Still walking. My mind an out-of-control fairground roundabout. Suddenly realise how tired I am. I’ve walked for miles. Where am I… and who?
Reduced to stumbling. Have to keep going. Man on a mission, man on a mission. Man on a mission. But what mission? Only confusion reigns in my brain… and collapse in my muscles and bones.
I fetch up in front of a hospital and in a grey cell, don’t know how. Rotting driftwood cast onto a beach. Getting there under my own steam never happens. Not knowing where you are, identity crisis, whirling, confusion. But when the mind’s gone there’s no safer refuge. Whoever got me here, thank you. Now I just need to sleep.
They inject me. I fall into sleep. Thank you God.
In the Ward round they keep asking the same questions.
How’s your sleep? Your appetite? Grand plans? How’s your sleep? Your appetite? Grand plans? How’s your sleep? Your appetite? Grand plans? How’s your sleep? Your appetite? Grand plans?
But I seem to make a rapid recovery. They keep me in for 4 weeks, but it feels like 44. Upon discharge the psychiatrist advises not to go back to work for two weeks.
Busy Bee Telecoms
So instead I set up a business. The fact that I think this is an OK thing to do is a sign that despite being discharged I was far from thinking properly.
Anyway, the bank lent me £1,000 for a load of cordless phones, letterheads, business cards and all that and up popped Busy Bee Telecoms. I sold my entire stock of phones within ten days, mostly via a leaflet drop in the nearby plush suburb of Stoke Park.
Unfortunately one of GEC’s directors lived there. He knew me, and realised that I was conducting a business while on the sick.
My condition had re-occurred roughly two years after my arrival in Coventry. A management committee met to discuss whether or not to sack me for lying about my health. They also disapproved of me running a business when I was off sick. Fair comment, really.
Fortunately for me my friend Tom Priest was at the meeting, representing the personnel department. He spoke up for me (words to the effect of ‘unusually gifted’) and saved my neck.
So I closed down Busy Bee. This meant the bank manager wanted his money back. I’d made a profit, but fallen victim to one of hypomania’s classic symptoms: I’d spent the whole loan and the profit, and had nothing to show for it.
Cue a massive property boom. This enabled me to pay the bank and free up my equity by selling my house. For this to work I had to move down-market, but the estate agent’s double-speak disguised how far down-market I was going.
Money like water
My mother knew that I’d sold my house and why. She also knew the spend-money-like-water symptom of hypomania. She strongly advised me to put the money into some form of account which would totally deny me access to the cash for a fixed period, like five years or so. Hopefully I’d be well by then.
I did speak to a financial adviser about this. Eventually I put what was left of my house sale profit into an account. Unfortunately it didn’t match the basic requirement. It turned out that I could draw money out before five years had passed, but I’d be heavily penalised if I did.
During subsequent bursts of ill- health I did withdraw the money and spent it in the realms of cloud cuckooland.
Always be wary of advisors, folks and if you’re not fully under control mentally, have someone responsible with you.
That’s the lot from me today, folks. Please drop by again. Best regards, Marc