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Ginger Says – Greetings From Hospital

By Ginger | May 30, 2003

Ginger on stage, by Wayne Charlton.Just got back from a trip to Hell. It all started when… well, let’s go back aways.

I’ve always had a tremendously competitive streak. It has blurred my decisions, marred my enjoyment and misdirected my attention for years, ever since I got into this business, in fact. And if one can make comparisons between brains and computers then I downloaded far too many tons of useless information, with no idea how to erase it. And when it clogged up the system the computer ‘shut down’. It is far too easy to do, to fill your head with needless stress.

This comes to you in the form of a warning.

So, I did what I’ve heard people do when they break their head, they go to the Doctors to get it mended.

“Wassamatter, Ginge?”

“Well Doc, been having these suicidal thoughts for years now, but just the other day they turned into suicidal intentions. Scared the living shite outta me, to be honest, and although I’d never actually go through with the act it is still best for the safety of me, and the rest of the world (I’m ticking like a fucking time bomb at this point) if you give me a pill that makes me feel normal, like other people.”

A script for Lithium is produced and the evening is spent enjoying the most simple things, from my baby girls toothless grin to re-runs of Friends. Like normal people do. The next day an ignorant pig in a car made me want to step out onto the road and pummel him to hospitalisation.

“Doc, those pills aren’t working”

“Then you must be admitted into hospital. Immediately”

Fair enough. If it’s gonna work it’s worth a try, and believe me at this point I’m ready to try anything. Except that I didn’t get to see the face of my Doctor for more than 10 minutes once admitted. In his place is a younger Doctor (dunno why, but older Doctors put you more at ease, right?) who prescribed me a cocktail of pills so great that Elvis would have said “taking the piss a bit aren’t you, mate?”

It reads like Keith Richards monthly shopping bill, except this is my daily dose:

Sertraline (aka Lustral, an antidepressant) 50 mg
Zopiclone (a sleeping pill) 15mg
Librium (aka Chlordiazepoxide, a tranquillizer) 60mg
Chlorpromazine (aka Largactil, a tranquillizer) 50mg
Diazepam (aka Valium) 80mg
Lithium (a mood stabiliser) 800mg

Sounds like it would ‘fuck with one’ a little, right? Right! This Doctor ‘dosed’ me up good, while inserting little nuggets of information into his new, delicate and very impressionable, patient’s head such as:

“Who’s name is that tattooed on your hand?”
“It’s my son”
“He’ll never forgive you for that, and hate you for it when he gets older”
“And what on earth do you mean by that?”
Oh, it’s just something my Father used to say to me”
“And what on earth do you mean by that?”
“I don’t really know”.

So, this guy has assured my family that in 4 days I will be well. This was not essentially accurate as within four days of dribbling, burbling and bumping into walls I decided to test out the effects of asphyxiation using a shoelace. No-one told me it takes 2 seconds to asphyxiate oneself and I was found on the floor, broken shoelace around my neck waiting for the ambulance that this Doctor ordered to take me to Whittingtons, in Archway (a nut-house basically) to be sectioned on his recommendation.

Now, you gotta have figured out that assessments and recommendations don’t seem to be this guys ‘thing’, right. And a verdict of ‘attempted suicide’ by a six foot bloke trying to hang himself with a shoelace just isn’t going to hold up in an enquiry.

My Missus, after being told that her rights can be overridden by this Doctor rushed to the NHS hospital where I was being ushered, to stop this redirection taking place. And there, sat on an old chair with dried blood covering the arm, I sat and explained to the Senior House Officer for Psychiatry (Jesus, our seats didn’t even match, talk about underfunding) that I wasn’t in fact suicidal, but instead had suicidal thoughts from time to time. A common partner to being extremely creative and therefore over sensitive and over analysing everything.

The Crisis Response & Resolution Team (angels, every one of them… but more about them later) turned up to provide a verdict on my mental stability, or lack of. They eventually determined that the most humane way of dealing with my case would be to visit me at home as opposed to tying my arms behind my back and chaining me to a wall. It was that simple, and that perilous.

If it was not for the Crisis Response people you’d be getting no albums or tours, my children would be getting no hugs, and my family would get no money to eat.

So that was my week, how’s yours been?

