Time to start building the ark

Will this rain never end? It’s hard enough to motivate myself off the settee without having to face the thought of finding my brolly too. I hate this sort of rain. The type which makes you wet, as Peter Kay would say. It’s definately not just spitting. On the plus side I can hide under my hoodie without receiving weird looks from passers by.

I often wonder how I am perceived when I go outside. You know how it is when you’re out. You walk past that person who looks a little off. Maybe it’s their slightly weird clothing (T-shirts in december etc) or the vacant smile on their face. It’s the person who catches your eye on the bus then spends the entire journey talking to you about their carer, or the woman at the bus stop who laughs out loud to herself every few seconds.

I’ve always made an effort with people like that because I know what it’s like to feel different. I make a good job of hiding my anxiety so you would never know, as you stand next to me, that I am counting to 100 over and over in my head before the bus comes, knowing that I can’t board the bus if I haven’t completed my count. You have no idea that seconds ago I saw you stab me, or that the car opposite us blew up, or that I killed everyone in the shopping centre with my newly bought Uzi. I can be stood in the queue at M&S and those visions flash before me. It’s like having my own personal cinema, except that I don’t get to choose the film and never get past the trailers.

They don’t scare me anymore. Hallucinations, if thats what they are, have been with me since childhood. Sometimes I quite enjoy them because they are mine and mine alone. As though I’m tuned into a secret channel which no one else can see.  The voices are much rarer and I hate them. They are accusatory and mocking. They don’t always talk to me, but often I hear them talking about me. Telling people I have died, or that I have been sent to prison, or that something horrible has happened to my face. I have to check my reflection in the shop window to make sure I’m not disfigured. I’ve always kept them secret from my doctor. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I’m scared to be given the psychotic label.

But I’m straying off the point here. Going outside. That was it. Lately I feel that people have changed towards me. I receive sympathetic smiles a lot. Especially from older people on the bus. I make a passing comment to the person next to me and they look away without responding. The driver doesn’t look surprised when I show him my disabled travel card anymore. Have I become one of those weird people you see on the street? Is my mask finally slipping? And do I care? There’s a certain freedom to being weird after all. Richard, our local schizophrenic, talks out loud to himself as he strides down the street, usually wearing pyjamas. Everyone is used to him now but occasionally he gives a stranger a fright by giving the minutes of his last psychiatric consultation to them as he stands in the queue in the paper shop. I know Richard quite well from when I volunteered at our Mind shop. He confessed to me once that he occasionally talks out loud even when he’s feeling stable, just because everyone expects it now and it allows him to insult them and get away with it. Good for him. I’m still too shackled by the fear of public humiliation to be able to act so freely.

Sometimes I’d love to just be completely mad!

In the meantime I’m off to buy another hoodie. xx

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One Response to “Time to start building the ark”

  1. Alison Says:

    It’s that fine rain that soaks you through… and when I say I sound like Peter Kay 😉 Bolton born and bred! Lol

    I still get strange looks getting on the bus with my travel pass… it’s like they expect me to get on with a limp and a walking stick because they cannot see a mental illness, sometimes I am certain the bus drivers are saying “she’s milking the system”…

    I’ve become very friendly with a schizophrenic in the group, she’s great and there was one point in my life when I heard they might move a schizophrenic next door to me I wanted to move out… how times change and how ignorant I was then!

    Take care and enjoy the wet weekend, I’ve slept though most of it!

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