation and high mental energy ~ has fallen considerably. I didn't realize how disinhibited I had become. That's my excuse for the childish references to "personal itching" of the last few days. My comments had become longer and longer, and they were mostly on people's blogs I didn't even know.

So I'm falling back to negativity. People on the street look uncannily ugly. My exhausted body feels vaguely nauseated all the time. Life is back to a long wade through slurry. I want to go to bed and not wake up. But I have to trek out yet again, just to get this posted. To get grating cheese for my pea and mint pasta.

All these requests for mail and not one single letter has arrived. At this rate I'll never get two proofs of address by next week, which means I won't be able to register with a new doctor, which means the new methadone clinic won't take me on. I think I'm just going to have to lie, give the address of my old GP, which is just up the road, and say I believed I was registered as a temporary patient.

I can't believe fate is pushing me back to the clutches of the incompetent quack who refused to switch me off risperidone that gave me panic attacks and who tried repeatedly to re-prescribe the antidepressant mirtazapine (Remeron) that actually lowered my mood to the point of near-catatonia. All this crap just to get methadone.

The only good news is that my ear has healed. I'm deaf no more!


Monday, 18 June 2012

Proving Where I Am To Get Away From The Middle Of Nowhere ...

IT'S 4:30 in the afternoon and I'm tired to the point of "somnolence" ~ shutting my eyes to microsleep at tireless inconvenient junctures.

I went to bed so extremely late last night, I wouldn't look at the time so's not to find the lateness of the hour horrendous enough to cause sleep to flee even further from me. Being as I'd set my alarms from 8am to 8:30 in order to get to my chemists to drink my dose in good time to get to the methadone clinic ~ soon to be my ex-clinic, though I won't believe that until I've picked up my first dose from the pharmacy at the end of my new road. Instead of the old one two bus rides and 40 minutes from my home.

So I had little more than four hours' brainfrazzled rest last night. Seemingly propped up in bed, head not even in contact with the pillow, eyes wide open!

On Thursday 28th I've a doctor's appointment down the new druggieclinic, which is the place I always went for years and years, the place where I feel most at home. The place that really helped me out when I was having a florid mental breakdown less than 18 months ago. The other clinic don't even offer psychiatric support, so if I'd been there I'd never have got to see a doctor, let alone got medication and a diagnosis all under the same roof my methadone scripts were dished out.

My one Issue of Stress: I am required to have a GP in this London borough in order to sign up officially with their methadone service. Getting a GP in London is not always easy as many are so deluged by immigrants their lists are permanently full.

To get any GP, it's necessary to present two proofs of address. I don't even have one, considering my landlord hasn't even given me a new tenancy agreement, saying the new one is simply an extention of the old. Housing Benefit will not accept that fob-off, so I rang my housing manager, who's arranged for me to sign new paperwork on Thursday morning.

I rang the DSS this morning to change my details on their system. They've agreed to send me a proof of benefit. So hopfully by the end of the week I'll have enough paperwork to attain this elusive GP. The idea that I could be stuck at the old methadone clinic for weeks on end purely because I can't prove where I happen to live is just unthinkable ~ but it could happen. And it's the sort of thing that would happen to me if I didn't get my arse in gear and start letter-collecting!

I've been Mr Practicality today. Running so many washloads through my new Personal Washing Machine that the washing powder's all gone. The pound shop at the end of my road sold me washing liquid, conditioner and about fifty clothes pegs in plastic and wood for under £5. I live in a bargainacious area ...

My schizoaffective friend Pinky was released from hospital this afternoon. She's back at home with the most ginormous flatscreen TV I've ever seen in such a pokey room... Of course she was watching the Pick TV show where angry Chinese people are fined for attemptedly lugging petrol tanker loads of deathwatch beetle-crawling traditional Asian vegetables in their handluggage through Sydney international airport and can't understand why there's a camera crew in their face and they're being punished ... Finally Pinky got her Personal Itching salve last night. She says her private parts are calming down nicely ...

My Mum wants to meet me today but hasn't got back confirming the time. She wanted to give me her "thank you for your enquiry" letterheaded proof of address in person. In fact, just about everyone I know in possession of headed paper, including the old druggieclinic, is writing to my new address thanking me for enquiring about their business or charity or for taking their methadone... or whatever it is they do. So when the time does come to demonstrate I've left the London Borough of Crudsville for once and for all, I'll be in possession of a petroltanker full of correspondence to prove it.

Well I don't know if Mumzy is going to get back to me; I left a message over an hour ago. When I do go home I know I'm going to hit unconsciousness the second my bum contacts my sofa ...

