23/03/12 The Poolewe Lady

Poolewe is a picturesque village nestling in a small harbour just off loch ewe. The route from Aultbea – a mere 6 miles – had been hard – walking uphill into a gale was but one of the highlights.

I stumbled across a little coffee shop and devoured the homemade carrot and something soup – a fantasy realised…hmmmm.

I put up my tent in a little public park – with an en- suite toilet – what could be better?

A local woman overheard my stories of wizard pranks and decided to tell me her story.

Right from when she was a youngster she’d felt different from everyone else – its funny, there was something comforting about her – time and again I’m struck by the normality of the mental malady.

She told me that her bi-polar first really struck home on her flight back to Scotland after her honeymoon. She remembers being convinced that the plane had been chartered just for her.
She remembers being sectioned in London – being forced into a room where she was held down and injected with…something she doesn’t recall – and then waking up in a psychiatric institution in Inverness – having no recollection of how she got there.

I found it alarming as I linked my own experiences with hers – there were times when I was growing up when I was absolutely convinced that everyone around me were aliens. I remember my own first brush with hospital – I wasn’t sectioned – but I was told I would be if I tried to leave the ward. It sounded like they’d been heavy handed with her from the word go. Why had she been sectioned? Was she a risk to herself and/ or others ?

She told me that her doctor had advised her not to have children because of her mental health problems and what might happen after she’d had a child. She went along with this – but regrets it now.

Again, I was pulled into thinking about my own 2 children and how they wouldn’t exist if I’d been encouraged along the same lines. But at what cost? Have I passed on some loony gene to them? What kind of parent have I been to them? It’s hard to say through ones own subjective scrutiny. Although I’m currently estranged from them – they’re beautiful and funny and sensitive and wise and loving….I’m sure one day we’ll be able to talk properly about all this.

But for poolewe lady – she doesn’t have the choice – she doesn’t have anyone to discuss these issues with, because they never arose.

I can’t help but feel that her doctor would have supported her better by saying,”It might be tricky – it might not be – but these are the supports we can put in place if you decide to have children….”

She has some regrets – but she’s well supported by her husband and the people she chooses to share her story with.

If you were to meet her you’d find an interesting and interested woman, humorous and pretty with a ready smile.

She doesn’t look like one.

Walk a mile

Chris

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