Seriously, the last figures published by the Today show give you a greater idea of the sheer criminal neglect that mental health research suffers from. Annual charity donations are split like this:

£82 Million – Cancer
£43 Million – Animals
£40 Million – Blind
£13 Million – Heart and chest disease
£2 to 3 Million – Mental health research

It is currently estimated that one person in 32,000 suffers from Aids, one in fifty affected by mental handicap, one in 30 from cancer, and one in 10 from psychiatric ill-health. One in 20 adults suffer from it at any one time, while 70% of sufferers remain untreated. 80 million working days are lost every year through depression at an estimated financial cost to business and industry of around £4 billion a year. One in 10 men, and one in 5 women suffer from a severe depressive episode in their lifetime. It is estimated by the Medical Health Foundation in Britain that 6 MILLION people suffer from psychiatric ill-health in the UK in the course of an average year.

That’s one in ten of the population.

Between 25% to 50% of manic depressive sufferers have attempted suicide at least once. More than four in every five seriously depressed people will be troubled by suicidal thoughts.Two in every five will take preliminary steps to do so.One in seven sufferers of depression will die by suicide. 5000 people kill themselves every year, and the majority of these are believed to be depressed.

Depression is the most frequently occurring psychiatric disorder, but just take a look at HOW common.

At the present time in the UK:

One in 32,000 people suffer from Aids
One in 50 people suffer from mental handicap
One in 30 people suffer from Cancer
One in 10 people suffer from heart and respiratory disorders
One in 10 people suffer from mental illness

Mental health illness is as common as heart and respiratory problems, three times as common as Cancer and THREE THOUSAND times as common as AIDS. In fact the closest thing it has in common with these illnesses is that it KILLS.

If you have any history of mental illness and/or depression then have it seen to.

NOW.

Get in touch with your GP and ask them to refer you to the Crisis Response & Resolution Team. These people are a care in the community affair that visit your house and talk to you like you are a valid human being, and not a conveyor belt case getting in the way of a golf meeting. In all lines of work there are those that care and there are those that resent their position, and spend their time dreaming of being on the next rung.

BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT CARE.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE …………YOU ARE NOT ALONE …………YOU ARE NOT
ALONE…………… YOU ARE NOT ALONE …………..YOU ARE NOT ALONE
………….YOU ARE NOT ALONE ………………YOU ARE NOT ALONE……..

Really, you aren’t. There ARE angels out there. They care. They care for you. Talk to them, and learn to love yourself again. Sometimes the pain you feel is heightened by the fact that no one can see it. There are no broken bones or running noses. But that excruciating pain that removes you, that hurts, that makes you feel disembodied and alone… truly, truly alone, that pain is real. As real as any broken bone. They believe you when you say you have a migraine and they can’t see that! People are afraid to help with, or even believe in mental illness. Just in case you’re bluffing. It’s also kind of embarrassing for them, even though they themselves are probably experiencing the same feelings occasionally (just look at the statistics above), but see it as a weakness to admit it. You are not alone. It’s hard to think, no fuck that… it’s IMPOSSIBLE to think that things can get better, but believe me they actually can. You’ve got to believe me on this. The human race isn’t a total waste of time. There are some good people.

Through the Crisis Response & Resolution Team I have found people that have no hidden agenda, no ‘checking their watch’, no ‘waiting for pay day’. Just a heart and a need to help. To help you live. To save lives, the most beautiful and vital thing of all.

If you think you’ve had enough then you could be just the person needed for recruitment into the Crisis Response & Resolution Team staff. Who better to talk to a suicidal person than a suicidal person?

None of this “pull yourself together” bullshit.

As the late, and astoundingly strong willed, Spike Milligan once said about people that say ‘snap out of it’:”That’s silly… like going round with a broken leg and saying ‘come on – walk, you’ll be alright'”

Spike Milligan suffered from bipolar manic depression all of his long life, but never succumbed to suicide, and neither need you. Counseling and medication mean that in this day and age you need not suffer.

You / we have a long way to go to find out what medication suits us. No two depressives are alike, and no theory on depression has it ‘nailed’.

The thing that has the greatest success rate is counseling. Whether it’s a expensive shrink or the guy in the chip shop. Talking is best.

Be strong. You’ll find that it’s worth it in the end.

Contact your GP, or write to me. I’m always here.

Just please, please stay alive.

Your’s in madness!
Ginger

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