On the advice of my doctor, I am making an income insurance claim going back to 2010 when I stopped working full-time. As a general rule, I don’t trust insurance companies, so I am approaching this exercise with a great deal of trepidation: no matter how strong the moral claim I may be able to lay, I know they will do anything in their power to avoid paying up. Still, my doctor thinks I have a strong case, and he says he has helped other people with such claims in the past.
I needed to get accurate data about my admissions to hospital during that time. The private hospital I had no problems with, because by the time I was transferred there I had recovered some function, and can remember when I went in and when I was discharged. The public emergency admission which preceded that has always been a bit fuzzy in my memory, though, so I made a FOI (Freedom of Information) application for copies of my hospital records. (At least the records show another reason why my memory of that time is hazy: it looks like they doped me with lorazepam whenever I opened my mouth.)
They sent me everything from notes of the initial phone call my psychiatrist made telling them I was on my way, to nurses’ observations, to the evaluations of various psychologists and psychiatrists. It made for pretty horrific reading.
Yesterday I took my journal of that time and read the corresponding pages to my therapist. I have not looked at those pages except briefly, last week, to try to verify admission/discharge dates. The pain and self-loathing seemed to fill the room, even as I stumbled over the frequently illegible words. The belief that I should somehow be punished for being so ill as to have to go into a hospital; the now-poignant letters of apology to my loved ones (never sent); the bleak certainty that my life was over … the sense that there was no hope, that I deserved no hope, and that no hope would be forthcoming.
I’m not in hospital now, but I feel a similar sense of hopelessness, and I struggle not to feel the same levels of self-loathing. I was so stupid to think I could read that material and it not affect me deeply.
I don’t want to write much more now. I feel, overall, a strong absence of hope. I’m deeply connected to that part of me which despairs; I need to go and reconnect with my positive self, my beloved self, the observing self which sees but does not identify with this suffering.
I feel obliged to end on a more positive note, so here goes: this, too, will pass.