Chapter One: Arrival

The feeling was one of both apprehension, and puzzlement. The obvious lacking emotion was fear, but the past few months had eradicated meaning from the once powerful concept of fright. It may be hard to imagine what losing a feeling is like, but I will not blame you for that. Imagining the loss of emotion in itself just creates more emotion – not unusually, fear.

I could also not see as perfectly as I once could. The monotonous passing of old, thick-trunked trees on either side of the driveway became a blur of brown and green. For which I could possibly be forgiven for, as the only lighting I had at my disposal came from the piercing headlights of my mother’s car. I wondered if the bulbs would blow before we reached the end of the private road, the last part of the journey was taking forever.

I remember we bought the car, a sport-ish Fiat Punto, some months before all of this. I can distinctly recall working the salesman’s game out, acting on the assumption that 90% of their speech was bullshit. Of course, it was my mother mistakenly purchasing what I considered a bottom of the barrel, clapped out trollop of a motor, even though it was brand new. I just felt protective of her, the salesman being an enemy, rather than an ally.

I could see lights ahead, a small car park with several cars also. All of them, sparing the 90’s Ford Fiesta shunted below the lamppost,  were typically what I would class as ‘Posh Bitch Cars’. I pictured the salesman once again, cursing him under my shallow breath.

It was a cool March night, a slight breeze threw me off as I stumbled out of the now parked car. The building before me stood tall, confrontational in it’s stature. A modernised mansion, cast away from public life by the long path we had just come down at 5 mph. Pillars either side of a grand oak door beaconed me to reach for my ‘overnight’ bag, and slam the Fiat’s door shut – almost in a mini rebellious rage.

Each step towards the opening coincided with a deep, cautious breath. My mother said nothing, I’m guessing her emotions ran from fear all the way to relief. My emotions, on the other hand, persisted to lay dead, as I entered the reception of The Priory North London Psychiatric Hospital. The journey had really only just begun.


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