Peter’s Story – Part 4

Initial diagnosis can be scary. Often the most difficult thing of all can be accepting the fact that you have a “Mental Illness”. For some reason, maybe due to Peter’s small involvement with Bipolar Disorder during his studies, he wasn’t afraid to accept that he may have a Mental Illness.

This proved to work in his favour, as his parents had the unfortunate task of transporting him to the nearest Psychiatric Unit, three hours drive from home. Luckily being able to liaise with the resident Psychiatrist during this time.

Peter remembers that car trip well, despite it being almost thirty years ago. Not only was he experiencing visual hallucinations, but auditory ones as well. That’s to say, he was seeing things in the paddocks that weren’t real and at the same time, he was hearing voices that didn’t make any sense. On top of that, he was displaying rapid speech and due to his racing thoughts, he didn’t make any sense in what he was saying to his parents. This was a totally new situation that Peter’s parents found themselves in. Here was their eldest child, going through some kind of mental breakdown and they were both helpless.

Upon arrival at the Psychiatric Hospital, Peter was admitted and taken to his shared room. By this stage, Peter’s mental state had prevented him from having any reasonable sleep for quite some time. The racing thoughts, flight of ideas and boundless energy, all contributed to a feeling of not even wanting to sleep.

It was April 1987, and the medications we use nowadays, were not available back then. The first thing Peter remembers, was receiving a needle in the backside. He lay there, listening to the sounds of the television in the lounge area. There was a midday serial playing, he could hear what the actors were saying, and he felt a part of the show.

Not for long, however. Luckily the medication began to take effect. Peter slept. He was not sure how long he slept, but it felt like, days. His body and brain must have been crying out for rest. Waking up had it’s problems though. Peter remembers his whole body stiffening and almost going into a convulsion with cramping like spasms. It was a frightening sensation. Quickly he was able to grab the attention of the nurses and another needle was given. This one was to reverse the side effects of the first. Slowly but surely, he was able to relax his body.

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