MOOD: minus 4

 5.30am. I was awoken to my name being shouted to have my blood pressure taken after which I fell back to dreamland once more because of a very broken nights sleep. I’m not sure if it’s my medication, my bipolar or the guy strapped to his bed across from me constantly grunting and groaning all night loud enough to wake the whole ward up.

I woke again at 6.45am stumbling a little as I make my way to the toilet to brush my teeth, pee and try and get my ball bearings in order after ingesting the powerful night time meds.

7am. It’s breakfast time in the main dining room where I get stuck into two bowls of congee accompanied by the rest of the walking dead. There have been a few times where a brief moment of clarity opens up my mind and I will ask myself, “What the fuck am I doing in here?” only to nod my head in agreement with the acknowledgement that I need to be in this haven for my own well being until I’m fit to leave.

It’s very surreal and strange because if I was completely well with a stable mind (what truly is a stable mind?) and I could control my bipolar and function in a proper manner, I would without doubt, get the fuck out of here.

I don’t and haven’t attempted to leave the ward since I was admitted because and innate feeling or a DEFCON 1 mechanism deep inside reminds me that this is where I need to be at this moment in time. In this haven of safety from myself where I will be looked after by doctors and nurses in order to contain and control my bipolar.

9am. I went to the dining room to relax in my own way by sitting down in solitude not wanting to speak to anyone, head in hands and with a vibe illuminating off me to others translated into words as “Fuck off and leave me alone I’m not in the mood for conversing!”

This is a liberating experience for me because all my life up until now the other Paul and my bipolar have remained concealed traits of my character to everyone. Being in here is the first time where I don’t feel the need to hide it, I can be myself among other patients exhibiting the same symptoms of mental health malfunctioning. To hide it will only hamper my progress and make it more difficult for the doctors to find the correct combination of medication and psychiatric help.

9.30am. I’m called to take a shower in the wards only shower room that accommodates one man at time making the daily shower procedure quite a lengthy task. After my shower I’m given fresh tartan pyjamas which is the standard uniform for all patients on J7, and they are delightfully rounded off with a light blue padded jacket.

10am. I played a Chinese card game called “Chor Dai Di” that all the inmates were very familiar with except me. My Chor Dai Di virginity was broken in yesterday and since then I’ve well and truly had my botty spanked.

11.30. Lunchtime. Pork, cabbage, mashed potatoes and an orange.

Midday. Cassie called and we managed to chat for 10 whole minutes. It’s always lovely to hear her voice reminding me of happier times. I love you babe.

The afternoon breezed along slowly interspersed by games of Chor Dai Di with three patients who taught me yesterday. Yep ! I’m still getting spanked. I blame it solely on the meds.

4.45pm. Cathal visited for the first time bringing an array of supplies including a Big Mac Meal, chocolate, gummy bears and the South China Post. I haven’t seen him since I went to visit him, his wife and their three wonderful children, in Phuket at the beginning of December 2017, so I was very nervous of his impending visit because I didn’t know how he would react to seeing me in this environment. I know and realise that for some of my friends it’s an overwhelming, daunting and distressing prospect.

I shouldn’t have worried, he was unfazed seeing me on the psychiatric ward, which was a great relief to me.

We both sat talking with a humourous tone prevalent in our conversation and he even made me laugh reminiscing on past adventures together. Though inside it felt foreign and empty emphasizing my need to get better, to get out of here and resume my life.

Easy now! One day at a time speedy!

Andrew turned up to visit around 6pm with much needed toothpaste as well as a big bag of Lays salt and vinegar crisps and dairy milk chocolate. Treats galore that are definitely not good for my diet. Who cares!

Cathal, Andrew and myself giggled about how spaced out I am and how it was making Andrew jealous. A comment only a bona fide ex drug addict would come out with and if the roles were reversed, I’d have said the same thing too.

6.45pm. They both depart together.

7.30pm. Medication time followed by warm milk and biscuits.

9pm. Medication time. This is when I’m administered my night time drugs, or, as I’ve nicknamed them : “Knockout Time”.

Good night. (I hope!)