Monday, 12 January 2015

Watching - Scene 4

Observations of a psychotic mind
- there and back again

Scene Four

Stage Directions:Lights come up USL general area. Saul is in hospital and ‘ing’ sounds are produced by the chorus. All Saul wants to do is sleep and for the world to leave him alone.

Saul: I just want to sleep now. Just show me my bed and let me sleep.

Stage Directions: Blackout then USL area marking the pssage of time. The  ‘Ing’ sound morphs into the sound of a clock. A male psychiatric nurse sits watching Saul as his sleeps. They are on suicide watch but outside the room. They catch each other’s eye.

Saul: It’s Phil from Eastenders isn’t it?

Nurse: How are you feeling?

Saul: I just want to sleep.

Stage Directions: Blackout then USL area as before. Clock sounds mark time passing.
A different psychiatric nurse sits watching Saul as they sleep. They are on suicide watch but outside the room. They catch each other’s eye.

Saul: Where’s Phil gone? Why him? Is he a government representative?

Nurse: My name’s Jo. Would you be up to a cup of tea?

Saul: I just want to sleep. I feel better for it.

Nurse: You will. I’m just outside if you want anything.

Stage Directions: Fade blackout then USL spotlight indicating morning. The chorus ‘sing’ of Sauls Dream 3 with camera flashes, media sounds Saul moves in his sleep. Fade blackout then USL spot night. The chorus act as press and media with accompanying sounds. Saul moves in his sleep. Fade to blackout then general USL area afternoon. Press and media morph into hospital sounds and people. Saul wakes to find three people by his bed side. A single clock is ticking normally.

Psychiatrist: Hello there Saul. You’ve been going through the wars I hear. Do you know where you are?

Saul: Yes and I know what’s going on. I’m not stupid. They’re protecting me by putting me in here or are your colleagues not supposed to be privy to that?

Psychiatrist: You’re in hospital Saul. I’m Chris Harker and I’m a consultant psychiatrist. This is my registrar, Bernie and I think you’ve met Jo one of our nurses. You needn’t be afraid, we’re here to help you. It’s very common for intelligent people like you to get ill in this way, but we can help.

Saul: I warn you the PM won’t be happy if you start fooling with me. I refuse to take anything. You’re not using me as one of your guinea pigs or lab rats.

Psychiatrist: Well I’m afraid that as you’re sectioned you don’t have a choice about taking medication if I think it’s necessary. Do you remember what was said to you when you arrived? You’re just here for a couple of days for an assessment and we’ll take it from there.

Stage Directions: Fade blackout then USL area. Saul is sat up with a cup of tea. Bernie enters followed by Samuel.

Bernie: Morning Saul. You’re looking a bit brighter now.

Saul: Can I go home now? I’m sure the PM has had a chance to secure my house now so I shall be perfectly safe.

Bernie: No, I’m afraid not. I’d like you to take these.

Saul: What happens if I refuse?

Samuel: Trust me you don’t want us to have to force injections on you which we can do and yes, it’s legal. I’m Samuel by the way one of the other nurses here. We always have two when giving out meds to ensure it stays safe and legal and to make sure we get it right.

Saul: What are they?

Bernie: The white one is a mood stabilizer and the blue one is a sedative like you’d have as a pre-med before an operation. And these are anti-depressants. You want their names? This is Quetiapin –

Saul: But I’m calm aren’t I? And I’ve been sleeping loads, so why do I need them?

Bernie: Because it will help you stay that way.

Saul: But what will be their effect on someone who doesn’t need them?

Bernie: There would be no adverse effects with such a small dose over such a short time I can assure you. They’re tiny, look. (After a tense silence reluctantly Saul takes them. He hasn’t much choice if he wants to go home) 

Stage Directions: Fade blackout.

PLEASE NOTE: Currently in the UK no mental health professional ever wears white coats and seldom wear uniforms of any kind unless they are nursing staff. CPN is the abbreviation for Community Psychiatric Nurse and they do not wear uniforms. Sectioning in other countries is the term that used to known as committed i.e. placed in hospital by decree from a medical team. 

In the UK it takes a committee of medical staff trained in mental health to agree that you are too ill to be left to cope on your own and it is very common for a member of public not related to you to ensure that medical staff are not in breach of the law. 

All people in the UK can appeal against being placed in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

By kind permission of Mel Dixon, the Mindwalking team is proud to publish a joint venture in the form of a play. Copyright and performance rights remains with Mel Dixon who we would like to thank for writing this piece with us and for all of us. 

We hope this will enable every to understand what both isolation and loss can lead to if people are left unsupported. No one should suffer alone, but sadly all too many still do.

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