Thursday, May 14, 2009

R U Bonkers? #1

As I‘ve intimated previously, I have in the past availed myself of mental healthcare services. While this was done only to research the Great 20th Century British Novel I’m writing (that’s 21st Century now. Ed.), this still might constitute “too much information” for easily disturbed readers, so I’ll tread carefully. I’ve also in my portfolio of careers cleaned the floors, toilets and dishes in a psychiatric hospital, sometimes remembering to wash my hands between tasks. All this has given me a special insight into The World Of The Mad. I wish to reduce the stigma attached to not dealing with a full deck by a series of posts examining The Nature of Insanity. Now, I’m a big fan of self-diagnosis, so I’ll show how you can find out if You Are Bonkers by asking yourself some simple questions.

Chapter 1: Are You a Member of The Staff?

The first question to ask yourself upon awaking from the insulin coma and finding yourself slumped in a “trainer-coffin” wing-armchair in a maximum-security care facility. Though it’s not as sure a test of insanity as it seems. For instance, you could believe you’re a member of staff, and lack of patients and not getting paid won’t convince you otherwise. You could be one of the following:

Doctor Davey
A distinguished psychiatrist with a white coat he’s made from his bed sheet and a celery stethoscope. He’ll tell you what you’re suffering from – it’ll always be “a very serious complaint, yerrssss” – and will then recommend some symptoms.

Nurse Nerys
She fashions herself on that Welsh tart on a bicycle, and her medical technique involves getting her breasts out and shoving them in your face. This works for everyone, especially Nerys, whose behaviour ensures that the staff wash her breasts frequently and very vigorously.

Mental Mickey
So called, he’ll point out, because he’s an expert on the human mind. He knows what you’re thinking. He also knows what cushions and button mushrooms are thinking. One day he'll be given the promotion he’s asked for but for now he’ll content himself with sucking people's brains out using his telepathic powers.

Ena the Cleaner
Rather a low-status delusion but easily maintained. All you need is a mop and hospital visitors will treat you as a normal person, nobody will make pathetic attempts to cheer you up, and the staff will let you do their work while they cackle and chain-smoke in the office.

An Actual Member of Staff
This situation is the worst of all. Patients are sensitive, beautiful human beings, but the staff are often as mad as hatters. Especially psychiatrists, who gravitate to this branch of medicine for the wrong reasons: cack-handedness, prurience, deadness of soul, or simply the desire to wear bow-ties as often as possible (oohhh, creepy). Nurses are angels and I’m not going to say a word against them.

So, maybe not quite a sure-fire test, but you've made your first step on the road to wellness - congratulations. Now, I want to end each chapter with a piece of music to lighten our spirits. So here’s Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression. He’s decided this should be a fast blues in waltz-time… he’s simply a genius.


Scarlet-Blue said...

Sorry Gadj, I clicked on 'Intimated previously'... and crikey... the nostalgia... I know it was only back in October but it seems so long ago now.. sniff..
I think I need a lay/lie down.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Oh sorry [again], yes I am bonkers. See above.

Francis Sedgemore said...

"This works for everyone, especially Nerys, whose behaviour ensures that the staff wash her breasts frequently and very vigorously."

How does one go about moving into the mental health profession? I've never been particularly good at impersonation. Far too honest, me.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I follow Scarlet everywhere - so I too clicked on that link.

Is she really ginger?

When I hear about ECT I always think of Janet Frame's account (Angel at my Table).

Jimi H not my cuppa, but the boys love him - I have to put up with a lot of air guitar versions of the Hendix oeuvre.

Ana said...

I think I find Ena the most appealing. How nice to just pretend to clean and not have people bother you. When I played house as a little girl, I always wanted to be the family dog. Do you see a pattern?

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's sickening that women who generously proffered their titties were stigmatized as "mad" or "bonkers". I'd like to set up a home specifically for them. (Incidentally, Derek Taylor asked Al Capp to forgive him for ordering Capp out of John and Yoko's hotel room.)

Gaw said...

Magic Gadjo. Just like old time cabaret: jokes, stories *and* music. But in blog form.

It took me back to when I first listened to Jimi. I inherited my uncle's LP collection and with it 'Are You Experienced?' (I say inherited, but he joined Hare Krishna, and I don't think they allowed him fish, dairy or meat - Hendrix I believe is technically a meat product).

BTW re Scarlet, I once knew a red-head. No hair just a red head. No, seriously she had hair all down her back. Not on her head, just down her back. Max Wall, I think.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Many normal working days just seem like training workshops for the home for the bewildered.

(it's probably wisest not to tease Scarlet about her auburn highlights in case she sets the Dyson on us)

Gadjo Dilo said...

Scarley, it does seem we've all known each other for quite a long time doesn't it! I think we're a nice "community", nothing mad about that. Still have a lie down though, just to be sure.