Illustrated: the laundry liquid I purchased for £1.29; a "proof of address" card (we don't get them here); men apparently get personal itching too; a tube of soothing "intimate gel" ...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mental Hospital!

YESTERDAY afternoon I ended up in a mental hospital! Locked in as well. I had a great time. My friend Pinky was in as punishment for paranoid ideation and hearing the voices of dead friends begging for her assistance. After a week committed to a private clinic with Sky TV (the full package with all the movies and wildlife channels), single rooms for all, and a wide range of refreshments including capuccino and cocoa. All on NHS money. After the psychosis abated, her consultant allegedly declared: "We still can't trust you," and had her transferred to our local nuthouse, where she is ordinarily interred. Two weeks later and she's still not even allowed out ot get a packet of fags from the shop on the corner.

By yesterday afternoon I'd only had seven hours sleep since Wednesday. Physically I was becoming absolutely exhausted, my eyes burning thanks to being constantly open all that time.

But in mixed company I perked up immeasurably. I've been on a natural high ever since finding out that I was moving back to life, back to reality, back to civilization. Pinky thinks I'm going hyper again, because I was extra cheerful, babbling on and on in a loud voice...

We smoked loads of cigarettes and then I met the maddest woman in there, in dark glasses with a tea towel on her head, totally mismatched clothes and a black smudge on the end of her nose. This was Pinky's famous manic friend Margery, who once tipped a can of blue paint over her head, wandered into a pub and tried to get someone to buy her a drink and was surprised when the police ~ the real boys in blue ~ came steaming in to take her to hospital!

I got rid of the smudge for her and asked why the tea towel and she said she's turning into an Arab man.She also said she was having Sting's baby, that her mother was the Virgin Mary and that she thought I was Art Garfunkel in disguise. This prompted a tuneless rendition of "Bright Eyes". She kept asking for the Gap hoodie I had on and gave me a women's purple duffle top. It was way too short in the arms anyway. Pinky was trying not to laugh her head off. It didn't exactly suit me.

When I asked Marge whether wandering about in one flip-flop and one white stilletto wasn't a bit inconvenient, the entire TV room broke into cackles. We would have gone into the quad for a cig, but Marge says the snipers make it too dangerous. She wants a DAB radio walkman.

At 7pm we got free tea and Rich Tea biscuits. The nurses took all the best ones to gobble in the "fishtank" ~ their "nurses' station" hideout. Pinky had a chicken salad sandwich and strawberry yoghurt. I had pea-and-mint tortelloni with cheese. I'd brought in my own packed lunch. Pinky was in a bad mood because she'd been waiting all day to see a doctor ~ I mean, seeing a doctor in hospital shouldn't be THAT complicated. She had itchy private parts yet nobody cared.

The nurses crowded closely in their nurses' station munching on fruitcake, pretending not to notice patients' calls for help. With attitudes like that, I'm surprised they can be bothered showing up for work at all.

The atmosphere in that place was markedly different to the men's ward. A lot more bitchiness and petty squabbling. When I first walked in, a young black girl was pinging to and fro in agitation, loudly ranting on how terribly she felt she had been wronged by her confinement in this locked psychiatric ward. Pinky said such behaviour is more tolerated here, whereas on the men's wards anyone with mania or any type of psychosis who happens to lose their temper, however justifiably, is a candidate for instant "rapid tranquillization" (which entails being wrestled to the floor by ten nurses, having your pants pulled down and a needle shoved in your arse).

There was a locked punishment ward round the corner where ultra stern staff watch six foot six twenty stone (280lb) psychotics to ensure no cigarette lighters are passed through the chainlink fence. My nonviolent friend was confined there for a week some years ago to "teach him a lesson" ~ probably for inconveniencing the nurses in some way. I was horrified when Pinky revealed this was actually a MIXED ward where she had been locked in a couple of times. Not even allowed to light your own fags and subject to constant sexual advances and bullying from dangerously mentally ill men who are only in there because they lost control of themselves and/or cannot grasp the consequences of their actions.

Most of the men in the punishment ward are over six feet tall, and they're in there basically because the nurses on the "normal" wards are scared of them. I think it's ridiculously unfair confining a woman in such surroundings.

You'd think that mental nurses were empathetic, caring people due to the job they do. But that's not necessarily true at all. Many of them just do not care at all.

When I finally left, three hours after I came, loads of people said goodbye who I hadn't even talked to. I seemed to make a big impression. (I wonder whether it was a good one (??!)

When I got home after 8pm, eyes burning, legs acheing, so exhausted I felt I could not go on, I was convinced I would sleep the second I sat down. But no! Sleep still eluded me and I didn't drift off till one a.m.

