So the weeks passed while I waited for an appointment with the stroke clinic. The shaking in my right arm continued as did the falls and weight loss. I was exhausted all of the time and no longer recognised the person who stared back at me from the mirror each morning. This was a haggard, ashen faced old man who looked at me from eyes sunken deep into dark rimmed sockets. I lost interest in my appearance, didn't shave and dressed each day in old jogging pants and sweatshirt. A sweatshirt that Laraine got so fed up looking at me wearing, she threatened to burn. Thankfully she only threw it out. Although I would never have admitted it at the time I had sunk into a very deep depression. As I have said I was still being treated for stress by a psychiatrist during this time but refused to admit I was depressed and resolutely refused to take the anti depressants that she had prescribed. All that I did each day was sit in the chair. I didn't even watch tv. I just sat all day staring into space and each day feeling lower and lower. I felt weak, powerless, washed up....finished. I didn't seem to be getting any better and I couldn't see a future for me. Now Laraine will tell you that this was the polar opposite of the man who was her husband. Before all this began I was the type that would leap out of bed at the crack of dawn eager to seize the day. I would not have dreamt of sitting about the house all day, indeed couldn't cope with that and loved to be out working each day. My time in the RAF had taught me to be fastidious in my appearance. Each night I would put polish on my shoes and the following morning would buff them till they shone. I wouldnt let Laraine iron my shirts as she could not meet my exacting standards so I would do this myself and they had to be as white as the driven snow, if not or they showed any sign of wear they were consigned to the charity shops. I wore the best of suits and left the house each day as smart as paint. I just couldn't see a way back to the man I once was. Laraine deserved better than this. I felt like a burden on her and Lauren. I missed my grandchildren. Added to this, in the background I had a court case looming with, what I thought to be a real possibility that I might go to prison. I hadn't been able to work in God knows how long, was getting no state assistance of any kind . My life had imploded and I hated myself for being so fucking weak. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I just wanted some peace; I couldn’t escape from my problems or see any solutions. So one evening, whilst our neighbour Graham had popped in, as he regularly did to see how I was and have a beer or two I went into the bathroom and took a handful of the anti depressant pills that I hadn't been taking and swallowed them back with the beer I was drinking. I can't remember exactly how many I took but it was certainly a few dozen or more. I didn't tell either Graham or Laraine I just thought that I would go to bed that night, fall asleep and not wake up in the morning and that would be better for all concerned. I just couldn't be like this anymore. Well obviously my plan did not work. I woke up next morning. Certainly didn't feel any better, still fucked up but I wasn't dead as I hoped. Later that morning I had an appointment with the psychiatrist and Laraine came with me. The doctor wanted to speak to me on my own so took me into a consulting room and we left Laraine sitting in the waiting area. Invariably I get very frustrated when talking to psychiatrists. In my mind, at every session they ask you the same questions over and over again. I know this is probably a technique they deploy but I find it almost infuriating, going round and round in circles. That day was no different. The same old questions were asked and by the time we got to the one where they ask if you have ever had suicidal thoughts I had had enough and just blurted out that in fact I had and that only the night before I had taken an overdose. I think that took her by surprise a bit but she asked me what I had taken, how many and at what time. I told her and she excused herself from the room. Laraine, who was ignorant of the fact I had taken an overdose told me later that she had seen the doctor leave the room and sprint across the waiting area to another room where we later found out she had been taking advice from the Royal Infirmary. She then asked Laraine to come into the consulting room where she told her that I had taken the overdose. As Laraine knew of my reticence to take pills of any kind and as she hadn't seen me take anything the night before at first she did not believe this and asked me if I was kidding. I could only shake my head. I felt like lead. The doctor told Laraine that she was to take me immediately to the hospital, she had told them I would be coming and there would be a team waiting for me when we got there. So once again Laraine bundled me into her car, the only car we had at this point and hot footed it to the Royal Infirmary. We made the journey in silence. When wee got there I was admitted straight away. I had horrors of them pumping my stomach but thankfully it was far too late for them to do this. I don't think they thought I had done any lasting damage to myself but I was to be kept in for a few days so that they could monitor my heart.
After three days in a ward full of drug addicts and alcoholics I was relieved to be released but not so pleased when I was told that I was once again to be placed in the care of the crisis team. Laraine was less than pleased with this news and registered her displeasure with the doctor who signed my release. It is not often that in Civvy Street that Laraine puts on her " lawyers hat " but she did that day and advised the doctor that she had no faith in the crisis team and that if anything happened to me as a result she would be holding him responsible. Her comments were noted but I was still sent home with instructions to see the crisis team the next day. I can only say that the reception I got from the crisis team the next day was less than warm. Laraine accompanied me and made it plain to them that we did not think that they were of any help and that she wanted me to see a psychiatrist. So the psychiatrist came in and again the same old questions were asked and the same old story told. Strangely, my childhood stutter had returned and i struggled to get my words out. By the end of the session I was utterly and completely mentally and physically exhausted, unable to speak above a raspy whisper with tears coursing down my face. My head was swimming, spinning, pounding, the feeling of nausea swept up from my stomach was almost overwhelming, I was drenched in sweat and shivered as I lurched into the open air. I felt weak, exposed and angry with myself for giving so much of myself away that day and above all embarrassed for having been such an idiot. I'm truly sorry for causing Laraine, Lauren and the rest of my family and friends for causing them to worry during that hellish week.