Two Towers

9 Sep

Many years ago I was sat in a psychiatric ward pumped full of Haloperidol having spent several weeks becoming more and more psychotic and driving my poor wife, Clare to despair.

She said the hardest thing she had ever had to do in her life was call the doctor and have me sectioned. It turned out to be a life saving decision. In my humble opinion she was forced to enact the judgement of Solomon. Either through an act of love, remove my freedom for my own good, or through an act of Good let be me free but lose my Love.

Most of the following record has been told to me and deduced from secondary sources – my mind was on vacation at the time if you take my meaning.

Late on Sunday the 8th of September 2001 they finally carted me off in an ambulance in handcuffs after I had broken my mind.

At the end of 3 months of craziness, I’d spent the whole of the weekend wandering about the garden, butt naked except for a Borsalino Fedora hat and talking utter bollocks.

I hadn’t slept for 3 months and spent ludicrous amounts of money. I had driven my motorcycle at warp speeds, nearly killing us both and capped it all off with a week of utter lunacy, in a new job.

I was a school teacher:  poor children, poor parents, bastard governors – why did it take so long for them to realise I was cuckoo? Where was their duty of care? They knew about my depression; yet they still burned me.

When I arrived at the hospital, dressed only in a bath robe I fell to my knees and proclaimed “Take me Jesus, I’m yours!”. After I spat out the pills they gave me, with a sly grin to Clare, one of the nurses jabbed me in the backside with a hypodermic laced with liquid straight jacket and I went down like a sack of spuds.

The effect of the haloperidol was to put me in a state of catatonic immobility, and it was in this condition that I sat in the locked ward TV lounge every day, with a pyromaniac, an OCD knitter and a self proclaimed psychopath for company as the horrific events of 9/11 and the terrible tragedy unfolded on the common room TV.

We were witnessing 9/11  the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York.

I had appealed my section and was awaiting a review on the 11/9/2001. I had been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

I did not comprehend what was going on, staring dumbly at the TV screen, so wrapped up was I in the chemically induced fog and shattered mental state I had reached. Two Towers falling down, the destruction of the Temple of Solomon, if you will.

On that day I talked to a Social Worker about my appeal. What was left of my mind was still clinging to the arrogant certainty of my ‘rightness’. The Social Worker pierced through my sorry state with this argument:

“If you win your appeal then you can leave. If you don’t win, then they can keep you here indefinitely. Do you think it fair to continue to subject your wife, Clare, to your destructive behaviour?”

That was the watershed. Just as the Twin Towers with those oh, so many lives came crashing down, so too my ego unravelled.

The social worker was right of course, what right did I have to subject anyone to my psychosis? Straight away, I spoke to my case worker, a nurse, and asked him if I could withdraw my appeal.

The next day they took me off the ‘section and I was free to chose to stay and get better.

Outside the hospital my wife had to cope with the fall out of my crazy behaviour, all on her own apart from the wonderful support of my dad. I stayed in the psychiatric hospital for 6 weeks and I received a diagnosis of Bipolar Type 1 disorder. I prefer the more accurate ‘manic depression’ to be honest. Apparently the years and years of depression I experienced, followed by a spectacular manic episode constituted a classic set of indicators for the diagnosis.

Today I am a self employed carpenter running Henk’s Woodwork. It is the grain that keeps me sane it seems.

It was with these twin towers I began my recovery. So it is to Clare and my Dad, my twin towers, and my new friends that I dedicate my work and my life. My health and my continuing good humour and mindfulness results from the memory of the human tragedy of 9/11.

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

16 Responses to “Two Towers”

  1. garryattheacademy September 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Where to start. I always knew you were a nutter. No, not a starter for ten. FFS you are as you are Mr Hunk. Speak soon, I love you as you are..

  2. Susan December 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    Well whatever Henk you made a good impact on my son’s life and many others whilst teaching. God bless you and may you continue to have happy times. X

    • woodenhenk December 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks Susan, the coded message in the sub text is that my dear Clare has been diagnosed with Cancer and my Dad has taken to his bed with terminal cancer. Bag of shite. But these two helped me rebuild my back bone, so I will be strong for them. I loved the pupils I taught, but teaching and teachers did me in, because actually I am an educator.

      I have just taken on my first and last apprentice having waited for decades for the right person to come along. Thank God for small mercies x H

      • Susan December 19, 2017 at 10:07 pm #

        My heart goes out to you all. Keep strong Henk you know you can x if you need an ear to rant or whatever message me

  3. Susan December 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

    My heart goes out to you all. Keep strong Henk you know you can x if you need an ear to rant or whatever message me

    • woodenhenk December 20, 2017 at 8:50 am #

      You just lent me your ‘ear x love H


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