Diary – 11th Feb
I am happy to report that this is my first morning of (self-admitted) wellness in the whole of fourteen months. That Doctor Harshsam – a ‘good friend’ I should hope to call him by now – recommended my release from the watchful care of his team well over a month ago neither diminishes or detracts from the progress I have made since my ‘blackened winter’, as we have taken to calling it. And so, in ‘defence’ of my academic credibility, I will note from the outset that my refusal to co-operate in my own recommended discharge from Leavesden (an impeccable facility, I might add) during my last month there was very much my own. It was consciously done so and whilst in sound, self-assured health.
I write this auto-observational diary in the hope that it will add a highly credible qualitative insight to the this field of medicine which I have taken as my sole focus of study, research and experiment for the past five years (my doctoral thesis ‘The Discontent of Deinstitutionalisation: A Case Study of Relapse in the Re-socialisation of Mentally Ill Patients’ received great criticism from Brigham and featured in the third issue of The American Journal of Insanity (184-), of which he is still editor. He has also promised its sincere consideration for publishing in his upcoming book: Remarks on the Influence of Mental Cultivation and Health, although the reworking of a few chapters is undoubtedly expected.
A few brief notes on the specifics of my physical condition: as of this morning I have weighed myself at 172lbs (a healthy excess of 27lbs since my admittance to Leavesden) at a height of six feet and two inches. I maintain a steady heart-rate even after a brisk walk through the busiest of London’s industrial streets and bustling market places and a toward-rosy complexion which betrays my glee at the sight of others going about their daily work without care for the unpredictable potential of my actions (a state of self-possession sorely missed by all recovering patients in the asylum and yet, as I observed first-hand, largely overlooked in the current prescribed treatment process). I am lavishing myself with at least two meat meals per day (I have taken to rare veal, despite recommendations to steer from bloody meats for at least a few weeks – I hereby submit these ‘few weeks’ to my extra time spent in the ward) generous helpings of red wine (specifically from the French sud-ouest), and have ensured an effort to frequent social occasions as both an exercise of public re-integration and (much a personal endeavour) to regain the charm and quick-witted conversation for which I was once well-known and considered extremely agreeable for.
There is a party in Oxford this weekend. I have been invited by an old University friend who understands the history of my illness and is quite encouraged to be involved in what he find delight in referring to as my ‘rehabilitation’, although one can’t but afford a grin toward the terminological mandatory in the use of such a clinical word. ‘Rehabilitation’ could as easily be substituted for ‘evaluative research’ in light of that carried out in that most critical final reflective period of an extended ethnography. I shall be a stranger to all else at the engagement which is something I am also rather looking forward to. I shall need to build a new raft of friends – perhaps even a family in the future – now that my memories of a life before the madness are shadows which cast only upon the egg-shell-white walls of Leavesden Asylum.
~ 11th Feb,184-