The Crash (Part 2)
Posted by jackmarsden
11th Dec 2017

My daughter finally got me to hospital.

She had rushed up from London to Gateshead to be met by her father, a quivering wreck, and a gaggle of police hovering around me in the kitchen.

They were ever watchful after my bungled suicide attempt. I was curled up in the corner. Hardly able to speak.

We’d already waited two hours for an ambulance, but one had still not been mobilised, my daughter was told. And the police were, understandably, losing patience with their unscripted role as mental health nurses.
So my daughter finally agreed with them that we should get a taxi to hospital.

I was triaged for the fourth time. Or was it the third? I’d lost count... I didn’t care anymore.

Then a mental health assessor met me. I talked to her for two hours. She was lovely too.

She assessed me and wrote up a report.

I went home, to be safe with my daughter and son, who had now joined us from London.

A Mental Health Crisis team came to see me that night. Lovely again.

They told us they were trying to find a safe place for me, to stay. But it might not be local.

“What, in Warrington?” I asked, randomly.

Black humour was always just under the surface, waiting to breakthrough. Everybody laughed. Little did we know.

The next day, Saturday, my son spoke to an emergency doctor who prescribed three sleeping tablets to kick away the insomnia that had haunted me for months.

Then later, the Crisis Team rang to offer a safe place.

Just outside Brighton. 240 miles away.

There was much discussion. Traumatic, confusing, my mind racing. Overwhelming.

“Dad, the most important thing,” my sane, incredibly sensible daughter said: “is that you are somewhere safe, where you can get help as soon as possible.”

Brighton it was then.

We set off the next day, Sunday.

240 miles.

Seven hours driving through traffic jam after traffic jam, the rain hammering down on the car.

Too slow, too fast, too close, too far.

The windscreen wipers hypnotising me, then irritating me. The waves of thought crashing into the car now, too. Total nightmare.

Stupidly, an a vain attempt to try and take my mind off all the other things, I read the assessment report that had been written about me.

There were understandable mistakes of fact and detail and mis-reporting what I had said.

Forgivable. I scrawled corrections on the envelope.

But what was not forgivable was this: It omitted any reference whatsoever to my earlier experiences at my local hospital.

The very experiences which had merely increased my feelings of rejection and abandonment.

My issues, admittedly. But it was these which had finally sent me over the edge. The final straw.

Three times.

Yet no recognition in the official report. My mental health assessor had put the service before the patient. Being political. Hiding the truth.

It was these experiences which had finally broken my spirit.

But why no mention? Was it not relevant to my current mental health?

I felt that my trust had been betrayed. My confidence in the system was now utterly broken.

I sobbed silently in the car. Hopeless.

Finally, as dusk came, we arrived just outside Brighton exhausted, fearful, anxious. All of us.

But the nightmare was only just beginning

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