Then I woke up at six, poured half today's methadone down my throat. Woke again at nine, frozen cold. Not having remembered to pack a breakfast bowl, I had to pick at my chocolate Shreddies (£1 a box at Sainsbury's (special offer)) from a coffee mug.

Normally I'd watch Judge Judy in front of the fan heater to get me moving on such a chill morn. But at this place I pay my own electricity and gas. Come winter I'm investing in an electric throw from Argos which runs on pennies rather than pounds. I don't care how cold it gets, I'm not heating my flat if I have to pay for it.

When something seems to good to be true, it usually is. Energy bills aside, this is probably my nicest home ever. When I've sorted out TV reception this place will be perfect. I just hope I'm here for the long haul. I couldn't bear to get transferred yet again. Something tells me that is exactly what my landlord is planning ...

The internet shop is shut, so I'm at the old one a few streets down, where Gledwood Vol 2 was born! So the circle is full to completion. Next stage: get a life back!

Illustrated: locked ward, as pictured in The Lunatic Express blog ...

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Lovely Lively Lovebirds



Chirpy miniature parrots love attracting attention in any way possible...

Some give their owner a good peck, while colour-coordinating nicely with their nails...

Others pretend to smoke cigars...

The one on the right loves practising his urban dance moves on luxury housewares ...

Headbutting meets with weary disinterest ...

Imagine his surprise when the shelf-stacker at Tescos opened a case of wine only to find this rainbow of feathery illegal immigrants gaggling in the box...

Upside-down entertainment ...

This pair go one better, chirping an inverted duet ...

A shock of colour can be shocking enough ...

Comfortably congregating for a conversation on the carpet ...


Cuddling up with kitty ...

After a hard day's showing off their glowing colours, the feathery entertainers need a well-earned nap ...


Friday, 15 June 2012

It's all good

THE HOUSE-MOVING IS COMPLETE. So much for "amazing TV reception"; there's no reception there at all! I'm going to have to pay an aerial man to hook up the old Sky dish outside into my room. I bet that will cost £50. If not more. My ground floor window remains unlocked with no key. So any Tom Dick or Harry could break in. And it's raining (very lightly). If you're wondering why all the negatives it's because those are all there are; everything else is positive. I'm in a really good mood. The doctor said there's no infection at all left in my ear. So no more dodgy sprays. I've had an assessment down the druggieclinic, which is only 10 minutes walk from me. I see a doctor in there in a fortnight. For that I need two proofs of address and I haven't even signed a contract. Anyway, when this is all over, my break with the London borough of Crudsville will hopefully be lifelong and complete. Viva Las Vegas!

PS I'm thinking of going on Subutex.

I'm just round the corner from the Dark House where many moons ago I got moved from one pit of despair to another. There's a Chinese takeaway on the corner that is particularly industrial ~ MSG with fried rice. Maybe I'll indulge for old times' sake...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012



Back to where I really belong!!

Where the shops stay open 24-7 and there's foreign exchange students galore plus amazing television reception!

Best of all, the new place is on the ground floor, with full access to the back garden!

And there's a washing machine ~ thank God.

Plus I can go back to my old methadone clinic, where they know me and where you can actually see a doctor if you're ill. Basically I can't get away from the old place fast enough.

My landlord's handyman has moved half my stuff. Only the itty-bitty things are left: books, CDs, papers, kitchenware and sundries. I'm skipping the Seroquel (antidepressant/antimanic/antipsychotic that zonks me) tonight and staying up as long as it takes. Mark, the handy van driver, will be here for me at 9am sharp.

Once I've moved I'm going straight back to my old druggieclinic to beg an immediate transfer. Wish me luck ...

Only downside to the new area: it's so rife with drugs I've picked free heroin and crack of local pavements on numerous occasions...

On the plus side, the new address is in walking distance of five NA meetings.

I'm not sure: should I take my empty hamsteries with me ? I could hide them in a giant tartan laundry bag ... (If he sees them Mark might report me to the landlord for keeping pets.)

I'd better go and get packing... I am too excited for words!

PS: My  hearing returned last night, stayed  with me for half an hour this morning until I sprayed the ear and DMMMMMMMM!! (Tinnitus sound.) I'm instantly deaf again! And stayed deaf all day, until I accidentally burped with my mouth closed: this popped my ear and the hearing returned more crystal sharp than ever! Tell me if I'm being illogical, but doesn't this imply a middle-ear problem? My hearing is gradually getting worse again, but I'm scared of deliberately popping my ear... How could one spritz of fine mist, a fraction of 1ml of medication, make me so profoundly deaf all day? I'm wary of using that spray again until I see a doctor on Friday... Who might finally reveal what is wrong with me!