Thoughts from Lockdown

BY ANDREW MOODY

Yesterday was the 76th anniversary of the D Day landings. I have been on the Ward since last November, before that, in the Unit in Glasgow since last August. This is the longest stretch I’ve done since I started in on the psych game aged 19 in 2002. One of the patients is explaining psychiatry.

“You see, all those non combatants, the scientists and doctors working in the camps, they were shipped over here to continue their work. We’re farm animals. Don’t treat us like a herd, I’m warning you…”

The rest of us are just trying to get medication over with, the order you get the pills in designates what order you get leave to the garden. Leave is maximum 30 minutes, once a day. we’re all smokers and it’s a temporary solution to our problems. We used to have leave (escorted) to the local coop and, if we requested it with enough notice, escorted leave to the nearest town. Covid 19 is no respecter of ritual. Sometimes I buy a roll up from one of the patients in here for a tenner. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as an illegal smoke, well, weed is the best. Khair snuck me in a joint when I was in here last year. It stunk out the corridor and the angry and envious black nurses cancelled my leave for five days and made fun of my psoriasis in an effort to not feel completely cheated by life. I had to be careful how I acted and with what I said to escape the forcible restraint and sedation. Black nurses love the hypodermic needle. Evens out the societal imbalance. Say what you like about George Floyd; he was at least partially responsible. As someone who’s been cuffed up a fair few times, and even spent a night in prison, you always know the officers that mean you harm and it’s always good insurance to be as polite as you can. If you haven’t done anything they can bust you for, just keep schtum until you’re processed.

Bit harsh I guess. Getting murdered by the police. I’m now on Clozapine. It caused a seizure the Saturday before last. I’m not entirely sure what cocktail of psych drugs I’m on, only that I’ve been on several depot injections and survived seven bouts of ECT.

All of the staff (with the odd exception) are black. Black or minority ethnic. There are fifteen patients, three of them are black. It’s a black run prison, holding unstable white men for an indeterminate period of time.

One of the main weapons at the guards  disposal is the forcible sedation. I believe I mentioned that. Sorry. It’s the medication. I was taken off the injection and placed on my current meds some weeks back. Everything since the seizure is a blank. I bit a chunk of my tongue. Thankfully I didn’t bite it off. I’m staring down the barrel of oblivion, day in, day out. But today is Sunday; we can get our phones earlier than on a weekday. I spend my time writing articles and wondering why they’re so apprehensive about setting me free. Khair was arrested for prostitution sometime in March or April. It does not feel good when you find out your girlfriend turns out to be an escort, even if it makes sense. I’ve never been dumped by her, there’s something raw and primal in me she finds irresistible, she wants to be dominated. I don’t know how many men she’s slept with, or how many she slept with on my watch, but I stayed faithful. I loved her too much. We were going to get married until she left the flat in Glasgow, leaving me without cigarettes, weed, food, money or WiFi. She made a big show of telling me my phone wouldn’t be able to connect with hers. And then she left. I smashed up the flat on day three. When she returned, suspiciously soon after the flat was a wreck, she was told by her neighbour to call the police.

I’m in the garden, smoking a cigarette. I feel sick. I dreamt about her last night. She’s a major benefactor of the Black Lives Matter movement. She’s made moves with her beauty, she’s Muslim when it suits her purpose.

“Are you ready to go in?” my nurse asks me.

“Okay,” I sigh and smile sadly. “Let’s go.”

Follow Andrew Moody on Twitter @Voguishfiction