THURSDAY 24th JANUARY

MOOD: minus 4

6am. A wake up call to have my blood pressure checked followed by me falling directly back to dreamland after a heavily disturbed nights sleep that has left me feeling very tired.

6.50am. I brushed my teeth in a medication induced haze and splashed my face many times in cold water to try to wake me up.

7am. I trundle off to the dining room for breakfast with my flip flops loosely hanging from my feet scrapping along the plastic floor seeming like two humongous cannon balls on chains around my ankles. The other patients join in the procession too then we all sit down quietly for our morning sustenance of congee, a hard-boiled egg and a bread roll.

7.25am. I’ve slid back under the covers of my bed to grab some more sleep before the ward comes to life and the nurses kick patients out of theirs beds.

My meds have been increased again and I can expect a few wibbly wobbly days ahead.

This altered state feels like a person who has been completely paralysed in an accident and left immobile, incapable of moving any part of their body, eyes staring blankly, a mouth with no words and ears with no sound. Yet inside their brain is fully functioning aware of what’s happening, but unable to communicate with the doctors, nurses, family and friends.

This brain would be trapped inside a useless vessel of a body that appears on the outside to be paralysed with everybody’s conclusion being that the brain must be dead too. The lights are on, but no-ones in. What an altered state my bipolar can be.

9am. We (all patients) are being moved to the main dining room because all the floors on the psych ward are going to be cleaned.

10am-11.25am. I’m sat with all the patients in the dining room listening and watching Johnny parade around the floor singing at the top of his voice into an invisible microphone held in his hand, while he follows Cantonese Karaoke lyrics and songs blaring out of the TV.

11.30am. Lunch

12.15pm. Cassie called and for the first time since I’ve been on the ward I’m using the one phone allocated for patients that is situated in the main dining room. We chat for 15 undisturbed minutes interspersed with long silent gaps due to my mind wandering into emptiness, the land of the black rose.

I feel a little down after speaking to Cassie because she is now a piece of plastic in my hand, a mere telephone, devoid of the physical and human emotions I get when my friends visit me on the ward.

3.20pm. I’m sat in the dining room watching Cantonese programs on the TV.

3.25pm. I’m exhausted with literally no motivation sitting on the ward as most of the patients have gone to O.T. (occupational therapy) for the afternoon, leaving me with two patients: One who talks to himself and giggles with a huge mop of black hair covering his entire face and who could easily have been a dancer for The Happy Mondays. The other is Johnny stood showing me his best air Kung Fu moves.

3.30pm. I’m now sat on my own playing cards, that wonderful solitary game of “Patience”.

5pm. Dinner Time. Two scoops of mashed potatoes, pork in sauce and cabbage.

5.05pm. Greg comes to visit me with lots of goodies including a cuppa tea, a tuna wrap both purchased from Pacific Coffee located downstairs in the hospital. While I was devouring the goodies we had a great old chinwag about acceptance of my bipolar illness and important topic of saving the world with the help of the penguins from Madagascar. It’s very special to be able to sit and chat with him bringing a welcomed dash of normality amongst all the madness surrounding me everyday on the ward.

7pm. Greg leaves all dressed in black looking like a suave 007.

7.30pm. Biscuits and warm milk time and for some patients they get their meds too.

7.35pm. I’ve just been verbally warned by another patient in my dorm to look after my locker with all my goodies inside because another patient has had his eye on it. I think I know who it is. The warning has been a swift kick up my arse reminding me not to become too complacent and to remain vigilant all the time.

8.25pm. Today has been very fuzzy and I have definitely felt completely spaced out waiting for Zebedee to come springing out of the walls, sitting down next to me and engaging in conversion about Ermintrude’s new magic roundabout cake shop. Yep! As today has progressed the new increase in my meds has been very evident.

My movements, my thinking, my walking, my talking are all clearly slower than normal. I’m having mad visuals too that are similar to the mellow faze of when I used to trip along with sound being amplified by 10 and I’m continuously hearing my name called out on the ward. To top things off I have a frustratingly dry mouth with periodic spells of blurred vision.

Two patients have even asked me have I had my meds increased. If these two patients can notice the effects my meds are having on me today, then it must be lucidly clear to everybody.

8.35pm. I took my journal out only to stare blankly at the pages as I completely forgot what I was going to write.

8.40pm. A sudden jolt reminds me that the Other Paul is still strong shrouding me from getting through, with the boulder still firmly in place over my well.

I started thinking about my financial situation last night sparking into life, the emotion of worry! This is swiftly followed by the appearance of the Other Paul who adores it when I become anxious and worry because he feeds off my negative emotions growing in strength the more I worry. Eventually infecting my whole body like a virus.

So with me worrying in bed last night the thoughts of suicide, worthlessness, I’ll get you when you come out of hospital and I’m nothing but a useless piece of shit swirled feverishly inside my hurricane of a mind. These are just some of the prevalent negative thoughts he implants inside my mind to switch out the light and turn on his darkness.

The Other Paul has been around a lot today much more than the past 9 days I’ve been in here. I know him too well now as he probes my mind and body looking for weaknesses and complacency in my own thinking he has gone. He’s never gone, in fact, I can actually hear him giggling behind that door at the back of the abyss of my mind. Waiting!

My never ending war.

9pm. Good night.