River Tigers

I stand on the front of the boat. Low down in the canal lock looking up to me are the others. My family. Doing up the lock. On a ledge I see the river tigers, green and
darker green striped. Slimy and oozy rising out of pearlescent shells on the stone wall of the lock.They are small, like dogs, but move fluidly, an amoebic gel- like
substance. Someone scoops one up in his fingers and throws it down onto my head. It slime’s me. I am disgusted but not afraid.

The river tigers are with me, asleep or awake- the green lines very vivid.

The consultant thinks I am a little stressed. The new medication has lifted the darkness, but the light is too bright. I keep my backbone close, I am weak without her.
Does she know? Does she sense when I start to disappear and come to bring me back?
I feel sick. The tablets. Sick is preferable to unhappy. I do not know my unhappy self and I do not wish to. I don’t know the perimeters, they aren’t even in sight so it is
a very bad place to go. There is nobody else there. My stomach gurgles. My jeans are too tight. My elephant steps are wrecking the house, leaving great pitfalls we
all fall into. Throw me a rope and I will feed my starlings with whats inside.

Over a year and stability has kicked in. For stability one must consume a great many drugs and surrender all personality. My medicate or not to medicate carousel
has started turning. I battle with the doctors and keep proving them right.

Coming off medication gives me, after only a few days, my head back as I have always known it. Fast thinking, funny. On it. Euphoria at managing my illness
completely by myself….and then it creeps back…..

Jumping at people in the street, in the supermarket, in my own kitchen. Confusion, and the noise, gradually increase and a few initially calming drinks lead to
delusions about who is in the room. Fun for all concerned.
All preceded by the shaking. The bloody shaking. Sometimes this happens when I am taking the mind numbing meds. Particularly demoralising. Favourite activities
have become major triggers and affect me so physically. I am baffled. I have searched my head many many times now but draw only blanks. Letting go of who I have
always been is akin, I suppose, to letting go of a long term relationship. Grief like emotions. Angry, resentful, sad, disappointing, difficult, upsetting and debilitating
I am quiet now. I am withdrawn. To be interested or engaged are realms to which I no longer belong. Only those very close to me who expect nothing are tolerable.
My love of novelty has become a need for the norm. Apart from the medication gaps. In those marvellous short lived moments I return! Life bursts out of me, I laugh, I
create I love and I absorb everything! But now, I cannot. I trundle, flat.
’90’s cooking programmes, Midsomer Murders, quiet television. The only company I can keep.

I look with wonder at an 1800’s underwater ballroom. A place for excess. A place I love.

Not a place for me. I have never been reliable, sensible or predictable.

Until now.

A beautiful gush from coogeesimon75. 18 months ago coogeesimon75 was diagnosed with an illness called schizoaffective disorder. She is a strong, inspiring woman who lives in the countryside with dogs and her three beautiful children that she grew herself. She writes when her head ‘feels full’ and you can read more here https://schizoaffectivegirl.wordpress.com/
Thank you so much for your submission!

If you have any questions, or would like to send your own submission, please e-mail Justgushing@gmail.com



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