Francis, I'm glad to hear that you are an honest type, but moving into the mental health profession is really easy and doesn't involve impersonation, for the simple reason that They Take Anybody.

Lulu, I also saw that film Angel at my Table. They used ECT much more lavishly back in those days; I only had one short course of the stuff, it seemed to do me good, and I've been perfectly healthy for a long time now. (I should probably have pointed this out earlier...)

BTW, Scarlet really is ginger, not necessarily because her hair's the colour of ginger (though it probably is) but in her embodiment of the quiddity, the gingeriness of ginger.

Lovely Ana, no, I don't see a pattern, and there's nothing wrong with dogs anyway, whether they be bitches or otherwise. Funny, I (who cannot act to save my life) was also much more comfortable impersonating animals.

Mr Bananas, you're up late this morning! (I'm getting rather cocky these days, aren't I...) I think women who proffer their titties for no obvious reason are called "Germans" (judging by what I've seen on Eurotrash). Again the reference to Derek Taylor. I knew his son quite well, but am unsure why you've mentioned him here. Do tell!

Cheers, Mr Gaw. I love Jimi with a passion, and I reckon Are You Experienced is perhaps the greatest rock album ever. Uncle in the Hare Krisnas, eh? Perhaps he'd be allowed to play Purple Haze on his tambourine - I'd like to think so.

Kevin, indeed, I bet when 18th burghers got bored of the entertainment on offer at Bedlam they'd pop down to the local library to watch the fun there! (No, just joking. Hang in there mate.)

Gadjo Dilo said...

... 18th century burghers...

Gorilla Bananas said...

I was answering the question you asked in the comments thread of the earlier post you linked. Derek was in the hotel room where the bed-in was.

Scarlet-Blue said...

!"£&*&(%%*(] AND [$"££$%(*&(&$$%666"£"££"£"£".
So there....
Embodiment of gingerness... ***SPLUTTER***
Please pass the smelling salts, I am about to faint - IN AN OBVIOUS AND BLONDE KIND OF WAY...

Lulu LaBonne said...

Blogging is starting to strike me as being a bit like being at a summer camp (or asylum), you start getting to know people - and which buttons to press...

Kevin Musgrove said...

don't say I didn't warn you: Scarlet is an Obvious Blonde. Like an orange.

We are considering running charabanc trips to see our management decision processes at work. When we find any.

Scarlet-Blue said...

I am twitching now... but what the hell... It's Eurovision tomorrow and we're gonna win!!!!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Bananas, ah, I see now, having read up a bit about the event in question: cartoonist Al Capp was sarcastic about John & Yoko's bid for world peace using only their public hair. Taylor was a witty and charming man; I wish he'd ordered John & (especially) Yoko out of the room instead.

Ah, Scarlet, nice trick, fainting and stuff is indeed very blond! And I really think that Laboratoire Garnier should bring out a new hair die called "Obvious Blond". (It would be a bit ginger though).

Lulu, hmmm, I'm not sure how much this is really "getting to know people" - I've just written a message to a gorilla ;-) Hopefully it's entertaining though, and it can be fun reading between the lines.

Kevin, I'm envisaging the charabanc trip scene from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. There's lots of ambiguity in your comment though: are you desparing of finding management decision processes in operation or at your workplace? Or are you simply looking for charabancs?

Scarlet, I too am looking forward to Eurovision tonight! Despite differences in musical tastes it brings the Dilo household together for an evening.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Only the mad are worth knowing.

With the exception of Alistair Campbell.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Gadjo: yes.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Daphne, I'm not mad any more (if I ever was), but thanks anyway. Ooer, yes, I'd forgotten about Alastair Campbell. Shame he couldn't have stayed under lock and key a bit longer for the good of his country.

Kevin, thanks for clearing that up then!

inkspot said...

Surely "engages in blogging behaviour" is an insanity indicator?

No Good Boyo said...

I got as far as Nerys Hughes, and that's where I'm staying. Lovely.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Mr Inkspot, "engaging in blogging behaviour" is my only way of avoiding insanity these days. It's like with chess players: their activity looks a bit autistic but it's actually keeping them from being even further out to lunch.

Boyo, you don't need me to tell you that it doesn't get any better than Nerys Hughes's breasts. And they're still as firm and juicy as a couple of Welsh cakes.

Beverly Hamilton Wenham said...

I am fascinated by everything you write. Please put me on the list for a copy of your book. I can only relate to people who are a little crazy. Everyone else is just so boring!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Miss Beverly, why thank you! The world just isn't ready for the book yet, I 'm afraid. (And I'm not as whacky as I might, in my attempts at entertainment, like to suggest... really quite boring and normal these days, but thanks anyway)