This story is over 5 years old.

The Mentally Ill Issue

Manic Depression

Lack of sleep, spending money way too much and being argumentative... Does that sound familiar to anybody?
Κείμενο Rachel Western

Photo by Alex Sturrock

My name is Rachel Western and I've got manic depression. Last year the familiar signs started to show up: "a lack of sleep, spending money way too much and being argumentative." Does that sound familiar to anybody? During that time I was planning a trip to Norway and the day I was due to leave I had a final check with my psychiatrist. He said he had thought I was going into the manic phase, but thought I was OK. So off I went. I should really have admitted myself into hospital, as I had done the year before, but I was determined that I was "sane". It didn't go well. I ended up in Oslo and got mugged and assaulted in the bus station by the security guards. When I tried to complain to the police I get hauled off to a psychiatric ward. When I told the Norwegian psychiatrist what had happened he said the security guards "probably had their reasons". In the ward I was held down by about four men and forcibly injected. I was tied to the bed and left to wet myself. My books were taken away from me. I was refused a pen and paper in my room. I was thrown to the ground. My food and drinks were sometimes taken away from me and I developed stress excema on my hands. The skin broke and they bled. I didn't sleep and I was petrified. Eventually my friend Helen came over and rescued me, but I refused to see my psychiatrist and behaved very badly. My mum was worried about me and phoned up the police to check on me. I didn't hear their knock and they broke the door down. I persuaded them I was OK and they left, but two days later I came home and they'd broken in again and left a "Warrant for Search and Removal of Patient". I didn't feel safe in my own home and stayed away for a few days until I felt they'd leave me alone. The next week they managed to catch up with me and I was sectioned. It was very shocking but still I was adamant that I was OK, but I wasn't. I spent some time at Homerton hospital in Hackney —a dream compared to Norway—and got back on my medication. While I was manic I upset and lost a lot of friends and eventually I lost my job. My life doesn't have the verve it does when I'm manic, but I appreciate the stability and don't want to upset people in the way I do when I'm manic. Who knows what the future holds? RACHEL WESTERN