April 13th -- Night-time intruder incident

(names changed)

You won't believe what happened last night. I woke up just before 4 a.m. because the light was on and I heard someone moving around in my room. I thought it was nurse helping my new room-mate move in. I heard someone writing with a large texta and fumbling around inside the cupboard. Then I realised it was Sylvia. Sylvia is a young Asian woman patient who'd been in the lock-up for a while -- I've often heard her singing insanely. Then I realised she was wearing my clothes, which she'd taken from the cupboard. She had written an insane message in blue texta on a pillow, but I couldn't understand it and I told her so. She kept saying, "I'm sorry Stephen, I'm sorry", in her terrified whisper, and she mentioned that she'd lost her husband. I said "That's all-right Sylvia", and I unlocked the door and went out. I said to a nurse "There's a strange woman in my room", and it turns out that they had been searching frantically for Sylvia. They took her away, she must've half taken off my tracksuit pants because they were dragging behind her as she departed. I stepped on 'em and brought 'em back. For some reason my friend Edith was standing there in the corridor, fully dressed, and she asked me what was going on. I said "She took my clothes", and she said "Why?", and I said "'Cause she's crazy", and she said "Well she's allowed upstairs, she's been in the observation room for a long time... she must be upset about something", and I agreed and went back to my room.

The strange thing was, I didn't feel angry or shaken the way I usually do when people have been into my stuff. It was because Sylvia was so frightened and vulnerable. If she had been slightly less young, or slightly less female, I would've been fuming inside when I saw her wearing my clothes. But instead I was partly feeling sorry for her. It was a long time before I got back to sleep -- I kept thinking about how I could've better handled the situation, and how I would get my clothes back.

Sylvia came into my room again at quarter to eight, she took off my tracksuit top, I dunno what she was planning to do after that. She was still wearing my bike-ride t-shirt when a nurse found her and led her out. I later asked a different nurse how I would get my shirt back from Sylvia, and she fetched it for me. Sylvia's clothes were scattered all over my absent room-mate's bed -- she must have undressed in my room -- but another nurse took them away. My bike-ride t-shirt is stained with blood -- looks like I'll have to have it washed again. I hope Sylvia has learned her lesson.

I went to Ward North 9 this morning and exhausted most of my regular activities in a short period of time. Chris played one card-game with me -- it was sort of a cross between poker and coo 'n can, and he won because he didn't explain the rules properly. At half-past-ten there was a social-skills group where social worker Luana the American explained the difference between aggression, assertiveness, and non-assertiveness, and she made out that assertiveness is best, and she asked for our input. I didn't say anything, 'cause no one asked me any questions. A few people said things that they thought were relevant but weren't. Most of the talking was done by the patient Monique who said all the intelligent insightful stuff. And she said when she was in school she always assumed that she was ugly and that no-one liked her, but in retrospect she knows it was just paranoia. What an excellent chick. Anyway I didn't learn anything new from the discussion, it was all stuff that had been discussed at the school camp in 1993.

Before lunch Colleen asked me if I'd like to have dinner with her and a few friends tonight, and I said no. So she must've felt a bit rejected by that. Dinner with Colleen -- what a horrible thought. After lunch I snuck back to Ward North 6 and no one noticed, it was much like yesterday except I didn't do any drawing and I danced to Stuart's tape, the hard-rock tape. It's amazing how I've grown to like that tape, even though I came upon it by accident and it's not my style.

Today is Colleen's birthday, and during Donahue the North 9 folks sang happy birthday to her and cut a birthday cake baked by Carla. We all got a piece -- I wrapped mine in tissues and put it in my bag; dental routine, you know. Colleen is 28 -- nine years older than me. Cradle-snatcher she is.

After Donahue I went and played my Bart Simpson video game and won it for the first time. Colleen was watching over me as I played, and when I finished, she invited me to play a game of pool, and I accepted. The pool table in Ward North 9 is twice as big as the one at North 6, and all the accessories are superior. We played -- I was surprised at what a good player she was. She had a better grasp of the rules than me -- at one stage I potted the black ball without realising it was the black ball, but she let me off the hook for that. And later when I did something else wrong she said that she was willing to play my way, by whatever rules I like, but I said let's just play by the regular rules. If it had been anyone else, I would have thought they were joking. The only mistake she made was when she potted the cue-ball and then went on to take two extra shots. It was just a memory problem -- even while I queried her about it she didn't stop smiling at me foolishly. Anyway she eventually won the game, by a wide margin, and I said well done congratulations. I settled down to write my letter to Jiaching, and cleaned off the bits of cream that had escaped from the birthday cake.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had a meeting with Roland the Occupational Therapist and Nurse Una and the nice dark-haired nurse from North 9, named Faye. They said they don't think I'm making much of an effort to participate and become involved in the programme. I argued against them. Why? Because their programme is so pathetic and I've been participating in it more than they have the right to expect. I didn't say that; I just said I've been doing my best and they said O.K. and Faye drew up a timetable for me, for next week. They think they're going to shunt me into a group home -- their hopes are raised way up high, but I'll trample them into the dust eventually.

After four o'clock there was a music-appreciation group in a warm carpetted room upstairs. The group leader (a doctor) played Gershwin and Wagner on the Hi-fi and asked us to identify the instruments and say how the music made us feel. He was brimming with instrumental information. I really liked the Gershwin -- I said it made me feel jealous 'cause I can't write music as good as him. Apart from that I was pretty quiet -- I think people at this ward don't know how intelligent I really am.

At quarter to five I went back to North 6 for dinner. Colleen followed me. As I got my food served she hung 'round me like a bodyguard, worshipping me silently -- I ignored her. When she tried to pour herself a cup of tea, nurse Harvey shooed her out, so to speak. She follows me around -- what a total and utter nerd. That pool-game gave her undue encouragement.

I had a good time tonight, dancing in my bedroom in the dark to my rap-music tape in between diary-writings. I exhausted myself with all the gyrating and whispering rap-lyics. And while in the spare-lounge I heard Sylvia's voice in the lock-up below, singing, crying, cursing, talking with Bea. She's so touching.

Well, it has been an action packed day, hasn't it? This is a long entry; of course, that one incident with Sylvia took up a lot of room at the beginning. It's 11:26 but no one has told me to go to bed yet. Lots of patients are still up. I think I'll go and watch T.V.

24/1Entry into psychiatric hospital
1/3Day Before Dreaded False Discharge Incident
13/4Night-time intruder incident
4/5Fire Alarm
4/6Visit From Melanie -- Day After the Dreaded Sheet Changing Incident
10/6Susan Turner
29/6 & 1/7Departure and Discharge from Hospital
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