By Francis Sturt
When I first returned from my English teaching job in Greece, my furry friend and best mate met me at the door of my flat. It wasn’t long before “Christy”, my rescued cat was sitting on my knee and purring loudly. Then, I noticed blood spots on its back. I asked Nigel, my cannabis smoking lodger, how my cat had become so. Nigel said that he had fleas. So, I washed Christy and thought no more of it. I was naïve and as a 30 year old, not a good judge of character. Christy would also sit on Nigel’s lap, nothing strange about that.
The second time I returned from Greece, a few months later, after losing my second job to depression, there was an earie silence: no cat to greet me. I searched the flat and saw blood stains on the walls. According to my neighbours – Nigel had murdered him!
I quickly developed great fear and anxiety, then Bi-polar disorder and a nervous breakdown commenced. It wasn’t long before I was hearing disturbing voices: crying and shouting. Then, I hallucinated a whole series of a sit-com on TV, with a depressed tenant talking to a horse’s head and a spider on the wall. I went to parliament and could visualise my ex-girlfriend, Carolyn, and my old Headmaster – on the train. I sat in the Common’s Gallery and without any meds, I sent my bad vibes to the MPs. Some appeared uncomfortable. I ran naked through a common land and cut and stung myself with branches, thorns and nettles. I was in “Purgatory” and had to be punished for my sins of masturbating. I witnessed a terrorist carrying a sawn-off shotgun outside a police station. Next, terrorists were chasing me in an orange car in the countryside.
I was scared, terrorised, suicidal, depressed, and psychotic. After three months of terror, I was voluntary admitted to a mental health unit and given Chlorpromazine, Diazepam and anti-depressants. Three months later, I moved to the West Midlands from Surrey and had 13 years of private counselling with Olanzapine and Manerix, prescribed by my psychiatrist.
Now, I also have diabetes, as a side-effect, and I am a qualified counsellor and writer of 5 paperbacks. Life is still a struggle and I am feeling better. I have some way to go and I would strongly suggest personal counselling, as a means of coping with all mental illnesses, to all sufferers. Never give up and fight daily. Read self-help books, exercise regularly, seek talking therapy and eat a balanced diet. If you are prescribed medication – stay on it for as far as your doctor suggests.
Thank you for reading this article. Good Luck!