Running up that hill

Trigger warning: this post contains descriptions of suicidal thoughts, including methods. Please don’t read on if you are feeling at all vulnerable.

I want to run. I am desperate to run. When I wrote my last post my idea was to run from Smalltown to Biggertown or Bigtown, and from there on to The City, at least. Cardiff, better. Maybe even Bristol. I knew I would have to be on the run for several days to amass enough over the counter meds to successfully OD on. I thought about the need to keep my phone off so I couldn’t be tracked, the need to use hotel computers and printers to obtain maps. I thought about returning to the same pharmacy several times in one day, changing my appearance so that I had a different noticeable feature the same time. I was that woman in the bright red lipstick. I was that woman in sunglasses. I was that woman with the fringe, with the chignon, with the hat. I thought about dying my hair in a hotel room. I have watched too many Jason Bourne films. I have watched too many episodes of The Americans.

Now there is nowhere really I can run to. I cracked and confessed to my Community Psychiatric Nurse that I had secretly withdrawn £300 in cash and moved all of my student loan money into my current account for easier access. I let her know that I had booked a hotel room for the first part of my plan, but that I had been thwarted because Tom hadn’t let me out of his sight around the time I had thought I would be able to bolt. She said that I would have to tell Tom, and that she wanted me to do it myself. because we had reached the stage where risk outweighed confidentiality. She made it clear that she was very concerned about my risk level. I sensed I had two choices: cooperate, or find myself going down the Mental Health Act assessment route.

So I went and got the cash and I handed my debit card and my credit cards and my bus pass and I gave it all to Tom. Knowing that I had been using my phone to book hotel rooms, check train times and taxi numbers and minimum lethal doses, I was forced to surrender my phone and my laptop. I negotiated a quick trip to Twitter to let people know what was happening; I had been talking in a pretty worrying way and I feared that sudden silence would lead people to suspect the worst. We agreed that I would be able to check for texts and emails twice a day, under supervision.

Unsurprisingly, this is the point that the Crisis Team got involved.

So now I can’t run to a city. I can’t even run to Biggertown. I can’t call for a taxi and even if I could, I couldn’t pay the driver. I feel infantilised. I had to ask Tom for money to buy his own birthday card. But it’s warranted, it’s all warranted, because even as I entered the gift shop I was wondering if there was a back door I could escape through. Because even though there is nowhere to run to, I am still desperate to run. I look for every opportunity to get away, but there are precious few. I am obsessed with the idea of running away at night while Tom is sleeping. In my desperate panic to escape, my brain is starting to play with methods I have never before considered. I keep thinking about ligaturing. If I could get to the coast (which is ten miles away), I could fill my backpack with stones and walk into the sea. I know that sounds an unlikely method, but I knew someone who took her life that way.

Last night I went to bed so, so miserable because I couldn’t stop the desire to run up the hill into town and then away. Suppose I did get away during the night, where would I go, in the dark, unable to leave Smalltown without walking for hours? As a Crisis Team nurse pointed out yesterday, I would be vulnerable, a woman alone at night, bringing up yet more issues for them to be concerned about. To compound things, I have thought about hitch-hiking. I seem to be obsessed with placing myself at risk. And what would happen? The police would be called and there would be a hunt for me. Once found – and there are only so many directions I could walk out of a town so small – I would be detained under s136 of the Mental Health Act, which would give the police the power to take me away to a “place of safety” until I could be further assessed. I would probably end up sectioned, and as my CPN warned me the other day, it might not be the local ward in Biggertown, because there might not be a bed. It might be a ward I do not know, in Bigtown, or The City, or failing that “anywhere along the M4 corridor”.

Do I want any of that? Of course not. And anyway, what would I be running from? A fantastically loving husband, a beautiful house with a garden we are putting a lot of work into, a welcoming community. Would I, were in my right mind, want to abscond from that? Again, of course not. Therefore I am not in my right mind, and I know it.

Yet I am desperate to run.


Image shows a pair of running shoes. Sourced from Flickr, commercial use and modifications allowed, credit

About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards
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