visiting hours

i dont remember much about the journey, a glimpse of my face in the mirror, my grandparents staring at my small, pale face in concern. a forest flashing past us, winding country roads taking us away from the real world, keep the “guests” out of the way.

a gravel path leads up to a large, serene looking victorian house, you wouldnt know what this place was until you noticed the bars on the windows, listen closley enough and you’ll hear crying, there’s always tears in these places.

i get out of the car and follow my grandad, my granny protecting me from the patients who want to play with this little girl dressed in pink, carrying cards and presents for her mummy.

for this first visit i am led into a small room, like a doctor’s waiting room. the nurse tells us that “mummy will be here soon” i feel angry, shes my mummy.

when she arrives i am shocked, even i can see that something’s wrong. i want to run to her but i’m not allowed, i’ve been well trained, if i cry, get excited or scare her by accident i know i’ll be in trouble later.

she shuffles in and the nurse leaves, my grandparents are falsely cheery, asking about her bloods, if shes taking her medication, pretending this is normal. i want to scream but i swallow it all and sit quietly while i rage inside.

what have they done to her? where is the beautiful vivacious woman i remember? why does she just sit there leaning on my arm, so tired and withdrawn?

i went home that night and didnt talk for three days, i thought the first time was bad but the next time was so much harder. this time i was taken onto the ward. my mother was desperately happy this time, buoyed up by chemicals pumped into her to hide who she was. we went for a walk after i came back from the toilets crying. a woman in her thirties but dressed like a little girl had insisted on taking me to see her room, she seemed harmless so i followed her. her room was one of the scariest things i hae ever seen, the walls covered in old stains of blood and shit, she had trashed it and among the shredded debris were little reminders of the childhood she seemed unable to leave, dolls, teddies books and the rest. some of the items i recognised as toys i had at home and i never played with them again.

away from the hospital mum was fine, much more relaxed. another thing i didnt understand. why put her in hospital when she was more herself away from it? i didnt understand her disease at the time, i couldnt see it and little did i know but i’d lived with it all my life.

on our return to the ward i ran ahead to get drinks, a man in the kitchen was crying and shaking. i took over from him making tea and we spoke a little bit. his hands and arms were heavily scarred and i thought i’d seen him pour the hot water on his hands when i came in but he was normal underneath all the pain. and i was never really afraid of the people my mother had to live with when she was unwell again. i was afraid of what they could do but they were all just like my mum really, somehow lost in their own minds.

my memories stopped there, i dont remember anything more of that, her first “episode” or “glitch” as the rest of the family referred to it as. but there was more to come and even now she still has highs and lows but she hasnt been hospitalised for six years now and i’m so proud of her

By porcelainwarrior

make pancakes not war . . .