By Stan James
Key Themes: autobiography, manic depression, bipolar disorder
An extremely honest and open account of a man who had been successful academically, and in his career, who has suffered with depression and Bi-Polar disorder.
The book describes how he suffered from depression as a result of a number of things happening to him, including partial loss of sight in one eye.
The book then covers the events leading up to being admitted to 3 different psychiatric hospitals during which time he was diagnosed as having Bi-Polar disorder. This started with him needing to be driven home from work, then getting assaulted in a hotel and getting treatment in the accident and emergency department of the local hospital, being detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, undergoing a crisis team assessment, before finally being admitted to the 1st of the 3 psychiatric hospitals.
The book is a vivid record of the journey undertaken, as a result of the various verbal and graphical material produced along the way, prior to being an in-patient, whilst an in-patient and after being discharged from hospital.
About the Author
Stan James is 40 and lives in Wiltshire with this wife and 3 children. Stan was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder (manic depression) in January 2010. Stan has a Ph.D. in engineering, is a Chartered Engineer and is a private pilot. At this point in his career, he has worked for 3 different organizations, 1 academic and 2 industrial.
Stan has written this book to help him reflect on the difficult journey that he has undertaken and to help him come to terms with the diagnosis of Bi-Polar disorder and the implications it will have on the rest of his life. Also to hopefully help other people affected by Bi-Polar disorder by recognition of a possible journey of a sufferer.
I was put in the back of a police van which had heavy duty doors with wire mesh. I felt that I was being treated like a serious criminal, but still hadn’t been told what I’d done wrong. During the journey, I was violently sick, like I’d never been before. After my stomach had emptied, I was still being sick. I apologised to the police officer driver for making a mess of the van floor.
I was taken to what I found out later was a psychiatric hospital. I was placed in quite a large room with a desk and number of good quality chairs. Four people came in who introduced themselves. One was a psychiatrist, one was a social worker, and another was a psychotherapist. I don’t recall what 4th person’s position was, though I think it was another psychiatrist. I was asked a number of questions, like ‘do you hear voices?’, ‘are you hallucinating? etc. I don’t recall how long the meeting/assessment was, but it felt like about ½ hour. After the questioning had finished, I was allowed to leave.
I got up and slowly walked out of the room. When I got into the corridor, I couldn’t stand up. I felt that all I could do was to lie on the floor. I really didn’t know what was happening to me, except the knowledge that I was absolutely exhausted.
An ambulance was called, and I was taken back to the medical assessment unit of the general Hospital. Shortly after being admitted, I was wheeled to get a Cranial Topography scan undertaken. I was wheeled back to the ward and then at about 3 a.m. I was given a lumber puncture test. I was told that this was to check certain chemicals in the brain to see if any damage had occurred. The risks were explained to me, and I felt quite scared about having a significant needle injected into my spine.
Thankfully, the lumber puncture test went as planned, and I then tried to get some sleep. I think that I managed to get a couple of hours. Thankfully, I recovered quite well and was able to eat some breakfast. Since my clothes were blood stained from the assault the previous night, the hospital kindly gave me a rugby jersey, which I was very appreciative of.
By lunch-time, I was able to walk to the hospital canteen aided by a nurse. I bought fish, chips and peas and a thank you card to the hospital staff who’d been looking after me. After lunch, I was well enough to write the thank you card, and sit in the waiting room for an ambulance to take me to another hospital, that I was later to discover was the psychiatric hospital that I’d been taken to the previous night for ‘assessment’. I was booked into a mixed sex ward just after 5 p.m., the first of 3 psychiatric hospitals that I was to be admitted to before finally being discharged.