They say it is best to put pen to pad when ideas are fresh. Well here goes…it doesn’t get much fresher than being incarcerated on the psychiatric ward.
In this post we’ll look at the similarities between life on oil rigs and confinement in a mental institution. It seems the former may have been the ideal dress rehearsal…
We’re not in Kansas anymore
Twas early June 2020 and several weeks into Covid-19 lockdown when I set off for a 6am run along the river Don. Pretty uneventful until I started following imaginary clues. 🙈
I was quickly picked up by the po-po and on the fast train to Royal Cornhill Hospital.
This time I had some warning…my mood was on the up and had reached out to the family psychiatrist. Just to let them know I was feeling high.
Despite my best efforts I was checked in on Monday just a couple or days short of my birthday. During which I had no real idea where I was. Sure, the faces of the nurses were the same I had seen 18 months ago and yet I still thought they may be actors!
Down the rabbit hole
There was no sipping Bacardi to celebrate turning 31 instead it was a slice of Tesco cake and back to my bunk to listen to a borrowed Sampha CD. (thanks Ben Whyte)
They say the hardest part of a deployment to Afghanistan, trip aftshore to the Forties Alpha or hospital stay are the first few and the last few….
For now I was enjoying the heady mix of 3 square meals (make that 6) a day. Coupled with a sedtary lifestyle and olanzopine the weight piles on!
Along with all the discovery channel wheeler dealers a young geologist could watch.
Even the smells wafting around the sterile hallways are the same. At times it is the dank aroma or rolled cigarettes hastily puffed in the shared toilets.
It goes without saying that you are well and truly locked-down on the rig or in hospital. There are no day passes and your only exercise is a short walk around the heli-deck or smoke filled Skene Garden.
It’s fascinating to observe the hierarchy at both locals -offshore the OIM calls the shots with his right hand man the Company Man playing Jr Doctor Meanwhile, the patients read mudloggers are at the bottom of the barrel- (where the crabs at.)
If you’ve read this far (thanks!) You may be wondering why anyone would volunteer to work on a rig or indeed a hospital ward. I have found the common denominator is cameraderie- the feeling that we are all in this together.
As a fellow bipolar sufferer DMX says ‘life is a struggle but it’s about finding meaning in the struggle’…