Posts Tagged ‘portrait’

Cool Shades of Blue

May 16, 2017

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The sun, a pale yellow disk in the sky, was going down. She thought of childhood. She thought of freedom. Memories thrust themselves upon her. She did not invite them in, they simply arrived, pale ghosts wandering through her head.

Her swim in the calm sea beneath a serene sky had been all too brief. She scooped up a handful of sand and let it trickle down her leg. She wanted to make this moment forever.

She tried not to think about where the car was taking her -back to the bin. She wanted to sit here, on the back seat, forever, reassured by the comforting rhythm if the motor, travelling into an infinite golden sunset.

A place in which night was banished and sky and sea merged and she immersed herself in their cool shades of blue.

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The Chemical Lobotomy

April 23, 2017

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When I was first hospitalized as a teenager, I was, or so I was told, very ill. I was experiencing delusions I would rather not discuss in any detail here. Suffice to say I was only ever a danger to myself, never to others. As a result of this, I was forced to spend six months in the local psychiatric hospital. I was heavily medicated with the most primitive antipsychotic known to man: Chlorpromazine (aka Largactil in the UK, Thorazine in the US and the Chemical Kosh/lobotomy in both countries).

Chlorpromazine was the first of a new type of medication known as ‘neuroleptics’. They were introduced in the 1950s and were the only class of medication capable of combatting the positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions and hallucinations. They did not, as far as I am aware, do much for the negative symptoms.

I was reminded of this recently when I saw a documentary entitled ‘Inside Strangeways’ on Channel Five, a terrestrial tv station I rarely watch. In 1985 an infamous riot broke out in the prison. One of its triggering factors was the use of Chlorpromazine to subdue its more troublesome prisoners. They would be forcibly medicated; held down and injected. It is a horrific experience; something I have never really got over. Even though I now see that it was a tragic necessity, I still find it hard to dwell upon. The sense of violation never really goes away.

Throughout my first stay in the hospital, I was on such a high dose of Chlorpromazine that my vision was permanently clouded over. I needed Procyclidine (an anti-Parkinsonian drug) to combat the side effects of the drug I was already taking. Those were the days when the hospital staff would wake you up to give you a sleeping pill then wake you up periodically throughout the night by shining a torch into your bed space. But they were doing the best they could with minimal resources. I know that now but for a long time I resented it. Time does heal some things.

All of this happened in the early ‘90s and thankfully, over the years, much has changed. Atypical antipsychotics such as Quetiapine and Abilify have been introduced. Therapy is no longer contraindicated. People are prepared to actually talk to you nowadays. Medication is no longer the only avenue of treatment.

At the moment I am taking Quetiapine and Abilify. I am told I should be reconciled to the fact that I may have to take this combination of medications for the rest of my life. This does not sit well with me. I worry about the impact these drugs may be having on my physical health. Quetiapine has been known to indirectly lead to diabetes or liver damage. And. if you google it, you will find a list of side effects a mile long. The less serious side effects include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, constipation. The most serious side effects include high fever, confusion and permanent cognitive impairment (something I am terrified of.)

So I stand at a crossroads. I am tempted to simply stop taking the medication altogether so that I can be me again. But those around me say it is beneficial and I should continue taking it. I shall probably compromise and aim for the best possible results on the lowest dose of medication. This, I think, is the most sensible approach.

Sunset

April 4, 2017

daughter_in_profile_by_bellarie-d70dfjcSunset

Evening and the sunset’s compress
Soothes our inflamed flesh
And I am stunned
By its sudden incandescent flare
The mud, the silt stretches for miles
Encompassing everything.
We watch the ocean rebound
Its sounds, its historic hiss
Slaughter all other sounds around
Injuring the air and to verify your existence
I grasp your hand. And above the elements
Bicker with one another and the sky
Is turning into a shade of sluttish red
Our cheeks are pinked by the wind.
And the watery colours
Bleed into one another. Diffusion –
A catalyst for confusion, for fear.
And the wind, once a gentle exhalation,
Huffs and puffs with all its might,
Grabbing hold of our hair, hauling us in.
And visions emerge from beneath the waves
Where a ship ran aground,
Where demented sailors drowned
It rises up. It bellows. A black cat shrieking,
Competing with our own blood pumping.
The gulls flee from it and fly, fly, fly into nothingness.

Borderland

March 29, 2017

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No feud is enough to keep me from you
I brave the barricades and the border guards
And you appear so near now. I journey
Through memories in dark and restless sleep
A bleak borderland, a stark, dry terrain
Where suicidal strangers meet.

We dwell within the ancient walls
Of a forgotten country, scorched and frozen,
By turns; haunted by a history of hatred
A decimated island on which matchstick
Children stand, tormented by the sun
And praying for death.

This is a vulnerable state, on the edge of hell
Sandwiched between two superpowers
Clinging to an impossible peace
And all around there are pillars of salt,
Crumbling statues of fleeing citizens
Who dared to look back.

The father says, ‘Son, take this gun’
And sends his progeny off to war
And he carves curses upon stone
Primitive and inglorious
Hit by one calamity after another
We are all crazy here.

In Sepia

January 31, 2017

Dreams

October 27, 2016

 

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The Ageing Process

January 6, 2016

It’s a terrible thing to behold!

Photo on 21-11-2015 at 20.38

SOS

November 26, 2015

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A recurring memory has taken up residence in my head.  When I was twelve, at the height of summer, my family and I took a vacation to Majorca.  As a child I was a loner and I felt as though I were being slowly suffocated in the hotel room I was sharing with my brother and my cousins.  So, one afternoon I took myself, a book and an  inflatable floating mat down to the beach.  I climbed onto the mat and lay back.  I accompanied the tide on its way out.  And then I fell asleep.

I have no idea how long I was out.  I awoke with a heavy head.  I looked around me.  i was surrounded by the sea.  The beach had disappeared. I was alone. I sat up.  My book had fallen into the water.  At first I panicked.  I was a poor swimmer.  The tide was going out.  I was sure I would drown.  I think I may even have prayed.

By some miracle I managed to doggy-paddle myself back to the shore.  I collapsed, exhausted onto the beach.

I returned to the hotel and never uttered a word of what had happened to anyone.  I told my family that I had fallen asleep on the beach while sunbathing.  And that raised hysteria, so heaven knows what their reaction would have been if I’d told them what really happened.

I was so badly sunburnt that for the next three nights I had to sleep on my stomach.

What is the point, you may ask, of this random anecdote.  I recount it now because I feel now like I did that day.  Floating in an expanse of ocean while the tide carries me further from the shore, praying for some small miracle that will save me from drowning and get me back to the place I started from.

Tuning In

July 1, 2015

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Imagining Cruella de Vil

June 23, 2015

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