So, I’ve been here in this private hospital for nearly two weeks. Last weekend I wasn’t allowed out when my fiancé came because I was on quarter hourly observation. Fair enough. But that was changed late in the week to half hourly. Which meant today when my fiancé came to visit I was able to leave for an excursion. Hooray!
We spent the morning and afternoon relaxing and chatting in my room and over lunch in the canteen. All the while I was excited about our planned, and delayed, outing. A trip to the local cinema with dinner in the adjoining cafe.
We left about 4pm in our car with my fiancé driving. A niggle entered my mind. But so small I barely noticed. We drove the short distance, around one and half miles in total, with myself providing directions assisted by google maps. We were going to walk but I suggested driving so my fiancé wasn’t too tired for work tomorrow.
As soon as we left the car the anxiety started.
I do get anxiety. In social situations, sometimes with work, during confrontations and quite often when travelling by myself in heavily congested public areas (and possibly more). But in suburbia on a quiet Sunday afternoon – not that I can recall (although my memory is shot to pieces, so who knows).
We navigated our way to the crossing and back on ourselves to the cafe where we were ushered to a seat in the very sophisticated cafe to a table for two. The anxiety continued to build. I made it known and the reassuring words and concern I received were very welcome but barely made a noticeable impact. We ordered food and drinks and during the meal I almost burst into tears. Why that moment in time! A wonderful day – the sun shining, a splendid meal and my wonderful gal in front of me.
I uncertainly declined repeated offers to return to the hospital. I really didn’t want to spoil the day for my partner and I was damned if I was going to let this ridiculous reaction be the cause.
Suffice to say that we finished the meal and I proceeded to engage in some anxious pacing around a church yard a few buildings down the road. The film wasn’t starting for another 30 minutes and I was desperately trying not to give in to unreasonable temptation and return to the car. Strangely, at one point during that distraction a well known comedian, Alastair McGowan, just wandered past into a modern extension of the church. Incidental, but a surreal moment within that experience.
We arrived at the cinema where after nearly blubbing once more we eventually found our way to the seat we had booked. A wonderful two seater. It is a nice old fashioned picture house – not part of some soulless corporate chain. By the time we were a quarter of the way into the film my anxiety had subsided. But in the back of my mind I knew it was there. Waiting to jump out when I least expected it. Like some nameless fiend from shrouded depths.
The final scene arrived. There the anxiety was – building up rapidly. With legs that felt disconcertingly unwilling to follow my commands I made my way hurriedly and precariously back to the car. I had reached the peak. We drove straight back to the hospital where I desperately made a beeline to my room. It took me nearly an hour to return to a semblance of normality. My fiancé left after ensuring I was over the worst to take the long journey home.
So, here I am. Very much looking forward to Wednesday when I will be seeing the private therapist that my fiancé and family have organised. To date I have seen therapists only via the NHS which has been woefully ineffective due to the limited funding, availability, quality and duration of treatment. I have been in this hospital and have attended educational group sessions during my stay on a daily basis. I know more about myself and what my issues are as a result of these last two weeks – so much more than I have learnt over the last 24 years since my first breakdown.
I am not looking forward to leaving here on Tuesday. If today was anything to go by it will be tough. My family have their own care plan in place so I am in good hands. Yet the thought of leaving this bubble, this safety blanket I have been wrapped in, fills me with dread. Rationally I know this newfound anxiety won’t last forever, but the irrational me gives no quarter. Begone, and darken my doorstep no more. Please…